18,906, 721 Romanians are being called to vote to renew the two chambers of their Parliament: the chamber of Deputies (308 MPs) and the Senate (134 Senators) elected for four years. Romania has been governed for the last year by a government of technocrats. Since 17th November 2015 the President of the Republic Klaus Johannis appointed former Minister for Agriculture (2007-2009) and former European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development (2010-2014) Dacian Ciolos as Prime Minister. The latter put together a government that comprised independent experts only which was a first in the country.
Interview on the Italian constitutional referendum with Marc Lazar, Professor of Political History and Sociology. He is the directeur of the Centre for History at Sciences Po and Chairman of the School of Administration of the University of Luiss, Rome.
A wide majority (59.11%) of Italians said "no" to the draft Constitutional reform proposed by the President of the Council Matteo Renzi (Democratic Party, PD) which aimed to strengthen the country's political stability and facilitate the decision making process. It intended to break from the present equal bicameral system, which grants similar powers to both chambers of Parliament (the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate); as matters stand the executive is obliged to have the majority in each of the assemblies in order to be able to govern.
Alexander Van der Bellen won the second round of the presidential election in Austria on 4th December. The ecologist candidate (Greens, DG) who was standing as an independent won 53.8% of the vote against 46.2% of the vote which went to his rival, populist candidate Norbert Hofer (Liberal Party, FPÖ). Turnout totalled 64.6%, i.e. -8.10 points in comparison with the previous (invalidated) election on 22nd May last.
In an editorial published on his site, Jean-Dominique Giuliani, Chairman of the Foundation, siad it is not necessary to "build Europe anew". It would be much better to seek adaptation to new world realities and to reform certain policies.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to organise a referendum in 2017 on the issue of the UK's place in the EU: "Do you think that the UK should remain in the European Union or leave the European Union?" The question of the UK's status within the European Union is one of the issues at stake in the latter's development. The Robert Schuman Foundation offers its readers an information file on the main questions set by the referendum as well as the options open to the UK if it leaves the EU.
The repeated drownings in the Mediterranean have led to an emergency situation regarding the European migratory question. According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), more than 1,750 migrants perished in the Mediterranean between January and April 2015, ie more than 30 times the figure in the same period in 2014. Given these repeated catastrophes an extraordinary European Council was organised on 23rd April and ten new measures were put forward on 20th April by the European Commission including stepping up surveillance operations and rescue at sea. The Robert Schuman Foundation is offering its readers an information file on the theme of immigration, that brings together its publications on this issue in order to review the development of these events in Europe.
For a better understanding of the challenges facing Europeans today: the refugee question, immigration, euro area reform, investment, growth, employment, taxation, the danger of a "Brexit", populism, energy transition, but also the new strategic context in the southern Mediterranean and in the East of the continent and terrorism. Never has Europe faced so many questions. The most eminent personalities and the best experts have chosen to contribute to the "Schuman Report 2016 on the State of the Union" now on sale in bookshops and on the Foundation's site in paper and digital form.