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Keep up to date with the latest politics news from around The University of Manchester.

September 2016

Paul Tobin

New Manchester Politics lecturer wins thesis prize

Paul Tobin - a new Lecturer in Politics at the University of Manchester has won a prestigious prize for his PhD thesis on the politics of climate change.

The UACES (University Association for Contemporary European Studies) thesis prize is awarded annually to a scholar whose PhD makes an original and promising contribution to research in the area of contemporary European Studies.

Dr Paul Tobin, who joined Manchester on the 1 September and specialises in comparative, European and environmental politics. His thesis was described as 'outstanding' and 'a pleasure to read'.

Paul’s thesis sought to explain why some developed states are more ambitious than others regarding their climate change policies. He used a mixed methods approach that combined a fuzzy sets analysis with in-depth case study investigation. In particular, he sought to explain why Germany and Sweden were climate change leaders in the late 2000s, while neighbours Austria and Finland lagged behind.

Paul completed his thesis in the Politics Department at the University of York, where he was supervised by Professor Neil Carter and Dr Sofia Vasilopoulou. Since submitting his thesis, he has spent two years as a postdoctoral researcher funded by the Leverhulme Trust. The project sought to determine the impact of the economic crisis on European environmental policy, and was led by Dr Charlotte Burns.

August 2015

Olga Onuch's research has found that Facebook was a key medium for reaching half of all the Euromaiden protesters in the Ukraine. Her research was picked up by The Guardian who ran a feature about how Facebook has 'changed he world'.

4 March 2015

Dr Gabriel Siles-Brügge took part in a conference at the European Parliament on the Social and Employment aspects of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), organised by the Irish MEP Marian Harkin who has been tasked with preparing a report on the issue by the Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee.

Speaking on a panel featuring representatives from the European Commission and the pan-European business federation BUSINESSEUROPE, Dr Siles-Brügge stressed that the economic gains from the TTIP consistently touted by supporters, including UK prime Minister David Cameron, are overhyped - also talking about the very limited gains an agreement would bring Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs).

Read Dr Siles-Brügge's research into the political and economic effects of TTIP in full on Taylor and Francis (conducted together with Dr Ferdi De Ville from Ghent University in Belgium).

20 February 2015

Dr Olga Onuch commented on Sky News on the House of Lord’s EU Committee Report on the Crisis in Ukraine.

"We have to acknowledge that NATO's top military commander, General Philip Breedlove, said the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine existed in name only. Today the House of Lords EU committee presented a report that criticised the "catastrophic misreading" of the Kremlin and stated that the UK and EU have been sleepwalking through the crisis.

The British Embassy in Ukraine has made it clear in their official communications that no one could have predicted the scale of the unjustified and illegal Russian intervention in eastern Ukraine. And it is important to note that they and the foreign office have strengthened their Ukrainian, Russian and regional expertise.

Yes, Cameron has been criticised and did seem to be absent in the past month and perhaps could have played a more visible role in the recent negotiations, but the UK government has supported Ukraine and opposed Russian aggression rather vocally.

Thus, while the report highlights important short falls of UK and EU diplomacy it is also too unrealistic and seems to be accepting the ‘reality’ of Russia’s right to control the region. This is not a stance that the UK government and EU members should support.


It is crucial to remember that this is not simply a Ukrainian security issue but a rightly pointed out by the UK’s Defence Minister that this is an EU security issue directly posing threat to Baltic countries. 

The EU/NATO need to stand United. The current internal conflicts are making the EU powers look weak in any negotiations. A strong and unified message is needed. We have to remember that the 'Russian backed rebels' have better machinery and weapons than some smaller NATO member countries. Ukraine has nowhere near this capacity. This is why many in the intelligence community believe Ukraine needs lethal military aid."

19 February 2015

Prof Dimitris Papadimitriou spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio Manchester about the continuing negotiations between Greece and the EU.


Dr Olga Onuch spoke to BBC Radio about the Argentina protests, which have taken place this week to mark one month since the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman. Drawing on research from her book Mapping Mass Mobilization: Understanding Revolutionary Moments in Argentina and Ukraine (Dec 14) she put today's march in context.

10 February 2015

Olga Onuch, Lecturer in Politics, was interviewed on BBC Wales about the situation in the Ukraine. 

She argued that the EU and US must come together to form a united front and explained how Russia may well interpret Merkel and Obama's 'good cop, bad cop' routine as weakness.

Moreover, she believes that the EU needs to present a consistent policy in the face of the ever-worsening situation it the Ukraine and a reminded listeners that the 5 September ceasefire was never truly kept.

Olga Onuch has also been interviewed recently by BBC 5 Live and BBC World, Voice of America and Radio France.