• Research Briefing

    European Parliament Elections 2009

    Elections to the European Parliament were held across the 27 states of the European Union between 4 and 7 June 2009. The UK elections were held concurrently with the county council elections in England on 4 June. The UK now has 72 MEPs, down from 78 at the last election, distributed between 12 regions. The Conservatives won 25 seats, both UKIP and Labour 13 and the Liberal Democrats 11. The Green Party held their two seats, while the BNP won their first two seats in the European parliament. Labour lost five seats compared with the comparative pre-election position. The Conservatives won the popular vote overall, and every region in Great Britain except the North East, where Labour won, and Scotland, where the SNP won. UKIP won more votes than Labour. UK turnout was 34.5%. Across Europe, centre-right parties, whether in power or opposition, tended to perform better than those on the centre-left. The exact political balance of the new Parliament depends on the formation of Groups. The UK was not alone in seeing gains for far-right and nationalistic parties. Turnout across the EU was 43%. It was particularly low in some of the newer Member States. Part 1 of this paper presents the full results of the UK elections, including regional analysis and local-level data. Part 2 presents summary results of the results across the EU, together with country-level summaries based on data from official national sources.

  • Research Briefing

    Electoral performance of the British National Party in the UK

    This note provides data on the electoral performance of the UK's British National Party (BNP) in local and parliamentary elections. This note has been updated to include results from the local elections held in England on 1 May 2008. It also comments upon results from various elections up to 2006, as well as overall results from the 2007 and 2008 local elections.

  • Research Briefing

    Russia and the West

    A year on from Dmitry Medvedev’s succession to the Kremlin, this paper analyses the evolution of Russian foreign policy under both Putin and Medvedev. It seeks to identify the main themes, interests, and objectives of Russian foreign policy, and to appraise the role of President Medvedev in the direction of Russian diplomacy and his relationship with Prime Minister Putin. In so doing, it examines, in detail, Russia’s relationship with the United States, NATO, the EU, and the UK and analyses the role of energy in relations between Russia and the West. Finally, it looks ahead at the prospects for the relationship in light of President Obama’s declared intention to press the “reset” button in US-Russian relations.

  • Research Briefing

    Russia’s Military Posture

    This paper examines Russia’s current military posture. It does not attempt to be a comprehensive examination of every aspect of Russian military policy but is intended as an introduction to some of the more pertinent aspects, including Russia’s military capabilities, its ability to defend its increasingly diverse strategic interests and the credibility of Russia’s modernisation and rearmament programme which was announced toward the end of 2008.

  • Research Briefing

    Iceland’s financial crisis

    The global financial crisis has been tumultuous for Iceland. Until recently considered a rich, successful and competitive nation, Iceland suffered a dramatic collapse of its economy and currency following the collapse of its banking sector in October 2008. It was forced to negotiate a loan from the IMF and further financial support from a number of countries, and saw the fall of its government. The crisis has led to renewed suggestions that Iceland may apply to join the EU and adopt the euro. Following the Government's fall in January 2009, a caretaker Government took over in February and elections are expected on 25 April 2009. The major partner in the caretaker left-wing coalition, the Social Democratic Alliance, was a member of the previous administration and is strongly pro-EU, but its new partner, the Left Green Movement, has said it will continue to oppose EU membership.

  • Research Briefing

    Serbia: political and economic profile

    This note provides a political and economic overview of the current situation in Serbia. It looks at the halting progress which Serbia is making toward integration into the EU, held up to a large extent by Serbia's failure to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and at the dynamic political landscape of 2008 with both presidential and parliamentary elections. Serbia continues to have difficult relationships with some of its neighbours, particularly Kosovo, and is awaiting the outcome of the International Court of Justice ruling on the legality of Kosovo's February 2007 declaration of independence. The note also looks at the current economic situation in Serbia. While Serbia had seen strong growth since 2000, accompanied by the implementation of reforms, following the conflicts and crises of the 1990s, Serbia has suffered under the global financial crisis, primarily because of its large current account deficit. Serbia also suffers from high levels of unemployment and poverty.

  • Research Briefing

    EU bibliographies: posting of workers

    This Note brings together documents relevant to the so-called 'Posted workers Directive', Council Directive 96/71/EC. It is not an attempt to define policy in this area. For information on policy developments contact Jacqueline Parker on extn 4317. See also SN/BT/301 Posted Workers and SN/BT/4501 Government policy on "British jobs for British workers".