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Tag Archives: Germany

Brexit and the German Elections: a Tale of Two Countries

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1. In early August, FT columnist Simon Kuper dedicated his weekly piece to the three ‘enduring flaws’ of British politics as revealed by Brexit. His (rather devastating) diagnosis – ‘substance-free, hot air’ rhetoric instead of political debate, ‘the ruling class’s insularity’, and ‘delusions of grandeur’ – was accompanied by a delicious illustration by Harry Haysom. […]

Brexit: What would Monnet and Schuman say?

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‘I remember going to London in 1950 to convince you to join the negotiations on the Schuman Plan, but you felt then as you do now that it was not possible to delegate national decision-making powers to a community.’ Said by Jean Monnet on 20 October 1957 at Harrogate, where he addressed the delegates of […]

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 […]

His Europe

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‘Mein Europa’ – ‘My Europe’ – the book published by Helmut Schmidt only two years ago, was not a new monograph, but a collection of different publications and speeches on European integration. It spans a lifetime – from his very first article about cooperation in a not yet existing community dating from June 1948 to […]

Don’t mention the EU!

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From 21 to 25 September 2015 the bi-annual Congress of the German Association for Political Science (DVPW) took place at the University of Duisburg in Western Germany. More than 800 participants attended the event. As one of these participants, three observations seemed to be of particular interest to me. First, in comparison to the previous […]

Total Recall

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It is difficult not to be impressed by the remarkable breadth and multidisciplinary outreach of contemporary European Studies that was exposed at the UACES conference in Bilbao. Paper and panels were fed and underpinned by the political sciences, but also by economics, law, sociology and anthropology. Yet the newspapers read during the return flight from […]

Border Blues

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I have been crossing the river Rhine north of Strasbourg between Iffezheim (Germany) and Roppenheim (France) for as long as my driving licence can remember. In the late 70s and early 80s, passport control and the usual question whether there was anything to declare were part of the ritual (although in a much more relaxed […]

Memories of Cold War I

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Was it the chandelier aesthetics of the grotesquely over-dimensioned Palace of Independence in Minsk that brought up Cold War memories, or the desperate attempts by Angela Merkel and François Hollande to contain the Ukraine crisis by confronting an enigmatic Soviet leader, sorry : Russian president? The entire setting looked strangely familiar to those who had grown […]

A growing feeling of hysteria

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The pictures on French and German television showing Vladimir Putin all alone at his lunch table in Brisbane and explicitly meant to illustrate his alleged ‘isolation’ at the G20 summit were obviously fake. Dilma Roussef had already taken place at the other side of the table and both were waiting for other guests to join […]

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