Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: Politics & Public Policy

Selling the Withdrawal Agreement

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In one of those “politics as cock-up not conspiracy” moments, this week saw the (aggressive) leaking of a document purporting to be the government’s plans for selling the Withdrawal Agreement. I say aggressive, since the leaker pushed it out to several media outlets at once, so really wanted it out there, spelling mistakes and all. The government […]

The Blue Splash? Or Resurgent Red? Assessing the 2018 US Mid-Term Elections

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Professor Amelia Hadfield and Chris Logie Centre for European Studies (CEFEUS), Canterbury Christ Church University For keen followers of US politics – and the very many beyond – yesterday’s mid-term elections provided the expected spills and thrills as the results flowed in from east to west. There was a general expectation that the outcome would […]

Beyond the Brussels Bubble? National Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in the European Union

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The Journal of Contemporary European Research (JCER) recently published a special issue on the role of civil society in European Union policymaking and democratisation. Editors Rosa Sanchez Salgado and Andrey Demidov explain how it constitutes an original account of what is happening in the member states, beyond the world of well-established organisations in Brussels. This special […]

Britain wasn’t misled in 1975

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Brexiters often claim that in Britain’s first referendum of 1975, voters were misled into believing that the Common Market – now called the European Union – was just about ‘free trade’. But that’s not correct. (Article continues after the 5-minute video.) It was clear even before we joined the European Economic Community (as it was called […]

A spotlight on higher education politics

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Martina Vukasovic While analysis of higher education policy has been the hallmark of the higher education research field, questions concerning the politics of higher education have not been considered in and of themselves to the same extent (but see Jungblut, 2015, 2016). This is contrast to the still growing political salience of higher education (Busemeyer, […]

Getting ahead of ourselves

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It’s a mark of the quality of the public Brexit debate that the title of this post could refer to pretty much any aspect of the negotiations to date: the mixture of ignorance, indifference and confusion has produced more than its fair share of mistimings and incorrect sequencings. But today I’d like indulge in my […]

Frictionless trade is not the same as free trade

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Many people, including politicians and journalists, don’t understand the difference between ‘free trade’ and ‘frictionless trade’. This has caused a huge misunderstanding across the country, leading to the mess we are now in. In summary, ‘free trade’ means that goods (sometimes only some goods) can be exported and imported between countries without tariffs – hence […]

Labour’s fantasy Brexit

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On BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Labour’s Shadow Brexit Secretary, Sir Keir Starmer, claimed that Britain could be in the EU Customs Union and still be free to negotiate its own trade agreements with other countries around the world. This goes against the founding principles of the EU and everything that EU leaders have been saying […]

Which is more democratic: UK or EU?

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The European Union consists of 28 member states. All treaty changes or enlargement of the EU require the unanimous consent of every single member, however large or small. The Union of the United Kingdom consists of four member states: England, Scotland, Wales and the province of Northern Ireland. In the referendum, two of them voted […]

The pros and cons of a longer transition

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So, no breakthrough, but also no collapse. Not the most ringing endorsement for yesterday’s European Council discussion on Article 50, but given the possible alternatives, certainly not the worst it could have been. Still the focus remains on the backstop for Ireland. Usefully, we might remember that this backstop has become an issue for two, […]

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