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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Professor Ray Hudson

Hudson, Ray (2017). Facing Forwards, Looking Backwards: Coming to Terms with Continuing Uneven Development in Europe. European Urban and Regional Studies 24(2): 138-141.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

At a time of major changes in the geography of the global economy, and following the major financial and economic crises of 2007/2008, the European Union (EU) is marked by deepening uneven economic development, between and within the territories of its 28 (for now) member states. This is one expression of neo-liberalisation as the dominant political force in the EU, combined with deep austerity policies in response to the crises of 2007/2008. Within the Eurozone, a common currency without a common fiscal policy further intensified inequalities, especially between the economies of the north and south of the EU. These developments had profound political ramifications as the promise of increasing economic growth and material well-being has been rudely shattered for many people and unemployment, poverty and ill-being have burgeoned in many parts of the EU. The political response to this – in ways reminiscent of the 1930s – has been a resurgence of regressive virulent right-wing nationalisms, sometimes with fascistic tendencies, as people have come to see the EU, and neoliberal globalisation, as inimical to their interests. This tendency has been further intensified by inflows of migrants and refugees, many in response to neo-imperialist ventures in the Middle East. This is most starkly (so far) the case in the UK, leading to the British Exit from the European Community (BREXIT) vote to leave the EU. There are counter-tendencies, locally based political movements that espouse a more humane social democratic model of the EU, but there seems little chance of these cohering politically to challenge the dominant view.