Ideas on Europe

Informed analysis, comment and debate

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Personal mobility – life without a car

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The car is important for our personal mobility; it gives you freedom and independence. In rural areas and small towns a car is necessary to be able to get around, whereas people living in cities often do not own a car as their mobility is orientated towards walking, biking or public transport within the urban […]

What is Brussels talking about (POLITICO Playbook edition)?

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Starting Monday, I’ll be a teaching, for the second time, a two-week intensive course European Studies here in Munich, with students from Europe (including Russia), North America, South Korea and Australia. The course is covering mostly current European politics (elections, lobbying etc.) and European policies (the crisis, migration, climate change etc.), trying to convey what […]

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What Mr Tsipras learned about bargaining power in the EU

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Shortly after SYRIZA’s electoral victory last January, I wrote on this blog that SYRIZA’s positions showed that they did not understand European Union (EU) politics. They were proposing changes to Greece’s bailout programme, which they did not have the bargaining power to negotiate successfully. Shortly before the Euro Summit on Greece (the summit of the […]

Mr. Tsipras owes the Greek people an apology

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Little over a month ago, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was still claiming that his party’s electoral victory last January had put an end to bailout programmes. A few days ago, he told the Greek people that a ‘No’ vote in the Greek referendum would lead to a deal with Greece’s creditors within 48 hours. […]

The Beginning of the End for Mr. Tsipras

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When Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras decided to unilaterally abandon negotiations over Greece’s so-called ‘bailout programme’ and to propose a referendum on the latest offer that Greece had been made, he employed a tactic that is common in negotiations in the European Union (EU): using difficulties with domestic ratification of EU agreements to extract concessions. […]

How novel are Juncker’s investment plan and the EFSI?

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Tomorrow, on 24 June 2015, the European Parliament is expected to approve the legal details of Jean-Claude Juncker’s investment plan and the related European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI). This plan has been sold as a major innovation, but our research has shown that it is actually the continuation of existing EU policies, just at […]

An antidote to any nostalgia of ‘grandeur’ or ‘glory’

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There’s of course nothing wrong with the commemoration of historical battles. Quite the contrary: each time I took students to the D-Day landing beaches in Normandy, they got a better idea of why European integration might actually be a good idea. And most of the four-year-long commemorative flow on World War I is produced, if […]

Why it might not be all right on the Euro-referendum night

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Nobody should take anything for granted when it comes to Britain’s vote to stay or leave the EU. Many of the mistakes and inaccurate assumptions that have overshadowed recent votes could be repeated with the EU vote and lead to Britain leaving the EU. A British referendum on its EU membership vote was not something […]

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The Finnish Climate Change Act – In Line with What Finland’s Public Wants?

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On 6 March 2015, the Finnish Parliament passed the Finnish Climate Change Act (FCCA), the first of its kind in Finland. Pro-environmental organisations and political parties generally heralded the act as a symbolic success, as it enshrines the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. However, the act has also been described […]

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The UK after the 2015 General Election: Doomed to Be a ‘Failed State’?

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– This article was originally published with ‘E-International Relations (www.e-ir.info)  on     11 June 2015- British politics has gone through turbulent times since the public referendum on Scottish independence took place in September 2014. A majority of Scottish voters narrowly backed remaining part of the United Kingdom after the opinion polls in the weeks before […]

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