Month: December 2020

Municipalities as main players in EU asylum policy

At the end of September, the European Commission has presented a proposal for a new asylum and refugee policy. It is very detailed with a lot of legal regulations. But it does not address the crucial points for an effective solution that corresponds to the challenges on the ground, international law and, above all, human …

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The missing link between (academic) knowledge and the EU governance of migration

In March 2020, a number of academics in charge of different EU funded projects concerned with migration sent an open letter to the European Commission (EC). By addressing the President of the EC and the commissioners for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Home Affairs, and Crisis Management, about 50 prominent scholars lamented policymakers’ neglect …

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Defending fundamental rights and solidarity in the New Pact on Migration and Asylum

In September 2020, the European Commission finally presented its New Pact on Migration and Asylum. The proposals were supposed to inject much-needed momentum into the reform of the European asylum system, which the Council has delayed for too long. But again, we see that Member States maintain well-known positions to block even the slightest progress …

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Electoral hold-up in Romania

Romania’s Social Democratic Party (PSD) won the recent Romanian legislative elections, with around 30 percent of the votes and more than 34 percent of the seats in Parliament. Despite these results and the huge negative impact of the pandemic on Romania, we now have a political blockage. The conservative President, Klaus Iohannis, refuses to recognise …

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Biting through: tackling the power of big tech

Europe must bring the power of the large, often American, online platforms under democratic control. That is the promise made by EU commissioners Margrethe Vestager and Thierry Breton in their Digital Services and Markets Acts published on 15 December. Those proposals do not go as far as the announcement by the US competition authority to …

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The European Union on better tracks, but…

The last European Council was important to put the European Union on better tracks, culminating the long and dramatic effort which was undertaken by larger European and progressive forces to respond to the current unprecedented and multidimensional crisis. Nevertheless, daunting challenges are still ahead of us. The swift implementation of the agreed policy measures will …

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Romania’s parliamentary elections – the political landscape

The relative victory for the Romanian Social-Democratic (PSD) party in the parliamentary elections on 6 December 2020 ended a two years cycle of European, presidential, and local elections. The low turnout and the rise of a new far-right party concludes an electoral campaign dominated by an increasing number of Covid-19 cases and by a liberal …

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Romania keeps its right turn, but is there any hope for the Left?

The parliamentary elections in Romania on 6 December brought relief and even some hope for the future for Social Democrats. The party stabilised its level of support to 30 percent of the vote, virtually the same result as in the September local elections. However, centre-right parties secured around 40 percent of the vote and are …

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From bored to horrified: the Romanian elections of 2020

These were meant to be the most boring elections in Romania since 1990. Polls anticipated an easy victory for the centre-right coalition of the National Liberals (PDL/ EPP) and the liberal USR-PLUS (Renew Europe). Defying opinion polls however, the Social-Democrats (PSD) came first (29 percent), and the centre-right received substantially less than they had expected …

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Belarus’ painful path to transition

Belarus is in the deepest political crisis in its modern history. Public protests of hundreds of thousands, representing all social layers and groups, have continued for four months, and spread across the whole country. They initially erupted following the largely flawed presidential election on 9 August, in which the incumbent Alexander Lukashenko claimed a landslide …

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