During the last few years certain trends in public opinion, if not directly political parties, have gained traction, who in one way or another attempt to pit national interests against the interests of the European Union.

During the Euro crisis more than a few people within the Eurozone have posited that their country would be better off if it were independent and had its own currency. Others from outside the Eurozone have used the crisis to raise fears about the lack of independence when it comes to economic and monetary policies of each of the individual member statesin order to awaken the anti-European sentiment in their countries.

Durante la crisis del Euro, no han sido pocos los que, desde dentro de la propia eurozona, han planteado que su país estaría mejor si fuera independiente y tuviera su propia moneda. Otros, desde fuera de la eurozona, han usado la crisis para despertar los miedos a la falta de independencia en materia de política económica y monetaria de cada uno de los países miembros y azuzarasí el sentimiento antieuropeo en sus países.

Namely, the idea that the Union, together with other international organizations, is somehow responsible for the hardships they now endure, has taken root in certain parts of the population of those Southern European countries which have been the object of a financial rescue. This has led to an outbreak of nationalism causing people not to identify with the European Union and causing certain politicians to sell the idea to their countrymen that they are not Europe.

Much in the same way, the idea has spread amongst the un-rescued countries that the problems that have made the common currency teeter were limited only to certain countries, whose public finances or financial sector have not been managed as rigorously as necessary, a fault which is foreign to their country.

Similar dynamics can be found in other spheres. There is no shortage of people who criticize lack of resolve in matters of foreign policy with third countries, faintness of border control on the part of those countries having external borders, or even question that the citizens of new member states share the same right to free movement as the other citizens of the Union.

The truth is however that these tensions derive more from the lack of integration within the European Union than from its actual existence. In other words, these problems are caused not by the Union, but by its shortcomings.

The historical conception of the European Union as a union of sovereign States means the national interests of each of these States often take on a preeminent role, slowing down and laying barriers to European integration. This has largely disrupted the efficient operation of the European Union and the adoption of fast and effective measures which redound to the benefit of all of its members, especially of its citizens.

The Institute for European Advancement is born against this backdrop as a form of Europe-wide think tank, whose aim is to suggest the next steps that need to be taken in different areas in order to progress with European integration. With the help of experts from different sectors and nationalities, we will formulate recommendations on how best to face the challenges affecting us all, improving the lives of European citizens and, most of all, ensuring that the dream of European construction comes to fruition.



Styglitz and Democracy in the UE

On September, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo published an interview with Joseph Stiglitz. This interview took place coinciding with the release of his new book, called The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe. Saying democracy is in danger because Germany and the European Commission have overturned the choices made by a majority of Greek, Portuguese and Spanish voters, as Mr. Stiglitz does is an exercise in populism.

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Brexit Referendum

On June 23rd, 2016, the United Kingdom held a referendum to vote on the country’s exit from the European Union. The unexpected result, 51.9% in favor of leaving and 48.1% in favor of remaining in the EU, sent shockwaves across the UK, the EU and the world, causing turmoil in the stock exchanges and casting uncertainty over the future. This brief article aims to shed some light on the present state of the matter, describing some of the things that ensued in the wake of the referendum. It will then briefly explain what the next steps in this disconnect would be, and finally hazards a guess as to the consequences it will have and what the EU can or should do to protect and improve its future.

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Follow up on Brexit polls

On the 23rd of July the UK is going to vote if it wants to remain in the EU or not. Due to its importance for the future of the EU we want to follow closely all developments in relation to this important referendum. According to the latest information available from the gap between the “remain” and “leave” camps is closing at this moment and there are just 4 points difference between both groups (“Remain” 52% and “Leave” 48%). The result of this poll suggests that in principle Mr. Cameron’s deal with the EU has failed to convince Brits to vote massively for remaining in the EU and that the campaign from both camps to start mid-April may have a huge impact on the result, as some polls suggests that around 25% of voters have not yet made up their minds about which way to go. The result of the referendum remains very uncertain and it seems that the “Remain” camp will have to make a huge effort to convince voters that remaining in the EU is best alternative for the UK.

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The Importance of a European Armed Forces

We have seen in History several tipping points in a birth of any Nation. In many of them a sort of Armed Forces have been involved in one or in another sense to build a nation: as a form of taking independence from a colonialist country, as a way to preserve the national identity or a mean to oppress the population in favour of an elite or regime. No doubt, Armed Forces stands as the first and the last line of defence, not just in the use of force but in support of certain values to keep alive and to create, overall in the beginnings, the very basic idea of common identity as a group. The identity of a nation lies in the national Armed Forces, so that its values and its personal traits are reflected in its ways and it represents the country in front and next to other foreign Armed Forces.

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Comment on the deal EU-UK on Brexit.

Yesterday, the 19th of February, the EU and the UK reached an agreement with a view to accommodate Britain in the EU and so to enable its government to plead for the “Yes” in the campaign leading to the referendum to be celebrated on the 23rd of June. The agreement has been brokered after long and hard negotiations which threatened to collapse at any moment due to the big divergences present between the negotiating parties involved.

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The refugee crisis.

The refugee crisis has been one of the key issues for the European Union in the year 2015 and everything points to it remaining one during 2016. Germany took in 1.2 million refugees in 2015 (i.e. more than 1% of the country’s population) and the German minister of development declared a few days ago that some 10 million refugees could be heading for Europe at this very moment. These two pieces of news highlight the state of emergency in which the outer borders of the Union are engulfed, a state of emergency which requires a firm, coordinated and solidary response by all Member States.

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education in Languages.

A fatal accident took place this summer in Cantabria. A seventeen year old Dutch girl jumped to her death from a bridge while bungee jumping with a group of other young Belgian and Dutch kids. It appears that the Spanish instructor said to her "No jump. It's important. No jump", as the equipment was still being fixed to the bridge, a command she understood as "Now jump". This unfortunate episode showcases rather dramatically one of the most flagrant obstacles to European integration, language barriers. Indeed, freedom of movement rarely comes with the necessary language tools to ensure the European traveler and the local can communicate with each other.

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