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Closa: What next for Catalonia in 2018?

Closa: What next for Catalonia in 2018?

For Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, fresh regional elections at the end of 2017 were supposed to lift a cloud of political uncertainty that has shrouded Catalonia for the past six months. However, Professor Carlos Closa writes in EUI Times, the inconclusive results of those elections mean that there is no end in sight for one of Europe’s most testing political crises in recent memory.

Carlos Closa is Part Time professor at the School of Transnational Governance. He recently edited the volume Secession from a Member State and Withdrawal from the European Union. Troubled Membership (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

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Social media: Democracy’s poisoned chalice

Social media: Democracy’s poisoned chalice

Not long ago, social media were being hailed as an unprecedented force for plurality and progress in modern-day democracies. The impact of platforms like Facebook and Twitter are widely seen as integral in organising and mobilising the popular protests that brought about the toppling of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt in 2011 and Victor Yanukovych in 2013. Yet, as evidence continues to surface about Russian attempts to subvert the 2016 US election, talk of social media’s power has become inextricably linked with the danger that it poses to democracy. How did we get here? And, looking ahead, what can be done to return social media to their former glory?

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Reassessing the Brexit battleground

Reassessing the Brexit battleground

Despite the fogginess of the British government’s approach to Brexit, there is little desire among the electorate to see the referendum played out again, according to Matthew Goodwin, a politics professor and Brexit expert from the University of Kent. Speaking at an event organised by the Migration Policy Centre at the Schuman Centre last week, Goodwin pointed out that there has been little change in public opinion towards Brexit in the eighteen months since the referendum. In fact, if anything, Leavers and Remainers’ positions have hardened. After delivering his lecture at Villa Schifanoia, Goodwin sat down with EUI Times, to discuss what comes next for Britain and the EU, and how we got here in the first place.

Matthew Goodwin is Professor of Politics at the University of Kent and a Senior Visiting Fellow at Chatham House. His new book, ‘Brexit: Why Britain Voted to Leave the European Union’, was published earlier this year.

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Central banks ‘have never seemed so powerful,’ says Patrick Honohan

Central banks ‘have never seemed so powerful,’ says Patrick Honohan

When the European Central Bank woke up to crisis in 2008, they quickly realised that it was their responsibility to stabilise the money market, despite some saying they were acting above their station. Speaking at Villa La Fonte last week, Patrick Honohan, the former Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, argued that the crisis drew the ECB and its affiliates into policy areas where its mandate was implicit, though no less real. Now, he claims, those central banks have ‘never seemed so powerful.’

Patrick Honohan was delivering a lecture for the Florence School of Banking and Finance on ‘Central Banking in Europe Today: Over-Mighty or Under-Powered?’ on 27th November. Honohan was Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland and a member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank from September 2009 to November 2015. He is an honorary Professor of economics at Trinity College Dublin, non-resident Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, DC and member of the Scientific Committee of the Florence School of Banking and Finance. The event was made possible by the support of Fondazione CR Firenze.

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A new era for EU defense cooperation?

A new era for EU defense cooperation?

PESCO, the European Union’s new defense cooperation agreement signed earlier this month, represents a big leap towards the creation of a credible, effective European defense policy. While some doubts remain, Richard Maher argues that the deal is further proof that member states are committed to furthering integration post-Brexit.

Richard Maher is a research fellow in the ‘Europe in the World’ research area of the Global Governance Programme at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies.

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The road from Damascus

The road from Damascus

When the Arab Spring spilled into Syria in 2011, Dima Hussain believed that the time had finally come to change her country’s long-entrenched status quo. Today, Syria’s civil war still rages on, and the regime that so many Syrians had sought to topple seems as strong as ever. Nonetheless Hussain, now a first-year Law researcher at the EUI, remains optimistic that one day she will return to Damascus, to a Syria imbued with the idealism that sparked a revolution over six years ago.

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The historical roots of the world’s ‘racism emergency’

The historical roots of the world’s ‘racism emergency’

The world is in the grips of a ‘racism emergency’, according to James Renton. Typically for a historian, he believes that it is essential to look back in order to plot a route forward. In 2017, Europe commemorates two major milestones: the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, and the centenary of the Balfour Declaration. Both these landmarks, Renton argues, can teach us a great deal about modern-day racism, and governments’ responses to it.

James Renton is a Visiting Fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies. His new book, ‘Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Europe: A Shared Story?’ (co-edited with Ben Gidley), is available now.

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Debunking misconceptions about return migration

Debunking misconceptions about return migration

Thousands of migrants return home every day. So why do we still misunderstand what actually happens when they get there? In this article, Katie Kuschminder argues that reintegrating into an old society can be much harder than starting afresh in a new one.

Katie Kuschminder is a Research Fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre’s Global Governance Programme, funded by a Rubicon Grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. Katie’s research is in the field of international migration, with a current focus on irregular, transit and return migration.

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Smuggling as care, not crime

Smuggling as care, not crime

For all the bombast coming from Washington these days, it would be easy to think that the US-Mexico border is in crisis. Yet that is far from the truth. In fact, Gabriella Sanchez explains, life on the border is as it has been for centuries. Rather than building a wall, Sanchez suggests adopting a more considered and conciliatory approach to people smuggling as a way to alleviate suffering and increase our understanding of migration on the US-Mexico border.

Gabriella Sanchez is a Research Fellow at the Migration Policy Centre, based at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies. Having arrived in Florence from the University of Texas in El Paso in September, Sanchez plans to develop a body of comparative, evidence-based research on global smuggling practices.

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Click and bail: Can Macron stop digital multinationals from dodging tax?

Click and bail: Can Macron stop digital multinationals from dodging tax?

In his landmark Sorbonne speech in late September, Emmanuel Macron outlined a plan to force the likes of Facebook, Amazon and Netflix to pay taxes in the EU country where their services are used, rather than where they are headquartered, and to crack down on those companies which avoid paying at all. While his proposal is welcome, Laura Seelkopf argues that it faces a number of hurdles – from both inside and out of the EU.

Laura Seelkopf is a Jean-Monnet Fellow at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies. Her current research focuses on the comparative political economy of taxation.

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