Paul Scheffer

In 2017, professor Paul Scheffer delivered the 15th Europe Lecture. The theme of the lecture was 'United in Diversity'. Europe correspondent Caroline de Gruyter also gave her view on this topic. The lecture was moderated by Caspar van den Berg.

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Paul Scheffer

Paul Scheffer
Bron: wikimedia/R. van Elst

Paul Scheffer (1954) is professor European Studies in Tilburg, having previously occupied the Wibaut-chair on metropolitan issues at the University of Amsterdam. Starting out as a journalist, Scheffer is best known as a publicist. His article 'The Multicultural Drama' in 2000 cemented his place in the public debate in the Netherlands and has since been published as a book titled 'Immigrant Nations' and adapted into a documentary for Dutch television. Scheffer is also an active member of the Dutch Labour Party.



It is a real pleasure, an honour, to share with you some thoughts about the state of this union.

I have been listening to Jean-Claude Juncker very carefully, but my state of this union would certainly begin with Brexit. The momentous decision of the United Kingdom on June 23 of last year to leave the European Union. If only because more than a year after the event, the first serious research to what has happened was published. Especially the book of Harold Clarke and Matthew Goodwin, 'Brexit: Why Britain Voted to Leave the European Union'. It is based on extensive investigation into members of UKIP, the motives of voters at large.

Just one finding to start with. The vote was decided by a relatively small margin. Roughly 52% for leave, 48% for remain. But they calculated that in no less than 64% of constituencies, if you would use the British electoral system there were leave majorities. They also showed that one year after the Brexit, there is still the same majority among the public for leaving the EU, despite the lack of organisation of the government.

More importantly, their research shows what the main reasons were for Brexit. They summarized their findings in the following way: "Although arguments about how exiting the EU would help to re-establish national sovereignty and invigorate democracy, which were prominent themes in the leave campaign, our analysis indicates that strong public concern over the large number of migrants entering the country, was front and centre to the leave campaign securing victory."


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