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Viktor Orban has declared 2017 to be “the year of revolution”, predicting the “defining dynamic” will be his confrontation with Brussels. The firebrand Hungarian premier, described by one former US ambassador as a “bare-knuckled street brawler,” came to the European Parliament on Wednesday to do battle with his many detractors. Read more

Problems are piling up for president Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, who faces a cascade of criticism over the country’s slide into authoritarianism after a narrow referendum win that granted him sweeping new powers.

Europe’s pre-eminent human rights body has put Ankara on watch, saying the referendum was contested on an “uneven playing field” and that measures adopted after a failed military coup last July have “gone far beyond what is necessary and proportionate”. In Strasbourg on Tuesday the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe, a body separate to the EU, invoked its “full monitoring procedure” in a fresh bid to persuade Turkey to uphold the highest democratic and human rights standards. Read more

Jim Brunsden

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Manuel Valls, France’s former prime minister, did not mince words about the paltry 6.36 per cent score achieved by his party’s candidate Benoît Hamon. The outcome was “bruising,” he told France Inter radio. “It is the end of a cycle, the end of a story.” Read more

Jim Brunsden

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Berlin and Brussels are breathing a hefty sigh of relief this morning on the news that Emmanuel Macron will face off against far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the second round of the French presidential election, with the centrist former economy minister firmly installed as the frontrunner. Read more

Duncan Robinson

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The machine gun attack on the capital’s famous Champs-Elysées boulevard has left one policeman dead, two others seriously wounded and another person injured. The attacker was also killed, and ISIS has claimed responsibility. Read more

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There could be up to 5m fewer votes this year compared to 2012. History shows that a low turnout increases uncertainty about who will make the final run-off. It lowers the threshold required to qualify, which makes a François Fillon or Jean-Luc Mélenchon-shaped upset more likely. Read more

Duncan Robinson

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For the upcoming negotiations, the size of Mrs May’s majority in the House of Commons is of little concern when it comes to the EU27. Britain’s prospects during the Article 50 talks remain the same. Read more

Duncan Robinson

It was a tricky result. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan scraped a narrow victory – 51.4 per cent – in a referendum to hand himself more powers, amid concerns over the veracity of the vote.

European leaders faced walking a diplomatic tightrope in their responses over the Easter break. After all, Mr Erdogan is still a crucial Nato ally and a keystone in the bloc’s response to the migration crisis. Turkey is, ostensibly, still a candidate to join the EU (but for how long, we do not know). Read more

Duncan Robinson

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It takes a lot to shock people who work with migrants in north Africa, but revelations of active slave markets in Libya managed it. Read more

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Host Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, proudly tweeted the menu shortly after lunchtime, describing it as an “homage to Spanish cuisine”: artichokes with Spanish ham, sea bass cooked in Galician wine with leeks, followed by caramelised torrijas (a version of French toast) with ice cream. The white wine was a bone-dry Albariño, the red came from Rioja. Read more

Jim Brunsden

Duncan Robinson

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Stockholm joined a miserable list on Friday. The Swedish capital became the latest European city – after London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Nice – to be hit by a recent terror attack. Read more

James Politi

Anyone getting too comfortable with the idea that Paolo Gentiloni and his competently low-key Italian government can make it until 2018 was given quite a jolt this week. Mr Gentiloni, who took over as prime minister last December from Matteo Renzi, is in fact skating on pretty thin ice.

This week brought a vivid reminder of that reality. In Italian politics, there is an ever-present danger that even the smallest accidents can spiral out of control. Read more

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Few expected the professors of Budapest’s Central European University to push back so strongly when their turn came in the form of a bill rushed through parliament on Tuesday, which may force its closureRead more

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Duncan Robinson

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The Italian government has taken the lead in dealing with the Libyans (whose fractured state makes the plural appropriate). It is part of the wider EU strategy aimed at stopping people coming to Europe while simultaneously reducing the number of deaths at sea. Read more

Jim Brunsden

We cannot know for certain what Alfonso Dastis, Spain’s foreign minister, thought to himself on Sunday when he switched on the television and saw that Michael Howard, a former British minister, was talking about war to protect Gibraltar, but he might well have permitted himself a smile.

The past few days have been a diplomatic masterclass from Madrid. Read more

Jim Brunsden

There are not many places where Beethoven’s Ode to Joy is followed by Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family”. But the European People’s Party congress is not a normal event.

The majority of Europeans have probably not heard of the EPP. Those that have may associate it with the large centre-right grouping in the EU parliament, not the broader “family” of political parties that held its congress this week in Malta. The EPP’s president, Joseph Daul, is little known even in his native France. Read more

Duncan Robinson

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A detailed letter was not strictly necessary. One diplomat explained that “We’re triggering Article 50 – suck it” would have sufficed. But the formal notification shed light on Theresa May’s strategy and expectations going into negotiation. Read more

Duncan Robinson

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