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

EU Autumn of Discontent: What awaits the V4?

3 September 2015 | by

As summer slowly winds down, European leaders – both in Brussels and national capitals – are going to be exposed to challenges which they had temporarily shelved aside to be solved at a later date.

Some of these issues, notably the refugee crisis and the upcoming EU referendum in the UK, are of particular relevance to the region of Central Europe, and more specifically to the so called Visegrad Group (V4) countries – Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.

This article analyses how (if at all) the V4 can better coordinate their positions as a region at the EU level on the aforementioned issues. Continue reading

Could EU efforts to build capital markets hurt SMEs?

31 August 2015 | by

Few in leadership positions truly understand and advocate for the unique challenges that face SMEs. With large corporations having the resources to advocate their views and ensure they are not impacted by upcoming policies, SMEs do not have these resources, nor do they regularly have the time to be up to date on levels of governance above the local authorities that they are directly impacted by. Simply put, a build-up of SME resistance on policies that they are not alerted to by trade associations, or the like, is highly unlikely, as an SME will not notice until it has passed and has an irrevocable impact upon profitability. Continue reading

European Week of Sport: What Role Does Sport Play in Dealing with Youth Unemployment?

21 August 2015 | by

In order to promote a healthier lifestyle and to inspire Europeans to exercise on a regular basis, the European Commission has dedicated the second week of September to the European Week of Sport. Taking place at EU, national, regional and local level, the initiative aims at facilitating sporting events that can improve people’s habits and their health by moving more. have decided to #BeActive and support one of the grass-root sporting events here in Brussels: #Run4Employment, which will take place on 13 September. Less than a month away from the run we have caught up with the President of Project 668, the main organiser of Run for Employment, Lidija Globokar, to learn more about how sport can play its part in offering solutions to youth unemployment. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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