Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Current Affairs

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, … Brexit!

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Remember the spy novels of Cold War times? Where pretty much everybody was suspected of being a ‘mole’? The master storyteller of brilliant double agents was John Le Carré, and one of his very best novels was Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,  published in the spring of 1974, incidentally one month after Willy Brandt had resigned […]

EU’s Conundrum of Strategies: Is There an Orderly Jigsaw on the Horizon?

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The grandness of the EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy lies in its potential to render the existing conundrum of various EU strategies into a more orderly set of strands with a clear vision regarding their mutually complementary role. Strategies are inbuilt in EU’s genome. These policy documents define EU’s aims, approaches in […]

Wrong answers on BBC Question Time

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One of my biggest frustrations on watching BBC TV’s ‘Question Time’ is that when UKIP representatives make incorrect statements about the EU, there’s usually nobody on the panel or in the audience to correct them. Take last Thursday’s broadcast of Question Time. Among those appearing on the panel was UKIP MEP, Patrick O’Flynn, who made […]

Who can you trust on the EU?

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One of the recurring themes of my posts over the years has been the need for an informed and thoughtful public debate in the UK about its place in the world. Without such a debate, it is very hard to see how the UK can ever really move out of its impasse with the EU. […]

EU facilitates Paris Agreement, but economic concerns linger

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In April 2015, we wrote a post for this series about the then forthcoming Paris climate talks. We noted how the new Juncker European Commission appeared to give a lower priority to climate change and was emphasising economic growth over other concerns, such as the environment. The post asked whether austerity would influence the EU’s […]

Britain doesn’t need EU help for floods, says PM

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According to Prime Minister, David Cameron, Britain doesn’t need EU funds to help areas devastated by floods because ‘it’s quicker and better’ to use the country’s own money. So it seems that Britain is so flush with cash that it can turn down around £125 million in EU emergency help for areas of the country […]

Benefit tourism: why ‘fix’ a non-existent problem?

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As reported in today’s Daily Mirror, the Conservative government has admitted that it has no concrete evidence to prove that so-called ‘benefit tourism’ exists. And yet, Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to ‘crack down’ on benefit tourism to reduce the numbers of EU migrants coming to Britain. Mr Cameron wants EU migrants in Britain […]

Gear-shifting the referendum?

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Christmas is always a tricky time for politicians: on the one hand, everyone’s packed up for a break after a long autumn, but on the other, there’s usually something that needs urgent attention, like a flood. However, on balance this Christmas past has been generally quite quiet on the referendum front, before bursting back on […]

Sweden introduces border control at the expense of commuters in the Øresund region

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The Nordic passport union[i] from 1957, which allows citizens from all the Nordic countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland) to travel freely without passport within the Nordic countries, will effectively stop Monday 4th January 2016, where Sweden introduces ID checks at its borders. The introduction of ID check is caused by changes in Swedish […]

Sectarian nationalism and the state of Bihar

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In Bihar, the atmosphere could not be tenser for the recent political losses that has been incurred for the ruling party: the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost the elections by an overwhelming majority in the overpopulated constituency, most of whom are poor. This significant political impairment has been regarded as quite plainly the biggest […]

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