Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

Britain wasn’t misled in 1975

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Brexiters often claim that in Britain’s first referendum of 1975, voters were misled into believing that the Common Market – now called the European Union – was just about ‘free trade’. But that’s not correct. (Article continues after the 5-minute video.) It was clear even before we joined the European Economic Community (as it was called […]

Getting ahead of ourselves

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It’s a mark of the quality of the public Brexit debate that the title of this post could refer to pretty much any aspect of the negotiations to date: the mixture of ignorance, indifference and confusion has produced more than its fair share of mistimings and incorrect sequencings. But today I’d like indulge in my […]

Labour’s fantasy Brexit

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On BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, claimed that Britain could be in the EU Customs Union and still be free to negotiate its own trade agreements with other countries around the world. This goes against the founding principles of the EU and everything that EU leaders have been saying […]

Emerging Europeans – a new post-Brexit identity

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In the interesting times that have been unfolding since the EU referendum, Britain is seeing the emergence of a new identity. A new cultural-political identity is being forged by British Europeans who feel a strong affiliation with the continent by virtue of background or cultural affinity. It’s an identity that’s growing out of a sense […]

Which is more democratic: UK or EU?

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The European Union consists of 28 member states. All treaty changes or enlargement of the EU require the unanimous consent of every single member, however large or small. The Union of the United Kingdom consists of four member states: England, Scotland, Wales and the province of Northern Ireland. In the referendum, two of them voted […]

The pros and cons of a longer transition

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So, no breakthrough, but also no collapse. Not the most ringing endorsement for yesterday’s European Council discussion on Article 50, but given the possible alternatives, certainly not the worst it could have been. Still the focus remains on the backstop for Ireland. Usefully, we might remember that this backstop has become an issue for two, […]

Deeply conservative

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There will be a lot of talk about the extreme right’s entry into the Bavarian parliament and the impact of yesterday’s election on the federal government in Berlin. But the most important fall-out may reside in a significant shift in political semantics. For as long as I can remember, Bavaria has always been described to […]

True Tories are Remainers

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Arron Banks, the insurance tycoon and Brexit campaigner who bankrolled both UKIP and Leave.eu, has launched a vitriolic campaign to deselect Remain-supporting Tory MPs who represent ‘Leave’ constituencies. Mr Banks, whose application to join the Conservatives was rejected, said the aim and slogan of his campaign, called ‘The Blue Wave UK’, is to: ‘Make the Conservatives […]

Britons to lose ‘free movement’ across Europe

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Prime Minister Theresa May has unveiled the first details of Britain’s new tough Brexit immigration system, claiming that it will bring to an end free movement of people “once and for all”. But this new ‘system’ will considerably hurt Britons and UK businesses. The Prime Minister declared: “Two years ago, the British public voted to […]

No-deal Brexit threatens food supplies

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The government has drafted in a minister to oversee the protection of UK food supplies following rising fears about the impact of a no-deal Brexit. Tory MP David Rutley, a former Asda and PepsiCo executive, was appointed to the post of Food Supplies Minister on 3 September, but the appointment was only announced at the […]

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