Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Current Affairs

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 […]

Why do so many British Politicians get the EU so wrong?

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So here we are. In little more than one month, Britain is due to crash out of the EU without an agreement as the single outcome a strong majority MPs abhor because of the damage it would do to jobs, tax receipts and relations to European and international partners. The agreement actually negotiated by the […]

Climate change: European countries must work together

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Britain may be an island, but we are part of a continent and a planet. And it’s only by countries working closely together that urgent issues such as climate change can be effectively tackled. What’s the alternative? That Britain retreats into an island mentality, thinking we can go it alone as if we were the […]

Collateral damage: The EUI, Brexit and institutional logics

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Let me put my hands up on this one right at the start: I’m writing about this because it’s a more familiar case to me than many others. I know and work with several people at the European University Institute, even though I’ve not had any formal link with the place. For those unfamiliar with […]

The Idea of Europe: Out of print in the United Kingdom?

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Last month a group of thirty European thinkers published a manifesto in several British newspapers calling for the urgent need to defend “the idea of Europe” against the rising populism sweeping the continent. Clicking through from the Guardian article to the manifesto itself, it struck me forcibly how little it will resonate with a British […]

Breaking points

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I’ll freely admit that one of the most perplexing aspects of Brexit has been the amount of time spent sitting around, waiting for someone to do something, even though there’s been severe time pressure from the start. Of course, when it does kick off, I also grumble about not having any breathing space, so maybe […]

Brexit makes us look stupid

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Across Europe, across the world, they’re getting mightily fed up and cheesed-off with Britain. Nobody knows what we want. Almost three years after the referendum, nobody has a clue what Brexit really means. They used to look up to Britain. They used to regard us as a stabilising influence. We provided balance, maturity, rationality. No […]

Reform und Finanzierung der Vereinten Nationen – Zum 80. Geburtstag von Klaus Hüfner

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Am vergangenen Dienstag (22. Januar 2019) war ich in Berlin, auf der DGVN-Veranstaltung “UNbezahlbar! Reform und Finanzierung der Vereinten Nationen in bewegten Zeiten” zu Ehren des 80. Geburtstags von Klaus Hüfner. Klaus Hüfner ist seit Jahrzehnten mit Abstand der wichtigste Experte zum Thema UN-Finanzen in Deutschland, und die Veranstaltung war – dieser Expertise angemessen – […]

Brexit: A valid comment on BBC Question Time

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On BBC Question Time, a member of the audience in Winchester made a particularly pertinent point: The 52%-48% referendum result wouldn’t even be sufficient to change the constitution of your local golf club. (Article continues after 30-second video) And it’s true. In most democratic clubs and institutions, a result of 52% to 48% wouldn’t be enough […]

Ruling out no-deal

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The other day I tried to set out in a Twitter thread why ruling out a no-deal was difficult. The nub of the argument was that while the UK constitutional settlement allows Parliament to rule on whatever it likes, that would not and could not change the EU rules that apply. Thus, while a law could be […]

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