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February 28, 2017

Is Hamon losing the right wing of his party?

Is Benoit Hamon losing the right wing of his party, as Les Echos suggests? The reformers wrote a letter to Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, accusing Hamon of seeking alliances with parties on the left rather than speaking to the Socialist voter base. The agreement with Yannick Jadot is the main target of their grievances. They accuse Hamon of giving in to an unrealistic programme for a very high price, deviating from party lines, and styling himself the French version of Jeremy Corbyn. The reformers want a national council of the party, and will discuss this in their meeting today. We will then also get a clearer idea of how many signatories the letter had. What will Manuel Valls do? One of his close allies, Christophe Caresche, already announced his departure to join the Macron team, attracted by his dynamic ascent and his chances to win against Marine Le Pen.

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February 28, 2017

Something we just don’t understand

Given that the UK has now decided to leave the EU, why do former Remainers still not focus their energy fully in the fight to keep the future EU-UK relationship as close as possible, for example through continued membership of the customs union? For that to succeed, of course, they will need to accept and not challenge the very fact of Brexit itself. This is what we don’t get about John Major’s speech, who prefaced a number of very reasonable comments by calling Brexit a "historic mistake". That is obviously a perfect valid opinion to have - we think so, too - but we see little point in emphasising one’s disappointment in an electoral result if the goal is to influence the outcome of the subsequent debate. 

He is right, of course, in warning Theresa May not to make "unreal and over-optimistic" forecasts about the impact of Brexit. He is right to warn about the nonsense of Britain turning into a low-tax economy, and on the impact of Brexit on the NHS. Brexit will affect the UK and EU economies in many specific ways, and it will have big implications for certain industries and certain communities, but it is unlikely to constitute a large and persistent aggregate shock, just as the single market itself did not have a large aggregate positive effect - while it benefited trans-national companies at the expense of national ones.

At least Major is not pushing the idea of a second referendum, a notion that trades on people’s ignorance of the Article 50 process - which leads to departure under any circumstance, either with or without an agreement. There is no unilateral way back into the EU for the UK, once Article 50 is triggered. It would require the consensus of the European Council at the very least.

The most constructive advice to give to the British government is to adopt a more business-like attitude, also in its communications with the media, and to desist from leaking positions with the intent to corner the Article 50 negotiations, like the one on the trigger date for UK residency. As for Remainers, the best advice to focus on salvaging as much as possible from the UK's relationship with the EU because this could form the basis of a future re-entry - post-Brexit, of course. In order words: solve the problem - don’t tell everybody how awful it is going to be.

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February 28, 2017

Solve the problem

We think that it is virtually pointless to scream one’s head off about the ongoing destruction of liberal democracy, a process that culminated with the election of Donald Trump last year. We think the liberal democrats should focus on solving the problems they created over the last 20 years, and not double down on the policies that have given rise to the insurrection. This is also the spirit of a comment by Federico Fubini in La Repubblica, who notes that 2008 was for the global economy what 2016 promises to be for the global political system. And, just as the global community got together then and rescued the world economy, it needs to do the same now - think of radical ideas to solve the political crisis. He picks up a number of ideas to pursue, such as the taxation of robots, an idea proposed by Bill Gates, or a massive European increase in funding for pre-school education. His overall point is that the attitude of liberals should be to solve problems, and to embrace radical solutions.

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  • 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
  • October 29, 2019
  • People's Vote descends into Civil War
  • CDU at odds on dealing with extreme parties
  • 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 15, 2019
  • Germany chooses Huawei for 5G
  • US and EU respond to Turkey - too little, too late
  • September 02, 2019
  • Prorogation already served its purpose - events will come to a head this week
  • EU citizens in the UK are the biggest victims of no-deal Brexit
  • 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 28, 2017
  • German government bans Porsche Cayenne
  • More troubles for the AfD
  • Of course there will be a soft transitional period for the UK
  • July 12, 2017
  • And now for the real Brexit talks
  • June 26, 2017
  • Brexit - the central case and the tail-risk
  • The German fear of Macron
  • June 12, 2017
  • Not strong perhaps, but stable
  • Catalan independence, a mental state
  • May 30, 2017
  • Beer tent politics - Merkel edition
  • Brexit arrives in UK elections
  • Rajoy clears budget hurdle
  • May 16, 2017
  • After the debacle
  • What is Ireland's role in the EU27?
  • On the EU’s Brexit negotiations
  • May 05, 2017
  • Front National - thinking beyond Sunday
  • Tusk attacks Juncker over Brexit diplomacy
  • Extraordinarily ordinary
  • April 23, 2017
  • The demise of the AfD has accelerated dramatically
  • On how France will need to confront Germany
  • April 12, 2017
  • Macro in a state of denial
  • Where Schulz is vulnerable
  • Schäuble’s three party tricks
  • April 03, 2017
  • On the meaning of the Navalny protests
  • On the surreal nature of Italy’s political debate
  • March 27, 2017
  • Governing formation troubles - Northern Ireland edition
  • Did Trump present Merkel with a bill for Nato?
  • 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 09, 2017
  • Forget Russian hacking. Berlin fears the CIA
  • Is the multi-speed Europe hot air?
  • March 05, 2017
  • Poland vs Tusk
  • Juppé - a recovered candidate?
  • Will Italy leave the euro?
  • March 02, 2017
  • Juncker's scenarios for Europe
  • EU minimum wages are rising
  • No, the Lords didn’t stop Brexit
  • 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