A New Impulse – But For Which Europe?

european citizenThe triumph of the principle of competition among and within European member states has generated a continuous aggravation of disparities, writes Etienne Balibar in a special long read. Not that the French philosopher allows this to stop him stubbornly envisioning a Europe other than that of bankers, technocrats and political profiteers.

Europe is dead, long live Europe? Since the beginning of a year in which elections were held for the European parliament (invested for the first time with the power to choose the president of the Commission), the paradoxes and uncertainties of the communal construction have hardly disappeared from the headlines.

On the one side, there are Cassandras announcing that paralysis and dissolution always threaten since none of the recipes applied have resolved the contradiction inherent to a political construction, the principle of which implies the antagonism of its members’ interests. Recession is now perennial; inequalities have grown between nations, generations and social classes; political systems are blocked; there is, on the part of the populations, a radical defiance toward the European institutions, toward the European construction as such. Continue reading

Eurotrashing euroscepticism

person-woman-park-musicThe European Union is a system founded on consensus-building and collaborative problem solving. Dr Simon Usherwood argues that it is for this reason very important for politicians to listen to the voices of Eurosceptics and other critics and to engage them in conversation.

In true Eurotrash style, I’m writing this as I fly to Italy, where I’m attending a workshop on studying the EU. The event, jointly run by the European University Institute and the College of Europe, is looking to consider how the rise of euroscepticism challenges the way we study and teach about the Union. Looking at the names on the list of speakers, there’s lots of potential for a great debate.

But why should you care about my travel plans or my taking part in another talking shop?

Having worked on the study of euroscepticism for longer than I can to remember – let’s just say I knew UKIP before they were big – I have always been struck by the lack of interest in the subject in European circles. Indeed, it was one of the things that got me interested in it in the first place. Continue reading

Five minutes with Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol: “The UK already opts out of anything it dislikes; it could very well end up leaving the EU on an entirely flawed debate”

numbers-time-watch-whiteIn an interview with UCL’s Claudia Sternberg, Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol, Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Fellow at the University of Glasgow’s Adam Smith Business School, discusses today’s EU referendum from the perspective of the last 50 years of the UK’s presence in EU.

In what ways is today’s EU referendum different from the June 1975 precedent?

The difference is that in 1974 the actual renegotiations started fairly quickly after British Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s re-election: he had tabled early on what he wanted to renegotiate. Today, we just know the fairly vague wish-list that David Cameron drew up. How this can materialise into a genuine ‘renegotiation’ process with all other EU member states is still a mystery today. Continue reading