On Europe Now

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So I’m in the final stages of my dissertation looking at partisan responses to European integration and a noticeable trend exists in the literature: far right parties are termed the ‘extremist right’ while far left parties are the ‘radical left’. Why is this? And how did such bias ever get through peer review?

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In October 1993, Boris Yeltsin ordered the shelling of the White House, the parliament building of the Russian Federation. This drastic move was a culmination of years of confrontation and polarization between the president and parliament which climaxed into physical conflict over the nights of October 3rd and 4th. Several issues were at stake most notably the shape of the political system in post-Soviet Russia, one where either the president was to be more powerful or the parliament. 3UAWGNEPCF2A

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The reunification of Germany that occurred in the early 90’s and the subsequent accession of the former East German Länders to the Federal Republic changed the political landscape in Germany. One of the most notable changes is that which affected the party system, in particular the encroachment on the dominance of the two main Volkspartein of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Socialist Party of Germany (SPD).

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The practice of combining local elective positions with national ones, known as cumul des mandats (accumulation of mandates), is a tradition which predates the 5th republic. France is unique amongst Western European countries to the extent in which the cumul is practiced. Steps have been taken to limit the practice, but some argue these do not go far enough, and initially they were difficult to implement.

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At the latest plenary of the European Parliament last week (20th November), MEPs voted on a motion to make clear its position on the 2011 EU draft budget as modified by the European Council. MEPs voted 546 for (or effectively against the European Council’s budget cut plans) with 88 against. 53 of those against came from the UK with the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dem and UKIP MEPs voting against the proposals, all the Green UK MEPs (5) voted for.

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If it is one thing we all know, the EU wants to be seen to be more democratic and more transparent. As a result, I am sure you will be amazed that the European Parliament doesn’t allow you, an ordinary citizen, to keep tabs on how your MEP votes.

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As the rollout of the provisions in the Lisbon Treaty continues apace, eyes have turned to the Citizens Initiative, a unique provision for the EU which compels the European Commission to consider a legislative proposal should one million of the EU’s citizens think that a new law is needed to implement the EU Treaties. Lisbon… » read more

On Europe Now

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The sister blog to On Liberty Now, On Europe Now looks at the latest issues and policies of the EU including enlargement, subsidiarity, integration and member state views of the EU. The blog has a liberal bias and will focus on the work of the ALDE and European liberal parties. Being a UK based blog… » read more