Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

France 2017: The Party Formerly Known as Socialist

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On a study trip to Brussels about fifteen years ago, a major French socialist MEP gave a good lesson in French political semantics to my student group. In a nutshell, she explained that she and her group were perfectly at ease working with all the Social-Democrats from Germany or Sweden and elsewhere, as well as […]

The substance of Brexit

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A new year, but the same old problems. Not only do we not know what Brexit will look like, we’re not even sure of the dimensions of what it could look like. This is a real issue – both academically and politically – because any post-membership relationship will have to find positions for those involved […]

Theresa May is throwing away the Tory legacy

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The Prime Minister, Theresa May, seems to be in a desperate hurry. She wants to break-away from the EU within two years of triggering Article 50, and to have a new EU trade deal in place at the same time. That’s something top EU lawyer, Jean-Claude Piris, said will be ‘totally impossible.’ Next, Mrs May […]

France 2017: Happy New Year? You must be joking!

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Come January, social pressure runs higher than ever in France. If you do not wish a smashing ‘Bonne année!’ to absolutely anybody you may come across during the entire month, you’re a social outcast. The Elysée is of course not exempt from this pressure: one of the most bizarre rituals of the French Republican Monarchy […]

France 2017: Jerrycans for Christmas!

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  In case you have friends or family in France and you don’t know what to offer them for Christmas, my suggestion is: buy them a set of jerrycans. They may come handy in 2017. Not at once, but once the summer is over, they might be more useful than ever. This advice is based […]

Article 50: The Motion Picture

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So last night was the Politics Department Christmas meal. Suffice to say that I’m the only one in so far, possibly because I had my first Article 50-themed dream – Lord Pannick was doing donuts a la Boris, while David Davis was giving evidence to a Parliamentary Committee – and felt that sleep was no longer […]

Britain has more vacancies than Britons to fill them

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Britain has more job vacancies than can be filled by the native workforce. That, in a nutshell, is why we need migrants. The country has a chronic skills shortage and without migrants helping to fill that gap, Britain – and Britons – would be poorer. Britain now has more people at work than ever before. […]

Labour’s Brexit impasse

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Yesterday’s Labour motion on Brexit marked an important step for the party. For the first time it had managed to push the government on the strategy for the Article 50 negotiations, leaving the government little option but to engage in some Parliamentary wrangling to try and deflect the on-coming threat of backseat rebellion. Keir Starmer looked to […]

Nature Directives ‘Fit for Purpose’: a turning point for EU policy dismantling?

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The 28 EU Commissioners met today to decide the fate of the EU’s Nature Directives (the 1979 Birds Directive and 1992 Habitats Directive). Would these two directives, the cornerstone of EU biodiversity legislation, be deemed ‘fit for purpose’ or would they be revised and potentially weakened? After years of internal debates within the European Commission, […]

The third face of Brexit

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As the nights have drawn in and the mercury has dropped, thoughts – in my neck of the woods at least – have turned to that important festivity of the six month-iversary of the referendum. Even though we’re little over five months on, we’re starting to see the wave of events asking us to reflect […]

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