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A Radical Democratic Lens to Rejuvenating European Union Democracy Support

Thinking about the Political with a Capital P

Nathan Vandeputte

In 2019, the European Union implemented democracy aid projects in 37 countries, totaling €147 million. This is an increase of about 28 percent compared to the year prior (EU 2019) and therefore could be seen as indicative of an increasing

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The Italian Presidency of the European Union: An “Abnormal” Semester?

Francesc Morata

On 1 July 2003, Italy assumed for the seventh time the presidency of

the European Union. The previous Italian presidency was held during

the first semester of 1996 under the leadership of Romano Prodi. For

various reasons, which will be explored in the first section of this

chapter, the role of the presidency of the EU has been of great political

importance not only in Europe but also on domestic and international

levels. Every member state has, in its own history, experienced

an EU presidency that was more or less successful and that helped

build its European reputation. Beyond producing effective reports, the

previous six Italian presidencies contributed to the construction of the

image of a country that, although politically weak, identified strongly

with the values and objectives of European integration. The 1996

presidency, marked by salient issues such as the start of intergovernmental

negotiations that led to the Treaty of Amsterdam, growth and

employment, and preparation for monetary union, had even managed

to increase Italy’s European credibility.

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European Union

Are the Founding Ideas Obsolete?

Isabelle Petit and George Ross

On 9 May 1950, in an elegant salon of the Quai d’Orsay in Paris, France’s Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposed that France and Germany, plus any other democratic nation in Western Europe that wanted to join, establish a “community” to regulate and govern the coal and steel industries across national borders. France and Germany had been at, or preparing for, war for most of the nineteenth and twentieth century, at huge costs to millions of citizens. Moreover, in 1950 iron and steel remained central to national economic success and war-making power. The Schuman Plan therefore clearly spoke to deeper issues.

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The Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union: A Semester of Contrasting Outcomes

Marco Brunazzo

On 1 July 2014, Italy took over the rotating six-month presidency of the Council of the European Union. Expectations for the Italian presidency were high. This chapter argues that these expectations were always unrealistic, as the Italian presidency had to deal with the fallout of the European Parliament elections. Nevertheless, Italy managed to pursue its interests by securing important nominations to the European Commission, pushing the EU to do more on migration policy, and encouraging moves to foster greater investment at the European level.

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Playing the Wrong Tunes? Italy and the European Union in 2004

Mark Gilbert

The year 2004 was a crucial one for the European Union (EU) and an

important one for Italy’s policy toward European integration. As the

rhetoric surrounding the signature of the EU constitution in Rome dies

down, the time is ripe for a preliminary analysis of Italy’s strategy and

tactics during the complex negotiations carried on during the Irish

presidency of the EU in the first six months of 2004 and of Italy’s overall

approach to European questions in the year as a whole. Inevitably,

this analysis can only be provisional in character. The task of providing

a final assessment of the aims and objectives of the Berlusconi

government will fall to a future generation of diplomatic historians.

Nevertheless, a broad generalization about Italy’s European policy in

2004 can already be made. The Berlusconi government, which has

often been accused of a degree of ambivalence toward the European

project, seemingly did attempt to “return, free from the responsibilities

of the presidency, to reaffirming the most advanced European

principles.” More pragmatically, it also strove hard to reassert Italy’s

place as a country that counts within the newly enlarged union.

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Cross-Border Cultural Cooperation in European Border Regions

Sites and Senses of ‘Place’ across the Irish Border

Giada Laganà and Timothy J. White

With the window of opportunity arising in the aftermath of the 1994 ceasefires, which instigated a move towards peace in Northern Ireland, the European Union (EU) created the PEACE programme funding. The package was overwhelmingly concentrated on

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Non-democracy tolerance

Venezuela in Mercosur and Hungary in the European Union

Tainá Siman

based on two major cases for Europe and Latin America: the case of Hungary in the European Union and the case of Venezuela in Mercosur. Democratic clauses in Mercosur and the case of Venezuela The new wave of regionalism ( Soderbaum, 2015 ) in

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Italy’s Foreign Policy Game: Moving without the Ball

Vittorio Emanuele Parsi

In 2015, Italy’s foreign policy was focused on issues that were linked to the attempt to boost Italy’s international reputation: the Libyan question, the migration crisis, and Italy’s role in the European Union. As for the first two issues, the Renzi government has sought to “Europeanize” them, with the aim of not being “left alone” in dealing with their consequences. The third issue concerns Renzi’s effort to gain fiscal flexibility and “change the course” of the European Union. However, in Europe the prime minister has found himself isolated and has struggled to lead coalitions on issues that are very relevant for the national interest. The assessment of the Renzi government’s action in foreign policy in 2015, ultimately, can be read in two ways: if it is evaluated against announcements, expectations, and demands of the prime minister, the result is disappointing; if it is measured in a more realistic fashion, the appraisal can be less harsh.

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Women's Uprising in Poland

Embodied Claims between the Nation and Europe

Jennifer Ramme

of the European Union, Article 3) while simultaneously upholding the juristic integrity of nation-states. The nation-state remains in charge of protecting women's human rights granted by the EU ( Erdman 2014 ). It is still the national governments and

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Europe, the Pope and the Holy Left Alliance in Poland

Kacper Pobłocki

This article describes why the Polish government has pushed for an invocation to Christian traditions in the European Union Constitution. It is argued that this is a rather 'unfortunate' outcome of the political alliance between the Catholic Church and the Polish left, especially between President Aleksander Kwaśniewski and the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD). This alliance allowed the SLD to legitimize their rule in the post-socialist Poland, and it was a result of a political competition between them and the post-Solidarność elites. As a result, John Paul II became the central integrative metaphor for the Polish society at large, which brought back in the marginalized as well as allowed the transition establishment to win the EU accession referendum in 2003. The article (which was written when Leszek Miller was still Prime Minister) demonstrates how this alliance crystallized and presents various elements of the cult of the Pope in Poland that followed. Finally, it argues that the worship of the Pope is not an example of nationalism, but of populism, understood not as a peripheral but as a central political force, and advocates for more research on the 'politics of emotions' at work in the centers and not in peripheries.