Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Current Affairs

The European Border and Coast Guard: Towards the Centralization of the External Border Management

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This post first appeared at The Academic Research Network on Agencification of EU Executive Governance (TARN)   As a result of the migratory crisis, the transformation of Frontex into a European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) became a political priority for both the EU and the Member States (MS). Regulation 2016/1624 aims to strengthen the position and independence of […]

A bridge to nowhere?

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About a decade ago in the US, there was a minor scandal about a ‘bridge to nowhere’: substantial federal funds had been appropriated to build a bridge to replace a little-used ferry to an Alaskan island, mainly – it appeared – to serve the pork-barrel politics of Washington. Theresa May might find herself reflecting on […]

How to read the Brexit White Paper

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Today’s White Paper on “The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union” fulfils a government commitment to provide Parliament with its considered opinion about how to manage the process of Brexit. Quite aside from the timing issue – coming as it does a day after the second reading of the EU(NOW) Bill – the White […]

We’re on our (Brexit) way!

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Eppur si muove. A scant 7 months after the referendum, last night Parliament passed the second reading of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill* by a clear 498 votes to 114. Job done, Parliament no obstacle, what could go wrong? As usual – in accordance with Usherwood’s law – plenty can go wrong, no matter who one is. To […]

France 2017: Protestant protests

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Not a good week for French democracy. It started with the communication of false figures from the first round of the Socialist primary, followed by the verdict sending Sarkozy’s former minister Claude Guéant to jail for his ‘automatic cash teller’ practices while in office. It ended up overshadowed by what is now known as #penelopegate, […]

Brexit is still happening, just not the way May hoped

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The British Supreme Court ruling of January 24 was a mixed result for the Prime Minister Theresa May’s government (PDF). On the one hand, they saw their earlier defeat in the High Court defeat confirmed, committing them to passing legislation through parliament before they can start the formal process of leaving the European Union under Article 50. On the […]

Water, Agriculture and Renewable Energy

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How could we save Europe, help refugees and fight climate change at the same time? It would be hard to deny that the refugee crisis – caused by wars in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan – has put a terrible strain on Europe, as millions of people from these war torn regions have sought refuge within […]

Too hot to handle? The Renewable Heat Incentive scheme & the Northern Irish meltdown

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Since December, Northern Ireland has been bogged down in a major scandal on an apparently simple policy instrument – the renewable heat incentive scheme. The scheme, closed in early 2016, was set up in 2012 to encourage renewable heat uptake. Since then, it has generated a massive overspend (more than £1bn UK public money, £600 […]

France 2017: The Party Formerly Known as Socialist

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On a study trip to Brussels about fifteen years ago, a major French socialist MEP gave a good lesson in French political semantics to my student group. In a nutshell, she explained that she and her group were perfectly at ease working with all the Social-Democrats from Germany or Sweden and elsewhere, as well as […]

Ten years of the European Research Council: Taking stock and looking forward

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Ten years after its establishment, the European Research Council is largely seen as a success story. In his new book The European Research Council political scientist and former scientific advisor to the president of the European Research Council Thomas König provides a detailed account of often very complex history on how this success story of […]

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