Eurosphere agenda: “Spain’s new leftist party takes lead in poll… “Controversial election in eastern Ukraine…”EU migration issues…

Pro-Russian separatist leaders won the controversial election in eastern Ukraine on Sunday. The Ukrainian leadership and the Western states have rejected the vote as unlawful. Commentators stress that Kiev has lost all influence in the east of the country and see the election as the next step towards a dictatorship loyal to Moscow.


Getting Investment in Europe Right

The European Commission’s new president, Jean-Claude Juncker, has put public investment back on the agenda with his idea of a three-year €300 billion capital spending plan. But, behind the superficial consensus that more investment would help to strengthen a worryingly feeble European economy, many questions remain unanswered.


Tobacco firms to challenge EU rules

Tobacco firms win the right to challenge new European Union rules on cigarette packaging, with the Court of Justice asked to review the issue.

As we already noted here, today we published a new pamphlet by Professor Damian Chalmers of the LSE and our Research Director Stephen Booth.

Football and its role in unifying the European public space

The Iron Curtain gave in when confronted with soccer, and that was only the beginning. Interview with Pascal Boniface.

Ten-month old Podemos has become Spain’s main political force one year before national elections, an opinion poll showed on Sunday (2 November), shaking up a two-party system that has dominated since the country’s return to democracy in the 1970s.

Europe struggles with digital education

European higher education remains too conservative to adapt to technological innovations, said a Commission High Level Group on the Modernisation of Higher Education in its report published last week (22 October).


Barroso’s farewell speech

In his parting speech, Barroso argued that the EU is, ‘now better prepared than we were before to face a crisis, if a crisis like the ones we have seen before should come in the future’.

In late October Barroso presented his farewell speech in front of the European Parliament where he highlighted the fact that the European Commission has strengthened its powers during his two terms as president. A more powerful Commission, according to him, has been paramount in making Europe more secure and prosperous, whilst also allowing it to survive and adapt to the financial crisis.

As Darth Vader from the Internet Party of Ukraine voted on Sunday, voters used crowdmaps and hashtags to report on election fraud. Images mixed by Tetyana Lokot.As Darth Vader from the Internet Party of Ukraine voted on Sunday, voters used crowdmaps and hashtags to report on election fraud. Images mixed by Tetyana Lokot.

Merkel v Cameron on EU migrants

More than 200 organisations from 25 EU member states are under virtual cyber-attack today  (30 October), as part of the continent’s largest and most complex ever cyber security exercise.



It has been coming down the road for some time but what we once called the “Lisbon Treaty’s ticking time bomb” has finally gone off. The eurozone will now have a ‘Qualified Majority’ in the EU Council, meaning that any UK attempts at forming last minute blocking minorities will now be that bit harder.

An industry has grown up around migratory routes in which care and control functions alternately clash and merge with each other. Understanding the humanitarian-policing nexus at play is key to move beyond the current impasse.

16 thoughts on a dramatic Scottish poll

A poll today in Scotland gives the SNP 54 MPs to Scottish Labour’s 4. Here are 16 immediate thoughts.

Should Serbia vs Albania have gone ahead in the first place?

Were UEFA being dangerously naive when they allowed Serbia and Albania to be drawn into the same qualifying group?

There are some important things that people thinking about moving to Britain need to know before they come here…

Scottish Labour: the never-ending soap opera that matters

The crisis in Scottish Labour has been long in the making, and needs to address its root.

The Swedish government announced its recognition of Palestine as an independent state on Thursday. Some commentators criticise the step on the grounds that the Palestinian organisations Fatah and Hamas don’t have their territory under control. Others see the move as providing a basis for the Palestinians to negotiate with Israel on an equal footing.

David Cameron and George Osborne might be forgiven for thinking that when it comes the EU budget, it never rains, it pours. Fresh on the heels of the Commission’s explosive demand for an extra £1.7bn for this year’s EU budget, the ONS’ annual Pink Book published this morning has revealed that the UK’s contribution last year stood at a whopping £11.27bn – much higher than the £8.6bn the Treasury had forecast (see page 14 of this HMT document) and a 32% increase on 2012.

The Spanish state adviser yesterday (30 October) backed a veto of a watered-down Catalan vote on independence planned for 9 November, making it likely the government will try and have the “consultation of citizens” blocked by the courts.


Hungary scraps controversial web tax

BBC News | Europe |

Hungary shelves a proposed tax on internet data traffic after tens of thousands of Hungarians marched against it.


Illegal Fishing and Europe: Control Begins At HomeIdeas on EuropeOceana has reported on the concerning state of swordfish fisheries in the Mediterranean, highlighting in particular the indiscriminate targeting and trading of this fish by EU (particularly Italian) vessels.According to the NGO, EU inspectors recorded a series of serious incidents in Italy during March 2013. These included the widespread trading of undersize swordfish, unusually large volumes of landings, pervasive irregularities in vessel and catch documentation, disinterest by local authorities and disregard for regional conservation measures. 

15 quick thoughts on the resignation of Johann Lamont as Scottish Labour leaderopen Democracy News Analysis – by Adam RamsayScottish Labour leader Johann Lamont has resigned, slamming UK Labour for being too controlling. Here are my 15 immediate thoughts. 

Twenty-four European banks fail testBBC News | Europe | World EditionTwenty-four European banks fail stress tests of their finances, with 14 still needing to raise more capital, the European Banking Authority says.

On this blog, we have been tracking Podemos, Spain’s six-month-old anti-establishment party, since its very first success in the European Parliament elections in May – when the party came from nowhere to secure five MEPs (see here and here).

Thirteen out of 130 European banks have failed the European Central Bank’sstress test. But in general the banks are healthier than many experts believed, ECB Vice-President Vítor Constâncio said on Sunday as the results were presented. That is hardly surprising bearing in mind the billions they have received in bailouts, some commentators criticise. Others call on the banks to stimulate the economy with more loans

The Resistible Return of Nicolas Sarkozy

While only 20% of the French electorate view President François Hollande favorably, and nearly two-thirds do not wish to see Nicolas Sarkozy return, more than two-thirds hope that former Prime Minister Alain Juppé will. That makes the 69-year-old Juppé the most popular political figure in France


Optimizing the Eurozone

The eurozone is facing a bleak economic outlook, with growth remaining stagnant and the threat of deflation looming large. Its prospects will not improve unless and until it becomes the “optimal currency area” that its creators believed it to be.

This report explores the division of labour in the home and finds that domestic tasks are shared unequally between men and women.

Art of change in post-war Kosovo

A new report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) shows that 2.6 million children have sunk below the poverty line in the world’s most affluent countries since the crisis fist broke in 2008, bringing the total number of children in the developed world living in poverty to an estimated 76.5 million.

Britain does not want to participate in future EU refugee rescue operations on the Mediterranean. Such missions would only attract more migrants, Foreign Office minister Joyce Anelay said on Tuesday. London is exploiting the plight of refugees to further its own campaign goals, some commentators criticise. Others feel that initiatives for more stability in the countries of origin make more sense than seaborne rescue operations.

How was the new Belgian government formed? And how long will it survive for?

The Barroso legacy: An academic look back

Last week, the European Commission published its own legacy report in the form of a 600+ pages document titled “European Commission 2004 – 2014. A testimony by the president with selected documents“, opening the room for the first analyses of the legacy of 10 years with José Manuel Durão Barroso leading the European Commission.

I have started to read the foreword of the testimony, which alone is 40 pages long, and at first sight it remains quite general, descriptive, with just some empirical “meat” for what was going on behind the scenes. The rest is a collection of Barroso speeches and of official Communications published by the Commission during his two mandates.

After the parliamentary elections in Ukraine the Petro Poroshenko Bloc and the People’s Front under Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk began coalition talks on Monday. Some commentators welcome the majority vote for moderate pro-European forces. Others fear that Ukrainians are more interested in confrontation with Russia under Yatsenyuk than in President Petro Poroshenko’s peace initiative

In a country whose national identity is so closely connected to its cuisine, France’s hard right has seized on a growing appetite for kebabs as proof of cultural “Islamization”

TTIP and TPP: harnessing the anger of the people

In parallel to the EU-US trade deal currently under way, the US is negotiating a similar agreement with 11 countries of the Asia Pacific: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Walden Bello, leading critic of neoliberal and corporate globalisation, identifies the global strategy underpinning the two agreements. Interview.

Pro-Europe parties secured a big win in an election in Ukraine, a partial vote count showed, with President Petro Poroshenko hailing people’s support for his plan to pursue democratic reforms sought by the West


One day after the Swedish government officially recognised the state of Palestine, members of the Parliament, Riksdagen, disagreed on whether this decision was right or “immature”.

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