In December 1996, the European Union gave its authorization to sell transgenic corn for consumption and cultivation in Europe. Some EU memberstates, notably Austria and Italy, refused to allow any imports of genetically modified organisms (“GMOs” or “OGM” in French). Resistance of that sort was unexpected from France. In Europe, France was originally the country most interested in advancing research and applications in the area of agricultural biotechnology. Before GMOs became a matter of public controversy, France led Europe in deliberate release trials.
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Recent debates about the future of the European Union have focused
in large part on institutional reforms, the deficit of democratic legitimacy,
and the problem of economic and agrarian policies. As important
as these issues may be, the most crucial question at the moment
is not whether Europe will prevail as a union of nations or as a thoroughly
integrated federal structure. What is of much greater concern
is the fact that political structures and their corresponding political
discourses have lagged far behind the social changes occurring in
European societies. The pivotal transformation of 1989 has not been
grasped intellectually or politically, even though its results are
increasingly visible in both the east and west.
The Struggle of the Russian Orthodox Church to Introduce Religion into the Curriculum in the First Decade of the Twenty-first Century
Victor A. Shnirelman
Interest in the social role of religion, including religious education (RE), is on the increase in the European Union. Yet whereas Western educators focus mostly on the potential of religion for dialogue and peaceful coexistence, in Russia religion is viewed mostly as a resource for an exclusive cultural-religious identity and resistance to globalization. RE was introduced into the curriculum in Russia during the past ten to fifteen years. The author analyzes why, how, and under what particular conditions RE was introduced in Russia, what this education means, and what social consequences it can entail.
The Social Quality of Citizenship
Three Remarks for Kindling a Debate
Social rights were to be the completion of the citizenship status of all members within a political community. Through a variety of causes (their entanglement with the goals of full employment and the welfare state, the complexities of the political project of the European Union, and conceptual confusion) the development of these rights has been arrested. The article sketches some of the origins of the present predicament of (social) rights and (social) citizenship. The article is informed by the hope that the arguments it puts forward may contribute to a renewed discussion on the necessity and promises of an EU form of citizenship that is worth instituting and emulating.
In the lead article to this open issue of German Politics and Society,
Michael Werz offers an insightful and ambitious sweep of the
large questions confronting Germany and the European Union in the
context of the twentieth century's legacies. Particularly welcome are
Werz's criticisms of the increasingly crucial role that anti-Americanism
has played in the establishment of a putatively multicultural identity
in Europe. Werz demonstrates how the American experience has
great relevance for Europe and how German and European intellectuals
do their cause a great disservice by dismissing this experience as
irrelevant, inferior—or worse.
The global post-2015 sustainable development debate
What can regions offer?
Harlan Koff and Carmen Maganda
Volume five of Regions & Cohesion has focused significant attention on the subject of regional development. It has done so because 2015 is such an important year in relation to development debates given the definition of the post-Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agenda in the United Nations and the official declaration of 2015 as the European Union Year for Development. The introduction to the Leadership Forum of the Spring 2015 issue included important reflections on the theme of “transformative development.” The introduction openly asked whether 2015 could be a decisive year for the global development agenda or whether it will be remembered for global summitry, international declarations and little more.
Jeffrey J. Anderson
The aim of this chapter is to assess the European Commission
under Romano Prodi’s presidency. Prodi took office in September
1999, at a time when both the Commission’s standing within the
European Union (EU) and its internal morale were floundering at
historic lows, the result of months of internal scandal and bruising,
public confrontations with the European Parliament, the media,
and the member governments. It is a testament to Prodi’s political
skills that a mere fifteen months later, the Commission is once
again on an even keel and charting a steady course, moreover playing
an important if not necessarily central role in the major debates
of the day in the European Union.
From Unemployment to Flexicurity
Opportunities and Issues for Social Quality in the World of Work in Europe
François Nectoux and Laurent L.G. van der Maesen
This special issue of the Journal, which gathers a number of papers produced in the context of a research project recently conducted by the European Foundation on Social Quality, is again devoted to the crucial policy-field of employment. Indeed, at national and European Union levels, employment continues to be the most difficult and conflict-ridden part of the social and economic policy agenda, as it has for the best part of the last three decades. There has been very limited policy success in this field, and this is clearly illustrated by the fact that the most intractable problem, that of mass unemployment, has not been solved to any significant extent.
Is Europe Good for the Jews?
Jews and the Pluralist Tradition in Historical Perspective
The growing trend in the Jewish community to raise the alarm about Europe and the ‘new antisemitism’ is alarmist and misplaced. The main threat to Jews in Europe lies in the reassertion of atavistic nationalist ideologies and the rise in the persecution of minorities, not in the growth of the transnational institutions of the European Union. The current European polity was born and continues to develop in the great European tradition of pluralism that Jews have done so much in modern times to foster.
In the midst of the European Union’s (EU) unprecedented crisis and a
rapidly changing international environment, Germany is redefining its
place in Europe and in the world. Long-cherished certainties such as a
staunch commitment to European integration and to its Western allies in
general seem being called into question. Critics like the former Chancellor
Helmut Kohl or the historian Heinrich August Winkler deplore a missing
compass and “politics without a project.”1 Against this background, this
article analyses the German policy toward an issue that forcefully marked
the year 2011 and continues to transform North Africa and the Middle
East—the so-called “Arab Spring”.