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June

Mon 27 Jun 2016 / Europe

Democracy the winner after nasty campaign

Most voters were motivated by self-interest, what is best for individuals, without being able to see what is best for all, which nobody can. That is democracy. My generation voted 40 years ago, in the 1975 referendum, to stay in a customs union. We were denied a say on the Maastricht and Nice treaties which fundamentally changed the EU’s nature. Politics may be chaotic; that will be inevitable if representatives in the UK and in the EU learn better to represent the people. So democracy is the winner.

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Wed 1 Jun 2016 / Europe

Consequences of a non-settlement

The EU’s sorry state of paralysis is summed up in a tale of two speeches, three years apart. The chronicle provides ammunition for both sides in the UK’s in-out debate ahead of the 23 June EU referendum. In a 40-minute address to the Bloomberg media group in January 2013, David Cameron mentioned no less than seven times hopes for an EU ’settlement’ to improve the bloc’s cohesiveness. In a speech of similar length on 9 May, how many times did the UK prime minister utter the word ’settlement’? Not once.

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Thu 9 Jun 2016 / Europe

We Poles know about shifting borders

Knowing how frequently they change, we Poles like to collect historical maps. What happens if England wins the European championship final in Paris on 10 July, 17 days after their fans voted for Brexit? Parents will have to explain to their offspring a new kind of European champion, one that’s moving out of the EU. Yet there will be some comfort for schoolchildren. The political and footballing maps of Europe will at last be moving into alignment.

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Wed 22 Jun 2016 / Europe

UK gains from EU multicurrency status

There are many different reasons why people are for remaining in the European Union or for leaving. So why do I, as someone who battled for years against Britain joining the euro, and who has argued that we should resist being dragged into an emerging ‘United States of Europe’, now believe we should vote to remain? The short answer is I believe the special status negotiated by Prime Minister David Cameron in Brussels in February gives us the chance to have the best of both worlds.

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Tue 7 Jun 2016 / Europe

Britain's 21st century opportunity

Voters in the 23 June referendum will be presented with two truly depressing alternatives. The first is ‘Brexit’, which no friend or ally of Britain wants to see as it will bring significant economic and political uncertainties in its wake. The second is ‘Bremain’ – with the clear understanding that Britain will simply motor along in the slow lane of Europe, at least until the next exit opportunity arises. There is a real sense the outcome will have global economic and strategic consequences that go far beyond Britain and Brussels.

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Wed 22 Jun 2016 / Europe

Italy wakes up to threat of British departure

Italy is belatedly waking up to the notion that 'Brexit' could be for real. (I however continue to place my faith in the bookmakers and hope that sanity will prevail tomorrow). Until a few weeks ago, Italians showed a mixture of bewilderment and disbelief at what appeared to be another scarcely comprehensible example of British eccentricity. But the preoccupation has gained ground that the UK might actually leave the European Union, causing many problems for Italy.

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Wed 8 Jun 2016 / Europe

Conflict ahead, even if Britain stays in

If I were a citizen of the UK, I would not hesitate to vote Remain in the 23 June referendum. Brexit would pose economic challenges and political risks, notably of contagion elsewhere in Europe of anti-integrationist views. Negotiating exit terms would be a time-consuming distraction. No wonder a clear majority of EU public opinion hopes to avoid Brexit. However, the assumption that all is well if a majority of UK voters decides to stay is unwarranted.

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Mon 20 Jun 2016 / Europe

Let’s stay connected

The UK and the Netherlands both had to struggle after the second world war with the challenge of how to be truly European while remaining authentically British or Dutch. There are plenty of tasks ahead, which is why I hope the UK stays in the European Union after the 23 June referendum. The British and Dutch have too much in common to end their precious European relationship. I hope it continues and is even enhanced after 23 June.

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Thu 16 Jun 2016 / Europe

Power of collective action

If we stay in, Britain will have the legitimacy to lead Europe’s thinking on a properly two-dimensional EU. Britain should seek deeper continental recognition of the needs of non-euro states. The UK should lead the reform agenda with the aim of completing the common market which we originally thought we had joined. In return, Britain should support the necessary deeper integration of the euro area. In today’s world we can advance only through collective action.

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Tue 14 Jun 2016 / Europe

Tory splits will only get worse

David Cameron, the British prime minister, arranged the UK's EU referendum because he hoped it would heal the Conservatives' split. Like Harold Wilson in 1975, he thought a referendum would bridge party differences. Wilson succeeded, though he retired as prime minister within a year and then the Labour party split in 1980. Will the Conservatives do the same? Let us suppose there is no formal break. But if Cameron carries on as the party’s leader either after or without a challenge, governing will not be easy.

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