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This week’s editors


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Europe’s divisions over war in Iraq have not prevented it agreeing the enlargement of ten new members and an constitutional treaty. What will a continent-wide European Union look like? Which vision of Europe do you want? Start with our interactive visions map, or dip into Europe Prophecies, a rolling diary of stories from the corners of Europe. And if you want to know what's new with the European Constitution, read what Convention members Frans Timmermans and Jens-Peter Bonde have to say - they're living it. Send your own thoughts to, or post on the discussion board...

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.

Europe’s Afghan test

Afghanistan's hope of progress and security is withering. Europe must lead a new coordinated new strategy before it is too late, says Daniel Korski.

Kosovo: the hour of Europe

Kosovo's imminent independence highlights the problem of the European Union's enlargement policy in the western Balkans, says John O'Brennan.

Europe, Africa and EPAs: opportunity or car-crash?

A rethink of the agreements that govern European-African trade would benefit both sides, say Paul Collier & Kalypso Nicolaïdis

The “European Union presidency”: a practical compromise

A late improvement to the European Union's reform treaty would have benefited the EU's institutions, its member-states and its citizens, argue Simone Bunse & Kalypso Nicolaïdis.

Europe: politics or die

The European Union must become more political or it will be trapped in a technocratic bubble and lose its citizens to populism and alienation, says Olaf Cramme.

Turkey’s crisis and the European Union

Turkey's election has produced a clear win for the ruling party. But the country remains in the grip of a crisis involving two competing definitions of its very identity, says George Schöpflin.

European Union: after the reform treaty

The new European accord achieves a workable compromise at the cost of avoiding the deeper issue of the union's democratic legitimacy, says George Schöpflin.

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

Europe at fifty: towards a new single act

A fractious period in the European Union’s internal politics could end if a new, modest but realistic strategic objective could be agreed, argue Philippe Herzog & Kalypso Nicolaidis.

Europe: the square root of no

Britain's attempt to strangle constitutional progress at a pivotal European Union summit is hypocritical and short-sighted, says John Palmer

Romania: the death of reform

The vendetta of Bucharest’s political cartels against the country’s president exposes the failure of European Union policy. It could even destabilise the EU itself, says Tom Gallagher.

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.

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 Festival of Europe: a London reimaginary

The cultivation of spaces to explore ideas in search of truth and beauty is a vital part of Europe’s project, says Niccoló Milanese of the Festival of Europe.

The European Union and Romania: consolidating backwardness?

Romania will join the European Union in January 2007. Good news for the millions who will flee west for work, says Tom Gallagher: but inside the country, Bucharest's road to Brussels is the fruit of an unedifying alliance between corporate businessmen and European leftists that will benefit only a tiny elite.

Bulgaria: the mafia's dance to Europe

A close look at Bulgaria's political institutions casts doubt on the country's fitness to join the European Union in January 2007, says Ilija Trojanow.

Population politics

Europe’s demographic trends are reshaping its social landscape and the life-chances of its citizens. Britain’s politicians need to pay heed and plan, say Mike Dixon & Julia Margo of the Institute of Public Policy Research.

Europe and beyond: struggles for recognition

The services directive and the Mohammed cartoon affair each demonstrate the need for a spirit of managed mutual recognition in Europe and beyond, argues Kalypso Nicolaïdis.

Europe and Turkey: the end of the beginning

Turkey's negotiations for entry to the European Union opened on 3 October 2005. But it’s not a done deal, says Fadi Hakura: an arduous road lies ahead before Turkish membership can be assured.

Germany's election sleepwalk

Germans are flocking to the motorways and the Hamburg docks in search of sun and distraction. Anything but politics! Michael Naumann takes the measure of “strange times in Germany”.

Tony Blair's opportunity: an Anglo-Social European model

Britain’s social model has developed a distinctive, hybrid character under Tony Blair – both less “American” and more “European” than critics claim, say Mike Dixon & Howard Reed of the Institute of Public Policy Research.

Germany's unfinished business

Germans are expecting a September election where Angela Merkel will replace Gerhard Schröder. But changing Germany itself will be harder, writes “Die Zeit” publisher Michael Naumann.

Gerhard Schröder's last stand

The German Chancellor responded to his Social Democratic Party’s defeat in North Rhine-Westphalia by calling for early national elections. Michael Naumann, publisher of “Die Zeit”, reflects on a high-stakes gamble.

Poland's nervous 'return' to Europe

Poland is the largest of the ten states joining the European Union on 1 May 2004. But economic pressures, political strains and global fears make this a moment of worry rather than celebration for its 40 million citizens, reports Krzysztof Bobinski from Warsaw.

Cyprus: the price of rejection

If Greek Cypriots reject the Annan plan for the island’s reunification, they will enter the European Union on 1 May without their northern Turkish neighbours. For a former senior Greek diplomat, the result would be baleful: the collapse of thirty years of diplomacy, entrenched division in the eastern Mediterranean island, and risks to democratic progress in Turkey and south-east Europe.

"We the peoples of Europe..."

Why did the Brussels summit on the European Constitution collapse? Perhaps because it deserved to. The EU must move from government by elites who seek to manage, to one grounded on citizens’ support.

Who did it? Who is responsible for the failure of European heads of states and governments to agree to a proposed new Constitution at their inter-governmental conference (IGC) in Brussels on 12-13 December?

There is a temptingly easy answer.

Referenda: Europe's democracy finds its voice

Ten national referenda around Europe between March and September 2003 reflect the engagement of citizens with European politics yet underline the sceptical attitude of many to further integration. As a constitution for an enlarged European Union grows nearer, the need for Europe’s people to have a voice in shaping their own future is clear.

Remember Anna Lindh

Anna Lindh’s former special advisor remembers the tough-minded compassion that marked her as a "great European".

Saying 'wait and see' to the world

Even a wave of sympathy following Anna Lindh’s murder did not prevent a majority of Swedes voting ‘no’ to the euro. This ‘yes-voter’ ponders the particular timbre of Swedish parochialism.

On the aftermath of the Swedish no vote

If all the European Union offers is more centralisation, then saying ‘no’ makes a lot of sense says the British Conservative party’s Foreign Affairs spokesman.

Europe and the global south: towards a circle of equality

In May 2003, leading European philosophers challenged Europe to formulate a coherent foreign policy in its own and the world’s interest. Jacques Derrida, Jurgen Habermas and colleagues are well-intentioned but trapped in Eurocentrism, argues this American political philosopher. Europe needs not globalism but a provincialism that will enable a dialogue of equals with the rest of the world.
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