Month: March 2021

Political parties in the time of Covid

The Covid pandemic has exacerbated political parties’ separation from society and their ensuing loss of representativeness. Depending on whether they are in government or opposition, they have been transformed into representatives of the government in society or behind-the-scenes fomenters of societal discontent. Differences across parties thus depend more on their position with respect to government …

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Time for an EU Child guarantee: effective, inclusive and free

Today, the European Commission has presented a proposal to the EU council for a Child Guarantee Council Recommendation. It is a timely step for the European Commission to prioritise childcare and children’s rights and to invite member states to step up their plans to fight inequalities already during the early years of childhood. Seen the …

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Dutch elections 2021: no recovery of Social Democracy!

All left-wing parties experience a dramatic loss of votes in the recent elections in the Netherlands. The Labour Party did not lose votes but remain at their all-time low. Short-term reasons explain in part the poor performance. But long-term factors explain why Social Democracy will remain in dire straits. In 2012, when the country was …

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Last call for the Dutch Left?

Last week’s elections in the Netherlands show a disastrous result for the three traditional left-wing parties. But defining themselves by emphasising their differences, steadily diminishes their common impact. There is a debate on uniting these three parties into one. A major intervention is certainly required, but a merger should not be the only solution. This …

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The Dutch 2021 elections: education as the new divide?

On March 17, the Dutch went to the polls in the middle of the Covid pandemic and a faltering roll-out of the vaccination programme. In addition, the government had resigned shortly before the elections over a scandal of racial profiling of families claiming child support. Neither the scandal nor the botched vaccination scheme seemed to …

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The EU needs a cool-headed Eastern Policy

Despite what looks like increasing tensions between the European Union and Russia, both blocs will stay neighbours for the foreseeable future. The EU should face up to this reality, work on a common policy, based on interests and norms, and set the agenda. In times of increasing global challenges, both Moscow and Brussels must understand …

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“Your body is a battleground”

This year’s International Women’s Day in Poland is organised around the slogan ‘Women’s Rights. Without Compromise’. But more than in any other country in the European Union, Polish women’s rights are under attack again, by regressive and government policies that amount to full-blown war on women in the name of traditional values. And the 1990s …

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An opportunity for Catalonia

On 14 February, Catalonia has elected a new Parliament. This was the fourth snap election in the region in almost ten years, a clear illustration of the political instability that has become installed in this north-eastern region of Spain. It was also the last episode of a three-year-long internal fight between the two coalition partners …

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Interview with Aleksander Kwaśniewski

The former Polish president Alexander Kwaśniewski (1995-2005) has long been an advocate of regional cooperation in central and eastern Europe. During his presidency, he not only oversaw his country’s accession to the European Union (2004), but just a few months later, when the ‘Orange Revolution’ began in neighbouring Ukraine, he became a mediator there on …

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