Ryan Heath interviews Rolf Falter, a historian who has worked across the Belgian and EU political landscapes: from adviser, to journalist, to get-out-the-vote advocate, to author of a new book on Europe.
The dangers of absolute identity: Falter argues that one of the good things about fragmented Belgian identities is that they show how difficult and dangerous it can be to identify 100 percent with one region, one party, one identity.
"None of us is a hundred percent British, or 100 percent German," he says. The result of that mindset in Belgium is the nation is adept at "subtle democracy" and the art of compromising in order to keep the country running, he said.
Using Brussels to solve national political problems: Falter laments that compared to the era in which the European Union emerged from the ashes and rubble of World War II, politicians no longer use Brussels to solve domestic problems, but instead pin blame for those problems on Brussels.
In the past “you could solve national political deadlocks by choosing the European way, and that's what happened,” he said.
Did you know? Falter explains how France was once intent on developing a nuclear weapon as a security guarantee before it would agree to the development of a deeply integrated European community that included Germany.
EU WTF moment of the week — the Catalan Circus: We taped the podcast before Spanish prosecutors called for an international arrest warrant for Carles Puigdemont, but nevertheless our panelists Lina Aburous and Ailbhe Finn discuss the highs, the lows, and the big questions surrounding the chaotic arrival of Puigdemont and six other former Catalan ministers in Brussels this week.
Dear POLITICO: The panel makes suggestions to a political staffer in the European Parliament who spoke of harassment from both male and female superiors. We suggest the writer needs to consider tackling the problems directly, together with colleagues, before turning to outside help.
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