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Of Human Resources and Sheer Luck

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All day long on Friday, the entire spectrum of German media paid tributes to Hans-Dietrich Genscher. They were joined in the evening by the Chancellor, who ‘bowed in deep respect for the lifetime’s work’ of the former foreign minister. All of them referred to the key scene of 30 September 1989, when Genscher appeared on […]

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, … Brexit!

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Remember the spy novels of Cold War times? Where pretty much everybody was suspected of being a ‘mole’? The master storyteller of brilliant double agents was John Le Carré, and one of his very best novels was Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy,  published in the spring of 1974, incidentally one month after Willy Brandt had resigned […]

The poisonous heritage of François Mitterrand

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20 years ago, when television broke the news around midday that François Mitterrand had died aged 79, the collective emotion in France was almost disproportionate. A surprising number of Parisians simply stopped what they were doing, went to their flower shop, bought one red rose and deposited it on the doorsteps of the former president’s […]

Should the EU grant China Market Economy Status? What Machiavelli would say.

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Yet again the European Union is sleepwalking into a diplomatic disaster. According to China’s interpretation of article 15 of its WTO accession protocol signed in December 2001, after 15 years (hence in one year’s time) it will automatically acquire market economy status (MES). For years this was the consensus view in Europe too. Not any […]

Jealous of Spain

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Looking south from France in December 2015, how can you not be jealous of Spain? Sure, there’s no need to be envious of the weather, the wine and the beaches. We’ve had more than a fair share of these, too. There is also no reason to minimise the pressing problems of Spanish society, starting with […]

Imagine all the people

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Benedict Anderson most certainly did not think of football when he published his compact masterpiece Imagined Communities in the early 1980s. Yet I cannot think of another book that has been quoted or referred to as often by football researchers from all over Europe and beyond. For me Imagined Communities certainly was a major eye-opener, and I remain grateful for the thought-provoking […]

Post-post-materialist politics in Portugal: The left is back!

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A guest contribution by Cláudia Toriz Ramos. (Im)possible – this was the adjective I used to describe the probability of a union of the left after the Portuguese parliamentary elections. The brackets were supposed to mean ‘not excluded in theory, but far from likely to happen in practice’. Never in the history of Portuguese democracy […]

The pause button

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Between the murderous attacks on Friday 13 and yesterday’s national remembrance ceremony, living in France felt like the PAUSE button had been pressed. Everybody keeps telling everybody else ‘il faut continuer à vivre!’, but this sounds like one of these resolutions that are to be implemented at a later stage, not now. These rare moments […]

Draghi’s morphine

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More than three years after the EU leaders agreed to establish a banking union for the Eurozone and Mario Draghi announced that he was ready to do ‘whatever it takes’ to save the euro, it is time to take stock of what has been achieved so far in making the European Monetary Union (EMU) a […]

A Union of Shared Values – The Jean Monnet Conference 2015

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A report by Pam Barnes. What is the role of education and civil society in the promotion and transmission of ‘A Union of Shared Values’? This was the topic of the Jean Monnet Conference 2015, which took place in Brussels on 9/10 November. Only a few days later the horrific events in Paris on 13 November […]

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