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Tuesday, 26th February 2013

The New Political Geography of Europe

Source: European Council on Foreign Relations

From the Introduction:

The euro crisis has revolutionised politics across Europe. Established political parties are fighting for their lives; countries that thought of themselves as part of the European core are finding themselves on the periphery; and a huge gulf has emerged in the core of Europe. What we are witnessing, as the euro crisis enters its third year, is the emergence of a new political geography for the European Union that is reshuffling the divisions within and between the nations of Europe. The crisis is not over, but it has evolved from a banking crisis and then an economic crisis into an acute political crisis.

So far the emergence of this new political geography has been obscured by a media focus on the politics of Brussels and Berlin. It is true that a visitor from Chile or China arriving at Place Schuman in Brussels may feel like they are visiting the capital of the “United States of Europe”. Yet after a day or two they will realise that the EU is composed of 27 states that come to Brussels to bargain over their respective national interests with only occasional regard for the common European purpose. Although Berlin is emerging as a new decision-making centre, the politics of the EU mean that the future political shape of Europe can be advanced or hindered by decisions taken elsewhere – whether by a taxpayers’ revolt in a creditor country such as Finland or a citizens’ revolt in a debtor country such as Greece.

The 14 chapters of this collection try to identify the major points of contention and new political forces in different member states (between the rich and poor, realists and moralists, interventionists and anti-interventionists) and to reflect on some of the opportunities and obstacles to joint solutions for overcoming the crisis. In order to show how the politics changes over time we have ordered them around the years that each country joined the EU. Collectively, they invite us to rethink our perceptions of the current crisis and its possible implications for the integration project.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

Adrian can be reached at adrian.janes@freepint.com

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