A Voltaire for our age; what can the Enlightenment teach Brexit Britain?

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The referendum and its ensuing political ramifications have left very few in Europe desiring to emulate the example set by Brexit. How different it was in Voltaire’s time!

 

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Fryslan. Le Bilinguisme Serein

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Depuis quelques mois la question des identités et langues régionales fait son retour dans l’actualité. La revendication pour la co-officialité de la langue corse se heurte à une levée de boucliers à Paris où les responsables politiques restent inflexibles face aux demandes de l‘exécutif corse. Le sujet demeure profondément clivant et idéologisé. Pourtant aux Pays-Bas la langue frisonne a obtenu en toute sérénité ce statut et cela prouve qu’une approche différente est possible.

Lire la suite dans Elsass Journal 

L’Alsace sera Européenne ou ne sera pas

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La vie politique alsacienne est riche en contradictions. La région est traditionnellement pro-européenne et biculturelle. En même temps, les candidats des partis souverainistes (Le Pen, Dupont-Aignan et autres) ont recueilli ensemble plus de 30% des voix alsaciennes lors du premier tour des dernières élections présidentielles.

Non seulement ces partis sont radicalement opposés à l’idée européenne mais ils sont porteurs d’une idée de la France fortement jacobine, ne laissant pas de place à la diversité linguistique et l’autonomie des territoires.

Lisez la suite dans l’Elsass Journal de Septembre 2017

Dutch to have their say on Ukraine’s road to Europe

“If we vote ‘No’ we would basically abandon the people of Ukraine, we should not do that,” A small group of people passionately argue on the square facing the Dutch parliament in The Hague. It is an unusually cold Monday night beneath the statue of William of Orange. The protesters are discussing a country to which none of them has ever been. Two young men try to convince an older man that he should not vote “yes” in the upcoming referendum, as this would provoke Putin and that Ukraine should solve its own problems with corruption before seeking closer ties with the European Union. These arguments can be read in any Dutch newspaper, in addition to daily stories about Ukraine and its politics.

Continue reading on: New Eastern Europe

Alsace fights back: a French David vs. Goliath story

In the December I was asked by openDemocracy to write an article about the ongoing protests in Alsace.

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An ocean of red and white flags filled the streets of the Alsatian town Colmar last Satuday. A crowd of mostly young people was walking behind a banner that read “Alsatians we are, and Alsatians we will remain”. Slogans affirming the identity of this border-region were chanted both in French and in German. The crowd had responded to the call of the autonomist party Unser Land to demonstrate against the plans of the French state to merge the Alsace region in a “mega-region” with Lorraine and Champagne-Ardenne. This would effectively deny Alsace any political existence.

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Alsace to Paris: Can you hear us?

This is an article I wrote for the Daily Wales.

Credit: Nicolas Ory-Genin.
Photo Credit: Nicolas Ory-Genin.

“We are fed up that people who do not know us, decide for us”.

Maybe this is the banner that best summarised why an estimated 6,500 to 15,000 protesters (depending on the sources) took to the streets in Strasbourg, the capital of the French region Alsace, two weeks ago. The protesters followed the call of regional activists and politicians to demonstrate against the proposed plan of the French government to administratively merge their region with two other regions.

Continue reading on The Daily Wales