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Category Archives: Current Affairs

Beyond the Brussels Bubble? National Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the European Union

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The Journal of Contemporary European Research (JCER) recently published a special issue on the role of civil society in European Union policymaking and democratisation. Editors Rosa Sanchez Salgado and Andrey Demidov explain how it constitutes an original account of what is happening in the member states, beyond the world of well-established organisations in Brussels. This special […]

Merkel, Coalition Politics and Negotiating the Common European Asylum System: Constrained by Domestic Actors?

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This article is based on research presented at the UACES Graduate Forum Conference 2018 (12-13 July, KU Leuven, Belgium) In parliamentary democracies the cabinet makes policy decisions. When a cabinet is formed around a coalition of parties, the responsibility for decision-making is shared. However, coalition parties remain politically independent actors, resulting in competition and disagreements over […]

The EU as a Normative Power: the Issue of Eurocentric Approaches to EU Action Analysis

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When viewed as a normative power, is the European Union (EU) an exceptional actor? Aiste Pagirenaite dissects the Economic Partnership Agreements negotiated between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, and argues that the EU’s norm promotion tools also serve its strategic interests. Two of the most prominent accounts explaining the […]

The Perception of European Identity in Scotland

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Publication resulting from the UACES Graduate Forum Conference 2018 Perceptions of vulnerability within small states can lead to stronger national identity, but also to affiliations with bigger organisation, such as the EU, which grant external shelter. Using Scotland as an example, Alastair Mackie asks whether these dynamics can impact European identity among citizens of small states. […]

Finally Reaching a Bi-Regional Trade Agreement? The Potential and Challenges of EU-Mercosur Relations

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This article is based on research presented at the UACES Graduate Forum Conference 2018 (12-13 July, KU Leuven, Belgium) While progress has been made, the EU-Mercosur association agreement still struggles to get off the ground. Bruno Theodoro Luciano argues that some of the greatest challenges are the insufficient discussion of political cooperation as well as the […]

The Future of Populism and the Institutional Setting of the “Ever Complex Union”

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Publication resulting from the UACES Graduate Forum Conference 2018 The process of European integration has always faced challenges, but the complexities in which the European Union finds itself today are unprecedented, Karlis Bukovskis reflects. Following his participation at the UACES GF 2018 Conference, Bukovskis offers a conceptualisation of the recent wave of populism and trends in integration, […]

Reinventing EU Neighbourhood Policy as a Development Exercise: The Case of Post-Euromaidan Ukraine

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How did the European Union respond to the Ukraine crisis? Maryna Rabinovych considers the EU’s approach as a development exercise and suggests how its policy can be improved in the nearby future. The 2013 Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine, followed by Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the subsequent aggression in Eastern Ukraine posed a complex […]

UACES Graduate Forum Conference 2018 | KU Leuven

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UACES Graduate Forum Conference 2018 KU Leuven, belgium On 12-13 July 2018, forty postgraduate and early career researchers across a range of disciplines gathered at KU Leuven to present and receive feedback on their work on contemporary Europe and the European Union. The theme of this year’s conference was ‘An Actor on Multiple Stages: the […]

From 2005’s ‘Permissive Consensus’ to TTIP’s ‘Empowering Dissensus’: The EU as a Playing Field for Spanish Civil Society

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At a time when the EU is undergoing a number of crises, some seen as existential and provoking an upsurge in theorising on the disintegration of the EU, Luis Bouza and Alvaro Oleart offer intriguing reasons for suggesting there is room for more optimism. In a succinct summary of their larger article, recently published in JCER, […]

The Strategic Use of Government-Sponsored Referendums in Contemporary Europe

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The recent wave of government-sponsored referendums in Europe should be read in light of the upsurge of populist movements, argues Cecilia Sottilotta. Based on her recent article in JCER, she analyses the way in which the governments of Greece, Britain, Hungary and Italy strategically used referendums between 2015-2016, and debunks the political risk calculations.  Greece in […]

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