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Book

Cover Comparative European Politics
This book provides a broad and accessible introduction to contemporary European politics, covering the fundamental elements of European democracies, institutions, and practices of government. It provides comprehensive coverage of the twenty-seven member states of the European Union, additionally drawing on examples from the UK, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Serbia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The book is divided into three parts. Part 1 focuses on democratic representation, examining the core features of electoral democracy in Europe. Part 2 turns to the institutions and practices of government, focusing in particular on how institutional design shapes political outcomes. Part 3 examines a number of contemporary issues and challenges, including migration, economic crises, the threat of international terrorism, and the rise of anti-establishment parties, and examines the effects they have had on politics in European countries. Throughout, up-to-date examples on issues such as Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic, and growing instability in Europe are used to help students understand the real-world context of European politics.

Chapter

Cover Comparative Politics

23. The EU as a new political system  

Hix Simon

This chapter examines the development and operation of the European Union (EU) from a comparative politics perspective. It first considers the evolution of the EU, from the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1951 that established the European Coal and Steel Community to the admission of Lithuania in 2015 as the nineteenth member of the eurozone, and the UK’s decision to leave the EU in 2016. The chapter then explores the process of European integration and goes on to explain what it means to think of the EU as a political system. It also describes the two basic dimensions of the EU system: the vertical dimension (the EU as a ‘regulatory state’) and the horizontal dimension (the design and operation of EU decision-making). The chapter concludes by analysing the ‘missing link’ in the EU system—the lack of genuine democratic politics.

Chapter

Cover Comparative European Politics

5. Democracy and the EU  

Tapio Raunio

This chapter examines the relationship between European integration and democracy. The continuous transfer of policy-making powers from European Union (EU) member states to the European level has raised serious concerns about democratic legitimacy. The chapter assesses the claims that European integration undermines national democracy, and that decision-making at the EU level is not sufficiently democratic. It argues that while significant challenges remain, European integration has definitely become more democratic over the years. But there is perhaps a trade-off, with stronger input legitimacy potentially an obstacle to efficient European-level decision-making. It also underlines the multilevel nature of the EU polity and the importance of public debates about European integration.

Chapter

Cover Comparative European Politics

Introduction  

Rory Costello

This chapter begins by describing the scope and main themes of the book, and explaining the rationale for the countries selected for inclusion. It discusses the prevalence of democracy in Europe, and provides an overview of some of the main similarities and differences between European democracies. A number of recent developments that have challenged the political status quo across the continent are highlighted. The chapter also outlines the general approach taken throughout the book, and discusses the importance of comparison in political research. It concludes with an outline of the book and a brief summary of its three main sections.

Chapter

Cover Comparative European Politics

14. Security and Terrorism  

Mai’a K. Davis Cross

The rise of international terrorism has made domestic security a high-profile issue in Europe. This chapter first provides an overview of the European experience of terrorism, and discusses how European governments have responded to terrorist threats. The focus then shifts to the EU level, as increasingly this is where the most significant developments are taking place in the field of security and counter-terrorism. The chapter delves into the development of the EU’s counter-terrorism policy, within the context of an increasingly stronger European approach to security more generally. Particular attention is paid to the impact of the ISIS-inspired attacks that took place between 2015 and 2017, including the effect they had on national politics.

Chapter

Cover Comparative European Politics

15. The Rise of Anti-Establishment Parties  

Mara Morini

This chapter examines the rise of radical right-wing nationalist parties and radical anti-globalization, anti-austerity left-wing parties in Europe. Anti-establishment parties are not new; they have always been a feature of European politics. The ground was not seeded for their development and expansion, however, until social and cultural changes that began in the 1960s combined with the economic and migration crises of the 2000s. The chapter discusses historic anti-establishment parties and the new parties that have emerged over the last two decades. It discusses the nature of anti-establishment parties and describes contemporary radical-left and extreme-right parties. The label of ‘populism’ as applied to these parties is analysed. Using a comparative approach, the chapter examines why there has been a growth of support for anti-establishment parties and attitudes in the last decades, focusing on the development of a ‘populist moment’ in contemporary representative democracies.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

8. Institutions and States  

Peter Ferdinand

This chapter deals with institutions and states. Institutions are essentially regular patterns of behaviour that provide stability and predictability to social life. Some institutions are informal, with no formally laid down rules such as the family, social classes, and kinship groups. Others are more formalized, having codified rules and organization. Examples include governments, parties, bureaucracies, legislatures, constitutions, and law courts. The state is defined as sovereign, with institutions that are public. After discussing the concept of institutions and the range of factors that structure political behaviour, the chapter considers the multi-faceted concept of the state. It then looks at the history of how the European type of state and the European state system spread around the world between the seventeenth and twentieth centuries. It also examines the modern state and some of the differences between strong states, weak states, and democratic states.

Chapter

Cover Comparative Politics

23. The EU as a New Political System  

Simon Hix

This chapter examines the development and operation of the European Union from a comparative politics perspective. It first considers the evolution of the EU, from the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1951 that established the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) to the admission of Lithuania in 2015 as the nineteenth member of the Eurozone, and the UK’s decision to leave the EU in 2016. The chapter then explores the process of European integration and goes on to explain what it means to think of the EU as a political system. It also describes the two basic dimensions of the EU system: the vertical dimension (the EU as a ‘regulatory state’) and the horizontal dimension (the design and operation of EU decision-making). The chapter concludes by analysing the ‘missing link’ in the EU system— the lack of genuine democratic politics.

Chapter

Cover Comparative Politics

4. The Nation-State  

Gianfranco Poggi

This chapter examines how the nation-state came into being and how it became dominant as a political unit. It first presents a general and streamlined portrait of the state—a concept that sociologists inspired by Max Weber might call an ideal type. In particular, it considers some of the characteristics of a nation-state, including monopoly of legitimate violence, territoriality, sovereignty, plurality, and relation to the population. The chapter proceeds by discussing a more expansive concept of the nation-state, taking into account the role of law, centralized organization, the distinction between state and society, religion and the market, the public sphere, the burden of conflict, and citizenship and nation. The chapter also describes five paths in state formation and concludes with an assessment of three main phases which different European states have followed in somewhat varying sequences: consolidation of rule, rationalization of rule, and expansion of rule.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

20. Diplomacy and Foreign Policy  

Stephanie Lawson

This chapter discusses diplomacy and the conduct of foreign policy, both of which are fundamental to relations between political communities worldwide. It first considers diplomacy and its related concept, statecraft, in global history, focusing on some important concepts such as raison d’état (reason of state) and machtpolitik (power politics). It then examines diplomatic practice in contemporary global politics, with particular emphasis on track-two diplomacy and third-party mediation, along with developments in diplomacy during the Cold War. It also looks at public diplomacy, which may be understood as an instrument of ‘soft power’ in contrast with the methods of power politics. It concludes with an overview of the European Union’s common foreign and security policy.