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Centre for European Research

Europe Matters Blog

How the European Political Community can help bring peace to Europe
1 June 2023

The European Political Community (EPC) was established in 2022 as a forum for cooperation between European countries. Ahead of the next EPC summit in Moldova on 1 June, Sarah Wolff, Pierre Haroche, Helen Drake, Jorein HendriksenBasak Sendogan, and Gesine Weber argue the organisation could have a key role to play in the future of European security.

The piece was originally published on the 'EUROPP – European Politics and Policy' blog.

French president Emmanuel Macron, left, and UK prime minister Rishi Sunak. The relationship between France and Britain has been fraught in recent years © Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images A Global Ambition for the Franco-British Relationship
29 May 2023

A Franco-British summit is due to be held on 10 March between UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron. Ahead of the meeting, Sarah Wolff, Pierre Haroche, and Christian Turner set out some key principles for establishing a more ambitious relationship between the UK and France.

The piece was originally published on the 'EUROPP – European Politics and Policy' blog.

by Victoria Rovira/NurPhoto/PA Images The Rise of Sanctuary Cities During the European “Refugee Crisis”
23 May 2023

On 10 May 2022, the Centre for European Research of Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) hosted the webinar The Rise of Sanctuary Cities During the European “Refugee Crisis”, chaired by Dr. Raffaele Bazurli (postdoctoral researcher at QMUL). The event, now available on YouTube, has brought together leading scholars, policy-makers, and migrant rights activists directly involved in sanctuary initiatives in Europe.

UKiCE blog The failure of Remain: the remarkable mobilisation and limited efficacy of the UK’s anti-Brexit movement
4 April 2023

Following the UK’s June 2016 referendum, there was a mass mobilisation of anti-Brexit activism across all parts of the UK. In their recently published book, The Failure of Remain: Anti-Brexit Activism in the United Kingdom, Adam Fagan and Stijn van Kessel examine the UK’s anti-Brexit movement, as a case of the ‘politicisation of Europe’ by a grassroots social movement.


Whose backyard? Realism and the shifting balance of stakes in Ukraine
2 February 2023

Does the West hold some responsibility for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? Pierre Haroche examines the claim that NATO expansion into Russia’s sphere of influence provoked the conflict.

The piece was originally published on the 'EUROPP – European Politics and Policy' blog.

Euro coins Bailed-out governments did not lose policy-making discretion during the Eurozone crisis
23 November 2021

Dr Stella Ladi (QMUL), Dr  (University of Lausanne), Dr  (University of Lisbon) and Dr  (University of Lisbon) argue that bailed-out governments during the Eurozone crisis exercised more leverage than assumed. Despite international market pressure and creditors’ conditionality, bailed-out governments were able to advocate, resist, shape or roll back some of the policies demanded by the EU’s Troika.

This article was first published in The Loop, ECPR's Political Science Blog.

Women waiting for clean water in Tigray, Ethiopia. The Tigray War: The EU’s Response to the world’s worst food crisis
10 November 2021

As the first anniversary of Ethiopia’s ongoing civil war approaches this week, it is worth reflecting on the European Union’s response. In November 2020, the European Parliament made its opposition to the conflict unequivocally clear through a series of strong resolutions: violence and human rights abuses were deplored; all parties were urged to enter peaceful dialogue; the EU was called upon to use “all necessary diplomatic means” to end the war. After such powerful rhetoric, the results are disappointing. The war wages on worse than ever, and the Union’s actions look ineffective. EU policy, although well-intentioned, has so far failed to alleviate the growing humanitarian crisis. The principal reasons for this are discussed below by James Thompson and suggestions offered as to the best future policy.

James Thompson is an MA student in the Queen Mary School of Politics and International Relations, based at the University of London Institute in Paris. His interests include European security, British and EU foreign policy, and humanitarian affairs.

Bulgarian Serbian European flags Bulgaria’s veto strengthens nationalism and Euroscepticism in North Macedonia
4 November 2021

In this blog, Vedrana Maglajlija sheds light on the consequences of the Bulgarian veto to North Macedonia becoming an EU member State on domestic politics and public opinion and more broadly on the EU itself. Vedrana is a journalist based in the Balkans, currently working for Al Jazeera Network. She writes for the Al Jazeera Balkans website, covering regional and world politics, after focusing on war crimes in the former Yugoslavia for several years. She completed her MA in International Relations at the Queen Mary University of London.

Serbian and Chinese flags 150 Serbia and China: ‘Steel Friendship’ in the EU’s backyard
3 November 2021

In this paper, Vedrana Maglajlija explores how the "steel friendship" between Serbia and China, has been reinforced in times of pandemic and the ambiguity of the Serbian relationship to the EU. Vedrana is a journalist based in the Balkans, currently working for Al Jazeera Network. She writes for the Al Jazeera Balkans website, covering regional and world politics, after focusing on war crimes in the former Yugoslavia for several years. She completed her MA in International Relations at the Queen Mary University of London.

Rescue vests Migrants and Refugees in the Mediterranean in Times of Pandemic: Socially Distant?
29 October 2020

In this paper, Sarah Wolff (QMUL) explains to what extent 2020 has been a peculiar year for European Union (EU) migration policies. The closure of EU external borders and the suspension of asylum applications throughout Europe has turned Fortress Europe into a reality. The various states of emergency adopted in the EU have constrained the freedom of movement inside the EU. Social distancing has halted search and rescue operations and accelerated the retreat of civil society and public bodies from the Mediterranean. But the pandemic has not stopped sea border crossings and has increased the vulnerability of migrants and asylum-seekers both in Europe and in the southern Mediterranean. The temporary suspension of the processing of asylum applications, resettlement and relocation is an additional challenge in times of increased vulnerability of migrants in the region.


This article was first published in the European Institute of the Mediterranean yearbook.

Coronavirus recovery – Lessons from the Eurozone crisis
13 July 2020

As governments around the world grapple with the public health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are striking similarities with the eurozone crisis that followed the 2008 financial crisis. Having researched this crisis, Dr  (QMUL), Dr  (University of Lausanne), Dr  (University of Lisbon) and Dr  (University of Lisbon) argue that there are some important lessons to apply to today’s recovery. The early signs indicate that the EU is responding much more effectively to this crisis than it did in 2008.

The EU as a force of good in its neighbourhood? ‘Possibly maybe’
25 May 2020

The EU is often portrayed as a force of good in the world while there is growing criticism across the academia as to its actual role and impact. Although nuanced and constructive, most of this critique is almost completely absent from the public discourse. According to David Gazsi (King’s College London), taken seriously and engaged with appropriately, these newly emerging agendas can, however, contribute to the improvement of the EU’s external relations. 

flag with words united we stand Mobilising around Europe: Pro and anti-EU politics in an era of populism and nationalism
13 November 2019

Read the highlights written by David Gazsi (King's College London - QMUL) of the the workshop which considered pro- and anti-EU forces both at the party-political and the grass-roots level.

Graffiti of politicians Is national populism really waning away in Europe?
15 October 2019

According to Antonio Astolfi (QMUL), the Italian turnaround shows that optimism is overstated as a comeback of Salvini in power is still looming.

Antonio Astolfi at the European Parliament An insider eye into the European Parliament: The journey of Antonio Astolfi from CER intern to Schuman Trainee
7 August 2019

Find out in this interview made by David Gazsi (King's College London - QMUL) how Antonio Astolfi (QMUL) experience as an intern at CER has fed into his new role in the Schuman Traineeship programme at the European Parliament. 

ribbon with colours of Hungary flag The far right in the European Parliament: What to expect?
14 June 2019

Dr Stijn van Kessel (QMUL) shares with David Gazsi (King's College London - QMUL) his insights into the results and the role that far-right parties will play in the new European Parliament in 2019-2024.

Bird flying in front of EU Flag Forget the Brexit Party surge in the UK, the rest of Europe has a more important message
29 May 2019

Who said Europe was boring? For once, the European Parliament elections have been as important as national elections explains Dr Sarah Wolff (QMUL).

Hand drawing on blackboard with chalk European Social Model: Europeans need to relaunch a reform agenda
15 April 2019

In this blog post Dr. Konstantinos Kougias (Panteion University) investigates the need for a more robust social dimension of the EU. Although the Commission has acknowledged the contribution that well-designed social policies can make to economic growth, the EU has not endowed itself with a meaningful social dimension. He argues that Brexit and Macron’s vision for ‘renaissance’ in Europe present an opportunity to relaunch a reform agenda with the view to strengthening the EU’s social model. This agenda should place social principles at the heart of all economic policies.

Canada Flag What the EU should learn from the successful Canadian model of Privately Sponsored Refugees
16 March 2019

Nicole Wyatt (QMUL) investigates how the highly successful model of private sponsored refugee resettlement used in Canada can be adapted in the European context.  Many countries have already designed or implemented similar resettlement strategies, but have not had the success rates in terms of number of refugees resettled, integration levels, and popular sentiment towards refugees, as the Canadian example.  With some ideas drawn from the Canadian Privately Sponsored Refugees Programme, European Union Member States can have as much success as Canada.


Populism in Europe: The Italian exception
15 November 2018

In this blog post, Antonio Astolfi (QMUL) investigates the Italian case in regard of populism and offers some insights on why, contrary to the rest of the Member States, two populist parties have succeeded in becoming the major political forces of the country. 

CER Inaugural | Reforming the EU: Why and how the Union needs to hand power to its citizens
8 October 2018

Opened by our Director, Dr Sarah Wolff, the CER 2018 Inaugural lecture was dedicated to one of the most debated and controversial issues surrounding the EU.

Continent by default Continent by default: The crisis of the EU geopolitical role
24 April 2018

Giorgia Miccoli (QMUL) reviews Professor Anne Marie Le Gloannec’s last book, published posthumously, which analyses the current crisis of the European Union, taking into account the previous struggles experienced by Brussels. In an era characterized by Euroscepticism and nationalism, the author identifies the faults of the Union in developing a comprehensive and coherent foreign policy. The EU has failed in acting as a geopolitical actor, disappointing the hopes and the projects of a more proactive Union.


Globe and UE flag in background Behind the scenes: The creation of the European Union Global Strategy
19 March 2018

Giorgia Miccoli (QMUL) reviews the latest publication of Nathalie Tocci, Framing the EU Global Strategy: A Stronger Europe in a Fragile World. Being a non-academic book, written by a scholar the book is considered to be a precious contribution, accessible for everyone, from students to policy-makers.

Signing the joint notification on the permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) The Common Security and Defence Policy: More strategic autonomy within the frame of NATO?
6 March 2018

CER’s new intern Giorgia Miccoli explores the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), signed 2017, and its impact on the existing Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) as well as the EU’s relationship with NATO.

Polish flags Poland judicial reforms: The hard test for European Rule of Law
6 March 2018

The recent judicial reform plan sponsored by the Polish government in 2017 caste a curse on the European Union and its founding values of democracy and Rule of Law. Gaia Taffoni (University of Milan) looks at the possible solutions that the EU could take to deal with this breach.

UK Border The future UK-EU Internal Security Agreement: Political dilemmas, legal challenges and unanswered questions
1 March 2018

In this blog post Dr. Helena Farrand Carrapico (Aston University) investigates the main concerns regarding the developments of the relations between the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice (AFSJ) and the UK, in conjunction with the Brexit negotiations.

Catalan flag Regional election in Catalonia: A test case for independentists
20 December 2017

In what has been an eventful year for Catalonia, David Gazsi (King's College London - QMUL) considers with Professor John London (QMUL) what developments the upcoming regional election will bring.

UK and EU jigsaw pieces CER Inaugural Report – Professor Helen Drake and Professor Tim Bale on Brexit
17 November 2017

Read the summary written by David Gazsi (King's College London - QMUL) of the CER Inaugural Lecture ‘Negotiating Brexit’ given by Sir Jonathan Faull KCMG, which features observations from Professor Helen Drake (Loughborough) and Professor Tim Bale (QMUL).

Reichstag building exterior The German federal elections: What implications for Europe?
30 October 2017

In this post, David Gazsi (King's College London - QMUL) reflects on the 2017 German elections and its implications for the whole of Europe.

Emmanuel Macron Macron: The honeymoon's over
25 October 2017

In this blog post, Professor Rainbow Murray (QMUL) discusses the French president's rapidly declining popularity.

EU flag with Houses of Parliament in background EU referendum: One year on
30 June 2017

One year one from the EU referendum, Professor Tim Bale (QMUL) comments on its impact on UK political parties.

Theresa May Forward together
26 May 2017

Professor Tim Bale (QMUL) reflects on the Conservative Party’s election manifesto, which promises a ‘smooth and orderly’ Brexit.

people looking at sign in Dutch town Fragmented field keeps voters guessing as Dutch election approaches
9 March 2017

Dr Stijn van Kessel (QMUL) observes run up to the Dutch elections.

Geert Wilders Geert Wilders is no longer so keen on pushing for a ‘Nexit’
7 March 2017

The intensity of the the Dutch Freedom Party’s Euroscepticism has variated over the years, writes Dr Stijn van Kessel (QMUL).  

Figurines representing refugees Asylum visas as an obligation under EU Law
28 February 2017

Dr Violeta Moreno-Lax (QMUL) analyses the extent of the margin of appreciation available to Member States under Article 25 CCV.

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