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Roundup: Our top 5 posts on society and politics in Europe

Venice, Italy.
Venice, Italy.

With the UK election, the crisis in the Mediterranean, and the Greek deal, it’s certainly been an eventful summer for the European Union. Below find some of our best articles on recent events and trends in the region.

Italicum: what price are Italians ready to pay to achieve governability and deomocracy: Giulia Pastorella examines Italy’s new electoral law and its potential effects on the country’s governability and democracy.

It is laudable that Italy strives to have governability and majoritarian laws, hoping to achieve some sort of bipolarity. But Italicum does not seem to be the appropriate means to this end. It was supposed to ensure that the majority prize is given to a party that enjoys the confidence of enough citizens, and that citizens have the ability to choose their preferred candidates in their constituencies. It has achieved only partly the latter, and even less the former. One wonders whether a balance between democracy and governability will ever be possible in Italy.

What does this election tell us about modern Britain? PS21 executive director Peter Apps looks at the current state of UK politics and potential outcomes of the election this past May.

The true importance of the election, then, may be simply what it tells us about 21st-century Britain and politics in general. The two-party divide in Britain in which a single main party invariably ruled seems gone for good. The rise of smaller parties seems to mean coalition governments — almost unheard of in recent history — are the new normal.

The country also looks more sharply divided. In many of its cities, almost no-one votes Conservative. In the countryside, almost nobody votes Labour. And Scotland looks more than ever under the control of an entirely separate political bloc.

I Don’t Know You, I Don’t Like You: The Rise of Anti-Immigrant Movements in Europe: Sandy Schumann explains the conditions in which anti-immigrant groups like UKIP and Pergida have recently become more popular.

Both UKIP and Pegida are supported by the general public for its anti-immigrant policies.  What is surprising though is that these supporters are primarily living in regions where there are very few migrants or foreigners. UKIP (Image 1) received most endorsement in constituencies with a low proportion of immigrants. And in Saxony, the German State where the Pegida movement started, only 2.2% of the population are foreigners.

The New ‘Long War’ with Russia: Commodore Philip Thicknesse explores the current situation in Russia and Ukraine, and Vladimir Putin’s relationship with the West.

It is much better to have Putin if not actually inside the Western tent then at least not outside it pulling out the guy ropes and causing chaos. Russia ultimately has a far greater problem with militant Islam than the West, it understands Iran and Syria better than the West and has to deal with China in quite a different way. For all concerned, better a messy peace than a nasty descent into a wider and wholly avoidable conflict, be it long and ambiguous or short and horrific.

PS21 Report: Eurozone clinches deal, serious strains remain: Finally, check out our report on the Greek deal, with comments from Sir Michael Leigh, Giulia Pastorella and Peter Apps.

Leigh: The continued readiness of both sides to seek a compromise rather than slam the door is encouraging. The result, though, is a muddle-through which Greece and the creditors will find hard to sell to their constituencies. The improvised series of finance ministers and summit meetings demonstrates the lack of a dependable system of Eurozone governance and the prevalence of short-term political thinking over sound economics.

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