Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Monthly Archives: May 2017

France 2017: It’s the semantics, stupid!

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Emmanuel Macron’s entry on the diplomatic scene – from the NATO and G7 summits last week to the meeting with Vladimir Putin on Monday – may already be regarded as a positive and very encouraging achievement, but everybody, in France and elsewhere, agrees that the new President’s real and primordial challenge is the capacity to […]

Why don’t pro-Europeans mobilise?

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This Tuesday, while most of us where thinking of other things, I was at the Social Market Foundation, talking about Brexit and euroscepticism. In the course of questions at the end, I was asked whether British pro-Europeans displayed the same range and variety of positions as sceptics, to which I noted mobilisation hadn’t really happened. A […]

David Davis doesn’t understand negotiating or the EU

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Brexit Secretary, David Davis, has said that Britain won’t hold ANY Brexit talks unless the EU drops its demands for €100bn in payments it claims are due. It’s now more than likely that Britain will leave the EU without any agreement in place, which of course will be disastrous. Unfortunately, David Davis has shown he […]

Tory hard Brexit puts two Unions at risk

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This week the Conservative Party tweeted Theresa May’s statement: ‘Sturgeon’s plan to leave the UK – Scotland’s biggest market – would mean economic chaos.’ The Prime Minister doesn’t seem to get it, does she? Exactly the same arguments also apply to her plan to leave the EU as well as its Single Market – the UK’s […]

How to be awkward in the European Union

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A bit of a quiet week this week: British politicians are launching their manifestos, Macron’s naming his first administration, Trump’s Trump. Rather than get sucking into the usual hot-take approach, I want to step back and think about the notion of awkwardness in the EU. The UK is, famously, the ‘awkward partner’ (in George’s phrase) […]

France 2017: The end of ridicule?

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For over forty years, since Maurice Duverger coined the expression in 1974, ‘The Republican monarchy’ has no doubt been the most frequently used metaphor for the Fifth Republic. In countless books, essays and articles, the presidential system and all its corollaries –power, pomp and protocol – have been portrayed as a legacy of pre-Revolutionary, absolute […]

Two-faced Theresa

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Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, has pledged to take the country out of the European Union. But before last year’s referendum on 23 June, Ms May was a firm advocate against Brexit and for Britain remaining in the EU. Can we trust a prime minister whose principles blow so easily in the wind? Is this […]