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Politics

European, Politics

Brexit: A way forward!

Boris Johnson’s inept handling of the negotiations paves the way for the creation of the: “Republic of Ireland, Ulster and Scotland” Is there light at the end of the tunnel? The British government’s statement that it is deliberately preparing to violate international law “in a precise and limited manner” is signaling “open bar” for all the conflicting nationalistic claims that are tearing apart the fabric of the United Kingdom. The bullying tactics of the PM have galvanized the resolve of separatists, overriding serious drawbacks on the economic front that would result from the breakup on the Union. Independence would – because of its shared border and currency – leave Scotland even more dependent on England than the UK is on…

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Belgian, Politics

The Belgian political crisis.

The stalemate stalling the forming of a government is a scandal that could lead to the “lebanization” of the country. ——————————————– The word of the Lord came to me:  “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock?  You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock.  You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost….

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European, Politics

The “Euro” is worth a Mass!

In these times of crisis, when, at any moment, our daily lives can be upset by geopolitical, health, economic or social events whose reciprocal and unpredictable interactions make the management of public affairs particularly difficult, a small but significant item, despite being largely  ignored, is giving reasons for hope:  the requalification of Standard & Poor’s sovereign rating of  the EU’s debt from “AA+ with a stable outlook” to “AA+ with a positive outlook”, opening the possibility of recapturing its coveted AAA rating. This revision, particularly surprising in such an unstable environment is, without doubt, attributable to the opportunities created by the “historic” decisions agreed at the recent EU Summit concerning an € 750 billion stimulus program to be financed through…

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European, Politics

European Union: Agreement over a Coronavirus Rescue Fund and the Multi-annual budgetary Framework.

Let’s not sulk the pleasure! An historic agreement has been extracted at the end of four long days and nights by the 27 Heads of State and Government. The main achievement is not to be found in who came out on top in the haggling or in the – apparently – muscular exchanges between the protagonists, but rather in the preservation of the essential features of the proposal elaborated by the Commission. Of course, one cannot but regret the strengthening of the regime of individual national rebates and the evisceration of any substantive content of the conditionality linked to the respect of fundamental European values in accessing the Coronavirus Rescue Fund (“CRF”); nevertheless, it is undeniable that the EU has…

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European, Politics

Covid 19: Cataclysm or Catalyzer?

France in the eye of the storm! The “cataclysm” born from the pandemic is conferring on the European Union a role of “catalyser” in the articulation of the measures designed to support the recovery; it may be a new example of a salutary crisis enabling the EU to make decisive progress. The ambiguous results of the recent French municipal elections reinforce considerably the pressure on Member States to choose between a shared European sovereignty and, alternatively, following an independent course leading to the inevitable demise of the EU. Commentators seem fairly unanimous in considering that abstention was the main feature of a poll that usually enjoys a high rate of participation due to the preponderance of local issues. With an…

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European, Politics

The “phoney crisis”

On January 30th 2020, the President of the WHO announced: “….. for all these reasons, I declare the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern”. A world crisis had been declared and, as the pandemic spread, each country mobilized independently the forces deemed appropriate to deal with the aggression of the coronavirus. Initially, it entailed the closing of borders, followed by imposing more or less strict lockdown measures with constraints on individual freedoms; everywhere EU regulations were either suspended or ignored. However, to their credit, most governments chose to prioritise fighting the health urgency to the detriment of its economic consequences. Confronted with an unknown enemy, it is hardly surprising that many countries were caught unaware,…

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European, Politics

Hope!

The new budgetary proposals should allow the multiannual financial perspectives to evolve over time. The speech of Ursula von der Leyen who presented the Commission’s budgetary proposals to the European Parliament for the period 2021-27 struck the right cord both in tone and in content. As in rugby, it is now necessary to “convert the try” and to pull the Union out of the rut in which it is stuck in order to implement a new major step towards European integration. The crucial idea consists in the willful creation of a financial “transfer” mechanism which – in the light of the significant amounts involved – considerably expands the current limited budgetary framework, overlooks the old disputes over “I want my…

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European, Politics, Uncategorized

Disappointments!

The Franco-German communiqué pre-empts both the Council and the Commission. The Brexit dead end is taking too much room. I would have enjoyed rejoicing, with no second thoughts, over the new European horizons unveiled at the recent Franco-German summit. Indeed agreement between their leaders is a precondition to badly needed reform to ensure the EU’s survival. It is vital to reinvigorate a disabused public opinion which has been misled into believing that the Union rather than the Member States (“MS”) is responsible for the weaknesses for which it is blamed. Unfortunately, the announcement on Monday evening of an “historic agreement” between France and Germany concerning the financing by the EU of an unprecedented economic stimulus package, is further illustration of…

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European, Politics

The European Union and the United States are both facing existential governance threats.

The European model is torn between federalism and nationalism while the federal template is being contested in United States. The coronavirus pandemic has shone the spotlight on the strengths and weaknesses of all the regimes who have confronted it, wherever on the planet. It has drawn attention, after years of neglect, to the need to deal urgently with problems that leaders – of all political persuasions – have repeatedly and conveniently kicked down the road.   Nowhere is this more apparent than within the EU where the sanitary crisis (dealt with independently by Member States (“MS”) who are exclusively competent for public health matters) and the subsequent emergence of an economic crisis of historical proportions (which as a result of…

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European, Politics

EU Summit of April 23rd.

Analysis: a glass a quarter full, a quarter empty and half missing! The video-conference meeting of the European Council ended without any major disagreement but also without any decisive breakthrough in structuring the elusive economic stimulus package. Among the positive outcomes was the anticipated approval of the proposals made by the Finance Ministers on the €540 billon facilities split between the Commission 100MM (SURE), the EIB 200MM and the ESM 240MM. Furthermore, a consensus seemed to form on the utilization of the EU budget as the conduit to finance the recovery program and a mandate was given to the Commission to integrate it by mid-May within the framework of the 2021-27 multiannual financial perspectives. Deep divergences remain, however, concerning the…

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