The International Spectator, Vol. 49, No. 1, March 2014

Sezione speciale su Austerity and Crisis of Representation

Austerity, a Threat to Democracy? Free
Recent Publications Free

Numero: 
49/1
Data pubblicazione: 
29/03/2014

Opinions

Egypt's Future: Yet Another Turkish Model?
Robert D. Springborg
The Turkish model deemed most relevant to 2011-12 post-Mubarak Egypt was the Islamist-led transformation of the polity and economy that occurred following the rise to power of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the 2002 general election. As it transpired, this version of the Turkish model lasted but one year before another took its place. That model was the political project of the Turkish military that seized power in September 1980. This thirty-one year old Turkish model of a constitutionally empowered executive body, controlled by the military appears to have trumped the contemporary, Islamist one in Egypt. But the Turkish military coup of 1980 unwittingly and unintentionally laid the groundwork for the transition that ultimately swept it from power and its leaders into jail. The pertinent question then is will Egypt's civilian political and economic actors be similarly and sufficiently astute to exploit the opportunities they inevitably will have even under military rule? Egyptian political forces will inevitably mount serious challenges as they did in Turkey. In Egypt, however, the domestic and regional political and economic contexts are so different from those in Turkey that the outcome of the struggle for power between civilians and the military are likely to deviate substantially from this Turkish model.
Keywords: Turkish model, military, Evren, al-Sisi, National Security Council, democratisation, constitution
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Essays
Austerity and the Crisis of Traditional Representation

Austerity, a Threat to Democracy?
Lorenzo Bini Smaghi
Policymakers in advanced economies tend to postpone reforms and budgetary adjustment, which are politically costly, until the deterioration of financial market sentiment makes these measures unavoidable. Such a strategy is economically costly and politically dangerous. It is costly because once market sentiment deteriorates confidence can be restored only through drastic and much more painful measures. Austerity can be avoided only with a credible reform agenda. The strategy is also dangerous because the argument that "there is no other alternative" cannot be repeated indefinitely by governments that fail to act earlier. The risk that citizens may be attracted to populist solutions increases.
Keywords: austerity, gradualism, fiscal adjustment, debt restructuring, vicious circle
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'Broken and Can't Be Fixed': The Impact of the Economic Crisis on the Greek Party System
Susannah Verney
The Greek election of May 2012 failed to produce a government, resulting in repeat elections six weeks later. This shock outcome was a symptom of a broader delegitimation of the national political system. Over the past decade Eurobarometer data show a much more extensive loss of confidence in political institutions in Greece than in the European Union as a whole. In a first phase, rising political discontent was managed within the traditional political framework through alternation in power between the two major parties. In contrast, the second phase, following the outbreak of the Greek sovereign debt crisis, led to the dramatic fragmentation of the party system and changed the mode of government formation. This process is not reversible and entails serious democratic dangers.
Keywords: Greece, 2012 elections, public opinion, radical left, far right
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The Five Star Movement: Exception or Vanguard in Europe?
Lorenzo Mosca
The enduring economic crisis, austerity measures and corruption scandals have created a favourable environment for the advent of new political actors all over Europe. During the last general elections (February 2013), Italy was shocked by the inexorable rise of the Five Star Movement. Beppe Grillo's creature upset the political system, occupying portions of the public sphere that had been ignored (the web) or gradually abandoned by traditional political parties (the squares). Its unusual campaigning style, its internet-based organisational structure, its atypical political positioning (beyond left and right), and its oversimplification of complex problems all help to explain its electoral performance, and distinguish it from similar anti-establishment parties that have emerged in Europe over the past decade.
Keywords: Five Star Movement, anti-establishment, window of opportunity, internal democracy, internet politics
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Direct Democracy and Scapegoats: The Five Star Movement and Europe
Piergiorgio Corbetta and Rinaldo Vignati
Italy is one the most europhile countries in the European Union. Nevertheless, as surveys show, over the last few years anti-European sentiments have increasingly surfaced among Italian citizens. Furthermore, there is now an important novelty regarding the relation between Italy and Europe: the Five Star Movement, a new party that expresses a peculiar and contradictory position towards Europe. Its leader, Beppe Grillo, sometimes advocates more, not less, unification, but he also proposes a referendum on Italian membership of the euro. Moreover, Grillo's blog frequently lends its voice to the choir of openly anti-European sentiment. Indeed, Grillo's call for direct democracy is plebiscitarian and his positions contribute to the weakening of a European project that is already facing grave difficulties of its own.
Keywords: populism, euroscepticism, Five Star Movement, Beppe Grillo
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***

Internet Privacy: Who Sets the Global Standard?
Agustín Rossi
The European Data Protection Directive is often considered the Internet Privacy Global Standard, but this in only partially true. While the European Union sets a formal global standard, the 1995 Data Protection Directive has two loopholes that Internet companies exploit to set the effective global standard for internet privacy. The United States and Ireland have become safe harbours for Internet companies to collect and process Europeans' personal data without being subject to the stringent laws and regulations of some continental European countries. Companies, and not the European Union or governments, are the ones that set the effective global standard of internet privacy.
Keywords: Internet privacy, European Union, Data Protection Directive, safe harbour
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America's Mega-Regional Trade Diplomacy: Comparing TTP and TTIP
Daniel S. Hamilton
The United States is currently negotiating two massive regional economic agreements, one with 11 Asian and Pacific Rim countries and the other with the 28-member European Union. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) herald a substantial shift in US foreign economic policy as Washington turns its focus from the stalemated Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations and scattered bilateral trade agreements to 'mega-regional' trade diplomacy. As the only party to both negotiations, Washington seeks to leverage issues in one to advance its interests in the other, while reinvigorating US global leadership.
Keywords: trade, investment, services, TPP, TTIP, United States, European Union, Japan, China, foreign policy
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Europe Forum

Is Flexible Integration Harming the Prospect of a Common Acquis?
Filippa Chatzistavrou
In the post-Lisbon era and especially since the outburst of the financial and European sovereign debt crisis, the EU has been changing significantly, to the extent that the meaning and the process of integration are being affected. While constitutional asymmetry is a longstanding feature of the EU polity, the real challenge today is the expanding scope and fragmented character of newly established forms of flexibility, and how they are being used politically. The flexible configuration of integration reinforces a trend toward fragmented integration. Flexibility within the EU could become an end in itself, a device to serve a wide range of strategic visions and preferences in sectoral politics.
Keywords: differentiated integration, acquis communautaire, economic governance, enhanced cooperation, accession policy
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Inside-out and Outside-in: EU Security in the Neighbourhood
Isabelle Ioannides
The EU has increasingly intensified the link between its internal and external security concerns and needs, particularly in relation to its neighbours (the Western Balkans and the southern Mediterranean). This adaptation at legal, institutional, strategic and operational levels has sought to improve the coherence and effectiveness of EU external action. Yet, for the Union to tackle ongoing and new challenges in the immediate neighbourhood with today's financial and political constraints, it must be resourceful. The EU should make 'smart' use of its tools and capitalise on existing assets (reinforce the comprehensive approach, strengthen broad-based dialogue on security in the EU members states, and build relations of trust with third countries) to ensure that reforms in the immediate neighbourhood are sustainable, also for the benefit of long-term EU interests.
Keywords: EU external action, internal-external security, AFSJ, neighbourhood
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Transforming the Italian Armed Forces, 2001-13
Fabrizio Coticchia and Francesco N. Moro
Italian armed forces have undergone important transformations since the end of the Cold War. Exogenous changes in the strategic and operational environment have driven a reshaping of armed forces in all NATO countries, but the differences between the national responses that have emerged has not always been thoroughly analysed. Deep restructuring in military doctrine, field experience linked to intense force deployment and budgetary constraints interact in shaping the direction of transformation, sometimes in ways that deviate from classic hypotheses on what drives change in the military. The picture that emerges is a complex one, where relevant innovations co-exist with the persistence of problems that call into question the sustainability of the Italian defence model.
Keywords: military transformation, Italy, European defence, military doctrine
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Book Reviews

Obama, the Arab Spring and US Foreign Policy in the Middle East. Change or Continuity?
Daniela Huber
Review of: Obama and the Middle East. The End of America's Moment?, by Fawaz A. Gerges, Palgrave MacMillan, 2012
Constructing America's Freedom Agenda for the Middle East. Democracy and Domination, by Oz Hassan, Routledge, 2013
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Unveiling the Myth of Central Bankers' Neutrality
Francesco Visconti
Review of: Bankers, Bureaucrats, and Central Bank Politics. The Myth of Neutrality, by Christopher Adolph, Cambridge University Press, 2013
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Multilateral Security Governance: What Role for the EU?
Stefania Panebianco
Review of: The EU and Multilateral Security Governance, edited by Sonia Lucarelli, Luk van Langenhove and Jan Wouters, Routledge, 2013
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Recent Publications
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