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

June 12, 2019

What Spain wants from the EU

As a result of the recent European elections and Spanish general elections, Pedro Sánchez has emerged as a sort of informal leader of the European social democrats. He is not only the socialist PM of the larger country, but his party has the largest national contingent among the S&D group in the European parliament. The question is what he will want to do with that political capital. Miguel Otero and Ilke Toygür argue that Spain's priority is deepening the economic and monetary union (EMU) and for this Sánchez is likely to try and push for the first vice-presidency of the Commission. As a result Spain will not seek an EU top job.

Spain might not even put up of a fight to oppose Weber. There is support for a stronger role of the European Parliament, which is why Spain supports the spitzenkandidaten system. The authors dismiss the idea that Spain will want to seek the job of the high representative for foreign policy. The feeling in Madrid is that the job does not have enough influence in Brussels.

For these reasons, it is possible that Spain may seek the first vice-presidency of the Commission, the position Frans Timmermans used to hold in Juncker's college, with responsibility for all the significant economic directorate-generals. This includes budget, taxation, economic and financial affairs, trade, and industrial policy. Spain is also interested in increasing its influence by having people at key second-tier positions, for instance the secretary general of the Commission or the Council.

Show Comments Write a Comment

June 12, 2019

What to focus on in the Brexit procedure, and what not

There is another attempt today by the House of Commons to seek control of the legislative agenda. Another of those Cooper-Letwin amendments is in the works. We think this is largely irrelevant. The purpose this time would be to make it illegal for a prime minister to prorogue, or suspend, parliament.

In reality it is unlikely to come to that. The EU will extend the deadline only if there is an election or a referendum. The UK parliament is not in a position to force a Brexit delay.

If Boris Johnson wins the Tory leadership race, we think he will want to seek an immediate election to gain a mandate to take the UK out of the EU by October 31. The fragmentation of UK politics and the first-past-the-post system is likely to work in his favour. We noted a poll this morning, by ComRes, which attempted a constituency-level breakdown of the UK vote. It shows that Johnson is the only Tory leadership candidate with a hope to secure a majority of seats - in fact a whopping majority with almost 400 seats. None of the others come even close. This massive gap in seats does not reflect on Johnson's popularity, but on the simple fact he is the only candidate who can neutralise the Brexit Party. The Brexit Party would otherwise eat into Tory support in many marginal constituencies. With Rory Stuart as leader, the Conservatives would be down to 51 seats - behind the LibDems - and the Brexit party would end up with 252 seats. That won't happen of course, since Stewart has no chance of getting elected leader.

It is still best to think of Brexit as a political process, and not to focus too much on parliamentary tricks. That's the reason we think that a no-deal Brexit is not related to the eccentric instrument of prorogation, but to the likelihood of Johnson winning the leadership race.

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 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
  • January 04, 2019
  • Will the AfD become the Dexit party?
  • Romania's corruption problem in the spotlight of its EU presidency
  • August 28, 2018
  • Urban politics and national crisis - the Irish case
  • How anti-semitism became one of the main issues in British politics
  • April 25, 2018
  • Macron's pitch to Trump
  • Montoro in Schleswig-Holstein
  • The old world and the new
  • December 22, 2017
  • Will Macron be the new de Gaulle?
  • 2018 through the looking glass
  • August 21, 2017
  • Soft, getting softer
  • Tsipras' chances of a boost
  • On the fallacy of a middle-ground option for the eurozone
  • April 20, 2017
  • Don’t bet on Trump turning globalist
  • A note on UK election polls
  • December 20, 2016
  • The politics of terror
  • On Lagarde
  • Is a disruptive Brexit possible?
  • 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
  • November 06, 2019
  • Could the German coalition fall over the basis minimum pension? Quite possibly.
  • Philippe to present new immigration policies
  • The sharp edge of soft power
  • October 22, 2019
  • High stake poker with Turkey
  • Without EU accession prospect, what is at stake for Macedonia?
  • October 07, 2019
  • What did Conte know?
  • September 23, 2019
  • Corbyn’s last big battle
  • Germany’s CO2 compromise meets all targets - except the climate targets
  • September 09, 2019
  • Chances of no-deal are rising and rising
  • Resist the beginnings
  • August 27, 2019
  • Remain’s narrowing pathway
  • Macron's diplomatic masterstroke
  • August 08, 2019
  • A poll on October 31?
  • July 29, 2019
  • No-deal Brexit is no longer just a scenario
  • No German warships to the Strait of Hormuz
  • July 19, 2019
  • Instex shows the EU is caught between the US and Russia
  • Johnson’s two Brexit options
  • July 11, 2019
  • Focus on election timetable, not prorogation...
  • ...and not on Darroch either
  • July 04, 2019
  • What will the European Parliament do?
  • June 28, 2019
  • In Osaka
  • June 24, 2019
  • Economic reform has torn up the SPD - climate policy does the same for the CDU/CSU
  • Not intruding, not really
  • June 20, 2019
  • Forget the candidates and look at those who vote
  • The death of the old guard in French politics
  • When to take Salvini seriously, and when not
  • June 18, 2019
  • Retaliation threats over drilling
  • June 13, 2019
  • On the large and rising risk of a no-deal Brexit
  • Unite and divide - Act II of Edouard Philippe