Yves Mény

«It's politics, stupid!»: The hollowing out of politics in Europe - and its return, with a vengeance

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Public Policy; Government; Intergovernmental Relations.

Most of the current analyses dealing with the post-2009 crisis tend to focus on its economic components. Its political and social dimensions are perceived as a consequence of this major earthquake ant not as the potential cause of the crisis itself. There is an implicit belief that if the economic crisis is properly addressed, there will be a return to «business as usual». This benign neglect of politics offsets the fact that the roots of the issue are much deeper: the disconnection of policies from politics due to the farming out of the political functions to non elected bodies or private corporations has contributed to the hollowing out of democratic systems and to the present disenchantment with politics. The European Union's crisis is a vivid example of this de-coupling with the twin crucial influence of the Luxembourg Court and of the Frankfurt ECB on one hand and the emptiness of the political European scene. However, politics come back with a revenge under various clothes: electoral absenteeism, radical protest and in particular the emergence of variegated forms of populist movements whose main common feature is the rejection of traditional parties, of the economic and political elites, and of the institutions of mediation and representation. The possible return to growth and full employment will be a welcome factor but it will not be enough to deal properly with the growing contradiction between unregulated global economics and national democratic systems, emptied of their political and regulating capacities.

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