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Constitutional Fantasy

Jan-Werner Müller: Verhofstadt’s Vision

31 May 2017
Europe’s Last Chance: Why the European States Must Form a More Perfect Union 
by Guy Verhofstadt.
Basic, 304 pp., £20, January 2017, 978 0 465 09685 5
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... If GuyVerhofstadt​ did not exist, Eurosceptics would have had to invent him. He is the cliché of a Brussels insider, whose motto would be: ‘Whatever the problem, the answer is more Europe.’ Verhofstadt is, among other things, a former Belgian prime minister and one-time candidate for president of the European Commission (supported by France and Germany, but vetoed by Tony Blair). Today, he leads ...

Our Guy

John Barnie: Blair’s Style

20 January 2011
... positive, my Great-Aunt Lizzie was a philanthropist.’ Americanisms are rare, which might seem surprising in the work of such a friend of the United States. The exception is his use of the word ‘guy’ for blokes of whom he approves. Bill Clinton is ‘a great guy’, as is the Taoiseach John Bruton. Andrew Smith is ‘a nice guy’, and so is GuyVerhofstadt; Andrew Adonis is ‘a thoroughly ...

Vanity and Venality

Susan Watkins: The European Impasse

29 August 2013
Un New Deal pour l’Europe 
by Michel Aglietta and Thomas Brand.
Odile Jacob, 305 pp., £20, March 2013, 978 2 7381 2902 4
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Gekaufte Zeit: Die vertagte Krise des demokratischen Kapitalismus 
by Wolfgang Streeck.
Suhrkamp, 271 pp., £20, March 2013, 978 3 518 58592 4
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The Crisis of the European Union: A Response 
by Jürgen Habermas, translated by Ciaran Cronin.
Polity, 120 pp., £16.99, April 2012, 978 0 7456 6242 8
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For Europe! Manifesto for a Postnational Revolution in Europe 
by Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Guy Verhofstadt.
CreateSpace, 152 pp., £9.90, September 2012, 978 1 4792 6188 8
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German Europe 
by Ulrich Beck, translated by Rodney Livingstone.
Polity, 98 pp., £16.99, March 2013, 978 0 7456 6539 9
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The Future of Europe: Towards a Two-Speed EU? 
by Jean-Claude Piris.
Cambridge, 166 pp., £17.99, December 2011, 978 1 107 66256 8
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Au Revoir, Europe: What if Britain Left the EU? 
by David Charter.
Biteback, 334 pp., £14.99, December 2012, 978 1 84954 121 3
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... party groups will nominate a candidate for the Commission presidency, to succeed the hapless Barroso in the run-up to the Parliament’s elections in May 2014; names being touted include Donald Tusk, GuyVerhofstadt, José Luis Zapatero, Pascal Lamy, Martin Schulz and Barroso himself. If turnout continues to fall as it has since 1979, the winner could end up with the support of less than 10 per cent ...

Diary

Julian Barnes: People Will Hate Us Again

19 April 2017
... 35 million. Now, puffed up with promotion, but still idle about fact, he seems as lightweight as he is loose. And that ruffled Etonian charm doesn’t work so well outside Anglo-Saxon countries. As GuyVerhofstadt and Wolfgang Schäuble put it, in weary disbelief, after their first official encounter with him: ‘We are both accustomed to having a high degree of respect for foreign ministers ...

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