Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

The third face of Brexit

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As the nights have drawn in and the mercury has dropped, thoughts – in my neck of the woods at least – have turned to that important festivity of the six month-iversary of the referendum. Even though we’re little over five months on, we’re starting to see the wave of events asking us to reflect […]

France 2017: The unexpected rehabilitation of an adjective

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For as long as I have lived in this country – a quarter century, after all – the surest way for French politicians to put an end to their political career was to make a statement, however prudent, in favour of ‘liberalism’. Once labelled a ‘liberal’, you could be sure to be turned in no […]

Making an unamendable A50 bill – UPDATED

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This is, of course, the big news from the past week. The whole Farage/Trump/ambassador thing is little more than a febrile combination of unwillingness to follow protocol, mutual back-scratching and intentional destablising, while the Autumn Statement simply underlines that no-one in government really knows what Brexit means. But the resumption of legal contests – now in the Supreme […]

France 2017: Just do it!

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I did it! I participated in the primary of the right and the centre on Sunday around lunchtime. It didn’t even hurt. I paid my contribution of 2 Euros, took the 7 ballot papers, and signed, without any conflict of conscience, the ‘Charte de l’alternance’, confirming that I was in favour of political change (which […]

Brexit, Trump, Le Pen? How France’s Institutions Will Make It Difficult for Le Pen to Win the Election and Govern

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In the wake of populist successes in the UK and the US, Viviane Gravey examines the prospects for a Front National victory in the upcoming 2017 French presidential election. She argues that, while the institutional structure of French politics would limit the room for manoeuvre of Marine Le Pen, it is ultimately the responsibility of […]

France 2017: How the padlock was shut

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Remember The Day of the Jackal? This thrilling movie released in 1973 and featuring Edward Fox as enigmatic contract killer, is based on the failed attempt to assassinate Charles de Gaulle on 22 August 1962 by the paramilitary underground organisation OAS (‘Organisation de l’armée secrète’), composed by extreme right-wing activists who considered the Evian Treaty, […]

Donald Trump v. The Environment: learning from past attempts to dismantle environmental policy

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A week after the Paris Agreement entered into force, the United States have elected Donald J. Trump as their 45th President – a man who famously described climate change as “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” His stance on climate change, his strong support for coal and pledge […]

America Decides: Foreign Policy Implications for Europe

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The historic victory of Donald Trump in the US 2016 presidential election has been readily compared with the UK’s vote to leave the European Union – a ‘Brexit effect’ that some would suggest to have emanated from the UK, migrated across the Atlantic and impacted on the US. The notion that the UK has that […]

France 2017: The primaries and the secondaries

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The French are still numerous to consider voting both a right and a duty (‘un devoir citoyen’, as they say). This is probably why turnout – despite a wide-spread feeling that nothing ever changes – has been remarkably stable over the decades, especially at the presidential elections. Even the lowest participation ever (71.6% in the […]

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