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Romanian civic spirit at its best

Romanian civic spirit at its best

Feb 14, 2017 - by Lavinia Stan, President, Society for Romanian Studies, Department of Political Science, St. Francis Xavier University

For almost two weeks now, hundreds of thousands of Romanian ordinary citizens and civil society activists have taken to the street in Bucharest, across the country, and even in cities like London where significant numbers of Romanian migrants live and work to protest against the Social Democratic government of Sorin Grindeanu. A little known politician with no previous ministerial experience, Grindeanu was nominated as prime minister by the Social Democrats, who in the December 2016 elections won almost half of all seats in the bicameral parliament. Grindeanu’s name might have never been proposed if President Klaus Iohannis had accepted Social Democratic Party leader Liviu Dragnea as prime minister. But Dragnea was under investigation for fraud, and thus Iohannis warned that unscrupulous corrupt politicians should not occupy high-ranking government positions.

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CETA AND THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

December 12, 2016 - by Dr. Valerie D’ErmanPostdoctoral fellow, Department of Political Science, University of Victoria

The signing of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU at the end of October does not mean that the ongoing full approval of the trade agreement is without more obstacles. CETA now has to be ratified through plenary votes in both the European Parliament (EP) and national parliaments across the EU. The initial rejection of CETA by Wallonia, a region in Belgium, in October 2016 illustrated both the strong anti-free-trade sentiments present in some parts of the EU, and the multitude of political roadblocks that CETA still has to pass through before reaching the possibility of full ratification and implementation.

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Angela Merkel's fourth chancellor bid – domestic and international challenges

Nov 21, 2016 - by Oliver Schmidtke, Centre for Global Studies, University of Victoria

On Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that she will seek re-election in the 2017 federal elections. After eleven years in office Chancellor Merkel stated that her decision was “anything but trivial”. Her hesitation might have to do with the uncertainty and upheaval that characterizes the international and, to a degree, the domestic political arena.

The European Union is currently caught in the midst of the most severe crisis since its inception in post-War Western Europe. The Brexit vote indicated how popular anti-EU sentiments are in the wider public and how approaches driven by nationalist agendas have formed the agenda of many EU member-states. The other part of the dual engine that traditionally has promoted European integration, France, faces presidential elections in which the Front National under Marine Le Pen is poised to be a serious contender. Leadership in the EU is likely to be challenging. Similarly, President Elect Trump’s suggestions to question established Western alliances adds to the instability of an environment which Germany is dependent on as one of the leading global export countries.

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