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Category Archives: Current Affairs

Winner Takes It All (Including the Troubles)

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Winning is undoubtedly a good thing and delivers nice feelings. Being a winner is a positive social role as well. But. There is always a ‘but’, particularly in politics. Including elections, the main championship in modern democracy. Here, being a too strong and clear winner can, after the euphoria from the lovely results is gone, […]

Following the German trend? Austria votes on Sunday.

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Elections in Austria? Again? Most non-Austrian react with bewilderment when they take note of the forthcoming Austrian elections on 15 October: elections, now? Have they not just voted? Indeed. On 4 December 2016 Austria had to re-run its presidential elections, with the quasi-Green candidate Alexander van der Bellen winning by a really small margin of […]

The Czechs are going to vote. And strengthen the populists further.

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In ten days (October 19-20) Czech voters will go to the polling stations. After four years, they will decide once more about the future of Czechia – as the republic in the middle of the Europe is (unsuccessfully) trying to rebrand its name. And once more, these elections are portrayed as “important” or “path-breaking”, not […]

Brexit, Scotland, and the Kingdom: a constitutional drama in four acts

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The European Union (EU) referendum result has led to the unfolding of a domestic constitutional drama in the United Kingdom, which on its current trajectory could lead to its break-up. This is the first of two blog posts which maps the initial trajectory by considering the roles of the key institutional actors in the drama so far. […]

Catalonia: Headlong into the unknown.

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Come October, something with high political voltage will happen in Catalonia and, therefore, in Spain. The main question is that nobody knows exactly what will be. The Catalan Government is strongly committed to holding a referendum on Catalan independence, while the Spanish central government is just as strongly committed to preventing anyone from taking part […]

How Brexit Reveals the Inherent Flaws of Devolution

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While the debate on Brexit remains heated, with all eyes fixed on the ongoing negotiation process and its consequences for both the EU and the UK, it is important to remind oneself that the United Kingdom does not only consist of the four ‘home nations’, but also of a variety of regions. In other words: […]

Change of mood on the Euro. Even at EUSA 2017!

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Early this month I had the fortune to attend the biannual conference of the European Studies Association (EUSA) in Miami. As always, and as it could not be otherwise, I attended as many panels on the European Monetary Union as I could. I also discussed the future of the Euro with a number of colleagues […]

Economics as a social science

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Has there been, since the outbreak of the economic and financial crisis in 2008, one single op-ed piece in major international newspapers that did not, in one way or another, refer to Keynes, Keynesian theory and recipes, or Keynesianism as a kind of handbook or roadmap for political leaders dealing with failing banks, sluggish growth, […]

Northern Ireland: A Casualty of Brexit?

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As if things were not already complicated enough in Northern Ireland, recent events have even added to the general feeling of instability and uncertainty. Both the assembly elections and the unfolding of Brexit – with increasing disagreements between London and Edinburgh – have not been particularly encouraging. The Assembly elections The 2017 Northern Ireland Assembly […]

What makes the Dutch Dutch? A constitutional perspective.

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Ever since the rise of the Christian Democrats (CDA) in the beginning of the 2000′s, the issue of ‘Normen en Waarden’ has been a topic in the elections. Jan Peter Balkenende was the first to frame the problems in Dutch society as the result of individualistic attitudes propagated by the preceding cabinets. As with a lot of […]

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