Toward a citizens’ Europe

Matt Patterson/Flickr. (CC 2.0 by-nc)Thijs Berman, former MEP and journalist, argues that EU referendum debates in the Netherlands show that decades of democratisation have led to a new kind of a citizen that demands to be heard. This piece is part of the UCL European Institute’s first guest editor week on openDemocracy.

Those in the Netherlands who were in favour of the EU’s draft constitutional treaty in the 2005 referendum campaign most often naively underestimated the challenge. When the treaty was rejected by a large majority, the outcome came as a cold shower to many of them. Continue reading

A letter to my British friends: for Europe’s sake, please stay

 Dover Castle. Harshil Shah/Flickr. (CC 2.0 by-nc-nd)Kalypso Nicolaïdis, Professor in International Relations and Director of the Centre for International Studies at Oxford University, says the EU might be dysfunctional but it is still Britain’s home. Help us fix it from the inside. This piece is part of the UCL European Institute’s first guest editor week on openDemocracy.

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 who feel passionate about Britain’s European vocation, all I can do is plead: dear British friends, please stay. Continue reading