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Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

Saving EU democracy: emotional intelligence or cold stupidity?

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Heather Grabbe and Stefan Lehne claim in a new Carnegie Europe report and a shorter op-ed that all it needs to save EU democracy is ‘emotional intelligence’. I doubt that this is what we need, even if ‘emotional intelligence’ sounds nice. The idea sounds nice, because the opposite of ‘emotional intelligence’ is probably ‘cold stupidity’, and […]

The gender balance gap between the European Parliament and national parliaments – updated

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In the December 2014 issue of “European Union Politics” there is a  paper by Fortin-Rittberger & Rittberger* titled “Do electoral rules matter? Explaining national differences in women’s representation in the European Parliament“ (an earlier version in open access here). Looking mainly at data from 2009 (and 2004), the key question of their paper is, in my summary: Why […]

42.54% turnout: How preparing my European Studies course made EU news this week

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Some academics may think teaching is an obligation that disturbs research. In the publish-or-perish economy of academic life, it may seem as if teaching doesn’t add much to general knowledge and research. But it does, as my discovery this week of the 42.54% turnout figure for the 2014 EU elections shows. Preparing for my European […]

7 observations on Jean-Claude Juncker’s President-elect speech

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During the European election campaign, I’ve seen a Jean-Claude Juncker who seemed tired, who did not seem up to speed during the debates with his contenders and who seemed to be disconnected from the party that supported him – the European People’s Party. But the speech (video, extracts from the text) he delivered yesterday let […]

The “arch-federalist” Juncker? A comparative perspective

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UK politicians call Juncker arch-federalist, and  the press has taken over this term, too. The Telegraph does it. The Guardian does it. The (Irish) Independent does it. The Washington Post does. What they show is their lack of perspective, of comparative analysis, with Juncker’s predecessor(s) and with his competitors for the Commission top-job. Had those media […]

Juncker: The first European Commission President we can get rid of

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The news today reported that both Sweden and the Netherlands – i.e. their prime ministers – have dropped their previous opposition to Jean-Claude Juncker to becoming European Commission President. This pretty much means that Juncker will get the first EU top job nomination at the European Council meeting tomorrow and after-tomorrow, as only Cameron (UK) […]

What will the European Commission learn from the European Parliament elections 2014?

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On 28 May, the Wednesday after the European elections, Barroso reported back to the Commission from the informal dinner of heads of state and government the evening before in which the future European Commission President was discussed. After a quite general presentation of Barroso’s impressions of the informal dinner, the  minutes of the European Commission College […]

How limited are LIMITE documents for national parliaments in the EU?

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In the article “Classifying Secrets in the EU” (paywall, JCMS 53(3)) by EU Council official David Galloway, the world of secret EU documents has found its way into mainstream EU-related political science. And in  “Overseeing Secrets in the EU: A Democratic Perspective” by Prof. Deirdre Curtin (also JCMS 53(3)), this world of classified EU documents has been […]

Poor, poor European Commission!

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After having read the minutes of the European Commission meeting of 14 May, I  feel so, so sorry for the European Commission. In their discussion about the (then) upcoming European elections, all the Commissioners and the outgoing President Barroso seemed to think about was how unfairly they are treated (p. 16): “Turning to the European […]

The genesis of a European Public Sphere: Economic crisis and Lampedusa, European elections and cross-border migration

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If you have been following European politics and media, online and offline, for the past 5-6 years, you cannot but notice the genesis of a European Public Sphere . This sphere may be more or less evolved depending on national media, but it is clearly there – much more than it was before the last […]

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