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Category Archives: Current Affairs

France 2017: The unexpected rehabilitation of an adjective

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For as long as I have lived in this country – a quarter century, after all – the surest way for French politicians to put an end to their political career was to make a statement, however prudent, in favour of ‘liberalism’. Once labelled a ‘liberal’, you could be sure to be turned in no […]

France 2017: Just do it!

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I did it! I participated in the primary of the right and the centre on Sunday around lunchtime. It didn’t even hurt. I paid my contribution of 2 Euros, took the 7 ballot papers, and signed, without any conflict of conscience, the ‘Charte de l’alternance’, confirming that I was in favour of political change (which […]

France 2017: The primaries and the secondaries

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The French are still numerous to consider voting both a right and a duty (‘un devoir citoyen’, as they say). This is probably why turnout – despite a wide-spread feeling that nothing ever changes – has been remarkably stable over the decades, especially at the presidential elections. Even the lowest participation ever (71.6% in the […]

Ref: France (2017), Campaigns, Elections, Hangover (forthcoming).

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Before the next Tour de France starts on the 1st of July from the banks of the Rhine, the entire country will embark on a seven-month election marathon, beginning with three primaries, one of which (the Greens’) is already half-way through, with ‘the Right and the Centre’ to follow in November and the Socialists (or […]

Brexit, the new ‘Arlésienne’?

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Ever heard of ‘L’Arlésienne’, a short story written by French novelist Alphonse Daudet in 1869 and included in his famous ‘Letters from my Windmill’? The title refers to a lady from the city of Arles, who is central to the plot, but never appears on the stage. No one ever sees her, and yet everyone […]

A slow train coming up around the bend

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Drove back from Germany with enough Dylan CDs to cover the ten-hour drive. And had a revelation! This unequalled expert in messy break-ups sounded like he was commenting Brexit in every second song! It’s even possible to put together a full heart-breaking post-referendum dialogue only using Dylan quotes: UK: I’ll make my stand and remain […]

Brexit: reactions in Central and Eastern Europe

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The British vote to leave the European Union on Wednesday 23rd June sent shock waves throughout the Member States and is proving particularly costly for the Eastern countries that joined the EU in the last enlargement rounds (2004, 2007, 2013). The central banks of Poland, Hungary and Romania started the day of the 24th of […]

Some thoughts on sovereignty, and on ‘The Day After’

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‘We are inextricably part of Europe. [No one] will ever be able to take us ‘out of Europe’, for Europe is where we are and where we have always been.’ These words were pronounced by one of the UK’s most prominent PMs, Margaret Thatcher, on 16 April 1975. This was 2 years after the UK […]

Brexit and the City

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My five years as a PhD student, first in Oxford (Brookes) and then as a post-doc at LSE, have told me that the smart people from the UK, especially those working in the City, see the Euro project thus: European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) is like a ship that has been built badly from […]

A little reminder

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Today, May 9th, is Europe Day. Each year it is the day we celebrate peace and unity in Europe. I believe that, on such an occasion, it is worth reminding ourselves of the European Union’s motto, United in Diversity. Diversity is one of the foundations and core values of universities. They share these core values […]

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