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June 14, 2016

Guiano running in Republican primaries

Remember Henri Guaino? He was special counsellor under Nicolas Sarkozy, hard core Gaullist, who as an advocate of governmental independence prevented a more ambitious European integration agenda to happen under Sarkozy. Guaino now decided to run in the Republican primaries. Not that he has any illusions that it will be tough to get enough signatures behind his candidature. But his voice will be heard during the campaign and he will make life harder for Alan Juppé, the representative for 'happy globalisation', writes Journal du Dimanche. Guaino, instead, puts the priority on restoring the authority of the state. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as submitting to Brussels demands on readjusting fiscal accounts. At least Guaino wants to add ideology to the campaign debate in times where populism is on the rise and the FN is becoming a strong contender.

Cecile Cornudet writes that De Gaulle is a French icon for exalting national pride. Although Guaino might have more personal reasons to run, it is true that there is little Gaullism in the programmes of the other Republican candidates. And the Front National is the party to benefit from this vacuum.

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June 14, 2016

On the difficulties to promote labour movement in the EU

Free movement of labour in the EU as a means to balance economic shocks sounds good in theory, but once a politician embraces this concept, he is likely spark a controversy at home. This is what happened to Antonio Costa now. After his visit to France he said the invitation of Francois Hollande to teachers of the Portuguese language is an opportunity for many Portuguese teachers who have no work in Portugal. The statements were broadcast by television channels nationwide and were soon being compared to Pedro Passos Coelho, who caused a huge controversy with similar comments four years ago, writes Diario Economico.

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June 14, 2016

How to save TTIP

Ana Palacio makes a number of observations about TTIP, and how to save it. She notes that the project is in trouble because of political opposition from those most likely to lose from it. It is thus necessary to complement the agreement with measures to compensate the losers, but also with structural reforms to make such the agreement is politically viable. One such reform is to facilitate re-training and re-education, as people will need to switch jobs. She writes that TTIP would be beneficial for Europe in particular, as it would increase the EU's role in global standard-setting at a time when it has been losing influence. As a way out of the current impasse, she advocates a voluntary alternative to TTIP, based on the Paris climate agreement, where the EU and the US simply implement the parts they agree to unilaterally. While this would have a weaker immediate impact than a full trade agreement, it would help overcome the political opposition. At the moment the TTIP negotiations are not where they need to be, and without public support they will never be.

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