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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
“Process is power.” This mantra for EU diplomats will come to the fore during the two years of negotiations that will determine the terms of Britain’s break with Europe. Read more
Much horror and perturbation among the Asia-Pacific countries meeting earlier this month in Lima at Donald Trump’s threat to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the proposed regional trade agreement of twelve countries.
The buzz was all about China taking over the lead in designing the world’s trade architecture. But the EU, recently an international laughing stock when the plucky region of Wallonia single-handedly (though temporarily) blocked a trade deal with Canada, has quietly been getting on with one or two projects of its own. Read more
A visibly upset Martin Schulz called time on his career in the European Parliament, triggering a scramble to replace him in Brussels and political ructions in Berlin. Here are some of the questions his departure raise.
The European Parliament was stale during Martin Schulz’s tenure at the assembly’s president, which began in 2012. While fringe parties created a fuss at the edge, at the core was an alliance between his centre-left S&D and the centre right EPP, in which they broadly agreed to chomp through whatever legislation they were served. Having being kept on a leash for years, some MEPs may want to run free. But they need to be careful. After elections in 2014, eurosceptic parties make up about a third of the chamber. If the EU is to function, then some form of deal needs to be cut between the more moderate groups. Horse trading over who takes the presidency will play a big role. Read more
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The gold gilded door, the grins, the open neck shirt. This was a chilling sight for the EU establishment. Donald Trump, the US president-elect, had made his first big overture to a politician on the continent. . . and his name was Nigel Farage. Read more
“Their world collapses. Ours is built.” So said Florian Philippot, the main adviser to Marine Le Pen, hailing Donald Trump’s victory as the start of a new order in world politics. Elections in France, the Netherlands and Germany will give this theory a thorough real-world test in 2017.
In France, Ms Le Pen of the National Front leads the way in first-round voting, but lags comfortably behind potential rivals in polls on a presidential run-off. Now, after duff calls in both Britain and the US pollsters are viewed with scepticism.
“Before the American result, the question seemed absurd,” says the Economist. “Now, the unthinkable has become conceivable.” The FT’s Anne-Sylvaine Chassany quotes Dominique de Villepin, a former French prime minister: “France and the US are like twins. What is possible in the US is possible in France, even if the system is refusing to see it.” Read more
The rhetoric could hardly be nastier. With an update on Turkey’s bid to join the EU due later this week, politicians from Turkey and Europe took the opportunity to rip into each other. Read more
The North Africa to Italy migration route remains highly dangerous to those who attempt it, even busier than last year and seemingly impervious to EU action. Read more