In the second part of this interview, Simon Hix, professor in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science, puts into perspective the use and reach of referendums in member states. He also gives us some pronostics about the future of political Europe.
Simon Hix is professor in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He provided evidence to the European Scrutiny Committee in the House of Commons during the parliamentary debates on the EU Bill. In this interview to Nouvelle Europe, he gives his impressions on the significance and relevance of this piece of legislation which requires a referendum before any further transfer of power to the EU.
In the wake of last week's article, this one follows a conference which took place at Westminster on February 1rst and gathered Members of Parliament from the three main British parties – the Conservative Party, the Labour and the Liberal Democrats. The debate helped us answer these questions: how can we characterize the British new stance towards the EU? And how does the growing division between euro-pragmatists and euro-sceptics affect the UK’s position in the EU?
The election of the new coalition government in the UK in spring 2010 has brought a more defensive attitude towards the European Union. A good example of this political change after ten years of “positive pragmatism” under the New Labour government is the European Union Bill. After two readings at the House of Commons, the bill began the Committee stage in January – a word-by-word analysis of the bill’s measures. But for some Conservative MPs, it seems that the bill does not go far enough.
Take a random class in a European highschool and start a discussion on the history and national memories of the twentieth century. It turns out that Westerners often ignore the realities of Eastern European history and impose their memory of World War Two. How is this possible? How can we remedy this at the European level?
In 1998, the Franco-British compromise marked the revival of a European defence policy. The United Kingdom agreed to stop vetoing every EU proposition in the field of defence, France acknowledged the role of NATO, both countries were in favour of a European "autonomous capacity of action". The new Franco-British cooperation initiated in early November does not look like such a move, but rather like a strict bilateral tie. What lessons can the European partners learn from this?
How the new European diplomatic service is viewed from the inside of the Commission? In order to get a better sense of this new organ, Nouvelle Europe had the privilege to ask the question directly to Štefan Füle, the European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy. This interview gives us some (hopeful) insights into the working of the “family” composed by the Commissioners for External relations.
Many argue nowadays that the importance of the UK/US relationship has lessened with the end of the Cold War. On 26th June 2010, Damon Wilson, President of the Atlantic Council and Director of the International Security Program, claimed that “following 60 years of cooperation and success, the political, economic and military pillars of the special relationship are stressed today”. How the special relationship can adapt to new challenges?
At the end of March 2010, when a proposal for a Council decision on the establishment of the External Action Service was launched, even Catherine Ashton, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, could not know that it would take until the end of October for implementation to begin. What happened in the European Parliament that had such an influence on the EEAS's creation process?
Under the Lisbon Treaty, conflict prevention is for the first time explicitly stated as a purpose of the Union's external action, alongside democracy, the rule of law, human rights, poverty reduction, global trade integration, environmental protection, disaster management and multilateral cooperation. However, conflict prevention, in its long-term, structural form, is linked to all these objectives. Will the European External Action Service (EEAS) be able to ensure that the Union's external relations are more coherent and efficient at preventing conflicts?