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European

European, Politics

E.U. reform requires probably the simultaneous re-foundation of the United Nations.

Failing such an external stimulus, the Conference on the future of the EU risks to end in a stalemate! A series of recent events has brutally made us aware that we are living through a major epochal change: be it climate warming – identified years ago  – which confronts us with an increasing number of extreme meteorological events (floods – heatwaves), be it the pandemic that takes no notice of borders or national sovereignty or globalisation that makes the interdependence of populations both manifest and irreversible, all these developments impose on humanity the inescapable obligation to privilege collective rather than national, community or individual interests. The exceptional level of prosperity, made possible by scientific, economic and social progress, has promoted…

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European, Politics

European Union: the scourge of abstention.

Abstention is a challenge to democracy on par with extremism, both at European and National level. The phenomenon of abstention has been growing in the EU over recent decades to the point where it has become the expression of the majority in several elections. Not to be confused with a “blank” vote representing an elector’s protest against the inadequacy of the political choice offered, abstaining is, to the contrary, an expression of disinterest in “public affairs” whose prevalence is challenging the core of democracy, cornerstone of the Treaty among its 27 Members. By its consubstantial nature to the very existence of the Union, this matter should be at the heart of the debates of the Conference on the Future of…

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European, Politics

Can the Conference on the future of the E.U. deliver anything but a damp squib?

On the eve of the Conference on the Future of the European Union, whose preparation and work has – and will – be heavily influenced by the pandemic, one should wonder whether the new political environment has been impacted to such an the extent that the capacity of the debates to offer credible answers to the challenges facing the Union is put into question. Even if this development is the result of a process initiated several decades ago, the pandemic has crystallized its emergence and its growing hold over a broad segment of public opinion. Thus the historical “left – right” divide opposing socio-economic models around which ruling parties alternated in implementing programs sharing a corpus of “centrist” values, has…

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European, Politics

Currencies and Finance are major weapons in the geopolitical game.

The post Covid “Recovery Plan” is a major card in the EU’s hand. The use of monetary and financial weapons in political gamesmanship is not new; it has taken various forms over time: from the flows of gold and silver travelling over the Silk Road, to cargos of precious metals filling the Spanish and Portuguese galleons returning from South America or more elaborate measures including blockades, embargoes, exchange controls, currency depreciation, financial manipulations or outright frauds, the acceleration of globalization and the growing interdependence of its actors have made access to financial markets a matter of survival. After a period of unquestioned domination of Sterling, relying on the vastness of the British Empire, it relinquished its leadership to the $…

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European, Politics

Is the European Union losing its way?

Barring a major effort, the EU is on track to being marginalized! The events unfolding under are eyes and whose roots reach back over the last several decades, are questioning the foundations of the EU which have been the focal point around which European society has coalesced since WWII. Firmly scotched to the USA during the reconstruction period and benefitting from its benign protection against the spread of communism, European nations favored building regimes emphasizing a welfare State and to a greater or lesser extent wealth redistribution, at the expense of their economic, monetary, defense and finally political autonomy, these aspects being clearly closely interconnected. Up until the introduction of the Single Currency, the EU created the illusion of being…

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European, Politics

Europe – Covid and Freedom

The lessons learned from the pandemic opens a window to further European integration. Lassitude, sacrifices, anxieties, unknowns surrounding the pandemic, economic uncertainties are all undermining the spirit of the population, rendering the task of governing ever more complex. The media, be it TV debates, the press or social media platforms, train their sights on the dysfunctionalities, the contradictions, the incoherencies underpinning the opinions of “specialists” (or incompetent participants) who wrangle publicly, thus making the decisions made by political authorities particularly difficult to follow and understand. Within this context, there is a lack of consensus concerning the importance assigned to competing priorities, aiming either at health care, economic activity, social protections or to be respectful of citizen’s rights and liberties, each,…

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European, Politics

The Euro as an instrument of Power?

Commentary on the Communication from the European Commission(COM (2021) 32) On the eve of President Biden’s inauguration, the Commission published a Communication aiming at strengthening the role of the Union on the world stage by developing a policy of “open strategic autonomy” outlined in its Communication of May 2020. This new Communication centres on the development of the international role of the €, strengthening the EU’s financial market infrastructures, improving the implementation and enforcement of the EU’s sanctions’ regime as well of the unlawful extra-territorial application of unilateral sanctions and other measures by third countries. As was provocatively suggested in a commentary in the Financial Times of January 21st, the American President will have lost no sleep when informed of…

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European, Politics, Uncategorized

2021 will be the making or the undoing of the European Union.

Covid 19 is an opportunity for the Commission to implicate the “Citizen” in future of the Union. The European Commission, under President Ursula von der Leyen, is determined to extract the process of European integration from the rut in which it has been stuck since the signing of the Lisbon treaty. The conclusion of the Brexit Agreement opens the way to focus its efforts on its new priorities. In addition to the environment and digitalization, circumstances have led it to embrace vigorously its involvement in healthcare, a domain previously reserved to Member States. Its dealing with the pandemic has considerably reinforced the pertinence of its interventions, be it in relation to the economic crises (Recovery Plan), its flexible interpretation of…

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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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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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