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As ye sow, so shall ye reap

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It is sometimes instructive to look back on one’s work, to see how any predictions worked out. This time last year, I was writing about the announcement of the Review of Competences and wondering about where it would lead. The first batch of reports has now been released and it’s fair to say that much […]

Daydreaming of a referendum on Europe

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It’s not often that I nap in the afternoon, but I managed it last Friday. Partly it was the muggy weather, but mainly it was listening to the second reading of the European Union (Referendum) Bill in the Commons. While I wait for you to recover from your shock, I’ll just explain a bit why. […]

Avoiding concept stretching in ‘euroscepticism’

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The idea of concept stretching is not a new one, and certainly predates Satori’s seminal piece on the topic from 1970, at least in practical terms. However, it’s an idea that has continued relevance for all researchers, especially those in the social sciences. it was something I was reminded of this week, during some workshop […]

A rock on the beach? unpacking euroscepticism

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This week, we held our third annual workshop of the UACES Collaborative Research Network on Euroscepticism in Brussels. As with its forerunners, the event brought together a wide range of academics and practitioners and there was much enlightening discussion. I’ll come back to some of the other themes in coming posts, but today I want […]

The Structural Limits to Euroscepticism

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After the many months of a fast evolving debate on the European Union here in the UK, recent weeks have seen some of the steam being let out. Partly this is due to the fading profile of the eurozone crisis in news agendas, and partly because everyone is waiting for the next peg on which […]

One year and counting to EP2014: sceptics rejoice?

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As Gallup have reminded me today, it’s only a year until the next European Parliament elections. At the moment, that looks like it will be a red-letter day for eurosceptics. This is evident at a number of levels. Firstly, Gallup found that a third of French and Germans and a fifth of Poles would vote […]

Cameron’s Petard

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After an eventful few weeks in the life of David Cameron’s EU policy, some of the heat has gone out of matters, albeit only in the sense that the heat shifted to the question of gay marriages. Interesting then, how much more willing Cameron has been to engage backbenchers on the latter issue than the […]

Righteousness and risk in building a European policy

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Another week, another car-crash of public policy. After last night’s vote on the amendment to the Queen’s speech – with more than half of all Tory backbenchers voting in favour of the motion – it is hard to see how today’s ballot for private member’s bills won’t result in the draft bill on a referendum […]

It’s Europe day, so let’s talk Europe

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As you are all doubtless aware, today is Europe day, the 63rd anniversary of Robert Schuman’s declaration on the creation of a coal and steel community that was to become the precursor to the current European Union. Everyone knows that, right? That I even pose the question suggests that the answer is not in the […]

The EU as a power-diffuser

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Fighting my prejudices, I went to a seminar about CFSP yesterday. In my defence, I was a) tired and b) knew that both speakers would be well worth it. And indeed they were. Just to be clear, my prejudice is that the EU’s foreign and security policy is much more an object of academic study […]

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