Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Current Affairs

France 2017: That ‘pschitt!’ feeling

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‘Pschitt!’ is – at least in colloquial French – the disappointing sound of flat champagne, a deflating balloon, or a damp firecracker. It is also a good description of the feeling that many French voters will inevitably have on Sunday evening in front of their television screen. With an unprecedented degree of uncertainty, with virtually […]

What the 2017 General Election means for Brexit: procedure, personnel and policy

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The lovely thing about long walks is that they give you time to think, to join your physical movement with metaphysical wanderings through the things that occupy your life. It’s often a time when you have a bright idea, that makes sense as the sunlight filters through the leaves and warm air of spring fills […]

France 2017: Ready for the Fake Presidency?

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Oops – they did it again! They made us believe that the Fifth Republic provides its president with a particularly wide array of prerogatives, little constrained by checks and balances, and reigning well above the heads of a weak parliament. And with all the hype around the presidential election, this highly personalised ‘encounter of a […]

Economics as a social science

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Has there been, since the outbreak of the economic and financial crisis in 2008, one single op-ed piece in major international newspapers that did not, in one way or another, refer to Keynes, Keynesian theory and recipes, or Keynesianism as a kind of handbook or roadmap for political leaders dealing with failing banks, sluggish growth, […]

France 2017: Disappointed, disillusioned, disgusted. A geography lesson.

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Six weeks ago Brice Teinturier, whose face is well-known to the French from numerous election evenings on public television as the polling pundit who explains the gains and losses of the different parties, tried to introduce a new acronym named ‘PRAF’. In a book based on many previously published IPSOS polls and coming dangerously close […]

Moving determinedly towards the door: the UK’s Article 50 notification letter

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Today’s an important one in the Brexit saga. With the submission of formal notification to begin Article 50 negotiations, the UK has crossed an important threshold that cannot be easily crossed, whatever the legalities. It also matters because it represents the final opportunity for the UK to shape the agenda of that process. This cannot […]

France 2017: Where have all the flowers gone?

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Over the last twelve months the Greens have had quite a few celebrations across Europe: Winfried Kretschmann was re-elected as minister-president of Baden-Württemberg in March 2016; in December Alexander von der Bellen succeeded in stopping the rise of the Austrian populists in the presidential elections, and in the Dutch general elections, Jesse Klaver quadrupled the […]

What to look for in Article 50

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Seeing as we’re nearly at the second phase of Brexit – the negotiations for departure – it’s an opportune moment to tell you that I’ve started podcasting again, with a guide to the Article 50 timeline. Quite apart from the underlining that ‘two years’ isn’t really two years – maybe one and a bit years, once you take […]

Northern Ireland: A Casualty of Brexit?

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As if things were not already complicated enough in Northern Ireland, recent events have even added to the general feeling of instability and uncertainty. Both the assembly elections and the unfolding of Brexit – with increasing disagreements between London and Edinburgh – have not been particularly encouraging. The Assembly elections The 2017 Northern Ireland Assembly […]

France 2017: And then there were eleven

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Why do they do it? Just for four precious weeks of fame? For seeing their faces on billboards and being invited to Parisian television studios? For walking into the polling station on election day and finding their names printed on the ballots in the same font and size as the big political celebrities? For fulfilling […]

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