Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

Economics as a social science

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Has there been, since the outbreak of the economic and financial crisis in 2008, one single op-ed piece in major international newspapers that did not, in one way or another, refer to Keynes, Keynesian theory and recipes, or Keynesianism as a kind of handbook or roadmap for political leaders dealing with failing banks, sluggish growth, […]

France 2017: Disappointed, disillusioned, disgusted. A geography lesson.

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Six weeks ago Brice Teinturier, whose face is well-known to the French from numerous election evenings on public television as the polling pundit who explains the gains and losses of the different parties, tried to introduce a new acronym named ‘PRAF’. In a book based on many previously published IPSOS polls and coming dangerously close […]

Moving determinedly towards the door: the UK’s Article 50 notification letter

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Today’s an important one in the Brexit saga. With the submission of formal notification to begin Article 50 negotiations, the UK has crossed an important threshold that cannot be easily crossed, whatever the legalities. It also matters because it represents the final opportunity for the UK to shape the agenda of that process. This cannot […]

France 2017: Where have all the flowers gone?

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Over the last twelve months the Greens have had quite a few celebrations across Europe: Winfried Kretschmann was re-elected as minister-president of Baden-Württemberg in March 2016; in December Alexander von der Bellen succeeded in stopping the rise of the Austrian populists in the presidential elections, and in the Dutch general elections, Jesse Klaver quadrupled the […]

What to look for in Article 50

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Seeing as we’re nearly at the second phase of Brexit – the negotiations for departure – it’s an opportune moment to tell you that I’ve started podcasting again, with a guide to the Article 50 timeline. Quite apart from the underlining that ‘two years’ isn’t really two years – maybe one and a bit years, once you take […]

Northern Ireland: A Casualty of Brexit?

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As if things were not already complicated enough in Northern Ireland, recent events have even added to the general feeling of instability and uncertainty. Both the assembly elections and the unfolding of Brexit – with increasing disagreements between London and Edinburgh – have not been particularly encouraging. The Assembly elections The 2017 Northern Ireland Assembly […]

France 2017: And then there were eleven

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Why do they do it? Just for four precious weeks of fame? For seeing their faces on billboards and being invited to Parisian television studios? For walking into the polling station on election day and finding their names printed on the ballots in the same font and size as the big political celebrities? For fulfilling […]

Hubris on the road to Brexit

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I was going to write about hubris and nemesis, but to be in keeping with the spirit of the age in these parts, let’s work on a more local formulation the same ideas. Pride comes before a fall. Looking around Westminster, there’s plenty of pride. Pride from a government that has a commanding lead in […]

What makes the Dutch Dutch? A constitutional perspective.

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Ever since the rise of the Christian Democrats (CDA) in the beginning of the 2000’s, the issue of ‘Normen en Waarden’ has been a topic in the elections. Jan Peter Balkenende was the first to frame the problems in Dutch society as the result of individualistic attitudes propagated by the preceding cabinets. As with a lot of […]

Issue discovery and Brexit: How will we know what all the points of impact might be?

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Speaking at another Brexit-themed talk in Antwerp this week, I found myself once again noting the matter of issue discovery. Despite being over 8 months after the referendum, which itself was confirmed as happening in May 2015, and with years of debate beforehand, we still find ourselves in a position where new elements keep on being discovered. […]

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