October 19, 2016

Welcome to the blogosphere: "EU Law Enforcement" -- the blog of the Utrecht Centre for Regulation and Enforcement in Europe (RENFORCE)

We are delighted to pass on the news from our friends at the Utrecht Centre for Regulation and Enforcement in Europe (RENFORCE) that they have a new blog: EU Law Enforcement. Below is the announcement received from Mira Scholten (Utrecht), co-editor of the blog, along with an invitation to read the first post.

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I am happy to announce the creation of our new blog - http://eulawenforcement.com/ - and its first blog post ‘Mind the trend! Direct enforcement of EU law and policies is moving to ‘Brussels’’ (http://eulawenforcement.com/?p=30#more-30).

Our aim is to establish a point for gathering information on and discussion of the new trend of proliferation of EU enforcement authorities and implications that they bring along. Each month we will publish a blog post written by an academic expert in the field, practitioner, representative of a civil society organization, etc. If you are interested to contribute or if you have (know of) a relevant publication/activity in the field, please, let me know!

The number of EU entities acquiring direct enforcement powers has grown from one to eight recently. The first post of this blog puts on the map and raises awareness of an ongoing development in the EU law and governance – proliferation of EU enforcement authorities (EEAs) – which so far has been unnoticed. The aim is to launch a discussion of the aims, means and challenges of this development to understand and contribute to shaping of effective and secure law enforcement in the EU.

October 15, 2016

Antoine Vauchez on the Trap of the European "Grand Narrative"

Just a reminder to readers that the blog 'Do You Law?', from network members Stéphanie Hennette Vauchez (Paris-Nanterre) and Antoine Vauchez (CNRS), appears in the Paris daily Liberation. If you can read French, it's a great way to follow legal controversies in France and the EU more broadly. Below is a translation of an excerpt from recent post by Antoine entitled "Finding the 'European People' Behind the 'Founding Fathers'".

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The European Union is indeed haunted by the "grand narrative" of its inexorable development. At the risk of saturating the "European project" with myths and symbols, European institutions have continued to focus on building a "European pantheon" for its the founding fathers, with the original prophecy being the "Schuman declaration" of 9 May 1950, paving the way for the European Communities. Hackneyed to boredom, this teleological story has ended up trapping us. With our eyes fixated on the future development of the Union and its eventual emergence  as a European democracy, we have come to see the repeated "crises" of European integration as merely opportunities for "relaunch", thus concealing both the social and economic contradictions as well as the democratic impasses that they entail. By viewing the history of Europe as the unfolding of one project, we have paved the way for its rejection "en bloc" as a consequence of the Union's improbable DNA. Between a golden legend and a black legend, a mythical relationship was born within the European "project" that condemns us to a choice between the status quo of a Brussels-based political world that navigates without instruments and the total rejection of that world by "sovereigntists".

October 4, 2016

Call for Panels: "Sustainability and Transformation" Conference at the University of Glasgow (July 12-14, 2017)

Friend of the network Lillian Klein (Council for European Studies at Columbia University) has written to share a call for panels for the 24th International Conference of Europeanists.  The conference is entitled "Sustainability and Transformation" and will be held at the University of Glasgow on July 12-14, 2017.

An extract from the organizers' blurb follows.  The call for proposals is available here and further information on the conference may be found here.  

Note that the deadline for proposals is today: October 4, 2016.

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Sustainability and Transformation
University of Glasgow, UK (July 12-14, 2017)
Organized by the Council for European Studies

Europe is currently sinking into its deepest morass since the 1960s. Questions about the sustainability of European political economies, social solidarity, party systems, values, and the project of European integration abound. With the British voting to leave the European Union, and powerful political forces in other member states pressing for similar moves, the future of the EU is on the line. Paraphrasing the famous quote from Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s great novel The Leopard, “for things to remain the same, everything must change.” Many argue: if Europe is to reinvigorate its economy, society, politics, and culture, transformations are necessary.

"Towards a New EU": Graduate Student Conference at the University of Pittsburgh (March 17-18, 2017)

Network member Gráinne de Búrca (NYU) has drawn our attention to a graduate student conference organized by the European Union Studies Association on March 17-18, 2017, at the University of Pittsburgh, which may be of interest to network members with graduate students working on European issues.  The conference is entitled "Towards a New EU," and welcomes "submissions from all disciplines and topics including, but not limited to, EU politics, governance, economics, law, history, security studies, institutions and behavior studies, and cultural studies, as well as enlargement, immigration, development, trade, and foreign policy."  

The organizers' blurb follows; full information and a link to upload submissions can be found here.  

Note that the deadline for paper submissions is November 15, 2016.

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12th Annual Graduate Student Conference on the European Union: Towards a New EU

Since its inception, the European Union has been conceived of as a new kind of project – a supranational experiment involving economic and fiscal union, political union, and even cultural policy.  After decades of growth and expansion, the EU was hit by several years of recession and slow recovery and now faces its first significant episode of contraction with the UK’s exit. What is the future for the European Project? With both an on-going migration crisis and the great unknown of Brexit looming, what challenges does Europe face as an actor in global politics?  Will other member states follow suit in rejecting the European project (or aspects thereof)?  The Organizing Committee of the Twelfth Annual Graduate Student Conference on the European Union welcomes submissions from all disciplines and topics including, but not limited to, EU politics, governance, economics, law, history, security studies, institutions and behavior studies, and cultural studies, as well as enlargement, immigration, development, trade, and foreign policy.  Papers addressing the theme of the conference will receive special consideration.

September 15, 2016

Book Announcement: Jan-Werner Müller, What Is Populism? (Penn 2016)

Network member Jan-Werner Müller (Princeton) announces a new book from University of Pennsylvania Press, entitled "What Is Populism?"  In an analysis described by Dani Rodrik as "masterful," the new volume sets out to untangle the concept of populism, to map its relationship to pluralism and authoritarianism, and to set out strategies for response to populist movements.  The publisher's blurb follows; the book can be ordered here.

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Donald Trump, Silvio Berlusconi, Marine Le Pen, Hugo Chávez—populists are on the rise across the globe. But what exactly is populism? Should everyone who criticizes Wall Street or Washington be called a populist? What precisely is the difference between right-wing and left-wing populism? Does populism bring government closer to the people or is it a threat to democracy? Who are "the people" anyway and who can speak in their name? These questions have never been more pressing.

In this groundbreaking volume, Jan-Werner Müller argues that at populism's core is a rejection of pluralism. Populists will always claim that they and they alone represent the people and their true interests. Müller also shows that, contrary to conventional wisdom, populists can govern on the basis of their claim to exclusive moral representation of the people: if populists have enough power, they will end up creating an authoritarian state that excludes all those not considered part of the proper "people." The book proposes a number of concrete strategies for how liberal democrats should best deal with populists and, in particular, how to counter their claims to speak exclusively for "the silent majority" or "the real people."

Analytical, accessible, and provocative, What Is Populism? is grounded in history and draws on examples from Latin America, Europe, and the United States to define the characteristics of populism and the deeper causes of its electoral successes in our time.

Kelemen and Blauberger on Democratic Backsliding

In a new article, out now with the Journal of European Public Policy, network member Dan Kelemen (Rutgers) and his co-author Michael Blauberger (Salzberg) examine the ways in which the European Union can serve as a bulwark against what the authors call "democratic backsliding."  Entitled "Introducing the debate: European Union safeguards against member states’ democratic backsliding," the piece explores the mechanisms available to the Union, their practical feasibility, and their implications.

The abstract follows; the article can be found here.

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Today, the European Union (EU) is confronting a new democratic deficit at the national level. A number of EU member states have experienced an erosion of democracy and the rule of law in recent years, most severely in Hungary and Poland. Drawing on different strands of political science research, the contributions to this section debate the strengths and weaknesses of the various safeguards and tactics the EU has deployed or might deploy to resist democratic backsliding by member governments. This brief introduction raises the main questions of the debate: how politically feasible is the application of existing and proposed EU safeguards, and what are the likely consequences, intended as well as unintended, of various judicial and political approaches?

September 4, 2016

Jan-Werner Müller in The Guardian on Populism

Network member Jan-Werner Müller (Princeton) has a new piece out in The Guardian.  In the article, entitled "Trump, Erdoğan, Farage: The attractions of populism for politicians, the dangers for democracy," Jan-Werner offers a thoughtful and incisive examination of the various forms of populism and the complex relationships between populism, democracy, and identity.  

The first paragraph follows; the full piece may be found here.

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After Brexit, and with a Trump victory in November still a possibility, liberals are in a panic about populism. They have struggled to comprehend what a figure like Trump is about ideologically – hence the enormous amount of ink spilt over the question of whether he is or isn’t a fascist – and the rather hapless attempt to coin the term “Trumpism” (Trump, you see, is really a representative of Trumpism). Alternatively, liberals have focused on actual Brexit and Trump supporters and jumped to conclusions about what they think and, especially, feel. As a result, the content of what, after all, is an “-ism” – that is to say, a political belief system – has become conflated with the supposed psychological states of its supporters, namely feelings of resentment and relative deprivation.

The piece continues here.

August 31, 2016

Dan Kelemen on "Poland's Constitutional Crisis: How the Law and Justice Party is Threatening Democracy"

Network member R. Daniel Kelemen (Rutgers) has alerted to his new piece in Foreign Affairs, entitled "Poland's Constitutional Crisis: How the Law and Justice Party is Threatening Democracy," which may be of interest to readers. The first paragraph is below and the remainder can be read here.

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After simmering for nine months, the tension between Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party and the country’s highest court, the Constitutional Tribunal, is coming to a boil. The PiS government is attempting an unconstitutional takeover of the tribunal—ignoring its rulings, trying to pack it with new judges, and, most recently, threatening the head judge with prosecution. At stake are the survival of constitutional democracy and the rule of law in Poland. [continue reading here]

August 28, 2016

Gareth Davies on "Could It All Have Been Avoided? Brexit and Treaty-Permitted Restrictions on Movement of Workers"

Network member Gareth Davies (VU Amsterdam) has alerted us to a new blog post entitled "Could It All Have Been Avoided? Brexit and Treaty-Permitted Restrictions on Movement of Workers," which recently appeared on the European Law Blog. The opening paragraphs are below and the remainder can be read here.

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Of course, it wasn’t all about immigration. But that claimed flood of Eastern Europeans was certainly at the heart of the leave campaign, and, unusually for an immigration debate, it was their right to work in the UK that was the political issue: there were too many of them, they were pushing down wages, they were keeping the low-skilled native out of work, they were costing the government a fortune in in-work benefits, they were making towns and villages unrecognisable and alienating the more established inhabitants.

Whether or not they were true, a lot of these claims seemed to be shared by both sides. Cameron didn’t so much deny them, as offer counter-claims (but they do add to the economy) and promises of change (if you vote remain, we’ll have a new deal and be able to do something about it!).

So the question is this: if the government thought that free movement of workers was causing such terrible problems, why didn’t it impose restrictions years ago when the post-Enlargement flood was at its high point and the issue first became prominent? [continue reading here]

August 25, 2016

Dominik Steiger on Access to Social Benefits in the European Union

In this post, network member Dominik Steiger (Berlin) explores one of the most complex and controversial areas of EU law: access to social benefits.  Focusing on the apparent retreat from the aggressive position staked out by the Court in the Grzelczyk case, Steiger identifies and explores an apparent conflict between national solidarity and European identity.

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Cutting Back on Equal Access to Social Benefits for EU Foreigners: National Solidarity vs. European Identity

European solidarity and national identity alike have been put to the test during recent years, especially during the banking and state debt crisis. In these days, Europe was on the verge of breaking apart. Angela Merkel appeared to complain about “lazy Greeks” and Greeks marched in the streets showing pictures of her as a Nazi. It took many legal documents and even more late-night sessions in Brussels, but Europe managed to handle the crisis. It rescued the banking system and the states alike – and, at least for the time being, European solidarity prevailed, even if states had to give up on some of the principles that they like to think to form part of their national identity.