Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Global & International

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 […]

Letter from Europe: Why I’m a Union man

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In an article for the Yorkshire Post this weekend, American expert in ‘Anglo-American relations’, Dr Ted R Bromund, argued the UKIP case for Britain to leave the European Union.   Dr Bromund, a senior research fellow at The Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom in Washington DC, wrote that on a recent visit, London didn’t seem so […]

JFK, euroscepticism and the paranoid style

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As one cannot help but notice, the fiftieth anniversary John F Kennedy’s assassination is almost upon us. As a seminal event in the emergence of a more radical style of politics in the 1960s, it is rightly remembered far beyond the shores of the USA. Much as I would like to explore JFK’s death and its meaning, […]

Are freedom, social justice, democracy and human rights appealing outside the West?

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The puzzle is probably as applicable to Europe as to the rest of the world. Looking at the way intelligence agencies have been spying over European citizens, or at the “legacy of poverty” that the austerity policies are leaving behind, we can legitimately wonder if freedom, social justice, democracy and human rights are at all […]

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