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European

European, Politics

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Donald Trump’s ego could trigger a worldwide financial crisis of record proportions whose geopolitical fallout is wholly unpredictable! Since his accession to the presidency of the United States, the behavior of the tenant of the White House has been subject to endless deciphering. Some contend that he is rude, uncouth and totally unfit to hold the office of President; others recognize his business acumen, his capacity to implement his campaign promises and his ability to cater to the disenchantment of public opinion with the “Washington swamp”. But as far as he is concerned, he hasn’t the slightest doubt regarding his own “exceptional abilities” and never misses an opportunity to attribute to himself alone the success (?) of reestablishing America’s primacy,…

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European, Politics

The Euro and the Dollar – The European Union and “Brexit”:

Recognizing the close relationship between these matters should put an end to posturing and give realism a chance! In my attempt to demonstrate the close connexion between these two matters and the dead end to which one is led by separating them, I will first refer to the last sentence of the excellent article by Pierre Defraigne in the Libre Belgique of July 25th: “But the EU can only fulfil its historic role of a budding global power by endowing itself with a truly international reserve currency, a condition for its internal solidarity and coherence, and with a common defence, condition of its strategic autonomy.” I wish also to draw attention to the negotiating paper adopted recently at Chequers by…

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European, Politics

Finally, the United States of America are sending in the Bailiff to collect their debts!

Despite the moaning and groaning aimed at President Trump’s lack of manners as well as at the consequences of his uncontrolled statements, Europeans cannot avoid responding to the bill that has been duly presented by their partner for “services rendered” over the last 70 years! If there is no doubt that extending credit to finance Europe’s recovery after the devastation of the war was beneficial to both debtor and creditor, this state of affairs was perpetuated long after Europe’s return to prosperity, allowing it to bolster its economic performance and social welfare system at the expense of its defense capabilities, putting, over time, both its independence and security in jeopardy. The end of communism accelerated the process, leading to further…

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European, Politics

Reforming the European Union!

Rather than letting “Brexit” divide the Nation, the UK should take a lead in reforming the E.U.   Having just returned from London after 4 years absence, I was reminded of the greatness and attractiveness of the British capital. However, I was struck by the contrast between the apparent aloofness of the population concerning Brexit and the spectacle of a deeply divided country sleepwalking towards an uncertain future. This may not be as surprising as it seems: when talking to – or reading the pronouncements of – real or self-appointed experts on the subject, it became fairly obvious that discussions centred mainly around arcane legal or practical technicalities leading to dubious conclusions that were more influenced by political ideology and/or…

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European, Politics

Is there an alternative to a “Federal European Union”?

The current mood is reminiscent of the atmosphere prevailing on the eve of WWI which was so admirably described by Christopher Clark in his book “The Sleepwalkers”. The main difference is that the unconcern of the period has been replaced by ignorance, misunderstanding and a disregard for the reality of a situation in which political, social and technological factors are intertwined in a maze, the complexity of which has become difficult to apprehend. Combined with the increasing rejection of the political establishment by the population and the incapacity to bring concrete solutions to people’s preoccupations, a dangerous situation is emerging in which individualism is growing significantly, at the expense of collective interests. As far as the EU is concerned, its…

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European, Politics

The new aspects of international conflicts.

  Communication surrounding the Syrian crisis offers a perfect example of thoroughly outdated rhetoric. Indeed, the subtle analysis of commentators draw the attention – correctly – on the dangers of a military escalation of the conflict which has the capacity of destroying the planet; however, for this very reason, it is unlikely to happen as was the case during the Cuban missile crisis many years ago. Nevertheless, confrontations have not disappeared since then, but have developed new characteristics among which one can pinpoint “terrorism”, “cyber warfare” or “sanctions”. If the UN was created with the hope to bring an end to “classic” wars, one can but acknowledge the total inadequacy of its charter to deal with these new forms of…

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European, Politics

Completing EMU – Negotiating « Brexit » With regard to « financial services » Europeans remain as divided as the British!

The three personalities that have recently impressed their mark on the European Union are respectively the President of the ECB, Mario Draghi, for his masterful management of EMU monetary policy as well as keeping the single currency safe (so far), President Emmanuel Macron for his initiative aiming at relaunching the process of EU integration (in the future) and Michel Barnier for his competence in conducting the Brexit negotiation process (under way). Saving the single currency, completing EMU, deepening the EU and reaching a satisfactory agreement with the British in the area of “financial services” after Brexit are deeply intertwined matters which require coordination at each step of these different parallel processes; while this should be evident, it does not appear…

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European, Politics

Brexit: Sufficient Progress ?

An agreement full of contradictions! The agreement reached under maximum pressure by the EU and the United Kingdom during the night of December 7th is a paroxysm of ambiguity and hypocrisy, whose main – not insignificant – merit is to avoid the premature interruption of the Brexit negotiations as well as to offer the main protagonists peaceful year end celebrations. The fudge by which the parties have agreed in full (bad) faith that “the conditions to start the second phase of negotiations have been met” is based on two affirmations which are clearly and knowingly interpreted differently by the signatories: The first concerns the affirmation of the slogan “there is no agreement on anything as long as there is no…

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European, Politics

Brexit : “State of Play”

Time to think “out of the box”! The sorry picture conveyed by the stalled negotiations over the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union is fostering various scenarios among which a disastrous outcome is rapidly becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. With each passing day the likelihood of an exit “with no agreement” is increasing. In the futile search for a “culprit” some may regret the intransigence of the EU in its refusal to perfectly rational in light the British government’s incapacity, either to formulate adequate proposals regarding the terms of the divorce and its future objectives or to provide the necessary assurances that they will be endorsed. Under these circumstances it is hardly surprising that the Union wishes to…

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European, Politics

The Crisis in Catalonia

What are the European Union’s options? The unanimous support by the Heads of State and Government for Spain’s Prime Minister, expressed by their refusal to interfere in the battle between his government and Catalonia’s, was highly predictable. Indeed, neither the Union nor its Members can easily intervene, in a conflict concerning the application of a country’s constitution, without risking to create a dangerous precedent. The caution shown by the Union reflects the fact that the controversy is unrelated to Spain’s compliance with its “European” undertakings; the situation is therefore not comparable with the procedures initiated by the Commission against Poland and Hungary which fall within its remit as “Guardian of the Treaties”. This position, in which the “legal” argument overrides…

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