Europe’s Alpha & Omega

Chancellor Angela Merkel faces three regional elections in the German states of Saxony-Anhalt, Baden-Weurttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate that are being described, by various observers, commentators and news outlets, as a ‘test of support’ for the Chancellor’s stance on the refugee crisis. ‘Test’ is one way to describe the process, I suppose. Whilst frau Merkel might wish it to be otherwise, the sudden rise of the anti-establishment and populist AfD (Alternative für Deutschland), which is presenting its regional campaigns as a national referendum on Germany’s open-door response to the crisis and which is polling well above the 7.1% of the vote it … Continue reading

Europe isn’t diverse enough

The question of diversity in Europe is a recurrent one. This is probably because Europe may be the most homogeneous place on earth. The number of European languages has dwindled to 286 compared to over 2,000 languages spoken in Africa. Yet the continent remains home to rival forms of nationalism, particularly in the EU. Despite the constant shift of borders and migrations across the region, the notion of a common European identity seems painfully elusive. The fact that French, for example, was the language of choice for many monarchs, from England to Russia, does not fit into nationalist discourse. Indeed, … Continue reading

EU: the neoliberal union

David Cameron has signalled that the long-awaited referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union could be held early as the summer of 2016. This is big news for Britain, its Europhiles and its Eurosceptics. Not only does it demonstrate that the Conservative Party is still looking to settle old scores. The Tory government is looking to play both cards at once. Cameron does not really want a ‘Brexit’ – the portmanteau for a British exit from the EU. But he does want to increase the distance between Westminster and Brussels. Once again, the government is looking abroad to … Continue reading