Category

Politics

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…

Continue reading
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…

Continue reading
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….

Continue reading
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…

Continue reading
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…

Continue reading
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…

Continue reading
European, Politics

Is the European Union sleepwalking into its dislocation?

In a very perceptive article published in the Spectator of February 13th (1) Fredrik Erixon describes “The death of the center in European politics”. He rightly points out: “This is no longer a story about the rise of populists, it’s a story of change. Either the old parties must adapt or populists will — transforming into the new ruling norm.” This is a very crucial point because it shows that by restricting the debate challenging the “populist nationalist extremes” to waiving the spectre of the demons of the first half on the 20th. century  – a “historical” period that only few survivors recall – the “democratic centre” is addressing its audiences at cross purposes to their main daily preoccupations. By…

Continue reading
European, Politics

Could the ECB turn out to be the Achilles tendon of the EU’s democratic legitimacy?

  In these uncertain times many matters filling the media remind us daily of the existential risks the world is facing extending from climate change to geopolitical challenges in the Middle-East, Ukraine or Africa, to social unrest in Venezuela, Hong Kong when it is not closer to home in France, to new forms of confrontation in terms of cyberwarfare, proliferation of nuclear weapons or trade disputes, etc. These highly complex matters have deeply imbedded relationships making them especially difficult to be understood or evaluated by an ever larger number of global “connected” individuals, wrestling with new forms of instant communication, capable of using the fast developing Artificial Intelligence algorithms to manipulate a gullible “public opinion”. It is not surprising that…

Continue reading
European, Politics

The “Future Relationship” between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

The speeches delivered on February 3rd by Boris Johnson in Greenwich and by Michel Barnier in Brussels reveal the deep differences between the parties on the eve of the adoption of their respective negotiation mandates. That is hardly surprising as each protagonist flexes his muscles before initiating the talks. First it should be mentioned that both presentations were of excellent quality, their structure underscoring perfectly the differences in the personality and method of the orators. On the one hand, a flamboyant sentimental speech calling for the EU to trust Britain (a feeling that Boris Johnson’s track record renders dubious at best) and, on the other, a finely honed coherent demonstration repeating ne varietur the well-established positions of the EU. A…

Continue reading
European, Politics

The “Brexit” tree hides the forest of the challenges of globalization!

The historical event of the formal departure of the UK from the EU has rightfully occupied the center of media attention over the last several days. It is nevertheless sure that other events will rapidly dominate the news: the acquittal of Donald Trump and the US presidential campaign, the coronavirus epidemic, the situation in the Middle-East, Ukraine trade wars, climate change, social unrest, EU reform, etc. What is new is that in our “connected” planet, all of these matters have also become deeply interconnected, which means that addressing them in isolation becomes problematic and is often biased. Brexit is emblematic in this regard and deserves to be considered in more detail. Most current analysis cover the process under which negotiations…

Continue reading