JEPP wishes everyone a happy holiday season!

frozen-berries-red-fruits-64705For a journal covering European politics, 2016 was an eventful, if not turbulent year indeed. For us as editors, business as usual now also means to think about ways to cover some of the more momentous events and developments without too much delay, while keeping academic standards high. With the introduction of the Debate Section, we were able to test a new format of shorter articles, which engage a topic from different viewpoints, and which demand from authors as well as reviewers to work even more than their usual extra hours. JEPP’s very first Debate Section on the British Exit from the EU – Legal and Political Implications, edited by Graham Butler, Mads Dagnis Jensen and Holly Snaith received ample attention by our readers as well as in the social media.

Unmatched in this regard was Sara Hobolt’s excellent in-depth analysis of the Brexit vote: a divided nation, a divided continent, which went online in September and received over 7000 views by December 2016 – a JEPP record, which will be hard to beat unless other EU member states decide to follow suit (fingers crossed that this will not happen so soon). Other developments, which have caught the public eye in 2016, have also received ample coverage in JEPP via our Debate Section format: The gradual erosion of liberal democracy and the rule of law in Poland and Hungary, and what the EU can do about it, has been covered in a highly publicized debate edited by Dan Kelemen and Michael Blauberger.

2016 also kept us busy doing JEPP’s core tasks: publishing some of the best work in European politics and public policy. By the end of 2016, we will – for the first time – hit the 400-submission ceiling. While this means more work for us, we are also happy because this probably means that our readers (you!) seem to like the journal. As JEPP continues to grow, we have decided to move from 10 to 11 issues in 2017. And to better communicate JEPP to the world of academia and beyond, our JEPP Online Blog and Twitter account have been well received and we also hope to keep you well-informed in 2017.

While we agree that bibliometric data should be approached cautiously, we are obviously happy to see that the journal is doing very well across the board of different indicators (such as the Journal Citation Report by Thomson Reuters or Google Scholar). The best way for us to keep our standards high and publish exciting work is for you, our authors, reviewers, and readers, to continue to feed us with your great ideas, thorough analyses and commitment to excellence. Our pledge is to offer you what we hope is an efficient and fair review and publishing process, a journal that you not only like to read, but that also has a human face (as probably most editors, we also make mistakes, but we tend to learn from them as well).

In the meantime, the JEPP-team will take a short break over the holidays, and be back in action in 2017. Jeremy will be spending a typical Kiwi Christmas with Sonia, the girls, and Harvey, namely going to the Akaroa beach and having lot of BBQs, washed down with fine NZ wines. As an add-on he is having a paddle boarding lesson, aiming, at 74, to be the oldest paddle boarder in Akaroa. Berthold has agreed to write a nice Obituary in JEPP should this (foolish?) venture end in disaster!

Berthold will, as usual, spend the holiday break with Jessica and his in-laws in Florida, watching out for sharks and Trump motorcades on and off the beaches in Palm Beach County. If things get too hectic, he will have a drink or two on Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman (no, JEPP does not run an offshore business).

Michael will continue with his (pleasant) Sisyphean task from last year – trying to reduce the regrowing pile of books that he can reach from his couch. To prevent things from getting too comfortable, however, he registered for a winter half-marathon after the holiday break.

Philipp will escape the big smoke of London and spend his Christmas break with friends and family in Munich. No winter half-marathon, (hopefully) no Trump motorcades, just a blanket, a hot drink and plenty of time to catch up on some of the sleep that was lost throughout the past few months.

We wish all of you a happy holiday and relaxing season. See you next year!

Berthold, Jeremy, Michael, Philipp

The EU in crisis: EU studies in crisis?

“[T]he desire to be a predictive science causes us to imagine the world
to be far more predictable than it actually is.” (Blyth 2006, p. 493)

As the EU stumbles from crisis to crisis, which the Commission President has even referred to as an “existential crisis” in his state of the union address, can we as EU scholars continue with business as usual? Or should we rethink our ways of researching, teaching and communicating the EU?

Over the past decade, the EU has faced an unprecedented succession and accumulation of crises: the banking crisis has led to financial and sovereign debt crises, which have culminated in a Eurozone crisis; a democratic crisis does not merely beset EU-level decision-making, but seems to be a deliberate strategy of some EU governments championing ‘illiberal democracy’. The so-called refugee crisis has been a catalyst for populism and demands to ‘take back’, i.e. re-nationalize, political control. The Brexit referendum was a vivid illustration of these centrifugal forces in the EU and beyond (e.g. with US president-elect Trump calling himself ‘Mr. Brexit’).

For EU scholars, these crises have become primary objects of study, but they have not thrown EU studies into crisis. To the contrary: EU scholars have interpreted the EU’s crisis responses as yet another set of phenomena that can be studied by employing assumptions, theories, and methods that characterize our field. Why let a good crisis go to waste, if it can be analysed with the existing bodies of theories of integration, institutional change, and decision-making? Previous crises, big and small, have surely brought about shifts in the EU’s institutional architecture, they have affected the contentiousness and dynamics of EU policy-making, they have allowed us to assess and refine our theories, but they have hardly led us to re-evaluate our shared premise: that the EU, despite its inefficiencies and deficits, is here to stay.

During the days following the June 23rd vote, business as usual was hardly an option for those amongst us entering a classroom, or for those being asked by concerned relatives and friends. While we can help make sense of the Brexit vote, given the sophisticated commentary from our peers, the implications of the referendum might unleash more than ‘just’ another crisis: It might very well mark a moment of reckoning for us as political scientists and EU scholars. Have we overestimated the stability of the EU’s political system and its resilience to crises? Are some of our theories biased by equating more integration with successful problem-solving and do they hence insinuate a sense of stability, which, in fact, is more porous than solid? Or have we simply taken the EU too much for granted (alongside, possibly, with other political accomplishments of the liberal, democratic post-war order)? And, depending on our answers to these questions, what follows from this diagnosis for researching, teaching and communicating the EU?

We invite proposals (of max. 500 words) for individual contributions (of up to 5,000 words) to a JEPP debate section on this topic. Please, send your proposals by 12 February 2017 to michael.blauberger@sbg.ac.at and berthold.rittberger@gsi.lmu.de and do not hesitate to get in touch with either of them should you have any further questions.