Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Current Affairs

The UK-EU relationship: Better the devil you know?

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This is a version of a piece originally posted on Euronews. This summer has provided ample demonstration of the difficulties of the relationship between the UK and the EU. The constant rumbling of discontent over the Northern Ireland Protocol has been accompanied by periodic British threats to walk away from it. Last week’s State of […]

Lonely little Britain

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Britain is now a country adrift, without a continent, lost, alone and out at sea. Our government, without a proper democratic mandate, shunned our continent of Europe and is now looking for another. We’d have a wonderful trade deal with our cousins in the USA, was the promise. That’ll easily replace our trading arrangements with […]

Go Brexit, ditch metric

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The government has announced that it will bring in a new Brexit law to allow traders to scrap metric measurements and sell products and food in just pounds and ounces only. Do you know what 1kg of bananas is in imperial measurements? No, I didn’t think so. (It’s around 2 lb 3 ounces.) Since 1974, […]

French appeals court decision is a victory for solidarity with Migrants

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On 9 September 2021, seven European citizens who marched in solidarity with migrants across the Franco-Italian Alpine border were acquitted of facilitating irregular migration. The decision is a victory for activists in France, reaffirming their right to act in solidarity with migrants based on the constitutional principle of fraternity. The trial took place on 27 […]

A post summer update

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The past month or so has been relatively quiet in the world of the WA/TCA: the British proposals in its Command Paper had sat, largely uncommented, since late May as more prosaic matters have swirled. However, as Brussels and Westminster have restarted, so too has there been a degree of movement. Most importantly, there has been […]

Why the EU is more democratic than the UK

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Brexiters claim that the EU is run by unelected bureaucrats. It’s a laughable claim because it’s untrue. The EU is a democracy, run by elected politicians. By comparison, the UK seems more like a quasi-democracy, with unelected decision-makers and undemocratic practises that would be considered despotic compared to EU standards. Take our Parliament. It consists […]

Legal options for changing the Northern Ireland Protocol

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As a parting gift before a summer break, I’ve pulled together the various legal pathways currently available to changing the Protocol. This is based on the text of the Protocol/Withdrawal Agreement itself, plus a bit of customary international law, and covers both modification and disapplication of the Protocol itself. As the graphic suggests, there are […]

Embracing a Piecemeal Approach in Intergovernmental Negotiation: The Case of Med-5 and the New European Asylum Support Office

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Accepting half a loaf in international negotiations is always difficult. This has been especially notable in European debates over refugee policy, in which different countries have divergent interests and a mutually agreeable consensus is hard to form. However, recent developments suggest a thaw, with Mediterranean countries taking a pragmatic approach that could allow for real […]

Reform #5: Armed forces

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Introduction The united and strong Europe – reformed along the principles introduced previously (see Enlightened Europism) – is going to be able to defend and promote its achievements globally only through a wise and decisive foreign policy with clear strategic aims. However, in my view, the necessary precondition of a successful foreign policy and diplomacy […]

tl;dr – The UK’s Command Paper on the Northern Ireland Protocol

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The publication on 21 July of the UK government’s Command Paper came just before the end of the Parliamentary session. Flagged for several weeks, it was presented as the culmination of a long push to secure changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol. Undoubtedly, the Paper does cap the numerous public statements of Lord Frost, Brandon […]

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