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European Politics and Society

Less than one month ahead of the next Eastern Partnership summit, the Republic of Moldova is again in Brussels’ spotlight. The country’s commitment and adherence to a path of more closely aligning with the European Union is rapidly fading despite being considered back in 2014-2015 the “successful story” of the EaP initiative. The government in Chisinau, which has proclaimed itself to be “pro-European” has shown no desire to push for necessary reforms in key areas, such as the justice sector. Instead, it has acted with the sole purpose to maintain power and preserve the status quo after the parliamentary elections of 2018, regardless of the costs for relations with the EU. The fact that Moldova’s government has been increasingly non-acquiescent …

It is predicted that Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party will achieve a significant victory in the upcoming general election on June 8. If the predictions are correct — though at the time of writing Labour is advancing in the polls — May will find herself in a more comfortable position domestically, governing with a larger majority. On the international stage, however, will this increase in domestic power lead to an advantage for the United Kingdom at the negotiation table in Brussels? The Brussels-based press seems to think so, writing that “victory will allow May to head into EU-UK Brexit negotiations with a strengthened hand at home” and “if the U.K. holds a general election in June, Brussels can only lose.” May …

The Russian newspaper Vedomosti recently reported something that may strike many as rather odd. Drawing on a range of internal sources, the paper claimed that the Russian Presidential Administration was increasingly using members of the Federation Council – the upper chamber of the Federal Assembly, whose members are colloquially referred to as “senators” – to introduce bills into the federal legislature. This use of senators as law-making proxies is puzzling because of the President’s formal law-making powers: According to article 104, section 1 of the Russian Constitution, the President of the Russian Federation has the “power to initiate legislation”. In practice, this means the President has the authority to introduce bills into the State Duma – the lower chamber of the …

“National Interest” has entered the lexicon as a phrase that implies a realist approach to International Relations. It carries an assumption that is it possible to define the national as a melding and cohering of all interests, including business, sectoral, regional, and religious, within a country. When politicians use the phrase National Interest they seek to convey a message about the importance of what they are saying. It is a term deployed to allude to grand ideas and strategies and to conjure up an image of national power, rather than to illuminate what is actually going on in the foreign policy process, or routine political activity. The phrase can and has been applied to the military, political and economic spheres—the …

Moldova is due to hold presidential elections on 30 October. Alexandru Damian examines what the implications of the election may be for Romania, which has previously expressed support for the current Moldovan government. He suggests that with the government’s preferred candidate facing a challenge to make the second round of the contest, supporting Maia Sandu from the Action and Solidarity party may represent the best option for promoting reform in the country. Shaken by political and economic instability, and divided between pro-Russian and pro-European positions, Moldova is presently awaiting critical presidential elections on 30 October which will help shape the country’s future trajectory. But against this backdrop, Romania’s engagement with the country over the last year could well be described as a …

There is no shortage of lessons to be learned from Brexit and its fallout – for politicians, businesses and the public alike. For strategists, analysts and advisors, these past few weeks have provided a host of examples of both good and bad practice. Surveying recent events, four take-aways stand out: 1) Forecast, don’t predict No one predicted this. Nor did the polls or the betting markets. Even the leaders of the Leave campaign did not predict Brexit. More than this, though, no one predicted that within weeks of a vote all of the Leave campaign’s victorious leaders would have resigned from the field and a new Prime Minister (who supported Remain, however quietly) would be installed in Downing Street. Polling …

The vote to leave the EU was an outcome which surprised most commentators, bookies, and even those who voted for the winning side. In the aftermath of the result, John Gray, a popular political theorist, wrote that ‘voters inflicted the biggest shock on the establishment since Churchill was ousted in 1945’. It is hard to think that he is wrong. The only social classes which predominately voted Remain were ABs (affluent and middle-class voters), whereas C1 C2 DE (lower middle-class and working-class) voters all delivered majorities for Leave. As I predicted on this blog in January and contrary to many commentators’ expectations, the referendum engaged more voters than recent general elections. It generated the highest turnout in a UK election …

I traveled to the Calais migrant and refugee camp from March 14 to 16, together with a humanitarian student group from Brasenose College that collected donations and supplies to aid local NGOs with clothing and basic medical supplies. This article is based on my impressions of the camp and interviews with the migrants, refugees and NGO workers.