The left needs a better conversation on national sovereignty

This piece was first published by Policy Network on 22 October, and republished by Social Europe on 6 November.

Gone are the days when talking about national sovereignty was associated with backwardness and narrow-minded conservatism. Everywhere in Europe, a section of the left is standing up to reclaim this concept and explain that regaining control over one’s own country’s destiny is a priority. The debate is particularly vivid in the UK and France.

In the UK, Owen Jones popularised the idea of ‘Lexit’ (the left version of Brexit) in July, which prompted reactions by Caroline Lucas and Philip Cunliffe on the Current Moment blog. More recently, Paul Mason dubbed the EU an “undemocratic semi-superstate”. On the account of Greece’s acceptance of a third bailout package and the sidelining of Yanis Varoufakis, Jones argued that the EU was killing national democracy and that there was no space within the EU for progressive solutions. Over the summer, Jones supported Jeremy Corbyn, whose initial ambiguity over EU membership can be seen as another element of the renewed yearning for sovereignty on the left. Since then, the new Labour leader made clear he would fight for a more social Europe from within. Continue reading “The left needs a better conversation on national sovereignty”

Du bon usage de Corbyn : leçons pour la gauche française

Jeremy Corbyn a remporté une victoire éclatante, nette et sans bavure, au Parti travailliste. La page du blairisme semble définitivement tournée. La gauche de la gauche et les « frondeurs » du PS applaudissent, et il n’est pas jusqu’à certains représentants  de la gauche dite « réformiste » pour se réjouir. On a en effet pu lire un ministre du gouvernement signataire de la motion A et chargé de superviser les négociations sur le TAFTA se réjouir ouvertement sur Twitter. Pour la gauche française, tirer de cet événement historique les bons enseignements est crucial en vue de la campagne présidentielle de 2017.

Il s’agit d’abord d’éviter les conclusions hâtives.

Premièrement, sur les valeurs de gauche. Pour beaucoup, la victoire de Corbyn porte un coup mérité à la gauche de gouvernement, qui a fait passer son potentiel électoral avant la défense des idées et valeurs de gauche. Or les sociaux-démocrates et socialistes modérés n’ont jamais prétendu abandonner les idéaux et valeurs de gauche. Ils ont toujours défendu une morale combinant la justice sociale, la générosité, l’ouverture avec des valeurs de travail, d’autorité, de respect de la loi qu’ils pensent également en phase avec les préoccupations de l’électorat populaire. David Cameron a compris l’angle par lequel il attaquerait Corbyn avec beaucoup de succès: celui de la défense des travailleurs, de la « sécurité économique ». Il serait suicidaire pour la gauche d’abandonner ce terrain aux conservateurs.

Continue reading “Du bon usage de Corbyn : leçons pour la gauche française”

Beyond the national electorate: reflections on the Greek-German stand-off

[Article first published on Policy Network’s website on 13 February 2015 and co-authored by Daniel Innerarity, professor of political philosophy and Ikerbasque researcher at the University of the Basque Country]

The EU’s legitimacy stems from the ability to intervene in national democracies when they have a negative impact on ‘outsiders’ and future generations. This principle should guide thinking over the future of European integration Continue reading “Beyond the national electorate: reflections on the Greek-German stand-off”

A more intelligent conversation on Europe and growth

The left is not getting any credit for the return of a growth-friendly narrative in Europe. There are entrenched reasons why its rhetoric and recommendations fail to convince

This article was initially published on the Policy Network website on 13 November 2014.

The left is not getting any credit for the return of a growth-friendly narrative in Europe. There are entrenched reasons why its rhetoric and recommendations fail to convince

Continue reading “A more intelligent conversation on Europe and growth”

After the European election: reform, not results

This article was first published by Policy Network.

‘EU reform’ may be the mantra of the day, but Europeans want results, not reform. Rather than focusing on procedural and institutional issues, EU leaders should stand ready for real politics

The European Parliament election results have left those who believe in a more united Europe in a state of shock. Yet, a new battle is only starting: how should the 25 May results translate into policy? What can the EU change to start restoring its collapsing legitimacy? Continue reading “After the European election: reform, not results”

Le “Passage à l’Europe”, de Luuk van Middelaar

Passage a leuropeThis article was first published by Policy Network.

As the EU faces its most serious economic and political test ever, Luuk Van Middelaar’s fascinating account asks us to reconsider the forces that underpin the European Union, hold it together and drive it forward

Yet another history of the EU? Yes, but Luuk Van Middelaar’s Passage to Europe contains strikingly little jargon and looks at the continent’s history through a long-term lens. This helps a great deal to make better sense of what has happened in the last 60 years. The author is a Dutch historian and political philosopher and has been working at the European Council as Herman Van Rompuy’s speechwriter since 2010. He is the author of the much acclaimed Stockholm lecture when the EU was granted the Nobel Price for Peace. The Passage was first published in 2009 in Dutch, to much acclaim, and its recent translation into English only does it justice. Continue reading “Le “Passage à l’Europe”, de Luuk van Middelaar”