Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

Britain’s best future is in the European Union

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In the ongoing debate on the UK’s place in the European Union, it’s important to keep the facts in mind. On economic, political and social measures, Britain gains from being part of the EU. At the same time, reforming how the EU works to make it function better is essential if it is to achieve […]

A new European Union, or just more of the same?

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Cynicism comes easily: to watch the events of this week unroll has been to see every cliche of European integration at play. Backroom deals, grandstanding eurosceptics, scapegoating and general ignorance – sadly, an all too common sight in and around the EU. Rather than wallow in this, I would rather try to step back and […]

The “arch-federalist” Juncker? A comparative perspective

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UK politicians call Juncker arch-federalist, and  the press has taken over this term, too. The Telegraph does it. The Guardian does it. The (Irish) Independent does it. The Washington Post does. What they show is their lack of perspective, of comparative analysis, with Juncker’s predecessor(s) and with his competitors for the Commission top-job. Had those media […]

The European Conservatives and the ‘main parties’

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The discourse of European Union politics frequency takes the EU main parties as those which support progressively greater European integration. However, the multitude of views on the course of the EU and the success of a centre-right European group critical of integration challenge this definition for being too narrow. How we define European ‘main parties’ […]

The momentum issue in euroscepticism

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Only a short post this week, as I’m attending the first European conference on Learning & Teaching in Politics, IR and European Studies at the University of Maastricht (yes, there again). Obviously this week potentially represents an important moment for the EU, with its possible resolution of the Spitzenkandidat issue at Ypres. Certainly, to listen to some of the British press, the […]

Juncker: The first European Commission President we can get rid of

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The news today reported that both Sweden and the Netherlands – i.e. their prime ministers – have dropped their previous opposition to Jean-Claude Juncker to becoming European Commission President. This pretty much means that Juncker will get the first EU top job nomination at the European Council meeting tomorrow and after-tomorrow, as only Cameron (UK) […]

The continuing fallout from the EP elections

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Coming to Brussels this week, it’s be heartening to see so much discussion of key international developments, coupled to an emergent sense of collective identification. Sadly, the World Cup and the Red Devils’ successes remain of limited interest to me. However, I do find it telling that the heat of public debate that followed the European elections […]

What will the European Commission learn from the European Parliament elections 2014?

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On 28 May, the Wednesday after the European elections, Barroso reported back to the Commission from the informal dinner of heads of state and government the evening before in which the future European Commission President was discussed. After a quite general presentation of Barroso’s impressions of the informal dinner, the  minutes of the European Commission College […]

What has the EU ever done for the UK environment?

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In Monty Python’s Life of Brian, Reg, a character played by John Cleese, famously asks what the Romans have ever done for the people of Judaea. That no one had asked this question before may have been because Roman rule had become taken for granted. But after a moment’s reflection, his fellow freedom fighters quickly […]

Consensus, not automaticity, should govern the selection of the next European Commission President

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Following the European elections, the European Council and the European Parliament must work cooperatively in order to decide the new European Commission President and the Commission’s work programme. The leading candidate experiment did not succeed, and the Council and Parliament must agree a selection process before the next election. The aftermath of this May’s European […]

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