Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Current Affairs

Tory legacy shattered

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Believe it or not, Conservatives used to be the party of Europe. Indeed, it was: The Conservatives that joined the UK to the European Community. The Conservatives that advocated and helped to design the EU’s Single Market. The Conservatives that encouraged the former Communist countries to join. It was also one of the Tory party’s […]

Pacta sunt servanda: a guide

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Given all the recent interest in breaking treaties, I thought it’d be useful to provide you with a quick guide to what is generally accepted to be the international framework for this: pacta sunt servanda. A short Twitter thread puts some words to it, and a PDF version is available here.

Bringing Rhetorical Action Back In. Brexit and the Corona crisis show the strength of norm-based arguments

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EU researchers have been rather silent about rhetorical action in recent years. The current Brexit and Corona reconstruction negotiations show why they shouldn’t be, Dirk Leuffen and Pascal Mounchid argue. In the early 2000s, rhetorical action – the “strategic use of norm-based arguments” – was a powerfully used concept in academic debates on European integration. […]

Bus-crashing as a negotiation technique

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As I’ve sat down to write this, I’ve just reminded myself that I said only a short time ago that a leading indicator of heading to an agreement on the Future Relationship would be a de-escalation of the rhetoric. Make of that what you will, both in regard to Brexit and to me. This past […]

Das Bundesamt für Auswärtige Angelegenheiten (BfAA) in Brandenburg: Was wir wissen

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Vor wenigen Monaten hat der Deutsche Bundestag offiziell beschlossen, dass ab 1.1.2021 das neue Bundesamt für Auswärtige Angelegenheiten (BfAA) mit Sitz in Brandenburg(Havel) gegründet wird. Hier trage ich zusammen, was wir bislang alles wissen und was noch nicht (alles) auf der Wikipedia steht. [Ein neueres Update zum BfAA habe ich am 24. November 2020 veröffentlicht.] Warum mich das […]

Another summer of Brexit

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As we roll back round that time of year when schools briefly re-open and we all head back to the office [sic], it’s worth considering the progress made on the Future Relationship talks. Recall that after the June decision that no extension to the transition period would be sought, the UK government pressed for – […]

What do we talk about when we talk about Brexit?

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All that summer rest finally gave me the impetus to put together this little chart the other day. It’s a simple breakdown of the time allocated to the 11 headings of the Future Relationship negotiating rounds, including this week’s 7th. Weightings are based on a negotiating block (usually a half-day), with some joint sessions (e.g. […]

Why alliance formation among opposition political parties is not a good idea?

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I am writing this piece in response to the Hungarian opposition political parties’ agreement to create a joint programme for government and stand single candidates against Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s ruling Hungarian Civic Alliance party (Fidess) in all 106 electoral districts. The Hungarian opposition’s pledge to unite and form an anti-Orban block for the […]

Brexit forgets history

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This month 59 years ago – on 13 August 1961 – Berliners woke up to find that a wall was being built to split their city in two. To say it was a huge shock is an understatement. It was not until 28 years later – in November 1989 – that Berliners ripped the wall […]

Refugees are innocent

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The BBC call them migrants; the Prime Minister and some other media call them illegal; some Tory MPs and Nigel Farage call them ‘invaders’. They are none of those. They are mostly desperate, destitute, stateless men, women and children fleeing from war, torture, oppression and persecution. Nobody risks their lives across treacherous waters in unsuitable and unsafe boats unless they are deeply distressed and determined, with nothing […]

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