The memories came flooding back when I heard last weekend that Oskar Lafontaine, the leftwing German political leader, was withdrawing from national politics. Lafontaine is the sort of public figure that lazy journalists often call “firebrand” (Ukraine’s Yulia Tymoshenko, though from the opposite end of the political spectrum, is another).
I first came across Lafontaine in November 1990, just after capitalist West Germany had taken over communist East Germany – a more accurate way of putting it, in Lafontaine’s opinion, than the weaselly term “reunification”. He was the Social Democratic party’s candidate for chancellor in the first parliamentary elections in the newly united Germany, and he was holding a campaign rally in a sports hall in east Berlin. Read more
Notes from the EU
About this blog
Welcome. This blog covers everything from the European Union's foreign and economic policies to the fortunes of its political leaders - as well as the more light-hearted aspects of life in Europe.
Peter Spiegel is the FT's Brussels bureau chief. He returned to the FT in August 2010 after spending five years covering foreign policy and national security issues from Washington for the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times, focusing on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He first joined the FT in 1999 covering business regulation and corporate crime in its Washington bureau, before spending four years covering military affairs and the defence industry in London and Washington.
Alex Barker is the FT's European diplomatic editor, covering foreign policy, some of the migration crisis and all things Brexit. He started in Brussels on the single market, financial regulation and competition beat. He was formerly an political correspondent in Westminster and joined the FT in 2005.
Duncan Robinson is the FT's Brussels correspondent, covering internet and telecommunications regulation, justice, employment and migration as well as Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. He joined the FT from the New Statesman in 2011.
Christian Oliver has been the Financial Times' EU Correspondent since January 2014. He started out as a journalist with Reuters in 2002, covering the UK. He was then posted to Iran from 2003 to 2006 and Venezuela from 2006 to 2007. He joined the FT in 2008 as Korea Correspondent and became Deputy Analysis Editor in London in 2012.
Jim Brunsden joined the Financial Times as an EU Correspondent in August 2015. He began his career in Brussels in 2006, as a reporter first for Europolitics, and then European Voice. Prior to joining the FT he covered financial regulation for Bloomberg from 2010 to 2015.