Bursting the Bubble

After Paris, Europe Finds Itself At a Crossroad

20 November 2015 | by

While the fog of terrorist war clears, facts and a narrative will emerge in the days ahead, shedding light on how the terrorists planned and executed their crimes. The wider policy implications of the Paris attacks for Europe as a whole will take considerably more time to become visible. The short-term lends itself as easier to contextualize, while for the longer-term, strategic policy implications are often too far over the horizon to be able to discern them. However, two opposing policy challenges can already be identified that can affect European policy to the core, both within the individual member states, as well as on the level of the Union. One of these is the paramount security challenge that Europe urgently needs to tackle if it wants to retain a sense of civic normality. The other challenge is of a political nature: the inevitable ‘turn to the right’ of national political discourse, with its potentially detrimental effects on a Europe struggling from crisis to crisis. Continue reading

Youth policy in the EU: a critical overlook

18 November 2015 | by

It is commonly stated that young people have been one of the most affected groups by the recent economic crisis. Youth unemployment is systematically higher than the total rate within the EU, the risk of poverty and social exclusion has shifted from the elderly to the young, and the transition from childhood to adulthood is becoming harder with new challenges for governments constantly arising – but we are still waiting for solutions to arrive. What is currently being done in the field of youth policies and is it enough? This article will focus on the current framework of policies within the EU, trying to provide a critical approach of the current measures and their outcomes. Continue reading

Refugee crisis in Europe: an unbiased explanation

9 October 2015 | by

Despite the new measures of a military operation to catch migrant traffickers, involving European warships patrolling international waters in the Mediterranean, and increased dialogue with the Turkish government to support refugee resettlement and stabilise border security which has faced an influx of 2.2 million refugees over recent months. Migration and asylum policy and is still leading the agenda throughout the European Union.

In the first five months of 2015, 153 000 migrants have been detected across the external borders of the EU, an increase of 149% compared to the same period last year (2014). Among others, this has affected member states ability to conform and abide to the Schengen area, maintain homeland and international security and defence policies, as well as uphold the fundamental values of the Union themselves. Continue reading

UK soft power still holds sway as two ECJ decisions go their way

7 October 2015 | by

On 6 October 2015, as the Conservative Party Conference was in full swing in Manchester, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) gave a significant boost to the Conservative government through two rulings validating current UK actions under question by the EU. Both cases had contributed to the toxic #Brexit debate, which is currently ongoing in the run up to the UK referendum on whether to continue as a member of the EU – due to occur by the end of 2017.

The ECJ announcement (Thierry Delvigne v Commune de Lesparre-Médoc and Préfet de la Gironde) on a French case, concluded that member states can unilaterally maintain bans on citizens participating in European elections as long as this ban is in proportion to the crime committed. The UK currently has a blanket ban on prisoners voting in any elections, domestic or European, and has rebuffed repeated pressure to alter this law in defiance of ECJ judges.

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EuropeanPublicAffairs.eu is recruiting

30 September 2015 | by

As many of our readers know, EuropeanPublicAffairs.eu (EPA) is a website for specialised political commentary in the area of European politics, policy, and strategically related developments with over 3700 followers on twitter, 1900 likes on Facebook, and an average of 500 website hits per article. Since its inception in 2013 when created by fellow master students at Maastricht University – in one of the pre-eminent courses in EU affairs – it has been shortlisted, and won, numerous awards in EU affairs, including the Digital / Social Media Champion 2014 at the European Public Affairs awards in Brussels.

After over two years of success, we are looking to expand our team of voluntary contributors, individuals who work in or share an avid interest in EU affairs and want to have their voice heard. Continue reading