The unreliability of compassion, and the European Parliament’s history of self-empowerment: Two columns at “Ideas on Europe”

Since October 2021, UACES and Euradio are together hosting a new editorial in which scholars from the broad area of European studies address and discuss current issues as well as long-term developments in and across Europe, its political, cultural, societal and economic landscapes. Given the chance to present some of my own work, I have come to find this a great opportunity to present own research findings, but also open and unanswered questions and personal thoughts arising from – and going beyond – the own academic work to a wider, non-academic audience, in a not-too-academic format.

In my first column, “The European Parliament: a history of self-empowerment“, I spoke on the democratic roots of the European integration project, based on my research project on the institutional evolution of the European Parliament. Namely, I discussed the rationale behind the European Parliament’s early gains in power, in spite of very restricted and/or vague Treaty provisions, and the relevance of insights on the Parliament’s first steps towards a genuine European legislative for our understanding of power balances, institutional activism and democratic legitimacy in the EU today.

My second column, “The unreliability of compassion“, zoomed in on a much more topical and, sadly, grim issue: European answers to asylum seekers and refugees in the context of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. In this opinion piece, which arose from my research on the regulation and politicisation of asylum seekers’ and refugees’ healthcare access across Europe, I addressed some of the manifold ethical and legal problems coming with a political approach towards persons seeking protection based on grace and benevolence, rather than on firmly established legal frameworks and administrative preparedness.