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As economic growth returns to the eurozone, like the first shafts of sunlight after a long Arctic winter, and thousands of demonstrators in Ukraine provide proof that the EU still has magnetism, it seems like a strange time to question the European project.
But at a recent Black Coffee Morning at ECFR's London office, that's exactly what we did. We asked the simple question, "Is the EU doomed?" Two speakers attempted to answer it - Jan Zielonka of Oxford University (and the co-editor of ECFR's "The new political geography of Europe"), and Gideon Rachman of the Financial Times. We recorded the event, and there are a number of ways for you to listen to what happened.
In the first of two short podcasts, Jan Zielonka lays out his thoughts on the question, arguing that there are three good reasons for believing the EU is indeed doomed:
In the second podcast, Gideon Rachman throws
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Indifferent mercantilism. This, according to the bitterest critics, is the paradigm that has dominated German foreign policy throughout the past legislature. The China of Europe, said the angriest, concerned only with selling weapons, purchasing cheap, plentiful energy, asking few questions about democracy and human rights, and turning its back on any responsibility connected with world peace and security.
We often criticise Angela Merkel’s European policy as short-sighted. Remember when the Spanish foreign minister, José García-Margallo, said that Merkel “always arrived 15 minutes late” at the various euro crises? Well, that was perhaps putting it politely when considering the foreign policy of Merkel and her foreign minister in the previous government, the liberal Guido Westerwelle. It isn’t that the train arrived late, it’s that it never left the station. Why this difference
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They say that politics is the art of the possible, but in view of the way that François Hollande is twisting and turning, it seems clear we have to turn that one inside out. On being elected, the French president promised to restore the dignity of a left-wing that had been bruised by the years of Sarkozy. Accordingly, on coming to power he hit out at the super-rich, increased social spending, boosted employment policies, appointed as industry minister a man opposed to globalization, legalized homosexual marriage and stepped up the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. While the French left savored this ideological feast, European social-democracy rubbed its hands at what seemed the beginning of an electoral comeback, after a long crossing of the desert. True, the rich, the corporations, the Catholic right and The Economist held their heads in dismay at such radicalism. As an
Is the European project fit to face the 21st century world? The renowned sociologist Anthony Giddens thinks that on balance it is, provided that it also devotes energy and attention to some of the great existential questions that it faces in a rapidly changing and highly competitive world. Professor Giddens was the speaker at a recent ECFR Black Coffee Morning, and set out what he saw as three vital issues that the EU must come to terms with if it is to retain its influence and place in the world today.
The first issue is finding a new source of jobs in a swiftly evolving economic system. Professor Giddens believes this will require a greater understanding of new technologies and a more forward thinking appreciation of education than Europe currently has.
Second on his list is an evaluation of the place of what is commonly called the European Social Model, although he was also
How seriously should we take François Hollande's spectacular coming-out as a bold reformer? Faced with abysmal popularity ratings and an embarrassingly public, possibly decisive crisis in his relationship with First Lady Valerie Trierweiler, France's President finally went on the offensive this week and seized on the opportunity offered by this first press conference in 2014 to announce major initiatives designed to revive France’s declining industry and revitalise the relationship with Germany.
On the rhetorical front, there is no doubt that Hollande has burnt his ships and, at least regarding his domestic policy, overcome for once his debilitating addiction to excessive political triangulation and messaging in several political directions at once. The President has locked himself for the remainder of his mandate into an ambitious reform plan under which the cost of employment to
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On the nature of the reform agenda.
The EU should support the new Ukrainian government.
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