Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

Category Archives: The EU

Why the backstop isn’t a “bridge to nowhere”

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So now we get the proposal. Yesterday’s release of the letter to the Commission and the explanatory notes was long awaiting, albeit without much holding of breath. Number 10’s approach has long been this: to raise the fears of a no-deal outcome, then to rush in with a last-minute offer (a ‘fair and reasonable’ one, […]

The EU is a democracy, run by elected politicians

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Brexit campaigners often claim that the EU isn’t democratic. But in many ways, it’s more democratic than our system of democracy in the UK where: We have an unelected second chamber. We have an unelected head of state (who has no real power to intervene on important issues). We have an old-fashioned voting system of […]

Compare past Prime Ministers to Boris Johnson

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Compare our past Prime Ministers to the current incumbent. Whatever you may have thought of them at the time, by contrast to Boris Johnson, they now seem positively honourable and principled. Of course, none of those past Prime Ministers was perfect, and all of them had vastly different policies, some of which you may have […]

Johnson misled his Queen and his country

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Boris Johnson was at a Climate Change Conference in New York today as the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that his prorogation of Parliament was unlawful. For sure, the climate for Johnson has changed. But so far, he seems to think he can weather the storm. The beleaguered Prime Minister said that he “strongly disagreed” with the court’s […]

How do we manage knowledge? Let us count the ways

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Sofya Kopelyan Nothing can keep a genuine community of scholars from academic discussions – neither a malfunctioning projector, nor a shortage of sockets, nor hard chairs from the Communist times. Even more so when discussions centre on the governance of knowledge as the key to economic growth and public well-being. This year’s Knowledge Politics and […]

Another ‘who governs’ election with no answer?

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Today’s crisis in British government is the biggest since 1974, when a miner’s strike challenged the authority of the Conservative government and led to a three-day working week. To break the impasse, Ted Heath called a general election on the issue: ‘Who governs, an elected government or the miner’s union?’ The Brexit crisis raises the […]

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What do we need: a general election or second referendum?

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Calling for a general election to settle Brexit may seem a neat solution, but it is risky. The two parties with the clearest views on EU membership, the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit Party, would both be grossly under-represented in the new Parliament, whatever their share of the popular vote. Moreover, there is a real […]

Making sense of it all

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Yesterday, the European Parliament had one of its regular discussions about Brexit, following the meeting between Boris Johnson and Jean-Claude Juncker in Luxembourg. As before, the Parliament passed a resolution to the effect that a deal was desirable, a no-deal was very bad, and citizens’ rights must be protected in every case. Rather than discuss […]

A general election is more democratic than a referendum

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LibDem leader, Jo Swinson, has promised that if her party wins the general election, they will revoke Aritcle 50 and cancel Brexit. Some people are crying that would be undemocratic, as it would mean undoing the referendum result of 2016. Some are even claiming that it would represent an insult to the 17.4 million who […]

Why East Central Europe’s Flawed Liberals Leave Democracy Vulnerable

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By Seán Hanley and James Dawson East European liberals’ accommodation of ethnic nationalism has left the region’s democratic institutions vulnerable The newer EU member states of East-Central Europe (ECE) were long held up as a textbook illustration of how the attractiveness of the EU’s political and economic model, backed by tough accession conditions, could keep shakier […]

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