Bursting the Bubble

What we celebrate with the 60th anniversary of the EU?

31 March 2017 | by

This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the EU. What began with the signing of the Treaties of Rome and the European Community of Coal and Steel has developed in the biggest peace project the world has ever seen. In this year where for the first time the EU will not expand but will be smaller with the Brexit, we have to remind ourselves what the EU has brought to this continent. We have to remind ourselves that the promises of the single market are not the biggest unique selling proposition in its marketing but that we as European citizens have come together over the EU to make the European slogan true in its form. Indeed, its ‘unity in diversity’, where people, goods and services move over boundaries together with ideas that have made this Union stronger, more prosper and more stable than ever before. This is a good opportunity to look back at 60 years of European cooperation when all over Europe people come on the street to back or to be against the Union.

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The Brexit Task Force: Who’s Who and When to Pay Attention

29 March 2017 | by

The long-awaited Brexit negotiations can finally commence between the UK and EU. Although much has been written about the activities here in the UK as the DexEU team gets up and running – despite the staff shortage recently reported – only limited comment has been focused on the EU’s Brexit Task Force.

This week, both the President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, and the Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, have given open interviews on the upcoming negotiations. We outline the key players within the EU negotiation team and inform you of the most important dates to keep in your diary. Continue reading

EU Women’s empowerment policy: In money we trust?

8 March 2017 | by

Gender equality intruded EU jargon in the past years.  Inequality between men and women started to be perceived as a form of discrimination touching many aspects of our lives (work, social position, relationships, education, politics, media, etc.), so gender mainstreaming infiltrated in many EU policies. For instance, the “Strategic engagement for gender equality 2016-19” was developed to address equal access to employment and payment, participation in decision-making or gender-based violence. Thus, now it is a cross-sectoral policy, but the focus still remains on economic rights: to guarantee equal opportunities to have all of the necessary means for living.

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Can we fight fire with fire when it comes to populism?

6 March 2017 | by

Populism has undoubtedly enjoyed a good year in 2016. Emboldened by the successes of Vote Leave and Donald Trump, the trend could continue in 2017, with elections in the Netherlands and France the most immediate litmus tests.

Lots of ink, analogue and digital, has been spilled over how the opposite camp (call it progressives, liberals, cosmopolitans, rationalists, globalisation winners or any other label) should counter the populist message from a communication point of view. The Remain campaign in the UK, lukewarm at best, and the US election have shown that simply invoking facts, numbers and using rational arguments proved no match for unfounded claims and appeals to emotion. This is of course not to negate the fact that these votes reflected some real grievances.

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Brexit: Should Visegrád countries fight for free movement of workers?

3 March 2017 | by

Central and Eastern European states are faced with a demographic crisis that has a potential to seriously undermine the region’s geopolitical strength and economic prosperity. Aging population, underpinned by the mass emigration and brain drain are a nightmare in waiting and an economic time bomb in disguise. Surprising as it may be, the upcoming Brexit negotiations present themselves as a great opportunity to place the issue on the agenda.

A decline in population numbers in the Visegrád Countries (i.e. Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia) is a real problem. Currently about 63 million people live in these countries but by 2050 the number is forecast to decrease by 12 million down to 51 million, partly due to the ongoing mass emigration notably to other EU countries in the West.

According to the IMF estimates, some 20 million people from Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe (CESEE) have left their home country since the fall of the Iron Curtain – an exodus that has led to lower GDP growth and living standards making the post-communist struggle of societal and economic transition more arduous than it would otherwise have been. Many of the CESEE migrants have since settled in one of the Western EU countries such as the UK which, according to rough estimates, is now home to more than one million Poles, Hungarians, Slovaks and Czechs.

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