Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

Benefit tourism: why ‘fix’ a non-existent problem?

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As reported in today’s Daily Mirror, the Conservative government has admitted that it has no concrete evidence to prove that so-called ‘benefit tourism’ exists. And yet, Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to ‘crack down’ on benefit tourism to reduce the numbers of EU migrants coming to Britain. Mr Cameron wants EU migrants in Britain […]

Gear-shifting the referendum?

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Christmas is always a tricky time for politicians: on the one hand, everyone’s packed up for a break after a long autumn, but on the other, there’s usually something that needs urgent attention, like a flood. However, on balance this Christmas past has been generally quite quiet on the referendum front, before bursting back on […]

Should rights be submitted to referendum? (You won’t find the answer here)

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Earlier this year, many of us felt proud of Ireland. 62% of Irish people voted to proclaim marriage equality in the national constitution. Ireland, a country of profound Catholic roots, had become the first country to recognise at the constitutional level the right to marriage regardless of sexual orientation. It was very good news for those who believe […]

Jealous of Spain

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Looking south from France in December 2015, how can you not be jealous of Spain? Sure, there’s no need to be envious of the weather, the wine and the beaches. We’ve had more than a fair share of these, too. There is also no reason to minimise the pressing problems of Spanish society, starting with […]

Will old people decide the EU referendum?

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Although they will have to live with the decision for longer than anyone else, young people will have the least say on whether Britain stays in the EU. Ironically, what is arguably the world’s oldest unelected group of legislators – the House of Lords – voted recently to give 16-to-17-year-olds a vote in the EU […]

Are Europeans racist?

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If you are not European enough but nevertheless have been living in Europe, and especially in Western Europe, for a while, it is almost impossible not to hear the following statement: “Europeans are racist.” It is an echo of Palestine-born American literary critic Edward Said’s famous conclusion that he arrived in his classic book Orientalism: “Every European, in what […]

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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