MAIN FOCUS: Berlusconi launches election campaign | 12/12/2012

from euro|topics
Italy’s ex prime minister Silvio Berlusconi on Tuesday attacked the government of his successor Mario Monti and accused it of being “German-centric”. Some commentators warn of the rise of a new anti-European populism in Italy. Others believe that despite his strong words Berlusconi has no chance of winning the early elections.

 

MAIN FOCUS: EU postpones reforms until 2013 | 14/12/2012

from euro|topics
The EU heads of state and government postponed reforms for closer cooperation on economic policy on Friday at their summit meeting in Brussels. EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy and Commission President José Manuel Barroso now have until June 2013 to present a concrete roadmap on the issue. Nevertheless the agreement on bank supervision offers a ray of hope at the end of the crisis year, commentators write, at the same time pushing for further reforms.

European foreign policy: resilience versus time

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Cristina Manzano
With most European efforts focusing on salvaging the economy and an inaudible External Action Service, is there a future for European foreign policy?

Bulgarian national identity in an era of European integration

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Philip Dandolov
Almost six years after its accession to the European Union, Bulgaria is confronted with the ghosts of a nationalist past. Barriers to Europeanism, however, are weaker than ever.

MAIN FOCUS: EU finance ministers agree on bank supervision | 13/12/2012

from euro|topics
On Thursday morning the EU finance ministers agreed on a deal for European banking supervision. The compromise foresees the ECB taking over the supervision of systemically important banks, but in emergency situations it could also take action regarding all other institutions. Commentators see this as a necessary step towards a banking union but criticise the fact that it took so long to reach an agreement.

 

The eurozone crisis challenge to democracy: which way forward?

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Vivien A. Schmidt
Does the euro crisis ring the death knell for European citizens’ influence in the EU decision-making process?
During the eurozone crisis, decision-making has become more and more remote from the citizens, as EU member-state leaders in the Council have taken most of the initiatives. This has altered the EU?s ?democratic? settlement (which expects a relative balance among major EU institutional actors), by sidelining the European Parliament (EP) and turning the EU Commission into little more than a secretariat tasked with technocratic oversight of automatic rules coming from more and more stringent pacts for fiscal consolidation. Moreover, national parliaments have had little role other than to rubber stamp intergovernmental treaties at the risk, if they failed to do so, either of sanctions from the markets or, for countries under IMF or eurozone loan bailout strictures, a loss of access to further financing.

Brits are best at lobbying the EU… to what end?

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Rachel Tansey
The British lobby has one of the loudest voices in Brussels, doing untold damage to European law and democracy. Who are these shadowy lobbyists, what are they pushing for and who benefits?

 

Italy: Monti?s moment

from FT.com – Analysis
The technocratic prime minister has never run for elected office in his life, but speculation is mounting that he might. Does he have the skills to win? By Guy Dinmore

FT Person of the Year: Mario Draghi

from FT.com – Analysis
With two short, unscripted sentences, the ECB president has turned the tide in the three-year-old eurozone crisis

 

Bulgarian Activist on Hunger Strike Against State Monopoly

from Global Voices Online by Ruslan Trad

Slovenia’s New President Elected Amidst Anti-Corruption Protests

from Global Voices Online by Veronica Khokhlova
The second round of the 2012 presidential election in Slovenia, in which the former Slovenian PM Borut Pahor defeated the incumbent president Danilo Türk, took place on Dec. 2, amidst ongoing mass protests.

The EU’s Nobel Peace Prize

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Dan Smith
On Monday 10th December 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. For better or worse, the prize focuses attention on an important question: does Europe need peacebuilding?

MAIN FOCUS: Nobel Prize awarded to the EU | 11/12/2012

from euro|topics
The three presidents of the EU institutions collected the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Monday, acting on behalf of 500 million Europeans. Some commentators write that the EU deserves the prize just for peace in Europe alone. Others lament that in the current crisis the EU has lost sight of the ideals of its founding fathers.

Berlusconi attacks Monti’s record

from BBC News | Europe | World Edition
Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi opens Italy’s election battle by saying the country is now worse off under his technocratic successor, Mario Monti.

Berlusconi’s last stand

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Geoff Andrews
Italy’s great survivor wants to become prime minister for the fourth time. The decision opens an intense electoral contest over the country’s direction, says Geoff Andrews.

MAIN FOCUS: Berlusconi wants to succeed Monti as PM | 10/12/2012

from euro|topics
Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti announced his resignation on the weekend after his government lost the backing of the party of his predecessor Silvio Berlusconi. Berlusconi for his part has declared that he will seek office again. Some commentators are appalled and voice hopes that Monti will also join the race. Others believe that Berlusconi’s return could be good for the country in its current political paralysis.

Silvio is back, Mario is out: What lies ahead for Italy?

from Open Europe blog by Open Europe blog team

More from that little Nordic rail trip? Liberalisation doesn?t work

from Jon Worth by Jon
The theory of liberalisation of European railways is all very well. At one level the cross border service between København and Malmo, the Øresundstog, is a good example of it ? a rail service running every 10 minutes across the bridge between Denmark and Sweden, and run by neither Swedish incumbent operator SJ nor DSB.

 

The Greek bond buyback: Greek banks are putting up a fight (as we predicted)

from Open Europe blog by Open Europe blog team
As we predicted two weeks ago the Greek bond buyback is turning out to be much trickier than almost everyone else expected, and for exactly the reason we suggested ? the Greek banks.

Three months is a long time in Dutch politics

by Open Europe blog team

Since the elections in September, international attention on the political situation in the Netherlands has faded.

 

Lessons from the periphery

from open Democracy News Analysis – by David KrivanekDemocratising the EU is not about Europhilia or Euroscepticism. In modern society, power and democratic accountability go hand in hand. European leaders should draw inspiration from the Union’s periphery!

Monti’s move and the Italian game of politics

from open Democracy News Analysis – by James Walston
Two big announcements have shaken Italian politics up last week: with Monti’s resignation and Berlusconi’s comeback, a year of positioning on the Italian chessboard is rapidly moving towards a conclusion

New FT/Harris poll: Italians receptive to Berlusconi?

from Brussels Blog by Peter Spiegel

 

Anti-Fascism Unites Hungary

from Global Voices Online by M L
On Sunday, Dec. 2, thousands of Hungarians stood united against anti-Semitism at a protest rally in Budapest. Politicians from the ruling and opposition parties were there, too, speaking up against the controversial remarks by MP Márton Gyöngyösi, a member of the far-right party Jobbik, which has nearly 17 percent of the seats in the Hungarian Parliament. Gyöngyösi, on Nov.26, called ?for Jews to be registered on lists as threats to national security.?

 

Spain: Catalan Elections – ?We are all Garcia?

by Daniel Bogre Udell
This Sunday, November 25, 2012 voters in Catalonia head to the polls against the backdrop of a lagging economy and fierce debate about secession from Spain. The electoral campaign, which has honed in on the question of independence, began last week with a polemic video posted on the Youtube channel of the unionistCatalan People’s Party [es] (Partit Popular de Catalunya or PPC).

The moral sadism of the Dutch State

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Markha Valenta
Desperate to eject some refugees it does not want, the Netherlands is refining the art of radical deprivation. No single step, no single decision, no single action in this process is horrible. Yet the cumulative effect is grotesque.

Christmas trees, Islam and right wing populism: a Danish Christmas story

from open Democracy News Analysis – by Susi Meret
?Christmas takes ages and costs a lot of money?? goes a popular Danish Christmas carol. This year, Christmas started early and revitalized old debates about failed integration, cultural incompatibility and Islamization.

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