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Category Archives: Democracy & Citizenship

BoJo for PM? The Johnsonian vision for the EU

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It’s August, and the temptation to simply lay down tools and ignore the world around us is strong. However, it would also be a mistake, since the world continues to turn and since some people are working hard on their campaigns for the general election next spring. Last week, I wrote about UKIP and their […]

The new British policy on the European Union: scapegoats and crossed fingers

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The European election fallout continues to amaze. In Brussels, Strasbourg and national capitals, the consequences of historic and contemporary decisions are working their way through the system. Jean-Claude Juncker’s election to Commission President might have been a shoe-in, but he still had 250 votes against him and the maths suggested that not all his grand coalition supported him. As […]

Debating the EU: How can we do it?

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I was talking to a friend yesterday evening, who felt that a referendum on EU membership was a good thing. He agreed with my point that what the UK (and the Union more generally) needed was a full public debate, but saw a referendum as a way to kick-start that into life. Fortunately, the rest […]

A new European Union, or just more of the same?

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Cynicism comes easily: to watch the events of this week unroll has been to see every cliche of European integration at play. Backroom deals, grandstanding eurosceptics, scapegoating and general ignorance – sadly, an all too common sight in and around the EU. Rather than wallow in this, I would rather try to step back and […]

The momentum issue in euroscepticism

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Only a short post this week, as I’m attending the first European conference on Learning & Teaching in Politics, IR and European Studies at the University of Maastricht (yes, there again). Obviously this week potentially represents an important moment for the EU, with its possible resolution of the Spitzenkandidat issue at Ypres. Certainly, to listen to some of the British press, the […]

The continuing fallout from the EP elections

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Coming to Brussels this week, it’s be heartening to see so much discussion of key international developments, coupled to an emergent sense of collective identification. Sadly, the World Cup and the Red Devils’ successes remain of limited interest to me. However, I do find it telling that the heat of public debate that followed the European elections […]

Respecting voters’ ‘mistakes’: The EU and euroscepticism

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I’m just back from Montreal, where I was invited by the EU Centre of Excellence at the Université de Montréal and McGill University to participate in a roundtable on the European elections. My plan was simple: to go and talk about how well eurosceptic parties of different stripes had done, but how they were likely to be […]

I love the smell of democracy in the morning…

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It’s voting day here in the UK, so I’m off to the polling station to exercise my democratic rights. When I vote, I’ll be choosing who represents me in the world’s only supranational, directly-elected Parliament, a body that speaks for half a billion people. And because of a decision made some 15 years ago, there’s […]

Europe seen from Maastricht:what happened to the post-Cold War project?

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I’m visiting the University of Maastricht this week, using the EU’s ERASMUS+ teaching exchange programme. It’s a great means of seeing how other institutions work, and of sharing practice with others, but it’s not so well known: if it hadn’t been for a chance email that dropped in my inbox last summer, I’d not have been able […]

Reporting Europe: euromyths and euro-reality?

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Tonight I’m speaking on a roundtable in Edinburgh on ‘Reporting Europe‘, where we’ll be considering how the media covers the EU and the influence of euromyths in the debate. I wrote about this last year, but it’s a good time to revisit the issue, given the quality (or perhaps ‘quality’) of the media coverage of the European […]

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