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Petr Kaniok and Magda Komínková

Abstract

Parliamentary questions are a direct form of parliamentary scrutiny of other EU institutions and bodies, traditionally being an important tool for the opposition. This study examines how parliamentary questions are used in the European Parliament. We ascertain whether political groups representing opposition differ in their use of parliamentary questions from those who are represented in the European Commission. The article presents two main findings. First, such a difference does exist in all types of questions at the aggregated level. Groups not represented in the European Commission pose more questions than those who are represented. Secondly, it appears that the type of parliamentary question determines the groups’ behaviour. The article thus contributes to our understanding of how opposition functions in the European Parliament.

Open access

Javad Keypour

Abstract

The European Commission has proposed an amendment on the Gas Directive 2009/73/EC to broaden the applicability of the Directive to all gas pipelines from/to the EU including Nord Stream 2. This research focuses on the question of whether the amendment can really boost EU’s natural gas security, by hindering Nord Stream 2. Thematic analysis has been employed as the methodology for analyzing collected data from primary and secondary sources, and relying on a legal and political analysis. The research findings show that although the amendment hinders Nord Stream 2, it also affects the operation of the existing interconnectors adversely. It also declines investors’ tendency for planned pipelines, which lowers EU’s energy security. Moreover, empowerment of the Commission in the proposed amendment curtails Member States’ plans to enhance their energy security. In addition, the security analysis of the research shows that Moscow’s ability to take advantage of its “energy weapon” is being defied because of dependence on European technology and finance, particularly under the sanction condition. Therefore, restraining Russian gas in the European market will not result in a higher level of energy security since reliable and affordable alternatives are not so available. Hence, all four elements of energy security—that is, affordability, availability, accessibility, and acceptability—are jeopardized by the proposed amendment. The current study concludes that although the amendment is expected to boost the energy security of the Union, it may now turn into a threat per se.

Open access

Janka Kosecová and Kateřina Kašpárková

Abstract

Lessons learned process enables an organization to learn from its mistakes and successes. Thanks to this process an organization can reduce the risk of repeating mistakes and increase the chance that successes are repeated. This article aims to present the results of the research, especially, results of the process analysis of sharing lessons in the Czech Armed Forces. Based on the procedural deficiencies identification, benchmarking comparisons with lessons learned process of other organizations were carried out. The purpose of the benchmarking was to do away with the above mentioned deficiencies. To use benchmarking was beneficial from the point of view of a simplified model processing. The final part of the article introduces set of recommendation including the optimized model of the lessons learned process.

Open access

Matevž Malčič and Alenka Krašovec

Abstract

While no stranger to new political parties, Slovenia’s party system became much more unstable after 2008 with the constant arrival of electorally very successful parties. Further, while the citizens’ satisfaction with democracy and trust in political institutions has never reached the heights seen in Western Europe, the crisis years saw them drop to historical lows. In these circumstances, one may expect successful new parties to assure greater responsiveness, or a balance between responsible and responsive politics, and to bring improvements to citizens’ opinion on their satisfaction with democracy and trust in political institutions. In addition, new parties are usually more prone to democratic innovations, which can be associated with the popular idea of introducing stronger intra-party democracy in their internal functioning. The analysis shows that in 2014 Slovenia experienced both the nadir of public opinion on democracy and the political system, and the most electorally successful new party. Nevertheless, improvements in satisfaction with democracy and the political system only slowly emerged after 2014, to a considerable extent coinciding with the return to economic prosperity, while even these improvements left enough room for yet another successful new party at the 2018 elections. Concerning innovations in intra-party democracy, we are only able to identify some smaller democratic innovations. Given this, it seems that the new parties themselves have had a relatively limited impact on democracy in Slovenia.

Open access

Vladimir Dragoş Tătaru and Mircea Bogdan Tătaru

Abstract

The present paper approaches in an original manner the dynamic analysis of a wheel which climbs on an inclined plane under the action of a horizontal force. The wheel rolls and slides in the same time. The two movements, rolling and sliding are considered to be independent of each other. Therefore we are dealing with a solid rigid body with two degrees of freedom. The difficulty of approaching the problem lies in the fact that in the differential equations describing the motion of the solid rigid body are also present the constraint forces and these are unknown. For this reason they must be eliminated from the differential equations of motion. The paper presents as well an original method of the constraint forces elimination.

Open access

Robert Stănciulescu and Elvira Beldiman

Abstract

In terms of forming and training the fighters, the modern armies have delineated well-defined instructive horizons, the development of the physical potential, characterized by the increase of the parameters of manifestation of the basic motor qualities as well as of the motor skills and applicative skills specific to carrying out the combat actions being very well harmonized with the development of intellectual, psychological, moral and specialist competencies. The maximization of the capacity of effort to meet the intensive and long-lasting demands as well as the improvement of the fighting skills specific to the modern combat area represent a permanent concern of the specialists in the field, who amplify the training process in an activity based on the most complex and efficient training techniques. The paper presents the techniques, methods and means for optimizing the training in the self-defense combat, in order to ensure a rich bag of scientific information necessary in accomplishing the objectives for the training of the fighters.

Open access

Daniel Šárovec

Abstract

New political parties can be essential holders of party systems’ change. A lot of scholars underline this reality. In fact, it is often not enough only to establish a new political subject. There is a significant relationship between a new party emergence and the subsequent electoral success, which is often an overlooked research dimension. This article intends to focus on the most important features narrowly connected with new political parties’ study approaches. There is no concurrence on what a new political party exactly is. It is possible to find a whole range of high-quality based articles exploring newness in a current or recent state of knowledge. Despite it, this research still has several substantial doubts about this question. Examples of Czech political parties that have been successful in the first-order elections (FOE) and where the problematic aspects of their declared novelty can be traced will be compared here. The evidence of complexity pertaining to this phenomenon is obvious: every political party is new in the moment of its formation in reality, but on the other hand not every political party is new regarding an appropriate theoretical concept. This empirical base shows that declared novelty can be rather more a tool of broader communication and image strategy than a real indisputable party attribute.

Open access

Florentina-Lavinia Matei

Abstract

This study aims to evaluate intercultural competence for military students before they go on an international mobility stage and after its completion, in order to see if intercultural competence is formed in real intercultural contexts. In the study, we addressed both theoretical and practical aspects of intercultural competence. As an instrument for data collection, an intercultural competency assessment questionnaire was used and, following its application, it was found that the high level of the “knowledge” component of intercultural competence determines a higher level of the other two elements - “attitudes” and “skills”.

Open access

Rasa Miežienė and Sandra Krutulienė

Abstract

Available studies indicate a strong negative correlation between poverty and social expenditures in EU countries. It means that the country’s at-risk-of-poverty rate tends to erode with increasing social expenditure. However, the studies have demonstrated that the impact of government spending on poverty may vary according to the sector of spending, how well it is targeted, and the way in which it is financed. Some countries manage to achieve a rather significant poverty rate reduction even with relatively low, in the context of other Member States, social expenditure (percentage of GDP). This suggests that in order to reduce poverty rates, it is important to consider not only the amount allocated to social spending, but also the areas the social transfers are channelled to. The article aims to analyse how the composition and the extent of social spending/transfers may affect poverty reduction in EU countries. The analysis showed that social protection transfers reduce the percentage of people at-risk-of-poverty in all countries, however, to a very different extent. Regression analysis demonstrated that social exclusion and family/children expenditure was found to be the most important predictor for a relative antipoverty effect of social transfers: even a small percentage increase in such expenditure allows quite a significant increase in the relative antipoverty effect of social transfers.

Open access

Vladimir Dunaev, Valentina Kurganskaya and Mukhtarbek Shaikemelev

Abstract

In previous years, the evolution of nation-building politics in the Republic of Kazakhstan was characterized by an alternation of tactical schemes that actualized either the ethnocultural or civil-political foundations of statehood. At present, the emerging common Kazakhstani culture is becoming the basis for mutually agreed development of ethnocultural and civic identity as its own elements. In the system of common Kazakhstani culture, the civil and ethnocultural models of the nation are the poles or attractors of the process of self-organization of a single nationwide Kazakhstan identity. The optimal identity politics in the nation-building risk management in the conditions of modern Kazakhstan is to adopt the point of view of the whole set of identification models and to maintain the dynamic balance of conflicting identities through the mechanism of mutual checks and balances.