Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

What to look for in Article 50

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Seeing as we’re nearly at the second phase of Brexit – the negotiations for departure – it’s an opportune moment to tell you that I’ve started podcasting again, with a guide to the Article 50 timeline. Quite apart from the underlining that ‘two years’ isn’t really two years – maybe one and a bit years, once you take […]

Northern Ireland: A Casualty of Brexit?

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As if things were not already complicated enough in Northern Ireland, recent events have even added to the general feeling of instability and uncertainty. Both the assembly elections and the unfolding of Brexit – with increasing disagreements between London and Edinburgh – have not been particularly encouraging. The Assembly elections The 2017 Northern Ireland Assembly […]

France 2017: And then there were eleven

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Why do they do it? Just for four precious weeks of fame? For seeing their faces on billboards and being invited to Parisian television studios? For walking into the polling station on election day and finding their names printed on the ballots in the same font and size as the big political celebrities? For fulfilling […]

Hubris on the road to Brexit

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I was going to write about hubris and nemesis, but to be in keeping with the spirit of the age in these parts, let’s work on a more local formulation the same ideas. Pride comes before a fall. Looking around Westminster, there’s plenty of pride. Pride from a government that has a commanding lead in […]

What makes the Dutch Dutch? A constitutional perspective.

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Ever since the rise of the Christian Democrats (CDA) in the beginning of the 2000’s, the issue of ‘Normen en Waarden’ has been a topic in the elections. Jan Peter Balkenende was the first to frame the problems in Dutch society as the result of individualistic attitudes propagated by the preceding cabinets. As with a lot of […]

Issue discovery and Brexit: How will we know what all the points of impact might be?

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Speaking at another Brexit-themed talk in Antwerp this week, I found myself once again noting the matter of issue discovery. Despite being over 8 months after the referendum, which itself was confirmed as happening in May 2015, and with years of debate beforehand, we still find ourselves in a position where new elements keep on being discovered. […]

Whatever happened to the Dutch Left?

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Third post in our series on the Dutch general elections. Questions on the vital statistics of ‘The Left’ are rising everywhere in the Western World. At least in the Netherlands, it is too early to organise a wake. We may be well known for our liberal and permissive attitude to society (which is not the […]

Can the populist far-right win the elections in the Netherlands?

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Second post on our series on the Dutch general elections. On Wednesday 15 March, Dutch voters will head to the polls to elect a new parliament and prime minister. And for once, the rest of Europe is very interested, as the question looms whether the leader of the far-right populist Party for Freedom (PVV) Geert […]

Dutch coalition politics and the 2017 general elections

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The year 2017 is widely seen as hugely important for European politics, with general elections in key European Union member states Germany and the Netherlands – and perhaps even in Italy – and presidential elections in France. Following the United Kingdom’s Brexit vote and the election of President Donald Trump in the United States, populist […]

France 2017: Polling paradoxes

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The French take delight in pointing out that they are World Champions in producing political opinion polls (only to shake their heads in disbelief and despair about their own addiction). While the claim to this honorary title may not be corroborated by empirical data, it confirms the impression of saturation that a politically interested individual […]

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