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

May 14, 2018

Catalonia: plus ça change...

Spanish politics continues to be dominated by the Catalan separatist drive, and the question is whether Mariano Rajoy can prevent a revolt among Spanish conservatives who would like him to crack down harder.

Today the Catalan regional parliament will appoint a new PM in a second round of voting that only requires a simple majority. The first round, requiring an absolute majority, failed on Saturday as the radical left separatist CUP refused to endorse the candidate anointed by former regional premier Carles Puigdemont from his exile in Berlin. This will be Quim Torrà, a publisher and a former president of Ómnium Cultural, one of the two grass-roots organisations keeping the separatist process alive. In his speech during the debate for his first failed appointment attempt, Torrà promised to work towards a Catalan Republic and to open up the process to draft Catalan constitution. Despite being bothered by the content of the speech, Mariano Rajoy said his government will judge Torrà by his actions. This opens up the possibility that Rajoy will declare victory and leave, lifting the intervention of regional self-government under Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, and thus paving the way for the Basque nationalist PNV to support the 2018 budget in June. 

Spanish conservatives are flabbergasted. A good representative of this is José Antonio Zarzalejos, a respected political commentator. He writes of two pacts between Rajoy and the PNV over the budget, one overt about money, and one covert about allowing a Catalan government and about ending the policy of dispersion of ETA prisoners in jails across Spain and away from the Basque country. The prisoners' issue is again current after ETA officially and finally dissolved itself earlier this month. Whether or not the covert pact exists, the suspicion that it does is dangerous for Rajoy at a time when Ciudadanos is drawing votes by adopting a Spanish nationalist critique of Rajoy's policies.

Show Comments Write a Comment

May 14, 2018

Conveney says no to Brexit with border infrastructure

Hard Brexit may be off the table, but the Irish border issue is still one of those impossible puzzles to solve. And the Irish government is still waiting for a solution they can agree on. 

The Irish deputy prime minister Simon Coveney made it clear yesterday that their red line is the so-called backstop agreement, which guarantees no new infrastructure or barriers between North Ireland and the Republic. He said his government did not believe in solutions to the Irish border issue that can be managed through technology, cameras, drones or scanning systems. There should be no border infrastructure of any kind on the island of Ireland, and no related checks or controls, as agreed last December. Coveney said Ireland wanted instead a shared customs territory - where the same rules and regulations would apply on both sides of the border. The DUP is furious about this refusal of a technical border solution. The DUP MP Sammy Wilson called it belligerent, interfering, and Brit-bashing. And accused Coveney of using Brexit as an excuse to break up the UK. 

Show Comments Write a Comment

May 14, 2018

Why the noble Lords don't really matter

As we have remarked before, the vast majority of Brexit reporting and commentary adds noise. You can get very excited about the 14 Brexit-related defeats the UK government has suffered in the House of Lords. The truth is that this does not really matter. The Brexit deed was done when parliament passed an Article 50 law. It empowers the government to negotiate what will in the end be a take-it-or-leave-it agreement. Parliament can revoke that legislation, but even this would not automatically cancel Brexit either.

John Rentoul notes in the Independent that, of the 14 defeats in the Lords, only 2 are meaningful - relating to the customs union. 

"And if the prime minister cannot reverse them, she will no doubt sail blithely on, intoning, 'Nothing has changed', even if it has."

He also notes that the Labour Lords, for all their anti-Brexit fervour, do not believe that it is up to them to undo Brexit. And they also know that Jeremy Corbyn's position on Brexit has not changed. The recent local elections have confirmed how dangerous it would be for Labour to shift its position on Brexit because Labour would risk losing marginal pro-Brexit seats outside London.

An observation we would add is that the politics of Brexit cannot be deduced from average opinion polls, which show the country remains split down the middle. Far more relevant is the distribution of those views, with many pro-Brexit constituencies in Labour-held territory in the north of England.

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

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 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 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
  • 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
  • May 31, 2019
  • Salvini’s frightening strength
  • The significance of Corbyn’s latest flipflop on the referendum
  • 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
  • November 09, 2017
  • From street protests to road closures
  • What Russia wants
  • January 31, 2017
  • Project fear against Italexit
  • On how not to frustrate Brexit
  • 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 07, 2019
  • Forget Tusk - the real action is elsewhere
  • On David Malpass and the Trump legacy
  • 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
  • September 15, 2017
  • Juncker dragged into the Catalan fray
  • What to say in Florence
  • How to fill the gap left by the British MEPs
  • 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
  • April 26, 2019
  • How Brexit has given rise to different perceptions of reality
  • The EP, not Madrid, will boost Spanish clout
  • How realistic is a Gaullist Europe?
  • September 17, 2018
  • About the new partnership between Russia and China
  • EU ponders Irish backstop protocol to help May
  • February 07, 2018
  • A short note on bitcoin
  • July 04, 2017
  • On the CDU’s programme
  • Macron defines his presidential style
  • Why do we criticise modern macro?
  • November 28, 2016
  • And now what Monsieur Fillion?
  • The inescapable logic of an interim agreement
  • On Germany's foreign policy post-Trump
  • How to lose against the populists
  • 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 01, 2019
  • Meaningful IV
  • Caputová elected: a turning point for central Europe?
  • October 02, 2018
  • Whatever it takes - diesel version
  • Is Macron's European discourse too simplistic?
  • April 06, 2018
  • Schleswig Holstein collapses Spain's strategy against Catalan separatism
  • On the implausibility of conspiracy theories in the Skripal case
  • October 09, 2017
  • UK is starting to prepare for a no-deal Brexit
  • Why Germany will resist meaningful eurozone reform
  • April 12, 2017
  • Macro in a state of denial
  • Where Schulz is vulnerable
  • Schäuble’s three party tricks
  • October 17, 2016
  • Ceta is dead for now
  • L’après-Hollande, c'est Hollande
  • SPD against Russia sanctions
  • Nissan to join customs union and other fanciful tales
  • 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 18, 2019
  • Retaliation threats over drilling
  • 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?
  • September 27, 2018
  • Two ways out of the Brexit impasse
  • 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?
  • January 15, 2018
  • Is the section on Europe for real?
  • Can Drahos upset Zeman?
  • September 11, 2017
  • Turkey issues travel warning for visitors to Germany
  • How nasty is the AfD?
  • May 08, 2017
  • A message of hope
  • Barnier's not so easily agreed Brexit principles
  • The rebirth of the paranoid conspiracy theory
  • 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 24, 2016
  • Towards a hard Brexit
  • Is there a pact of Ventotene?
  • La rentrée
  • 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, 2019
  • No-deal Brexit is no longer just a scenario
  • No German warships to the Strait of Hormuz
  • July 01, 2019
  • The questions we will be asking tomorrow
  • What category of diplomatic accidents is Sea Watch 3?
  • June 03, 2019
  • Reinventing the French right without Wauquiez
  • Tory leadership election is between feasible and unfeasible Brexit options
  • 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 12, 2019
  • Where does Wednesday’s uneasy compromise leave the EU?
  • March 18, 2019
  • May's deal still on the table. Don't rule it out.
  • EPP decision on Fidesz still open
  • On the defeat of liberalism
  • February 21, 2019
  • Sound and fury, but Brexit reality unchanged
  • Supertanker Deutschland moves to join internet age
  • 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
  • January 07, 2019
  • What to look out for in the Brexit debates
  • Macron's last-resort tool for the gilets jaunes
  • December 17, 2018
  • A second referendum is no closer today than last Friday
  • Philippe expects 3.2% deficit next year
  • November 27, 2018
  • Responding to the yellow-vest protest
  • The New Hanseatic tensions are a foretaste of things to come
  • November 09, 2018
  • What to make of Merz’ pro-Europeanism
  • October 22, 2018
  • A week of intense political tension in the UK
  • Poland's local elections reveal deeply-split country
  • October 04, 2018
  • The Brexit Queen’s new dancing clothes
  • Ceci n’est pas une crise politique
  • September 18, 2018
  • Strache joins Orban in challenging the legality of the vote
  • How Brexit can still go wrong
  • September 03, 2018
  • Is the AfD an extremist party? Of course it is. Why do you ask?
  • 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
  • August 01, 2018
  • EU softening stance on Brexit
  • July 20, 2018
  • Why preparations for no-deal Brexit are a positive development
  • On confirmation bias in the Brexit commentary
  • July 09, 2018
  • German panic about Target2
  • AfD level with SPD
  • How the EU could fail
  • June 27, 2018
  • The ramifications of the Macedonia name deal
  • Could no-deal Brexit preparations become a self-fulfilling prophecy?
  • Why it is so difficult to agree a post-Brexit defence and security co-operation
  • June 18, 2018
  • Some thoughts on the future of Europe
  • The end of Spanish income moderation?
  • 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?
  • June 04, 2018
  • German discourse out of control
  • Wait for European disunity on US tariffs
  • May 29, 2018
  • Abandon all hope ye who enter the eurozone debate
  • Italian political fallout for Macron
  • On the future of EU/Nato relations post-Brexit
  • May 25, 2018
  • Rejected by US, Germany is turning towards China...
  • ...and France is turning to Russia
  • UK ties Galileo to security partnership
  • Germans are discovering miniBoTs
  • May 21, 2018
  • Another snap election in the UK? Tories are preparing
  • Merkel and Putin - the beginning of a beautiful friendship?
  • May 17, 2018
  • The EU's pathetically weak response to Donald Trump
  • Might the court case against the Catalan separatists collapse?
  • On the crumbling alliance against Russia
  • May 15, 2018
  • Commission to press ahead with ESBies
  • Draghi on risk sharing and risk reduction
  • Setser on the eurozone's export reliance