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Essential weekend reading

OPEN’s mission is to defend and advance open liberal societies and these recent pieces particularly caught our attention.

Reams of articles have been written this week about the letter that Theresa May sent to Donald Tusk officially notifying the EU of the UK’s intention to leave. As the two-year countdown to Brexit began, Chris Patten wrote a particularly thoughtful and perceptive piece for Project Syndicate about how Britain got here and what lies ahead. For instance: “We refuse to see ourselves for what we are: a mid-size country that no longer rules much of the world. We are too easily persuaded that you cannot be a patriot without being a nationalist.”
Read the full article (registration required). Around 850 words, 4 minutes

With Trump in the White House and Putin meddling in elections, xenophobic, nationalist populism poses a particularly grave threat to Europe’s open, liberal societies. France elects a new president on 7 May and if Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front wins, the EU could be fatally wounded. But as the Dutch elections showed, the far right can be defeated. In my column for Project Syndicate, I set out how.

Read the full article (registration required). Around 900 words, 4-5 minutes.

The Financial Times has been following how three Syrian refugees are faring as they try to build a new life in Germany. Aziz has won a place at a top technology university, while Nazir, an eye doctor, has finally begun an internship at a medical practice. But Ahmad is struggling. Because he previously obtained asylum in Hungary, Germany has denied his asylum application and his life is in limbo.
Read the full article (registration required). Around 1,680 words, 8 minutes

The FT article illustrates the argument and empirical evidence presented in “Refugees Work“, OPEN’s ground-breaking report with the Tent Foundation: that refugees have plenty to contribute to the economies and societies that welcome them – particularly where government policies are supportive.

If you read anything particularly good that is relevant to OPEN’s work, please let us know by emailing

Thank you, and have a good weekend.


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