Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Monthly Archives: February 2014

The European Parliament’s change of heart and the future of EU railway market opening

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The European Parliament’s first reading on the fourth railway package (26 February 2014) has watered down both the Commission’s proposal and the TRAN committee’s report. The adopted report opens for more differentiated governance structure, where the member states can decide to create an integrated governance structure where the infrastructure manager and rail operator belong to […]

Britain as the Good European

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A couple of things have caught my eye this week in the world of UK-EU relations, one relatively minor, the other potentially much bigger. However, they are linked by a common strand of thinking about how the UK acts and is perceived. The minor thing was an article at the start of the week by Boris […]

Populist own goals

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  On 9 February, a small majority of Swiss voted in favour of taking measures to ‘curb mass immigration’. For a country whose economy and public services rely heavily on immigration, this was an astonishing sign of abandoning common sense and rational thinking to emotional fear-mongering by the leaders of the nationalist SVP. It’s what […]

The Politics of the Rise of DG Climate Action

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In 2009, Commission President Barroso created a new Directorate-General for Climate Action (DG Clima) in the European Commission (EC). This decision was a deliberate political choice following considerable controversy at the time. With European Elections around the corner, and now 28 Commissioners, we may yet again see a re-shuffle of Commission departments. When debating the […]

Yanukovych, Russia and the EU: Why we saw this one coming

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Kiev, 1048.Yaroslav The Wise, the Kiev-Rus leader, was caught in strife with the Byzantine and Holy Roman Empire when a French envoy from King Henry I arrived to request the hand of Yaroslav’s daughter in marriage. As a powerful ally in the West would have made a useful strategic alliance, the Kiev-Rus leader’s response was […]

Does UKIP give eurosceptics a bad name?

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To look at Twitter (or the academic conference schedule), the European elections are almost upon us. With them comes the familiar litany of concerns about falling turnout, democratic deficits and all the other tropes. While these have some basis in fact, such debates tend to present a rather distorted view of the world (turnouts are […]

Considering practical aspects in qualitative interviews

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In European studies and political science more broadly qualitative elite interviews are a well established method. For any PhD student (or indeed any researcher) conducting your first qualitative interviews with elites (those in a privileged position over the activity or area of policy in question) can be a daunting prospect. I was equally daunted, although […]