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February 20, 2017

SPD ahead of CDU/CSU

We don’t want to bring you a blow-by-blow account of German opinion polls, but this, by Emnid, is the first one showing the SPD ahead of the CDU/CSU. If this were the final election results, Martin Schulz would be the next German chancellor. Here is a snapshot of the latest polls: 

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February 20, 2017

Fillon bounces back

Fillon seems to be back in the saddle again. A breakfast with Nicolas Sarkozy was a turning point. Now he is out there campaigning, making headlines with proposals such as lowering the penal age to 16. This proposal is backed by Republican voters (83%) and Front National (81%). He will present his controversial health care programme on Tuesday, so the press has something else to chew on. There is a loyal core of Republicans, between 18% and 20%, who will support him no matter what. His backing among Republican voters is 70% according to a poll for Journal du Dimanche.

Can he still win? If there are no more revelations and no indictment, yes, argues Le Point. His team already said that he will not get out of the race if the prosecutors just opens an enquiry. The best that could happen to Fillon is if the courts take their time to come to a conclusion. What if he were indicted? The ball is in the judges' court and there is a chance that the public would see an early indictment as bias against François Fillon: 61% of Republicans already do.

They also started a debate about who would be prime minister under Fillon. Xavier Betrand and Francois Baroin are clearly campaigning for this job. Both are ambitious and bring something to the table, Betrand as a force against Marine Le Pen (he ousted her in the regional elections 2015) and Baroin as the president of the mayors’ association.

It is also now clear that there will be no common ticket of Benoît Hamon and Jean-Luc Mélenchon. After weeks of talks behind closed doors, Mélenchon presented his programme over the weekend. Mélenchon never had an obvious incentive to join forces with Hamon. He is the one to represent the anti-establishment crowd on the left, with a track record and a reputation to lose.

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February 20, 2017

The Brexit timetable

Alex Barker reports in the FT that the EU is planning to spend until Christmas solely focusing on the technical issues of the Article 50 discussions - a timetable we think is realistic given the complexities of the divorce.

We are not entirely sure whether this represents a setback for the UK, whose Brexit minister indicated a preference for parallel negotiations towards a fast-track deal to be completed by the end of 2018. We, too, thought a fast-track trade was technically possible, given that we are starting from a position of complete convergence, but this obviously requires the goodwill of both sides. The EU does not seem willing to go down this route, which is why we think a time-limited transitional deal is likely.

Michel Barnier will prioritise the costs of Brexit and the rights of EU citizens in the UK, and vice versa, in the first stages of the negotiations. 

Five diplomats confirmed the year-end timetable, the article says. One of the first goals is to agree a basic methodology for the Brexit agreement. Once that is completed, the next stage in the talks is to negotiate an interim deal, on the basis for the likely future FTA. 

In the UK, the biggest event has been a speech by Tony Blair, whose declared intent has been to usurp Brexit. Sebastian Payne makes the point that if Blair wants to influence the events, he will need to accept that Brexit is happening. The timing of his speech is all wrong - after the Labour Party decided to endorse the government’s Article 50 bill, which is now in the House of Lords. One should also not underestimate that Blair is loathed in many sections of his party. 

“My advice to Mr Blair: hop in a car and drive north. Go to Trimdon, in your former constituency of Sedgefield, and see how the 60 per cent of Brexit voters there find your message. Then you will see the difficulty facing the Labour party. Its core base is disappearing as voters no longer listen to it.”

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  • 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
  • July 22, 2019
  • Will Johnson go for elections?
  • How will von der Leyen handle the east?
  • June 10, 2019
  • How to create Brexit facts
  • The new Alde is already in trouble
  • April 30, 2019
  • Labour's big day
  • Spain now turns to its next elections
  • On the hypocrisy of the German debt debate
  • March 22, 2019
  • Kicking the can down the cliff
  • February 13, 2019
  • What to make of the man in the pub - and other tales
  • Macron loses more early advisers - or cuts them loose
  • January 07, 2019
  • What to look out for in the Brexit debates
  • Macron's last-resort tool for the gilets jaunes
  • December 03, 2018
  • French protests coming to a head this week
  • The Galileo fiasco, an ill omen for the future UK-EU relationship
  • October 29, 2018
  • Why the EEA is no longer a Brexit option
  • Behold the rising superpower: post-catholic Ireland’s European miracle
  • September 25, 2018
  • Be careful what you wish for - second referendum edition
  • August 23, 2018
  • Chancellor says No to Maas' one and only substantive idea
  • French households yet to see reduction in fiscal burden
  • July 23, 2018
  • A Watergate affair for Macron?
  • Irish insist hard border is politically impossible
  • June 20, 2018
  • Does Macron support Merkel over refugees?
  • Arising doubts whether the meaningful vote rebellion will succeed
  • The message of two shocking polls
  • May 22, 2018
  • A €60bn ESM credit line - is this what they call a backstop?
  • Will Nato survive Trump?
  • Northern Ireland's Brexit disillusion
  • Would Corbyn become prime minister if he accepted the single market?
  • April 23, 2018
  • More bad news for the SPD
  • Will Theresa May accept a customs union? The Times says yes. We think so too.
  • A comeback for Marine Le Pen?
  • March 26, 2018
  • On the run no more
  • Terrorist attack will challenge Macron
  • A double-whammy of geopolitical and financial uncertainty
  • February 26, 2018
  • Angela Merkel's cabinet
  • January 29, 2018
  • Where is the opposition in France?
  • Scenarios and risks for Syriza over Macedonia
  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • December 06, 2017
  • Ireland in search of its own path in the EU
  • Who owns the eurozone?
  • Gabriel's big speech
  • November 14, 2017
  • The apolitical movement inside LREM
  • On the unity of the PD and the visions of the Italian left
  • A clarification on glyphosate
  • On freedom of movement
  • October 23, 2017
  • Macron's plans for the European Parliament
  • First phase of Brexit negotiations in final stretch
  • Why the left hates Europe
  • 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
  • September 11, 2017
  • Turkey issues travel warning for visitors to Germany
  • How nasty is the AfD?
  • August 21, 2017
  • Soft, getting softer
  • Tsipras' chances of a boost
  • On the fallacy of a middle-ground option for the eurozone
  • July 24, 2017
  • Macron's popularity falls amid more budget cuts
  • Orbán to support Polish government against EU
  • No exit from Brexit
  • July 05, 2017
  • Europe’s next migration crisis
  • Philippe: French need to kick spending addiction
  • June 20, 2017
  • How to soften Brexit?
  • The deep roots of Brexit: Thatcher and the Germans
  • June 05, 2017
  • What happens to Brexit if Labour wins?
  • What Russia wants
  • May 22, 2017
  • Catalonia's independence blueprint
  • Commission wants completion of eurozone by 2025
  • The case for more honesty about the abolition of cash
  • The case against an Italian euro exit
  • May 08, 2017
  • A message of hope
  • Barnier's not so easily agreed Brexit principles
  • The rebirth of the paranoid conspiracy theory
  • April 26, 2017
  • The realities of Brexit - residency rights edition
  • How Franco-German economic imbalances manifest
  • Pasok - the now classic Socialist dilemma
  • April 15, 2017
  • Happy Easter
  • April 05, 2017
  • What if Macron were to become president?
  • The case for relative optimism about Article 50
  • March 28, 2017
  • To vote or not to vote
  • The pressure is on for the Dutch Green Left
  • On macro risk in the eurozone
  • March 20, 2017
  • Does the language of communiques matter?
  • Spain snap election rumblings
  • Will there be a Brexit deal?
  • March 13, 2017
  • Poland and the future of the EU
  • Polls show 40% support for Costa's Socialists
  • Council of Europe questions Spanish constitutional court reform
  • March 05, 2017
  • Poland vs Tusk
  • Juppé - a recovered candidate?
  • Will Italy leave the euro?
  • 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 24, 2017
  • Schulz effect stabilises
  • Wilders security breach becomes campaign issue
  • Kenny wants Ireland clause in Brexit deal
  • On why Europe should not overreact to Trump
  • February 22, 2017
  • Schulz and the neoliberals
  • How to get back into the EU
  • The second phase of Trump
  • February 21, 2017
  • Schulz to undo Schroder’s Agenda 2010
  • Dutch minister under fire for disability benefit fiasco
  • On what to do about Germany’s current account surplus
  • Untouchable Le Pen