Sie sind auf Seite 1von 23

Gross domestic product (GDP in U.S.$) $37 billion (2006) GDP per capita (U.S.$) $18,588.

50 (2006) Monetary unit 1 euro (), consisting of 100 cents Number of workers 1,036,352 (2006) Unemployment rate 6.1 percent (2004)

Machine Repair Shop Machine Repair Shop A mechanic works on a machine for laying railroad tracks in a repair shop in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Heavy industry is a significant part of Slovenias economy. Encarta Encyclopedia Maurice Harvey/Hutchison Library Full Size

Lake Bled, Slovenia Lake Bled, Slovenia With its popular resorts, Lake Bled, in northwestern Slovenia, is a favorite tourist destination in the country. Encarta Encyclopedia Janez Skok/Corbis Full Size

Postojna Cave Postojna Cave The Postojna Cave in southwestern Slovenia is an extensive cave system that extends for more than 20 km (12 mi). The cave, a major tourist attraction in the Kras region of Slovenia, was carved by an underground river flowing through easily eroded limestone.

The Postojna Cave is the best known of the estimated 50,000 caves in the Kras region. Encarta Encyclopedia Arne Hodalic/Corbis Full Size V. GOVERNMENT

An emerging democracy, Slovenia has adopted many elements of democratic government. In December 1991 the Slovenian government adopted a constitution that guarantees a number of civil rights, including universal suffrage for all Slovenes age 18 and older (Slovenes age 16 and older may vote if they are employed), freedom of religion, and freedom of the press. Slovenias parliament consists of a 90-member State Assembly, which makes the countrys laws, and a 40member State Council, which can only propose laws or request reconsideration of a vote in the assembly. Assembly members serve four-year terms, and council members serve five-year terms. The parliament is headed by the prime minister, Slovenias true head of government, who is elected to a four-year term by the assembly. The country also has a president, who is elected to a five-year term by popular vote. Slovenia has a multiparty system of government. The countrys leading parties include the Liberal Democracy of Slovenia (LDS), the Slovenian Peoples Party, the Social Democratic Party of Slovenia, the Christian Democratic Party, United List, the Slovenian National Party, the Democratic Party of Slovenia, and Greens of Slovenia. Slovenia has eight trial courts, four appellate courts, and a Supreme Court. The Assembly appoints all judges, including the justices of the Supreme Court. Slovenia has an extensive network of social service programs sponsored by the government, including low-cost medical coverage and retirement pensions. Slovenia had an army of 6,550 active-duty soldiers in 2004, with a large reserve force. Conscription begins at age 18 and lasts seven months. Slovenia is a member of the Council of Europe(CE), the Central European Initiative (CEI), and the United Nations (UN). In 2002 the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) offered membership to Slovenia, which formally joined NATO in 2004. Slovenia also has signed defense accords with Austria and Hungary. Microsoft Encarta 2009. 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Government of Spain Form of government Parliamentary monarchy Head of state Monarch Head of government Prime minister Bicameral legislature: Legislature Congress of Deputies, 350 deputies

Senate, 259 senators Voting qualifications Universal at age 18 Constitution 6 December 1978, effective 29 December 1978 Highest court Supreme Court of Justice, Constitutional Court Spain is a relatively recent recruit to the ranks of Western democracies. Until the 1930s the country remained under the control of a small and mainly conservative upper class. The Second Republic, installed in 1931, was genuinely democratic, but fell victim to the excesses of its own supporters, the unfavorable international situation before World War II (1939-1945), and the reactionary forces within Spain. In 1936 these right-wing forces backed a military uprising that triggered a three-year civil war (see Spanish Civil War). The conflict ended in 1939 with a victory for the right-wing Nationalists (Nacionales) led by General Francisco Franco, who ruled Spain as dictator up to his death in 1975. After Francos death, political change came surprisingly fast and smoothly. Spain held a general election in June 1977 and adopted a new, unambiguously democratic constitution in December 1978. On February 23, 1981, the threat of a return to military rule was finally dispelled by the resounding failure of an attempted coup. In October 1982 the Socialist Workers Party won a landslide election victory. The peaceful acceptance of the Socialist victory by all significant sectors of opinion confirmed that Spains transition to democracy was a political reality. Today, Spain is a limited monarchy with an influential parliament. A. Executive

Spanish Presidents, Chiefs of State, and Prime Ministers from 1931 Spains head of state is a hereditary monarch whose powers are purely symbolic. Real executive power lies with the head of government, or prime minister (presidente del gobierno). Under the constitution the prime minister is chosen by majority vote of the Congress of Deputies (the lower house of parliament), and Congresss decision is then formally approved by the monarch. Once in office the prime minister appoints the ministers who make up the cabinet. The prime minister can also dismiss the cabinet ministers. Although the parliament can remove the prime minister only if it agrees on a successor, the prime minister has the power to dissolve parliament at any time during its four-year term. B. Legislature

Congress of Deputies, Madrid Congress of Deputies, Madrid The Congress of Deputies in Madrid is the lower house of the Spanish parliament, and the center of the Spanish political system. The main entrance, shown here, is flanked by two statues of lions. They were cast from the bronze of guns captured by Spanish troops in 1859, at the beginning of Spains wars with Morocco. Encarta Encyclopedia Ramon Manent/Corbis Full Size The Spanish parliament (Cortes) consists of two houses: the Senate (upper house) and the Congress of Deputies (lower house). The Congress of Deputies is the more powerful body and the scene of almost all high-profile debates. There are 256 senators and 350 Congress deputies, all of whom serve a four-year term, subject to the prime ministers power to dismiss them and call an early election. Forty-eight of the senators are chosen by Spains regional parliaments, in rough proportion to regional size. The remaining members of both houses are elected by direct vote. All Spaniards aged 18 and over are eligible to vote. The main tasks of Spains parliament are to scrutinize and approve legislation, and to control the executive, that is, call it to account for its actions. However, most control mechanisms at its disposal (for example, establishing committees of investigation) require a vote of the

parliamentary house concerned. Thus, if the party in power has a majority, it can block an investigation. Parliaments legislative role similarly has been largely reduced to rubber-stamping executive proposals. As a result parliament has suffered something of an identity crisis, especially severe in the case of the Senate. The Senate can delay legislation but not block it. C. Political Parties

Spanish politics is dominated by two parties: the Popular Party (Partido Popular, or PP) and the Socialist Workers Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Espaol, or PSOE). The conservative Popular Party absorbed the Christian Democrats and the Liberal Party and has existed in its present form since 1989. It enjoys strong support from the business community and the younger urban population. The Socialist Workers Party, Spains oldest party, provides the main opposition to the PP. The only other nationwide party of significance is United Left (Izquierda Unida, or IU), which was set up in 1986 as a broad alliance dominated by the Spanish Communist Party. IU later suffered a series of crises and remains a minor player in the Spanish party system. Many small parties blossomed following Spains return to democracy in the 1970s, but they have since faded away. The exceptions are regional parties, which have grown in number and importance. The largest of the regional parties are the Catalan Convergence and Union and the Basque Nationalist Party. These two parties were set up in 1980 and remain the chief representatives of long-established movements for regional self-rule. Both are significant players at the national level, too. Nearly all of the countrys 17 regions have at least one party dedicated to advancing the regions interests. D. Regional and Local Government

Spain: Regions Spain comprises 50 provinces in 17 autonomous regions: Andaluca, Aragn, Asturias, Balearic Islands, Basque Country (Pas Vasco), Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castile-La Mancha, CastileLen, Catalonia, Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, Murcia, Navarra, and Valencia. The regions have a degree of autonomy (self government) and control over half of public spending in Spain. Each region has the right to legislate in certain important fields such as education, health,

and economic development, although within a framework set by the national government. Under the 1978 constitution all the regions did not enjoy the same powers. This inequality was later largely leveled off. The 17 regions have nearly identical government structures. Each has an executive branch, headed by a prime minister chosen by the regional parliament. The members of regional parliaments are directly elected by a partially proportional system similar to that used at the national level. Similar arrangements exist in Spains two territories on the Moroccan coast, Ceuta and Melilla, which have the status of autonomous cities. Since 1979 Spains 50 provinces have had their own executive councils. Members of these councils are elected indirectly by the municipal (city or town) councils within the province. They are mainly responsible for providing services in municipalities that are too small to take on such functions. The most genuinely local tier of government is made up of the municipalities. There are more than 8,000 municipalities in Spain, ranging from Madrid down to villages. Their governments are headed by a mayor. The mayor is chosen by a directly elected council in all but the very smallest municipalities. The functions of a municipality depend on its population, with the largest cities having fairly widespread administrative responsibilities in such areas as school provision, urban planning, and housing. E. Judiciary

Spains judicial system is organized as a hierarchy (in order of rank). The countrys Supreme Court stands at the top of the hierarchy and acts as the final court of appeal. These appeals come in particular from the high court (Audiencia Nacional), which was established in 1977. It, too, is also essentially an appeals court, although it also hears certain types of high-profile criminal casesfor example, cases involving drug-trafficking. The next level down consists of the 17 regional high courts. Lower courts are at the provincial and district level. At all levels the judicial system is divided into six different types of court. Two types concerned with civil cases (non-criminal cases between individuals) and criminal cases, respectively. The others are responsible for labor issues, disputes involving the administration of government agencies, cases involving juveniles, and prison supervision. The ministry of justice administers the court system. A constitutional court stands apart from the judiciary as a whole. Its task is to interpret the constitution. It does this in three main ways: by resolving disputes between the central government and the regions over the extent of their respective power; by checking new legislation for compatibility with the constitution; and by responding to complaints of unconstitutional treatment from individual citizens. F. Health and Welfare

Spain has a health and welfare system comparable to those in other western European countries. The basis for it is a social security act passed in 1990. This law defines the circumstances entitling citizens to benefits, such as old age, illness, widowhood, unemployment, and disability. It also establishes a distinction between contributory and non-contributory benefits. People with no other means of support receive non-contributory benefits funded through taxation. Contributions from employers and employees finance contributory benefits, and entitlement to these benefits depends upon sufficient contributions having been made. The most important contributory benefits are unemployment benefits and pensions paid to older people, widows, and the disabled. Healthcare is by far the most important non-contributory benefit. It is delivered free of charge, with the exception of medications, dental care, and psychiatric care. The Spanish National Health Service was established by the 1986 General Health Act. Overall coordination is the function of the National Health Service Agency, but the government has transferred wide-ranging management responsibility to regional health services run by the 17 regional governments. Spains health system has been criticized, especially for long waiting lists at hospitals. However, it is a great deal better than the system that existed in 1980. Social services, such as nonmedical care of the elderly and disabled, have been neglected. In the absence of programs from the national government, the services are provided largely by regional and local governments. G. Defense

Spain maintains armed services equipped with modern weapons. It has a professional army made up of volunteers. The system of compulsory military service was abolished by a law passed in 1999. This law also removed the last restrictions on women serving in the armed forces. In 2004 the country had an army of 95,600, a navy of 19,455, and an air force of 22,750. Under an agreement reached in 1953, the Spanish government has had close defense ties with the United States, which maintains naval and air bases in Spain. The country became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1982, and reaffirmed that alliance in a public referendum in 1986. III. GOVERNMENT

Soldier of the Swiss Guard Soldier of the Swiss Guard A soldier of the Swiss Guard, the papal guard of the Vatican in Rome, stands at attention. The Swiss Guard dates to the early 16th century, when Pope Julius II recruited Swiss mercenary soldiersfamed for their fighting prowessto provide for the safety of the pope. It is believed that the uniforms worn by the Swiss Guard were designed by Michelangelo. Encarta Encyclopedia Joachim Messerschmidt/Bruce Coleman, Inc. Full Size Vatican City is governed by the pope, who holds absolute executive, legislative, and judicial powers. In practice, the executive powers are delegated to a governor, who is responsible to the pope. In the exercise of his legislative powers, the pope is advised and assisted by the Sacred College of Cardinals and by the various Sacred Congregations. The judicial powers are exercised by tribunals; appeals from their decisions are heard by the sacred Roman Rota and by the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature. The Secretariat of State represents the Holy See in international relations, and it sends diplomatic representatives to countries around the world. People of Vatican City Population 1,000 (2001 estimate) Not available Population density Not available Urban population distribution 100 percent (2003 estimate) Rural population distribution 0 percent (2003 estimate) Official languages Italian, Latin Roman Catholic (official), 98 percent Chief religious affiliations Evangelical Christian, 2 percent Life expectancy Not available Infant mortality rate Not available Literacy rate Not available Swiss Guards maintain internal security and protect the pope. Saint Peters Square, which opens to the city of Rome, is subject to the authority of the Italian police. Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer palace outside Rome, as well as other buildings located in Rome but outside of Vatican City, are accorded the privileges of extraterritoriality. Microsoft Encarta 2009. 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Microsoft Encarta 2009. 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Questions and Answers About Western Europe

Roger Griffin, professor of modern history at Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, England, answers a variety of historical and contemporary questions about Western European politics. In an engaging historical discussion, Griffin comments on what the United States could have done to help save European Jews from the Holocaust and how the Great Depression influenced the rise of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. Addressing contemporary political issues, Griffin answers questions about devolution in the United Kingdom, the growth of Green parties in Western Europe, and why Europe still has monarchies.

Questions and Answers About Western Europe Q: Is there a European army? Does Europe have anti-government movements? A: Despite the existence of the European Union (EU), Europe does not have a European army. However, there are plans to create some sort of EU rapid-reaction force to remedy the acute dependency on NATO (and hence on U.S. military might) that Europe displayed during the Gulf War and during the intervention to stop ethnic wars in the Balkans. Even if there were such a force, however, as long as it confined itself to intervening in wars provoked by third parties that affected EU interests or caused acute suffering in the civilian population, it is highly unlikely that a Europe-wide movement would arise to oppose its existence. However, movements fundamentally opposed to the presence of the army are not unknown in Europe. There are pacifists throughout Europe who object to war on principle, often on religious or spiritual grounds (Quakers, Buddhists, and Humanists, for example). Most Green parties radically object to the amount of the worlds resources spent on armaments, the obscenity of the international arms trade, and the horrific humanitarian consequences of the scores of minor conflicts that have been fought since the end of World War II. Both revolutionary Marxists and elements of the extreme right tend to see all wars in which the United States and Europe (or NATO) are involved as agents of an imperialist American capitalism or of the new world orderboth of which are seen as fundamentally evil. Therefore, every time a nation is involved in a war (the Gulf War and Balkan conflict, for example), socalled rainbow alliances of extremely disparate groups form throughout Europe to oppose the deployment of military power, whether national or supranational. The closest Europe came to spawning a genuine international and powerful antimilitary movement was at the height of the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Russia in the 1950s and 1960s, when the threat of global destruction through nuclear weapons fostered the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). At its peak the CND (which still exists as part of Abolition 2000) held protest marches and mass rallies involving many thousands of idealists and had considerable impact on public opinion, if not on government policy. The student and hippie movements of the 1960s also created a powerful sense of international and pan-European solidarity among the younger generation in their opposition to the U.S. military involvement in

Vietnam. This opposition and solidarity existed not just in the United States, but also throughout Western Europe (and even in parts of Eastern Europe, such as Czechoslovakia). The closest equivalent to such a movement today is the increasingly vociferous international protest movement against the new economic world order, associated with the World Trade Organization (WTO), that first emerged in Seattle in 1999. President George Bushs determination to embark on a Star Wars 2 defense system and ignore the Kyoto Protocol (and the collusion with his policies of European prime ministers such as Tony Blair) could conceivably create the conditions in which ecological, anti-WTO, and anti-Bush sentiments converge in the creation of a new protest movement in Europe pursuing a vague anti-New World Order agenda. However, the U.S. military or a U.S.-dominated NATO would still be the principal butt of the angernot the comparatively weak military force that the EU will be able to muster in the foreseeable future. Q: Did the United States take sufficient action to assist the Jews in Nazi Germany? A: The historical moment crucial to answering this question is 1938, when U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt called an international conference to discuss the problem of Jewish refugees. Since 1933, the main thrust of the Nazis anti-Semitic policy had not been to carry out the systematic genocide of all European Jews, but to force Germanys half-million Jews into leaving the country. They tried to achieve this through ever more draconian legal measures designed to humiliate the Jews and exclude them from civil society altogether, backed up by an incessant propaganda campaign portraying them as racial enemies and parasites undermining the life of the nation. Although the United States owed its existence to immigration and already hosted a large Jewish population, between 1933 and 1938 the country let in less than half the annual quota of 26,000 immigrants. The conference that took place in Geneva, Switzerland, in July 1938 was rife with idealistic statements, but the only substantive result was the creation of an Inter-Governmental Committee on Refugees to negotiate more favorable emigration terms with the Nazi government. There was no commitment to an international effort to provide the material means for Jews to leave Germany and find asylum elsewhere. Indeed, the United States refused to discuss the issue of quotas altogether. Thus a chance was missed to save hundreds of thousands of lives. The failure of the United States to act must be put in context, however. The lack of compassion from the United States was part of a general failure by the international community to address the refugee problem. At the conference, Britain refused to debate the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, and that same year the Swiss asked the German authorities to mark Jewish passports with a J for easier identification. Doors were closed to Jewsespecially to poor Jewseverywhere in Europe, despite a last-minute effort to save thousands of Jewish children just before the war broke out. Indeed, conditions were so bad abroad for the Jews that 16,000 of the 53,000 who left in the first wave of emigration between 1933 and 1934 actually returned to the Third Reich. Many of them then died in the extermination campaign. There are various reasons so little was done. World War I and the Wall Street crash had only deepened the postwar mood of isolationism that made many Americans resent the idea of helping Europe once more. Moreover, in the 1930s all Western governments faced massive social and economic problems that made large influxes of immigrants highly unpopular. Anti-Semitism was so rife in Europe that at the citizen level it muted the compassion that might otherwise have been felt for the Jews. Another major factor is that it did not at the time seem possible the Nazis would attempt the systematic liquidation of the Jewish race, especially since this was not a policy even contemplated before the war. The Holocaust was absolutely inconceivable. Whatever the reasons, the United States did not take sufficient action to assist the Jews in Nazi Germany. With hindsight it seems incredible that the Great Powers, including the United States,

the United Kingdom, and France, and smaller ones, such as Switzerland and Sweden, did not work together to take the German Jews. Had it been known that World War II would lead to the deaths of 50 million people and the calculated murder of Jews, Russian prisoners of wars, Roma (Gypsies), people with disabilities, Communists, homosexuals, and slave laborers, among others, the international community would probably have abandoned the policy of appeasement and made a concerted effort to stop Hitler. It is extraordinary to see newsreels of foreign athletic teams, including the one from the United States, giving the Nazi salute at the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin. But those were other times, and the past is a foreign country that we must visit with caution and humility. Perhaps future generations will ask whether the developed nations could have done more to assist the millions of desperate refugees seeking haven from tyrannical regimes at the beginning of the 21st century. Q: Why do Basque separatists in northern Spain seek a separate homeland? A: The Basques are a people who live in north central Spain and southwestern France. Their ancient language, customs, and traditions distinguish them from all other peoples of Europe. In the 19th century various European peoples who did not have their own nation-states, such as the Finns and the Slovaks, were discovering their history and unique linguistic, mythological, and cultural heritage. At that time the Basques too became aware of their nationhood. Geographic location can give a people a sense of distinctiveness from surrounding cultural groups or of separateness from the nation-state in which they live. A language that is utterly unrelated to languages spoken by neighboring peoples can become a vital source of cultural identity, especially if it goes hand in hand with distinctive customs, a particular myth of origins, and oppression by other peoples. The location of the Basques on the edge of the European continent, the utter uniqueness of their language, and their homelands inclusion within two nation-states created the perfect incubator for nationalist passions. In Spain the Basques enjoyed considerable autonomy until 1939. Then the Nationalists under General Francisco Franco won the Spanish Civil War. Franco set up a dictatorship that put an end to Basque autonomy. The Basque separatist movement developed during the next three decades. The movement grew dramatically in the 1970s, and many violent incidents occurred. From 1979 to 1983 the Spanish government, once again democratic, granted limited autonomy to the Basque homeland. Q: What social classes or groups are most likely to support anti-immigrant, right-wing parties in Western Europe? A: In terms of votes at the ballot box, hardly anyone supports parties that are openly fascistic, such as Britains National Party or Italys Movimento Sociale Italiano Fiamma Tricolore. Some parties that present the anti-immigrant message as putting one's own country first seem to have successfully mobilized public opinion on immigration. Notable among these parties are Frances National Front and Belgiums Flemish Bloc (Vlaams Blok). It would be tempting to generalize by saying, for example, that the social category most likely to express openly racist opinions in voting behavior in Western Europe is made up of unemployed white males from 16 to 30 years of age who live in cities with high immigrant populations. However, generalizations such as these need enormous qualifications before they mean anything. In the case of Germanys Republikaner or Britains Nationalist Movement there may be a grain of truth in this generalization. Nevertheless, there is certainly no shortage of older employed women living in the countryside of Provence who think that the leader of Frances National Front should be the next president of France. Q: How did the Great Depression contribute to Hitler's popularity? A: In June 1928, after five years of intensive efforts to become a major force in German politics, Hitlers National Socialist Workers Party (NSDAP) obtained 2.7 percent of the vote in the parliamentary elections. In the parliamentary elections of July 1932, the NSDAP became the

nations largest political party, with 13,745,800 votes, or 37.4 percent of the total. The transformation was due to the Wall Street crash and the ensuing dramatic economic slump. The German economy was heavily dependent on U.S. investment and a strong international trading situation. More than 6 million Germans lost their jobs, and millions more went hungry. In historical terms, the material effects of the depression on the Weimar Republic were far less important than its political and psychological effects. Had the government been able to handle the crisis effectively (through the formation of a cross-party government prepared to launch the equivalent of Roosevelts New Deal, for example), disaster might still have been averted. However, the crisis caused the center parties to become even more factionalized and polarized. This paralyzed democratic processes so badly that three chancellors, in quick succession, resorted to rule by emergency decree. It is little wonder that millions were plunged into deep despair about the future, what with industry and agriculture in ruins, the parliament unable to find remedies for the desperate living conditions most people were experiencing, the Communists experiencing a surge of political support, the international economy seemingly in free fall, and Stalinist Russia looking increasingly powerful. It is difficult for academics to precisely model the irrational factors at work in collective behavior, but it is possible to speculate that in the course of 1929 a large percentage of ordinary Germans entered what one historian has called a sense-making crisis. The hallmark of this psychological state of mind is an acute feeling that the world has ceased to be meaningful and that everything is collapsing. At that point a sense of a predictable, stable future is replaced by a sense that the foundations of the world are disintegrating, that the future is disappearing, and that time itself is somehow running out. Throughout the 1920s an essential theme of Nazi propaganda had been that Hitler was the only way of putting an end to the chaos and humiliation of the Weimar Republic. The NSDAP signified a new start, a wonderful future in which Germans would form a rejuvenated national community. Belonging to this community meant helping form a new Germany, a Third Reich, in which there would be work, prosperity, joy, and a glorious place in history. The swastika itself symbolized a new dawn, the rebirth of the nation, the renewal of time itself. In short, the depression created freak sociopsychological conditions that produced a sudden psychic epidemic of conversions to Hitler. An extraordinary snowball effect resulted in which millions felt that by joining the Nazi Party they were becoming part of a movement that would awaken the slumbering forces of Germany. They hoped this movement would restore a sense of hope, future, and meaning. When they voted for the NSDAP, the did not know that the party would kill people with diabilities, Roma (Gypsies), and Jews or start horrendous wars in which millions of innocent people would die. They voted for a new reality, a new era. Thus there was nothing inevitable or peculiarly German about Hitlers rise to power. There is every reason to believe that without the depression he would have remained a pathetically marginalized politician associated by the vast majority of Germans with fanaticism and failure. Q: What is devolution in the United Kingdom? A: Devolution is the process by which certain legislative and executive powers are shifted from the British Parliament to representative bodies in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, which together with England form the United Kingdom. The powers shifted pertain to issues such as education, taxation, and housing policy. The process of devolution in Northern Ireland has been on the agenda since the 1960s. It arose from the pressing need to address the acute tensions between Loyalists (pro-British and Protestant) and Republicans (nominally Roman Catholic and committed to the unification of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland). Those tensions led to civil strife, terrorist outrages on both sides, and military occupation by British troops. The long-term prospects of creating a representative body that truly represents the interests of both communities in Northern Ireland

are inextricably linked to the Northern Irish peace process and the permanent disarming and disbanding of all terrorist organizations. In Scotland and Wales a measure of devolution was achieved in 1998 after referenda had given general, but not overwhelming, support for devolution in both areas. The Scottish Parliament exercises more autonomy from the British Parliament than does the Welsh Assembly. However, given the concentration of all significant political power in the British Parliament, ultimately all devolved powers in Britain remain more symbolic than real, especially when comparisons are made with the federal systems that exist in the United States, Germany, Canada, and Switzerland. Q: As nations in the European Union move toward monetary and political integration, are they becoming more alike culturally? A: Enormous changes in culture within the member nations of the European Union (EU) are occurring as a result of the globalization of trade, the development of technology, and the spread of motion-picture and television culture, quite independently of the EU itself. This modernization is relentlessly eroding traditional ways of living, and it is making urban life superficially the same all over the developed world, as will be proved by a visit to Switzerland or Norway (neither an EU member) after a visit to Germany or Denmark (both EU members). Anywhere in the world one can see the bland spaces created by shopping malls, airports, and hotel chains. However, the cultural, historical, and linguistic roots of nations and ethnic communities, cooking traditions, social behavior, religious attitudes, the little details of the rhythms and routines of daily life, and even political cultures are extraordinarily resistant to total destruction. All these differences continue to ensure that each blend of modernity has its own untranslatable texture, color, and flavor. Many aspects of the civic life of the French, Italians, British, and other nations of the EU will come to be harmonized because of the EU. Frenchness, Italianness, Britishness, and other national distinctiveness will also continue to converge superficially because of standardizing forces. However, under the surface these peoples will stubbornly continue to remain distinctive, no matter how many of their individual embodiments use mobile phones, watch the European football championship, or eat in (American) fast-food outlets. Q: Why does Europe still have monarchies? A: In practice, European monarchies die only in revolutionary situations, such as the English Civil War or the French Revolution. Sometimes they even rise from the dead, as in England and in France in the 19th century. Other monarchies have come to grief in other extreme circumstances that cause their rule to be suspended. The monarchies in Germany, Austria, and Russia disappeared only after the catastrophe of defeat in World War I (1914-1918). The Italian monarchy supported the fascist dictatorship of Benito Mussolini for 20 years before Italys defeat in World War II (1939-1945). That monarchy was abolished by a referendum held in 1946. In countries that still have monarchies, such as the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Sweden, and Spain, the royal family continues to enjoy considerable loyalty, if not always popularity. For most people in those countries, the country is unthinkable without the monarchy. Some political theorists argue that the advantage of constitutional monarchies over republics is that the monarchies satisfy the widespread need for rituals of authority and national identity. Q: Is right-wing extremism on the rise in Western Europe? A: It is impossible to give a yes-or-no answer to this question. The term right-wing extremism covers many different ways of rejecting foreigners, liberalism, or multiculturalism. Western Europe includes many different countries, each with its own peculiar ethnic situation and problems.

Antidemocratic, openly fascist parties do poorly in elections throughout Europe. Organized racial violence is sporadic, and its incidence varies enormously from country to country and from place to place. However, there is no doubt that a large minority of citizens in all European countries dislike foreigners and that racial prejudice blights the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Europe. In Germany, for example, extremist parties are insignificant electorally, but there is a relatively high level of racial attacks and theatrical displays of pro-Nazi sympathies in some cities with high youth unemployment, especially in what had been East Germany. Meanwhile, long-term unemployment and mounting immigration and asylum-seeking suggest that the potential for more racist extremism will grow rather than decline. Q: How has fascism changed forms over the past century? A: Fascism is a revolutionary form of nationalism that aims to create a national or ethnic rebirth in a new, post-liberal new order. In the aftermath of World War I in Europe, the inter-war periodwhen fascism first emergedwas an age of mass mobilization accompanied by a profound sense of the crisis of civilization. Millions felt the liberal order was dying and some sort of new order was imminent and necessary. In these extreme conditions, armed parties arose that combined an electoral party, an extraparliamentary movement, and a paramilitary elite, led by a charismatic leader. Their role models were Benito Mussolinis National Fascist Party (PFI) and Adolf Hitlers National Socialist, or Nazi, Party (NSDAP). Since 1945 Western liberalism (capitalism) has not been in structural crisis in the West, and massive privatization has taken place. Furthermore, the atrocities committed by the Third Reich against millions of human beings and the huge death toll of World War II discredited fascism and extreme nationalism in general for most Europeans. Some fascist parties have survived, but they are shrivelled travesties of their former selves. Most fascist energy has been channelled into new forms of politics that are adapted to an age in which the sense of an imminent revolution has given way to waiting for the present age to disintegrate. The main strategy has been to go international (Eurofascism, Universal Nazism) and meta-political (operating primarily at the level of ideas and not in party politics or through terrorist violence). There are three main forms of contemporary fascism:

Universal Nazism, which is Nazism focused on regenerating the white race, rather than on German rebirth Third Positionism, which is anticapitalist and looks for a new form of politics beyond capitalism and socialism New Right, which attempts to win over the intelligentsia of the West to an illiberal worldview that would enable political change in a fascist direction without major wars

Other forms are Historical Revisionism and Holocaust Denial, which attempt to rewrite history so that Nazism is dissociated from acts of mass murder and in a conspicuously anti-Semitic spirit. In the United States, hybrid forms of fascism have grown out of extremely racist variants of fundamentalist religion, notably Christian Identity and the Ku Klux Klan. In short, fascism will continually evolve and adapt to changing conditions. Its use of rock music and the Internet and its concern with multiculturalism and ecological destruction are all symptoms of a force that is marginalized but ever present. Q: Why does it seem that Germans in the western and eastern parts of the country still do not get along?

A: In November 1989 East and West Germans came together to tear down the Berlin Wall. The two German national communities found themselves officially reunited in October 1990. However, like the healing of a deep, long wound, the process of reunification was bound to be difficult and to leave scars. For one thing, much of East Germany's industrial capacity was uncompetitive and technologically antiquated by West German standards. Its absorption into the western economy placed a major burden on West German taxpayers, who had to foot the bill for that complicated process. Moreover, many East Germans suddenly found themselves with qualifications that gave them no prospect of employment. Easterners who sought work in the west were resented there because unemployment had already been rising steeply before reunification. Some western Germans still regard eastern Germans as different. Paradoxically, most Germans wanted reunification, but its realization made many feel threatened. Unfortunately, reunification coincided with the decay of the nation's postwar economic miracle and with mounting social tensions over immigrants and asylum seekers. It is only a matter of time until people who have grown up since the fall of the Berlin Wall form the political, economic, and cultural elites in German life. It is in their shared vision of Germany and in the democratic values they cherish that German reunification may at last become a social reality. Q: How was Germany able to create a democracy in Germany after World War II? How were ethnic ties weakened, if at all? A: These two questions are only tangentially related. The democracy established by the Weimar Republic after Germanys defeat in World War I was fragile, but there is every reason to think it would have continued to mature but for the Great Depression triggered by the Wall Street crash of 1929. The devastating social, political, and psychological crisis the depression unleashed drove millions into the arms of National Socialism, or Nazism. Once in power, the Nazis systematically crushed parliamentary democracy in the name of total national renewal. Even at the height of the National Socialist German Workers Partys (NSDAP) electoral success in 1932, more than 60 percent of the population did not vote for Hitler. When the Third Reich was finally overwhelmed in 1945, two forms of democracy were established in Germany. In the Russian zone of occupation, a socialist version of democracy was imposed by the Soviet Union. In practice, this version quickly took the form of a police state in which consensus was enforced by elaborate techniques of social engineering and coercion. In the western zone occupied by the French, British, and Americans, the institutions of parliamentary democracy took root so quickly that by the early 1950s power had effectively been transferred back to the Germans. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, the democracy of the Federal Republic of Germany was so powerful that the country was able to absorb the former provinces of the German Democratic Republic at enormous financial cost but with relatively little political unrest or instability. Today Germany is one of the most advanced democratic nations in the world in terms of social justice and the commitment of the vast majority of its citizens to the values of civil society. Several factors made this remarkable transition possible. First, the democracy did not start from scratch: There was a liberal tradition in Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries on which to build. Second, a collective patriotic urge to rebuild the countr ys bomb-devastated cities swept the country, and the rebirth of the German economy was actively supported by the Allies through the Marshall Plan (a program of financial assistance introduced less to help the former enemy than to help West Germany become a stable bulwark against Soviet Communism).

The result was the German economic miracle, which helped create the social and economic preconditions for democracy to flourish. Most West Germans, even those who had been Nazified, were rapidly converted to a system based on individual liberty, peace, respect for others, a stable private life, material wealth, and the embrace of capitalism. In short, there is nothing intrinsically militaristic or unliberal about Germans (and to assume so is actually a form of racism). As for the weakening of ethnic ties, the idea of Germans as an ethnically and culturally pure race of Aryans is as fantastic as treating any other European nation as a homogeneous people. The Nazis attempted to enact this fantasy by resorting to a program of propaganda and mass murder geared to the creation of a homogeneous national community (Volksgemeinschaft) in which ethnic ties were more important than life itself. The atrocities the Nazis inflicted on many millions of human beings in the pursuit of their utopia makes it a mercy that postwar Germany has returned to a weakened sense of shared ethnic identity. Many small political groups still uphold an extreme form of patriotism, however, and these views lead to xenophobia and racial violence. Many Germans only tolerate, rather than embrace, the multicultural society that Germany has in reality become. German citizenship laws still enshrine the myth that ethnic Germans (Volksdeutsche) have an automatic right to citizenship, while families made up of three generations descended from guest workers who have never left Germany can still be denied German citizenship. Q: Are environmentalist Green Parties a growing or declining force in European politics? A: Every European country has a Green Party, but parties such as these have a say in national government only in countries where there is a tradition of coalition government or where seats in the parliament are allocated by proportional representation. In Britain, where neither condition is met, the Green Party has always been politically marginalized. In Germany, where there is proportional representation, the Green Party is a small but important element in national political life. After the 1998 elections in Germany, the Greens joined a coalition government headed by the center-left Social Democratic Party. In electoral terms Green Parties are not exactly on a roll. Indeed, in the European Parliament their overall strength has declined since 1989, when they first made a significant showing throughout the European Union. Whether this means they are a declining force is another matter. Some observers argue that the Greens success should be judged by how far a Green agenda is taken up by other parties and becomes a common theme in policymaking. On this basis, Green Parties could be said to have won their cause, with nations such as Denmark and The Netherlands demonstrating cross-party support for the measures necessary to develop reusable sources of energy and protect the environment. Radical Greens point out, however, that the commitment of mainstream parties, even in Scandinavia, to a genuinely ecological worldview is superficial and that their environmental policies are not designed to bring about the structural changes necessary to prevent irreversible ecological damage to the planet. Q: Is the British monarchy likely to survive long into the future? A: The British monarchy is a mythic institution that is deeply rooted in the national identity and sense of continuity with the past. No matter how unpopular an individual monarch or other royal may become, there is no sign that the minute percentage of political activists who oppose the monarchy in Britain is on the increase. There may be a growing number of Britons who are indifferent to the monarchy in their daily lives and who even privately resent its cost to the taxpayer. Yet the monarchy is financially selfsufficient. It is constitutionally sound and socially rooted enough to be self-perpetuating despite phases of acute unpopularity, such as at the time of Princess Diana's death. Its continuation is so

much taken for granted that for a mainstream political party to propose its abolition is unthinkable. The British monarch may one day cease to be the head of state in some dominions, such as Australia. Media scandals may periodically engulf a royal over tactless remarks or sexual misadventures. However, as the flood of sentiment unleashed by the Queen Mother's 100th birthday in the summer of 2000 demonstrated, the monarchy itself is here to stay. It will last as long as there is a Britain to be the monarch of, and woe betide anyone who suggests otherwise. Q: For a paper I am doing on stem cell research, I am trying to figure out why the United States government has not agreed to federal funding yet and the United Kingdom has already gone ahead with the research. In fact, the abortion issue isn't really important in the United Kingdom; they are mainly worried about cloning. Why wont Germany proceed with the research? Does it have to do with the countrys Nazi past? Do you know anything about the politics of it and feelings among the German population? A: The relationship between a nations past and the official position of its national government on medical issues of enormous ethical complexitysuch as stem cell researchcannot be approached simplistically. Opinion polls on major issues (such as the death penalty and the environment) will always produce a vast range of nuanced responses and shades of opinion. This reflects the fact that the political culture of a modern, Westernized (globalized) nation state such as the United States, the United Kingdom, or Germany is extraordinarily plural and diverse. Every country hosts scores of religious communities and many diverse schools of secular political ideologies. The German people, like most other people, do not have a single, united feeling on bioethical issues such as cloning or genetic experimentation. Having said that, in certain areas it is possible to make some cautious generalizations about how a particular religion or traumatic historical episode might impact dominant values and medical ethics. For example, the Catholic Church in Ireland continues to shape values in the older generation. This explains why abortion is still illegal there, and even contraception is difficult to come by for many. In Germany, the Third Reich conducted a full-scale eugenics program that involved mass sterilization. It also conducted a euthanasia program on its own non-Jewish population, attempted to mass-produce supposedly racially superior Aryans (the Lebensborn experiment), exterminated millions of racial enemies, and conducted medical experiments on thousands of people. Some of these experiments (such as those of Josef Mengele in Auschwitz) involved developing techniques that would eventually make it possible to clone humans. This terrible episode in Germanys recent past may have helped instill a conditioned reflex in the dominant political culture, leading most Germans to reject the principle of genetic experiments with human embryos and the whole concept of cloning, human or otherwise. However, given the pluralism of German society nearly six decades after the end of Nazism and the absorption of East Germany (GDR)which had a cult of science over religionpublic opinion surveys are bound to show millions of Germans are not against stem cell research. Those who oppose it will not be influenced exclusively by their countrys Nazi past. After all, the Nazis had to keep the euthanasia program and medical experiments a secret because the vast majority of ordinary Germans would have been against them on religious and ethical grounds. (It is a grave error to equate Germans with Nazis between 1933 and 1945.) The bottom line is that we should beware of stereotypes. As Oscar Wilde said, the truth is rarely plain and never simple. Q: After devolution, is the United Kingdom still a single nation?

A: The term nation is ambiguous, making a simple answer difficult. The United Kingdom is a sovereign nation-state, but that nation-state does not represent a single historical nationality. The reason is that the United Kingdom consists of four nations: England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. More importantly, each nationality has a complex historical and emotional relationship to England and to Britishness. A glance at the tortuous and violent history of the formation of the United Kingdom will show the high price of the unity and how far the United Kingdom is from ever having been culturally and politically a single nation. One might ask how far the devolution process in the United Kingdom affects the sense of unity and cultural identity of its inhabitants. Here, a snap answer is that the vast majority of Britons, including nearly all ethnic minorities, most Northern Irish Protestants, and many Northern Irish Catholics, operate, like Americans, with a binary sense of nationality (as in Italian Americans). This binary sense combines a sense of Welshness, Irishness, and so forth, with a sense of Britishness. It is the English, who usually regarded English as interchangeable with British, whose identity is most in crisis. Q: What's your opinion on the conflict in Cyprus? Will there ever be a resolution? A: The division between the two ethnic communities in Cyprus has deep roots. From the 4th century AD until 1571 the population existed as an integral part of the Byzantine Empire, which was Orthodox Christian in religion and Greek in language and ethos. For the next 300 years the island was ruled as part of the Ottoman Empire, whose rulers were Turkish. The Ottoman rulers imposed the Islamic faith, creating a genuine Turkish community living alongside the Greek majority. Geopolitically Cyprus is part of the Hellenic Mediterranean, but it lies only 75 km (46.5 mi) south of Turkey. The British ruled the island from 1878 till 1960 but never resolved the conflict between the two communities. When independence was won for the island it was due to the efforts of a Greek Cypriot guerrilla movement (EOKA) that wanted unification with Greece, a proposal that was naturally anathema to Turkish Cypriots. Indeed, when the Greek military regime attempted to integrate the island with the mainland in 1974 there was a fierce Turkish backlash. Turkey occupied the north of the island, and it was thanks to United Nations (UN) intervention that a fragile truce was reached based on the UNs readiness to patrol the border (the Green Line) along which Cyprus is partitioned. Today 78 percent of the islands inhabitants are Greek Cypriots and citizens of Democratic Cyprus, while 18 percent are Turkish Cypriots and citizens of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The radical differences in culture and history have led to deep divisions that may well never be resolved. Cyprus may need the UN or an equivalent, such as a European Union peacekeeping force, to maintain the truce. However, there are some grounds for a more positive scenario. For one thing, the degree of ethnic violence is significantly less than in it is in many areas with similarly divided ethnic communities, such as Northern Ireland, the Basque region of Spain, Sri Lanka, the Balkans, Turkey, East Timor, Kashmir, and Palestine. It is thus more likely that new generations will arise under the impact of globalization in the areas of youth culture, tourism, and consumerism and help create a multicultural society in order to pursue mutual interests. Certain factors would encourage the tendency toward peaceful coexistence and integration: 1. The emergence of leaders who have the mandate of an ethnic population to reach compromises with the historical enemy and make the 1960 constitution (which allows for power-sharing between the Greeks and Turks within a unified state) benefit both sides. 2. Enlightened diplomatic initiatives to resolve the conflict undertaken by the Greek and Turkish governments. Such initiatives make pragmatic sense, given the desire of both Turkey and Cyprus to join the European Union.

3. Sustained pressure from the international community on the two sides to resolve their differences. For the time being, though, the most that can realistically be hoped for is an indefinite standoff upheld by international peacekeepers and threatened every so often by acts of terrorist violence.
Microsoft Encarta 2009. 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Political scientist John T. S. Keeler of the University of Washington in Seattle answers a number of commonly asked questions about the political and economic situation facing the European Union (EU). Keeler also addresses the reasons for governmental instability in Italy and high unemployment in many European countries.

Q: How large is the European Union (EU) likely to become? A: By the end of 2001, the EU included 15 members. Most observers expect the EU to expand to at least 25 members within the next two decades. Further enlargement has been a vitally important agenda item for the EU since the collapse of the Soviet Bloc in the early 1990s. In 1998 the EU began talks on full membership with six additional countries: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia. In 2000 membership negotiations also began with Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania, and Slovakia. All of the candidate countries will be required to complete a host of economic, political, and social adjustments before being deemed ready for membership. At the same time, the current EU members will be compelled to shoulder new burdens and face new risks in dealing with enlargement. Q: Are nations within the European Union (EU) becoming more like states in the United States? A: In certain respects, this is true. Over the past two decades, EU member states have agreed to create a single market (eliminating most nontariff barriers to trade), a single currency, a more powerful European Parliament, a European Central Bank (ECB), and the foundations of a common European security and defense policy. Still, the EU remains less unified than a federation of states. The legal basis of the EU is not a constitution, but a series of treaties. Member states still retain far more autonomy and power regarding the EUs central institutionsespecially in the crucial areas of taxation, public expenditure, and securitythan do U.S. states regarding the federal government. A vivid reminder of this fact is that only 12 of the EUs 15 member states have so far agreed to adopt the single currency, the euro. Q: Why have some European nations backed the creation of a military structure for the European Union (EU) that is independent of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)? A: The United States has long contended that European nations need to increase their share of the burden for European defense within NATO. In the early 1990s, the French government argued that Europeans should respond to this challenge, but largely for their own reasons. The French government wanted to enhance their influence over European security policy and to guard against a possible future withdrawal of U.S. forces in Europe. From 1992 to 1996 some progress was made toward developing a European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI), a project designed to enhance Europes role within NATO. Procedures were put in place to allowwith American approvalEuropean peacekeeping missions employing NATO assets. NATOs 1999 war in Kosovo accelerated and redirected the ESDI movement. The Kosovo experience convinced France and the United Kingdom that Europe was

too dependent on the United States for security purposes and that Europe needed to enhance its military capabilities and its ability to act in a collaborative fashion. Since 1998 the EU has formally committed itself to the step-by-step development of what is now known as a Common European Security and Defense Policy (CESDP). The CESDP now has an institutional structure and control over a modest rapid deployment force. Its official spokesman, Javier Solano, contends that this initiative serves not to undermine but to strengthen the Atlantic Alliance. United States officials have offered guarded support coupled with caution regarding future moves toward European autonomy. Q: Why have some Scandinavian nations been reluctant to join the European Union (EU)? A: The Scandinavian nations, located on the periphery of Europe, generally support minimal European integration. These nations have unique social democratic institutions and, in the case of Sweden and Finland, a tradition of neutrality. They remain skeptical about ambitious projects, such as the European Union (EU), that seem to threaten their distinctive social, cultural, and economic traditions. In 1973 Denmark was the first Scandinavian nation to join the EUthen called the European Community (EC). Sweden and Finland joined only in 1995. Norwegian governments have twice sought membership and received the green light from the EU, but both times the citizens of Norway rejected membership in popular referenda. Despite Denmarks early entry, its citizens appear to remain wary of increased integration. In 1992 Danish voters narrowly rejected the Maastricht Treaty, the foundation of the EU. The Danes only voted to approve membership in the EU in 1993 after the treaty was modified to exempt Denmark from certain standards. Q: Is it true that the presidential election system in France is more fair and democratic than the presidential election system in the United States? A: Many people think so. One illustration of this belief is that a number of the new democracies to emerge in Eastern Europe after the fall of Communism adopted a French-style presidential election system while none adopted a U.S.-style system. In the French system, as instituted by popular referendum in 1962, presidential elections have two ballots. On the first ballot voters typically choose among eight or nine candidates. If no candidate wins a majority of the nationwide votes on the first ballot, then a runoff election is held two weeks later. On this second ballot, voters choose between the two candidates who received the most votes on the first ballot. The ultimate winner is thus assured of receiving a majority of what Americans call the popular vote. As we were reminded in the U.S. presidential election in 2000, this is not always true in the United States. With the U.S. electoral college system, it is possible for a candidate to win a majority of electoral votes but lose the popular vote. Q: Why are dramatic protest demonstrations so common in France? A: Several reasons should be noted. First, with a long history of uprisingsfrom the French Revolution of 1789 through the student riots of May 1968the French are unusually prone to consider street demonstrations a legitimate or normal form of civic activity. After all, the national anthem contains the words, To arms, citizens! Form your battalions! Second, the structure of the French government plays a role. The Fifth Republic, created in 1958, has a powerful executive branch and a relatively weak parliament. The parliament often lacks the power to prevent the government from launching bold or controversial new initiatives. When this happens, the disenchanted often see protest as their only option. Third, French citizens know that protest has proven to be an effective means of winning concessions from the government. It should be noted, however, that the image of the French as uniquely prone to protest is to some degree a result of the heavy concentration of political powerand protest activityin Paris. French protests are also unusually visible to foreigners, because Paris is the worlds most popular tourist destination. Still, scholars have produced data

showing that, contrary to the image generated by this Paris effect, the Swiss and Americans are by some measures even more prone to protest than the French. Q: Is nationalist sentiment on the rise in Germany? A: This was certainly true in the early 1990s. Much of this sentiment can be traced to Germanys post-World War II constitution (known as the Basic Law), which made Germany the most welcoming state in Europe to asylum seekers and refugees. The disintegration of the Soviet Bloc in 1991 triggered an enormous influx of asylum seekers to Germany. At the same time, the negative economic consequences of German unification underway since the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989began to be evident. In this context, electoral support for the anti-immigrant parties on the extreme right increased, and the country was plagued with a wave of violent attacks on foreigners. In 1993 the mainstream political parties were compelled to respond to public discontent by amending Article 16 of the constitution to restrict the right of foreigners seeking asylum from political persecution. This amendment, along with the substantial reduction in the rate of immigration that it produced, dampened support for extreme right-wing parties such as the Republikaner. However, Germany has continued to receive refugees in recent years, especially from Bosnia and Kosovo, and it now contains an unprecedented number of ethnic minority citizens and foreigners. Heated debate thus continues over alleged threats to the German national identity and the pros and cons of multiculturalism. Q: Why do governments change so frequently in Italy? A: Italian governments seldom endure for more than a year, if that. There are several key reasons for this. Italy has many political parties, and Italian governments are typically coalition governments that include as many as five different political parties. The proliferation of parties is due in part to a system of partial proportional representation that gives tiny parties a voice in parliament. The coalition partners seldom agree on more than a minimal common agenda. Each political party tends to be internally divided as well, and rival party leaders view the collapse of the current government as an opportunity for their advancement. Recent efforts at electoral reform have so far had little impact on this pattern of government. A referendum in May 2000 to eliminate partial proportional representation and adopt a majority (winner-take-all) system failed after only 32 percent of eligible voters turned out to vote on the measure. Q: Why does unemployment remain relatively high in much of Western Europe? A: There are a variety of factors that contribute to higher unemployment rates in Western Europe. The following are the most commonly cited reasons. Labor laws make it more difficult and costly to fire workers, so companies are cautious about hiring. Bureaucratic regulations make it relatively difficult for entrepreneurs to start the sort of new businesses, such as high-tech oriented enterprises, that have created many new jobs in the United States. Systems of higher education have been slow to emphasize the technical skills needed by modern companies. Relatively generous unemployment benefits and welfare programs, such as state-funded maternity pay, reduce the incentive for some unemployed workers to seek jobs. Microsoft Encarta 2009. 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Map of the European Union The European Union (EU) was formed in 1993 by the 12 nations of the European Community. By 2007, the EU had grown in size to 27 countries. The EU allows European citizens greater freedom to work, live, study, and travel in member states. Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Microsoft Encarta 2009. 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.