Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Politics & Public Policy

Why the EU referendum was flawed

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If the EU referendum had been run with the same rules as Scotland’s first referendum on devolution, the Leave vote would still have won – but Brexit would not now be happening. That’s because in Scotland’s first referendum on devolution in 1979, our Parliament passed an amendment to the Scotland Act 1978, which set a […]

Spring: the season of fig-leaves

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So, for all the worrying, it looks like tomorrow’s Art.50 European Council will be a procession. The draft Withdrawal Agreement is 75% green, transition agreements are all in place and the events in Salisbury have reminded everyone that there are good external reasons to get on with each other. Of course, it’s not nearly that simple. The Irish dimension […]

Improved coordination of research infrastructures policies in Europe

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Isabel K. Bolliger, Alexandra Griffiths and Martin Müller In 2000 the European Commission (EC) launched the European Research Area (ERA) initiative, with the intention to improve coordination and collaboration in research and innovation in Europe. ERA became a key element of the ambitious Lisbon strategy in order for the EU “to become the most competitive […]

Film coming soon: Postcards from the 48%

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Remain supporters, we’re in for a treat. The full-length documentary, Postcards from the 48%, is in its final stages of production and I’ve been privileged to watch a preview ‘fine cut’ of the film. It’s superb. Acclaimed producer/director, David Nicholas Wilkinson, founder of Guerrilla Films, has been working hard for over a year to produce […]

Dull, but important

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Yesterday I was speaking at an event in Portsmouth. The subject was Brexit, naturally, but with a mix of activists and academics. One theme that came up was a view from a former UKIP councillor to the effect that’ things could be worked out’ on the future relationship. We did pick this up after the […]

Why cake is going to stay on the Brexit menu

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The optimistic view of the round of speeches over the past weeks that culminated in Theresa May’s contribution at Mansion House is that the UK is finally confronting the consequences of the EU referendum. With both government ministers and Jeremy Corbyn devoting time to discussing and debating in more detail, this might be the point […]

Prime Minister: Is Brexit worth it?

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First a German journalist, then a French one, asked the Prime Minister, Theresa May, the best questions after her keynote Brexit speech in London on Friday. Kerstin Leitel from the German business daily newspaper, Handelsblatt asked Mrs May if Brexit was all worth it? The Prime Minister answered: “If that was an attempt to say […]

Brexit: Dinner or a packet of crisps?

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Sometimes someone says something that will be remembered forever and quoted in history books as the phrase that summed it all up. That moment came when Britain’s former international trade chief compared Brexit to giving up a three-course meal for a packet of crisps. Sir Martin Donnelly, until last year the top civil servant in […]

Hard Brexit = Hard border on Ireland

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The Good Friday Agreement was a landmark achievement that completely opened all the borders between Ireland and Northern Ireland. This remarkable initiative brought peace at last at the turn of the millennium. That peace is now threatened by Brexit. The Tory government is hellbent on a hard Brexit, meaning the UK will leave the EU […]

The end of the EU is their aim

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EU negotiators beware. At least some of those on the other side of the table from you don’t just want Britain to leave the EU. They want to see the end of the EU altogether. That’s been the aim of prominent Brexit campaigners from the start. And it’s certainly the aim of the guy who […]

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