Sustainability: the invisible common ground between the Italian problem and reforms in Europe

italy hot spotAccording to Marc Brightman, the problems of migration and economic stagnation, often referenced as the causes of the votes for Brexit or populist parties in Italy, should be treated together as part of a single problem of sustainability. An opportunity exists to exploit the rather consensual ground of environmental economics and ecological economics in European negotiations to agree on reforms for Italy and the other member states.

The formation of a populist government in Italy is causing disarray among policymakers and policy advisors working in a framework that has not assimilated advances in interdisciplinary sustainability science.

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A storm in a tea cup? Why all the fuss around the EU budget

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Filipa Figueira, Teaching Fellow at UCL’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies, unpacks the politics and the emotional potential of the EU budget, and why Brexit might be good news in this regard. 

Every seven years, the EU braces itself for a strange recurring phenomenon: Its comparatively small budget (only 1% of GNI; insignificant when compared to national governments’ budgets) becomes the focus of rapt attention from the media, politicians and unnerved citizens across the Union. Somehow the fact that this is not in fact a large amount of money in view of the size of the institutions it represents becomes lost in the picture, as politicians from different countries fight to get as much out of the limited pot as possible.

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Brexit: Too Close To Call

yes-no-maybeMatt Goodwin, Senior Fellow at The UK in a Changing Europe, examines the latest polls and analyses to be published on the upcoming EU referendum. He argues that how David Cameron frames renegotiation process could be a deciding factor for undecided voters.

In the Poll of Polls the race remains close. Remain 51%, Leave 49%.

There has been much discussion about the polls and how things are going.

In a new podcast, John Curtice points out that whereas the race appears to be very close and to have tightened there are two telephone polls by Ipsos-MORI and ComRes that paint a different picture. Continue reading

David Cameron Needs a Vision for the Future of Europe

map-europe-carMatt Wood, Lecturer in Politics at the University of Sheffield, analyses David Cameron’s recent attempts at negotiating reform of the EU. As Cameron concentrates on the UK’s position within the EU, is he missing the opportunity to secure allies by ignoring how EU reform could benefit all member states in the future?

If David Cameron can’t convince the Polish Prime minister of the need for change in the EU, it’s fair to say he’s going to have trouble convincing many leaders at all of his renegotiation ‘package’. Beata Szydlo, Poland’s newly elected, arch-right wing premier, stated that she could not accept Cameron’s proposal to curb access to benefits for migrants within the EU, claiming that she did ‘not see eye to eye’ with the UK Prime Minister. One of the key reasons for the difficulties in renegotiation has been the lack of vision about a broader future for the EU, which has failed to bring on board otherwise agreeable partners. Here I’m going to suggest Britain’s renegotiations need to provoke a rethink of the whole landscape of the EU, beyond the ‘froth and nonsense’ of migrant in-work benefits, as one Tory Minister put it. Doing so may well be necessary for Cameron to secure the support he currently lacks for a renegotiation deal. Continue reading

Not in front of the MPs: Why can’t Parliament have a frank discussion about the EU?

Collier's_1921_Vol_7_Frontispiece_--_Parliament_Buildings,_LondonIn this post, Agata Gostyńska, research fellow at the Centre for European Reform, explains how Britain’s Parliament does a poor job of examining EU business—and proposes some simple reforms that would improve the way that it scrutinises European legislation.

The British prime minister, David Cameron, wants to make the EU more democratic. National parliamentarians, in his view, understand citizens’ concerns better than MEPs who deliberate in far-away Brussels and Strasbourg; national parliaments should therefore play a greater role in EU decision-making. However, Cameron’s argument would carry more weight if UK parliamentary scrutiny were improved. Continue reading