Blog

  • Photo courtesy of the European Commission

    EU reform

    I was asked to speak at a fringe meeting of the Labour party conference this year on the subject of what EU reforms we should be fighting for. You can also read a transcript of my speech.

  • Photo from Wikimedia by Luctor

    Load of tosh over Calais migrants

    Media coverage of the Mayor of Calais’s comments about migrants trying to get into the UK is, quite frankly, a load of tosh. First, the illegal migrants trying to enter Britain from Calais are nothing to do with the EU’s freedom of movement. Illegal migrants are by definition from outside the EU. After all, if they were from another EU […]

  • image from Wikipedia, creative commons licence

    EU budget row: why the delayed reaction?

    The more you dig into the EU budget surcharge question, the more the conduct of the British government and David Cameron becomes questionable — as it becomes clear that they actually knew about it months ago. Remember the song and dance when the government announced to great fanfare that the UK economy was bigger than […]

  • Barroso Cameron

    Barroso’s application of EU budget rules politically inept

    The European Commission’s announcement of adjustments to the contributions to the EU budget may well be a simple matter of applying the rules agreed by all the Member countries, but the handling of it (by the outgoing Barroso Commission) was politically inept. The agreed rules are that each country pays into the EU budget in function […]

  • Richard Corbett Interview

    Cameron’s inability to name EU reforms

    I spoke to BBC Radio 5 live this morning on David Cameron’s double blackmail on Europe (first of fellow EU members and then of the British electorate), as well as his inability to actually lay out which EU reforms he wants. Listen again online to the interview (from 02:55:15).

  • Photo courtesy of the European Parliament

    Commissioner hearings: what change has Parliament secured?

    With the vote of confidence by the European Parliament (by 423 to 209) allowing the Juncker Commission to take office, it is a good moment to ask what the Parliament has achieved after two weeks of intensive questioning, investigation and cross-examination of proposed commissioners. The media focus was on whether one or the other candidate […]

  • Margrete VESTAGER

    MEPs keep the Commission in line

    As a member of the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs committee, I’ve been observing the Commissioner hearings to see how the procedure can be improved in the future. The process, and my report, is yet to be finalised – but I have written some of my initial thoughts in an article for the Parliament Magazine: When it […]

  • Photo courtesy of the European Commission

    A common sense guide to EU reform

    Europe’s World (a European policy journal) have published an article of mine that outlines my thoughts on EU reform: Reform in the European context is an ongoing process, not a one-off event to be initiated, negotiated and completed within a self-proclaimed deadline. Rather, the whole point of the EU is to be a non-stop negotiating forum, year in […]

  • Photo courtesy of the European Parliament

    A referendum, and to hell with the consequences

    Many studies – both polls and in-depth research – have demonstrated that, the more people understand about the EU and how it works, the more positive their feelings are towards it. Nigel Farage knows this as well as anyone. And this explains his announcement over the weekend – predictably lapped up by the eurosceptic press […]

  • Photo courtesy of the European Parliament

    Hearings: what have we achieved?

    With the near-completion of the hearings process last night, it’s reasonable to ask what the European Parliament has achieved after two weeks of intensive questioning, investigation and cross-examination of proposed Commissioners. No doubt the media will focus on the demise of the prospective Commissioner Alenka Bratusek, whose hearing revealed shortcomings so obvious that only 13 […]

  • Photo by Richard

    A lesson in democracy?

    Left Foot Forward have published an article of mine reviewing the hearings process and comparing it to the national political scene: How illuminating it would be, then, if the Commons took a greater interest in ministerial appointments and submitted ministers to close questioning in public confirmation hearings before they could take office! What a powerful […]

  • Photo courtesy of European Parliament

    Setting the record straight on hearings

    It’s great that there’s been some media interest — even in the UK — in the cross-examinations of candidate European Commissioners which are happening this week and next in the European Parliament. Among a lot of surprisingly accurate coverage, one less plausible claim is also rearing its head. This is the suggestion that these hearings […]