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Centre for European Research

Europe Matters Blog

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

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


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

Coronavirus recovery – Lessons from the Eurozone crisis
13 July 2020

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

COVID-19 in Poland and Hungary: The end of authoritarianism or the beginning of soft dictatorship?
28 May 2020

What consequences will the outbreak of COVID-19 have on the political situation in Poland and Hungary? Will it weaken the authoritarian tendencies in the region or help in consolidating the undemocratic regimes? Zaneta Bialek (QMUL - London School of Economics and Political Sciences) offers an enquiry about recent developments in Central Europe.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Populism in Europe: The Italian exception
15 November 2018

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Theresa May Forward together
26 May 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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