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Politics

European, Politics

S.O.S. : Europe rudderless!

The forceful intervention concerning the “Yellow Jackets” and the European Union by Bernard Henri Levy on January 11th during the French TV show “24 hours Pujadas”, was both welcome and refreshing. His analysis stating that only a (reformed) EU is susceptible to offer a credible answer to the challenges confronting Member States in a hostile geopolitical environment (Trump, Putin, Erdogan, Xi, etc.) underscores – by contrast – the incapacity of national political parties to formulate acceptable constructive alternative proposals. Whether confronting the challenges of immigration, the environment, defence, economic and social problems or the €, all proposals that require retaining or restoring the primacy of individual country’s “national sovereignty” (favoured by the populists), lead to an unescapable consequence: the re-establishing…

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European, Politics

The “Yellow Jackets” and the European elections

It is dispiriting spectacle to watch the cream of French intelligentsia argue for hours on TV the impact of a “Yellow Jackets” list on the outcome of the forthcoming European parliamentary elections. The entire focus is on the gains or losses such a list would inflict on established parties. The consensus is that President Macron would have most to gain and the extremes, especially on the right, would be weakened. Should the Yellow Jackets fail to run, as is likely, the far right (Le Pen and Dupont Agnan) is expected to make significant gains, severely beating the President’s supporters. However, this debate is secondary at best if not totally derisory when compared with the high stakes in play concerning the…

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European, Politics

The “Yellow Jackets” recast the geopolitical consequences of “Brexit”

There is a fairly large consensus around the opinion that “Brexit” is neither good for Great-Britain nor for the EU. However, its consequences appear particularly damageable for the United-Kingdom and positively disastrous in case of a “no deal exit”. Inside the Union, while there are sincere regrets concerning the departure as well as a recognition of the significant contributions made by the UK, those who wish to pursue an “Ever closer Union” believe that Brexit might give a new impulse to European integration; the last major step forward in this process was the introduction of the single currency in 1999 which still remains uncompleted. In parallel with this standstill, the first years of the new century saw a marked increase…

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European, Politics

Brexit: The End Game.

The odds to reach an agreement are far better than 50/50! As the deadline to conclude the “exit agreement” – which includes an outline of the future relationship between the EU and the UK – is fast approaching, the rhetoric and posturing by all involved seems to reach new heights with every passing day. Nevertheless, reaching a compromise is clearly in the overwhelming interest of the parties, the risks of a failure being unacceptable. It is high time to dispense with grandstanding, proffering insults and ad hominem arguments as well as spreading unsubstantiated “fake news” regarding respectively the advantages and pitfalls of a “no deal” scenario. Indeed, from the point of view of the UK, failure to reach an agreement…

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European, Politics

Multilateralism or Unilateralism?

The EU must undertake with the BRICS with Japan an initiative to limit the exorbitant power of the Unites States derived from “Weaponizing” the Dollar! The unilateral exercise of power is a temptation for any public or private entity who can get away with it! For the United States, the possibility goes back to the end of WWII, though it has been utilized with more or less restraint by successive Presidents corresponding to their assessment of the country’s best interests. After having been sole power to master the use of nuclear power at the end of the conflict, its progressive proliferation led the United States to enter into a series of international treaties aimed at forbidding its military use and…

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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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