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 Photo: Theophilous Papadopoulos (flickr); Licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Our editor Justine Olivier points you in the direction of a few essays and articles guaranteed to make you ponder. Read about how the EU plans to renew itself, the political consequelces of the refugee crisis in Germany  and the risk of Erasmus being a bargaining chip of the Brexit negotiation.  

 Justine, Sixth Sense and Heart editor 

justineTHE RENEWING OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

How to make the European Union appealing again? Does the EU need structural reforms? How to tackle our current security, economic and legitimacy challenges? These are the questions that all leaders of the EU keep mulling over these weeks. Indeed, Brexit, in addition to all the economic and political uncertainty it has brought, has acted as a wake-up call no one can ignore. What's wrong with the EU ? On the day of the referendum results, several European leaders called for substantial reforms. But now is the time for more concrete propositions. This was the aim of the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the Union speech on Wednesday the 14th of September. Juncker made many propositions, including cutting red tape and boosting investment through the completion of the capital markets union. However, these are neither new nor original. As Tim King analyzes in POLITICO, his speech was not as inspiring as it was meant and expected to be. The speech aimed at being reassuring, as Juncker stressed that in spite of its numerous challenges the EU was strong enough and “not at risk”. The Commission President also emphasized that the way forward is through more union. But at a time of increasing skepticism concerning the positive impact of integration and cooperation among Europeans, there is no certainty that Juncker's words were enough rekindle the much-needed faith in Europe.

Published in Good Reads
Thursday, 24 May 2012 07:01

Good Reads Author Special 24/05/12

This week, two of E&M's best writers share their favourite European reads. From blog posts to essays, it can be anything that amused them, worried them or got them thinking about Europe.

ziemowit

Ziemowit Jóźwik

"The nation (...) like a poor cripple at the cross-roads lying"

There has been much discussion about Ukraine in Europe recently. As long as the former "orange princess" Yulia Tymoshenko remains in jail after a politically inspired trial, many European leaders have decided to boycott the upcoming European Championship. The EU-Ukraine rapprochement seems frozen. If you're looking for detailed information on what's happening and what's going to happen in the near future between Ukraine, the EU and - of course - Russia, here are two must-read articles: The Centre for Eastern Studies discusses "The crisis in EU/Ukraine relations surrounding Tymoshenko" and Veronika Pulišová describes Ukraine’s "in-betweenness" ("Between Europe and Russia") in New Eastern Europe.

Reducing the democratic deficit

According to Article 11 paragraph 4 of the Treaty of the EU and Article 24 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the EU, the citizens of the EU have the right to invite the European Commission to submit the proposal of a legal act. As you probably know, since the 1st of April (the date the provisions came into force) several European Citizens' Initiatives have been announced. Perhaps these will be the primroses philosophers have dreamed of: the path towards transnational democracy or the European public sphere? Who knows. In any case, there's one initiative that you should pay attention to. On a blog with the exciting title Recent developments in European Consumer Law I found an article about the initiative "Fraternité 2020 – Mobility. Progress. Europe." It's brought forward by a youth initiative eager to persuade the Commission to enlarge the budget for EVS and Erasmus. We can only applaud and support! (And even though you might have no idea what CESL means and Directive 2008/48/EC might not sound very exciting - follow the blog mentioned above - we're all consumers, whether we like it or not...)

Greetings from the Iroquois of Europe

Finally, an article about something you've probably never heard of: the political traditions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. A federal state of many nations, cultures and religions that in the times of absolute monarchies was governed by parliamentary assemblies and a king who was elected (by the whole nobility). How was that possible? To discover the interesting stories of the Golden Liberty principle or the intellectual origins of the first European constitution - whose anniversary was celebrated both in Lithuania and Poland a few days ago - I very much recommend "The heritage of Polish Republicanism" by Krzysztof Koehler in the Sarmatian Review.

Published in Good Reads
Sunday, 03 June 2012 12:52

Take your bike...

... and ride for your rights! If you loved your Erasmus year and - like Umberto Eco - think experiences like that have potential to create a European identity, here's a fun way to speak out about issues of student mobility while getting a good workout at the same time! E&M asked Julian Walkowiak from Ride for your Rights! why we should go out and bike around Europe, be it from Łódź to Katowice or from Tbilisi to Anaklia.

E&M: What is Ride for your rights! all about?

JW: Ride for your rights! is a project led by Campus Europae and the Erasmus Student Network. Young people take their bikes and cycle across European countries in order to raise awareness about obstacles to student mobility and at the same time promote such opportunities to students and stakeholders.

E&M: Can you give an example of a tour you thought was especially fun?

JW: My personal favourite this year is the tour taking place in Georgia. Our team was absolutely thrilled when we found out that the idea of Ride for your Rights! travelled as far as Tbilisi. Students will cycle from Tbilisi to Anaklia and join the Georgian International Forum of Student Unions.

E&M: And what else are you planning this year?

JW: 2012 is a very symbolic year, since we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the ERASMUS programme. At the same time we're debating and preparing the upcoming European programmes 2014 - 2020, such as the "Erasmus for All" programme. It will be an opportunity for the riders and partner organisations of the project to voice their opinions about the future of the Erasmus programme.

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