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December 20, 2017

Down with the gown

Once a divorce is on the table, everything comes under scrutiny: past behaviour, assets, and joint ventures. Every stone is turned. A painstaking process for everyone involved. Brexit may do the same for Ireland, in particular. They already found 142 areas where regulatory equivalence is required to make good on British promises on the border. The following story reminded us that there is a lot much more that can be tripped up by this process. 

Irish universities are running tenders for their graduation gowns, but only a few firms get chosen for long term contracts. The Irish Times found that four companies supplying gown hire and photography services to graduating third-level students are all controlled by the same London owner, and all operate from the same Dublin address. The links among those four different companies all go back to the London-based Ede & Ravenscroft, which was founded in 1689 and is thought to be the oldest tailoring firm in the world. Irish universities promised to do more to foster competition, and end the monopoly position of this London firm.

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December 20, 2017

How to overcome the political gridlock in Italy

Italy is the proverbial example of a country whose position in the eurozone is simultaneously unsustainable and without concrete alternative. The political situation is in strong flux right now, but possibly not so strong that it will end the political gridlock resulting from the presence of three large party grouping, each unwilling to form coalitions with the other. Even Germany is not immune from such gridlock, which is an inevitable by-product of all systems of proportional representations.

Corriere della Sera today has a useless additional analysis of the raw polling data it initially published over the weekend. Those had shown a further weakening in the support of the PD, which is part of a clear trend that in our view has not yet run its course. 

Here the latest projections how the polls were to translate into governing majorities. The second of those charts shows the dynamisms of the trend against the PD in the last few weeks. 

 

Logic dictates that any outcomes that would resembles such a three-party gridlock would eventually require a coalition of those parties - PD and Forza Italia would not have a majority, not even with the Lega or the left. A coalition of PD and Five Star is at least numerically possible, but not politically, especially as we expect Five Star to become more radical as the centre-right becomes more centrist. A coalition of the populists - led by Five Star and Lega - is another option, but against without a majority. 

What happens if such a result came about? We reported by that President Sergio Matterella is considering leaving Paolo Gentilone in office while negotiations last. As Corriere della Sera reports Silvio Berlusconi finds this preferable to a technical government, which has been the usual answer to political gridlock in the country. Gentilone would continue not in an acting capacity, but endowed with all the paraphernelia of power of an elected prime minister.

Is there support for a grand coalition? Like in Germany, the members of both parties are deeply sceptical. And unlike in Germany, the two sides do not believe that they have the necessary numbers, at least not without the support either of the Left, which would make such a construction unpalatable to Berlusconi, or the Lega, which would not work with the PD. One option people are discussing is a hybrid between political and technical government, but it all shows how desperate the situation is - given the current polls. 

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December 20, 2017

Varoufakis is suing the ECB

Yanis Varoufakis and the MEP Fabio de Masi from Die Linke sued the ECB recently to gain access to the internal legal opinion that led to the ECB’s decision to freeze vital ELA funding to Greek banks at the end of June of 2015. It was a historic moments, leaving Alexis Tsipras no choice but to shut down the banks, impose capital controls, and start negotiations from a weakened position. Eventually Varoufakis resigned and Tsipras made a deal with the creditors that granted Greece funds in return for more austerity measures. 

The ELA agreement prohibits national central banks from providing ELA if it "interferes with the objectives and tasks" of the ECB, such as maintaining price stability and safeguarding payments. Varoufakis' and de Masi's lawyer says they want to expose how the ECB and its legal experts weighed different objectives and interpreted the legal framework. 

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  • 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 20, 2020
  • What will happen on January 1
  • December 09, 2019
  • The next three days
  • May 01, 2019
  • Labour votes against obligatory second referendum
  • On the link between output gap measures and the rise of political extremism
  • Berlin's inconclusive Kosovo conference
  • 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 05, 2017
  • Europe’s next migration crisis
  • Philippe: French need to kick spending addiction
  • 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 08, 2020
  • Is Greece ready for virus spread in migrant camps?
  • On the future of the EU - the final part 12 of our series
  • October 07, 2019
  • What did Conte know?
  • April 08, 2019
  • Welcome to the new Brexit grand coalition
  • Waiting for Macron's next move
  • October 08, 2018
  • A renewed willingness on both sides to cut a Brexit deal
  • Latvian politics in turmoil after huge populist gains
  • April 09, 2018
  • Orbán gets his supermajority
  • Riding the wave of resistance
  • The EU’s self-defeating strategy
  • October 09, 2017
  • UK is starting to prepare for a no-deal Brexit
  • Why Germany will resist meaningful eurozone reform
  • April 13, 2017
  • Did Russia influence the Brexit vote?
  • All good between Germany and the US now?
  • October 18, 2016
  • The self-destruction of Francois Hollande
  • Brexit psychotherapy
  • At least three candidates for the PvdA leadership
  • The unbelievable hypocrisy of Mario Monti
  • 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
  • March 10, 2020
  • Virus math
  • October 29, 2019
  • People's Vote descends into Civil War
  • CDU at odds on dealing with extreme parties
  • June 19, 2019
  • What the US-Iran standoff tells us about the EU
  • Is Germany withholding information on right-wing extremism?
  • February 08, 2019
  • Macron turns stand-off with Italy into a game changer
  • Is there a strategic intent behind Macron's decision?
  • October 01, 2018
  • After the referendum, more turmoil in Macedonia
  • What will happen if the UK parliament votes No?
  • Barnier's no-thanks works much better than a yes-please
  • 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
  • January 17, 2018
  • Labour smashes No Brexit dreams
  • A new political bargain in Portugal?
  • September 13, 2017
  • Why the Turkey negotiations will continue
  • May 10, 2017
  • PSOE primary campaign in full swing
  • Czech government crisis escalates
  • Backroom dealing on electoral reform in Italy
  • 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 25, 2016
  • The costs of Brexit
  • Redefining corruption
  • Greek government shocked, shocked...
  • The costs of Brexit
  • Redefining corruption
  • Greek government shocked, shocked...
  • 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
  • June 29, 2020
  • Édouard Philippe - mayor or prime minister?
  • Sir Humphrey, R.I.P.
  • May 18, 2020
  • Why this won't be a symmetric shock
  • Towards a new cold war
  • April 06, 2020
  • The feedback loop of Covid-19 and inequalities - part 10 of our series
  • How confinement affects mental health
  • February 25, 2020
  • Why no-deal is a real possibility
  • January 17, 2020
  • The world has discovered how to blackmail Germany
  • Fideszit?
  • December 11, 2019
  • Philippe to present pension reform bid
  • The N-VA is back in the game for a Belgian government
  • November 05, 2019
  • Grassroot movements and a new era of instability
  • September 30, 2019
  • A pyrrhic victory for Kurz
  • Will there really be UK elections?
  • August 27, 2019
  • Remain’s narrowing pathway
  • Macron's diplomatic masterstroke
  • July 22, 2019
  • Will Johnson go for elections?
  • How will von der Leyen handle the east?
  • June 18, 2019
  • Retaliation threats over drilling
  • 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
  • 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
  • March 12, 2019
  • US threatens withdrawal of security co-operation with Germany
  • AKK goes for politics, not policy
  • February 11, 2019
  • SPD dumps Hartz IV
  • Macron's revival
  • January 14, 2019
  • Our Brexit predictions
  • 1789 - Macron's version
  • Tsipras calls confidence vote after Kammenos pulls out
  • December 17, 2018
  • A second referendum is no closer today than last Friday
  • Philippe expects 3.2% deficit next year
  • November 19, 2018
  • May’s pushback is kicking in
  • October 25, 2018
  • The Greens as the emerging new political force in Germany
  • Will EU elections turn into an unholy mess?
  • October 02, 2018
  • Whatever it takes - diesel version
  • Is Macron's European discourse too simplistic?
  • September 10, 2018
  • Steadfast Juppé stays true to embattled Macron
  • Sweden’s Democrats and Germany’s AfD: they don’t win elections, but they set the political agenda
  • Is Boris going to challenge Theresa May?
  • 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 30, 2018
  • Brexit midsummer madness
  • July 09, 2018
  • German panic about Target2
  • AfD level with SPD
  • How the EU could fail
  • June 21, 2018
  • Merkel’s next crisis
  • Anel's troubles with Northern Macedonia
  • Grand Old Duke of York marches down the hill again
  • June 04, 2018
  • German discourse out of control
  • Wait for European disunity on US tariffs
  • May 18, 2018
  • Ciudadanos pressures Rajoy on Catalonia
  • The EU's bluff on Iran sanctions
  • What the Brexit deal will look like
  • May 02, 2018
  • Galileo row escalates
  • May Day in Paris - violence and dissonance
  • A homeopathic eurozone budget
  • April 17, 2018
  • CDU's executive committees reaffirms eurosceptic position
  • Macron in Strasburg
  • April 03, 2018
  • Is the time for Brexit revocation running out?
  • March 20, 2018
  • The declining interest in macroeconomics
  • March 09, 2018
  • The Franco-German axis and its opponents
  • Auf Wiedersehen, Sigmar Gabriel!
  • February 26, 2018
  • Angela Merkel's cabinet
  • February 15, 2018
  • How will the EU finance itself after Brexit?
  • On the customs union
  • February 06, 2018
  • Ciudadanos rising
  • Meet the rising star of Dutch populism
  • What to watch out for in British politics
  • January 29, 2018
  • Where is the opposition in France?
  • Scenarios and risks for Syriza over Macedonia
  • January 22, 2018
  • Carles Puigdemont's flying circus
  • Macedonia and the insurrection of Greek patriotism
  • On the real hurdles for Brexit revocation
  • And the satellites, too
  • January 16, 2018
  • Towards a radicalisation of Les Républicains?
  • EU toughens its position on Brexit transition
  • January 11, 2018
  • The horse taming the dragon - really?
  • Budget contributions for market access?
  • January 08, 2018
  • Getting real on Brexit
  • Macron in China
  • January 05, 2018
  • Catalonia's government by Skype
  • The case for EEA membership
  • December 21, 2017
  • Catalonia votes
  • A deputy prime minister resigns
  • Will Gibraltar result in another Irish fudge?
  • Blood, sweat and tears
  • December 20, 2017
  • Down with the gown
  • How to overcome the political gridlock in Italy
  • Varoufakis is suing the ECB