The new political geography of Europe

How the euro crisis has affected politics in 14 EU member states

Publication cover

The euro crisis has revolutionised politics across Europe, obscured by a focus on what’s happening in Berlin and Brussels. Established political parties are fighting for their lives, and countries have been cast out from the European core to the periphery.

A new collection of essays, edited by Nicholas Walton and Jan Zielonka, examining how the crisis has affected the political dynamics in 14 member states throws a light on the roots of a new political geography in Europe. The chapters – by prominent thinkers, journalists, and academics in the 14 countries – identify the main points of contention and new political forces. The countries covered are France, Portugal, Denmark, Britain, Poland, Italy, Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Spain, and Bulgaria. 


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The collection – “The new political geography of Europe” – does not just look at Europe from the top of the pyramid, but at how EU citizens have been affected by the crisis. It shows how the reshuffling of Europe’s political geography is happening across four dimensions:

  • Established elites are under extreme pressure from new political forces and populist movements.
  • The division between core and periphery is growing, with many countries that thought of themselves at Europe’s heart now disenfranchised.
  • The core is fracturing, with an unbridgeable gap growing between Paris and Berlin, and others happy to veto key proposals for ending the crisis.
  • There is no shared vision of European integration, despite the growing talk of “political union.”

Click here for an audio podcast with Nicholas Walton explaining the publication

“Europe will not escape this crisis until it reinvents itself, but first it must understand how citizens across Europe have been affected, and how they think and vote. A reinvented Europe will focus on the problems faced by ordinary citizens rather than elites within the Brussels bubble.”  Jan Zielonka

“The crisis has evolved from a banking crisis and then an economic crisis into an acute political crisis playing out within and between EU member states. As a result we are seeing an emerging competition between radically different European projects.” Nicholas Walton

The European Council on Foreign Relations does not take collective positions. ECFR publications only represent the views of their individual authors.

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