We use cookies to help improve and maintain our site. More information.
close

March 27, 2017

Governing formation troubles - Northern Ireland edition

Over the years we have seen in Europe increasing difficulties in forming a government, be it on a national level or regional level. We have more minority governments, more party fragmentation, and the call for devolution of power seems more prevalent than ever. 

In Northern Ireland, it is Brexit and a homemade political crisis that has led to political limbo. It left the region without a governing body since January, and now it looks like they won’t even have one at the moment when the British government triggers Article 50. 

Sinn Fein pulled out of talks yesterday, just a day before the deadline for talks to find a cross-party governing agreement elapses. James Brokenshire, the secretary of state for Northern Ireland, may yet decide to extend the deadline for talks, but it is unclear whether there is the willingness of the two main parties for this. 

Behind the conflict there are some concrete issues  the two sides disagree on, such as the official recognition of the Irish language. But there is also utter mistrust. Sinn Fein accuses the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) and the governments in London and Dublin of failing to fulfil their responsibilities. Sinn Fein triggered the elections after walking out of budget talks in January over a public spending scandal involving the DUP leader and first minister Arlene Foster. In the elections Sinn Fein got significantly more votes, coming only one seat short of the DUP. During the talks afterwards they made it clear that there will be no return to the status quo ante. If no solution can be found, new snap elections will follow. Alliance Party leader Naomi Long appears to have taken on the role of arbiter to find a solution in the current talks, saying new elections would just be a vanity project.

Show Comments Write a Comment

March 27, 2017

Did Trump present Merkel with a bill for Nato?

The Times reports that Donald Trump presented Angela Merkel with a $400bn bill during their meeting last week - money Trump says Germany owes to the US for its support within Nato.

There seems to be some obsession these days with countries handing bills to each other  - the EU’s insistence on a Brexit bill is just as unreasonable, at least beyond the first-order financial issues that needs to be settled. The article said that the bill (we presume it is a list or something of the kind) was actually handed over during the meeting. Merkel’s reaction was apparently restrained, but the article quoted an unnamed German minister as expressing outrage, adding that the purpose was to intimidate the other side. The article presents all the numbers in pounds sterling, which obviously cannot be the unit in which Trump made his demands - so these numbers are our rough translation. The US administration uses 2002 as a base year for its calculations, the year when Gerhard Schröder made the promise to increase Germany’s military spending to 2% of GDP. The cumulative total defence spending deficit is put at around $300bn, and the total figures is arrived at through compound interest. Another German sources quoted in the article dismissed the bill as a misunderstanding of the role of Nato, which is not a club with a membership fee. The 2% commitments are not related to Nato directly, but to its members’ investment in their own defence budgets. Merkel has decided to ignore the provocation, but to continue with the policy of raising defence spending gradually.

Show Comments Write a Comment

This is the public section of the Eurointelligence Professional Briefing, which focuses on the geopolitical aspects of our news coverage. It appears daily at 2pm CET. The full briefing, which appears at 9am CET, is only available to subscribers. Please click here for a free trial, and here for the Eurointelligence home page.

 

Recent News

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 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
  • 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
  • January 10, 2018
  • Yes, the choice is between Canada and Norway
  • Who is resisting Macron and his government?
  • Greece and Macedonia to solve name dispute
  • December 19, 2017
  • German pre-coalition talks to conclude mid-January
  • Shall we talk about Brexit?
  • November 27, 2017
  • Will Northern Ireland scupper a Brexit deal?
  • Last-ditch effort to prevent Irish elections
  • Pressure on Wauquiez
  • 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 16, 2017
  • What‘s the deep meaning of the elections in Lower Saxony?
  • Can Brexit be revoked?
  • Macron's grand narrative
  • September 25, 2017
  • Where does this leave eurozone governance reform?
  • Is Mélenchon losing his momentum?
  • Lost in Florence
  • September 07, 2017
  • Northern Ireland and Brexit - a diplomatic nightmare
  • Can Macron succeed where Balladur failed?
  • ECJ upholds relocation of asylum seekers
  • August 21, 2017
  • Soft, getting softer
  • Tsipras' chances of a boost
  • On the fallacy of a middle-ground option for the eurozone
  • July 25, 2017
  • The impact of Duda's veto
  • How to undo Brexit
  • Front National: Frexit or not?
  • July 10, 2017
  • EU in self-destruction mode
  • The EU's fault lines
  • Fake News and Fake views
  • June 26, 2017
  • Brexit - the central case and the tail-risk
  • The German fear of Macron
  • June 14, 2017
  • Minority governments can be stronger and more stable than you think
  • The anti-Corbyn
  • Watch out for Berlusconi
  • June 02, 2017
  • Is this a disaster for European diplomacy?
  • Ethics and politics - French version
  • Expect more European divisiveness
  • On the lessons of a resurgent Labour Party
  • On the limits of an inter-governmental eurozone
  • 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 11, 2017
  • Germany rejects IMF’s policy recommendations before they are issued
  • Why Labour is losing
  • May 02, 2017
  • An accident waiting to happen
  • Matteo Renzi wins PD primaries
  • So much for the Schulz effect
  • April 25, 2017
  • Germans conflicted about Macron
  • A choice over Europe
  • Who can stop the Tories?
  • April 19, 2017
  • Shadows of money
  • Breppe Grillo vs Eurointelligence
  • April 12, 2017
  • Macro in a state of denial
  • Where Schulz is vulnerable
  • Schäuble’s three party tricks
  • April 07, 2017
  • Who gets 40% in elections nowadays?
  • What’s so puzzling about the productivity puzzle?
  • Why this time is different in German poitics
  • April 03, 2017
  • On the meaning of the Navalny protests
  • On the surreal nature of Italy’s political debate
  • March 29, 2017
  • B-Day
  • Wargaming Catalan independence
  • Macron's strategy for the legislative elections
  • 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 27, 2017
  • Governing formation troubles - Northern Ireland edition
  • Did Trump present Merkel with a bill for Nato?