Welcome to the UCL European Institute, UCL's hub for research, collaboration and information on Europe and the European Union.
The 2014 European elections represent a deeply important moment for the EU, and for its member states. The introduction of a Spitzenkandidat
process has created a new set of political and
institutional dynamics. This piece considers the case of
the UK, including the consequences of Cameron's opposition to Juncker and the nominaton of Jonathan Hill as European Commissioner.
Dr Simon Usherwood
1 October 2014
Starts: Oct 1, 2014 12:00:00 AM
As Scotland heads to the polls, this piece discusses the extent to which emotions have arrived at the heart of contemporary politics – yet we still hesitate to admit it. Emotions can neither be banished nor ignored when we discuss what constitutes political communities, how political decisions should be made and political action springs into being. Yet to embrace the rise of emotional politics without acknowledging how intimately it is and should be entangled with reason equally risks undermining just political action.
Dr Uta Staiger
18 September 2014
Starts: Sep 18, 2014 12:00:00 AM
As the Scottish independence referendum draws closer the outcome is hard to predict. Both Westminster politicians and the wider public are asking what – in practical terms – would happen if the Scots were to vote Yes. Robert Hazell offers a 10-point overview of what the road to independence might look like.
Professor Robert Hazell
9 September 2014
Starts: Sep 9, 2014 12:00:00 AM
Bulgarian PM’s resignation & Public Disorder in Europe
Publication date: Feb 20, 2013 5:28:41 PM
Start: Feb 20, 2013 12:00:00 AM
Dr Eric Gordy
The main difference between public disorder in Bulgaria and everywhere else in Europe is that in Bulgaria the government responded. Although the immediate catalyst for protests was the state’s failure to control growth in the price of electricity, the core causes are shared in every European state: dissatisfaction resulting from the forced dismantling of social support services brought on by the European debt crisis, and a sense that policymakers are orienting their activity not to the needs of the public but to the service of large European banks.
These forces are accompanied by the perception that national governments have neither the capacity nor the will to address the consequences of a fiscal and social policy that are widely seen as imbalanced against the public interest. In Greece, Hungary and Italy the contribution of public dissatisfaction to the rise of antidemocratic movements of the extreme right is already apparent.
While conservative political leaders in the EU, particularly from Germany and the UK (and until last year, France) have largely been successful in pushing for a shift of priorities to debt service and “austerity,” the consequences of this should concern everybody in Europe. In the period after the end of the First World War, there was a similar euphoric and triumphalist announcement that liberal democracy could declare its inevitable victory across the continent.
Inattention to the responsibilities of states to their publics on the part of that generation of liberal democratic elites led to a rapid and general decay of constitutional systems and an accelerating tendency of governments to neglect of social responsibilities.
If we take one lesson from the failures of democratic order in the 1920s and 1930s, it should be that governments that fail to address social needs will be challenged by forces, some of them extremist ones, that promise to do so.