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This week’s front page editor


Adam Bychawski is an editorial assistant at openDemocracy.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Will Europe’s people be owners of their continent’s future, or mere spectators of it? And what would a democratic Europe look like? Reinhard Hesse and Andrew Moravcsik discuss politics, amity, and vision - while Paul Gillespie assesses the role of Irish diplomacy in making the constitution possible.

Ireland’s European referendum: second take, high stake

The Irish people's second vote on the Lisbon treaty will have a decisive bearing on the European Union's constitutional future. The political misdirection of the "yes" side and the polemical vigour of the "no" put the result in the balance, says John O'Brennan.

Europe, America, Russia: the world-changing tide

The signatories of an open letter to President Obama from eastern and central Europe are so concerned not to forget history that they neglect an equally important lesson: not to be blinded by it either, says Rein Müllerson.

Europe’s other legitimacy crisis

The real target of a severe European commission report on the failures of governance in Bulgaria contains a deeper message about the European Union's political future - and the mistakes of its past. Ivan Krastev, in Sofia, decodes it.

(This article was first published on 23 July 2008) 

Europe's trance of unreality

The old continent could once offer itself as the model for a new world. No longer: the European Union's universalism is crashing against rising global states (China, India) and forces (religion, nationalism). The response to Ireland's referendum is a foretaste of serious political crisis to come, says Ivan Krastev.

(This article was first published on 20 June 2008)

Democracy and referenda: a rejoinder to Gisela Stuart

The experience of modern European history demonstrates the advantages of representative democracy and the ill effects of direct democracy as embodied in referenda, writes George Schöpflin.

Europe’s coal-mine, Ireland’s canary

The Irish "no" to the Lisbon treaty is reverberating across the European Union. The implications are especially serious for Poland, says Krzysztof Bobinski - but Europe as a whole must face the political consequences

Referenda: democracy vs elites

The people's direct voice in judging constitutional change in the European Union must be upheld, says Gisela Stuart in response to George Schöpflin.

Turkey's judicial-political crisis

Turkey's internal problems are intensifying its political and cultural fissures and putting its orientation towards the European Union in question. Kirsty Hughes reports on the gathering turmoil.

The referendum: populism vs democracy

The idea of the referendum as an instrument of the people's will rests on pre-democratic foundations, says George Schöpflin.


The Lisbon treaty and the Irish voter: democratic deficits

Ireland’s rejection of the European Union’s “reform treaty” exposes a democratic deficit in Dublin more than in Brussels, argue Johnny Ryan & Joseph Curtin, who offer three steps to redress it.

Europe’s higher ground

The European Union must now look beyond ratification of the reform treaty to address key challenges of globalisation, climate change, and sustainable development, says John Palmer.

Europe’s “reform treaty”: ends and beginnings

The European Union concludes an epic period of internal discussion with a reform treaty that represents real progress yet opens the way to entrenched division, say Katinka Barysch & Hugo Brady.

European Union: from backdoor to front

The European Union's political progress starts with myth-clearing and continues with a democracy-making that builds on its citizens' sense of European identity, says Michael Bruter.

The Polish confusion

Warsaw's blocking approach to European cooperation weakens the European Union and damages Poland itself, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

Europe’s next steps

The European Union must build on the Brussels summit to focus on the urgent issues - foreign policy, climate change and energy security - that only Europe-wide policy can address, says John Palmer

A German vision: greening globalisation

A plan to link climate-change policy with biodiversity loss renews the twenty-year-old idea of sustainable development, says Ehsan Masood.

From Berlin to Lisbon: the European Union back on the road

The European Union has left the recovery ward. A demanding reform process now lies ahead, says John Palmer.

Europe's green power

The addition of a serious environmental dimension to the European Union's internal reform and soft-power diplomacy could yet make 2007 a year of vision, says Mats Engström.

The European Union's troubled birthday

The European Union is marking its half-century in celebration and self-doubt. It is a historic achievement, says George Schöpflin, but the EU now faces two great challenges: renewing its legitimacy, and facing globalisation.

The European Union in 2057

Its first half-century has been a qualified success for the European Union. Its fate in the next depends on its ability to look outward, says Frank Vibert.

European unity: reality and myth

A return to the origins of European integration in the 1940s-50s reveals a more complex story than the official celebrations allow, says Krzysztof Bobinski.

The European Union at fifty: a second life

The European Union's half-century is a time for constructive self-reflection as much as celebration, says Aurore Wanlin.

Germany and Europe: the pull of unity

After two years of drift the European Union's core project may soon take a qualitative leap forward, says John Palmer.

Germany's presidency: an odd couple

The presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2007 will be vital in revivifying the troubled European project. But Angela Merkel needs a partner. Frank Vibert plays matchmaker.

A commonwealth for Europe

How large can and should the European Union be? A renewed model which combines integration, openness, stability, and the defence of core democratic principles may offer the best answer, says John Palmer.

The birth of Europe?

The European Citizens' Consultations in Brussels could become a vital step in creating a better relationship between Europe's institutions and its citizens, says Anthony Barnett.

Europe's foreign policy: saying 'no' to the US?

The European Union’s foreign and security policy in the middle east may be on the brink of a historic shift, says John Palmer.

Adieu, Europe?

The machinery of the European Union has recovered from the shock of the failed French and Dutch referenda, but not the heart that pumps it, says Aurore Wanlin.

"Absorption capacity": the wrong European debate

The mood of the European Union is one of renewed if fragile optimism. But its politicians still need to choose reality-based argument and language over evasive jargon, says Frank Vibert.

France and Europe: the democratic deficit exposed

France's referendum fiasco in May 2005 marked the end of a period when European elites could take their citizens for granted, reports Patrice de Beer.

The fear haunting Europe

The secret meetings of Europe's political authorities are sanctioning public policies that feed racist sentiment, argues Mats Engström.

Europe's enlargement problem

The European Union needs a fresh wind to clear its enlargement malaise, says John Palmer.

The European Union's two faces on globalisation

The divisive argument over creating a single market in services reflects the European Union's confusion over globalisation and reveals its need to articulate itself as a political and social project, says Fintan O'Toole.

The new Europe: respectable populism, clockwork liberalism

An emotionally-appealing populist politics is bringing angry, raw, egalitarian nationalists to the centre of Europe’s political arena. Why are pro-European liberals not more anxious? Ivan Krastev offers an intriguing set of answers.

Jews and cartoons: why the connection?

When Jews are blamed for the cartoon war, even liberal Muslims remain silent. Daphna Vardi asks why.
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