Alexander Clarkson  Profile picture
Lecturer for German and European Studies at King's College London. Opinions my own. RT not always endorsement. Also to be found at
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Sep 30, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
A multi-tier model will still have different balances of rights and responsibilities and an asymmetry of power between tiers. A core with France, Spain, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands will always have the power to dominate the rest and fuel incentives to get in the inner tier With Eurozone states, almost all of which are involved in PESCO, the EU already has a core tier, with a second tier EU members outside the Euro and a third tier in EEA/Efta/DCFTA relationships with the EU. Multi-speed Europe already exists and the UK is unwilling to join any tier
Sep 29, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
Raab at one blow dismisses the concerns of Irish and Northern Irish people as the machinations of a "foreign hand". In a long tradition of English politicians denying Irish and Northern Irish people agency There will no doubt be some UK commentators that will blame the EU for the radicalisation of parts of the English political establishment instead of demanding that English politicians finally take responsibility for their actions over the past 25 years
Sep 14, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
If the EU hadn't forced the sufficient progress issue we would be in the same impasse we are now. The problem lies in UK internal paralysis, not EU27 attempts to manage it. The EU should have been much tougher about nailing the UK down on the details of the Irish border backstop earlier. The problem hasn't been that the EU has been too tough. The problem is that the EU has given the UK too much leeway to waste time
Sep 12, 2018 17 tweets 5 min read
WTF is "SuperCanada"? Does it have more superpowers than Captain Canada?… In effect the final deal the ERG thinks the UK can get if a UK government is tough enough in the EU would provide all the benefits of EU membership without any of the obligations. The ERG MPs haven't moved on from 24 June 2016
Sep 8, 2018 6 tweets 4 min read
The head of pro-Chemnitz, an organisation that played a key role in fuelling anti-migrant tension in Chemnitz, is a local lawyer that also founded a cultural club for Russians and Russian-Germans called Kulturverein Tolstoi in 2014. Interesting timing… Here the link to Kulturverein Tolstoi e.V.
Aug 19, 2018 5 tweets 1 min read
A No Deal scenario where the UK government gives up controlling what and who is coming in and out of its borders with the EU and that may well end up even struggling to control what is being shipped in from non-EU countries risks becoming a platform for various smuggling scams Effectively declaring that your country is wide open to anything and anyone coming in and out and hoping for the best is not a viable strategy. The EU will impose checks anyway to avoid a repeat of the kind of border scams that proliferated in the Balkans in the 1990s.
Aug 12, 2018 5 tweets 1 min read
I'm sceptical about a 2nd referendum because I don't believe Remainers have developed a coherent strategy for the role the UK should play in the future of European integration.

Just crashing back in to the EU stores up many of the same old problems for the future However, in putting such a great emphasis on popular will while being unwilling to admit the potentially difficult tradeoffs of Brexit the key Brexiter milieus have made their project vulnerable to a sudden hollowing out if popular will suddenly shifts towards Remain
Aug 8, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
If May's attempt to give her negotiators more room for manoeuvre leads to her fall the Tories will become the No Deal party. Two years and two months after the referendum there is no sign that the majority of Tory Party members or MPs have come to terms with the asymmetry of power between a struggling UK and an increasingly powerful EU.
Jul 28, 2018 7 tweets 2 min read
As a kid in German schools I experienced incidents where teachers would scoff at my future prospects because of my Anglo-Ukrainian background and struggle to adjust to German grammar (I moved at 11). But I instinctively felt it would be off for me to use the #MeTwo hashtag Partly I think this is about surname and class. Despite a lot of crap from teachers who told me I would never make it because I "did not understand Germany", my middle class parents had time, capital and combination of British arrogance and Ukrainian ferocity to bully them back
Jul 27, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
Remarkable how UK exceptionalism has a grip on the the UK political and intellectual elite. Garton Ash should know full well that there are steps the UK needs to take to gain EU flexibility. Does a pro-European demand risking the cohesion of the EU system?… Garton Ash inadvertently provides another reason why it's in the EU's interest to exclude the UK from full membership. If even prominent Remainers cannot accept the existential necessity of defending the integrity of the EU system then the UK is unable to play a constructive role
Jul 22, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
If there was ever a strategy to maximise British humiliation in negotiations with the EU this is it We have recurrent demands from British politicians and journalists demanding EU flexibility coupled with demonstrations of bad faith from the UK government that make EU flexibility impossible.

Syriza for beginners.
Jul 21, 2018 5 tweets 1 min read
Bannon, like a lot of US observers doesn't seem to have clocked that there are a lot of different populist movements in Europe already with powerful local leaders who are not going to be dictated to by an American I'm not discounting the potential successes of European populists next year. But many of these parties already have extensive resources and their own. What Bannon is bringing to the table is a fraction of the resources European populist and non-populists already have
Jul 21, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
One of the most frustrating aspects of the migration debate is thinkpieces that demand controlled systems of migration to reduce incentives to use illegal routes while a paragraph later demanding severe reduction of migrant numbers to assuage concerns of particular voter milieus Really quite remarkable how columnists and journalists in Germany and elsewhere aren't able to figure out the contradiction in their arguments here
Jul 17, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
The build up to the Civil War in 1639 It's striking how since 1992 state and media historiography have largely focused on the Tudors and Britain's imperial rise after 1783. The chaotic period in which the British constitutional order was shaped through brutal internal wars between 1640 to 1745 is largely glossed over
Jul 12, 2018 12 tweets 3 min read
Kept out of the debate over the Zeit pro/contra article over private rescue initiatives for refugees and migrants in the Med because my views don't strictly match either side of a problematic binary format Faced with mass tragedy there is undoubtedly space for private rescue initiatives as there were for such initiatives in the South China Sea with ships like Cap Anamur in the 1970s and 1980s. The idea that rescue operations are a primary pull factor is spurious
Jul 12, 2018 9 tweets 2 min read
UK proposal for a "Mobility Framework" is class-based Freedom of Movement with British characteristics. Keeps FoM for professionally trained middle classes, excludes working class people.

For the EU FoM is a universal right. UK concessions inevitable.… "Defined number of areas to seek reciprocal mobility arrangements" is where the UK will get minced in talks. Many areas where UK needs EU workers are rural, low paid services or industrial jobs. Every sector will want mobility arrangements for which the EU will demand concessions
Jun 30, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
Any deal for the UK that unravels the indivisibility of the 4 freedoms puts the stability of the EU at risk. Ensuring the cohesion of the EU is the Commission's central geopolitical consideration. The idea that staff in the Commission are not aware of geopolitical issues is odd. If UK voters and politicians want to put their country in between a US and EU that have an increasingly adversarial relationship there is nothing much the Commission can do about it.
Jun 22, 2018 6 tweets 1 min read
The line will presumably be that since Airbus HQ is in Toulouse this is a French plan to "punish" the UK.

Repeat with every other European cooperation. Switch to calling it "ingratitude" when it comes to the Japanese and "betrayal" when it comes to US corporations. It's too late. The echo chambers are set. Even many Remain-leaning commentators and analysts are proving susceptible to punishment narratives. That comfortable defensive crouch may prove untenable only just before the country drifts to the cliff edge
Jun 13, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
Few checks in Dover is still too many checks for UK infrastructure to cope. The Home Office also doesn't have the infrastructure in place to manage skills-based migration schemes dealing with additional 100 000s of EU citizens.
The UK will eventually capitulate over FoM. May can either start preparing ground now for big concessions on Freedom of Movement in a few months or make concessions suddenly in an atmosphere of panic and humiliation.

She manoeuvred herself into a position that maximises the UK's position of weakness in relation to the EU
Jun 1, 2018 5 tweets 1 min read
Spiegel's Italy cover this week reminds me of all those books and Spiegel covers between 1999 and 2005 enthusiastically predicting Germany's imminent collapse Never mind the fact that Italy's military and intelligence services already vastly outclass Germany's capabilities
May 26, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
This has been the French stance since 2014. Robust measures against Russian breaches of international law, conciliatory language in the Gaullist tradition of "Lisbon to Vladivostok" to give Putin and successors an off ramp and position France well if there is a shift to detente So the balance Macron worked through was in a continuity with signals sent by France and the EU since 2014. If Russia opts to de-escalate in Donbas and back off Ukraine, Crimea will be isolated through sanctions that don't affect the rest of Russia