Volume 10, No 1

July 19, 2018

Having the cake and eating it too: the benefits of decoupling Australia’s trade governance in Europe after Brexit and beyond


The process towards Brexit will impact on the entire global trading system and significantly influence the global value chains that rely on ease of trade and investment within a single European market. In light of this process, Australia with its high levels of international economic integration and interdependency of trade and investment to and from the European region, now faces a stark challenge in forging an economic position that best suits its national interests. This paper analyses the possible implications of Brexit on Australia’s economic governance position, with specific regard to the global value chains that rely on ease of trade and investments in the European single market. The exploration relies on empirical analysis that distinguishes between and disaggregates data on Australian trade and investment with the UK and the rest of the European Union. This analysis indicates that it is in Australia’s best interest is to prioritise a preferential partnership with the EU over a new free trade agreement with the UK. However, in order to maximise Australia’s position, the paper argues that, under the present political climate and technical difficulties, a multi-pronged and decoupled approach of concerted unilateralism with the UK and preferential bilateralism with the EU is best placed to enhance Australia’s geo-economic role in Europe in the post-Brexit era.


Article Keywords: Brexit, Australia-UK trade relationship, Australian trade policy in Europe

EU Refugee Crisis: A Stumbling Block to the Process of European Integration?


Currently, the European Union (EU) is dealing with an unprecedented refugee crisis which has been blamed for bringing the process of the EU integration to an impasse. By applying theories of European (dis)integration, this paper assesses the extent to which the current refugee crisis constitutes an impediment to the future of the European Union. This paper’s analysis is constructed around two hypotheses: (1) the refugee crisis triggered Brexit and the failure of the EU’s relocation scheme, symptoms of the EU’s disintegration; (2) the refugee crisis has a dual potential: to simultaneously promote the deeper integration and the disintegration of the EU. To test these hypotheses, this paper examines if and how the refugee crisis is related to Brexit and whether the rebellious reaction of certain EU member states to the implementation of the EU relocation scheme is a sign of reversal in the process of EU integration.

Article Keywords: Brexit, European Disintegration, European Integration, European Union, Refugee Crisis, Relocation Scheme

European Union’s enlargement fatigue: Russia’s and China’s rise in Southeast Europe


Enlargement fatigue has descended upon the European Union (EU) institutions, which remain focused on resolving the Brexit crisis and ongoing internal reforms. This multi-faceted phenomenon has directly caused the so-called accession fatigue in potential EU members, which are increasingly turning to other geopolitical alternatives. Russia and China are the new dominant powerbrokers in the EU’s immediate neighbourhood, courting political and business elites in EU candidate states and offering an alternative foreign policy option which contrasts with the stalled EU enlargement process. This paper discusses the rise of these external powers in the EU’s immediate neighbourhood, suggesting three scenarios for the future of the Balkan region where the EU, Russia and China are more vigorously vying for influence than ever before.

Article Keywords: EU enlargement, accession, China, Russia, Southeast Europe, the Balkans

Understanding EU External Perceptions: Theorising Local ‘Cultural Filters’ in the Normative Power Approach (case- study of textbooks)


This article argues that one way to advance the ‘Normative Power Europe’ (NPE) discourse is to shift the analytical focus to the ‘locals’ – or ‘norm-receivers’ – rather than to ‘norm-senders/makers’. The analysis examines the range of locals’ reactions – from learning to adaptation or rejection of norms – and explains the factors behind those reactions. Building on Ian Mannersʼ claim that normative power is informed by ‘cultural filters’ which affect the impact of international norms and political learning in non-European Union (EU) countries, the article advances the concept of ‘external recognition’. It considers one type of local cultural filters — images and perceptions of the EU as a normative power. Deepening and enriching the ‘Normative Power Europe’ Approach (NPA) by theorising ‘cultural filters’ of external perceptions, this article undertakes a comparative study of Europe’s normative images in high school textbooks in Israel and New Zealand.


Article Keywords: EU external perceptions, school textbooks, Israel, New Zealand, ‘Normative Power Europe’, cultural filters, ‘Normative Power Approach’

Theorising Europeanisation in European Literature: Conceptualisation and Operationalisation


There has been an extensive academic debate on the impact of the European Union on its member states, on the candidate countries for EU membership and the countries in its geographical neighbourhood. This paper analyses the notion and working conceptualisation of ‘Europeanisation’, which is to say, the EU’s impact on domestic political systems, when EU rules, norms and laws are first defined and consolidated in the making of EU decisions and then incorporated in the logic of domestic discourse, identities, political structures and public policies. The paper suggests to analyse the Europeanisation process in three ways. Moreover, the article elucidates the gradual development of the Europeanisation theory from so called “internal” to “external” Europeanisation, whereby the EU tries to transfer its Acquis Communautaire (the legal order of the European Union) to the international level. However, research on the Western understanding of Europeanisation confirms that the analysis of the process, when the European neighbourhood states adopt the EU acquis (the objectives of the European Union, its policies and the rules governing these policies) from the viewpoint of institutional framework has significant limitations. To deal with some of these issues, the paper outlines the conceptualisation of Europeanisation and examines the difference between Europeanisation and European Integration.

Article Keywords: Candidates, EU, Europeanisation, European Integration, Neighborhood

European Politics and the Neoliberal Paradigm


This paper looks at the European integration project in its current iteration drawing on Karl Polanyi’s assertion that markets are inseparable from the socio-cultural context. In this regard, all attempts to liberalise the economy (not excluding European integration, which is based on the principle of the single market) have practical and indeed tangible political ramifications. The main hypothesis of the paper lies in the recognition of the fact that the neoliberal agenda is one of the defining features of European integration. It is after all, the project of the single market, with its free movement of goods, services, capital, and labour that underpins European Union integrative practice.

Secondly, it is the presupposition of this paper, that there is a certain degree of congruence between the economic elites, operating within the neoliberal framework, and the centre-left political elites. The argument here is that the logic of neoliberalism has been fundamentally accepted across the mainstream of the political spectrum. This consequently means that even left-wing parties have had to reposition themselves both ideologically and practically, which brings the conclusion that the market has lost its role as the basic ideological differentiator between the traditional right and left. The axis of political debate has consequently shifted to moral issues such as the relationship between the state and the church, immigration, and gender.

Article Keywords: EU; neoliberalism; democracy deficit; political ideologies