Yesterday’s elections in Greece and France might be seen as a vindication of what little strategy European leaders have presented to date:  the former’s confirmation of New Democracy suggesting a desire to engage with the bailout agenda; the latter opening up the way for a new growth agenda.  No more big challenges until the German federal elections in late 2013 and the job’ll sort itself out.

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During a roundtable discussion on elections last night here at Surrey, I was asked what the impact would be of Hollande’s election on the existing European-level agreements on austerity.  After some metaphorical beating around the bush, I replied that I thought the impact would be marginal, akin to a child who gets some crayons and is allowed to draw a pretty picture while the grown-ups get on with the real business.

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As is often observed, a week is a long time in politics, and this has been a particularly long week.  From the EU’s perspective, the high points have been the re-election of the pro-EU government in Armenia and the failure yesterday of eurosceptics to get the hashtag #NotoEU trending on Twitter.  Not particularly glorious for such a symbolically important week.

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Perhaps it’s been the two weeks of unrelenting rain here, but it’s been hard to be too optimistic about the EU of late.  David Cameron’s remarks at the weekend about being less than halfway through the Eurozone crisis have only been reinforced by the poor economic figures, tetchy ECOFIN meetings, potentially deeply problematic elections in France and Greece, not to mention the fall of another government (this time in Romania).

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Posted in David Cameron, EU, Europe, France, Germany, Greece | Leave a comment

One of the more notable aspects of the French Presidential elections – which have their first round of voting this weekend – has been the extent to which all the candidates have been willing to bash the EU and European integration more generally.  As the very helpful manifesto comparison tool from Le Monde shows all too clearly, euroscepticism has been rife.

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Professor Alex Warleigh-Lack

At the European Council summit this evening and tomorrow, David Cameron must face up to a dilemma that has plagued all his predecessors since John Major: can Britain really be at the heart of the European Union while choosing to stay out of many key EU activities?

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Posted in Conservatives, David Cameron, EU, Europe, Eurozone, France, Germany | 1 Comment