Right before the Europeans started packing for their annual holiday, the Dutch government proposed its ‘subsidiarity review’ in June. This review states that the European Commission is not supposed to have a greater say over topics concerning criminal law, social security or pensions, and that the Commission should set broad objectives, but leave its implementation to the European member states. Where does this resort to subsidiarity come from? And in what way does a focus on subsidiarity matter? This article will explore the principle of subsidiarity, discuss its shortcomings and underline its potential.
31 May 2012. This is the date Taoiseach Enda Kenny, head of Fine Gael currently senior partner in a center-left and center-right coalition with the Irish Labour Party since 9 March 2011, has chosen to hold the referendum validating the ratification of the EU's Fiscal Compact signed on 2 March 2012 by the Oireachtas - the country's parliament. This referendum is a major stake for this once prosperous nation, which has suffered from the economic crisis. For the first time, this insular 4.5 million inhabitants republic, which has a habit of rejecting treaties at first (like Lisbon or Nice), could this time find itself completely isolated should the "no" win.
On 14th October, the European Parliament in Brussels opened its new visitor’s centre called “Parlamentarium”. As explained throughout the exhibition, it is the result of a long process of discussion inside the institution about what it should exactly be: an exhibition about the daily work of the European Parliament or a more general one displaying European history?
On 13 July 2011 VoteWatch.eu launched its new report on voting behaviour of MEPs, their political groups, and the national delegations within those groups. At a panel discussion in Brussels, MEPs from different political groups debated the report that was presented by Professor Simon Hix. This article looks at the findings of the report and tries to analyse them with an emphasis on certain national delegations.
The EU’s foreign policy has sometimes been described as imperialist. However, the latest crisis in Libya demonstrates once more the EU’s resemblance to an Unidentified Political Object (UPO), with little sense of direction. Yet, should we put our heads in the sand and resign? No, it is high time the EU adopted a clear strategy and positioned itself in the international system of the 21st century. Rather than an empire or an UPO the EU could become a regional Ordnungsmacht.
In the second part of this interview, Simon Hix, professor in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science, puts into perspective the use and reach of referendums in member states. He also gives us some pronostics about the future of political Europe.
Simon Hix is professor in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He provided evidence to the European Scrutiny Committee in the House of Commons during the parliamentary debates on the EU Bill. In this interview to Nouvelle Europe, he gives his impressions on the significance and relevance of this piece of legislation which requires a referendum before any further transfer of power to the EU.