This is a blog written by alumni of the EPA MA programme in Maastricht.
Bursting the Bubble

Grexit for dummies: Wildfire and Pyromaniacs

1 July 2015 | by

The wildfire

The Greek folk, after the ECB’s refusal to pump up more money into the Greek economy until the payment of the debt issue is addressed, ran to the ATMs attempting to ‘save’ their savings. Previously the Greek President, Alexis Tsipras, was forced to decree a limitation on the outflow of capital to prevent either a financial crisis or that the Greeks would have spend all their money on more matches and gasoline.

Only the possibility of Greece being out of the euro zone is provoking the chaos across the EU. With the British referendum on the horizon, Juncker himself said recently that, “If the Euro fails, the Anglo-Saxon world would do everything in the hand to break, at a regular pace, and department by department, the euro zone”. In addition, center-right governments, like the Spanish one, rub their hand in a lusty gesture due to the political benefit that a Grexit fiasco could bring in their electoral race, with new parties such as Podemos.

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Riga summit and the uncertain future of the Eastern Partnership (EaP)

8 June 2015 | by

The 4th Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit, which took place on 21 and 22 May in Riga, Latvia, did not significantly contribute to any major political decision which was on the agenda. The European Commission and Ukraine signed a memorandum of understanding and a loan agreement for 1.8 billion Euros in the third EU Macro-Financial Assistance (MFA) programme. But neither Georgia, nor Ukraine, have been granted visa free-regimes with the EU – one of their key priorities. The expectation within the two EaP governments had been high, especially after the EU liberalised travel with another EaP country, Moldova, in April 2014. Instead, the final declaration adopted by the heads of the governments stated that the EU welcomed the progress made by the countries in their implementation of the Visa Liberalization Action Plans (VLAPs). The summit reconfirmed the importance of the EaP policy, showed the commitment to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the partner countries, stressed the importance of implementation of the Association Agreements (AAs) and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements (DCFTAs), and welcomed steps taken to further advance bilateral relations with the eastern states. Clearly, compared to the previous EaP summit in Vilnius, 2013, which marked a decisive moment in the relations between the EU and the EaP countries, Riga had much less to offer. Continue reading

Local and Regional Elections in Spain 2015: Now, closer than ever to Europe.

29 May 2015 | by

After the last local and regional elections it seems obvious that a new political era is starting in Spain. After almost 30 years since its annexation to the EU, Spain is beginning to achieve real progress towards a genuine integration within the European community and provide itself with the tools to compete on an equal footing. Once and (hopefully) for all, the country is moving away from the totalitarian-democratic model in which it was plunged in recent years, and approaches a multi-party, consensual modern democracy, where dialogue – instead of deaf despotic monologues, finds its place at the centre of Spanish political life. Continue reading

What next for the UK: Why the EU referendum concerns us all

13 May 2015 | by

The general election results in the UK took many pundits, politicians as well as the general public, by surprise. The pre-election speculations on potential coalitions and political deals came to no avail, as the Conservatives mastered a tight majority in the House of Commons and will for the next five years govern on their own.

With the promise of the EU referendum by the end of 2017, whilst the Conservatives are pushing to have it in 2016, and with the UK now dangerously balancing on the verge of becoming obsolete in the global context, the issue of Europe will now be even more pertinent than before.
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65th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration: Retirement time!

11 May 2015 | by

Five days after Star Wars celebrated their World Day – May the Fourth be with you – the “fandom” of the European Union celebrated the 65th anniversary of one of its greatest symbols: The sexagenarian Schuman declaration. On May 9, 1950, the French foreign minister Robert Schuman (alongside Jean Monnet) proposed a plan to pool the production of steel and coal in France and Germany under the control of a common high authority in order to end the hostilities that had previously ravaged Europe. This was the ancestor of what we know nowadays as the European Commission. Officially, it meant a first step in the path towards peace, unity and prosperity in Europe. Unofficially it was a pretext for a more unified and federal Europe. There was no mention of  democracy. Today, we try to discern if the ECSC was solely for the pooling of these materials, or perhaps via the memory and horrors of World War II, just a trade orientated peace accord following centuries of war. Continue reading