Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Society & Culture

Brexit, Scotland, and the Kingdom: a constitutional drama in four acts

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The European Union (EU) referendum result has led to the unfolding of a domestic constitutional drama in the United Kingdom, which on its current trajectory could lead to its break-up. This is the first of two blog posts which maps the initial trajectory by considering the roles of the key institutional actors in the drama so far. […]

Catalonia: Headlong into the unknown.

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Come October, something with high political voltage will happen in Catalonia and, therefore, in Spain. The main question is that nobody knows exactly what will be. The Catalan Government is strongly committed to holding a referendum on Catalan independence, while the Spanish central government is just as strongly committed to preventing anyone from taking part […]

Brexit and the German Elections: a Tale of Two Countries

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1. In early August, FT columnist Simon Kuper dedicated his weekly piece to the three ‘enduring flaws’ of British politics as revealed by Brexit. His (rather devastating) diagnosis – ‘substance-free, hot air’ rhetoric instead of political debate, ‘the ruling class’s insularity’, and ‘delusions of grandeur’ – was accompanied by a delicious illustration by Harry Haysom. […]

International relations reconsidered: Accession of the EU to Ukraine – a 2030 scenario?

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This fictional story, which can potentially materialize, is to be pondered about, given the current oncoming of apparently uncertain times in the global politics. This is a scenario of how, for the sake of progress and stability, the EU should avoid the political and territorial division of the European continent and ongoing divisions into the […]

The Muslim Question

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In the United Kingdom, Muslims should have equal access to opportunities in the labour market and this would greatly contribute to an integrated social atmosphere in the country. The top professions, more often than not, don’t have diversity present and the chances of ethnic minorities, with a Chinese or an Indian background, are far greater […]

France 2017: La grande coalition

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Ever since I started to talk to the French about their political system and listened to their perceptions of what was going wrong in the Fifth Republic – a little more than three decades now – I had this impression, unbacked by any robust statistical evidence, of a quite large majority at the centre of […]

France 2017: The Charisma Bonus

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It’s time to take your good old Max Weber out of the shelf again. His definitions of sources of authority are as pertinent as they have ever been. What did he write about ‘charisma’ again? ‘The exemplary character of an individual person’, ‘endowed with specifically exceptional qualities’, and by whom ‘new normative patterns are revealed’ […]

France 2017: It’s the semantics, stupid!

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Emmanuel Macron’s entry on the diplomatic scene – from the NATO and G7 summits last week to the meeting with Vladimir Putin on Monday – may already be regarded as a positive and very encouraging achievement, but everybody, in France and elsewhere, agrees that the new President’s real and primordial challenge is the capacity to […]

France 2017: The end of ridicule?

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For over forty years, since Maurice Duverger coined the expression in 1974, ‘The Republican monarchy’ has no doubt been the most frequently used metaphor for the Fifth Republic. In countless books, essays and articles, the presidential system and all its corollaries –power, pomp and protocol – have been portrayed as a legacy of pre-Revolutionary, absolute […]

France 2017: Disruptive

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Emmanuel Macron had no chance of winning the presidential election. Every textbook on French politics or contemporary history will tell you so. He had no chance, and he seized it. After his first large-scale rallies, in Strasbourg in October 2016 or in Paris in December, all serious commentators indulged in gentle mockery. Partly because his […]

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