Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

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 […]

Why It Matters if the European Commission Ends up Leading the Brexit Negotiations

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The EU is no stranger to inter-institutional repetition. As was made famous in the referendum debate, it has many presidents (for instance, leading the European Commission, European Council, European Parliament, European Central Bank and the Eurogroup). So it has also been in the EU’s preparation for the Brexit talks. Over the summer, Michel Barnier (Commission), […]

What the High Court ruling does (and doesn’t) mean

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Today’s High Court ruling in Miller/dos Santos has provoked a flurry of reaction, across the board. To read the comments of some Remainers, this is the first step to reversing the referendum result and building a new, pro-EU consensus in the UK. For Leavers, it’s being called a travesty of democracy and justice. As someone […]

Ref: France (2017), Campaigns, Elections, Hangover (forthcoming).

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Before the next Tour de France starts on the 1st of July from the banks of the Rhine, the entire country will embark on a seven-month election marathon, beginning with three primaries, one of which (the Greens’) is already half-way through, with ‘the Right and the Centre’ to follow in November and the Socialists (or […]

The best EU trade deal? We already have it.

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In Parliament last week, our new and unelected Prime Minister, Mrs Theresa May, said she wanted “the best possible arrangement for trade” with the European Union. Which is exactly what we have now. In America they have a saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. So why does Mrs May want to fix something […]

Heathrow expansion in the shadow of Brexit

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After decades of debate on where – and whether – to expand airport capacity in south-eastern England, the UK government announced two days ago that it would favour building a third runway at Heathrow Airport. This option, highly criticised on environmental grounds (notably due to the air pollution caused by road transport to the airport) […]

The Great British Muddle Through

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Anyone in hope of elucidation on Brexit this week will have been a bit disappointed, even by recent standards. With submissions to the High Court providing no killer arguments either side – and both sides firmly stating that any loss will be challenged up to the Supreme Court and an immigration debate that has sunk to the […]

Six Unrealistic Brexit Expectations the UK Government Should Avoid

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In recent years, the UK government has not been particularly adept at negotiating in the EU (see the Fiscal Compact) or navigating the politics of Brussels (see the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission president). Satisfaction with David Cameron’s EU renegotiation was also relatively low on both sides of the referendum debate. EU politics […]

Mrs May: Acting against the national interest?

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Prime Minister Theresa May is determined to take Britain on a course to Brexit, but only six months ago she said it wouldn’t be in the country’s interest to do so. Mrs May, then Home Secretary, said in a pro-Remain speech in April 2016: “I believe it is clearly in our national interest to remain […]

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