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  • Author: Enrico Bergamini, Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: This paper quantitatively explores news coverage on the subject of ‘Europe’ in three different countries and three newspapers: France (Le Monde), Italy (La Stampa) and Germany (Der Spiegel). We collected and organised large web-scraped datasets covering the period 1945 to 2019. After ensuring the quality of the archives, we identified articles referring to ‘European’ news while leaving aside national and other non-European news, based on a mix of keyword matching, large-scale natural language processing and topic identification on the full text of news articles. Once articles were classified and datasets labelled, we performed a time-series analysis, detecting salient events in European history, across France, Germany and Italy. We analysed these events in light of the evolution of European cooperation and integration since 1945. We found that the most important events in post-war European history are easily identifiable in the archives and that European issues have gathered substantially greater attention since the early 1990s.
  • Topic: Governance, Public Opinion, European Union, Media, Populism, Data
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Francesco Papadia, Enrico Bergamini, Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol, Giuseppe Porcaro
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Bruegel
  • Abstract: A disconnect between European Union integration and the level of interest of EU citizens in European matters is a potential weakness in the EU’s democratic foundations. The existence and possible size of this disconnect is a critical issue in assessing the potential for further integration of the EU and the risks to its stability. To move beyond qualitative assessments of this disconnect, we use three indicators to measure EU citizens’ interest in Europe: turnout in European Parliament elections relative to national elections, Eurobarometer surveys of interest in Europe, and the presence of European news in national newspapers, relative to all published news. We interpret our empirical results using three frameworks: Putnam’s social capital concept, the agenda-setting hypothesis and the no-demos hypothesis. All three indicators point to an increased interest in European matters, especially since the 1990s and the creation of the euro. However, this result does not settle the issue of whether the increased level of interest matches the actual state of integration of the EU’s member countries. Our results indicate the European construction maintains a technocratic character.
  • Topic: Governance, European Union, Media, Populism, Macroeconomics
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Matteo Cavallaro
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes the role of local spending, particularly on social welfare, and local inequality as factors in the Italian political crisis following the adoption in 2011 of more radical national austerity measures. We employ two different methods. First, we develop an original database of municipal budgets. There we show that even the lowest level of social welfare spending, that offered by Italian municipalities, though also hit by austerity, was still able to moderate this national shock. We test three operationalizations of local spending: aggregate current expenditures, aggregate current expenditures on social services, and current expenditures disaggregated by function. We show that municipal current expenditures, particularly on social spending, significantly affected the post-2011 share of votes for the progressive coalition. The results also show that social spending, especially on education, significantly moderated the combined effect of national austerity and the economic crisis on voting for populist radical right parties, while no significant results appeared for populist parties in general. Local inequality appears to significantly enhance vote shares of populist radical right parties and populist parties in general. We caution that, although significant, the effect is not strong: that local policy and economic conditions can moderate national shocks but cannot reverse them. The second analysis relies on survey data to ascertain the individual-level mechanisms behind the role of local welfare. The paper argues that local economic inputs influence voters’ position on non-economic issues. Our results, however, do not identify any significant individual-level channel of transmission, be it cultural or economic.
  • Topic: Politics, Elections, Inequality, Populism, Austerity
  • Political Geography: Europe, Italy
  • Author: Andrew Weiss
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: A blend of new threats and opportunities is causing Moscow to take greater risks and embrace more flamboyant policies in Europe. The Kremlin’s relationships with Italy and Austria shine a spotlight on how Europe’s domestic troubles have opened many doors for Moscow.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Populism, Far Right
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Italy, Austria
  • Author: Marco Siddi, Barbara Gaweda
  • Publication Date: 10-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Poland’s incumbent party Law and Justice seems poised to win the election thanks to its welfare policies and the weakness of the opposition. However, its attacks on the independence of the judiciary and the media could further erode the rule of law and exacerbate disputes with the EU.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Elections, European Union, Populism, Conservatism, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Europe, Poland
  • Author: Basile Ridard
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: EGMONT - The Royal Institute for International Relations
  • Abstract: At a time of rising populism in Europe and a global crisis of democratic representation, the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) aims to provide a concrete response to those denouncing the lack of democratic legitimacy of the EU institutions. The new regulation, proposed by the Commission last September and still under discussion by both the Parliament and the Council, facilitates the use of ECI. However, it remains insufficient for citizens willing to engage regularly in the EU law-making process. This Egmont Paper assesses the overall impact of the ECI on European policies and compares it to the complementary tools of participatory democracy such as the recently established Citizens’ consultations.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Democracy, Europe Union, Populism
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Janko Bekić
  • Publication Date: 01-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO)
  • Abstract: Populism has been de�ined by Cas Mudde as “a thin-centred ideology that considers society to be ultimately separated into two homogenous and antagonistic groups, ʻthe pure peopleʼ and ʻthe corrupt eliteʼ, and which argues that politics should be an expression of the volonté general (general will) of the people”. In the past, populist movements and parties in Europe campaigned against national political elites who, as the narrative goes, lost touch with the common people and pursued their own particular agendas in national capitals. Since the advent of the European Union in 1993 (entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty) their focus has moved to an adversary even more disconnected and physically distant from the national electorates – the unelected, bureaucratic and supranational elite in Brussels. Nevertheless, national heads of state or government remain a secondary target, as they are seen either as powerless (due to the transfer of competences to EU institutions) or in collusion with the Brussels’ “junta”. This new type of populism can be described as sovereignist, because of its advocacy of downgrading the EU back to a confederation of states, or – more radically – of dissolving it altogether. This new type of populism can be described as sovereignist, because of its advocacy of downgrading the EU back to a confederation of states, or – more radically – of dissolving it altogether. The populist objection to the democratic de�icit of the EU is not without substance. Major decisions, such as the introduction of harsh austerity measures in Greece, or the attempted imposition of obligatory migrant quotas on Hungary, have been made in the Quartier européen against the explicit wishes of the affected demoi, made clear in the Greek bailout referendum of July 2015 and the Hungarian migrant quota referendum of October 2016. Therefore, these decisions can be described as legal, according to relevant EU treaties, but not fully legitimate, as they don’t enjoy the support of the concerned populations. Even the renowned German sociologist and philosopher Jürgen Habermas, certainly no admirer of populist parties, acknowledged in The Crisis of the European Union: A Response (2012) that the EU “has been sustained and monopolised only by political elites” and that it is showing signs of moving in the direction of “a kind of post-democratic rule”. While some argue that the creeping transition towards post-democracy is a deliberate choice by European political elites, others view it as a regrettable but unavoidable side effect of the current status of the EU which is a sui generis formation, neither a confederation of states, nor a federal state.
  • Topic: Politics, European Union, Populism
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Publication Date: 11-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The Summit on the Future of Europe is an initiative of Harvard University’s Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies (CES). Launched in 2014, this annual conference aims to convene eminent scholars and public leaders at Harvard in order to debate critical challenges facing Europe. The 2017 Summit took place at Harvard on November 6 and focused on “Europe and Transatlantic Relations in the Era of Populism.” It was a partnership of CES, the diaNEOsis Research and Policy Institute and the WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Regional Cooperation, Populism, Transatlantic Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, North America, Atlantic Ocean