21. October 2016

Watchdogs and Veto players of the Brexit negotiations

by Valentin Kreilinger

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Since UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced that “Brexit means Brexit”, many wonder how the process of negotiating Brexit will unfold. What governments and EU institutions do, will in any case be controlled by parliaments. But not only Westminster and the European Parliament try to shape Brexit negotiations and the future relationship between the UK and the EU-27: The case of Wallonia and CETA shows that other parliaments – national or even regional – matter when it comes to Brexit. The influence of these parliaments related to Article 50 TEU is limited, but a free trade agreement or another form of association between the UK and the EU-27 would need their consent. This blog post argues that European parliaments should strengthen the coordination with each other in order to avoid lacking information on the different strands of the negotiations on Brexit.

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22. August 2016

A chance for Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation?

by Michał Gulczyński & Ivan Kendzor

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Although Poland is seen as the major ally of Ukraine in the European Union and the most engaged country in its democratisation process, relations between the two countries are not flawless. The massacres of Polish and Ukrainian civilians in Volyn in 1943 by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army left an unresolved black mark on the friendship between the two nations to this day.

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26. July 2016

Disillusion and disengagement: how fighting corruption and protecting whistleblowers can help restore trust

by Luis Placido dos Santos

luis-santos Trust between citizens and their elected representatives is a crucial component of a well-governed EU. Lacking trust, citizens become cynical about their political system and apathy rises. Even worse, distrust is making many people experiencing something stronger than apathy: the feeling of absolute disaffection. Clearly, there is a downright dissatisfaction with people in authority nowadays and voter disengagement is getting worse both at national and European level, with the last EU election having the lowest-ever turnout. People’s distrusts in Europe can ultimately threaten the unity of the Union, the strength of the EU in the face of external challenges and the quality of the European democratic process itself.

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06. July 2016

United in Diversity No Longer

by Lotta Schneidemesser

lotta-schneidemesser-modified When I turned on the radio on the morning of Friday 24 June, it took a few minutes for me to realise that I was listening to David Cameron’s resignation speech – and then another minute or so for the message to sink in: The United Kingdom had voted to leave the European Union (EU). As I am writing this, my feelings are mixed – there is anger, disbelief and sadness. I am upset, worried and disheartened in a way that I have never felt after any election so far in my life; above all there is an overwhelming sense of disappointment.

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04. July 2016

#Pray for … People

by Adnan Rahimic

1-adnan-rahimicI was born too late to be part of an era of great adventures and exploration of new worlds, and I was born too early to be a part of a generation that witnessed space travel. Instead, I’m part of a decade and century marked with wars, hate towards the unknown, xenophobia, racism and homophobia. We risk dangerously sliding back; making the same mistakes of the past and disregarding its lessons and warnings.

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21. June 2016

My Special Relationship with the UK

by Christopher Wratil

 christopher-wratilChristopher Wratil first moved to the UK for a university exchange year back in 2008. Since then he has spent about half of the time in the country, and the other half in Germany and Brussels.

When I came to the UK eight years ago, ‘Brexit’ was not a recognized term and the EU was low on the country’s agenda. I came for the same reason most EU university students come to the UK: I was seeking high quality education. As it happens my specialization was European Union studies. I aspired to learn from the Brits about their perspective on the Union and Brussels. I soon realized that this was an unrealistic plan: ‘European Governance’ at Oxford had 14 students. I was one of three Germans, we had an Italian, a Czech, a Slovak, two US Americans and a Swiss – but only one British girl. The seminar was lead by a Polish professor and my thesis supervisors were a Dane and a Spaniard. I had arrived inside the ‘EU community’ in the UK. It consisted of people from everywhere – but one place…the UK!

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