Book review: Bart Gaens, Juha Jokela, Eija Limnell (Eds), The Role of the European Union in Asia, Farnham, Ashgate, 2009. Reviewed by Basil Germond
Author: Basil Germond
Considering the ―re-discovery‖ of Asia in the late 1980‘s and its economic and strategic implications
for Europe, this edited volume looks into ―the interaction between Europe and Asia, focusing on the European Union‘s (EU) strategic partnerships with China and India‖ (p.1). The volume consists of the editors‘ introduction (highlighting the special features of EU‘s international actorness, the specificities of China and India, as well as the relevance of the regional contexts), followed by 10 chapters (dealing with different aspects of the strategies developed by the EU towards Asia), and a conclusion (summarizing the key determinants of the partnerships with China and India, and offering policy-oriented recommendations). Various topics are considered, viz. the weight of regional realities, the feasibility of a single voice approach, the prevalence of the Member States in formulating common strategies towards Asia, the potential evolution of the current equilibrium between the ―first‖ and the ―third‖ worlds, the balance between economic interests and right-based goals, China‘s and India‘s own views and policies regarding their partnerships with the EU, and China-India relationships. While tackling different issues, the various chapters offer a comprehensive discussion about EU-China-India relationships and allow pinpointing some very interesting and recurrent elements of the current EU‘s strategies towards Asia.
Book review: David Gowland, Arthur Turner and Alex Wright, Britain and European Integration since 1945: On the Sidelines. (London and New York: Routledge), 2010. Reviewed by: Laurie Buonanno
Author: Laurie Buonnano
The subtitle of this informative and well-written book captures a consistent theme in an historical approach to Britain and European integration—that the UK has not been simply a querulous cousin (the awkward partner) but has bungled a series of unprecedented opportunities to lead on the major questions facing postwar Europe. The first seven chapters are divided into periods reflecting the distinct challenges with the eighth chapter serving as a basis for summing up and drawing conclusions. Chapter 1 covers the
period between 1945-1955.
Author: Thierry Brugvin
There is an influence, a dialectic relation between the strength of ideas, public powers and economic forces (institutions, economic elites, financial capital and production forces). In this context, we are analyzing the mechanisms of uneven, illegal and non-democratic governance. The state often serves the interests of the ETN, mainly for reasons of national energy independence. The elites accumulating economic and political power – in particular the banking elites and institutions – endanger democracy. Moreover, professional associations (lobbies) sometimes have a stronger influence on the elected officials than the electors themselves. Finally, the behavior of the elites is due on the one hand to the psychosociological dimension relating to the need for power (more or less repressed). On the other hand, relating to the social pressure exercised by their pairs and to imitation, it is due to isomorphism as a way of remaining faithful to the practices of one’s own environment, culture and codes.
Keywords: non-democracy, elites, governance, illegality, psycho-sociology
Author: Luigi Moccia
The evolutionary dynamics set in motion since the beginnings of the integration process for an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe, although still far from reaching the goal of the federation of Europe, moves along the direction of empowering the Union’s political and institutional structure and character as an autonomous community of both states and citizens, “founded on the indivisible, universal values of human dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity”, so defined in the preamble of the Charter of fundamental rights of the Union. From this perspective, the central tenet of the paper is that a major and most fruitful integrative factor, of both theoretical value and practical effect, which sets the link between constitutionalisation and democratic legitimation of European Union is (should be) represented by the citizenship of the Union or, in a more emphatic and symbolic way, the European citizenship: being a new kind of citizenship, not referring any longer to a state (territorial) legal order but to an area (including member states territories) without internal frontiers (the so-called area of freedom, security and justice), where European fellow citizens could (as a rule of principle tolerating but a few and limited exceptions) freely move, reside, work, do business and so forth, in absence of constraints and of any form of discrimination on grounds of nationality.
Keywords: Charter of fundamental rights, citizens, European citizenship, EU, Lisabon Treaty
Author: Alina Bârgăoanu,Roxana Maria Dascălu
The article starts from the idea that the absorption of the Structural Instruments and of the rural development
related funds available for Romania in the 2007-2013 has become nearly an “obsession”. This – among other things–is a source of blindness to other European funds, the so-called Community Programmes. The rate of participation of Romanian institutions to such programmes is rather low, which has some far-reaching effects. The case is analyzed against the theoretical framework provided by theories, mechanisms and effects of Europeanization.
Keywords: Community Programmes, Regional and Cohesion Policy Europeanization, Romania, Structural Instruments, thematic policies
Simon Hix, Abdoul G. Noury, Gérard Roland,Politica democratică în Parlamentul European, Cluj-Napoca, CA Publishing, 2009. Reviewed by Mihaela Herbel
Author: Mihaela Herbel
The book is a useful tool not only for researchers keen on studying topics related with the European Parliament but also for political practitioners or those who want to inform on this topic. It is a useful tool not only for describing so concisely the institution of the European Parliament and the evolution of its prerogatives from 1979 up to 2004, or for casting light on the problem often confusing of the relationship between the increase in the EP’s prerogatives and the treaties which granted these prerogatives (this is both a necessary positioning of the topic in the field of the European studies and a didactic dimension) but also for analyzing the different faces of the relation between two structural elements of the political-electoral life:party cohesion and voting discipline. For the co-authors and for any practitioner of politics things are clear:the two elements are mutually depending upon the efficiency of the other and together can or cannot generate political success.
Book review: André Liebich, De pe celălalt ţărm. Social democraţia după 1921, Cluj-Napoca, CA Publishing, 2009. Reviewed by Mihaela Herbel
Author: Mihaela Herbel
De pe celălalt ţărm. Social democraţia după 1921(original title:From the other shore. Russian Social-Democracy after 1921,Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997)is above all, a collective biography, the story of the Mensheviks, a faction which, between 1903 and 1917 split from the Social-Democrat Party of the Russian Workers – changed into the Russian Communist Party after the 1917 coup. It is the story of the Menshevik Party’s 40-year lifetime and of its wanderings in three countries from two continents during the most troublesome years of the 20th century. By all means, the Mensheviks are not singular in the field of political exile but they are most emblematic in remaining essentially an exiled political group. They never seized power in Russia and turned overnight into a dissident group inside their own party. Eventually,banished from the country in 1921, the Russian Mensheviks reached political maturity after emigration. It was also as emigrants that they were forced to define their role in compliance with the status of exiled political group sentenced to remain outside Russia’s borders: the role of political observers of domestic politics. History recorded the Mensheviks for this very position of observers and experts in the problems of the Soviet Russian politics.
Author: Gavril Preda
Abstract: Globalization as a multidimensional process has a great impact upon the contemporary economic, social, political and cultural problems. The trend of the extension and deepening of the interdependencies among national states isdetermining the extension of the problems from the internal level towards the international sphere having impact on theprocess of governance. It emphasizes the strong bond between the economic dimension of globalization and the political methods and instruments of intervention pertaining to governance. The analysis of the concepts of governed, governance and good governance is made in relation with the impact of the economic globalization.
Keywords: good governance, globalization, governance,governing
Author: Constantin Hlihor
Abstract: The European political environment has suffered core transformation after the collapse of communism in the field of European reconstruction & public policies and has extended its values towards the area behind the Iron Curtain. From this perspective, multi-level governance and security policy are by far the most important. This study tries to answer the following questions: How will the actors of multi-level governance succeed in being real partners of the state in providing security for the citizen and for the society, in general? Do the actors dispose of the same instruments and resources within this complex interacting system? Can the principles of good governance
be applied to a social dimension like security? The issues of legitimacy and power of all these actors will also be a analyzed.
Keywords:governance, governance actors, energy security, security, privatization of security
Author: Roxana ZYMAN
Abstract: My article discusses the relationship between globalization, governance and development. Many authors considerglobalization as being beneficial for humanity, but they also show its negative effects which require institutionaladjustments. Although numerous researchers investigated the topic of governance, many studies present governancemodels which are inadequate from a global perspective or they differ among each other. Therefore, I organized a fieldresearch project on challenges for governance in the context of globalization, using sociological methods, which includedinternational and national actors from all regions of the world. Along with a discussion on challenges, my article concludesthat good governance (at national and local levels) is the prime answer to these challenges and presents a model of goodgovernance from a global perspective. My model is the outcome of my field research and analysis of other studies. It is basedon some universal principles of good governance grouped in 5 components. My results could be useful not only forstimulating the theoretical debate on globalization and development or debates on governance reforms in Central andEastern Europe (of extreme relevance in times of financial crisis), but also in the area of international developmentassistance.
Keywords: Challenges for governance, development, globalization, principles of good governance, urbanization.