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August 23, 2016

Sarkozy launches candidacy in a book

Nicolas Sarkozy made his candidacy official. He announced his bid for the Republican primaries in his book "Tout pout la France" to be available in bookshops tomorrow. To announce a presidential candidacy in a book is a first in French politics, and in stark contrast to Alain Juppé, who announced his candidature on facebook. The newspapers got a copy to review this morning, so the secret is out. 

In the book Sarkozy repeats what he already flagged up before: a forceful offensive against immigration. He wants a reform of the birthright rules to prevent immigrant family reunions, a new Schengen treaty, and to "organise" Islam by subjecting imams to the control of the Interior ministry. He also advocates a ban on visible religious signs in universities and to pork-free options in school canteens. Those susceptible of becoming a security threat should be under constant surveillance also with electronic tags. In his book Sarkozy plays to the theme of national identity. He writes that it is time to start a determined battle against multiculturalism and accused the Socialists of doing more for minorities than for the French. With stark language he evokes a scary picture of France, at war against a limitless enemy, in need of a strong and authoritative leader, him. It's De Gaulle all over. 

In his economic policies Sarkozy wants to reinstall his tax-free overtime working hours (which was abandoned by Francois Hollande), to give small enterprises the right to negotiate working time themselves and to increase working time in the public sector from 35 hours to 37 hours. He suggests degressive unemployment benefits (20% less after 12 months), a gradual increase in the retirement age to 64 by 2025, a 10% cut in income tax as from the summer 2017 and the abolition of the solidarity tax on wealth, according to Le Point.

With this candidature Sarkozy also quit his post as party leader. It is not clear yet who will succeed him. Number 2 in the party Laurent Wauquiez expects to take over as acting president, but Eric Woerth and others do not support him and prefer a collective leadership instead, according to Journal du Dimanche.

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August 23, 2016

Rajoy plans to try again in October

As Spain gears up for Mariano Rajoy's investiture vote next week, the caretaker PM is already preparing for his foreseeable defeat. Rajoy can count on the support of the single Canary Coalition MP and, assuming the negotiations with liberal party Ciudadanos this week are successful, that would give him 170 votes out of 350. Rajoy's best hopes are to attract at least the abstention of the right-wing Basque nationalist PNV, or Catalan nationalist DiLl. The latter appears to have supported the PP and Ciudadanos in the vote to select the speaker of the Spanish parliament. Then the executive board of the parliament, at Ciudadanos' urging, denied the Catalan party its own parliamentary group. As, in addition, DiLl is still leading the separatist regional government in Catalonia, it is unlikely that they'll lend support to Rajoy, but anything is possible. The PNV, however, has made it known that they see a PP-Ciudadanos alliance as a coup-de-grace to Basque self-government.

Rajoy, however, does not give up hope. Since the political class will be otherwise occupied in September with the regional elections in the Basque Country and Galicia, Mariano Rajoy is planning to try again at the start of October. According to La Vanguardia, he's pinning his hopes on the PNV needing the support of the Basque PP and the socialist PSE to avoid losing the regional government to an alliance of Podemos and the left separatist Bildu, which remains highly controversial due to its associations with the armed group ETA.

Meanwhile, the PSOE gives no sign of relenting on its intention to vote against Rajoy. After the regional elections, the party may reconsider its position which currently is an impossible trilemma of No to Rajoy, No to new elections, and No to leading a government as it doesn't have the numbers for it. Ciudadanos, in a display of enthusiasm for Rajoy, is pleading for the PSOE to hold its nose and abstain.

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August 23, 2016

Turkey recalls ambassador from Austria

Turkey is recalling its ambassador from Austria for consultations, ostensibly in response to the Austrian government authorising a demonstration in Vienna by supporters of the PKK, which Turkey classes as a terrorist organisation. The Kurdish group, alongside the Islamic State and the Gülen organisation, are the three enemies of the state that Turkish government officials mention habitually when justifying their reluctance to bring anti-terror legislation in line with EU human rights standards, which is a key condition for the EU to agree visa-free travel for Turks. 

The diplomatic relation between Austria and Turkey has been souring for some time. Just last week at the council of ministers Austria was the only member state to openly advocate ending accession negotiations with Turkey. The Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern is said to have described Turkey's accession as a diplomatic fiction as its democratic standards fall short. In an background article last week, Profil magazine writes "it's 1683 all over again" between Austria and Turkey, and traces the recent diplomatic escalation. In the first week of August Kern had criticised the EU's "appeasement" of Turkey and the EU's dependence on Turkey over the refugee issue. His foreign minister Sebastian Kurz also demanded a Plan B on refugees, and predicted that the refugee deal would not hold. 

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  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 26, 2016
  • Will the refugee crisis return?
  • Montebourg en avant
  • Moisi on Sarkozy's chances
  • Binary choices
  • August 24, 2016
  • Towards a hard Brexit
  • Is there a pact of Ventotene?
  • La rentrée