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  • Them and Us: How Immigrants and Locals Can Thrive Together

    Keep “Them” out. Take back control. Build that wall. The heated debate about immigration is often framed as ‘Them’ (bad immigrants) against ‘Us’ (good locals). But immigrants aren’t a burden or a threat – and if we make the right choices we all can thrive together.

    It’s time to close the gap between myth and reality – and, in the process, close the gap between ‘Them’ and ‘Us’. OUT on 15 OCTOBER

  • European Spring.. Why Our Economies and Politics are in a Mess – and How to Put Them Right

    Britain and the rest of Europe are in a mess. Our economies are failing to deliver higher living standards for most people – and many have lost faith in politicians’ ability to deliver a brighter future, with support for parties like UKIP soaring. Are stagnation, decline and disillusionment inevitable?

  • Aftershock: Reshaping the World Economy After the Crisis — out now

    The financial crisis brought the world to the brink of economic breakdown. But now bankers’ bonuses are back, house prices are rising again and politicians promise recovery – all this while unemployment remains high, debts mount, frictions with China grow and the planet overheats.
    Is this really sustainable – or do we need to change course?


Trade wars

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I was interviewed about the G7 and trade on Al Jazeera English on 9 June.

I discussed Donald Trump’s trade war with China on Al Jazeera English’s Inside Story on 16 June.

Posted 18 Jun 2018 in Blog

While Europe’s economy has picked up and there is no immediate sign of financial stress, many analysts maintain that reforms are needed to protect the single currency.

“Make no mistake, the euro desperately needs revamping,” Philippe Legrain, a former adviser to the European Commission president and a senior visiting fellow at the London School of Economics’ European Institute wrote of the reforms.

“The eurozone’s institutional framework also needs fundamental reform in four big areas: finance, fiscal policy, economic imbalances, and democratic choice and accountability.”

Check out the full article.

Posted 18 Jun 2018 in Blog

As part of its excellent Open Future series, The Economist has published an open essay by me that asks: how do we convince sceptics of the value of immigration?

The first part is out today, and the subsequent parts will be enriched by readers’ comments. So please take a look and add your ideas and suggestions.

Posted 01 Jun 2018 in Blog

A big reason why Western politics is in such disarray is voters’ pessimism about the future. 60% of Westerners believe today’s children will be “worse off financially than their parents”. Europeans are particularly gloomy. To paraphrase Hobbes, they expect youngsters’ lives to be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish – and long.

When people doubt that progress is possible, they tend to fear change of any kind. Rather than focusing on opportunities, they see threats everywhere and hold on tighter to what they have. Distributional cleavages come to the fore – toxically so when overlaid with identity clashes.

Western politics can become rosier again, but only if politicians first address the root causes of the gloom. My latest column for Project Syndicate explains what needs to be done.

Posted 01 Jun 2018 in Blog

I debated the future of the EU at the excellent OECD Forum in Paris on 30 May. Fellow panellists included Sandro Gozi, Amelie de Montchalin, Peter Matjasic and Erika Widegren, with Ryan Heath moderating. Check out the webcast here.

Posted 30 May 2018 in Blog

Germany’s economy is doing fine right now and it finally has a new government. So it’s perhaps understandable that it seems content to coast along. Why mess with an ostensibly winning formula? Steady-as-she-goes, business-as-usual Merkelism seems successful and safe.

Yet Germany is actually far more vulnerable than it seems. Europe’s export powerhouse has long been a free-rider on both the open markets and the nuclear security guarantee provided by the United States. Both of those are under threat from Angela Merkel’s ungracious host in Washington yesterday, Donald Trump. The crumbling of that liberal international order seems likely to make Germany even more reliant on the EU for its future prosperity and security.

Yet Merkel seems unwilling to make the short-term concessions needed to secure the longer-term stability and effectiveness of both the eurozone and the EU. This complacency is dangerously shortsighted — and a potentially historic tragedy for Europe. My latest for Foreign Policy.

Posted 12 May 2018 in Blog

My piece for the Evening Standard

Posted 12 May 2018 in Blog

Donald Trump thinks that because the US buys more from China than it sells in return, it would easily “win” a trade war. But China’s position is actually much stronger, both economically and politically, than that crude calculus suggests. My latest for Foreign Policy

Posted 14 Apr 2018 in Blog

The EU is not undemocratic, as some critics claim. But nor is it democratic enough. That urgently needs to change.

Read my latest article for Brussels Times.

Posted 10 Apr 2018 in Blog

Britain’s immigration system isn’t fit for purpose. Its political targets are perverse. Its guiding philosophy is reminiscent of Soviet-style central planning. The resulting rules are unworkably complex. Their administration by the Home Office mixes incompetence with malice.

The upshot is heavy-handed controls that still leave voters feeling that things are out of control. That’s bad economics and bad politics. Even international students – fee-paying, politically uncontroversial, future ambassadors for Global Britain – are now turfed out once they’ve obtained a UK degree. Madness.

It could soon get even worse. The only bit of the system that works well – EU free movement – is set to be scrapped. Such is the perceived imperative to keep out industrious, enterprising young Europeans that the government seems prepared to sacrifice the UK’s unrestricted access to lucrative EU services markets to do so.

The danger that Britain will pull up the drawbridge is real. But if – a huge if – further knee-jerk populism can be resisted, there is also a political opportunity to craft a more sensible immigration system.

My latest for CapX

Posted 03 Apr 2018 in Blog

Sometimes it takes a prime minister of Luxembourg to hit the nail on the head. “They [Britain] were in with a load of opt-outs. Now they are out, and want a load of opt-ins,” said Xavier Bettel. The problem for the UK is that the European Union is much less accommodating of its demands for special treatment now that it is on the way out. To quote an American Express advertising slogan, membership has its privileges.

Read my latest piece for CapX on why the UK’s “three baskets” approach to Brexit is a non-starter

Posted 13 Mar 2018 in Blog

Read my latest briefing for OPEN. Join our mailing list to stay updated!

Posted 09 Mar 2018 in Blog

Read my latest for Foreign Policy

Listen to my interview with Hamish Macdonald for ABC Radio National Breakfast

Watch my contribution to a panel discussion on Al Jazeera English’s Inside Story

Posted 09 Mar 2018 in Blog

Britain still hasn’t decided what kind of post-Brexit trading relationship it wants with the EU. If the government insists on controlling EU migration, the Norway model is out. So what about remaining in a customs union with the EU? Contrary to what is often claimed, that would not avert the introduction of customs controls at Dover or in Ireland. That would require staying in a single market in goods too: the Jersey model. The only other alternative is a special status for Northern Ireland. My latest for CapX argues that given these political constraints the Jersey model may be the least-bad Brexit option.

The piece was quoted in the FT’s Brexit Briefing and Brussels Briefing. Thanks.

Posted 13 Feb 2018 in Blog

While GDP growth has strengthened, that tells us little about whether societal wellbeing is improving, let alone whether everyone in society is thriving. My latest for Brussels Times tries to provide an answer.

Posted 13 Feb 2018 in Blog

My latest for CapX

Posted 07 Dec 2017 in Blog

Listen to the podcast of LSE European Institute event with Sara Hobolt, John Rentoul and me. My initial remarks start after 26:30 minutes

Posted 23 Nov 2017 in Blog

My latest column for Project Syndicate.

Posted 22 Nov 2017 in Blog

Read my piece for Open Democracy

Posted 28 Oct 2017 in Blog

My latest column for Brussels Times

Posted 21 Oct 2017 in Blog