Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Author Archives: Albrecht Sonntag

75 years ago, a road map of hope for Germany

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‘I want no misunderstanding. We will not shirk our duty. We are not withdrawing. We are staying here.’ Unfortunately for many Afghans, this quote by an American secretary of state is 75 years old. It stems from a speech given in Stuttgart, on 6 September 1946, which is hardly remembered, but definitely worth remembering as […]

50 years on, little hope for a new ping pong diplomacy

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The most emblematic example of how sport is used as an icebreaker in international relations is no doubt the visit, between 10 and 17 April 1971, of nine American table tennis players to the People’s Republic of China, an event known worldwide as ‘ping pong diplomacy’. A lot has been said and written about this […]

25 years later, the multifaceted legacy of the Bosman ruling

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Not many decisions taken by the European Court of Justice make it beyond the nerdish    case law debates relished by our law colleagues at the UACES conference. True, a few directives make the mainstream news headlines, going as far as to impact major votes, just ask Frits Bolkestein. But, certainly, a simple ruling that triggers […]

Forty years of green

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The foundation, on 13 January 1980 in Karlsruhe, of a nation-wide ecological party in West Germany came as a surprise. Not the idea itself: the time was ripe for creating a strong political movement based on environmental concerns, frustration with representative democracy, and radically pacifist convictions in the middle of the Cold War arms race. […]

Striking

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French transport strikes bear a “striking” resemblance with Hollywood blockbusters.  Unlike Star Wars episodes, they are not numbered, but they are released at similar intervals, draw large crowds, and you get easily lost between sequels and prequels. This year’s episode seems particularly serious. If the trade unions don’t even respect the unwritten rule of letting […]

Breaking: The Truth about the EU!

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The truth is out: the EU does not exist. It’s a hoax, made up by a vast conspiracy. I have evidence. You can look it up on my Facebook page. I always believed that the story of a French foreign affairs minister proposing a coal and steel community under a yet-to-be defined supranational high authority […]

EU-China: the origin and future path of the new doctrine

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On Tuesday 9 April, Brussels will host the 21st EU-China summit. This time around, the underlying tone of the meetings may be slightly different than before, following the recent “Strategic Vision” submitted by the Commission to the Council. In its relations with the People’s Republic of China the EU is said to be unable to […]

Business interests and cultural perception patterns. A French region’s view on Brexit.

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It might not be the first question on your mind when you think about Brexit, but should French SMEs be better prepared for a no deal scenario? Pierre Séjourné certainly thinks so. As the head of the international mission at DIRECCTE, a French trans-ministerial agency for economic development, he politely but very firmly has been […]

Deeply conservative

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There will be a lot of talk about the extreme right’s entry into the Bavarian parliament and the impact of yesterday’s election on the federal government in Berlin. But the most important fall-out may reside in a significant shift in political semantics. For as long as I can remember, Bavaria has always been described to […]

Keep calm and worry on – transatlantic relations in the Trump era

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It’s not because the messenger is particularly unpleasant that the message is necessarily wrong. And its not because many of his messages are plain lies, narcissistic bragging or whining paranoia that each and every message is automatically beside the point. This may be, in an admittedly crude nutshell, one of the main lessons for Europeans […]

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