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Dependence on Russian Energy and Eurosceptic MEPs: A Wicked Problem or a Joint Solution?

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 Events in the first half of 2014 are likely to present somewhat of a headache to those working in Europe’s climate and energy sector, but they could also provide a solution. Much of Europe is addicted to Russian energy imports, impinging the continent’s ability to isolate Russia as a result of its recent engagement with […]

Does the European Parliament “make a difference”?

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Yesterday morning on BBC radio 4 Prof Michael Sandel animated an episode of the Public Philosopher on the thorny issue of “Why vote?” in the context of Thursday’s local and European elections.  The episode opened with Sandel asking members of the public why they would not vote in the forthcoming election. Expecting answers based on […]

UKIP and Britain’s influence in the EU: a vicious circle

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In a debate organised last Thursday by the University of East Anglia’s Student Union, Geoffrey van Orden (Conservative Member of the European Parliament [MEP]) asked “If Nigel Farage thinks all laws are being made in Brussels why is he so desperate to get into Westminster?”. This can be understood as a comment on the UK Independence […]

Why the UK needs the EU (and vice versa)

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Making the case that the United Kingdom (UK) needs the European Union (EU) and vice versa is at the forefront of current electoral debates in the UK. During a passionate electoral hustings event at the University of East Anglia last night, candidates clashed over visions for a federal European Union (Andrew Duff, MEP, Lib Dem), […]

Can Canada Save Europe from Energy Dependency on Russia?

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A press conference between Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on March 27th 2014 provoked the latest round of commentary on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) exports ‘rescuing’ the EU and Ukraine from Russian energy dominance. Russia supplies 30% of the EU’s gas imports and 35% of its oil and in Germany […]

Rethinking British attacks on EU red tape

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In the last 15 months since David Cameron’s speech on Europe, the issue of EU red tape (i.e. EU rules imposing unnecessary costs on businesses) has featured prominently on political and media agendas. Initiatives such as the “Cut EU red tape” report by the Business Taskforce in October 2013,[1] and the ongoing balance of competence […]

Does the European Commission’s Climate Change Department Make a Difference?

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In my earlier blog post last week,[1] I argued that the creation of DG Clima—the European Commission’s climate change department—was a conscious political choice by Commission President Barroso in 2009. At the time, commentators and policy-makers disagreed on the potential impact of DG Clima on climate policy: some, such as Professor Reinhilde Veugelers from the […]

The Politics of the Rise of DG Climate Action

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In 2009, Commission President Barroso created a new Directorate-General for Climate Action (DG Clima) in the European Commission (EC). This decision was a deliberate political choice following considerable controversy at the time. With European Elections around the corner, and now 28 Commissioners, we may yet again see a re-shuffle of Commission departments. When debating the […]

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