Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

Britain is leaving the EU, says Daily Express. Really?

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So, according to the front page of today’s Daily Express, the EU referendum result is already done and dusted and Britain has decided to leave. Really? Yes, a majority of voters want Britain to quit the EU, if the results of a poll by Survation are to be believed. (Readers here will remember that last […]

Delaying the referendum: cui bono?

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Probably the single most frustrating aspect of the EU referendum is the lack of a clear timeline. It’s frustrating for voters, who’d like to know when this is all coming to a head; it’s frustrating for the media, who’d like some notice of when to ramp up coverage; it’s frustrating for other EU member states, […]

The Danish referendum campaign – a fact finding mission without visions?

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The Danish electorate has rejected an opt-in agreement in EU justice and home affairs.  The Danish political elite, mainly the government and the other political parties, are currently trying to analyse the meaning of ‘No’ – does it mean no to the EU or just no to EU Justice & home affairs but yes to […]

Post-post-materialist politics in Portugal: The left is back!

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A guest contribution by Cláudia Toriz Ramos. (Im)possible – this was the adjective I used to describe the probability of a union of the left after the Portuguese parliamentary elections. The brackets were supposed to mean ‘not excluded in theory, but far from likely to happen in practice’. Never in the history of Portuguese democracy […]


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Modern politics is made of moments. Brief moments. The ever-decreasing attention spans of journalists are matched those of the public, in part encouraged by politicians who want to shift the limelight on to something else. I note this without any great judgment, since I’m probably as bad as anyone else, but at the very least […]

The internationalist case against the European Union

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For the first time in a generation Britain will vote on its membership of the European Union, probably in the autumn of 2016. How to vote in that referendum is a difficult choice for anyone on the left. Since the 1990s the anti-EU camp has been dominated by the chauvinist and racist right, initially on […]

The paranoid turn in the referendum campaign

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Not infrequently, I’m taken by the notion that the easiest way to understand the renegotiation and referendum is by thinking about how different actors can best use it to their long term advantage. The substance of the issues isn’t really the point, but rather the opportunity offered to improve one’s position, both absolutely and relatively. […]

A Union of Shared Values – The Jean Monnet Conference 2015

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A report by Pam Barnes. What is the role of education and civil society in the promotion and transmission of ‘A Union of Shared Values’? This was the topic of the Jean Monnet Conference 2015, which took place in Brussels on 9/10 November. Only a few days later the horrific events in Paris on 13 November […]

Britain’s EU Renegotiation: Reflections on the Letter

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Prime Minister David Cameron’s long awaited letter setting out the terms for EU renegotiation has finally arrived. Accompanied by an explanatory speech, the letter outlines four areas for reform (economic governance, competitiveness, sovereignty and immigration). While these choices attract little surprise, it is a milestone nonetheless to have in writing the opening outlines of the […]

The curious path of Vote Leave

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For most people observing – including myself – the existence of two major groupings on the Leave side of the referendum wasn’t really an issue. Arron Banks’ Leave.EU hasn’t looked nearly as serious a proposition as Vote Leave, either in terms of ideological breadth or of general respectability (however you’d like to define that). Vote Leave has […]

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