Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Current Affairs

The Austerity Zombie rises from the dead

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It was naïve to believe, mid-pandemic, that austerity had been “buried” in Europe. Like a zombie, the idea has risen from the dead and still retains powerful advocates. In early June, President of the Bundestag and former German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble published an opinion piece in the Financial Times that has attracted much mockery […]

Meetings and the TCA/WA

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One aspect of the WA/TCA pairing that will generally never get much attention is the meeting roster. Both treaties provide not only for a coordinating body – the Joint Committee (WA) and the Partnership Council (TCA) – but also a raft of more specialised bodies, roughly one for each section of each treaty. These bodies […]

Further grace periods

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The past week has seen two important grace periods extended. These periods have been used in both the TCA and WA to allow the UK and EU enough time to make necessary preparations for full implementation, or that is at least the EU’s line. The less-remarked of the two has been the granting of data […]

Why the Nordic states maintain differentiated foreign policies

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Nordic governments frequently broadcast their ambition to do more together on the international stage. Kristin Haugevik and Ole Jacob Sending explain why we still shouldn’t expect to see any profound increase in joint Nordic foreign policy positions and actions – and especially not when it comes to relations with greater powers. In their Vision 2030, […]

Five years of (some of) Brexit

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For me, it was the morning after that I remember most vividly. An early train to London left me wandering into Parliament Square at too-early-o’clock to hunt down the Radio5Live tent on College Green, to sit with Adrian Chiles for a few hours while he interviewed some of the many passing politicians about the result […]

Citizens’ rights under the Withdrawal Agreement

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Citizens’ rights has been a rather strange part of the Brexit process, in that it has never occupied a very prominent place in the negotiations or discussions, even though it contains huge potential for disruption and problems. Whereas the financial obligations was seen as a big haggle, and the Irish dimension as complex, citizens’ rights […]

The Conference on the Future of Europe: vehicle for reform versus forum for reflection?

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The approach of the European Union’s institutions to the Conference on the Future of Europe is muddled, with risks for the outcome. The European Union after several delays opened the Conference on the Future of Europe on 9 May 2021. Its purpose, according to a March 2021 Joint Declaration from the presidents of the EU institutions, is […]

Is the grass greener on the other side? Norway’s assessment of Brexit

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Brexit may expose the special arrangements that EFTA states have to the EU. The European Union has over time developed quite a comprehensive system of affiliations with neighbouring states. Both actors in the UK and in the EU have discussed these affiliations as possible templates for how the UK and the EU could organize their […]

Pathways for the Northern Ireland Protocol

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With the first meeting of the TCA’s Partnership Council finally done, alongside the WA’s Joint Committee, it’s perhaps a good time to reflect a bit on the Northern Ireland Protocol. While this sits within the Withdrawal Agreement, it’s worth noting that sanctions for non-compliance can extend to any other agreement between the EU and UK, […]

Who made the decision to leave the EU?

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So, here’s THE key question: Who made the decision for the UK to leave the EU? It wasn’t the referendum. The referendum, as agreed by Parliament, was advisory only and not legally capable of making any decision. This was confirmed by the Supreme Court, who also ruled that the decision to leave the EU had to be taken by […]

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