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

February 27, 2019

EU bets on stable dictatorships to guard its south

We would not normally offer a post-mortem of the EU’s recent summit meeting with the Arab league, the first in what is to be an annual shindig alternating between EU and Arab capitals. No doubt to the frustration of more than a few of the participants, Brexit news and talks predictably hijacked parts of the summit. The impassioned plea by the Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for Europeans not to interfere with the Arab States’ management of their own affairs was perhaps the other salient summit event. The Egyptian dictator’s seemingly-impromptu press conference speech was greeted with vigorous applause from Egyptian media representatives; and it was left to Jean-Claude Juncker to insist that the question of human rights had indeed been raised. The joint declaration published at the end of the summit mentions neither these words, nor democracy. It is quite simply as if the Arab Spring had never happened – or rather, it has happened, and therefore those fearsome words must never be mentioned again.

All this is a long preamble to say that the EU has now determined that nothing matters more or so much as to sustain and cultivate a ring of stable states on the Mediterranean’s borders, countries able and willing to keep Africa’s refugees from travelling across the Mediterranean to Europe. As the earlier EU idea of creating vast refugee camps where the asylum requests could be pre-screened or dealt with has been universally rejected across the region, the business of keeping the refugees out or away is now done quietly. The logical conclusion is that the EU will henceforth see the economic stabilisation of the dictatorships in Egypt and other Arab states as a vital own interest. We note with a degree of wonder about the times we live in that it fell to one Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to chide Egypt ahead of the summit for its liberal use of the death penalty.

Show Comments Write a Comment

February 27, 2019

The grand débat context for the unemployment insurance reform

The French government is taking the unemployment insurance reform away from trade unions and employers, as they failed to agree on a common proposal. Édouard Philippe said yesterday that the government would come up with its own outline. He said that the government wants to trim down the high end of unemployment benefits - they can reach a maximum of €7,700 per month - and to discourage companies from using recurring short-term employment contracts. Currently the unemployment benefit is calculated at an average 68% of the previous wage. Only 0.03% of benefit recipients get the highest amount and the average employment seeker get closer to €1200, according to Reuters.

The government wants the reform to take effect in the summer, with the aim to save €3.9bn over the next three years. The unemployment insurer Unedic is run by trade unions and employers with a state guarantee, which means its debt is accounted for in France's total public debt figure. 

It is also interesting to note that, instead of a tripartite meeting between government, trade unions and employers, the government chose to enhance the consultations to include parliamentarians and associations of unemployed workers. Expect even more diverse positions to emerge than under a tripartite meeting. Maybe this is deliberate, as it is in line with the spirit of the grand débat. It certainly confirms Macron's appetite for this new form of participative democracy that it is now reaching the negotiation table with the social partners.

Show Comments Write a Comment

February 27, 2019

Survey suggests that political dividing line in Europe is between France and Germany

FAZ has the story on a yet to be published survey by Germany's Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research, which asked MPs in Germany, France and Italy about the future of the EU. The bottom line result was that French and Italian MPs are calling for more Europe, while German MPs are distinctly more sceptical - with some cross-party variation. We would make the observation that this is a complete shift from the situation only 10 years ago when German politicians were much more eager to accept more European integration. There are some statistical issues with the survey. The response rate of German MPs was much higher. 

Where MPs agreed on was on more investment and - interestingly - on less labour market flexibility. They disagreed vehemently on all aspects of eurozone governance, with the Germans universally more sceptical about asset purchases, eurobonds, and deposit insurance, while the French and Italian favoured more eurozone reforms. There was one issue the French and the Germans agreed - on rejecting a loosening of the stability pact. A majority of Italian MPs supported it.

The only other finding that struck us were the divisions within the Italian coalition. The Lega MPs rejected the notion of more European integration in all of the five main criteria while the Five Star MPs were in favour of more European integration in all of them.

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 27, 2019
  • The rising chances of a no-deal Brexit
  • January 18, 2019
  • Why Dublin won't yield on the backstop
  • Town hall debates vs street protests - who is winning?
  • September 13, 2018
  • Bravo Mr Juncker for raising the issue of the euro’s international role. But what now?
  • Are the eurosceptics imploding?
  • May 10, 2018
  • Time for some clear thinking on Trump and Iran
  • Will Corbyn accept the EEA? Brexiteers can relax. He won't.
  • What next for the DUP?
  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • August 24, 2017
  • Legislative hyperactivity for Tsipras' new narrative
  • On the deep causes of euroscepticism
  • April 23, 2017
  • The demise of the AfD has accelerated dramatically
  • On how France will need to confront Germany
  • December 21, 2016
  • A culture of denial
  • Ukraine agreement hangs in the balance
  • Valls U-turn on 49-3
  • Beware of exotic Brexit options
  • August 22, 2016
  • Gold for Brexit
  • EU and Turkey talking past each other
  • Switzerland is the next migrant transit country
  • On the death of neoliberal economics
  • 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 17, 2019
  • The dreaded scenario
  • Meet the Labour no-dealers
  • July 02, 2019
  • How not to choose
  • Why no-deal Brexit has emerged as a strong probability
  • June 18, 2019
  • Retaliation threats over drilling
  • June 03, 2019
  • Reinventing the French right without Wauquiez
  • Tory leadership election is between feasible and unfeasible Brexit options
  • May 20, 2019
  • Far right on the march
  • A plot against the EU - a new weapon to stop Le Pen?
  • 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 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?
  • April 17, 2019
  • Why it is far from clear that the grand coalition will survive the year
  • Macron's chance and challenge
  • Eurozone firms' surprising response to sagging profits
  • The result of Spain's elections, a riddle wrapped in mystery
  • The MMT debate is coming to Europe - and Germany
  • Greek parliament seeks German war reparations
  • April 09, 2019
  • What can go wrong now?
  • April 01, 2019
  • Meaningful IV
  • Caputová elected: a turning point for central Europe?
  • March 25, 2019
  • An object lesson in realpolitik
  • On the probability of a no-deal Brexit
  • 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
  • March 11, 2019
  • Ask what Europe can do for Germany - AKK's EU manifesto
  • 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
  • March 04, 2019
  • Macron's two-month sprint
  • May's numbers are not there yet
  • Greening QE
  • On the "hope" of a rate raise
  • March 01, 2019
  • Stars seem to align in favour of the Brexit deal
  • The hidden traps of the UK rebate
  • Orbán coming dangerously close to EPP expulsion
  • February 27, 2019
  • EU bets on stable dictatorships to guard its south
  • The grand débat context for the unemployment insurance reform
  • Survey suggests that political dividing line in Europe is between France and Germany