Birkbeck Politics Department’s Dionyssis Dimitrakopoulos contributed to a debate in the Guardian on the EU:
The European parliament’s directly elected members wield significant powers, ranging from shaping the EU’s budget to the appointment of the European commission, as well as the content and scope of EU legislation (such as directives). These powers have increased dramatically since the early 1990s and – as Mr Cameron discovered last year – now ordinary citizens can have a direct impact on who becomes the president of the European commission, ie the head of the EU’s main executive body. In the past, the European parliament has also acted as the EU’s collective conscience and has blocked agreements with countries whose human rights record was poor. Clearly, if one ignores this institution, the picture that emerges from one’s analysis of the EU is, at best, flawed.
Dr Dionyssis Dimitrakopoulos
Department of politics, Birkbeck, University of London
See the debate here
What do our politicians read? The preferred reading options of our leading politicians don’t tell us too much about what they think or want to do. David Cameron’s favourite book is the anti-war memoir of poet Robert Graves Goodbye to All That-though he gave the slightly less highbrow (but presumably more useful) Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as his desert island discs choice. Ed Milband offered up the more current On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (and his favourite invention was the internet). Nick Clegg gave a rather wide ranging list which included Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr and Two Concepts of Liberty by Isaiah Berlin. Nigel Farage’s favourite book is The Thirty Nine Steps, John Buchanan’s classic story of thwarted foreign plots, and, perhaps less predictably, his favourite European country is Italy. There’s more US politicians favourite reads here. So what could I recommend for them to read over the summer? Continue reading