Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

Excessive pragmatism

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I’m still reading the Cohn-Bendit/Verhofstadt book. So far my diagnosis is that, for a book that I fundamentally agree with, there is a lot there that makes me mad. I will blog more about specific annoyances later, time permitting, but I thought I might start by explaining my problems with the book’s excessive pragmatism. Here’s […]

Resistance is Futile (2)

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The story of Tonio Borg’s confirmation as the next Maltese Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection keeps getting stranger. In response to the objections in the S&D group, the Parliament has listed a series of commitments that Mr. Borg is to make in order to be confirmed. They are: The delivery of the legislative proposal […]

Resistance is Futile

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Parts of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament, as well as their civil society supporters, seem to have taken a rather unusual approach to the question of whether the Conservative Maltese Tonio Borg should be permitted to serve as the new Commissioner for Health and Consumer Affairs. In general, their objection seems to be […]

Trilogues boost the influence of majority party leaders over EU policy

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“Despite speeding up the legislative process, trilogues allow the Council to negotiate directly with majority party leaders in the European Parliament at the expense of committees and minority parties”. Dr Raya Kardasheva is a Lecturer in European Politics at King’s College London The establishment of the co-decision procedure in the EU legislative system led to […]

European Council decides: Number of Commissioners = number of EU member states

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Maybe it has escaped my attention, but I just saw this European Council Decision dated 2 October plus this document dated 28 September that formally decides that the number of European Commissioners will not be reduced as originally foreseen in the EU Treaties. Instead, a special exception will be used made in concession to the Irish […]

SGP v. The Netherlands

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The ECtHR judgement, earlier this month, in SGP v. the Netherlands is an amazing illustration of the glories of legal messiness and Dutch poldermodel lawyering. Unfortunately, though predictably, it ends with a bit of a fizz. The facts, in a nutshell: The Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij is the most orthodoxly Christian party in the Netherlands, and also our […]

Piris (4)

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I finally got around to reading Jean-Claude Piris’ The Future of Europe, the book that was the basis for his lecture here in Florence in April. While I still don’t agree with his policy recommendation – a new Schengen-like treaty that creates further European Integration among a subset of EU Member States – there’s not […]

Voting NO

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Much as GeenStijl and I are getting along splendidly this week (here’s why), I have to take issue with their analysis of the VoteWatch stats on Council voting. The tenor of their post, which was also the implication of the general news wire story, was that it is good that the Netherlands votes no. Mede omdat de […]

Europa, Jürgen Trittin und ich – Eine (Selbst)Kritik

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Ich hab letzte Woche, moderiert durch Cherno Jobatey, mit Jürgen Trittin über Europa diskutiert. Die leider zusammengeschnittene Fassung unsere ca. 45-minütigen Diskussion ist jetzt auf Youtube nachsehbar. Ich bin mir bis heute nicht ganz klar, ob das letztendlich sinnvoll war, und was ich damit meine habe ich auch schon aufgeschrieben. Aber vielleicht doch noch ein […]

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