As the road to referendum shortens, battle lines are drawn over the EU

Craig Harrison writes for us about the EU referendum and David Cameron’s appearance at the CBI The annual conference of the Confederation of British Industry, held recently in London, provided an illustrative snapshot of the wider political debate on the UK’s membership of the EU. David Cameron reiterated his desire to move away from the ‘ever closure union’ concept, downplaying any notion that the UK couldn’t survive outside of the institution. In what is expected to be a key message … Read more

Will a #Brexit trigger an #IndyRef2?

Fascinating as ever John Curtice looks at what polling says about Scottish attitudes towards Brexit, and much of it hinges on the SNP’s nationalist pro EU outlook… …in Scotland, those wanting to remain substantially outnumber those who wish to leave. Survation reported as many as 51 per cent said they would vote to remain, while just 29 per cent would opt to leave. More recently in a poll published last week, YouGov have reported almost identical figures; 51 per cent … Read more

Irish ambassador’s latest move in the Republic’s role in the campaign to keep the UK in the EU

The FT (£,unfortunately) reports a strategically timed interview with the Irish ambassador to the UK , the Yeats-loving Dermot Mulhall. Remember when the Irish people reversed their “ wrong” answer in the first referendum on the Lisbon Treaty? It was the bold Dermot who fund the way through, apparently. Now he’s recommending that the UK follows a similar route to avoid the calamity – for both islands – of Brexit . But eventually the rest of the EU agreed to the … Read more

Greece: bitter pills & ill-wills

Of the grand, ambitious projects embarked-upon on the European continent over the last three decades two highly visible examples were recalled today in Brussels: football’s Champions League and the Single European Currency. Whatever they have in common there is one crucial difference in joining either of these prestigious clubs, in the Euro one can gain promotion but there is no relegation. Countries simply don’t drop-out of the Euro if they fail to finish with enough points, only to return after … Read more

Brexit, Schmexit, it’s globalisation rather than Brussels that squeezes national sovereignty…

Caroline de Gruyter is the correspondent for NRC Handelsblad in Vienna, and she makes an important point about the rather faux character of the debate on the EU Referendum, thus far… A former village mayor conceded to me that Swiss locals had become rich by selling vineyards to multinational companies and by renting out houses to the new globalized middle class. Life was good, he said; the well-off immigrants Switzerland had managed to attract made other nationals green with envy. … Read more

Northern Ireland & TTIP: Is it Deal or No Deal?

While nowhere does acronyms like Brussels, one four-letter word has had everyone talking: TTIP, and now in public conscience like few others before it. For clarification TTIP stands for Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which is basically Brussels-speak for Free Trade treaty between the USA and all 28 EU countries. Free trade is nothing new to the EU or the European project, it was one of its founding aims after all, and to date it has been one of the … Read more

Could Kate Hoey help swing Northern Ireland (and the UK) towards #Brexit?

Clever move, if it works out. Kate Hoey is not only a Labour MP (albeit a near permanently off message on), but she was one of the earliest members of the Civil Rights movement in Northern Ireland when she was a student PE teacher and worked closely with Michael Farrell in People’s Democracy. British rights for British citizens was her prime motivation. Kate Hoey, the former Home Office minister under Tony Blair who is one of the most prominent Eurosceptics … Read more

Brexit – What will be the cost if the UK exits the EU?

The German Bertelsmann Foundation with the assistance of the IFO Institute have produced a report attempting to analyse the effects of a UK exit from the European Union.  The report makes sobering reading for all, but particularly people in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The report makes a serious effort to put figures on what has to date been a very esoteric discussion. It looks at two assumptions, a “soft”exit and a “hard” exit, examining the likely GDP loss and the  … Read more

So, what place a possible Brexit in Northern Ireland’s elections?

There was a time when Europe had a popular political champion in Northern Ireland. John Hume made a successful pitch for one of Northern Ireland’s three European seats in the first directly elected European Parliament, based as much on his personal commitment to developing NI PLC as to any sectarian pitch to nationalist voters. Since then and the onset of our local political institutions, the economic role of the EU in the wellbeing of Northern Ireland has got little play from … Read more