Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Society & Culture

France 2017: Old fault lines, new salience

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‘France has voted like it never did before’, was the headline of Spiegel Online on Monday morning, and many other foreign observers expressed similar views on the manner in which the traditional parties of the Left and Right were kicked out of the competition by an overwhelming desire of renewal of the political class. But […]

France 2017: That ‘pschitt!’ feeling

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‘Pschitt!’ is – at least in colloquial French – the disappointing sound of flat champagne, a deflating balloon, or a damp firecracker. It is also a good description of the feeling that many French voters will inevitably have on Sunday evening in front of their television screen. With an unprecedented degree of uncertainty, with virtually […]

France 2017: Ready for the Fake Presidency?

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Oops – they did it again! They made us believe that the Fifth Republic provides its president with a particularly wide array of prerogatives, little constrained by checks and balances, and reigning well above the heads of a weak parliament. And with all the hype around the presidential election, this highly personalised ‘encounter of a […]

France 2017: Disappointed, disillusioned, disgusted. A geography lesson.

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Six weeks ago Brice Teinturier, whose face is well-known to the French from numerous election evenings on public television as the polling pundit who explains the gains and losses of the different parties, tried to introduce a new acronym named ‘PRAF’. In a book based on many previously published IPSOS polls and coming dangerously close […]

France 2017: Where have all the flowers gone?

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Over the last twelve months the Greens have had quite a few celebrations across Europe: Winfried Kretschmann was re-elected as minister-president of Baden-Württemberg in March 2016; in December Alexander von der Bellen succeeded in stopping the rise of the Austrian populists in the presidential elections, and in the Dutch general elections, Jesse Klaver quadrupled the […]

Northern Ireland: A Casualty of Brexit?

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As if things were not already complicated enough in Northern Ireland, recent events have even added to the general feeling of instability and uncertainty. Both the assembly elections and the unfolding of Brexit – with increasing disagreements between London and Edinburgh – have not been particularly encouraging. The Assembly elections The 2017 Northern Ireland Assembly […]

France 2017: And then there were eleven

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Why do they do it? Just for four precious weeks of fame? For seeing their faces on billboards and being invited to Parisian television studios? For walking into the polling station on election day and finding their names printed on the ballots in the same font and size as the big political celebrities? For fulfilling […]

What makes the Dutch Dutch? A constitutional perspective.

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Ever since the rise of the Christian Democrats (CDA) in the beginning of the 2000’s, the issue of ‘Normen en Waarden’ has been a topic in the elections. Jan Peter Balkenende was the first to frame the problems in Dutch society as the result of individualistic attitudes propagated by the preceding cabinets. As with a lot of […]

Full membership of EU, the euro and Schengen: Britain’s alternative to Brexit

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The fightback against Brexit should not only be about saving the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union, it should also be about the country being more involved in Europe to get the most out of its membership. Two ways that the UK could get more from its membership of the EU would be joining […]

Whatever happened to the Dutch Left?

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Third post in our series on the Dutch general elections. Questions on the vital statistics of ‘The Left’ are rising everywhere in the Western World. At least in the Netherlands, it is too early to organise a wake. We may be well known for our liberal and permissive attitude to society (which is not the […]

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