Author Archive

The Great European Insurance Policy

Written by Nicholas Barrett. Posted in Current features, Features

Robert Schuman’s ambition emerged from what some have described as “the midnight of the century,” a period that saw the rise of fascism, communism, industrial warfare, industrial genocide and nuclear tension that define the cold war. It was the same unprecedented climate which inspired the nightmares of Aldous Huxley, George Orwell and countless other political thinkers to imagine that almost anything could happen next. Europe escaped this dark time, but only after having totally transformed its identity.

Sinking Leadership in the Mediterranean

Written by Nicholas Barrett. Posted in Current features, Features

The ongoing tragedies of the Mediterranean should disturb anyone with any interest in the identity of Europe. But for Fargues and many others they are becoming the symbol of a crisis of confidence in a world of retail politics. If legislators are afraid of expressing the values of Europe, then both the politicians and the European Union will risk becoming meaningless in eyes of the public. Or as Fargues puts it – “If you’re a leader you have to explain things, otherwise you’re not a leader.”

Those who sacrifice Franklin

Written by Nicholas Barrett. Posted in Current features, Features

‘Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither’ is an old truism attributed to Ben Franklin. This quote has been in healthy circulation since the terrorist attacks on New York in 2001 and has done much to polarise the debate around privacy and civil liberties. Luckily it is a simplification what he actually said; after all we all sacrifice a little liberty for a little extra security every time we are forced to stop at a traffic light.

What makes an intergovernmental forum emerge from the shadows?

Written by Nicholas Barrett. Posted in Current profiles, Profiles

These are called intergovernmental forums. They operate outside the traditional EU framework and have raised serious questions about legitimacy and transparency. But over time these disparate forums have slowly and quietly crept out of the shadows and into public life, becoming noisy actors on the European stage. So why are groups that were designed to stay backstage becoming so conspicuous? One man who might know the answer is Lewis Miller, a British researcher in the department of political and social sciences.

Trans Kafka

Written by Nicholas Barrett. Posted in Current features, Features

At first glance, TTIP appears to be an attempt to boost trade between the EU and the USA by standardising regulatory norms across the North Atlantic, that’s the main aim. But critics have charicterised it as an undemocratic giveaway to multinational companies buried under mountains of legal bureaucracy.

Syriza, Scylla and Charybdis

Written by Nicholas Barrett. Posted in Current features, Features

Many of the greatest minds in politics and economics have, for the last five years, been consumed by the tragic plight of Greece. Now Syriza has stormed to power as the most radically left-wing government to be elected in Europe for 70 years. They are demanding debt relief and an end to the years of miserable austerity and they have the mandate to do so. But capitulation by their creditors could start a fire of left-wing populism across Italy, Portugal and Spain, as well as fanning the flames of right-wing isolationism in northern Europe. But what appears to be a Catch 22 may in fact, be an illusion that challenges everybody’s perception of our political free will.

Welfare chauvinism and the progressive’s dilemma

Written by Nicholas Barrett. Posted in Current profiles, Profiles

How can robust and dependable welfare states be maintained in diverse societies? It sounds as if it shouldn’t be a problem, but many are now starting to worry that multiculturalism has inadvertently undermined the foundations of our shared sense of responsibility. “This has been called the progressive’s dilemma” says Professor Will Kymlicka, “that there has to be a trade-off between recognition of diversity and the welfare state.”

Protecting our heritage in a competitive world

Written by Nicholas Barrett. Posted in Current publications, Publications

In 2007 a German church in the village of Heuersdorf was wrapped in steel corsets, torn from the earth before being taxied 12 kilometres down the road. Today, Heuersdorf no longer exists. Anyone attempting to visit with an outdated map will find themselves standing on the edge of a huge coalmine and over 7 miles away from the church.

Piketty the optimist

Written by Nicholas Barrett. Posted in Current features, Features

It’s hard to imagine a timelier occasion to talk to Thomas Piketty. The renowned economist visited the EUI only hours after Obama’s State of the Union call for “middle class economics”, one day before the ECB started its unprecedented program of quantitative easing across the Eurozone and four days before another Greek election. It was also the week of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Meanwhile, Oxfam had just predicted that the combined wealth of the top 1% was on the verge of exceeding the combined wealth of everybody else on the planet put together.

The European rainbow and the meandering march of history

Written by Nicholas Barrett. Posted in Current publications, Publications

In December of 2013 Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the Russian foreign affairs committee, warned Ukrainian protesters about an expansion of “gay culture”, which he then described as “the official policy of the EU.” It is with this ominous quote that Phillip M Ayoub and David Paternotte start their new book, LGBT activism and the making of Europe: a rainbow Europe.