Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Global & International

European initiatives in higher education – why should one care?

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To paraphrase one of my colleagues: for all intents and purposes European integration in higher education should not exist. This is not a normative position, but rather an observation of what seems to be somewhat of a puzzle: the European Union has very limited formal competences with regards to education in general, or higher education […]

Teacher Education and Training in the Western Balkans – Is it in line with the times? Is it effective?

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With an aim to assist the Western Balkans in the  area  of  education  and  training,  as  well  as  to  increase  regional  cooperation, in 2012 the European Commission launched the Western  Balkans  Platform  on  Education  and  Training  (WB PET). It includes seven Western Balkan countries: the newest EU member state Croatia, candidate countries Macedonia, Montenegro and […]

Premature donors? Development aid from Central and Eastern Europe ten years on

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When they joined the EU Central and East European states committed themselves to meet EU norms on international development aid. Small budgets, weak social support and limited political commitment have so far limited the impact of aid from CEE. However, it is too early to dismiss them as ‘premature donors’ argue Simon Lightfoot and Balazs Szent-Ivanyi.

Environmental Europe: A Success Story?

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Forty years on, the EU environmental policy is a much-publicised success of European integration[1]. After a slow start in the 1970s to tackle trans-boundary environmental issues and level the playing field for European businesses, EU environmental policies now cover water, air or noise pollution; habitat and biodiversity preservation; sustainable production and consumption and the fight […]

A normative defence of a foreign policy in line with human rights

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This article was originally published in Dialogue, issue 6, winter 2013. In the last two decades, norms and beliefs have put on weight in scholarly research in international relations. Traditional (neo)realists would still insist that international relations are only about one predetermined goal, that is, survival. Nonetheless, among those willing to accept that there is […]

‘Democratic Deficit’ in Japan: The Secrecy Law

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Democratic deficit’ is often used to claim that ‘the European Union and its various bodies suffer from a lack of democracy and seem inaccessible to the ordinary citizen because their method of operating is so complex’ […]

The free movement of people – it works both ways

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The free movement of people is a cornerstone principle of the European Union.  Why change it?  But that’s exactly what the British government has announced today that it wants to do. EU membership works both ways.  Other EU citizens can come here; we can go there. Britain has benefited greatly from other EU citizens coming to Britain to fill […]

Latvia: From Soviet Union to European Union

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In 1999, I visited the Baltic State of Latvia in the north-east part of Europe. It was eight years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, which Latvia was forced to join in the 1940’s. And it was five years before Latvia chose to join the European Union.  My visit was a snapshot of a country […]

Mapping human rights or how to sieve governments’ words into the bowl of facts

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I will be honest with you: I tend to dislike the idea of categorising human rights violations with numbers. If human rights are indivisible and interdependent, how can we say that the violation of this right deserves a “4” while the violation of that one will do with a “2”. Does that mean that two […]

A Jet-Lagged Legacy? Or Unspoken Foreign Policy Spectrum?

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 Hillary Rodham Clinton is one of the most iconic women in the world. Ranked fifth on the Forbes list of “World’s Most Powerful Women”[1], the former US Secretary of State (the 67th of that ilk) is on most occasions entirely capable of providing a crisp and detailed delivery of a given viewpoint. Her October 2013 […]

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