Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Society & Culture

France 2017: Polling paradoxes

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The French take delight in pointing out that they are World Champions in producing political opinion polls (only to shake their heads in disbelief and despair about their own addiction). While the claim to this honorary title may not be corroborated by empirical data, it confirms the impression of saturation that a politically interested individual […]

Introducing Alliance Europa

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Bonjour! And warm greetings from the University of Nantes, where the office of “Alliance Europa” is hosted. Alliance Europa is a new and – as we hope: innovative – regional consortium in European Studies. Initiated and supported by the authorities of the Pays-de-la-Loire, it brings together the researchers of 19 laboratories or centres based in […]

France 2017: Protestant protests

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Not a good week for French democracy. It started with the communication of false figures from the first round of the Socialist primary, followed by the verdict sending Sarkozy’s former minister Claude Guéant to jail for his ‘automatic cash teller’ practices while in office. It ended up overshadowed by what is now known as #penelopegate, […]

France 2017: The Party Formerly Known as Socialist

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On a study trip to Brussels about fifteen years ago, a major French socialist MEP gave a good lesson in French political semantics to my student group. In a nutshell, she explained that she and her group were perfectly at ease working with all the Social-Democrats from Germany or Sweden and elsewhere, as well as […]

France 2017: Two years on, how Charlie can you be?

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Already two years since the Charlie Hebdo shootings, which in hindsight look like a prelude to a series the end of which does not seem to be in sight. Is Europe still Charlie? Many Europeans, the large majority of whom had never heard of this magazine before, still claim they are, and there is no […]

France 2017: Happy New Year? You must be joking!

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Come January, social pressure runs higher than ever in France. If you do not wish a smashing ‘Bonne année!’ to absolutely anybody you may come across during the entire month, you’re a social outcast. The Elysée is of course not exempt from this pressure: one of the most bizarre rituals of the French Republican Monarchy […]

France 2017: Jerrycans for Christmas!

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  In case you have friends or family in France and you don’t know what to offer them for Christmas, my suggestion is: buy them a set of jerrycans. They may come handy in 2017. Not at once, but once the summer is over, they might be more useful than ever. This advice is based […]

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