Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Current Affairs

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 […]

The EU referendum was flawed

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The EU referendum of 2016 was flawed and undemocratic. Here’s a summary of some of the reasons why: If the UK was run on the same democratic principles as the EU, then the UK could not leave the European Union without the unanimous consent of all its four members: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. […]

Conciliation and trust in the post-Meaningful Vote period

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Change sneaks up on you. Certainly I was surprised that my reading of Theresa May’s statement following her heavy defeat on the Meaningful Vote on Tuesday was out-of-step with many others. While they spoke and wrote about how her reaching across the aisle was going to lead to splits in the Tories because many would […]

Process and outcome in Brexit

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Another week, another surprising turn of events in the world of Brexit. The pace of life these days is so high that things that might have occupied political life for weeks by themselves have been compressed into days, or even hours. A leadership confidence motion flashes by, new constitutional principles are created from nowhere, alliances […]

A story about a curry and no-deal planning

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Like the rest of you, I spent much of Christmas trying hard not to think too hard about Brexit, and for the most part I succeeded. Right up until about 0100 on 1 January, when I lay awake in bed like some modern-day Scrooge, thinking about Brexits to come. Experience told me that then wasn’t […]

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