The 2014 EP elections: What should we look out for?

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The newsletter of the Sussex European Institute // Spring 2014 // Issue 54
The 2014 EP elections:
What should we look out for?
Prof Paul Taggart
SEI Professor of Politics
[email protected]
Prof Aleks Szczerbiak
SEI Co-Director
[email protected]
The forthcoming May European Parliament (EP) elections appear, from this
distance, to be a strange mixture of an
open race and foregone conclusion. A range of
commentators have suggested that the elections will
see the success of a wave of protest parties, many
with Eurosceptic agendas, riding on the back of the
economic crisis and a wider frustration with politics
and the European integration project in general. But
just how the main European parties will fare, who will
do well or badly, is much more up for grabs.
What do we know about EP elections?
The EP has changed dramatically in importance and in
its role within the EU over the last few decades. But
the nature of EP elections has not changed as much as
the institution itself. Conventional wisdom and the
political science literature unusually come together on
seeing these as ‘second-order’ elections. This means
we can predict, with some certainty, that voters will
view these as being of less importance than ‘first
order’ national parliamentary and presidential polls
and use them to send some particular ‘protest’
messages, often aimed at incumbent governing parties,
and sometimes the mainstream parties more
So, knowing that they are ‘second order’ elections,
what can we predict will happen in this EP poll? First,
we know that EP elections do not set European
citizens alight with excitement. Turnout will be
consistently lower than in national elections. The level
of turnout varies across countries but eleven of the 25
states at the last EP elections saw turnouts of less
than 40%, with the lowest level being Slovakia at 20%
and the average being only 43%. Second, we can
predict that smaller, fringe parties will fare better in
these elections than they do at their national
elections. This is classically an arena where protest
parties do well. As they are perceived as secondary
elections, they are seen as an opportunity for voters
to cast votes for parties that they would think twice
about voting for in national elections. This is likely to
attract much of the media commentary. Third, we also
know that incumbent parties currently in national
government will generally (depending on where they
are in their national election cycles) fare poorly. The
secondary nature of the elections allows voters, and
even supporters of the governing parties, a chance to
express their frustration by abstaining or casting a
‘protest’ vote for the opposition or a minor party.
Features // Research // Dispatches // Activities
The EP elections in Germany,
SEI Doctoral Researcher appointed deputy SEI welcomes new PhD
Poland, UK, Greece, Romania and minister of European Integration in the students
Albanian Government
A European election or twenty eight national ones?
What is frequently overlooked in EP elections is
that this European-wide process to an EU institution can actually be a very un-European affair. In
effect, the fact that EP elections are second-order
polls means that they are largely the aggregate of
twenty-eight individual national contests. The politicians being sent to commute between Brussels
and Strasbourg are actually being elected on very
national grounds and as the result of voters thinking more about national politics than about Europe. While many commentators will attempt to
do this, it also means we should be very cautious
about drawing European-wide trends – such as a
pan-European ‘swing’ to the left or right - from
these EP election results.
The likely success of parties with a ‘Eurosceptic’
agenda (broadly defined) can be seen in the form
of the United Kingdom Independence Party, the
Sweden Democrats, SYRIZA and Golden Dawn in
Greece, the People’s Party in Romania and even in
Germany with the Alternative for Germany. This is
one such apparently common trend that commentators are likely to zoom in on. But beyond being
protest parties these groupings are, of course very
different. Even a shared concern about Europe has
taken some very different forms from the rejectionist policies of UKIP, through the specifics of
the anti-memorandum positions of the Greek parties, to scepticism that is confined solely to concerns about the euro rather than the European
project per se as in the Alternative for Germany.
There are real dangers about looking too hard for
common themes when there can be some very
The euro zone crisis and current European-wide different agendas.
economic problems do offer the chance for these
elections to have ‘Europe’ as a much more sub- Incumbent governments are likely to face a difficult
stantial issue in its own right this time around. But challenge in every country. In all the cases covered
we need to be clear that the nature of the eco- in this issue of Euroscope there are governments
nomic crisis in general, and the euro issue specifi- led by centre-right parties - or centrist ones
cally, are highly differentiated and dependent upon aligned to the centre-right European People’s Party
the country context. The fact that voters in - in power. But there are significant differences
Greece and Germany may use the elections to between these parties of the centre-right. We
pass judgement on the impact of ‘the European need to look not much further than differences
issue’ in their countries does not mean that they between Cameron and Merkel not least in their
will be passing the same judgement or even judging attitudes towards European integration but also on
the same policies. ‘Europe’ remains a very diverse their views on how the EU should tackle the ecoand multi-dimensional issue and these EP elections nomic crisis. But we should also recognise the
will reflect that diversity. We should be very care- different dynamics of the range of coalitions that
ful about drawing general conclusions about public exist: from the grand coalition with the Social
attitudes towards the trajectory of the European Democrats in Germany, through the Conservative
integration project when there will be significant and Liberal Democrat government in the UKs, to
differences in the way that the issue is framed and the Romanian and Swedish coalition of centre-left
interpreted in different local contexts.
and centre-right parties respectively.
Common trends and diversity
Nonetheless, the articles in this edition of
Euroscope by Kai Oppermann, Aleks Szczerbiak,
Maria Emilsson, Rebecca Partos, Roxana Mihaila
and Nikoleta Kiapidou on the EP elections in
Germany, Poland Sweden, the UK, Romania and
Greece do point to some of the themes that will
no doubt dominate commentary on the elections.
But they also highlight the real diversity that is going to emerge in electoral trends.
Looking at Europe often means looking at similarities but looking at EP elections, as they are second
order elections, is really an exercise in seeing the
sheer range of European experiences and being
sensitive to the wide diversity of politics in Europe.
It also means that, strange though it may seem, the
key to understanding these elections to - the only
ones to a directly elected European-wide institution - may lie in looking below the European level
to see the impact of domestic politics in twentyeight states.
Who we are…
Euroscope is the newsletter of the
Sussex European Institute (SEI).
It reports to members and beyond
about activities and research going on at
the SEI and presents feature articles and reports by SEI staff, researchers,
students and associates.
2014 EP elections
Message from the Co-Director
SEI Diary
The SEI was founded in 1992 and is a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence
and a Marie Curie Research Training Site. It is the leading research and
postgraduate training centre on contemporary European issues. SEI has a
distinctive philosophy built on interdisciplinarity and a broad and inclusive
approach to Europe. Its research is policy-relevant and at the academic cutting edge, and focuses on integrating the European and domestic levels of
analysis. As well as delivering internationally renowned Masters, doctoral
programmes and providing tailored programmes for practitioners, it acts as
the hub of a large range of networks of academics, researchers and practitioners who teach, supervise and collaborate with us on research projects.
Co-Directors: Prof Sue Millns & Prof Aleks Szczerbiak
University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9RG, Tel: (01273) 678578, Fax:
(01273) 673563
Email: [email protected],
The deadline for submissions for the summer term issue is: 21 March 2014.
Co-Editors: Maria Emilsson, Rebecca Partos & Roxana Mihaila
Email: [email protected]
On-Going Research
Migrant voting workshop
A Business view of Europe
SEI welcomes new staff
Everyday life in Communist Albania
Brussels: Fieldwork Report
Turkey: Fieldwork Report
PhD Presentation Report
Introducing new PhD Students
Where to find Euroscope!
2013 European year of citizens
conference report
Euroscope is easily accessible:
The SEI website:
The official mailing list, contact: [email protected]
Hard copies are available from the LPS office
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Please free to contact us to comment on articles and research
and we may publish your letters and thoughts.
2014 EP elections:
Will it be different this time?
The rise of a ‘Czech Berlusconi’
EU Parliament Elections
This issue of Euroscope is a special edition presenting articles on the European Parliament Elections.
You can find our special Features pieces on pages 11-21 and other topic related articles in the
Research section.
Spring 2014
Prof Sue Millns
SEI Co-Director
[email protected]
The May European Parliament
(EP) elections will soon be upon
us. Directly elected since 1979,
the EP offers a rare opportunity
for the citizens of the European Union, via their
elected representatives, to participate in the decision-making and law-making processes of the EU.
It is curious, therefore, why such disaffection and
disinterest on the part of the electorate is so often
displayed across Europe at election time. Turnouts
are typically low and the electorate rather ill informed. Yet the climate in 2014 is different from
before. Having weathered several years of economic and financial crisis, cuts to public spending
and welfare and monetary instability, will the citizens of Europe now take this opportunity to pronounce upon the future direction of the EU?
opportunity for fringe parties to come to the fore
in a way that seldom occurs in national elections.
Equally, despite the fact that these are billed as
generic ‘European’ elections across all member
states, what ‘Europe’ actually means to the diverse
mass of EU citizens at the present time is another
thing altogether. There is a huge range of experiences and diversity of politics across the EU in its
current form and these will undoubtedly influence
results at the national level in a less than homogenous way.
In the feature about Germany, for example, it is
suggested by Kai Oppermann that the EP elections
may spark interest amongst the electorate in so far
as they will provide an important test for the credibility of the newly formed ‘grand’ coalition of
Christian Democrats and Social Democrats. At the
same time, they will be an opportunity to measure
the power of the new Alternative for Germany
(AfD) party and to assess the German electorate’s
appetite for a more Eurosceptic approach to poliWith this question in mind, the spring 2014 issue tics which, if forthcoming, will endorse the AfD as
of Euroscope is devoted to the forthcoming EP a very credible threat to the more mainstream
elections. The aim of the issue is to investigate the parties on the right in Germany.
process surrounding the elections and the prospects for success of the various political parties in In Poland, there is no such novelty to spark a redifferent European member states. Who are the newed interest in the EP elections. The Polish
likely winners and losers? Where will coalition electorate are awaiting their own national parliabonds be forged? Will the protest vote triumph? Is mentary election in autumn 2015 and so, it is sugthe electorate actually interested in the European gested by Aleks Szczerbiak, they may well play safe
dimension of politics at all?
and turn to national concerns, taking the opportunity to protest against the incumbent Civic PlatIn their lead article, Paul Taggart and Aleks Szczer- form party and presenting an opportunity to the
biak suggest that there are many predictable ele- opposition Law and Justice party to come to the
ments to the EP election process. These are gen- fore.
erally seen as ‘second order’ elections, somewhat
removed from the ‘first order’ national legislative Maria Emilsson, in her article about Sweden, sugpolls; they present a key opportunity for voters to gests that a more critical approach to European
comment upon, or protest about, their incumbent politics is emerging there with opinion becoming
national governments; and they generally allow an increasingly polarized in what was previously
viewed as a ‘neutral’ state. Making the case for increased transparency in the Union and increased
knowledge for voters, Emilsson suggests that the
Swedish vote in the EP will represent an important
litmus test for EU legitimacy and that each vote
that is not used will give increased legitimacy to
the more nationalistic and populist parties.
voters with the role and responsibilities of the EP.
In what is only their second fully-fledged EU election since joining the EU in 2007, Romanians are
being educated on key topics such as the economy
and employment in order, to enable them to make
informed choices. With the debate around free
movement a key factor across Europe, clearly
political parties are being forced to take a stand on
In the UK, one of the clear factors that will influ- this and Romanian citizens will cast their votes acence the outcome of the EP elections, argues
Rebecca Partos, is immigration. Immigration, she
suggests is often used as a proxy for more generic Elsewhere in Euroscope, we celebrate the nominaarguments about the reckless discarding of national tion of SEI doctoral researcher Gentian Elezi to the
sovereignty and the transfer of power to a hapless position of deputy minister of European integration
Brussels bureaucracy. As the media fuels anxieties in Albania with a special feature devoted to the
that the UK will be flooded by a new wave of Bul- next steps in that country’s European integration
garian and Romanian migrants set upon the ruina- process. We also highlight the research of SEI newtion of the British social security system, the in- comers such as Dr Annika Hennl (Visiting Fellow
cumbent government has made it clear (in what from Goethe University Frankfurt), Prof Fortunato
appears to be a clear lack of understanding, or fla- Musella (Visiting Lecturer from the University of
grant breach, of EU free movement law and the Naples Federico II) and Dr Andreas Kornelakis
principle of non-discrimination on grounds of na- (a new lecturer in the department of Business and
tionality) that it wishes to tighten access to tax and Management with research interests in the
social advantages for certain migrants. That said, European Business environment).
Partos predicts that in the present UK political
climate parties on the right of the political spec- To discuss the ideas and features in Euroscope we
trum, and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) in invite all those interested to attend our SEI termly
particular, will be the significant victors. Given the roundtable event on ‘The 2014 European Parliasystem of proportional representation for the EP ment Elections’ on 2 April 2014 with speakers Dr
elections, this could translate into a significant Sue Collard, Dr Kai Oppermann, Dr Ben Stanley,
number of seats for UKIP.
Prof Paul Taggart and Prof Paul Webb (2-4 pm,
Friston Building, Room 108).
In Greece, of course, the financial crisis has hit
hard and the EU is blamed for much economic and social misery. Nikoleta Kiapidou,
in her feature about the prospects for the EP
elections in Greece, highlights the fragility of
national politics in recent years and charts
the rise of the newly formed right-wing Independent Greeks party, along with Golden
Dawn an ultra right-wing, nationalist party
which gained seats for the first time in the
national elections in 2012. Should Golden
Dawn be successful in the EP elections, Kiapidou suggests, it will be one of the most rightwing and extreme parties in the EP.
As an example to the rest of Europe, Roxana
Mihaila describes in her feature how a public
campaign is in operation in Romania to familiarise
Image credit: European Parliament
Spring 2014
SEI Diary
The SEI Diary provides snippets on the many exciting and memorable activities connected to teaching,
researching and presenting contemporary Europe that members of the SEI have been involved in during
Autumn/Winter 2013.
September 2013
SEI-based Senior Lecturer in Politics Dr Sue
Collard and SEI-linked Lecturer in Geography Dr Michael Collyer organised a joint SEISussex Centre for Migration Research (SCMR)
inter-disciplinary workshop on “Migrant Voting in
Europe”. Sponsored by the European Commission
the meeting was part of a series of events organised by the SEI during 2012-13. The purpose of this
workshop was to bring together researchers who
are actively engaged in projects relating to voting
practices of migrants as both emigrants and immigrants, in order to review recent and current research activity and to chart potential directions for
future collaborative projects.
SEI’s Dr Sue Collard, Prof Aleks Szcerbiak,
Dr Kai Oppermann and Prof Paul Taggart
opened the Institute’s Autumn term research in
progress seminar series with a roundtable debate
titled ‘The domestic politics of the Eurocrisis’ ◊ 25
The SEI hosted a workshop entitled 'Critical
Reflections on Contemporary Problems in
European Law and Policy'. The event, which
was sponsored by the European Commission representation in the UK, provided an opportunity to
discuss contemporary European affairs in the context of the present economic and social crisis in
Europe. Contributions were made by a range of
Sussex European Institute members: Prof. Erika
Szyszczak, 'The impact of EU fiscal policy on social
services: the example of health care in the UK and
the Netherlands'; Dr. Emanuela Orlando 'The EU
as an actor on the global level in the environmental
field'; David Davies, 'Combatting Gender Stereotypes in Advertising and the Media in Europe'; and
Dr. Lara Walker 'The Recovery of Maintenance
and Child Support in the EU' ◊ 27 September
October 2013
Dr Jonathan Hopkin from the London School of
Economics presented at the Politics research in
progress seminar on the topic of ‘Cartel Parties
and the Crisis: Political Change and Ideological
Stasis in Advanced Democracies’ ◊ 2 October
SEI-linked Professor Mariana Mazzucato
(SPRU) discussed her book The Entrepreneurial
State on Global Business BBC World Service ◊
6 October
SEI Politics Professor Dan Hough wrote an
article entitled ‘China’s princelings aren’t charming
the new middle class’ for The Conversation, a pilot
journalism project sourced from the academic and
research community. The article identified the
princelings - the sons and daughters of China’s rich
and powerful - as one group of clear winners from
the country’s social and political transition over
the last 40 years. Capitalising on the Chinese culture of networking, this group is thriving – but
their behaviour is becoming increasingly
problematic for the Communist Party, whose officials want to look much more humble in an attempt to prove they are ‘of the people and for the
people’ ◊
7 October
SEI Co-Director Professor Aleks Szczerbiak
and SEI-based Professor of Politics Paul
Webb attended the ‘Parties, Society and Democracy’ Conference of the Political Party Data Base
Project, held at Dusseldorf University. The event
gathered 20 participants from 17 countries for an cutting back on public expenditure and introducing
intensive discussion of the first results of the pro- efficiency and competition in their supply ◊ 28-29
ject and future dissemination plans
◊ 11-12 October
SEI-based Politics lecturer Emily Robinson
SEI-based Politics Professor Dan Hough ad- presented at the SEI’s Research in Progress semidressed the G20’s Anti-Corruption Working nar on the topic of ‘Pastness and Presentism in
Group (ACW) meeting in at the OECD in Paris. British Politics’ ◊ 30 October
The assembly was primarily focused on the outcomes of the Russian G20 Presidency, as well as November 2013
key directions of the ACWG work in 2014 ◊ 11
Jackie O'Reilly, SEI Visiting Fellow based at
Brighton University, has been chosen to lead a
Dr John Kelly from Birkbeck Collage presented new Europe-wide research project aimed at identiat the Politics research in progress seminar on the fying the causes of youth unemployment and look‘The Electoral Consequences of General Strikes in ing for solutions. The €5m EU-funded ‘STYLE’
Western Europe’ (co-authored with Kerstin project involves 25 partners from 19 countries and
Hamann and Alison Johnston) ◊ 16 October
will study welfare state provisions, levels and patterns of female employment, the structure of famiSEI Politics Professor Dan Hough spoke on lies, conceptions of youth and how policy makers
the topic of The German Federal Election 2013 at conceive the problem of youth joblessness ◊ 4 Nothe third in the series of the McDougall Trust’s vember
workshops on topical issues of political representation for 2013, held in London. The influence of SEI Visiting Fellow Dr Annika Hennl, from
electoral systems on election results was made Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, presented at the
more clear than ever when Germans went to the Politics Research in Progress Seminar on the topic
polls in September. The workshop offered the op- of ‘Intra-Party Policy Formulation in Flux: A Comportunity to analyse what this means for Germany parative Analysis of Four Democracies’ ◊ 6 Nogoing forward as well as for Europe more general- vember
ly. Prof. Hough is co-author of 'The Politics of the
New Germany' (with Simon Green and Alister Gentian Elezi, a doctoral student at the Sussex
Miskimmon) and he has written books on the Par- European Institute (SEI), was appointed to a ministy of Democratic Socialism (published in 2001) and terial post in the new Albanian government. Mr
the Left Party (published in 2007) ◊ 25 October
Elezi, who completed an MA in European Politics
at the SEI in 2006-07 and is currently undertaking
SEI-linked Law Professor Erika Szyszczak doctoral research at the Institute, has been apgave a paper with Dr Albert Sanchez-Graells on pointed deputy minister responsible for European
“Modernising Social Services in the Single Market: integration.
Putting the Market into the Social” at a conference
at CEU San Pablo University in Madrid entitled SEI-based Senior Lecturer in Politics Dr Sue
“Fostering Growth: Reinforcing the Internal Mar- Collard attended an inter-disciplinary European
ket”. The paper is part of Professor Szyszczak’s Year of Citizens themed conference organised
ongoing research examining how public and social jointly by the faculties of History, Political Science
services in the EU are being liberalised and subject and Law at the University of Nantes, France. The
to market principle, a process of “marketisations”. participants engaged with the spread of a dominant
This paper takes the UK reform and modernisa- discourse of Euroscepticism which has even
tion of health care as a case study to examine how started to take a hold in France. ◊ 14-16 Novemfar Member States must pay attention to EU eco- ber
nomic law in the reform of public services (SGEI)
to modernise such services in the interest of
Spring 2014
SEI-linked Politics lecturer Olli Hellmann
presented at the Politics research in progress
seminar on the topic of ‘Corruption in New Democracies: What the Dictator Left Behind?’ ◊ 20
2013 issue of the Perspectives on European Politics
and Society journal.
“Let's rethink the idea of the state: it must be a
catalyst for big, bold ideas “ The Observer picked up
an extract from SEI-linked Professor Mariana
SEI alumnus Dr Ulrich Sedelmeier from the Mazzucato’s (SPRU) book, The Entrepreneurial
London School of Economics presented at the SEI State ◊ 15 December
Research in Progress seminar on the topic of
‘Anchoring Democracy after Accession? The EU SEI Professor Paul Taggart (Politics) comand the democratic backsliding in Hungary and mented on how populism is reshaping mainstream
Romania’ ◊ 27 November
political discourse in an opinion piece on the rise
of anti-Europe movements published by The ObSEI-linked Professor Mariana Mazzucato server. "The 'danger' of populism is that … it works
(SPRU) argued in Newsnight that the help-to buy within existing politics while having the effect of
programme, which appears to have revived the changing the behaviour of other actors … it furUK economy, is not sustainable ◊ 28 November
ther feeds distrust in the complexity of politics" he
argued. Read in full here: ◊ 29
December 2013
SEI Politics Professor Dan Hough gave a paper at the University of Portsmouth’s Fraud and
Counter-Fraud Centre on ‘The Challenges of Corruption and Anti-Corruption in the 21st Century’ ◊
3 December
Dr Ben Seyd from the University of Kent presented a paper titled ‘Explaining Political Disappointment’ at the politics research in progress
Seminar ◊ 4 December
SEI Politics Professor and Director of the
Sussex Centre for the Study of Corruption
Professor Dan Hough published an article on
“Corruption in in the eye of the beholder” for
The Conversation in which he discussed the results of the newly published Transparency International annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)
◊ 5 December
SEI Politics Professor Dan Hough gave a
paper at the UK Department for International
Development (DfID) on ‘The Challenges of Corruption and Anti-Corruption in the 21st Century’
◊ 9 December
SEI Co-Director Professor Aleks Szczerbiak’s paper 'Poland (Mainly) Chooses Stability
and Continuity: The October 2011 Polish Parliamentary Election' was published in the December
WEDNESDAYS 14.00-15.50
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Erica Consterdine
University of Sussex
Interests, Ideas, and Institutions: explaining
Immigration policy change in the UK, 1997–2010
Prof Anneli Albi
University of Kent
Constitutional Rights and the European Court of
Justice: Arrest Warrants, Data Retention and
the ESM Treaty
Michael Shackleton
European Parliament elections:
University of Maastricht will it be different this time?
Dr Andreas Kornelakis
University of Sussex
EU Liberalization and the governance of the labour
market: the cases of Italian and Greek telecoms
Dr Sue Collard
Dr Kai Oppermann
Dr Ben Stanley
Prof Paul Taggart
Prof Paul Webb
University of Sussex
SEI roundtable on
‘The 2014 European Parliament elections’
If you would like to be included in our mailing list for seminars, please contact Amanda Sims,
tel: 01273-678578, email: [email protected]
Spring 2014
WEDNESDAYS 14.00-15.50
Venue Friston 108
Dr Benjamin Stanley
University of Sussex
The ‘New Political Cleavage’ in European Party
The Dynamics of Coalition Politics in India
Dr Rekha Divakar
University of Sussex
The Two Presidents: Cohabitation Italian Style
Dr Fortunato Musella
University of Naples
Federico II
The Politics of English Nationhood
Prof. Michael Kenny
Queen Mary University of
Fulton B
5 pm
Mark Twigg
Executive Director
of Cicero Group
Free Market, Good Governance and
Corruption: Making Sense out of Rhetoric.
D.C. Joanne Law
Overseas Anti25.02.14
Fulton 104 Corruption Unit (OACU)
City of London Police: The OACU and the
Fight against Corruption.
Jeffrey Davidson
Head of Forensic
Fulton 104 Accounting, Crowe,
Clark and Whitehall
The Practical Challenges of Tackling Bribery
and Corruption
If you would like to be included in our mailing list for seminars, please contact Amanda Sims,
tel: 01273-678578, email: [email protected]
Germany: Euroscepticism, the Grand
Coalition and the Eurozone Crisis
Dr Kai Oppermann
agreement that has just been negotiated between
SEI Senior Lecturer in Politics the leaderships of the Christian and Social [email protected]
crats gets the approval of the respective parties
(and at the time of writing that is indeed something
It is fair to say that the two last of an ‘if’ in particular with regard to the Social
elections to the European Parlia- Democrats), then the EP election will be the first
ment (EP) in 2004 and 2009 failed electoral test for the newly formed grand coalition.
to capture the German public’s Moreover, public interest in the election will likely
imagination. Turnout at these elections was around be spurred by the Eurozone crisis, which is still an
43%, an all-time low for Germany even if still uppermost concern of German voters.
around the European average. Fewer voters turn
up at European elections in Germany than at re- Most notably perhaps, the European election will
gional elections or indeed at most local elections. speak to the electoral potential of the Alternative
Tellingly, only 44% of German respondents to the for Germany and of party-based euroscepticism
Spring 2013 Eurobarometer survey were even more generally. The AfD was founded in February
aware that members to the European Parliament 2013 and is the new ‘rising star’ of the German
are directly elected. This figure is well below the party system, with more than 17,000 members
European average (52%) and puts Germany near already. The party’s main demand is to dissolve the
the bottom of the list of EU member states. In eurozone and it argues both for a repatriation of
other words, German voters do not tend to see powers and a referendum lock for any further
European elections as particularly important events transfers of competences to Europe. After the AfD
on the political calendar.
narrowly failed to win representation in the German parliament in the 2013 federal election, the
There are reasons to expect, however, that the party has now focused its strategy on the
2014 elections will receive a little more attention. European elections. As a case in point, Bernd
More than anything, these reasons are linked to Lucke, one of the party’s spokespersons and easily
internal German party politics: the election will be its most prominent face, will run for a seat in the
an important bellwether for the prospects of a EP, probably as the party’s top candidate. The prorecently formed Eurosceptic party, the Alternative spects of the AfD making it in to the EP are promfor Germany (the AfD), as well as for the future of ising, not least because the threshold for parties to
the Liberal Party (the FDP), which in 2013 dropped do so has been lowered to three per cent after the
out of the German parliament for the first time in original five per cent barrier was ruled unconstituthe history of the Federal Republic. If the coalition tional for European elections. A strong showing by
Spring 2014
the AfD will have a profound impact on German
party politics as it would establish the party as a
credible eurosceptic threat to mainstream parties
on the right of the German party system. Within
the European Parliament, the AfD would add to
the power of the (increasingly prominent) eurosceptic voices already there. The party has none
the less decided to seek membership of the group
of European Conservatives and Reformists rather
than to join forces with Marine Le Pen’s Front National and Geert Wilder’s Freedom Party. This
decision is part of the AfD’s overall strategy, which
is not undisputed within the party, to distance itself from the extremist and xenophobic right.
In a way that is not dissimilar to the AfD, the
political prospects of the Germany’s liberal party,
the FDP, will also hinge on the European election.
After its all-out defeat in the 2013 German election, the party is still in the middle of reinventing
itself both in programmatic terms and with regard
to its leadership. Key to the success of this repositioning is the party’s ability to hold on to its representation in as many parliaments as possible. Specifically, the party has identified the European election as a critical juncture, and the election result
will be seen as an important test for its designated
new leader, Christian Lindner. Significantly for the
German party system, the election will also serve
as an early indicator of whether the FDP will try to
reinvent itself as a eurosceptic party, building on
factions within it which are openly critical of German support for Eurozone rescue packages. It
may, on the other hand, opt to go back to its older
pro-European tradition, personalised by the former foreign minister and leader, Hans-Dietrich
The two parties which should brace themselves
for a disappointing result, in turn, are the Christian
and the Social Democrats. If the two parties do
indeed form a grand coalition as expected, the European election will be the first occasion for
voters to register their dissatisfaction with the
new government. The party most vulnerable to
such a protest vote is the CDU, not least because
it is more likely than the SPD to lose voters to the
AfD. The CDU also has a stronger result to defend from the 2009 election (37.9%) than the Social Democrats which received its lowest ever
vote share (20.8%) in a European election. Moreover, the SPD may offset potential losses by the
high-profile role of its MEP and current President
of the EP, Martin Schulz. Schulz will run as the ‘top
candidate’ of the European Socialists and will be a
strong contender to become the next President of
the European Commission if the Socialists win the
most votes. In any case, the biggest task for both
coalition parties is to mobilise their supporters,
since a high turnout will be their best safeguard
against losing out to eurosceptic challengers on
the right or left.
Finally, the one issue which is set to leave the
strongest imprint on the election is the eurozone
crisis. The crisis is still the most salient issue in
German political discourse and at the heart of the
most pressing worries of the general public: every
second German is concerned that the crisis will
devalue his/her savings and Germany is the only
European country in which respondents to Eurobarometer polls identify government debt as the
most important political problem. The crisis is also
the issue on which the election campaign will bring
out the clearest policy differences between different parties, including the two prospective coalition
partners. In particular, the SPD is in favour of Eurobonds and a European debt repayment fund,
both of which are opposed by the CDU. It will be
interesting to see how much room the politics of
coalition will leave the two parties to campaign on
these and other European policy differences.
To sum up, the 2014 European election will be
highly significant for the future of German party
politics and it will likely see some contestation between different parties. This may well foster above
-average public interest in the election, which
would not come from any new-found public enthusiasm with European integration, however, but
rather from the increased politicisation of European issues and public anxieties about the eurozone
crisis. To what extent that will feed into a higher
turnout than in 2004 and 2009 remains to be seen.
The European election in Poland:
Will Europe play a role?
Prof Aleks Szczerbiak
foreign and European policy by ‘re-claiming’ it from
SEI Co-Director
a post-1989 establishment that, it argued, had been
[email protected] over-conciliatory and insufficiently robust in
defending the country’s interests within the EU.
The May 2014 European The Law and Justice-led government adopted a
Parliament (EP) election in tough rhetoric of defending Polish sovereignty and
Poland will be primarily a contest ‘national interests’ and was frequently at odds with
between the two parties that Poland’s EU allies, especially Germany. On the
have dominated the political scene since 2005. other hand, when it came to power the Civic
Civic Platform (PO), led by prime minister Donald Platform-led government made a concerted effort
Tusk, has been the main governing party since to change the country’s image as a ‘trouble-maker’
2007. Although it is a member of the centre-right on European issues by making Poland’s approach
European People’s Party (and often considers itself towards the EU more predictable and adopting a
close to the German Christian Democrats) it is, in more conciliatory tone with Brussels and Poland’s
fact, an ideologically eclectic centrist party which EU partners.
its critics often dub a ‘post-political party of
power’. Law and Justice (PO) is led by Jarosław Given their rhetoric on European issues and the
Kaczyński, Mr Tusk’s predecessor as prime role that this has played in developing these two
minister, and was in office in 2005-7. Jarosław’s parties’ international images, one might expect
twin brother Lech was President of Poland from Europe to play a prominent role in the 2014 Polish
2005 until he died tragically in an air crash at EP election campaign. However, Civic Platform and
Smolensk in Western Russia in April 2010. Law Law and Justice have actually agreed on both the
and Justice is a right-wing socially conservative broad objectives of Polish EU policy and even, in
party which is a member of the European practice, their approaches to how the European
Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group in the integration project should proceed. In fact, much
EP. Although its programme is economically leftist, of the debate between these two parties over
in office it pursued fairly orthodox liberal policies. ‘Europe’ centred on what were the best strategy
It was also heavily criticised by the left-liberal and tactics to achieve Poland’s EU objectives. The
Western (and Polish) political and media two parties thus treated Europe as a so-called
establishment, not least because it formed a ‘valence issue’: one where they argued about who
coalition government with two smaller radical was most competent to pursue a shared objective
parties in order to obtain a parliamentary majority. - in this case, effectively representing and
Although Civic Platform was the first party in post- advancing Polish ‘national interests’ within the EU.
communist Poland to secure re-election for a They also used the European issue to highlight
second term of office in 2011, since then support their respective different political styles and selffor the government and prime minister have images, and the images that they attempted to
slumped and since last May Law and Justice has portray of their political opponents.
been 5-10% ahead in the polls.
Has the Eurozone crisis ‘Europeanised’ the
Tough rhetoric masks agreement on Polish European debate?
There was some evidence, as the Eurozone crisis
When first elected to office in 2005, Law and unfolded, that the Polish political debate on
Justice promised to significantly re-orientate Polish European integration was actually becoming more
Spring 2014
‘Europeanised’, that is: actually about the substance
of the future of the European integration project
rather than simply an extension of domestic
politics by other means. The Civic Platform-led
government’s main objective of European policy
has been to prevent the EU from breaking up into
the Euro zone and ‘other’ second tier members. It
used this argument to justify support for closer
German-led integration within the EU as the way
for Poland to remain at the centre of the Union’s
decision making core and part of the ‘European
mainstream’. The Tusk administration thus
defended its decision to participate in salvaging the
single currency - by, for example, signing up to the
European fiscal compact treaty - as an opportunity
for Poland to gain influence upon the decision
making processes within the euro zone and the EU
more generally. Moreover, in spite of the
turbulence in the single currency zone, the Civic
Platform government remained committed to
Poland finding a safe way of adopting the Euro as a
long-term strategic goal.
integrationist approach, especially when the party
was in government in 2005-7 (and, for example,
signed Poland up to the Lisbon treaty). Moreover,
unlike the British Conservative party, Law and
Justice has never opposed Polish adoption of the
euro in principle. Its formal position has always
been, and remains, that euro zone accession
should be delayed until it can be achieved without
damaging the Polish economy and must be
preceded by a referendum.
Civic Platform’s European policy was strongly
criticised by Law and Justice. This was partly on
familiar ‘domestic politics’ lines that the
government lacked the will to stand up to the
major EU states and that it would have a better
chance of achieving its demands by adopting a
tougher negotiating line. However, Law and Justice
did not just question the effectiveness of Civic
Platform’s strategy for achieving shared goals, it
also started to develop a more fundamental,
principled critique of Mr Tusk’s party’s support for
deeper European integration. For example, it
argued that, by handing over control over national
budgets and finances to Brussels, the fiscal
compact treaty was a threat to the country’s
sovereignty and independence. The party also
appeared to harden its anti-euro stance, arguing
that it could not see any point in the foreseeable
future when it would be advantageous for Poland
to adopt the single currency.
Experience suggests that Polish elections are
always dominated by domestic rather than
European or other international issues; except
when the latter are framed as valence issues. The
EP Poland is, therefore, likely to be another
second-order national election fought over
domestic issues and if the European issue features
at all then it will once again be a valence issue.
Given that EP polls are often ‘second order’
elections, in which voters punish governing party
by supporting the opposition, they are likely to
prove a tough challenge for the ruling Civic
Platform and Law and Justice - following a streak
of six consecutive defeats in local, European,
parliamentary and presidential elections - is likely
to emerge ahead next May. The EP election will be
seen as merely a prelude to the national elections
that will follow it, above all the parliamentary
election that is scheduled for autumn 2015.
Still a valence issue?
In fact, even before the Eurozone crisis, Law and
Justice always had a broad rhetorical commitment
to an anti-federalist (sometimes verging on
Eurosceptic) approach to European integration. In
practice, this has often given way to a more
At the same time, the Civic Platform government
has become more cautious about rapid Polish
adoption of the euro and abandoned plans floated
at the start of last year to make European
integration a dimension of party competition. Mr
Tusk is fully aware that, while the vast majority of
Poles continue to support EU membership, the
euro zone crisis has led to a slump in public
support for adoption of the single currency, with
recent polls showing that around two thirds of the
public are opposed and only a quarter in favour.
EP elections in the UK: Immigration,
Immigration, Immigration
Rebecca Partos
SEI Doctoral Researcher
[email protected]
On 22 May 2014, voters across
the UK will head for the polling
stations to make their mark in
the European Parliament elections. True, there are not expected to be many of
them – around 35% is the likely turnout, judging by
previous European elections. Regardless, these
voters will have the opportunity to elect candidates to the 73 seats reserved for the UK. Local
elections in England will be held on the same day,
but this is unlikely to drive up turnout. Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron and UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage will be
watching the results closely.
The real issue in the run-up to the elections is
likely to be immigration, which is often used at
least in part as a proxy for old arguments about
UK sovereignty being undermined by blundering
Brussels bureaucracy. Immigration has been a controversial issue for many years now, but recent
events (not least the 2010 election of a Conservative-led coalition government with a preoccupation for ‘bringing down the numbers’) have made it
more so. From 1 January of this year, Romanians
and Bulgarians (whose countries became EU member states back in 2007) are no longer constrained
by transitional controls. They can now work – and
claim benefits – without restrictions across the
The move saw last-minute manoeuvres from David Cameron’s Conservative-led coalition government to make life more difficult for Bulgarians and
Romanians – and hopefully put some of them off
coming to Britain – by bringing in restrictions for
all EU migrants to the UK. Now, for example, mi-
grants can only claim ‘out-of-work’ benefits after
three months in the country and will only be able
to receive support after six months if they have a
‘genuine chance’ of getting a job. But experts claim
the measures were misplaced. The governments of
Romania and Bulgaria argued that there would be
no exodus of their people to the UK; many of
those who had wanted to leave their homeland
had already done so. Nightmare-ish headlines from
the tabloid press of bus-loads of Romanians and
Bulgarians entering the UK to sleep rough, claim
‘free’ housing, steal jobs and go begging
(sometimes all at once) were proved to be without evidence. Claims that flights to the UK from
these countries from 1 January were fully booked
and had gone for premium rates were revealed to
be wrong – seats on budget flights from Bucharest
and Sofia to the UK were still available in early
January. Perhaps then, the hordes hell-bent on entering the UK did not really exist?
Regardless of the reality, Nigel Farage’s UKIP is
likely to be the winner. Anti-establishment parties
across the EU have been polling strongly in the last
year or so, and UKIP is no exception. With its
heavy anti-immigrant, anti-EU, anti-‘nonsense’
stance, it is likely to do very well in the elections.
The party came second last time round, and its
share of the vote is likely to be increased from
16.1% to something in the lower twenties. That
may not sound like very much, but under the European Parliament’s proportional representation
system, such percentages can translate into a significant number of seats. If the numbers entering
the UK do prove to be significant – and we should
have an idea by May of the numbers for the first
quarter of the year – there will be immense political pressure on Cameron’s Conservatives to do
something about it. UKIP will, of course, be able
to say ‘We told you so’, and will likely increase its
support still further. The possible introduction of
Spring 2014
measures to make freedom of movement for EU
citizens in the UK more difficult would probably
lead to a ‘war of words’ between European
commissioners and the UK government.
There is already tension between the UK and the
EU on the issue of immigration. In October 2013,
the European Commission made it public that it
had repeatedly asked the UK to provide evidence
for its claims about EU citizens entering the UK
for the purpose of ‘benefit tourism’. This had been
going on for more than three years. In an interview, an EU spokesman maintained that the vast
majority of migrants go to the UK to work, and
they actually contribute more to the welfare system than they take out, purely because they tend
to be younger than the average population, and of
working age… The more EU migrants you have,
the better off your welfare system is.
The EU stated that, if the UK government could
provide evidence of ‘systematic, widespread abuse
of benefits by EU migrants’, the Commission
would be compelled to review the rules. Freedom of movement is a key part of the EU’s single market, so this would not be an insignificant
matter. One might think this would have been a
real prize for Cameron and his Conservatives,
and a means of holding off UKIP’s challenge. But
the evidence was not forthcoming.
the UK government recently delayed the release
of a report from the EU on the grounds that its
conclusion was ‘too positive’. The report looked
at the impact of EU migration on Britain. Home
Secretary Theresa May was alleged to have argued
that the report underestimated the impact of
those coming to the UK to claim benefits rather
than to work. Interestingly, the report was put
together by civil servants in the UK, and commissioned with the intention of providing evidence for
Cameron’s plan to negotiate a new settlement
with Brussels before holding an ‘in/out’ referendum if his party gains office again in 2015.
Rather than fitting policy around the evidence, the
Conservatives seem to be fitting select pieces of
evidence around the policy; to borrow a term
used in other disciplines, it is an exercise in policybased evidence (PBE). Immigration will undoubtedly be a truly explosive issue in the elections.
In a further example of how immigration and
the EU have been politicised for electoral gains,
EP 2014: The Greek Case
Nikoleta Kiapidou
SEI Doctoral Researcher
[email protected]
In 2009, the last time that
national and European elections were held in the same
year in Greece, no one could
have imagined the fierceness
of the impending economic crisis and the
consequent developments in the political sphere.
New Democracy (ND) and the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), the two parties that
had been monopolising power since the fall of the
dictatorship (or Junta, as it is better known to the
Greeks) in 1974, went to the polls confident in
their belief that they still enjoyed the support of
the electorate. And so it came to pass.
2009 Na- 2012a Na- 2012b Na- extreme recession, high
tional Elec- tional Elec- unemployment rates and
harsh austerity measures.
2009 European Election
Golden Dawn
Not surprisingly, in the
light of poor economic
performance, the political
arena has not remained
unaffected. Major political
changes have occurred at
the national level, where
the two historically largest
parliamentary parties have
experienced the highest
levels of popular wrath
while hitherto small parties
have increased significantly
their popular support,
thereby presenting the
party system with a fresh
Table 1. Election results in the four most recent (European and national) The national elections in
elections in Greece (parties in Parliament). (Source: Greek Ministry of In- May and then again in June
2012 were the point of
ternal Affairs,
Between them, ND and PASOK won 69.25% and changes. The election results were significantly dif77.4% of the vote in the European and general ferent to the results of any other Greek general
elections respectively, with PASOK managing to elections until then. Along with the fact that the
form a single-party government. Smaller parties, two mainstream parties were forced to share
such as the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and the power in government for the first time after 1989,
Coalition of Radical Left (SYRIZA) were unable yet another significant novelty in Greek politics
again to challenge the power duopoly. KKE’s per- emerged; the duopoly of ND and PASOK was broformance was predictably if unimpressively run-of- ken by SYRIZA, which achieved 26.9% of the vote.
the-mill, securing seats in Parliament, while SYRI- SYRIZA, which had barely managed 4.6% in the
ZA was a small left-wing party, which could hardly elections of 2009, became the second biggest party
return a few MPs. At the same time, the Popular in the elections for the first time since its emerOrthodox Alarm (LAOS) was a small yet promis- gence. Further, a newly formed right-wing party by
ing populist right-wing party, while the Ecologist the name of Independent Greeks entered the ParGreens remained a minor party, which only man- liament along with Golden Dawn, an ultra rightaged to secure one seat in the European Parlia- wing party with extreme nationalist ideology,
which gained parliamentary seats for the first time
since its formation in 1983. As for Democratic
The financial crisis which has been laying siege to Left, it is a centre-left party which was set up in
the European Union ever since 2009 hanged all 2010 by former members of SYRIZA and went on
that. It set in train a series of economic and politi- to compete at the general elections of that year
cal events in Greece just as it did in Europe. In- for the first time. Nevertheless, it managed to win
deed, the country has constituted one of the most 6.1% and eventually become part of the coalition
important instances of the eurozone crisis. Since government.
the crisis began, the country has experienced
Spring 2014
SYRIZA is now threatening the two dominant parties by being the second biggest party in Greece,
while Golden Dawn’s popularity has also increased,
more so perceptions of the severity just as much
as the reality of economic uncertainty vacillate.
The two parties have stretched the Left-Right continuum further to the extremes, in a party system
which until recently had been characterized by its
predictability. Moreover, there is an increase in
fragmentation of the distribution of parliamentary
power as new political parties which emerged during the crisis managed to win seats. While the
Greek Parliament had consisted of no more than
five parties, as the crisis has been unfolding there
have been eight parties with competing polices in
it. Consequently, the nature of partisan competition has also changed, as centrifugal forces on the
Left and the Right have come into the scene. Also,
coalition patterns and government formation have
altered significantly. Whereas Greece had only experienced one coalition government since the fall
of Junta, that in 1989, as it stands, the two formerly avowed opponents, ND and PASOK, have
agreed on a coalition government ‘of national uni-
ty’ in an attempt to ‘save the country’. For now
and despite the challenges it faces, their partnership appears to be rather stable.
Under such political conditions and with the Greek
economy still being far from recovery, the European elections of 2014 should be an interesting case.
Will the results will be similar to the national elections of 2012? It will be then interesting to see
whether SYRIZA will maintain its share of the vote
and along with ND will be the largest Greek parties in the European Parliament, and whether
PASOK will remain significantly small. Golden
Dawn’s performance is another important issue. If
the party manages to win seats in Europe for the
first time, it will be one of the most extreme rightwing parties in the European Parliament ever. Voter turnout is also a feature worth considering. As
in the previous European elections only 52.54% of
the Greek people voted, it will be interesting to
see the voter turnout this time round. In any case,
the voters’ trends will be a good guide for the next
national elections in 2016, which will reveal the
actual status in Greek politics.
(Re)gaining credibility in the EU:
Romania and the 2014 EP Elections
Roxana Mihaila
SEI Doctoral Researcher
[email protected]
The 2014 European Parliament
elections will be Romania’s second fully-fledged EU elections
experience in seven years of
membership. The country elected its MEPs in mid-parliamentary term in 2007,
and participated in a EU-wide campaign in 2009.
Next year the country will face two major challenges. Firstly, it will have to work toward restoring
its democratic credentials and reputation within
the EU, which implies sending capable representatives to Brussels. Romania lost one of its EP seats
due to the Lisbon reshuffle and now has 32 MEPs.
At the same time it will have to assert itself as an
engaged member state by participating in what EU
officials hope will be a European-level campaign.
In these first post-Lisbon Treaty elections, the
onus seems to be on the EP to prove it can meet
the expectations regarding its role within the EU,
especially the selection of the Commission President and genuine European elections. To this end,
the EP designed an EU-level four-step campaign
strategy, and asked all national parties to make
known as timely as possible their affiliations with
the European parties and the Commission candidate they support (EP Report, 12 June 2013
‘Improving the practical arrangements for the holding off the European elections in 2014’).
The first phase, termed Act.React.Impact, kicked off
in Bucharest in September 2013 and aims to famili-
arise voters with the role and responsibilities of
the EP ahead of the campaign start in February
2014. The date of the EP elections in Romania is
set for 25 May 2014, after an attempt to couple it
with the Presidential election now planned for November 2014. After a turnout of 29.4% in 2007 and
27.6% (EU average - 43.2%) in 2009 respectively,
the bar is set quite low for 2014. The latest Eurobarometer shows that 49% of Romanians trust the EP
(EU average 41%) and 67% are aware MEPs are
directly elected (52% EU average). However, national polls show that 18.7% of the electorate has not
decided whom to vote for, with 13.6% set on not
voting at all.
The majority of parties are expected to disclose
their candidates list in early spring. The Democrat
Liberal Party (PDL), currently holding 10 seats in
the EP (30% of votes in 2009), published a list of 35
candidates including four current MEPs, with the
final selection entrusted to the Central Political
Bureau. This year the party introduced specific
professional abilities criteria, among which a minimum of two years political activity and proof of
ability to cope with the EP’s workload (including
language requirements and knowledge of the EU
system). Previous MEPs are also asked to present a
rigorous activity report of their European mandate. These EP elections will be the first test for the
Democratic Liberal Party after its considerable
defeat in both local and parliamentary elections in
2012, and the subsequent internal conflicts that
have marred the party since. The internal party
divisions over party identity and policies make it
highly likely that the party will fail to meet the 20%
votes share it aims for and could lose a significant
number of its MEPs.
Speculation persists, at the time of writing, about a
potential electoral coalition and a common list of
candidates of centre-right parties. The Alliance for
Justice and Truth (between the Civic Force Party
and the Christian Democratic National Peasants’
Party, both part of the former Right Romania Alliance with the Democratic Liberal Party in the 2012
parliamentary elections), floated the idea of a National Unity Block as the only strategy to get more
seats than the Social Democrats. They saw the
May elections as a trial run for the presidential
ones in November, in which these parties could
continue in an alliance. The Democratic Liberal
party however unequivocally announced it will run
The current governing coalition, the Social Liberal
Union (USL) has clarified that its component parties - the Social Democratic Party, the National
Liberal Party and the Conservative Party - will run
as separate entities. The Social Democratic Party’s
leader, Victor Ponta, argued that the party has
higher stakes in these elections than securing its
number of MEPs (11 in 2009, with 31% of votes).
Nationally, the elections are an opportunity for the
party to show it has regained its stronghold. At the
European level, the, European Socialists Party (PES)
with which they are affiliated aims to secure more
seats than the European People’s Party (EPP) and
propose a candidate for European Commission
president. The Social Democrats intend to campaign on a ‘social Europe’ mandate, whilst advocating for further integration and counter-acting
increased populism and anti-EU sentiments. The
party seems eager to recover its democratic credentials and pro-European orientation (especially
after criticising the European Commission in the
summer of 2012 for interfering in domestic politics) and increase its EU-level presence.
In spite of the political turmoil in 2012 (the unconstitutional attempts to impeach president Basescu)
and the party’s weak economic performance, national polls show an average of 40% the electorate
still favours the Social Democrats for the EP elections. Its main partner in the current governing
coalition, the National Liberal Party (PNL), would
attract approximately 20% of voters, not far from
the main opposition Democratic Liberal Party at
15%. The same polls put the People’s Party-Dan
Diaconescu (PP-DD), the Civic Force and the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania (UDMR)
in the vicinity of a 5% share. The former’s performance may be problematic if it manages to build
on its unexpected success in the 2012 parliamentary election (14%). The People’s Party is an overtly
xenophobic, populist party which would add to the
group of Eurosceptic MEPs. Similarly, the New Republic Party – founded in June 2012 as an alternative to the existing centre-right parties – announced
it would join the European Conservatives and Reformists group in the EP. The party has already
Spring 2014
the population strongly support EU membership of the decision of the Council in November is posithe country.
tive and that Albania receives the deserved candidate status. In this context, Albanian authorities
After a first period with good results, with the Sta- have increased their efforts especially in the fight
bilization and Association Agreement entering into against corruption and organised crime, by achievforce, Albania experienced another difficult period ing impressive results in this short period of time,
with the political crisis following the 2009 elec- which were also recognized by the Commission
tions. For three years the EU integration process and other monitoring bodies. For a better strucwas overall stuck and the membership application ture of these efforts, the Ministry of European Insubmitted in 2009 did not achieve a positive rec- tegration in Albania coordinated with relevant auommendation from the EU Commission in the first thorities the preparation of an Action plan with
two years. The country experienced first hand short term measures. The results have been rehow domestic political instability can obstruct and markable so far.
slow down the process of EU integration, despite
its national consensus on the matter. EU official Despite these records, there are a few member
efforts and meetings for calming down the political states which are still sceptical about granting Albatension were not very efficient in the beginning, nia the candidate status in December. Their legitibut very useful in 2011. Following a more con- mate concerns have been based on particular areas
structive year in 2012, the Commission, after re- where Albania has not performed well in the past,
viewing the country’s performance and reporting and thus they require more tangible measures and
to the Council, recommended candidate status for results, despite the fact that the Commission has
Albania under the condition of the fulfilment of 12 recommended the candidate status with no condipriorities (falling under the political criteria). Apart tions. For this purpose Albanian authorities have
from these reforms needed, part of the condition- intensified their work domestically but also
ality set was also the guaranty for organizing and through a concentrated schedule of diplomatic
holding free and fair elections in June 2013. The meeting and visits in different member states in
Council decided not to grant candidate status and order to present Albanian government’s strong
wait for results during 2013.
commitment and the achieved results.
Albania showed important progress in fulfilling the In addition, in order to prepare the path for the
12 priorities and managed to hold free and fair next stage as well, the EU and Albania have
elections. This is why, in October 2013, the EU launched a framework for ‘High Level Dialogue’.
Commission recommended again the candidate
status for Albania, but this time with no conditions.
In addition, the Commission has set up the path
for the next stage (opening of negotiations) by
pointing out five key areas where Albania needs to show progress in order to
open membership negotiations, which
are: establishing a professional public
administration, reforming the judiciary
system, continuing the fight against corruption, the fight against organised crime
and enforcement of human rights, with
particular focus in property rights and
Roma community rights.
The new government that was
established in September has been fully
engaged in the process for ensuring that
On-Going Research
This section presents updates on the array of research on contemporary Europe that is currently being
carried out at the SEI by faculty and doctoral students.
SEI hosts migrant voting workshop
In September 2013, an interdisciplinary workshop
on ‘Migrant Voting in Europe’ was co-organised by
Dr Sue Collard (Politics/ Sussex European Institute
(SEI)) and Dr Michael Collyer (Geography/ Sussex
Centre for Migration Research (SCMR)),
highlighting their joint research interests in the
question of migrant voting. The event, held in the
beautifully elegant rooms of Stanmer House Conference Centre, was funded by the European
Commission as part of a series of events organised
by the SEI during 2012-13. The purpose of this
workshop was to bring together researchers who
are actively engaged in projects relating to voting
practices of migrants as both emigrants and immigrants, in order to review recent and current research activity and to chart potential directions for
future collaborative projects.
grees, of certain EU citizens (especially the Irish),
who are ‘penalised’ by their home states for exercising their right to freedom of movement. The
Commission has only very recently (Report on EU
Citizenship, 2013) taken official note of this situation, promising to examine the lack of harmonisation of national voting rights which currently inhibits the integration process.
The participants at the workshop, who came from
a range of universities in Spain, Italy, Belgium,
France, Sweden and the UK, currently approach
the central question of migrant voting from quite
different perspectives: some are primarily concerned with a ‘top down’ approach, examining reasons why states do or don’t enfranchise their expatriate citizens, what different voting systems they
use, and with what outcomes.
The broader context of the workshop was an
increasing international interest in the political significance of external voting, both in the academic
community and within governments worldwide.
Indeed, international migrants may now vote in a
number of different elections, both ‘at home and
abroad’, depending on a combination of factors
derived from legislation defined by both their nationality of origin (and/or acquisition), and by their
country of residence.
Others have preferred a more ‘bottom up’ evaluation of the voting practices of migrants as specific
nationality groups (French, Tunisians, Lebanese,
Ecuadorians, Colombians, Romanians and British),
sometimes in relation to a particular place of residence (Italy, London, Spain, France). However,
what became clear during the course of the
workshop is that there are many common themes
and research questions underlying a complex and
apparently somewhat disparate set of approaches
Within Europe, this can produce anomalous out- and interests.
comes for individual migrants, particularly within
the EU, where the local voting rights associated The event concluded with a discussion as to how
with European Citizenship do not compensate for to take forward a collective research agenda, as a
the national disenfranchisement, to varying de- result of which a proposal is currently being final-
Spring 2014
developed ties with the Conservative Party in the
UK (invited to the Party’s Conference in Manchester earlier this year), raising concerns over the
spread of national party based anti-EU sentiments.
In terms of the content of the campaign and the
national debate on European issues, the effects of
the Euro-crisis could fuel a more EU-centred contestation. The second phase of the EP’s campaign a series of events throughout European cities – will
also raise awareness on key topics such as the economy, jobs, quality of life, and money, which could
bring ‘Europe’ closer to the national campaign
(44% of Romanians think the economy is the main
problem facing the country). The opening of the
borders for Romania and Bulgaria in January 2014,
and the resistance of some member states to it
may fuel anti-EU debates at the national level, as
52% of Romanians identified free movement as the
symbol of the EU. This may force political parties
to take a clear stance on these issues. That being
said, the aggressive domestic party competition
and the proximity of the national presidential elections may infiltrate this debate, resulting in a cacophony of political messages. Some parties see EP
elections as a springboard for the presidential
ones, and the European message may become more of a valence issue, as it has been the case in the
Sweden: neutral no more?
take on an important role and start a debate regarding the supranationality of the EU and the issue of transparency. It is argued that the European
Election in 2014 is a litmus test for European legitiThe Social Democratic Workers macy.
Party led Sweden for a long period of time, in alliance with the For the European election in May the Social DemLeft Party and the Greens. Their ocrats want to put the labour market first, both on
power was only interjected the national and international arena. They argue
twice, once during the early 1980s and 1990s. that it is a massive failure that Europe has large
However, their power was interrupted again in youth unemployment – no one should be unem2006 when the Alliance (The Moderates, The ployed for more than 90 days. Furthermore, the
Liberal People’s Party, The Centre and the Chris- right-wing alliance join the election with separate
tian Democrats) won the Swedish Parliamentary party manifestos. The only thing they have in comelection. They gained power again in 2010, the first mon is that all parties want a new vote regarding
time a right-wing government wins two consecu- Sweden joining the Euro. The main question for
the Moderates on EU level is the European finantive elections in almost half a century.
cial crisis, climate change and cross-border crime.
Sweden has for a long time been seen as a neutral These are questions that European countries
actor on the political arena. However, national should work together on. However, compared to
politicians are now becoming more critical regard- the Social Democrats, the Moderates want to keep
ing Sweden’s membership and the transparency of labour market policies on a national level.
the EU. An argument has been presented that
Sweden needs a referendum concerning their EU The main question for the Liberal People’s Party is
membership and the other side state that we as risen by Birgitta Ohlsson, EU-minister for Sweden
European citizens need to work together to re- and member of the Liberal Folkpartiet Liberalerna
member what the European collaboration is all (FP). She argues that EU cannot continue to inteabout. It is something to be proud of. Sweden is grate and grow without being well established in
no longer a neutral, quiet actor but instead could the national spirit of their member states. In time
Maria Emilsson
SEI Doctoral Researcher
[email protected]
of financial difficulties, the belief in the EU
decreases and nationalistic parties win political
ground. We need to remind ourselves what the
European cooperation is all about and what we
have contributed together. There is free movement, and the European people have built up a
joint economy and we are the largest group of democracies on one continent which we could be
proud of.
trade decisions that we need to be part of. The SD
still want to travel freely within Europe and discuss
politics on the European arena. The main emphasis
for the SD is a collaboration agreement with the
EU, allowing Sweden to make their own decisions
regarding which questions to be a part of. The
Swedish population need to have their say in the
decision making, and a referendum is the perfect
way to go.
Nonetheless, there is an issue within the Union.
There is a glitch between the decision makers and
citizens and many believe the union to be too far
away and difficult to understand. It is impossible
for the EU to develop without being well established and democratically trustworthy. Furthermore, the Centre emphasise the need for lifelong
learning, while the Christian Democrats stresses
the fight against malaria, HIV/AIDS and climate
change. It is the role of the politician to teach their
national population about the EU, to teach them
about the EU collaboration and what it is all about.
In relation to, the Swedish Democrats (SD), the
nationalist populist party in Sweden has become
inspired by the Conservatives and David Cameron’s decision to hold a referendum regarding EU
membership. The SD argue that it is a great opportunity to ‘jump on the train’ since there are many
European parties with critical feelings regarding the
EU. The most important aspect for the SD is to
leave anything connected to supranational identity.
left outside the European market, and a number of
It does not matter where you stand on the political
spectrum or whether you agree with any of the
politicians mentioned in this piece, a debate needs
to be created and change needs to occur. To make
more people vote in the European election we
need to re-establish peoples belief in the EU and
show how it affect our everyday life. The argument
is that the European election is a litmus test for EU
legitimacy. Are people willing to give the European
collaboration a second chance, even though there
are clear issues regarding transparency, legitimacy
and inability to connect with the member state
population. Each vote that is not used will give
extra legitimacy for nationalistic populist parties.
EU cooperation is our best tool to solve joint
issues. It is about economy, competition, environmental threats and cross-board-crime, but to cover issues like this the EU need to stand for clear
values. Furthermore there needs to be a bigger
opportunity for transparency. The European population need to know what is happening, and more
opportunities to take part.
The Next Step Forward:
Albania’s EU integration process
Gentian Elezi
SEI Doctoral Researcher
Deputy Minister of European
Integration of Albania
[email protected]
States in the early 1990s. Its first years of democratic transition were challenging, with plenty of
exciting reforms and some backlash (such as the
civil unrests of 1997). However, from 2000, Albania’s relations with the EU were strengthened, especially due to the membership perspective, which
After more than four decades un- was made clear in the Thessaloniki summit of
der one of the most totalitarian and repressive 2003. This was very important, in particular for
communist regimes, Albania established diplomatic Albania where, according to a recent poll, 87% of
relations with Western Europe and the United
Spring 2014
ised for a Leverhulme International Network
which would enable participants to continue the
discussions over the coming three years. A bid has
also been entered by Dr Collyer as PI to the University of Sussex Research Development Fund to
finance a project on ‘Sustaining the Emigrant Voting Database’, which would harness expertise from
the Department of Informatics to update and
maintain the database that he developed in 2007.
A Business View of Europe
Dr Andreas Kornelakis
SEI Lecturer in Human
Resource Management
Department of Business &
Management, BMEc
[email protected]
very much interested in the implications of the EU
market integration for institutions and practices in
the labour realm. I adopt an approach that pays
attention to labour and business strategies within
their institutional and societal contexts. My most
recent publications appeared in journals such as:
Work, Employment & Society; European Journal of
I would like to start by saying Industrial Relations; and Transfer: European Review of
that the Sussex European Institute ‘feels like home’ Labour.
for more than one reason. I pursued my PhD in
European Political Economy, at the European Insti- I have attended a wide range of academic confertute of the London School of Economics, under ences including: the European Consortium for Pothe supervision of Prof Kevin Featherstone and Dr litical Research (ECPR), the Society for the AdChrista van Wijnbergen. Before embarking on my vancement of Socio-Economics (SASE), the IndusPhD, I completed an MSc in International Employ- trial Relations in Europe Conference (IREC), and
ment Relations and Human Resource Management. the European Group for Organization Studies
My thesis combined my interests and expertise, (EGOS). This reflects my commitment to theorylooking at the effects of EU liberalization on na- driven research that crosses conventional disciplitional labour market institutions and workplace nary boundaries. Like others, I do believe that inpractices. Whilst at the LSE, I was fortunate to ter-disciplinarity is what gives Sussex a distinctive
attend advanced doctoral workshops convened by identity. Thus, for more than one reason, I am dethe founder of SEI, Prof Dame Helen Wallace.
lighted to be part of SEI.
I joined the University of Sussex in October 2011, taking up the post of Lecturer
in Human Resource Management at the
newly formed Department of Business &
Management. Among other things, I developed and teach a postgraduate module on ‘The Business Context in Europe’.
This module essentially examines how
the European Union is shaping the business environment, acknowledging the
diversity of European business systems.
More broadly, my research interests involve different facets of globalization, and
their impact on the world of work and
the employment relationship. Since my
regional focus is largely on Europe, I am
SEI welcomes
Dr Hennl and Prof Musella
Dr Annika Hennl
SEI Visiting Fellow
[email protected]
I joined the Department of Politics in October as a
Visiting Fellow who is funded by a Research Fellowship of the German Research Foundation. Back
in Germany, I am a Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the Goethe University Frankfurt. Beforehand, in 2011, I gained my PhD from the University
of Cologne.
As a Comparativist, my broad aim is to understand
how the institutional underpinning of established
democracies impacts patterns of representation as
well as political performance. Also, I am interested
in institutional change and I seek to understand
why political parties reform the representative and
participatory linkages they provide. So far, my research focuses on three specific questions.
First, does the territorial state organisation matter
for effective policy making, and if so, in what way?
In a joined project with André Kaiser (University
of Cologne) and Jan Biela (University of Lausanne)
we have studied the effects of federalism and decentralisation on policy making and policy outputs
in a mixed-methods design. We have been able to
show that decentralised policy making has positive
effects whereas federalism has a slightly negative
impact on policy performance. The related findings
have been published both as peer-reviewed articles
(Comparative Political Studies, Politische Vierteljahresschrift), and, most recently, as a monograph
with ECPR Press (Policy Making in Multilevel Systems
Federalism, Decentralisation, and Performance in the
OECD Countries). Currently, I follow up on my in-
terest in Comparative Federalism by writing a
chapter on American Federalism for a handbook
on American Politics.
Second, how do mixed member electoral systems
impact political representation? While mixedmember systems are often portrayed as a panacea
for the flaws of both single-member district and
pure PR systems, little systematic evidence exists
as to how they impact patterns of political representation. Based on game-theoretic modelling as
well as quantitative studies, my research shows
that the effects of mixed-member systems on
women’s representation and legislative behavior
highly depend upon the specific context of party
competition. The respective findings have been
published in the Journal of Theoretical Politics and
Electoral Studies.
Currently, I am also engaged in a collaborative effort with Thomas Zittel (Goethe University Frankfurt) to understand the link between (mixed) electoral systems, personalized campaigning, and legislative behaviour.
While I am in Sussex, I will thoroughly delve into a
third research area: When do parties bring members (back) into policy making? With the help of
the substantive expertise on party politics that the
Department of Politics provides, I aim to understand why parties open up or further restrict processes of policy formulation. More specifically, my
comparative case studies on British, German, Austrian and Norwegian parties analyse the effects of
organisational crises on party members’ effective
rights to impact policies. In doing so, the project
seeks to shed light on a central aspect of intraparty democracy that has so far been largely neglected in studies on party organisational change.
Spring 2014
Prof Fortunato Musella
SEI Visiting Fellow
Assistant Professor of
Political Science,
University of Naples
Federico II
[email protected]
Fortunato Musella – Professor at the University of
Naples Federico II, where he teaches Political Science and Political Systems – will be in Sussex in the
next semester for some lessons on Italian Politics,
on the invitation of Prof Paul Webb. In particular
he will focus on the theme of the rise and fall of
the so-called Italian Second Republic, from the
change of party system in the early nineties to the
spread of Movimento5Stelle in the last months.
Moreover he will contribute in a Politics ResearchIn-Progress seminar – that will be entitled ‘The
two presidents. Cohabitation Italian Style’ – on
the advent of a sort of semipresidentialism in Italy
(19 March).
PhD in Political Science of the University of Florence, Fortunato Musella has been visiting scholar
at the Cornell University (New York, USA) and at
the Freie Universität (Berlin, Germany). He is currently member of the Executive Committee of the
Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica, and on the board
of PhD course in Social Sciences and Statistics,
University of Naples Federico II. His main research
interests include the study of government, presidential politics, political parties, and concept analysis.
His current scientific activities are mainly
dedicated to the study of the presidentialization
process that is changing many parliamentary democracies, and Italy in particular. Indeed during the
so called Second Republic the Italian Premier have
become the centre of governmental action, also
thanks to popular legitimacy derived by a sort of
direct election and new relevant powers to realize
his political programme. Nevertheless the Presidente del Consiglio has not often able to conduct his
own coalition, or even his party, in parliamentary
activities. In addition to this, such context seems
to reinforce the figure of the President of the Republic, who develops a direct relationship with
public opinion, intervenes in the legislative process
more and more often than in the past, and, above
all, is a determinant actor in forming governments
(as Monti and Letta executives have shown). Such
processes raise the question whether it can be
indicated the development of a “cohabitation
Italian style”, showing the evolution of a new form
of government.
Another relevant field of research refers to political concepts. Indeed Fortunato Musella participates
to an international project conducted by Mauro
(Hyperpolitics,, which aims at fostering an
innovative approach to concept formation by defining the keywords of the discipline through a matrix of logically consistent relationships. He is also
editing a dictionary with a good number of entries
following this method (with Mauro Calise, Concetti
Chiave, Maggioli, forthcoming).
Finally, a more recent research interest regards
the transformation of political parties, especially
after the impact of new technologies. While some
authors have considering the political parties as in
an inexorable process of decline, as they are failing
to respond to a series of relevant social challenges,
others have underlined that significant opportunities to create direct contact between politicians
and citizens are coming from the Net, through the
establishment of some form of direct democracy.
However, it remains to be seen how the Internet
could allow citizens to participate, as well as the
consequences of the intensive use of new technologies to the organization and functions of the political parties, the true architrave of representative
democracy during the last century.
Among his recent publications the volumes Governi
monocratici. La svolta presidenziale nelle regioni italiane (Bologna, Il Mulino, 2009) and Il premier diviso.
Italia tra presidenzialismo e parlamentarismo (Milano,
Bocconi, 2012), and forty book chapters and articles published in Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica,
Rivista Italiana di Politiche Pubbliche, Quaderni di
Scienza Politica, and European Political Science
Everyday Life in Communist Albania
material. Through a carefully selected set of research sites to represent rural and urban areas;
cooperatives, state farms and industries; the north
and the south; major cities and border villages, the
research extends the geographical spread over the
entire country, thus making it a unique study of its
kind so far, at least in the Albanian context.
Prof Russell King
SEI Professor of Geography
[email protected]
We started out with four themes of interest in
mind: work, leisure, family and gender, but expanded our scope to respond to other issues that were
prominent in the reflections of our research parDr Julie Vullnetari
ticipants, enabled by our methodological approach
Research Follow, Department of Geography of unstructured interviews following standard oral
[email protected]
history practice (Thompson 2000).
What was life really like in communist Albania?
This simple and broad question is at the centre of
a research project that I and Prof. Russell King
have been working on for the last three years. The
setting of Albania is unique given that during its
phase of ‘actually existing socialism’ (cf. Verdery
1996) it followed a very orthodox Stalinist path of
development, which swung to the other extreme
of free-for-all capitalism after the regime’s demise
in the early 1990s.
The process of ‘building socialism’ in Albania relied
heavily on the unpaid labour of many individuals
and groups, such as political prisoners, army recruits, and young men and women in labour campaigns (aksione). Women were a central pillar as
full-time workers, as mothers/carers and as homemakers. Despite their large-scale emancipation,
especially through education, patriarchy continued
to frame relations in the domestic sphere. The
country’s severe isolation from the outside world
was effectuated through a combination of terror,
As someone who grew up in communist Albania I propaganda (from cradle to grave), militarisation
have very vivid memories of life under, and very and panopticon surveillance.
mixed feelings about, Hoxha’s regime. Whilst this
provides valuable insights from an insider’s per- Yet ordinary people were able to use and manipuspective, the overall research seeks to construct late as necessary the ‘system’ through a myriad of
an ‘historical ethnography’ of everyday life by tak- everyday life ‘tactics’, giving rise to creative reing a systematic and academically rigorous ap- sistance against the repressive aspects of the reproach to narratives of a broad range of people gime (de Certeau 1984[1980]). These are only a
who lived through that time.
few of the key findings selected for the Euroscope
readers; if it whets your appetite, keep an eye out
Some 120 ‘ordinary’ Albanians aged 40+ were in- for the monograph scheduled for publication in
terviewed for the project, their backgrounds rang- 2014-15 as the key output of the project. Shorter
ing from the milkmaid and shepherd to the teach- pieces of writing such as journal articles, book
er, party secretary, member of the People’s As- chapters and working papers which are published,
sembly and the former political prisoner. These in press or in the pipeline can help quench curiosioral history narratives are complemented with 20 ty in the meantime. Of course you could also get
key interviews conducted mainly in the capital Ti- in touch with the researchers if you would like to
rana, as well as other documentary research com- know more.
prising archival, statistical, photographic and film
Spring 2014
Political parties & Brussels
fieldwork report
Roxana Mihaila
SEI Doctoral Researcher
[email protected]
My latest trip to Brussels in October 2013, made possible by the
Francois Duchene Travel Bursary
(Sussex European Movement),
facilitated a series of interviews which helped me
fill in the blanks in understanding the EU treatymaking process on the one hand, and the nature of
party political engagement with it on the other.
My research looks at the relationship between
national political parties and EU decision-making,
with a particular focus on the Lisbon and the Fiscal
Compact Treaties. It seeks to understand the factors that prompt and further condition this involvement, and to inquire deeper into the relationship between domestic politics and supranational
The data for this analysis originated with an overview of national parliamentary debates and national party documents, as well as primary EU documents, which provided the starting point for the
Brussels inquiries. The restricted access to EU
documents, due to the contemporaneity of these
events and the confidentiality constraints around
them, made interviews critical in constructing a
coherent picture of the treaty-making process.
The interviews started from a purposefully chosen
list of interviewees which later inevitably snowballed into a larger network of experts, national
party members, civil servants and EU officials in
the Parliament, Commission and Council.
Recent EU developments have underlined a series
of combustible policy areas for the EU – immigration, economic and fiscal integration, enlargement
and treaty reform among others. All this has perpetuated a sense of the EU in crisis, in light of
which one would expect an increased reaction
from the national levels than in ‘regular’ decision-
making times. However, headline-grabbing reactions from national political parties to EU developments only seldom translate into direct intervention into EU decision-making.
My interviews revealed that both EU officials and
members of national parliaments have their own,
sometimes competing, understanding of the role
of political parties in the EU architecture. In spite
of a rhetoric of increased involvement of national
parliaments in EU decision-making, the engagement of political parties beyond the avenue of the
European Parliament or trans-national parties
seems to remain limited and subtle. By and large
the EU attracts, still, little interest from the national level.
Similar concerns about inter-level co-operation
were echoed during a symposium on intra- and
inter-institutional co-operation in the EU I attended while in Brussels, which resulted from a multidisciplinary project co-ordinated by Maastricht
University. This gave me the opportunity to interact with scholars and practitioners, and representatives from EU institutions, who juxtaposed the
‘insider’ experience with research findings and
‘outsider’ perceptions. Comments revolved
around the idea that the EU itself is adapting to
the post-Lisbon institutional setup – including
more informal mechanisms of co-operation as well
- and therefore the dynamics both between and
within institutions may be in a process of
Organisational change and
post-Islamism in Turkey
Toygar Sinan Baykan
SEI Doctoral Researcher
[email protected]
As a part of my research on the
rise and electoral success of the
Justice and Development Party, I
conducted a couple of initial interviews in Turkey during the summer. Interviews
with high ranked Islamist National View movement
members, in other words Felicity Party leaders,
were followed by interviews with the some of the
former chairs of the Justice and Development Party in various cities in Turkey.
Although these initial interviews did not reveal a
particularly new or surprising content with regard
to the existing literature, they were quite useful in
terms of grasping the difference between Justice
and Development Party and its predecessor Islamist National View parties. It indeed seems that the
supporters of the parties of National View Tradition has had a much higher level of ideological
commitment compared to the Justice and Development Party cadres. The rapid re-emergences of
the Islamist National View parties after every closure by the Constitutional Court also demonstrate
this point.
The interviews also revealed two distinct strategies in terms of the engagement of these two different political entities with the state. While the
Islamist National View tradition has always followed a strategy of constructing parallel state-like
institutions and relationships vis-a-vis the establishment, the Justice and Development Party has embraced the strategy of encapsulating the already
existing institutions and relationships.
to the women and youth branches of the party.
Nevertheless interviewees also implied that the
women’s branches of the Justice and Development
Party has been working better than its youth
branches. The other important point underlined by
almost every interviewee was the undisputable
predominance of the party leader and prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over organizational affairs.
It also seems that the problems of heterogeneity in
the party is also overcome by this predominance.
Thus it seems that there has been a decisive shift
from an ideologically very robust and coherent,
organisationally very cohesive party to a more heterogeneous political entity kept together by the
predominance of the leader and his internal and
external charisma. This shift also corresponds to a
strategic shift from the construction of state-like
institutions to the encapsulation of already existing
institutions and established relationships.
In this sense, the parties of the Islamist National
View tradition can be considered as an anachronistic yet a very successful revival of a mass party-like
organisation in Turkey particularly throughout the
1990s. On the contrary with this, Justice and Development Party might be considered as a
personalistic, predominant catch-all party with a
loose ideology and with less strong bonds with the
masses except its leader. The rise of post-Islamism
in Turkey can also be interpreted from the perspective of this organisational evolution of Islamism
in Turkey alongside the ideological change.
These interviews also illustrated that the Justice
and Development Party has only inherited certain
strategies from the Islamist National View tradition
in organizational terms: the importance attached
Spring 2014
The Transformation of
the Caribbean Left
Ayodele Jabbaar
SEI Doctoral Researcher
[email protected]
I commenced my PhD in Politics in January 2013 after
completing my masters’ degree at Birkbeck,
University of London in Global Politics. At Sussex I am
conducting my research under Professors Paul
Webb and Dan Hough.
My PhD research focus is on the Caribbean region
with an emphasis on Left politics in the region. My
intended approach is to test the arguments raised
by some theorists that the Anglophone Caribbean
Left tends to shift rightwards, specifically, I intend
to test these arguments against the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) of Guyana, a traditional party
of the Caribbean Left that has controlled governmental power from 1992 to the present.
At this stage in my research I am drawing on the
work of Perry Mars who in his book Ideology and
Change: The Transformation of the Caribbean Left
argued that the Caribbean Left tends to shift rightwards. The rightward shift entails an emphasis on
neoliberal policies such as; (1) giving priority to
privatization and market oriented policies, for instance the sale of public enterprises; (2) emphasis
on private rights and property; (3) accent on a
limited civil and human rights instead of rights that
encapsulate broader and more progressive social
and economic demands such as the right to work,
pensions, minimum wages, a shorter working
week, universal healthcare; (4) and support for
domestic and foreign private investment
This rightward shift could be attributed to the nature of Caribbean economies, military pressures
exerted by hegemonic states within the international state system and the internal weaknesses of
the Caribbean Left. Caribbean economies exhibit
certain features. Exports represent a high propor-
tion of national output and imports represent a
high proportion of national expenditure; and export industries are largely foreign owned. Therefore some of the economic consequences are that
the level of income and employment and the rate
of economic growth are dependent on: demand
and prices in foreign markets; the decisions of
foreign corporations on investment and the sourcing of raw materials; and the decisions of foreign
governments regarding trade preferences.
The political consequence of this economic arrangement is that the Caribbean political class including the Left elite is vulnerable to pressures
emanating from external sources specifically the
dominant states and international lending institutions such as the IMF and World Bank. These
pressures take the form of demands to accommodate to stringent conditionalities imposed under
the Washington and Post-Washington consensus.
In terms of military pressures the Caribbean since
1953 has experienced as many as 10 military interventions directed primarily at Left-wing regimes
and carried out mainly by the United States.
The rightward shift also has its origins in the internal weakness of the Caribbean Left. These are
splits and factions at the helm of Left political parties; vanguardist organizational strategies; and ethno-political mobilization strategies. These factors
have the effect of alienating the Left leadership
from its support base or potential supporters, thus
making the external pressures mentioned above
effective and ultimately pushing the Left movement
to the right.
Anti-Corruption in
Post-Communist States
Helen Keighley
SEI Doctoral Researcher
[email protected]
I am pleased to be re-joining the
Sussex research community as
of September 2013, under the
watchful eyes of my supervisors, Profs Aleks
Szczerbiak and Dan Hough. As part of my PhD I
will be focusing on anti-corruption measures in a
selection of Central and Eastern European countries following their accession to the EU.
My academic journey began at University of Sussex
back in 2006, when I started an undergraduate degree in Politics which I graduated from in 2009.
During this period I took electives on Political
Corruption (with Dan Hough) and Eastern Europe
in Transition (with Aleks Szczerbiak) which stirred
my initial interests in Central and Eastern European politics and in the study of petty and grand corruption.
After my undergraduate degree, I took a few years
away from academia, in which I worked for a local
council housing organisation and worked with the
Leeds Equality and Diversity committee. I also
worked with the Leeds Chamber of Commerce, as
a policy assistant, which included the opportunity
to work with local businesses and the Ministry of
Justice during the consultation phase for the creation of the UK Bribery Act 2010.
In September 2011 I returned to the world of academia and began an International Masters in
Russian, Central and Eastern European Studies.
This two year Masters course involved spending a
year studying at the University of Glasgow and a
year studying at the Corvinus University of Budapest in Hungary. Although I maintained my interest
in the study of corruption during this time, my
Masters dissertation focussed on the topic of lustration and decommunisation policy in Hungary
and (East) Germany.
The main focus of my current research is anticorruption policy in the EU’s post-communist
member states. Due to the increasingly close political, legal and economic links which are being
forged within the union, creating proper controls
for corruption and encouraging effective anticorruption policy in EU member states is an important concern for all those involved. However,
early academic research and research by NGOs
such as Transparency International and Freedom
House suggest that anti-corruption policies have
not been implemented at all or that the policies
which have been introduced are not working
properly in some of the EU post-communist member states. However, some of the other new member states have been commended on the effectiveness of their policies.
Funding Regimes and Corruption
Sam Power
SEI Doctoral Researcher
[email protected]
Sussex and am delighted to have joined the research community under the supervision of Professor Dan Hough and Professor Paul Webb. I am on
the 1+3 pathway, therefore this year I am studying
In September 2013 I began my for an MSc in Social Research Methods whilst conESRC funded PhD study at tinuing to work on my doctorate. I completed a
Spring 2014
BA in Contemporary History and Politics here in
2010 and after a few years away from academia –
during which I worked as a manager on the ‘Yes
To Fairer Votes’ AV referendum campaign and as a
consultant for the Electoral Reform Society – I
returned to Sussex in 2012 as part of the first cohort of students to enrol on the fledgling MA in
Corruption and Governance. My dissertation
‘Party Funding Regimes and Corruption: The UK in
Comparative Context’ was given the inaugural
Award for Outstanding Corruption Analysis by the
Sussex Centre for the Study of Corruption
in place fosters unfair, unequal access to political
actors and therefore unfair influence on the political process. The change that occurs often happens
in the direction of a move away from a prevalence
of private funding towards a system of further
state subsidy. However, there has been little research – academic or otherwise – that has explicitly attempted to find linkages between the type of
party funding regime and the type of corruption
that may occur. Put differently, there is an
(understudied) assumption that a system of state
subsidy will be a less corrupt system. An aim of my
research is to challenge this assumption. In fact, I
theorise that certain types of party funding regime
This dissertation was based (in part) on my doc- are not necessarily less corrupt than other types,
toral research, currently titled ‘Party Funding Re- but that perhaps different types of corruption ocgimes and Corruption: Relationships, Linkages and cur in different types of party funding regime.
Trends’ which will investigate whether a certain
type of party funding regime leads to a prevalence It is important to understand more about the relaof a certain type of corruption. The research will tionship between how democracy is funded and
be a comparative study of six advanced industrial how that may lead to specific types of corrupt
democracies in Western Europe categorised as practice. By gaining deeper insights in to the relafollows: Austria and Denmark – countries in which tionship between the funding of Western democpublic funds account for more than 75 per cent of racy and the phenomenon of corruption we can
parties’ income; France and Netherlands – those make recommendations that are not just specific
countries in which public and private funds account to the countries involved, but also to those interfor 25-75 per cent of parties’ income and the Unit- ested in creating and developing effective demoed Kingdom and Switzerland – those countries in cratic institutions and processes elsewhere. These
which private funds account for more than 75 per linkages are immensely important in helping us uncent of parties’ income.
derstand not just why specific types of corruption
appear in particular jurisdictions, but also in
Institutional change of the party funding regime is developing recommendations as to how to then
often driven by the notion that the funding regime counteract corrupt practices.
The EU’s Enlargement Conditionality
in the Fight Against Corruption
Liljana Cvetanoska
SEI Doctoral Researcher
[email protected]
I started my PhD research in the
Department of Politics in September
2013, after having been awarded a
Chancellor’s International Research Scholarship
for doctoral research by the University of Sussex.
My academic interests and research background
are in the area of fight against corruption and European Union enlargement. I am conducting my
research under the supervision of Prof Aleks
Szczerbiak and Prof Dan Hough, and I am particularly interested in exploring the impact that the
European Union has, by the use of conditionality,
on the fight against corruption in the accession
process of candidate countries.
By employing comparative qualitative approach in
analysing the implementation of specific
anticorruption rules and policies in selected cases,
my research aims to study the effects of the European Union’s enlargement conditionality on the
fight against corruption. The research will also try
to answer if the European Union is willing to compromise the legitimacy of its enlargement conditionality on anti-corruption by granting membership even if anticorruption progress is lacking in
practice, and if so, in which anticorruption areas a
demonstrated progress is required, and in which
areas harmonization of the legislation will suffice?
In addition, the study will explore the limits and
the evolving character of the enlargement conditionality, and will make suggestions for possible
improvements in order to contribute for a more
effective fight against corruption.
conditionality has on the fight against judicial corruption in candidates for accession. I also hold an
MA in Contemporary European Studies: Politics,
Policy and Society from the University of Bath and
the University of Siena. During these studies, I specifically looked at the influence that the European
Union has on the candidate countries in the process of harmonization of the acquis communautaire.
In addition, I hold a Bachelor of Laws degree from
the “Ss. Cyril and Methodius” University, Macedonia with a specialization in Criminal Law.
I have worked in the public, private and not-forprofit sectors. I worked as a project researcher
and coordinator for Transparency International
Macedonia on a regional project for measuring anti
-corruption progress in candidate countries as part
of the EU accession process. I have also worked on
the process of harmonization and implementation
of national laws and policies with European legislaPrior to joining the University of Sussex, I complet- tion, as a selected fellow for an internship proed an MA by Research in Law at Queen Mary Uni- gramme of the European Commission.
versity of London. Throughout the course of these
studies, I predominantly focused on analysing the
influence that the European Union's enlargement
Spring 2014
SEI staff and doctoral students and Sussex Politics Department undergraduates report back on their
experiences of the exciting activities they have recently organised and attended.
2013 European Year of
Citizens Conference
Dr Sue Collard
zenship being one of them: the hopes of those
SEI Senior Lecturer in Politics who saw Maastricht as a new beginning in this [email protected]
pect were widely acknowledged to have been over
optimistic, and my paper on participation in local
As the European Year of Citizens elections by non-national EU citizens in Britain and
drew to a close with no major France endorsed this view. It was clear from disconference to mark it in the UK, it cussion however that most participants wanted to
was refreshing to attend a three find ways of fighting back against the growing
day event in France on 14-16 November which set numbers of Eurosceptics that threaten France’s
out to challenge the dominant discourse of Euros- long standing commitment to the EU, and in this
cepticism which has even started to take a hold in respect the agenda was not simply academic.
France, to the extent that the National Front is
widely predicted to win the most seats in the EP Indeed, the wider political context of this pro/anti
elections next May. This was an interdisciplinary EU debate was provided by various road blocks
conference organised jointly by the faculties of and street protests organised by the ‘red caps’
History, Political Science and Law at the University movement that has been building up in Brittany
of Nantes and the thirty speakers were an inte- over recent months, bringing together a rather
resting mix of established and early career resear- eclectic set of protestors whose various
chers, alongside a healthy number of doctoral and ‘doléances’ are symptomatic of the growing ambipost-doctoral students. The sessions were all ple- valence with regard to the EU: having reaped the
naries, attracting a big enough audience to fill a benefits of heavy investment subsidies in industrialarge lecture theatre, many of them students on lised pig and poultry farming under the CAP for
the Euromasters programme which, unlike similar many decades, Brittany’s farmers are now facing
programmes in the UK, continues to attract signifi- stiff competition from cheaper production in forcant numbers. It was heartening to feel that here mer communist countries and many are facing
at least there was still a lively interest in things bankruptcy, with knock on effects across the
European, and what struck me most during the whole regional economy. Since the current Prime
conference was a strong ongoing commitment Minister used to be the mayor of Nantes, the gofrom most participants to the ideals of the Euro- vernment is finding it hard to ignore their depean Project that have never been widely unders- mands.
tood in the UK.
The whole proceedings were recorded by the loBut there was also recognition that the EU had cal radio station EuradioNantes, which must be
lost its way in many key areas, European Citi- unique in its aim ‘to contribute to build a civic Eu-
ropean awareness made of cultures, initiatives and
various sensitivities from across Europe’, which it
does by putting every news item it features into a
European context and seeking comparisons with
other European countries. Hard to imagine such a
venture in the UK, and yet it is surely what is badly
needed if we are ever to break out of our ‘little
islander’ mindset.
founded organisation ‘New Europeans’ which plans
to promote the value of EU citizenship in the UK
and to campaign for Britain to remain in the EU
during the in / out referendum. I was invited to
speak at their launch event ‘Europeans on the
Move’, at Europe House in November, which was
a small event, especially compared to the big conference in Nantes, but there are plans for rapid
growth and the SEI will be contributing to this in a
Yet there are also still some committed Europeans series of events ‘Connecting Citizens’ to be held
here in the UK, as demonstrated by the newly throughout 2014.
SEI research student appointed
to Albanian government
Gentian Elezi, a doctoral student in the Sussex European
Institute (SEI) and a graduate
of the an MA in European
Politics at the SEI in 2006-07,
has been appointed deputy
minister responsible for European integration in the new
Albanian government.
“These are very exciting times to be involved directly in the Albanian European integration process and the next stages - hopefully, the opening of
formal accession negotiations - promise to be even
more interesting.
“I strongly believe that, apart from my work and
activism in my home country, my academic background has had a considerable impact on the government's decision to offer me this post. “From
this perspective, my MA in European Politics and
current PhD project on the implementation challenges of Albania’s EU membership preparation
have been huge assets. “It is no coincidence that
my main responsibilities as deputy minister will
relate to the institutional co-ordination of the EU
integration process between Brussels and the Albanian ministries, which is the main focus of my
postgraduate studies at Sussex.”
This follows a decision by Albanian prime minister
Edi Rama, who took office in September, to invite
representatives from civil society - particularly academics with expertise in European integration - to
become more directly involved in the process of
government. Membership of the European Union
(EU) is the country’s main strategic objective. In
October, the European Commission recommended that the EU should give Albania candidate status
and EU governments will decide on whether to SEI Co-Director Professor Aleks Szczerbiak, comformalise this at a summit in December.
mented: “I am delighted to hear about Gentian’s
ministerial appointment and that he feels that his
Commenting on his new appointment, Gentian Sussex experience has played such an important
said: “As I have been working on EU issues most role in opening up this great new opportunity for
of my time in the last few years (in academia and him. “He has been a real asset to our postgraduate
think tanks) and have been active in the domestic and research community over the years and this is
public debate on European integration as a scholar, great news for him, for Sussex and - indeed - for
I was given this incredible opportunity and respon- Albania.”
sibility to engage directly with the process from an
institutional position.
“The SEI believes strongly in making its research
policy relevant and accessible to a wide range of
non-academic audiences, including: policy-makers,
Spring 2014
think tanks, NGOs, the media and business com- deliver research and postgraduate training that is
munity. “Gentian’s appointment exemplifies the relevant to – practitioners audiences as a core eleway that SEI-based researchers engage with - and ment of our rationale and ethos.”
MA in Contemporary European
Studies Student Report
Ivan Kosturkov
MA Contemporay European Studies
[email protected]
long time now politicians have learned to be servants of the people they represent. And yet – in
their strike the bottom line had been a broken
promise, and lack of response on behalf of the authorities, the unwillingness to debate or discuss.
Was there need of a gale of change? Or could it all
be accounted as a universal political chariness to
strike a fair deal. I had come to Sussex exactly at
that same time, after 4 years at my home university, with enough experience from my studies at
Loughborough and Northwestern, Illinois, I had
earned through my magna cum laude and my
TOEFL results a most prestigious and cherished
scholarship, The Lady Monica Cockfield Memorial
Award, and have been supporting with my humble
savings the local economy – but here I could recognize a deficiency of moral issues so familiar, that
I wondered if that was the reason why The Scorpions had titled their album Crazy World?
Far more than Pink Floyd’s The Wall, another song,
a rock ballad, by the German group The Scorpions
symbolizes for East Europeans the spirit of liberation and democracy: The Wind of Change. 23 years
later, when the Scorpions toured again this part of
the world, ‘the children of tomorrow’ do not
seem to be happier than their parents with their
living status. During the past year, since February
2013 a series of protests in Bulgaria express the
bitter political disillusionment and the sensation of
hopelessness: the protests of the citizens ranged
from more radical against austerity measures to
carnivalesque repudiation of the idea that the former Communist Party can lead the reforms. In
October 2013 the students of the major Bulgarian
university occupied their Alma Mater and appealed And round the calendar again, yet another issue
to their colleagues throughout the country to fol- was emerging: some British politicians had started
low their example.
reconsidering one of the proud ‘4 freedoms of the
EC’, the free movement of people, outlining apocaIn previous periods all such political actions had lyptic visions of Romanians and Bulgarians plunderbeen very effective, yet, although the government ing Britain. A vision that cannot happen because it
resigned in February and new elections were held is simply impossible. In addition to the limited
in June, next to nothing changed this time and the number of Bulgarian students barely visible or recromantic desire for change now was replaced by ognizable in UK, throughout the decades just a few
the pessimistic realization no fair deal is possible. dozens of thousands of Bulgarians had legally esThe present protests seem to be united around a tablished themselves in UK, earning their daily and
single moral purpose: the issue of honesty, of paying their dues like elsewhere in Europe. It does
trust, of absence of fair deal.
not make sense why their numbers will catastrophically increase as if by magic.
But then, 1200 miles west of Sofia, since the beginning of their autumn term the students of Sussex There is however a problem ‘which has no name’,
University also went on strike. They do not seem the real fear is of the arrival of Roma social beneto be facing such very complicated political, social fits seekers. Roma who are nationals of all Europeor economic issues and concerns; they were born an member and non-member states. Whilst an
in a prosperous Western democracy where for estimated maximum number of 15 000 Roma of
those residing in Bulgaria (out of 12 mln. round the
world) could be viewed as potential migrants,
there is a good reason to remember the Romany
are multi-ethnic, multilingual, multi-religious and
multinational and that the number of the illiterate,
uneducated, unskilled of them who are only seeking to ravage the social benefit system of Britain is
disparagingly small. Otherwise Roma have long
become well integrated both in their home culture
and in foreign cultures. The real problems of the
itinerant Romany is not a concern of single national government, be it British or Bulgarian, but of the
EU inclusion and migration policies. Because: do
they too deserve a fair deal, as they have no Gypsy
land? And we can keep listening to the Crazy World
MA in Corruption: First Impressions
Iñaki Ardigo
MA in Corruption and Governance student
[email protected]
existence unless you approached them. The tutors choose guests that actually contribute to and
compliment the material reviewed, and that relate
life experiences about the places most students
It's very difficult to explain my first impressions of hope to be in a few years.
Sussex Uni. It was a cold September night, there
was a Fresher's event going on, and the streams of Academic life does not have separate spheres as in
partied up students flowed left and right. I had a other institutions. On a daily basis, you see undersimilar impression when I got off the train for the graduates, post-grads and tutors talking, cooperatfirst time at 3 in the morning a few days earlier: ing on projects or even hanging out discussing the
legions of enthusiastic youth holding up their battle news. There are Research in Progress seminars
standard of alcohol for the world to see. If first that lift the curtain for students on subjects that
impressions stick, it is only to disprove them, to lift they are interested in or could potentially be interup the curtains on them, and to debunk them.
ested in, giving them the opportunity to have their
questions and suggestions heard by staff. It gives
I came to Sussex after studying in both the Univer- anyone involved in this academic community the
sity of Toronto, in Canada, and Torcuato Di Tella sense that they are just like their peers, and it emUniversity, in Argentina, for my undergraduate de- phasizes the fact that there is still a lot to be learnt
gree. I had already experienced two very different from one another about the world.
university systems, and yet I had no idea what to
expect from the University of Sussex. After a few I related alcohol steeped first impressions because
months studying here, I can confidently say I am I believe that many people will see the University
where I want to be. Not only does the university just so, a place to do the bare minimum, get a deoffer one of the few MA programmes in Govern- gree, and party the rest of the time. I believe, howance and Corruption in the world, it goes above ever, that the University of Sussex offers so many
and beyond to help students learn.
opportunities, that it is easy to go beyond your
own expectations and expand your knowledge and
The tutors that teach this MA try their hardest to experience more than ever before. I think that the
engage with the students. They offer students hon- best quote I heard about this came from one of
est answers about the material presented and en- the guides on the library tours: “You CAN get
courage discussions and debates about that materi- more out of Sussex than Sussex gets out of you.”
al. They share relevant news stories, e-mail students about their interests and constantly give
feedback on all aspects of the class. This is very
detached from my previous experience of having
tutors lecture and then virtually disappear from
Spring 2014
Sussex EU Society
Daniel Markham
Sussex EU Society
[email protected]
Since its creation in 2011, the University of Sussex
European Union Society has developed and matured into a student society that has attempted to
spark the interest of students across departments
on a wide range European issues. Fresher’s Fair
2013 was a great success, with an upsurge in student membership and expanding participation in
events held last semester. The Society is achieving
its goal of ever-greater student participation.
Some of the topics that we plan to discuss are:
Immigration within the EU
EU relations with China
UK membership of the EU
The EU on the world stage
The single currency and the survival of the
2014 Euro-election and the future
The Society has also planned a trip to Prague in
February 2014 which will focus on Eastern European integration. The trip will be a great opportunity
for members to immerse themselves in Czech culture, history and politics, and it will allow Sussex
This past year has seen the UK’s relationship with students to experience the effect of EU memberthe EU under increasing strain, with Prime Minis- ship on a former communist state.
ter David Cameron declaring his intention to hold
an in-out referendum on EU membership after the For those of you that have already joined us, we
2015 general election, and the coalition govern- look forward to seeing you at our events this sement intensifying its attack upon EU immigration mester. For those who are interested, you can join
and further political integration. With the 2014 us through the USSU website or just by attending
European Parliamentary elections being held in one of our meeting and signing up. You can find us
May, the University of Sussex European Union So- online
ciety intends to hold lectures, discussions and de- or you can email us
bates concerning Britain’s place in the EU and wid- at [email protected]
er European issues that affect the Union as a
Sussex Politics Society
Bethan Hunt
Co-President, Sussex Politics Society
[email protected]
The Politics Society kicked off the new academic
year with a bigger committee than ever before.
With some fresh faces, we saw our committee
expand to ten people. Our first event was the University’s annual Freshers’ Fair, with the important
task of signing up new members and promoting
our upcoming talks. We had a great reception,
with numerous students showing their enthusiasm
for our commitment to debates in contemporary
politics with a neutral stance,. For this reason we
have decided to cover a wide range issues in the
talks we hold, in order to attract students from all
The Politics Society has a long tradition of celebrating Black History Month, and this year we
were particularly interested in the debate surrounding gender and cultural misunderstanding in
the UK. For this reason, we invited the Labour
parliamentary candidate for Brighton Pavilion, Purna Sen whose dynamic background includes work
for Justice for Gay Africans, Amnesty International,
head of Public Affairs at LSE and research focused
on racial equality in the UK. Purna held an intimate
Q&A session drawing on her personal experiences
of working for Southall Black Sisters. This organisation focused on helping vulnerable women, main-
ly those who had been failed by their local councils. Through this she recalled a case whereby a
young illiterate woman was exploited sexually and
financially; this drove the woman to murder the
man who controlled her. When this case came to
the courts the judge stated that ‘her relationships
with men said that she was not behaving as Asian
women should’. This, she argued highlighted the
lack of cultural understanding we are currently
experiencing in Britain. This led us to a discussion
about the highly controversial topic of honour killings, with Purna observing that the even the term
‘honour’ now holds such negative connotations,
with the automatic assumption that it means killings. Purna’s talk was truly compelling and led to a
varied discussion.
It has been impossible to ignore the media attention and debate around intervention in Syria and
Libya. We wanted to gain a perspective from an
international organisation and we chose the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Mona Sadek spoke to our members about the action
of the ICRC, the extremely complicated political
contexts in Libya and Syria, as well as to actively
engage with the thorny debate on humanitarian
intervention. Our next talk focused on controversial international issues; we invited Polly Rossdale
from Reprieve. This is the legal charity which assists prisoners facing the death penalty as well as
prisoners held beyond the rule of law in the 'war
on terror' in Guantanamo Bay. Polly talked about
Reprieve’s aspirations of Guantanamo Bay being
closed, due to President Obama’s commitment.
She argued that Obama has exacerbated the situation, as many now believe that the prison which
she described as a “legal loophole” has been shut
down so campaigning on this issues has become
stagnant. As Alexis (our co-president) had interned with Reprieve over summer, Polly encouraged students in the audience to become involved.
This event was extremely popular, attracting over
100 people.
We are keen to maintain our diverse range of
speakers; our next event is with Benjamin Hoff, a
Research Fellow at Sussex. He will be drawing on
his own personal experiences of growing up in the
GDR and living under an authoritative government.
Following on, we are proud to be welcoming back
Professor Tim Bale, who will be discussing his current research project on Conservative Party Membership and the apparent threat of loss of support
due to UKIP.
The Politics Society is keen to maintain this momentum. We are in the process of planning a
‘Question Time’ panel event for the candidates for
Brighton Pavilion.
Spring 2014
As usual, this Dispatches section brings views, experiences and research updates from SEI members
and practitioner fellows from across Europe and beyond, but most with a connection to the EP
elections to fit with this special issue.
2014 EP elections:
Will it be different this time?
Prof Michael Shackleton
Special Prof of EU Justice,
University of Maastricht
SEI Visiting Practitioner
[email protected]
The eighth European Parliament elections will take
place from 22 to 25 May 2014. In Britain the main
interest that they have provoked so far is whether
UKIP will gain the largest percentage of the vote
and the impact that this might have nationally on
the May 2015 general election. Some have also
noted the growth of far right parties and their efforts to come together to form a group in the European Parliament after the elections. A few are
curious to see if the constant downward trend in
voting (43% across the EU last time) can be reversed.
And yet perhaps the most significant feature of
these elections is still only rarely commented upon. It is the change in the way in which the President of the Commission will be chosen, a change
brought about by the 2009 Lisbon Treaty. The
Treaty contains a new provision stating that the
European Council will propose for approval by the
Parliament a candidate for President of the European Commission, ‘taking into account the elec-
tions to the European Parliament’. This phrase
was and remains open to diverse interpretation
but the oft-forgotten European political parties
have decided to use it to justify selecting potential
Presidential candidates in advance of the EP elections.
So far we have a candidate designate from the Party of European Socialists, four competing candidates from the European Greens, two main contenders from the European Liberals, a commitment from the European People’s Party to find a
candidate by next March and the likelihood that
the far Left will put up the leader of the Greek
opposition party, Syriza. In other words, it looks
like nine words in a Treaty have radically changed
the way the political struggle is being conducted at
European level. It is even encouraging new initiatives like that developed by Votewatch, inviting
voters to indicate their preferences online and to
discover how the different parties are faring (have
a look at
There are plenty of sceptics around. Angela Merkel has pointed out that there is no automaticity in
the process: the party with the most seats in the
Parliament would not necessarily see its candidate
appointed President of the Commission. The Centre for European Reform in the UK has argued
that such a process risks undermining the impartiality of the Commission. And others argue that
the candidates will be unable to make themselves
heard in the midst of a political debate dominated being confronted with the prospect of elections
by domestic concerns.
based on choices between different European futures that are debated in advance of votes being
I would suggest that these objections fail to take cast.
account of the strength of the ideas that lie behind
this new development. We are witnessing the Will it work? It may not increase voter turnout, it
overt recognition that the Commission cannot be may not change the elections from second-order
treated as an apolitical body. The decisions that it phenomena, it may well lead to a messy institutionis asked to take are simply too important and nec- al struggle between the European Parliament and
essarily raise the question: by what right does it the European Council. And yet I would predict
decide to act, if not by a mandate that can be root- that the nomination of candidates for Commission
ed in an electoral decision? We are seeing the end President will become a fixture of future European
of the idea that elections at EU level can take place elections, making them start to look much more
without their having an impact on the shape of the like national elections. So yes, it will be different
executive. People will not vote for the Parliament this time.
simply because it has more powers but because
they can see the difference it can make. We are
The rise of a ‘Czech Berlusconi’
Dr. Sean Hanley
Senior Lecturer in
Politics, UCL
SEI Visiting Fellow
[email protected]
vote was the highest vote for any new party in the
20 year history of the Czech Republic.
Both parties are essentially populist creations
which make what the Slovak political scientist Peter Účen terms a ‘centrist populist’ appeal. They
lambast established elites as corrupt but adopt
stances on economic and cultural issues devoid of
the ideological radicalism of far-right or far-left
The weak performance of established parties and the breakthrough of two new populist groupings in early
elections in the Czech Republic 25-26 October
represent a decisive breach in the country’s previously stable pattern of party politics.
The success of Babiš’s movement places established parties in a political quandary. The Social
Parties of the Czech centre-right which were in Democrats’ plans for a government of the left
office from 2007 until June this year suffered heavy backed by the Communists fell by the wayside.
losses. However, the result was also deeply disap- Together the two parties command a mere 83
pointing for the main opposition, the Social Demo- seats in the 200 member Chamber. However, Ancrats (ČSSD). ČSSD’s 20.45 per cent represented drej Babiš was adamant that his movement would
a 2 per cent decline in its support and was its low- not work with traditional right-wing parties
est share in the history of the independent Czech he sees as symbolising two decades of corruption.
The only politically feasible combination was
therefore a three-way agreement between ANO,
The biggest winners were the two new anti- the Social Democrats and the small Christian
establishment parties that broke into parliament: Democratic Union. Coalition talks between the
Dawn of Direct Democracy (UPD), which polled three are currently ongoing with tax, pension re6.88 per cent and the Action of Dissatisfied Citi- form and possible revision of the restitution settlezens (ANO) movement of the agro-food billionaire ment with the Catholic Church the main issues of
Andrej Babiš. ANO’s 18.65 per cent share of the contention.
Spring 2014
The rapid arrival of Babiš’s movement to – or
close to – the heart of the government poses
questions about the future of party government in
the Czech Republic. The rise of a super-rich businessman turned anti-politician at the head of a topdown movement which bears all the organisational
hallmarks of what Hopkin and Paolucci term the
‘business-firm’ party has prompted inevitable comparison with Silvio Berlusconi. And like Berlusconi,
59 year-old, Slovak-born Babiš is certainly an
unlikely outsider. The son of a Communist foreign
trade official and himself a Communist Party member before 1989, he built up his Agrofert conglomerate after the fall of communism, in part, by striking deals with governments dominated by the parties he now condemns.
Like the founders of other new ‘flash’ parties Babiš
may struggle to hold together a movement with no
clear unifying ideology and a large inexperienced
parliamentary group. Such parties lose their appeal
as novel outsiders, particularly if they play a role in
government, which may make them targets of the
same mix of anti-establishment protest voting and
social frustration that propelled them to office.
Such fragility risks opening up a cycle of weak minority administration or awkward compromise
governments of established of left and right (Grand
Coalitions, teams of technocratic caretakers),
which in turn feeds voter demand for new antiestablishment protest parties.
Seán Hanley’s research focuses on the emergence of
new anti-establishment parties in Central and Eastern
Europe. He writes a personal academic blog at http://
MA in Corruption and Governance
This new interdisciplinary MA is unique in the UK and explicitly looks at issues of corruption and
governance. It also breaks new ground in encouraging you to take up three-month internships within
non-governmental organisations, regulators, government offices or businesses, with a view to putting
the theory learned in seminar room in to practice.
Assessment: All modules are assessed by 5,000-word term papers, presentations and exams. You also
write a 20,000-word dissertation in the summer term. The internship will be assessed by a 5,000-word
report on what you have done and how this links into theories of corruption, anti-corruption and/or
good governance.
Core Modules
· Corruption and Governance Dissertation
Interdisciplinary Approaches to Analysing Corruption
· Research Methods in Corruption Analysis
· Corruption and the Law
Energy and Environmental Security in Europe
International and Transnational Offending
International Crimes
Political Parties and Party Systems in Comparative Perspective
State Capacity and Natural Resources
Tackling Corruption: Methods, Means and Practices
The Politics of Eastern Europe in Transition
The State of East Asia: Corruption, Theft and Collapse
For all enquiries: Prof Dan Hough
[email protected]
Spring 2014
MA in Contemporary European Studies
Term 1: The Making of Contemporary Europe (core course)
Term 2: Options chosen from list below
Term 3: 20.000 word dissertation
For details:
Two fees only Cockfield scholarships are available for this programme:
MA in European Politics
Term 1: The Making of Contemporary Europe
(core course)
Public Policy in Europe (core course)
Term 2: Option chosen from list below
Term 3: 20.000 word dissertation
For details:
The Idea of Europe
The Politics of Citizenship and Immigration
The Politics of Eastern Europe in Transition
The Domestic Politics of European Integration
The International Relations of the EU
Territorial Politics in Europe
Energy and Environmental Security in Europe
European Political Integration
Political Economy of EU Integration
Political Parties and Party Systems in Europe
Human Rights in Europe
EU Single Market Law
NB Not all options will be offered every year
For all enquires: Dr Sue Collard
[email protected]
SEI Doctoral Studentship Opportunities
The SEI welcomes candidates wishing to conduct doctoral research in the following areas of
our core research expertise:
Comparative Politics – particularly the comparative study of political parties, and
public policy. Country and regional specialisms include France, Germany, Western Europe, Poland/Eastern Europe, India, East Asia
European Integration – particularly the political economy of European integration,
the domestic politics of European integration, including Euroscepticism, and European
security and external relations policy
The Politics of Migration and Citizenship – particularly migration policy, the politics of immigration in Europe, and the politics of race and ethnicity
Corruption, Anti-corruption and Governance – particularly the comparative
study of anti-corruption initiatives
British Politics – particularly party politics, public policy, modern British political and
cultural history, and immigration
The University of Sussex has been made a Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) by the
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).
Applications are invited for ESRC doctoral studentships for UK applicants (fees and maintenance grants) or applicants from other EU member states (fees only).
Applications are also invited for Sussex School of Law, Politics and Sociology (LPS) partial feewaiver studentships for applicants from both the UK/EU and non-EU states.
Potential applicants should send a CV and research proposal to
Dr James Hampshire ([email protected]).

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