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

September 15, 2017

Juncker dragged into the Catalan fray

So, Jean-Claude Juncker had a chat with three youtubers on Euronews where he answered questions posed by citizens through the #AskJuncker hashtag. Inevitably Catalonia came up, and inevitably Juncker's answer got distorted in every possible way. The headlines about what Juncker said tells us more about the headline writer than about him. Juncker restated the EU's long-established position that it defers to member states' constitutions on internal matters, and that an independent Catalonia would have to reapply for EU accession. But he also said the EU would respect a 'yes' vote on independence, which is what the brouhaha is all about.

If you're a Catalan separatist, Juncker said the EU would respect a 'yes' result in an independence vote. If you're a Spanish unionist, Juncker said the EU respects and follows the decision of the Spanish parliament and its constitutional court - which, as is well known, reject the October 1st referendum. If you want to play the project-fear game, Juncker said that an independent Catalonia would find itself outside the EU. Everyone is happy, except the Commision's press service who had to spend the next day fielding emails from journalists asking for clarification. 

So, what did Juncker actually say? Here's Euronews' own English rendering of Juncker's original French

"We have always said on the subject that we would follow and respect the rulings of the Spanish constitutional court and parliament. But it is obvious that if a “yes” for Catalan independence comes to pass – which we’ll have to wait and see – we would respect that choice. But Catalonia could not become an EU member the day after the vote."

To butcher Wittgenstein: whereof one cannot speak in a single tweet without subordinate clauses, thereof one must be silent.

Show Comments Write a Comment

September 15, 2017

What to say in Florence

Theresa May will give her long-awaitied Brexit clarification speech in Florence on Friday next week. As we pointed out yesterday, British prime ministers have a habit of choosing European cities to deliver big set speeches on the UK's future in Europe. The continuation of that tradition seems rather odd given the looming reality of Brexit, and mirrors the political confusion about Brexit.

Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC's political editor, reports that May is going to meet with Boris Johnson to convince him of the necessity of a financial offer to the EU, together with a transitional period that looks very much like the status quo. This was most recently laid out by Philip Hammond in a deposition to the House of Lords.

The FT notes in its coverage of the story that EU diplomats warned UK officials that the UK would be asked to spend more than it does now if it wants continued access to the single market - so that there would still be an additional overhang of debts at the end of the transition period. 

The article also quotes Nick Clegg, the former LibDem leader and deputy prime minister, who notes that the government has already budgeted for £27bn of payments to the EU in this parliament. She could offer this unused reserve to unblock the Brexit talks. 

We also noted a very informed article by Franklin Dehousse, a Belgian who was a former judge at the Court of Justice of the European Union. 

He notes there are only a limited number of options for the transitional phase from the perspective of the EU. Basically there are three options: Ceta, the EEA solution, and the EU/Ukraine solution. The first is Ceta, which is least ambitious and least intrusive in terms of dispute settlement. The second option is the EU/Ukraine agreement, which is more ambitious than Ceta for trade, but more constraining for dispute settlement - in the sense that the UK would have to accept a role of the CJEU. And finally there is the EEA, which is even more ambitious, and most intrusive.

Dehousse makes the important point that May got it the wrong way around by defining the relationship in terms of the ECJ. The right order of priority would have been to define the trading relationship first, which defines the legal framework.

Show Comments Write a Comment

September 15, 2017

How to fill the gap left by the British MEPs

One of the issues for the EU after Brexit is whether and how to reform the European Parliament. Andrew Duff has been campaigning strongly in favour of transnational MEPs, who would not be drawn from national party lists. This debate has been going on for some time, but has received new dynamism with Brexit because there will suddenly be 73 fewer MEPs than there are now. Could they be replaced by transnational MEPs?

Duff writes that transnational MEPs would breathe life into the European Parliament, and it would pitch EU-level parties into competition with each other. 

Duff is not proposing to replace all of the 73 UK MEPs with transnational MEPs, only 25 of them. The remaining wiggle room could be used to reduce the overall number of MEPs, and correct for some of the imbalances, as some countries are under-represented.

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

  • 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 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
  • 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
  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • February 28, 2017
  • Is Hamon losing the right wing of his party?
  • Something we just don’t understand
  • 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
  • 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 01, 2017
  • Do Republicans have a plan B if Fillon falls?
  • Unforgiven
  • 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 31, 2018
  • Hans Werner Sinn demands German euro exit
  • The politics of the SPD’s links to Russia
  • 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
  • September 21, 2018
  • SPD ministers want to continue grand coalition
  • February 12, 2018
  • What the euro debate is really about
  • How Brexit can still falter
  • July 06, 2017
  • On Merkel’s imperial overreach
  • When the opposition opposes to oppose
  • Everybody wants the medicines agency
  • November 29, 2016
  • On the politics of the Italian referendum
  • 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 08, 2018
  • A renewed willingness on both sides to cut a Brexit deal
  • Latvian politics in turmoil after huge populist gains
  • April 10, 2018
  • A mood of radicalisation in France
  • The German far right makes inroads into trade unions
  • On the absurdity of a new centrist party in British politics
  • October 12, 2017
  • Panicking in London
  • Gabriel's unbearable hypocrisy on the eurozone
  • April 15, 2017
  • Happy Easter
  • October 19, 2016
  • Walloons stand firm
  • Juppé and Macron - father and son?
  • J’ai vraiment dit ça?
  • 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 04, 2018
  • The Brexit Queen’s new dancing clothes
  • Ceci n’est pas une crise politique
  • 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
  • January 19, 2018
  • On the futility of discussing the German current account surplus
  • The Brexit revocation madness
  • Varadkar, the enfant terrible in the Brexit negotiations
  • September 14, 2017
  • Bravo Mr Juncker
  • ... what he said about the labour market
  • ... and what his speech means for Brexit
  • May 11, 2017
  • Germany rejects IMF’s policy recommendations before they are issued
  • Why Labour is losing
  • 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 26, 2016
  • Will the refugee crisis return?
  • Montebourg en avant
  • Moisi on Sarkozy's chances
  • Binary choices
  • 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 11, 2018
  • How to shrink the Irish border
  • The people versus the motor car
  • Timmermans volunteers as social democratic spitzenkandidat
  • Golden visa report hits hard at member states
  • September 14, 2018
  • Carney warns about dramatic hard Brexit impact on housing market
  • Can Africa thrive on free trade with Europe?
  • 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 20, 2018
  • Why preparations for no-deal Brexit are a positive development
  • On confirmation bias in the Brexit commentary
  • June 26, 2018
  • Could the Irish border issue trigger a no-deal Brexit?
  • Is Harley-Davidson's decision really a victory for the EU?
  • June 04, 2018
  • German discourse out of control
  • Wait for European disunity on US tariffs
  • May 14, 2018
  • Catalonia: plus ça change...
  • Conveney says no to Brexit with border infrastructure
  • Why the noble Lords don't really matter
  • 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?
  • April 03, 2018
  • Is the time for Brexit revocation running out?
  • March 12, 2018
  • German industry is starting to panic about Brexit
  • February 21, 2018
  • Whom do Wauquiez' indiscretions serve?
  • Latvian claims and counterclaims
  • Some observations about euro-ins and euro-outs
  • February 05, 2018
  • How big is Germany's external surplus, really?
  • Macron's first election test
  • Coeure's endorsement of a fiscal union
  • January 19, 2018
  • On the futility of discussing the German current account surplus
  • The Brexit revocation madness
  • Varadkar, the enfant terrible in the Brexit negotiations
  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • December 18, 2017
  • SPD regional party preemptively rejects grand coalition
  • Future of eurozone to be decided by March - we can hardly wait
  • 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 21, 2017
  • A short note on the impact of German political chaos on Brexit
  • A scandal, overshadowed
  • November 10, 2017
  • The Irish question intrudes
  • Beyond political parties
  • The European Commission - friend of the Glyphosate lobby
  • November 01, 2017
  • Brussels receives Catalan president as a circus
  • Canada Dry
  • Me too
  • October 23, 2017
  • Macron's plans for the European Parliament
  • First phase of Brexit negotiations in final stretch
  • Why the left hates Europe
  • October 16, 2017
  • What‘s the deep meaning of the elections in Lower Saxony?
  • Can Brexit be revoked?
  • Macron's grand narrative
  • October 09, 2017
  • UK is starting to prepare for a no-deal Brexit
  • Why Germany will resist meaningful eurozone reform
  • 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 25, 2017
  • Where does this leave eurozone governance reform?
  • Is Mélenchon losing his momentum?
  • Lost in Florence
  • September 22, 2017
  • The last German polls
  • 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 18, 2017
  • Why Germany cannot lead Europe, let alone the free world
  • Will Macron help to build up Mélenchon?
  • Boris' Coup
  • September 15, 2017
  • Juncker dragged into the Catalan fray
  • What to say in Florence
  • How to fill the gap left by the British MEPs