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European

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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European, Politics

The EU is the correct level to implement the recovery program after Covid19.

As suggested by the Council and Commission Presidents, the answer lies in the 2021-2027financial perspectives. In the same way as the de-confinement rules envisaged for exiting the pandemic can only rely on the voluntary coordination between the EU Member States – which have each imposed unilateral measures in line with their own specific situation –  it is equally important to implement a centralized response at EU level to deal with the pending recession, if the Single Market, the Single Currency and the Union itself are to survive the major economic, social and political chocks that will follow the pandemic. The EU 27 Members will be confronted with the financing of a joint recovery program, the success or failure of which…

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European, Politics

The rescue of the European Union

€ 540 billion, painfully agreed, will not suffice. One would wish to commend the agreement, reached by Finance Ministers after more than 20 hours of wrangling, as the first step towards the Union’s coordinated response to this major crisis which will endure long past dealing with the Covid19 pandemic. It offers, however, only a breathing space before addressing the existential questions which will determine the survival of the Union itself. Resorting – once again – to the perennial “compromise” does not bode well for the future because the very premise of the accord – which sought to overcome irreconcilable positions – has firmly closed doors that make future negotiations far more difficult. The fundamental mistake lies with the European Council…

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European, Politics

The capitulation of the European Council.

In his hour of need, the European citizen feels abandoned! In the face of the pandemic and the looming economic collapse, yesterday’s video-conference of the European Council demonstrated that its participants are not up to their responsibilities. This exceptional situation required a unanimous immediate response, catapulting the EU to the rank of a major power which, together with the USA, China, India, Japan… will have to cooperate closely to face the huge challenges that are unfolding. To hold on to ideologies or the myth of “national sovereignty” is unacceptable. It is all together that the EU27 will limit the sacrifices shouldered by their citizens which will be all the more painful that the western “democracies” have the most to lose….

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European, Politics

European Union: the suspension of budgetary rules.

A hasty and poorly thought decision that is likely to be irreversible! It is common to suggest that the EU makes decisive progress only in a crisis. This time around, however, it would seem that the opportunity offered by the coronavirus epidemic has been wasted; this was a unique chance to reinforce significantly the powers exercised by the European Institutions on behalf of all EU citizens. Reacting precipitously, the Commission proposed last Friday to suspend the rules that framed the budgetary processes of EMU Members and whose enforcement constitutes the foundation and sustainability of the Single Currency. By bowing to Italy’s pressing demands and taking note of France’s unilateral measures, the Commission has allowed each country to pursue its own…

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European, Politics

Covid19: Globalization in question?

The “Coronavirus” – unlike the “Subprime” in 2008 – is the trigger of a much wider crisis! The comparison between the coronavirus and the subprime stems from the fact that both factors served as detonators, igniting – then as now – a powder-filled unstable environment. There, unfortunately, ends the similarities, but drawing attention to them serves to underscore the urgency of the situation and its capacity to initiate a major geopolitical crisis of an amplitude unknown since the 1930’s. One should recall that the latter was only resolved by WWII whose inevitability had been largely fostered by the inexorable rise of authoritarian “nationalisms” and (temporarily) spineless democracies. Though present circumstances are thoroughly different, similar conditions seem to be spreading around…

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European, Politics

Will the European Union be the main casualty of the Coronavirus?

At the time of writing on February 25th we already know quite a lot about the Covid19 and, at the same time, many uncertainties remain. Limiting oneself to official and authoritative scientific sources, we have already learned that the virus attacks almost exclusively adults; that it is fatal mainly in the case of older people and/or if they suffer additional pathologies (smoking, cancers, diabetes, hypertension…) and is otherwise less dangerous than the annual flew epidemic with a low rate of fatalities. Among still unknown factors remain the seasonality of the virus (will it disappear in spring?), the delay for providing a vaccine (10-18 months?) or the length of the incubation period (14-27 days?). Fundamental is the correctness of the data…

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