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April 26, 2017

The realities of Brexit - residency rights edition

As people who are directly affected by this problem, we have taken more than a cursory interest in the issue of EU citizens rights in the post-Brexit UK. There was an important development yesterday, as reported by the FT, according to which the UK  Home Office is now discouraging further residency applications because they are overwhelmed with applicants. The Home Office has issued a new guidance to encourage EU residents to sign up for email alerts instead of making a full application. The Home Office advises, correctly, that it is not mandatory for EU citizens to have a residency card as long as the UK remains in the EU. We are confident that this arrangement will be extended for a transitional period. The articles quotes a lawyer as saying that the Home Office will eventually produce a simplified application procedure, as opposed to the 85-page application form applicants currently have to fill out. There have been almost 100,000 applications last year - out of an estimated EU population of 3-5m, and the British administration is already overwhelmed. The task of processing millions of applications will ultimately require a different procedure.

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April 26, 2017

How Franco-German economic imbalances manifest

When we write about economic imbalances, like Germany’s large current account surplus, one easily forgets that this is not some abstract number, but a social reality. FAZ reports that the German polling organisation Allensbach conducted a simultaneous poll in France and Germany on how people see the economy and the political system. 86% of Germans think the economy is great, while 75% in France think the opposite. The imbalance of attitudes runs through the entire survey. 61% of Germans are happy with the economic system, while in France that number is only 27%. Two thirds of Germans are happy with the political system, but only 15% in France. And, finally, only 13% of Germans have a problem with globalisation, while in France that number is 55%.

The gap of attitudes towards globalisation in particular should not be surprising. Germany is a beneficiary of globalisation, in contrast to other advanced industrial countries like France, where the benefits are smaller and unequally distributed. One of the biggest problems a President Macron will have in forging a common agenda with Germany is revealed by this poll. Why should the Germans want to change the eurozone when everything is goes so well?

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April 26, 2017

Pasok - the now classic Socialist dilemma

The once mighty Socialist party Pasok is also having an internal crisis. Their leader Fofi Gennimata is now calling an emergency congress to elect a new political committee in September. This followed a stormy meeting over the weekend, after which Gennimata accused some within the party of trying to undermine her. Nikos Androulakis, close of Evangelos Venizelos, promoted a more open attitude towards alliances with To Potami, not excluding a coalition with New Democracy.  Gennimata instead toyed with the idea of a coalition with Syriza. It is not clear whether she can strengthen her suppot within the party, or whether other contenders will emerge. Expect weeks of infighting and uncertainty to come.

The question of which alliance to chose reminds us of the situation of the Socialists in France. There too is a powerful challenger from the left, Jean Luc Melenchon, who overtook the Socialists in the elections. The only difference is on the right:  instead of contemplating a coalition with the Republicans they now have Emmanuel Macron instead. Is that Lucky? 

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  • Miro Cerar resigns over railway
  • Taking on trade unions over the rail reform
  • How strong is the EU's solidarity with the UK really?
  • February 19, 2018
  • SPD divided over grand coalition
  • Wauquiez - the French Trump?
  • Why Brexit will be extremely hard to reverse
  • January 26, 2018
  • Will the prison strike turn the fate for Macron?
  • Destroying the constitution in order to save it
  • Will populism wane with the global recovery?
  • Issing on the coalition agreement
  • 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 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
  • October 23, 2017
  • Macron's plans for the European Parliament
  • First phase of Brexit negotiations in final stretch
  • Why the left hates Europe
  • October 06, 2017
  • Catalan parliament session suspended
  • Can Jamaica fail? (not the country)
  • Portugal to give tax relief to the lower middle class
  • Stagnant wages and Central European populism
  • September 20, 2017
  • AfD on the rise
  • Is this the end of the FN as we know it?
  • Refugees overflowing Lesvos lead to call for action
  • September 05, 2017
  • On the Turkish question
  • Macron's unemployment insurance reform, next?
  • Labour to vote against the Repeal Bill
  • August 21, 2017
  • Soft, getting softer
  • Tsipras' chances of a boost
  • On the fallacy of a middle-ground option for the eurozone
  • 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 18, 2017
  • Brexit biases
  • July 07, 2017
  • Is Emmanuel Macron just another Matteo Renzi?
  • The real obstacles to a Brexit deal
  • Why Nordstream 2 should be delayed
  • On why the G20 won’t solve the main problem
  • June 26, 2017
  • Brexit - the central case and the tail-risk
  • The German fear of Macron
  • June 15, 2017
  • The politics of Brexit
  • Assembly this week, senate in September?
  • Romanian government crisis refuses to go away
  • June 07, 2017
  • A majority for Macron's labour reforms?
  • Options for the future of defence
  • What happens to legal contracts after Brexit?
  • May 30, 2017
  • Beer tent politics - Merkel edition
  • Brexit arrives in UK elections
  • Rajoy clears budget hurdle
  • 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 15, 2017
  • SPD and CDU disagree on how to respond to Macron
  • Was Rajoy blackmailed?
  • The rise of the re-leavers
  • May 08, 2017
  • A message of hope
  • Barnier's not so easily agreed Brexit principles
  • The rebirth of the paranoid conspiracy theory
  • May 02, 2017
  • An accident waiting to happen
  • Matteo Renzi wins PD primaries
  • So much for the Schulz effect
  • April 28, 2017
  • On the coming Tory landslide
  • How Grillo sees the markets
  • April 27, 2017
  • Courageous or reckless?
  • Softer, softer, soft