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  • Author: Steven Blockmans
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Concerns about the deterioration of democracy in Turkey are not new: the trials over the 2003 „ Sledgehammer ‟ alleged coup plan (2010-12) and over the ‟ Ergenekon ‟ secret organisation (2008-13) broke the military‟s influence over politics, but were widely criticised because of their reliance on secret witnesses and disputes over evidence. Ironically, their outcome has recently been challenged by Prime Minister Erdoğan himself, who has disowned the trials now that the judiciary has the AK Party in its sights. International concern was also stirred by the violent crackdown on the countrywide protests of May/June 2013. Unrest then was triggered by the planned redevelopment of Istanbul‟s Gezi Park in May 2013, but developed into a wider movement critical of government corruption, increasing restrictions on freedom of speech and concerns about the erosion of secularism. Protests simmered on through September, winding down in autumn and winter only to reignite in March of this year.
  • Topic: Government, International Cooperation, Politics, Regional Cooperation, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Hrant Kostanyan, Bruno Vandecasteele
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Besides the Eastern Partnership's (EaP) bilateral and multilateral framework and the Civil Society Forum, the European Union (EU) engages with the EaP countries – Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan – through multilateral parliamentary cooperation, namely within the EuroNest Parliamentary Assembly (EuroNest PA).
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Armenia, Belarus
  • Author: Erwan Fouéré
  • Publication Date: 09-2013
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Macedonia is a country in deep trouble. Under a veneer of normality lies a climate of deep mistrust between all the political parties and between the main ethnic communities. Several incidents of inter-ethnic violence took place in the capital city earlier this year and are on the increase. Political dialogue, insofar as it exists between the parties, remains confrontational.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Corruption, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Piotr Maciej Kaczyński
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: On 1 January 2011, Hungary, the third member of the European Union to join the club in 2004, took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union. This represents the first presidency of a newer member state under Lisbon Treaty rules. After the new treaty entered into force on 1 December 2009, all rotating presidencies are, in a sense, first time presidencies. Their relative success now depends more on administrative ability than political leadership.
  • Topic: Politics, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Stefano Braghiroli
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The last decades have witnessed a dramatic growth of internet-based communication. This phenomenon and its still partially unexplored potential have increasingly attracted the attention of a growing number of political entrepreneurs. This paper analyses to what extent it has characterised vertical communication between politicians and voters looking at a very particular group: the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).
  • Topic: Politics, Regional Cooperation, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Julia De Clerck-Sachsse, Piotr Maciej Kaczyński
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: At the end of the 6th legislature, fears that enlargement would hamper the workings of the European Parliament have largely proved unfounded. Despite the influx of a large number of new members to Parliament, parties have remained cohesive, and legislative output has remained steady. Moreover, after an initial phase of adaptation, MEPs from new member states have been increasingly socialised into the EP structure. Challenges have arisen in a rather different field, however. In order to remain efficient in the face of increasing complexity, the EP has had to streamline its working procedures, moving more decisions to parliamentary committees and cutting down time for debate. This paper argues that measures to increase the efficiency of the EP, most notably the trend towards speeding up agreements with the Council (1st reading agreements) run the risk of undermining the EP's role as a forum of debate. Should bureaucratisation increasingly trump politicisation, the legitimacy of the EP will be undermined, and voters will become ever more alienated from its work. For the 7th legislature of the European Parliament therefore, it is crucial to balance efficiency of output with a more politicised policy style that is able to capture public interest.
  • Topic: Politics, Regional Cooperation, Governance
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Samir Amghar
  • Publication Date: 06-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Islamist parties in Morocco have seen an ideological transformation from a radical – even violent – political doctrine to a more pragmatic and progressive strategy in recent years. This paper seeks to understand how the internal ideological evolution of Moroccan Islam and the international context have made collaboration with Europe and the US possible. The key Islamist players on the Moroccan political stage are the Party of Justice and Development and the Association for Justice and Charity, both of which have shown a desire to increase cooperation with Europe but this, they claim, has not been reciprocated by the EU.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Middle East, Morocco
  • Author: Emad El-Din Shahin
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The recent legislative elections of May 2007 in Algeria have shown how complex the evolution of Islamist parties is in this country and how crucial an understanding of these mechanisms has become for Europe. Since the civil war of the 1990s, Islamist parties have experienced increased political participation. Drawing on interviews with various Algerian Islamist actors, this paper analyses how Islamist parties are building a new relationship with democratic mechanisms in Europe. In light of these recent changes, a reconsideration of EU democracy promotion policies is now necessary.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Middle East, Algeria
  • Author: Maria Raquel Freire, Licínia Simão
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper looks at the Armenian transition towards democracy, focusing on the internal and external dimensions of the process. Internally, we consider the decision-making structure, with particular emphasis on the role of leadership, the development of political parties and changes in civil society. Externally, our attention is focused on neighbourly relations and external actors, including international organisations, particularly the European Union (EU), and its specific instrument, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The paper aims to shed light on the democratisation process in Armenia and the role of the EU in this process, by looking at the relationship between Brussels and Yerevan, at the instruments and strategies in operation, and at the international context in which these changes are taking place.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Armenia, Brussels
  • Author: Robert Springborg
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The social, political and economic power of moderate Middle East and North African Islamist movements has been growing for a generation or so. The question of how to deal with Islamists who reject violence, embrace democracy and outperform their competitors at the polls has therefore become a central concern not only of incumbent Middle East elites, but also of interested foreign actors such as the EU and US. Robert Springborg sees the need for the EU to clarify its policies towards the MENA region and Muslim democrats within it. The present lack of EU policies on engaging with moderate Islamists leads them to be at best curious about the EU and at worse to be suspicious of it. Engagement might itself help to contribute to policy formation in this important area, and serve as a vehicle to disseminate information about relevant EU policies.
  • Topic: Politics, Religion
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia, Arab Countries, North Africa