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October 31, 2017

Puigdemont's flight of fancy

The big news of the day is that Carles Puigdemont has absconded to Brussels with five other members of his government in one of the most extraordinary political developments in modern European history.

We think this Tintin spoof says it all, via @cathallittle:

The extraordinary events follow the decision by Spanish state prosecutor to indict the whole regional government and the board of the Catalan parliament for crimes ranging from misuse of public funds to rebellion. The question yesterday after the news broke was whether he was asking for asylum in Belgium. From what we understand this is an unlikely scenario. More likely we are talking about blocking extradition. He has also called a press conference at an undisclosed location near Brussels at 12.30pm local time, today. Is he preparing a government in exile? A spokeswoman for Puigdemont’s Catalan Democratic party (PDeCat) insinuated this by referring to Josep Tarradellas, the Catalan leader who lived in exile in France during the Franco dictatorship. All balls are still in the air.

The only fact we know at this moment in time is that Puigdemont is now the client of the controversial lawyer Paul Bekaert, a man who in the last decades has defended several members of the terrorist group ETA residing in Belgium, to prevent their extradition. 

Though he told the press that there is no dossier yet for him to work on, he told El Mundo that European legislation, which eliminated asylum for citizens of another EU Member State, does not matter too much: "The Treaty of Amsterdam eliminated political asylum, but Belgium has not accepted it, everyone here can ask for it, I have done it in the past for three Spaniards." This still does not mean that Puigdemont will or can go down this route. Even if it is theoretically possible, it never happened in the last 10 years. Not only would the Belgian courts have to conclude that there are serious signs of persecution, but also that Puigdemont cannot obtain protection in Spain. This would be a serious allegation against another member state, ultimately incompatible with Schengen and the EU treaties.

As FAZ noted in a legal opinion, an exception would only be considered if an EU member state decided to suspend the European Convention on Human Rights, or if a country were accused of undermining the democratic order. Neither is the case here. In the unlikely case that Puigdemont asks for asylum, his application would be dealt with within five days. He would then have 30 days to appeal, but the appeal court would only consider procedural issues - whether the actual case was correctly handled formally. It would not reopen the case itself. That's the end of the process. Belgium has no provision for a political override.

The legally more realistic scenario for Puigdemont is to prevent extradition. For this the Spanish would have first to request extradition of the Catalan prime minister with a arrest warrant. A first-instance court would then decide on the conditions of the extradition, according to an extradition procedure that relies mainly on case law. If then Puigdemont were to object to his extradition, the Belgian justice minister would decide on the extradition based on the advice of the court of appeal. Even if the extradition is granted at this stage, an appeal against the order can be logded within 60 days from the date of its notification. It is also our understanding that there are further time delays for the execution of the sentence, of up to ten years, that can possibly be prolonged. The two key factors to take away from this procedure is that there is a political element and a long time frame. And this may be what Puigdemont needs. But imagine for a moment the consequences of a decision by the Belgian government to grant Puigdemont asylum - as the immigration minister Theo Francken suggested was not impossible - or at least not to extradite him. This would trigger a diplomatic crisis between Belgium and Spain, and by extension within the EU. Would Spain not close down its borders to Belgians?

The reaction in Catalonia and Spain has been one of shock and more amusement than worry. It will be important to watch out for the potential effect of Puigdemont's move on the separatist movement. Fleeing prosecution goes against the epic of resistance, but on the other hand some of Puigdemont's political associates are beginning to refer to him as the Catalan president-in-exile as we noted above. The separatist grass-roots are highly susceptible to the idea that there is no hope of a fair trial under Spain's justice system, which will help the separatist parties sustain the narrative of confrontation, even as they prepare to participate in the regional elections called by Mariano Rajoy for December 21. The only separatist party that is likely to sit the elections out is the radical left CUP, a municipalist party that may be more interested in moving on to a strategy of civil disobedience.

The immediate effect of Puigdemont's action may be to harden the precautionary measures likely to be imposed by the judges in charge of investigating the indictments of Catalan officials. "Risk of flight" is a major condition for pre-emptive imprisonment pending trial. In this connection we note that the grass-roots leaders Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart are as we speak appealing against their pre-emptive imprisonment on sedition charges. At his press conference today Puigdemont has the opportunity to destroy the two Jordis' chances of release. Their reaction, and that of their organisations ANC and Ómnium, will be important to watch in the coming days.

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October 31, 2017

Hopeless but not serious

We have noted before that national separatist leaders have a somewhat warped idea of the EU, and have a tendency to forge strange alliances that are ultimately counter-productive to their political goals. We recall how Alex Salmond, the former SNP leader of Scotland, ran a referendum on the basis of Scotland keeping the pound - ignorant of the stipulation that new EU member states have to make preparations to adopt the euro. While the EU would never force a member state to adopt the euro against its own will, it would not accept an applicant declaring from the outset that it has no intention of joining the monetary union.

For the Catalan leader to go to Brussels and even to consider an asylum application is in a category of its own. Consider the political impact. His move could open up serious divisions between Spain and Belgium. What if Spain asks for Puigdemont to be extradited, and Belgium refuses? Just as nobody outside the UK ended up supporting Scottish independence, Catalonia has lost its last genuine friends in the EU. The only people in the EU who now support Catalan independence outside Catalonia are a bunch of extreme right wingers, like the NV-A, who are abusing the situation for their own narrow political purposes. We struggle to recall a political own-goal of quite such magnitude. 

The whole episode smacks of panic, and a realisation that Catalonia's leaders were unprepared for independence and lacked the stomach for a fight. European history is littered with unsuccessful revolutions. This is going be another one. It reminds us of an old German-Austrian joke: "In Berlin, things are serious but not hopeless; in Vienna they are hopeless but not serious."

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October 31, 2017

Serious but not hopeless

The Berlin part of the "hopeless, but not serious" quote, still holds: Berlin is serious but not hopeless. The Jamaica coalition talks are still on track despite the massive amount of noise. The only formal decision that seems to have been taken is to respect the commitment not to run a deficit, which is stricter than what is required under the constitutional balanced-budget rule. And that rule is already stricter than the European fiscal rules. Nevertheless, it will give the coalition plenty of room for fiscal manoeuvre, which is what makes us confident to think there is going to be a deal.

But we can't be certain. The Greens may falter at the last hurdle when they ask their notoriously volatile grassroots to ratify the agreement. There is also a discussion in the FDP on whether it is the best strategy for the party to head straight back into government. The doubters within the FDP must have had a collective heart attack when they read an extraordinary story in Spiegel magazine - we presume, with Peter Altmaier as the source - according to which the CDU wants to take all eurozone business away from the finance ministry in case the FDP takes the finance ministry job. The proposal has a certain too-clever-by-half quality. The article makes no mention of how the FDP would react. While CDU strategists will undoubtedly draw up all sorts of strategic plans, the reality is that FDP leader Christian Lindner would probably rather walk away from coalition talks, especially given the argument in favour of weakening the finance ministry: Merkel does not trust him. This is why we ultimately discount the story. It falls under the category of a nice try.

We are more concerned, however, about Germany's position on Emmanuel Macron's eurozone reforms. The FDP does not like anything he proposes, and Macron's negative reference to Lindner's red lines during his Sorbonne speech may have closed the doors. The CDU is not keen on much of his agenda either, and Germany may not be able to secure a majority for its proposals of a European Monetary Fund with an automatic debt restructuring mechanism. It might be more expedient - as it is so often is - not to do anything. We agree with Joschka Fischer's warning that Germany is missing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reform Europe. But our sense of the political discussion in Berlin is that they are mostly focused on rather specific domestic issues, which we think are too irrelevant even to list. Our expectation remains unchanged: Merkel will do everything in order to remain chancellor. Lindner will ask for the whole of the finance ministry. And the eurozone agenda will remain difficult. 

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  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • July 09, 2019
  • What the UK polls are telling us - and what not
  • November 30, 2017
  • Please tell us there is another way than fudging the border
  • Could Gentiloni remain prime minister beyond the elections?
  • Stage set for Babis minority government
  • 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
  • June 11, 2019
  • Politics and the new sense of urgency
  • Ten little monkeys jumping up and down - down mostly
  • November 16, 2017
  • Germany's climate duplicity
  • Juppé open to join forces with Macron for EP elections
  • 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 13, 2019
  • Brexit Party has already changed UK politics
  • Orbán visits Trump, after a very long wait
  • Le Pen's appeal to the PiS likely to fall on deaf ears
  • November 01, 2017
  • Brussels receives Catalan president as a circus
  • Canada Dry
  • Me too
  • 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 11, 2019
  • Thoughts on how the European elections in the UK could affect UK and European politics
  • Far right to enter Estonia's government
  • October 17, 2017
  • Catalan separatism has its martyrs
  • European Parliament agrees to restrict posted workers
  • Foreign policy will be key in Austrian coalition talks
  • 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 25, 2020
  • What should the EU do about Belarus?
  • March 13, 2019
  • Not really all that meaningful
  • Will the EPP merely put Orban on probation?
  • Why AKKs riposte to Macron is deeply disturbing
  • 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
  • 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 07, 2020
  • Europe on brink of serious conflict with China
  • Erdogan's Libya strategy gains support at home
  • February 11, 2019
  • SPD dumps Hartz IV
  • Macron's revival
  • September 18, 2017
  • Why Germany cannot lead Europe, let alone the free world
  • Will Macron help to build up Mélenchon?
  • Boris' Coup
  • 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 18, 2020
  • Why this won't be a symmetric shock
  • Towards a new cold war
  • January 07, 2019
  • What to look out for in the Brexit debates
  • Macron's last-resort tool for the gilets jaunes
  • August 31, 2017
  • Where are the Républicains?
  • Poland unmoved by EU rule-of-law sanctions
  • May will stay through Brexit, and then fight the 2022 elections
  • 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 03, 2020
  • After medical concerns, economic concerns take centre stage in Greece
  • New momentum to exclude Fidesz from the EPP
  • The Swedish experiment
  • December 12, 2018
  • 48 letters
  • A sense of deja-vu
  • August 21, 2017
  • Soft, getting softer
  • Tsipras' chances of a boost
  • On the fallacy of a middle-ground option for the eurozone
  • 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 02, 2020
  • Is Sinn Fein the Irish anti-establishment vote?
  • Don’t assume that nobody will follow the Brits
  • October 29, 2018
  • Why the EEA is no longer a Brexit option
  • Behold the rising superpower: post-catholic Ireland’s European miracle
  • July 27, 2017
  • Löfven's move
  • The nearing end of petrol and diesel engines
  • Why a second referendum in the UK won’t happen, and why it would be wrong
  • 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
  • December 12, 2019
  • Greta is right - the EU’s fight against climate change is most likely a PR exercise
  • September 25, 2018
  • Be careful what you wish for - second referendum edition
  • July 10, 2017
  • EU in self-destruction mode
  • The EU's fault lines
  • Fake News and Fake views
  • 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 17, 2019
  • A dangerous game for the EU
  • After Brexit, get ready for a German EU budget rebate
  • 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
  • June 20, 2017
  • How to soften Brexit?
  • The deep roots of Brexit: Thatcher and the Germans
  • 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 27, 2019
  • Remain’s narrowing pathway
  • Macron's diplomatic masterstroke
  • July 09, 2018
  • German panic about Target2
  • AfD level with SPD
  • How the EU could fail
  • May 31, 2017
  • Getting real in the debate on the euro's future
  • Russia's growing influence 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
  • July 06, 2020
  • Did Covid-19 escape from a Wuhan lab?
  • What to make of Angela Merkel's U-turn
  • June 18, 2019
  • Retaliation threats over drilling
  • 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 06, 2020
  • The feedback loop of Covid-19 and inequalities - part 10 of our series
  • How confinement affects mental health
  • April 09, 2019
  • What can go wrong now?
  • 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
  • January 06, 2020
  • A decade that started with a bang
  • What to expect of Spain's next government
  • Divide et impera: Macron's pension reform strategy
  • January 29, 2019
  • What comes after plan B fails? Plan C, of course. C for cliff-edge
  • Gilets jaunes, how to structure a movement in free flow?
  • European Court of Auditors criticises Juncker’s investment fund
  • 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
  • August 17, 2020
  • How Putin could divide the EU over Belarus
  • The impossible mission of forming a federal government in Belgium
  • September 23, 2019
  • Corbyn’s last big battle
  • Germany’s CO2 compromise meets all targets - except the climate targets
  • November 13, 2018
  • Peak Salvini?
  • Protest uberisation
  • 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
  • March 23, 2020
  • Orbán seeks to extend his powers
  • UK as the double counterfactual
  • June 10, 2019
  • How to create Brexit facts
  • The new Alde is already in trouble
  • 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
  • July 14, 2020
  • Why the far-right might win in the end
  • October 27, 2019
  • German political centre is melting
  • Train drivers in all-out confrontation with Macron
  • Erdogan makes threats again
  • February 11, 2019
  • SPD dumps Hartz IV
  • Macron's revival
  • 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
  • July 22, 2020
  • Why we don’t think this deal is historic
  • December 11, 2019
  • Philippe to present pension reform bid
  • The N-VA is back in the game for a Belgian government
  • May 02, 2019
  • Ahead of a meeting with Salvini, Orbán brands the EPP as suicidal
  • What role for trade unions amid gilets jaunes?
  • The church vs the EU
  • 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
  • April 10, 2020
  • Italy has folded for the sake of a deal. Plus ca change.
  • ECB governors agreed on size of bond purchases, less on composition
  • France triples its fiscal stimulus
  • Direct lending to governments, big and small
  • Some bad Covid-19 news from Germany
  • October 09, 2019
  • A final push for a deal
  • Costa mandated to form government
  • April 09, 2019
  • What can go wrong now?
  • 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
  • July 29, 2020
  • Le Pen's summer contribution
  • Turkey's games with the EU
  • March 16, 2020
  • Why many of the Covid-19 statistics are misleading
  • November 04, 2019
  • Brexit tactical voting is happening - on both sides
  • Merkel promises 1m charging stations - but doesn't tell us how
  • June 24, 2019
  • Economic reform has torn up the SPD - climate policy does the same for the CDU/CSU
  • Not intruding, not really
  • February 11, 2019
  • SPD dumps Hartz IV
  • Macron's revival
  • 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
  • August 21, 2020
  • Let's turn the clock back twenty years
  • July 09, 2020
  • Good and bad ways to make the case for an EU tax
  • Castex' budget promises and reform grip
  • May 27, 2020
  • On the dangers of wishful thinking
  • Spain to introduce basic income
  • The temptation of easy money
  • April 15, 2020
  • Italy’s coalition disagrees about the ESM
  • March 04, 2020
  • Why the Covid-19 numbers in Italy are rising faster than elsewhere
  • January 24, 2020
  • Is Germany anti-semitic and racist?
  • Did the Greek financial crisis play a role in Brexit?
  • December 16, 2019
  • What the failure in Madrid says about multilateral governance
  • November 08, 2019
  • Rethinking security - Macron edition
  • Rethinking defence - AKK edition
  • October 02, 2019
  • What Boris wants...
  • Ditched again - the decline and fall of Manfred Weber
  • August 27, 2019
  • Remain’s narrowing pathway
  • Macron's diplomatic masterstroke
  • July 15, 2019
  • No queues in Berlin for von der Leyen’s succession
  • Mitsotakis moves fast with tax bill
  • The feel-good factor in the pre-Brexit days
  • June 10, 2019
  • How to create Brexit facts
  • The new Alde is already in trouble
  • May 07, 2019
  • … while Macron’s European troubles have already begun, and might get even worse
  • Don't discount a Brexit deal
  • Is Tsipras too complacent?
  • Costa - the fiscally responsible Socialist
  • April 05, 2019
  • Salvini's attempt to unite the European right
  • Scandal engulfs Romania's EU presidency
  • Chinese ambitions meet Greek bureaucracies
  • March 06, 2019
  • Weber toughens his stance against Orbán
  • The European loneliness of Emmanuel Macron
  • You really should not take EU's willingness to extend for granted
  • February 04, 2019
  • Watch out for the resurgence in Tory unity
  • The gilets-jaunes' effect on the European elections
  • What did he possibly mean by that?
  • January 04, 2019
  • Will the AfD become the Dexit party?
  • Romania's corruption problem in the spotlight of its EU presidency
  • December 03, 2018
  • French protests coming to a head this week
  • The Galileo fiasco, an ill omen for the future UK-EU relationship
  • November 05, 2018
  • Macron trails behind Le Pen in European elections poll
  • How the CDU will organise leadership campaign
  • October 08, 2018
  • A renewed willingness on both sides to cut a Brexit deal
  • Latvian politics in turmoil after huge populist gains
  • September 13, 2018
  • Bravo Mr Juncker for raising the issue of the euro’s international role. But what now?
  • Are the eurosceptics imploding?
  • 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 24, 2018
  • A constitutional referendum in Poland?
  • On the future of the euro
  • July 02, 2018
  • Is Trump out to destroy both Nato and the EU?
  • Salvini’s empire
  • Remembrance as a way forward?
  • 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?
  • May 21, 2018
  • Another snap election in the UK? Tories are preparing
  • Merkel and Putin - the beginning of a beautiful friendship?
  • April 30, 2018
  • Looming May protests against Macron
  • France has discovered the Laffer curve
  • An important resignation in the UK
  • April 12, 2018
  • The ineffective European Globalisation Adjustment Fund
  • Davis wants concrete language on future trading relationship
  • The name dispute of Alexander the Great's descendants
  • March 26, 2018
  • On the run no more
  • Terrorist attack will challenge Macron
  • A double-whammy of geopolitical and financial uncertainty
  • March 08, 2018
  • EU will not offer UK a financial services deal
  • What if the DUP implodes?
  • Has Mario Draghi expropriated German savers?
  • February 21, 2018
  • Whom do Wauquiez' indiscretions serve?
  • Latvian claims and counterclaims
  • Some observations about euro-ins and euro-outs
  • February 08, 2018
  • Could the Irish question still trigger a hard Brexit?
  • 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 15, 2018
  • Is the section on Europe for real?
  • Can Drahos upset Zeman?
  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • December 14, 2017
  • Macron gives up on Euro reform... for now?
  • Refugee quota controversy hides disagreement over ultimate policy goal
  • Can't pay, won't pay
  • December 05, 2017
  • On the Labour Party's shift to the left
  • Catalan separatists forecast to lose elections
  • November 27, 2017
  • Will Northern Ireland scupper a Brexit deal?
  • Last-ditch effort to prevent Irish elections
  • Pressure on Wauquiez
  • November 20, 2017
  • Showdown over Northern Ireland
  • Castaner and his list confirmed
  • Gennimata to lead the new left alliance
  • Brexit‘s ultimate irony
  • November 15, 2017
  • A Christmas bonus for poor Greeks
  • Dim prospects of negotiated de-escalation on Catalonia
  • Macron's favourite to succeed Juncker - first round
  • On sovereignty
  • Gli Azzurri
  • November 10, 2017
  • The Irish question intrudes
  • Beyond political parties
  • The European Commission - friend of the Glyphosate lobby
  • November 06, 2017
  • Pressures on EU rise over Catalonia
  • German pre-coalition talks hit glitch
  • If you thought UK politics couldn‘t get worse...
  • November 02, 2017
  • The Impact of Brexit
  • German court of auditors questions diesel tax break
  • On trade and violence
  • November 01, 2017
  • Brussels receives Catalan president as a circus
  • Canada Dry
  • Me too