YES, for our Dignity

In this post, Kalypso Nicolaïdis, Professor of International Relations at Oxford, and Othon Anastasakis, Director of the European Studies Centre, St Antony’s College Oxford, explain how a ‘yes’ vote in tomorrow’s Greek referendum is a choice for dignity rather than fear, as canvassed by the No campaign.

The SYRIZA government claims that a No vote in the referendum is about dignity. A Greece that can say no, no matter the consequences. A Greece that can at last resist creditors’ demands, just as its national heroes of yesterdays resisted the Italian and Nazi invasions.  For many Greeks, – supporters of SYRIZA-ANEL-Golden Dawn – today’s no echoes the OXI in 1940 spelled out with trees on the hillside of Epirus for the advancing enemies to behold. Seventy five years later, they think that will show the world that they can still take the heroic stance.   Against such a no, according to them, the YESes are the cowards, those who accept to be bullied and blackmailed, the German collaborators. In this simple world view, YES means fear. No means pride.

What is wrong with this picture? What is wrong with the “dignified” No? Continue reading

EU Reform: What do we actually need?

Richard Corbett, a Member of the European Parliament from 1996-2009 and since 2014, explores what the term ‘EU reform’ means for the current UK government. With EU reform demands and strategies still clearly to be defined by the British Prime Minister David Cameron, UK senior officials have been working behind the scenes with their European partners to identify priorities for change. Which conclusions did they reach, and how do their suggestions link up to London’s demands?

A strange thing happened in the second half of last year. As the British Prime Minister David Cameron proclaimed to the British people that he ‘won’t take no for an answer’ when it came to EU reform, senior representatives of the UK government were working behind the scenes with other EU countries to identify which areas of EU decision-making actually needed improving — and coming to strikingly different conclusions.

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Britain and EU reform

EU Law Professor at UCL and co-initiator of the Britain & Europe project Piet Eeckhout revisits the question of EU reform, including different options for and legal as well as political constraints of such reform. He also makes a particular plea for the UK to not neglect Eurozone governance arrangements.

This blog is devoted to the Britain & Europe question, which gained political prominence as a result of the Prime Minister’s promise of seeking substantial EU reform, and of organising an in-out EU referendum, all by 2017. The concept of “EU reform” is a difficult object of academic study, because all political stakeholders appear to agree that it is needed, but few have spelled out what exactly it is about the EU that requires reform. That includes the Prime Minister, who has been vague on the matter, except for a recent speech on immigration. On the eve of the first Policy Panel of the Britain & Europe project –which will consider possible pathways to EU reform– it may be interesting to offer some further reflections on this elusive concept.

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