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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 […]

Brexit: what does France think?

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Not that anyone in Britain cares what the French think. As a matter of fact, even the French themselves don’t care that much. They have other ‘cats to whip’ as they say around here: social unrest, terrorist murders, drunk hooligans. There have been surprisingly little surveys in this normally poll-obsessed country, and while the British […]

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 […]

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 […]

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