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August 22, 2016

Gold for Brexit

We were wondering whether we would have the chance to mention the Olympics in our newsbriefing without going off topic. The opportunity has miraculously presented itself as the UK government now wants to capitalise on the performance of the UK team, which came second overall in Rio, and harness the same spirit in the forthcoming Brexit preparations, The Times reports. The article is complete and utter nonsense, of course. But the Olympics are important in one respect. For now, at least, they have strengthened the illusion that the UK could succeed on its own, and that is a message the British government will peddle in the tough negotiations that lie ahead. In particular, it may tilt the British approach towards Brexit towards a further distance from the EU, and it takes the wind of the sail of embittered Remainers, who had hoped that the country will soon collectively regret the Brexit vote, and clamour for another referendum.

We very much agree with Charles Grant's comments, as reported in the Guardian, that government ministers are hopelessly unprepared for what lies ahead - even now two months after the vote (something that, we suppose, distinguishes them from the gold medal winners in Rio). Brexit will happen of course, Grant said, but it is going to be extremely difficult, and will take a long time. The Times also mentions that Theresa May will use her speech at the Conservative Party conference in October to reflect on the successes of the Olympics as a backdrop to her new industrial strategy, which is based on picking winners in certain high-tech industries based around university towns, such as Bristol.

Of the many Brexit comments, one we noted was by Simon Wren-Lewis, an Oxford economist who used to make a very strong case for Remain during the campaign, and who is now bitterly complaining about reactions from journalists who are criticising him and other colleagues for overstating the Remain case. We believe that some of the criticisms of the economics profession are justified - up to a point, since we will not know the long-term impact which may well be negative - a possibility we, too, would acknowledge. However, we believe that economists, as a profession, will need a thicker skin especially if they engage in public debates as they did during the Brexit campaign. When they do so, they should not be surprised that the outside world examines their record, and tests their forecasts against reality. The outside world, too, has noted that the standard macroeconomic models that have been in use for the last 15-20 years have not only famously failed to predict the financial crisis, they misjudged much of what has been going on since. 

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August 22, 2016

EU and Turkey talking past each other

Kadri Gursel predicts that it is now a matter of time for the EU-Turkey relationship to break down. He writes that Recep Tayyip Erdogan's warnings about the refugee deal have become a more than weekly occurrence. But Gursel also notes that the reform of anti-terror legislation is not the only one of the requirements that Erdogan is dragging his feet on. Two other outstanding requirements relate to data protection, and to fighting corruption. And the threats to scupper the refugee deal didn't start before the July 15 coup attempt. Before then it was the recently stepped up fight against the PKK that was used as an argument for strong anti-terror legislation. But the post-coup crackdown has made it even more necessary for the EU to insist on respect for human rights, as a result of which the bilateral relation is in real danger.

The tension between the EU and Turkey shows no sign of abating. This weekend Jean Claude Juncker reiterated that visa-free travel for Turks depends on Turkey reforming its anti-terror laws to bring them in line with European human rights standards. This is something Turkey's government is reluctant to do, especially given the ongoing crackdown after the failed coup attempt on July 15th. For the time being, Juncker is sticking to the date of October 1st for a start of visa-free travel. 

Also last week, Turkish government spokesman Ibrahim Kalin articulated Turkey's position in a Politico-EU op-ed. Kalin reasserts Turkey's ultimate goal of EU membership, but complains that the EU is giving Turkey the cold shoulder. The lukewarm response of EU leaders to the failed coup, including the lask of any state visits in the weeks since, is seen as a sign of lack of solidarity. The only mention of terrorism in the piece is to argue that Turkey is fighting three organisations that it considers terrorist: the Kurdish PKK, the Islamic State, and now the Gülen organisation, and that the EU should be assisting Turkey in this fight. The refugee deal is not mentioned.

 

 

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August 22, 2016

Switzerland is the next migrant transit country

In the first half of the year we saw a chain reaction of border closures in response to the refugee flow to the east of the Alps, and now we're seeing it to the West. With the Balkan route to Northern Europe closed, it was only a matter of time before refugees turned back to Italy. And last week it was reported that Italy is being forced to set up a refugee camp at Lake Como, as migrants send back from Switzerland are starting to accumulate. This weekend, the news was that Germany is stepping up its own controls on the Swiss border, which has the Swiss press concerned that they are becoming a transit country.

If the trends don't change, the refugee camp at Lake Como could well become another Idomeni. Last week the Italian authorities were planning to build a camp for 300 people, but Switzerland has already turned back over 4,000 just in the last month, and over 22000 this year so far. There is controversy over whether Swiss border guards are sending back asylum seekers, or other migrants, but the Swiss interior ministry openly admits the migrants are en route to Germany.

 

 

 

 

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August 22, 2016

On the death of neoliberal economics

For today, we are picking on three essays reflecting on the failure and demise of the neoliberal economic blueprint that has dominated western thinking since the 1980s. Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo, both economists at MIT, write in Le Monde that it was their own profession that "provided the simplistic messages that have dominated the political discourse since 1950." Europe should abandon the quest for more economic efficiency and focus on a renewal of the social contract. They are scathing about the policies of the EU that sought painful multi-annual budget consolidation in the hope that this would increase GDP in 100 years' time. The French government, too, wasted political capital on reforms with a payoff that it is too uncertain and too long-term. They write that reforms can only succeed if the changes are presented not as sacrifices for more economic efficiency and future gains, but as prerequisites for a better society here and now.

Martin Sandbu writes that the EU should cease to obsess about competitiveness, and instead focus on reforms to increase demand - especially product market reforms. For the eurozone this would mean readiness to raise deficits during a recession, debt restructuring, and banking policies to restore credit flow to damaged economies.

Martin Jacques makes the observation in the Guardian that both in the UK and the US class is reemerging as a factor in politics, and has the potential to reshape them. Brexit was primarily a working-class revolt - though not one that benefits the Labour Party.

"The neoliberal era is being undermined from two directions. First, if its record of economic growth has never been particularly strong, it is now dismal. Europe is barely larger than it was on the eve of the financial crisis in 2007...  Worse, because the recovery has been so weak and fragile, there is a widespread belief that another financial crisis may well beckon. In other words, the neoliberal era has delivered the west back into the kind of crisis-ridden world that we last experienced in the 1930s."

Jacques believes that Donald Trump may well lose the US elections, but he and Bernie Sanders have managed to tilt the US political debate againt TTP and TTIP, and what he calls hyper-globalisation.

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  • Germany's climate change hypocrisy
  • Canada minus the plus
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • May 14, 2019
  • Trump gives Orbán his blessing
  • Outcome of Belgium's parliament election on Sunday totally open
  • Has Trump really got the economics of trade all wrong?
  • November 02, 2017
  • The Impact of Brexit
  • German court of auditors questions diesel tax break
  • On trade and violence
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • April 15, 2019
  • Finland's far right changes the game
  • Brexit party drawing almost even with the Tories
  • October 18, 2017
  • Veneto and Lombardy to vote on autonomy
  • Portugal's president calls on government over fires
  • Radical ideas for radical times: how to pay off public debt
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • March 14, 2019
  • A very meaningless vote
  • October 03, 2017
  • A short note about UK politics
  • The impact of the German elections on the euro debate
  • The decline and fall of Martin Schulz and the SPD
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • February 11, 2019
  • SPD dumps Hartz IV
  • Macron's revival
  • September 18, 2017
  • Why Germany cannot lead Europe, let alone the free world
  • Will Macron help to build up Mélenchon?
  • Boris' Coup
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • January 10, 2019
  • Another quiet day in the Commons
  • From Rome with love
  • September 01, 2017
  • Rutte deflates Dutch labour party like a hot air balloon
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • December 14, 2018
  • Running down the clock
  • Macron, Philippe - untouchable no more
  • EP blasts Commission over Babis
  • August 21, 2017
  • Soft, getting softer
  • Tsipras' chances of a boost
  • On the fallacy of a middle-ground option for the eurozone
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • November 01, 2018
  • Is candidate Merz a keen pro-European?
  • Around the corner - Brexit edition
  • July 28, 2017
  • German government bans Porsche Cayenne
  • More troubles for the AfD
  • Of course there will be a soft transitional period for the UK
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • September 25, 2018
  • Be careful what you wish for - second referendum edition
  • July 10, 2017
  • EU in self-destruction mode
  • The EU's fault lines
  • Fake News and Fake views
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • August 20, 2018
  • ... and a subtle shift in EU policies towards both Russia and Turkey
  • Nothing to celebrate about the end of the bailout programme
  • Support for Brexit holding up
  • June 21, 2017
  • Why has the SPD deflated?
  • Berlusconi’s strategy
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • August 27, 2019
  • Remain’s narrowing pathway
  • Macron's diplomatic masterstroke
  • July 09, 2018
  • German panic about Target2
  • AfD level with SPD
  • How the EU could fail
  • June 01, 2017
  • On how to fix the eurozone
  • What happens if there is no Article 50 agreement?
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • June 18, 2019
  • Retaliation threats over drilling
  • May 28, 2018
  • A no-confidence motion that could backfire
  • The political repercussions of a historic referendum in Ireland
  • Why the lack of an international role for the euro matters
  • May 11, 2017
  • Germany rejects IMF’s policy recommendations before they are issued
  • Why Labour is losing
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • April 15, 2019
  • Finland's far right changes the game
  • Brexit party drawing almost even with the Tories
  • April 16, 2018
  • Italy's and Germany's pained response to the Syria attacks
  • On the end of the eurozone's economic honeymoon
  • Why Bulgaria should stay out of the euro
  • Where shall we meet after Brexit?
  • April 20, 2017
  • Don’t bet on Trump turning globalist
  • A note on UK election polls
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • January 31, 2019
  • EU will play hardball until February 14, and stick to backstop beyond
  • French left and right moves ahead of EP elections
  • Tighten the belts as the economy prepares for landing
  • February 27, 2018
  • Irish transport prepares for Brexit scenarios
  • One last Dutch referendum
  • Is the CDU a conservative party?
  • March 27, 2017
  • Governing formation troubles - Northern Ireland edition
  • Did Trump present Merkel with a bill for Nato?
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • November 19, 2018
  • May’s pushback is kicking in
  • January 08, 2018
  • Getting real on Brexit
  • Macron in China
  • March 02, 2017
  • Juncker's scenarios for Europe
  • EU minimum wages are rising
  • No, the Lords didn’t stop Brexit
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • June 12, 2019
  • What Spain wants from the EU
  • What to focus on in the Brexit procedure, and what not
  • August 28, 2018
  • Urban politics and national crisis - the Irish case
  • How anti-semitism became one of the main issues in British politics
  • November 15, 2017
  • A Christmas bonus for poor Greeks
  • Dim prospects of negotiated de-escalation on Catalonia
  • Macron's favourite to succeed Juncker - first round
  • On sovereignty
  • Gli Azzurri
  • February 03, 2017
  • The Schulz effect is getting huge
  • The post-Brexit boom goes on and on and on
  • A correction on Catalonia
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • February 18, 2019
  • How the splits on the left and the right will affect Brexit
  • June 04, 2018
  • German discourse out of control
  • Wait for European disunity on US tariffs
  • September 18, 2017
  • Why Germany cannot lead Europe, let alone the free world
  • Will Macron help to build up Mélenchon?
  • Boris' Coup
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • May 14, 2019
  • Trump gives Orbán his blessing
  • Outcome of Belgium's parliament election on Sunday totally open
  • Has Trump really got the economics of trade all wrong?
  • October 01, 2018
  • After the referendum, more turmoil in Macedonia
  • What will happen if the UK parliament votes No?
  • Barnier's no-thanks works much better than a yes-please
  • February 19, 2018
  • SPD divided over grand coalition
  • Wauquiez - the French Trump?
  • Why Brexit will be extremely hard to reverse
  • July 10, 2017
  • EU in self-destruction mode
  • The EU's fault lines
  • Fake News and Fake views
  • December 01, 2016
  • Will Italian expats swing the referendum result?
  • Why we keep on misreading the polls
  • Si vis pactum, para bellum
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • April 24, 2019
  • May's final and biggest gamble
  • Will the EP be Brexit's great parliamentary beneficiary?
  • Can Loiseau fight the far right given her past?
  • October 22, 2018
  • A week of intense political tension in the UK
  • Poland's local elections reveal deeply-split country
  • April 20, 2018
  • Macron at home
  • EU has rejected all UK proposals on Northern Irish border
  • Could there be a Five Star-Forza Italia government?
  • October 19, 2017
  • Germany is softening up over Brexit
  • The French budget and the wealthy
  • Will Borut Pahor win re-election as Slovenian president?
  • April 20, 2017
  • Don’t bet on Trump turning globalist
  • A note on UK election polls
  • October 21, 2016
  • Wallonia says No for the third time
  • Do you remember that Dutch referendum on Ukraine?
  • How narratives are destroying the EU
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • July 17, 2019
  • The dreaded scenario
  • Meet the Labour no-dealers
  • March 05, 2019
  • The most promising Brexit strategy we have heard yet
  • October 22, 2018
  • A week of intense political tension in the UK
  • Poland's local elections reveal deeply-split country
  • June 11, 2018
  • The end of the G7 - good riddance
  • Macron needs allies for his European agenda
  • Who is going to be the next director-general of the Italian treasury?
  • January 30, 2018
  • Will Puigdemont be Catalan premier today?
  • Some thoughts about the German car industry
  • A short note on Italian coalition maths
  • September 22, 2017
  • The last German polls
  • May 15, 2017
  • SPD and CDU disagree on how to respond to Macron
  • Was Rajoy blackmailed?
  • The rise of the re-leavers
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • August 30, 2016
  • Brexit facts on the ground
  • Burkinis and Republican primaries
  • The SPD and TTIP
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • September 05, 2019
  • Would Keynes be in favour of Brexit?
  • July 22, 2019
  • Will Johnson go for elections?
  • How will von der Leyen handle the east?
  • June 07, 2019
  • Keep looking, gentlemen, said the King
  • Message from Peterborough
  • The decline of the grand coalition is accelerating
  • April 24, 2019
  • May's final and biggest gamble
  • Will the EP be Brexit's great parliamentary beneficiary?
  • Can Loiseau fight the far right given her past?
  • March 11, 2019
  • Ask what Europe can do for Germany - AKK's EU manifesto
  • January 28, 2019
  • Battle of the amendments
  • How the Prespes deal affects the next Greek elections
  • December 17, 2018
  • A second referendum is no closer today than last Friday
  • Philippe expects 3.2% deficit next year
  • November 05, 2018
  • Macron trails behind Le Pen in European elections poll
  • How the CDU will organise leadership campaign
  • September 27, 2018
  • Two ways out of the Brexit impasse
  • August 20, 2018
  • ... and a subtle shift in EU policies towards both Russia and Turkey
  • Nothing to celebrate about the end of the bailout programme
  • Support for Brexit holding up
  • July 09, 2018
  • German panic about Target2
  • AfD level with SPD
  • How the EU could fail
  • June 04, 2018
  • German discourse out of control
  • Wait for European disunity on US tariffs
  • April 30, 2018
  • Looming May protests against Macron
  • France has discovered the Laffer curve
  • An important resignation in the UK
  • March 27, 2018
  • The IMF's proposals for eurozone reform
  • No concessions from Erdogan
  • Will the UK be shut out of Galileo on Brexit?
  • February 23, 2018
  • The politics behind the Novartis case
  • German decision on diesel cars postponed
  • The Le Pens
  • January 22, 2018
  • Carles Puigdemont's flying circus
  • Macedonia and the insurrection of Greek patriotism
  • On the real hurdles for Brexit revocation
  • And the satellites, too
  • December 21, 2017
  • Catalonia votes
  • A deputy prime minister resigns
  • Will Gibraltar result in another Irish fudge?
  • Blood, sweat and tears
  • November 21, 2017
  • A short note on the impact of German political chaos on Brexit
  • A scandal, overshadowed
  • October 23, 2017
  • Macron's plans for the European Parliament
  • First phase of Brexit negotiations in final stretch
  • Why the left hates Europe
  • September 25, 2017
  • Where does this leave eurozone governance reform?
  • Is Mélenchon losing his momentum?
  • Lost in Florence
  • August 29, 2017
  • The deep significance of Labour's Brexit U-turn
  • The day after the SPD loses
  • August 03, 2017
  • Commons to vote whether to keep UK in universe
  • Syriza uses eduction bill to reconnect with grassroots
  • July 10, 2017
  • EU in self-destruction mode
  • The EU's fault lines
  • Fake News and Fake views
  • June 16, 2017
  • The emerging Brexit consensus
  • On the economics of supply chains
  • May 24, 2017
  • We are all anti-system now
  • Are the UK’s cards in the Brexit talks really that weak?
  • How Merkel will play Macron
  • May 02, 2017
  • An accident waiting to happen
  • Matteo Renzi wins PD primaries
  • So much for the Schulz effect
  • April 10, 2017
  • Nein, nein, nein, und nein
  • Sounds like a bad Brexit story, but ain’t
  • On how not to exit the euro
  • March 20, 2017
  • Does the language of communiques matter?
  • Spain snap election rumblings
  • Will there be a Brexit deal?
  • February 27, 2017
  • May’s next gamble
  • Macron and the rise of the centre
  • Bite the bullet and get on with it
  • Who is the AfD?
  • February 09, 2017
  • The Lords have a choice - risk abolition or vote for Brexit
  • French secret service fears Russian support for FN
  • A whiff of revolution
  • Rajoy and Trump, best buddies
  • Violent fantasies around Catalonia
  • January 23, 2017
  • What if the populists clash with one another?
  • Why the euro is a real problem for the German left
  • When you call the US, what number do you dial?
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • December 12, 2016
  • Renzi without Renzi
  • Shall we compensate the losers of globalisation?
  • The need for a partnership with China
  • November 28, 2016
  • And now what Monsieur Fillion?
  • The inescapable logic of an interim agreement
  • On Germany's foreign policy post-Trump
  • How to lose against the populists
  • November 14, 2016
  • The populists are winning
  • The Trump effect on the French Republican primaries
  • ND to target disenchanted Syriza voters
  • Debt repayment postponed to infinity
  • November 03, 2016
  • The UK's High Court rules today
  • Merkel's Turkey nightmare
  • October 24, 2016
  • Ceta - the next deadline
  • Who will lead Germany?
  • Peasant party upsets Lithuanian election
  • Ségolène Royal, seriously?
  • October 12, 2016
  • Are we headed towards a military east-west confrontation?
  • October 04, 2016
  • US breaks off peace talks with Russia
  • Shocked, shocked about Brexit
  • September 26, 2016
  • A weekend of insurrection
  • The radicalisation of the French mainstream
  • Leaving the customs union
  • Meanwhile in Bosnia...
  • September 19, 2016
  • Unhappy in Bratislava
  • Au nom du peuple
  • Pressure rising towards a hard Brexit
  • September 12, 2016
  • Renzi and his internal opposition
  • September 05, 2016
  • The beginning of the end
  • Public safety concerns in Greece
  • MPs get no access to Apple ruling
  • August 30, 2016
  • Brexit facts on the ground
  • Burkinis and Republican primaries
  • The SPD and TTIP
  • August 24, 2016
  • Towards a hard Brexit
  • Is there a pact of Ventotene?
  • La rentrée
  • August 23, 2016
  • Sarkozy launches candidacy in a book
  • Rajoy plans to try again in October
  • Turkey recalls ambassador from Austria