Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Environment

What can we learn from the history of the Wirtschaftswunder?

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The recovery of Germany after the Second World War is often referred to as the Wirtschaftswunder or economic miracle. The rebuilding of Germany was not just a matter of rebuilding the towns and cities that had been devastated during the war, but also the rebuilding of the country’s economy as well as its reputation after […]

How would a ‘clustered’ European Commission impact EU environmental policy?

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Every five years the European Union changes the composition of its Commission. While this year’s discussions have mostly focused on who will be appointed to the Commission, two other issues, repeatedly pushed for by the Netherlands and France, loom large on the political agenda: the Commission’s political programme, and the need to  restructure the Commission [1]. […]

European Policy on Illegal Fishing: Emergence of an International Trend?

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Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing refers to infringements of management and conservation laws established to regulate fishing activities in national or international waters.  It is a persistent phenomenon that thrives due to complex interactions. From a European policy perspective, the following is considered to be IUU fishing:[1] a)  Fishing or transhipping in an RFMO […]

EU Stakeholders Divided over Reforming the EU Emissions Trading System

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The European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is currently the world’s largest market-based policy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Operating since 2005, the EU ETS sets a steadily-decreasing cap on the greenhouse gases that installations can emit in 31 countries.[1] “Emission allowances”, tradable permits to emit one ton of greenhouse gases[2], are allocated for […]

God and the Godfather – Bulgaria’s ‘perfect storms’

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Bulgaria was just shaken by two different storms – environmental and banking. Torrential rains have now washed the Bulgarian seaside, hitting particularly harshly the Black sea port city of Varna.  Varna’s district “Asparuhovo” suffered the most severe impacts – the flooding caused the death of at least 11 people.  The ground floors of the houses, […]

What is IUU Fishing?

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Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a major global fisheries problem. It has undesirable effects on fish stock survival, the marine environment and on human populations. IUU fishing results from the failure of States to monitor the fishing activity of their vessels and to enforce laws and regulations. Because of its furtive nature, IUU […]

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 […]

Dependence on Russian Energy and Eurosceptic MEPs: A Wicked Problem or a Joint Solution?

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 Events in the first half of 2014 are likely to present somewhat of a headache to those working in Europe’s climate and energy sector, but they could also provide a solution. Much of Europe is addicted to Russian energy imports, impinging the continent’s ability to isolate Russia as a result of its recent engagement with […]

Does the European Parliament “make a difference”?

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Yesterday morning on BBC radio 4 Prof Michael Sandel animated an episode of the Public Philosopher on the thorny issue of “Why vote?” in the context of Thursday’s local and European elections.  The episode opened with Sandel asking members of the public why they would not vote in the forthcoming election. Expecting answers based on […]

UKIP and Britain’s influence in the EU: a vicious circle

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In a debate organised last Thursday by the University of East Anglia’s Student Union, Geoffrey van Orden (Conservative Member of the European Parliament [MEP]) asked “If Nigel Farage thinks all laws are being made in Brussels why is he so desperate to get into Westminster?”. This can be understood as a comment on the UK Independence […]

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