Duncan Robinson

“That’s not going to happen.” With these blunt words, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte shot down the prospect of a coalition with anti-Islam populist Geert Wilders.

It all but shuts off the most likely route to power for Mr Wilders and throws a different light on the crucial elections coming up in the Netherlands, France and Germany. Read more

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Bill English, New Zealand’s prime minister for a month, made his European diplomatic debut this week and sat down with the FT. He is here to remind folks that European decisions “wash up on our shores, even at the other end of the world”. And when it comes to Brexit, they certainly will. Read more

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In Clermont-Ferrand on Tuesday, a reporter asked Manuel Valls how he felt about former economy minister Emmanuel Macron filling a 2,000-seat venue in the same town three days earlier (500 other fans were refused entry because it was just too packed). Predictably, Mr Valls, who not so long ago was Mr Macron’s boss, did not take it well. Read more

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A disaster at Christmas may have been averted, but don’t think Italy’s bank problems are over. Read more

Duncan Robinson

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In total, the whirlwind romance lasted two days. The plan was announced on Sunday and dead by Monday. MEPs in the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe blanched at the thought of joining up with the Italians (most of whom would be happy to see the back of the EU) and vetoed the move. Read more

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Donald Trump’s dismissal of intelligence reports on the Kremlin’s meddling in US politics has done nothing to ease anxiety in Europe about potential Russian interference in the French and German elections this year. Read more

Duncan Robinson

2017 is likely to go down as a year of historic elections with votes to determine who rules in Paris, Berlin and, err, Strasbourg.

The European parliament will decide its next leader on 17 January. In previous times, the role of president of the parliament was a stitch up between the two biggest groups: the centre-right EPP and the centre-left S&D. This time round, a proper race might develop. Read more

Duncan Robinson

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By Mehreen Khan Read more

Duncan Robinson

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Britain’s top man in Brussels is off. In a 1,400-word email to staff in Brussels, Sir Ivan Rogers calmly threw preparations for the first stage of Brexit negotiations – which are now barely two months away – into disarray by announcing that he will quit in a matter of weeks. Read more

Duncan Robinson

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Brexit, briefly  Read more

Duncan Robinson

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In the central Mediterranean, Europe’s forgotten crisis grinds on: 4,752 are dead or missing, while 175,000 more have risked their lives by getting into unseaworthy vessels. The EU’s leaders will meet in Brussels today, once again, to try to come up with a solution, an explanation or perhaps a scapegoat. Read more

Duncan Robinson

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A draft “annex” prepared for the summit expects EU leaders to “nominate the European Commission as the Union negotiator”. This is good news for Michel Barnier, the Commission’s Brexit point-man. The hitch is that representatives of the EU member states (the Council staff and presidency) will be in the negotiating room as well, albeit “in a supporting role”. Read more

Jim Brunsden

 

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Duncan Robinson

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Jim Brunsden

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Such were the first comments of Paolo Gentiloni, after being asked on Sunday by Italy’s president to become the country’s new prime minister. Read more

Duncan Robinson

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Michel Barnier played his greatest hits during his first public foray as the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator. Read more

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Duncan Robinson

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By Arthur Beesley Read more

By Arthur Beesley

It’s not a precedent any president would want to set. François Hollande is the first French head of state since the second world war not to stand for re-election. Laid low by dreadful popularity ratings, the socialist Hollande had little chance of prevailing next year against centre-right candidate François Fillon or Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front. Read more

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For much of the recent past, Spain’s Congreso de los Diputados offered little in the way of political entertainment. Read more