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About Kirsty Hughes

Kirsty Hughes is a writer and commentator on European and international politics. She has worked at a number of leading European thinktanks including Chatham House, Friends of Europe, and the Centre for European Policy Studies and has published extensively including books, reports and as a journalist. She has also worked as a senior political adviser in the European Commission, for Oxfam as head of advocacy, and was CEO at Index on Censorship.

Articles by Kirsty Hughes

This week's editor

En Liang Khong

En Liang Khong is openDemocracy’s assistant editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Impact of Brexit on Scotland’s independence drive is hard to call

There is an intermediate path that the SNP may well take while it charts a path ahead, in the event of Brexit.

EU loses all moral standing on Lesbos

Humanitarian aid has become sidelined for a political agenda – the EU-Turkey deal – something that should be unacceptable for the EU: “humanitarian aid should be neutral, impartial.”

Has Cameron ensured the UK will always be weak in Europe?

Either way, there is no way to vote in the referendum for a strong UK in Europe – only for Cameron’s new opted-out, ‘Little England’ model.

3 scenarios for the outcome of the UK’s EU referendum

It is quite possible that England will vote differently to all three other constituent parts of the UK. And certain that the politics won’t end with the result.

Scotland might keep the UK in Europe

Could Scottish ‘yes’ voters deprive the eurosceptics of victory in the EU referendum?

The EU stumbles as crises mount

It is precisely at dealing with a world like today's, of instability and fast-moving events –  not open to easy or direct control – that the EU is, and always has been, very bad.

'Brexit' and workers' rights – no case for a 'no'

What is this crazy 'cut-off-your-nose to spite your face' strategy? How can we defend let alone improve EU workers’ rights by leaving the EU?

Rough waters ahead for Scotland if the UK votes 'no' in EU referendum

If David Cameron's EU referendum gamble fails and the UK votes 'no', what then for Scotland? Will it be smooth sailing to being an independent country in the European Union or tough battles with London and Brussels?

The UK's EU referendum and the EU's legitimacy crisis

"Is a UK that retreats in isolationist but somehow progressive splendour really feasible? Surely, European countries must cooperate in the face of the deep challenges and opportunities we face."

Smoke and mirrors over 'Brexit': key questions on the path to the EU referendum

Cameron has unleashed a process he won't be fully able to control, having major impacts on the UK's political dynamics and its constitutional future at home and in the EU over the next two years.

Scotland’s growing influence on UK foreign policy

Kirsty Hughes talks to Scottish National Party and Scottish Green politicians on foreign policy, the EU and the tectonic shift in Scottish politics.

Greece and the eurogroup: capitulation or breaching austerity's dam?

George Papandreou cancelling his referendum was a capitulation. Tsipras and Varoufakis achieving new space and flexibility and four months to achieve a genuinely new approach was quite an achievement.

Syriza win – hope for Greece and Europe?

Though the challenges they face are immense, Syriza have brought some much needed hope back to Greece - and even to the European Union.

Britain and the EU – a sorry tale of collapsing influence and dishonest debate

Without EU 'reforms' he may not even recommend a 'yes' in the referendum on membership in 2017, says British PM. But what he asks for is mostly there already.

EU myths, politics and scaremongering on an independent Scotland

The EU is governed by hard politics, and the easiest thing for everyone if Scotland votes yes will be that she never leaves the EU.

Why the UK has no foreign policy

In the absence of any political lead either from their UK masters or their indirect US ones, the UK's foreign office diplomats are left with little direction to exercise real clout, and no role, even on a realpolitik basis, to play in a changing and challenging world.

Gathering clouds over digital freedom?

The debate over the direction of the web has just started, and contradictory messages that need careful scrutiny are emerging from governments and corporations alike.

Lost in a 1990s timewarp: the UK and the European Union

Is the crucial change in the UK's position in the EU, that demands a referendum, really the need to extend UK doctors' working hours? And what of the EU – has it got a better story to tell?

What future for a Greece in crisis?

Will Greece see a process of painful rebuilding, be mired in stagnation and despair - or even face a social explosion?

Another summit, another bleak day for European democracy

The new 'fiscal compact' treaty agreed at Monday's summit aims to take vital economic policy choices out of the reach of democratic decision-making. Beyond that, there is no new thinking, nothing to stimulate growth, nothing to give some hope to the 23 million unemployed – and those who will join them as the recession deepens.

EU democracy in crisis: mired in a perfect storm or rebounding?

If the heart of the crisis lies in the politics – including in the politics of the economic policy choices being made – then solutions may lie, not in yet more EU institutional changes and the creation of an austerity union, but in the practice and the dynamism of democratic European politics. But a certain tradition of creating a theoretically more democratic Europe for the people even if they do not seem to want it has deep roots in the EU elites. So far, this hasn't worked.

The UK and Europe: how much damage did Cameron's veto do?

Reactions are still rolling in, just over a week after Cameron's veto. Was it the tantrum of an 'obstinate kid'? Whatever reasons he had, he has relegated the UK to the sidelines of Europe.

The five follies of David Cameron

Perhaps now, as the eurozone and the entire EU struggles to survive, there will have to be a serious debate in the UK about the EU.

Euro end-game or end of crisis? Eurozone heads into critical summit

There will be huge sighs of relief if the potential political and economic catastrophe of a break-up of the euro is avoided. But a return to 'normal' politics it will not be.

The UK's vanishing European influence

The UK has a choice over whether to be a small player on the margins of Europe. But to become so without any serious national debate is surely a major error.

Turkey's judicial-political crisis

Turkey's internal problems are intensifying its political and cultural fissures and putting its orientation towards the European Union in question. Kirsty Hughes reports on the gathering turmoil.

Britain through Indian eyes

Kirsty Hughes returns to her homeland after almost a year in south Asia and sees a different country.

Tamil Nadu after the tsunami: hopes and obstacles

Their world turned upside down in the great Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004. Six months on, the fishing communities of southeast India struggle to rebuild their lives. Kirsty Hughes reports from a forgotten frontline of reconstruction.

France's 'non', Holland's 'nee', Europe's crisis

“The European Union is at a major turning-point. It has attempted, through an unprecedented process of open debate and dialogue, to design a strategic role and direction for itself in the 21st century. For now it has failed.” Kirsty Hughes on Europe’s crisis of democracy.

Zanzibar: in the eye of the storm

An Indian Ocean microcosm of global politics – democracy, development, and election fraud, arguments over sovereignty, violence and pluralism – what can Zanzibar teach the world? Kirsty Hughes talks to Juma Duni Haji, a leader of its main opposition party, the Civic United Front.

The Convention endgame: beyond bad bargains?

Two Brussels insiders review the logjam over proposals for how Europe shall be governed, and the bargains being sought behind closed doors over crucial questions of institutions and power-balance.

Transatlantic meltdown over Iraq: is France villain or hero?

France’s reluctance to support the US’s military approach towards Iraq has drawn bitter criticism from the US and some of its EU partners. But in defending diplomacy rather than advocating a military solution, France is the truer defender both of the European project and, in the long run, of the transatlantic relationship.

A constitution for Europe: where is the real debate?

There is a clear route to enlargement after the Irish referendum, but the constitutional convention debate is stifled by the self-serving ambitions of the large states. A healthy debate about Europe’s democratic deficit requires the convention itself to take a lead.

Democracy takes a back seat

The prospects for engaging Europe’s citizens in the debate on the future of the Union are still hostage to the power politics of the member states.
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