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Book Review: The Passage to Europe

Book Review: The Passage to Europe

Luuk van Middelaar has produced a superb, eloquent study of the European Union that is essential reading for anyone endeavouring to fathom how the EU’s labyrinthine structures and convoluted politics have, despite all appearances, permitted it to develop into a positive force.  As an adviser and speechwriter to European Council President Herman van Rompuy as […]

Caught Between East & West

Caught  Between East & West

On the first Sunday of November, 70,000 Moldovans gathered at a rally in the capital Chisinau. They were pledging support for the government’s pro-western policies in the run up to a major summit in Vilnius on 28 and 29 November, where Moldova was due to initial an “association agreement” with the European Union. Moldova, officially […]

Book Review: Post Cold War Austria

Book Review: Post Cold War Austria

Reviewing edited collections of essays is notoriously difficult. In this case, it is especially challenging because Austria’s International Position after the End of the Cold War not only covers Austria’s foreign and security policy since 1990 but also tackles “Eastern Europe and the Balkans” “The Rise and Decline and Rise of Austria’s Far Right,” “Foreign […]

Populists In the Fast Lane

Populists In the Fast Lane

The heads of the traditional Austrian parties, the Social Democrats and the Austrian People’s Party, could teach their cousins in the Czech Republic a thing or two about what it’s like when parties lose power and voter support, and populist movements of various colours jostle to get into parliament. Although the results of September’s parliamentary […]

For European Farmers, Size Matters

For European Farmers, Size Matters

Before he shoots them in the head, Alpine farmer Ralf Eggenreiter gives his sheep a treat and scratches them behind the ears to help them relax. He knows each one of them by name, so one might imagine a moment of regret.  The real reason is that relaxed meat tastes better. “They have no stress,” […]

The Real Game of Thrones

The Real Game of Thrones

In the TV series Game of Thrones, across a continent with more than passing resemblance to Europe, families battle to attain the Iron Throne. Drama, scheming, and no shortage of blood gushes in with each episode. The show’s popularity may be due to its violence, dragons, and a generous dose of nudity – but it […]

Eastern Europe’s Davos

Eastern Europe’s Davos

Play Inc. executive Jorg Bang-Jensen has reason to smile. The CEO of Poland’s fourth largest mobile operator has been able to report “steady growth” since the company started operations just six months before the financial crisis.   Now, the question is, “Is the crisis over?” dominated  discussion at Central Europe’s annual gathering of economic futurists […]

After the Election

After the Election

The German saying “Man soll den Tag nicht vor dem Abend loben” (“Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched”) proved true  once again on 29 September. Both Social Democrats (SPÖ) and Conservatives (ÖVP), while still victorious, had to face major losses. But unlike other EU countries, the Austrian coalition was not voted out. With […]

A Weaker Euro for A Stronger Europe

A Weaker Euro for A Stronger Europe

What can be done to help the “crisis economies” of southern Europe reduce their external deficits? The debate is often presented as a conflict between the deficit-burdened PIIGS – Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain – and the eurozone’s current-account-surplus countries, particularly Germany. But a new and more important imbalance has emerged in recent years: […]

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