Posts Tagged

Europe

The UK’s Brexit referendum outcome has left Europe, and the world, in disbelief. After 40 years, Britain’s historic decision to turn its back on the European Union has divided the country—a division that cuts not only across families and friends, but also between the “establishment” and the electorate. It is perhaps this latter divide that is most pronounced. But will this division last? Brexit presents a unique opportunity to expose and debate some of our most pressing problems, and to restore the bonds of trust between voters and the political elite. Britain divided by elite maneuverings Britain leaving the EU does present some important challenges—both economic and social— that have splintered the British political, economic, cultural and ideological landscape. It …

I traveled to the Calais migrant and refugee camp from March 14 to 16, together with a humanitarian student group from Brasenose College that collected donations and supplies to aid local NGOs with clothing and basic medical supplies. This article is based on my impressions of the camp and interviews with the migrants, refugees and NGO workers.

  The EU might be dysfunctional but it is still Britain’s home. Help us fix it from the inside.   Dear British friends, My kids and husband are British, I teach and pay taxes in this country, talk to my village neighbours everyday and love English country lanes, Scottish castles, Welsh road-signs, Cornwall’s gardens and all the bloody rest of it. As a French and Greek citizen, I won’t have a vote in this referendum and yet this is one of the most momentous decisions that will ever be taken in my name, as a European citizen living on this side of the channel. So, along with the two million other EU expats living here, and millions on the continent …
Photo credit: Octavus

Many believe that the EU referendum has been called only to enable David Cameron to appease the Eurosceptics within his own party. This is debatable on numerous grounds. But what is certain is the eventuality that many Conservatives, including possibly some Cabinet ministers, will be joining the campaigns to get Britain out of the EU. For over a quarter of a century the issue of Britain’s role in Europe has been one of the most significant divisions within the Parliamentary Conservative Party (PCP). The European issue has been a reliable source of problems for the party leadership over the years. It has led to many rebellions, numerous defections, the downfall of Thatcher, and partly accounts for the Conservatives’ landslide defeat …

The EU looks, walks and talks like an empire. After extending its borders into Central and Eastern Europe, the EU has just created its third protectorate in the Balkans. From now on Greece will effectively be run by the EU the way Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina already are. Empire is not a synonym of evil despite some bad historical connotations, especially from the colonial era. Power can be exercised in noble ways, and peripheries often prefer to be “conquered” than abandoned. However, the EU’s ambition to run dysfunctional countries by decree is doomed to fail and will represent yet another blow to the project of European integration. Formal involvement of the UN or the IMF in running the protectorates will not …

Bloody clashes in front of the Ukrainian Parliament have reminded us about the EU’s tormented neighbour. Ultra-nationalists were not successful in the last parliamentary elections, but the tragic situation in Donbas has allowed them thrive. At stake this time were planned changes to the Ukrainian Constitution that envisaged a territorial decentralization as stipulated by the Minsk Agreement. For Ukrainian radicals these changes “imposed” from outside amount to a partition of their country. Is Ukraine unravelling? I do not think so, but much depends on Europe. European leaders said many times that the future of Europe and Ukraine are entangled. The last thing they want is to have a huge failed state on their eastern border. This is why President Poroshenko …

After fresh re-election, Barack Obama skipped Europe. And no one is surprised. Instead, he made his first foreign trip to Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia and Thailand, thus clearly indicating the priorities of US foreign policy in the next four years.

Mark Leonard, Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, recently discussed an important trend that looms over the European project. Commenting on the recent scandalous  statements by the Germany populist politician Thilo Sarrazin and the disavowal  of his position  by leading German politicians, Leonard voiced his concern that if ‘the establishment cartel turns [populists like Sarrazin] into outcasts rather than arguing with their views’, they will be able to tap into an ever-growing ‘reservoir of pent-up political frustration’. Leonard goes on by stressing that it is particularly worrying that ‘Germany’s leaders are now trying to treat foreign politicians who question German orthodoxy the same way they treat their own populists’. German responses to the question of a Greek referendum …