Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

Britain is naturally a pro-EU country

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Although hard to believe now, for most of the UK’s four decades as a member of the European Union, Britain didn’t want to leave. On the contrary, most Brits wanted us to stay. What’s the proof of that? Well, apart from polling over the years, look at governments and general elections. From 1959 to 2016, every UK government and […]

Margaret Thatcher understood about treaties and sovereignty

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Brexit politicians have sold to the nation that Britain must have 100% sovereignty – a key reason for leaving the European Union. But wiser politicians know better. Former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, was one of them. In a Parliamentary session back in December 1989, about her latest conference with the 11 other leaders of the […]

How likely is a Future Relationship deal?

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This is the big question of late 2020 in Brexit-land. All summer and into the autumn, we’ve have multiple briefings, this way and that; some setting us on the road to a rapid settlement, others pointing towards whatever euphemism-of-the-day we might have for a no-deal outcome. So which is it? Rather than try to list […]

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 […]

To strengthen democratic legitimacy in a differentiated EU, turn to transnational lists

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The EU’s legitimacy depends on institutional procedures that respect democratic principles – both in cases of uniform and differentiated integration, Max Heermann argues.   Crises often reveal the need for closer European cooperation. At the same time, they highlight divisions among the European Union’s member states about the right path forward. The COVID-19 pandemic is […]

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 […]

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 […]

UK versus EU democracy

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On 20 July 2020, British MPs voted by a majority not to have any say or votes on future UK trade agreements. Can you think of any other professions where you could vote not to do your job but still be paid for it? Postmen and women voting not to deliver letters? Train drivers voting […]

Decentering: Rupture at the heart of Europe

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Center – Security Derrida emphasized that the main ‘structurality of structure’ is shadowed by giving it a perfect center, and it has been deemed mandatory that everything work along that center. The center enables a closed totality, and it will be unimaginable if anyone brings out a notion of a structure without a center. A […]

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