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November 14, 2016

The populists are winning

The European response to anything these days are meetings and grand pronouncements but no action. Frank-Walter Steinmeier had hoped to repeat the little stunt he pulled off after the Brexit vote with an emergency foreign ministers' meeting, but this time, both the UK, and notably France, boycotted last night's dinner, and the symbolism is now reversed. The EU shows the outside world that its reaction to the Trump vote is one of division, as opposed to "sending a signal of what the EU expects" of Trump, as the FT quoted one unnamed diplomat. Boris Johnson's decision not to attend received much publicity over the weekend, while Jean-Marc Ayrault stayed in Paris to meet Jens Stoltenberg, the Nato general secretary. The Hungarians also missed the meeting, which they described as hysterical. The article quoted a diplomat as saying: "When the EU’s most powerful country wants to lead, other member states don’t necessarily follow." What this means is that we have long reached the limits of what an inter-government system can do. Huffing and puffing won't extend them.

Meanwhile, team Trump are already doing their best to highlight Europe's divisions. Apart from Nigel Farage's little PR stunt as the first European politician to visit Trump, a story circulated over the weekend that Trump's newly appointed special adviser Stephen Bannon, a white supremacist, had reached out to Marine Le Pen. We noted a tweet by Le Pen's niece, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, who tweeted yesterday:

"I answer yes to the invitation of Stephen Bannon...to work together."

There was some confusion about whether or when this invitation was made though.

There was further criticism of the decision by Andrew Marr of the BBC to interview Marine Le Pen on Armistice day (we are with the BBC on this - she is a serious contender for the French presidency, and it would be mistaken for the rest of us to pretend that this isn't so). In this interview, Le Pen reiterated her determination for France to leave the EU, which she said should not last "two minutes longer", and said there was not a hair's breadth between the FN and Ukip. She said her main foreign policy objective was to make the EU less reliant on the US and more open towards Russia.

The impact of Trump on Italy is more complicated as this article points out. Italy's right is highly divided. While the Five Star Movement is best placed to capture the anti-establishment vote, especially in a straight run-off with the Partito Democratico, support for Trump is, however, low within that party. It is therefore not all clear how a surge in Trump support would pan out in the Italian political system.

Timothy Garten-Ash had a good comment in which he describes big ideological shifts as requiring time to work themselves out.

"Does history teach us anything about such wave-like phenomena, appearing at roughly the same time in many places, in different national and regional forms, but nonetheless having common features? Nationalist populism now, globalised liberalism (or neoliberalism) in the 1990s, fascism and communism in the 1930s and 40s, imperialism in the 19th century. Two lessons perhaps: that these things usually take a significant period of time to work themselves out; and that to reverse them (if the wave is of a kind you want to see reversed) requires courage, determination, consistency, the development of a new political language and new policy answers to real problems." 

We disagree, however, with his conclusion, that Angela Merkel is now the leader of the free world. How can that be, we wonder, when she didn't even manage to provide leadership during the eurozone crisis as she prioritised German national interests? Ulrich Speck (@ulrichspeck) agrees in a tweet this morning:

“Merkel cannot be Europe's leader. What she can do is to keep German foreign policy Europeanized and to broker compromises on EU level."

In a comment for NRC, Caroline de Gruyter reports that at a recent security conference in Warsaw delegates were concerned about the prospect of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin redrawing and mutually recognising their spheres of influence, with echoes of Yalta but without British participation. The scenario reflects the fear of former Russian satellites that the US may be willing to let them fall again under Russian control. But the concern was not universal. According to De Gruyter Hungary is more concerned about the threat of refugees. EU states disagree on almost all matters, and in particular they cannot find agreement on how they should respond to the possibility of losing the military backstop of the US. Leadership in this area too may fall by default on a reluctant Germany, as the UK is withdrawing from the EU and France and Italy become more inward-looking. De Gruyter concludes with the thought that the EU needs to answer the question of how to organise its own defence. Otherwise it will be every country for itself, without the US coming to pick up the pieces.

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November 14, 2016

The Trump effect on the French Republican primaries

How will Donald Trump influence the election campaign in France? While everyone is looking at the Front National, it is the first round of the Republican primaries this Sunday where the effect could be seen first. After months of no shifts, polls now suggests that the race is getting tighter. They show Alain Juppé losing support, Nicolas Sarkozy gaining and François Fillon catching up. There are two scenarios here to watch out for, and they all are related to the question of how candidate Juppé is perceived in a Trump world.

The more extreme scenario would see Juppé not making it into a second round. For this Fillon would have to make quite a leap compared to where polls now put him: the poll for Le Figaro shows that Juppé gets 36 % (- 6), Nicolas Sarkozy 30 % (+ 2) and François Fillon 18% (+ 7). But, do the polls really capture what's going on? After Brexit and Trump, there are no certainties anymore. There are signs that Fillon’s potential is underestimated. This Thursday night will be the last debate between the candidates, and the first two already benefited Fillon. What will it do this time? There are also some Juppé supporters starting to wonder whether Fillon is not a better opponent to Sarkozy, according to l’Opinion. And ,if Emmanuel Macron declares his presidential candidacy, he might well take away Juppé's appeal. In his interview with le Journal du Dimanche, Fillon says Juppé was too moderate and did not stand for change. 

The other scenario to watch out for assumes that both Juppé and Sarkozy make it into the second round but that Sarkozy comes first rather than second in the first round. This would change the dynamics for the run-off. In that scenario it is hard to see how Juppé can mobilise sufficient support to secure his nomination. Sarkozy was the first to come out after Trump’s win to claim that he is the real anti-establishment candidate. None of the candidates underestimate the impact of a new electorate that is hostile to elites, power and polls. But it is Alain Juppé who could well be the first victim in this massacre, warns Cécile Cornudet.

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November 14, 2016

ND to target disenchanted Syriza voters

The new initiative from New Democracy is to capitalise on disenchantment with Syriza.  The partylaunched a new campaign to woo voters to the centre-left, disenchanted Syriza supporters as well as disgruntled voters of the centre, according to Kathimerini. Their take is that the largest share of undecided voters backed Syriza in the last elections, but are ideologically not attached to the left. A poll conducted by the University of Macedonia last week indicated that 9% of those who supported Syriza in 2015 vote have since migrated to ND. 

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November 14, 2016

Debt repayment postponed to infinity

Sunday’s Kathimerini reveals that in April 2015 three Greek ministers granted three municipal authorities an extension to repay their debt (€535m) to the state and the social security fund for up to 2129 years. This unprecedented extension of more than 21 centuries was given to one of the three, the municipality of Fyli, the other two only got extensions of 13 and 166 years. The three ministers include Nikos Voutsis (now speaker of parliament) and Panos Skourletis (now interior minister). The decision is also unusual in that it requires the local authorities to hand the state 5% of their budget allocation of the interior ministry every month.

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  • March 13, 2019
  • Not really all that meaningful
  • Will the EPP merely put Orban on probation?
  • Why AKKs riposte to Macron is deeply disturbing
  • October 02, 2017
  • Catalonia recalls EU and eurozone instability
  • French trade unions increase pressure over labour reforms
  • Watch out for a political accident in the UK
  • Municipal elections boost Portugal's Socialists
  • 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 07, 2019
  • What to look out for in the Brexit debates
  • Macron's last-resort tool for the gilets jaunes
  • August 31, 2017
  • Where are the Républicains?
  • Poland unmoved by EU rule-of-law sanctions
  • May will stay through Brexit, and then fight the 2022 elections
  • 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 12, 2018
  • 48 letters
  • A sense of deja-vu
  • 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
  • October 29, 2018
  • Why the EEA is no longer a Brexit option
  • Behold the rising superpower: post-catholic Ireland’s European miracle
  • July 27, 2017
  • Löfven's move
  • The nearing end of petrol and diesel engines
  • Why a second referendum in the UK won’t happen, and why it would be wrong
  • 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
  • October 17, 2019
  • A dangerous game for the EU
  • After Brexit, get ready for a German EU budget rebate
  • 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 20, 2017
  • How to soften Brexit?
  • The deep roots of Brexit: Thatcher and the Germans
  • 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
  • May 31, 2017
  • Getting real in the debate on the euro's future
  • Russia's growing influence in Italy
  • 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 10, 2017
  • PSOE primary campaign in full swing
  • Czech government crisis escalates
  • Backroom dealing on electoral reform in Italy
  • 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 09, 2019
  • What can go wrong now?
  • April 13, 2018
  • German support for eurozone reform next to zero...
  • ... and no support for France on Syria either
  • A French sermon
  • Why the euro endures
  • April 19, 2017
  • Shadows of money
  • Breppe Grillo vs Eurointelligence
  • 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 29, 2019
  • What comes after plan B fails? Plan C, of course. C for cliff-edge
  • Gilets jaunes, how to structure a movement in free flow?
  • European Court of Auditors criticises Juncker’s investment fund
  • February 26, 2018
  • Angela Merkel's cabinet
  • 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
  • September 30, 2019
  • A pyrrhic victory for Kurz
  • Will there really be UK elections?
  • November 19, 2018
  • May’s pushback is kicking in
  • January 08, 2018
  • Getting real on Brexit
  • Macron in China
  • March 01, 2017
  • The threat of Frexit
  • Fear and loathing of a referendum in Spain
  • How to get around Theresa May’s little ECJ issue
  • Solve the problem
  • 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 11, 2019
  • Politics and the new sense of urgency
  • Ten little monkeys jumping up and down - down mostly
  • August 28, 2018
  • Urban politics and national crisis - the Irish case
  • How anti-semitism became one of the main issues in British politics
  • November 13, 2017
  • A pro-European list: Wauquiez' nightmare
  • Catalan separatism isn't going away
  • Why oh why does Germany behave the way it does?
  • Why the four freedoms matter
  • February 02, 2017
  • Will it come to the use of force in Catalonia?
  • The day Brexit became irreversible
  • Can Trump and May succeed?
  • 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 13, 2019
  • What to make of the man in the pub - and other tales
  • Macron loses more early advisers - or cuts them loose
  • June 01, 2018
  • Will France and Germany stick together in their response to US trade tariffs?
  • From a eurozone budget to a slush fund
  • 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 09, 2019
  • The EU's impossible dilemma
  • The horsetrading starts in Sibiu
  • May to bring withdrawal bill to Commons week after next
  • September 27, 2018
  • Two ways out of the Brexit impasse
  • February 16, 2018
  • How big will the euro budget be?
  • July 10, 2017
  • EU in self-destruction mode
  • The EU's fault lines
  • Fake News and Fake views
  • November 30, 2016
  • Is Russia behind a massive cyber attack in Germany?
  • Will Fillon move to the centre?
  • The Dutch left field is getting crowded
  • 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
  • October 18, 2019
  • The horrifying implications of Merkel’s 5G decision
  • April 17, 2019
  • Why it is far from clear that the grand coalition will survive the year
  • Macron's chance and challenge
  • Eurozone firms' surprising response to sagging profits
  • The result of Spain's elections, a riddle wrapped in mystery
  • The MMT debate is coming to Europe - and Germany
  • Greek parliament seeks German war reparations
  • October 15, 2018
  • Black Brexit smoke
  • Bettel can relax and stay in office
  • Solving the crime vs solving the problem
  • 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?
  • October 16, 2017
  • What‘s the deep meaning of the elections in Lower Saxony?
  • Can Brexit be revoked?
  • Macron's grand narrative
  • April 19, 2017
  • Shadows of money
  • Breppe Grillo vs Eurointelligence
  • October 20, 2016
  • No games please, we are Europeans
  • 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 16, 2019
  • What next, after EU sanctions Turkey?
  • What to make of Johnson’s four-point Brexit plan
  • Galileo fails, and nobody notices
  • March 04, 2019
  • Macron's two-month sprint
  • May's numbers are not there yet
  • Greening QE
  • On the "hope" of a rate raise
  • 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 29, 2018
  • Where is the opposition in France?
  • Scenarios and risks for Syriza over Macedonia
  • September 21, 2017
  • Time to get serious about Brexit
  • Would the FDP claim the job of finance minister?
  • The return of the ultra-right to German politics
  • 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
  • October 10, 2019
  • What if UK parliament rejects both elections and the second referendum?
  • Should Europeans really look forward to President Warren?
  • August 27, 2019
  • Remain’s narrowing pathway
  • Macron's diplomatic masterstroke
  • July 03, 2019
  • A bold but risky choice
  • What will the European Parliament do?
  • May 22, 2019
  • Better start those no-deal preparations right now
  • Europe's real transfer union is from east to west
  • April 09, 2019
  • What can go wrong now?
  • February 27, 2019
  • EU bets on stable dictatorships to guard its south
  • The grand débat context for the unemployment insurance reform
  • Survey suggests that political dividing line in Europe is between France and Germany
  • January 18, 2019
  • Why Dublin won't yield on the backstop
  • Town hall debates vs street protests - who is winning?
  • December 10, 2018
  • ECJ says UK free to revoke Article 50, even inside extension period
  • A turning point in Macron's presidency
  • China has added Portugal to the list of its key EU partners
  • Belgium's coalition implodes over Marrakesh pact
  • November 01, 2018
  • Is candidate Merz a keen pro-European?
  • Around the corner - Brexit edition
  • September 25, 2018
  • Be careful what you wish for - second referendum edition
  • 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 16, 2018
  • How to think about the three Brexit options
  • How to respond to Trump
  • 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?
  • May 08, 2018
  • Macron and the technocratic republic
  • Philippe's silent offer to the SNCF unions
  • On the ordoliberal utopia of a debt-free state
  • April 06, 2018
  • Schleswig Holstein collapses Spain's strategy against Catalan separatism
  • On the implausibility of conspiracy theories in the Skripal case
  • March 07, 2018
  • The PD - so much like the SPD
  • Why the EU is right to blackball the City of London
  • Car companies don't deliver on diesel upgrades
  • February 05, 2018
  • How big is Germany's external surplus, really?
  • Macron's first election test
  • Coeure's endorsement of a fiscal union
  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • December 04, 2017
  • Can Brexit still be stopped?
  • Could Poland open up the Posted Workers Directive again?
  • Has the Bank of England solved the productivity puzzle?
  • November 06, 2017
  • Pressures on EU rise over Catalonia
  • German pre-coalition talks hit glitch
  • If you thought UK politics couldn‘t get worse...
  • October 10, 2017
  • The UK is slowly gearing up for a no-deal Brexit scenario
  • No liberal parties in Austria
  • September 15, 2017
  • Juncker dragged into the Catalan fray
  • What to say in Florence
  • How to fill the gap left by the British MEPs
  • August 23, 2017
  • Is Macron neo-protectionistic?
  • No, it is not easy to get rid of the stability pact
  • July 31, 2017
  • Russia sanctions bill becomes US law
  • Spain's Guardia Civil in the eye of the Catalan storm
  • A grand bargain between France and Germany
  • July 10, 2017
  • EU in self-destruction mode
  • The EU's fault lines
  • Fake News and Fake views
  • June 19, 2017
  • SPD to focus on inequality
  • On radical uncertainty
  • May 30, 2017
  • Beer tent politics - Merkel edition
  • Brexit arrives in UK elections
  • Rajoy clears budget hurdle
  • May 11, 2017
  • Germany rejects IMF’s policy recommendations before they are issued
  • Why Labour is losing
  • April 23, 2017
  • The demise of the AfD has accelerated dramatically
  • On how France will need to confront Germany
  • April 05, 2017
  • What if Macron were to become president?
  • The case for relative optimism about Article 50
  • March 20, 2017
  • Does the language of communiques matter?
  • Spain snap election rumblings
  • Will there be a Brexit deal?
  • March 05, 2017
  • Poland vs Tusk
  • Juppé - a recovered candidate?
  • Will Italy leave the euro?
  • February 20, 2017
  • SPD ahead of CDU/CSU
  • Fillon bounces back
  • The Brexit timetable
  • February 08, 2017
  • Fillon faces new allegations
  • Does Martin Schulz really have a chance?
  • Spain's not-so-green taxes
  • Building the Catalan tax database - legally?
  • Reports of the death of Russia’s economy were exaggerated
  • January 27, 2017
  • The Brexit Bill in full
  • Fillon says he would withdraw if charged
  • January 16, 2017
  • Trump doubles down against the EU
  • Fake maths
  • 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 20, 2016
  • The politics of terror
  • On Lagarde
  • Is a disruptive Brexit possible?
  • December 12, 2016
  • Renzi without Renzi
  • Shall we compensate the losers of globalisation?
  • The need for a partnership with China
  • December 05, 2016
  • Tu felix Austria
  • All eyes on Valls
  • Discrimination is the issue, not deportation
  • What do these men have in common?
  • 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 21, 2016
  • Merkel IV
  • Erdogan increasingly alienated from the West
  • EU may force a hard Brexit
  • The day after
  • November 18, 2016
  • Habermas on the role of the left in the rise of the right
  • November 16, 2016
  • Signal-to-noise ratio - Brexit edition
  • Rodrick on the duplicity of his profession
  • November 15, 2016
  • Is the EU's global strategy paper really our response to Trump?
  • President Steinmeier
  • Are journalists to blame?
  • March of the pro-Russians