Jim Brunsden

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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

Jim Brunsden

“We are sorry – due to technical complications, your journey towards Brexit has been temporarily interrupted. Theresa May will get back to you as soon as possible.”

Normally, court judgements are meant to settle difficult questions, but yesterday’s decision by the UK High Court that Britain’s parliament must vote on Brexit has instead thrown up a lot of tricky new ones.

The shock ruling gave fresh hope to Remainers, annoyed leading government ministers, challenged a key plank of Ms May’s Brexit strategy, and left leaders across the continent wondering what happens next.

It was not only the ruling itself that had people scratching their heads. Britain is now apparently a country where, when the government is defeated, the pound gets stronger;when parliamentary sovereignty is upheld, some parliamentarians are unhappy, and when judges listen to legal arguments in a courtroom, they are “Enemies of the people”.

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Not even the clocks in Turkey can ignore the whims of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This weekend Turkey’s imperious president decided to make it summertime all year. The decision to abandon daylight saving time moves Ankara an hour further from Europe, and into a timezone with Khartoum, Moscow and Riyadh. If only that were the end of it.

Mr Erdogan issued decrees to oust 10,158 public officials; expelled 1,267 academics from their posts; took charge of appointing university rectors; permitted prosecutors to record client-lawyer conversations; allowed judges to deny access to lawyers for up to three months; and shut down 15 (mainly Kurdish) media outlets. And that was just this weekend.

Don’t forget the more than 100,000 accused, sacked or detained in relation to the botched coup in July, or the internet blackout across swathes of majority Kurdish areas in the southeast, or the detention and arrest of the elected mayors of Diyarbakir.

Then there is matter of the death penalty. Since the attempted coup – a watershed moment for modern Turkey that FAZ calls the beginning of its second republic – Mr Erdogan’s rhetoric has swung from hot to lukewarm on whether to reinstate capital punishment, which was dropped in 2004 as part of Turkey’s EU membership bid. This weekend it turned red hot. Sporting a pair of black aviator sunglasses, Mr Erdogan bellowed these words on Saturday to a crowd chanting: “Execution! Execution!”

“Our government will take this proposal [on capital punishment] to parliament. I am sure parliament will approve it, and when it comes back to me, I will ratify it…Soon, soon, don’t worry. It’s happening soon, God willing. The West says this, the West says that. Excuse me, but what counts is not what the West says. What counts is what my people say.”

What should Europe do? Read more

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Without much fanfare – without even a press conference – Margrethe Vestager on Wednesday slipped out one of the most important decisions of her time as competition commissioner. Known for her flinty approach to the likes of Apple and Google, Ms Vestager showed a different side: restraint. And this was no ordinary antitrust case. It was Gazprom. Read more

Jim Brunsden

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Duncan Robinson

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On Monday, they came to pass: objections from Wallonia seemed to scupper CETA, the proposed EU-Canada trade deal, in an embarrassing setback both for Belgium’s federal government and the European Commission. Read more

Duncan Robinson

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Theresa May, the woman overseeing the biggest shift in British foreign policy in half a century, was overshadowed by a small region of Belgium at the European Council on Thursday. Read more

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As Europe’s 28 heads of state or government gather again in Brussels this afternoon, it is worth recalling that special energy that European summits bring. This format is virtually unique in international affairs – even at G20 meetings “minders” are allowed in the room. It can make them wonderfully unpredictable and very human, especially (like today) when no big concrete decision needs to be taken. Here are three political live-rails to watch: Read more

Duncan Robinson

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Dutch voters opposed the deal with Ukraine by a margin of nearly two-to-one in a referendum in April, leaving diplomats in both Brussels and the Hague despairing over fate of the agreement. Things have not improved since. Read more

Jim Brunsden

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Matteo Renzi sent the European Commission some less-than-welcome news in the form of Italy’s 2017 budget plansRead more

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It’s summit week. The full roster of 28 EU leaders will gather in Brussels on Thursday for a two-day meeting. Compared to what we have grown accustomed to in recent years, it lacks the urgency of a hot-crisis. Migration numbers are a fraction of this time last year, and the crunch of Brexit and Greek debt are for another day. What we do have though is a big introduction (this is Theresa May’s debut summit) and some potentially significant debates: Read more

There was a touch of nervous twitching (Nicolas Sarkozy), a few polite sideswipes at the frontrunner (Alain Juppé), some jibes over integrity (deflected by Sarkozy and Juppé), a fair amount of policy consensus (almost unanimity on ditching the wealth tax and flouting EU deficit limits), and certainly a surplus dry preparation (technical talk came easy to most). But there was probably no breakthrough winner.

The seven hopefuls vying for France’s centre-right presidential nomination met for their first TV debate on Thursday night. Perhaps because nobody can doubt the importance of the contest – from it is likely to emerge France’s next president – the discipline held, as did probably the political order of things. Former prime minister Mr Juppé remains the man to beat and Mr Sarkozy can barely contain his irritation. There were mini-flashes of passion and raw politics. But the two-hour showdown became at times an arid, earnest affair. Probably a small mercy given what we endure in the White House race. Read more

Duncan Robinson

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Britain faces having to pay €20bn to leave the EURead more

Duncan Robinson

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Warsaw tore up a mooted $3.5bn deal with Airbus, starting a diplomatic war with Paris and worsening an already strained relationship with Berlin in the process. Read more

Jim Brunsden

“We’ve had this discussion…before where a number of ministers say, look whatever happens in Basel it cannot lead to higher capital requirements, and I said then and now that I don’t think that is the right starting point,” Mr Dijsselbloem told reporters. “I think the approach should be different.”

Jim Brunsden

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Euro area finance ministers’ discussions about Greece have been known to be many things: long, tortuous, bitter and occasionally career-endingRead more

Duncan Robinson

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By Arthur Beesley Read more

Duncan Robinson

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A small region of Belgium may determine the fate of an EU free trade deal with Canada – and potentially the terms of any post-Brexit deal with the UK. Read more

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There was a meeting last week that should make Brexiters sit up and take note. Captains of European business – the “European Roundtable of Industrialists” – held their annual evening pow-wow with Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande and Jean-Claude Juncker. This year the venue was the chancellery in Berlin. After enjoying white wine on the balcony and a Berlin sunset, the assorted executives (all male) moved to the dining room and a discussion of Europe’s economic future. Read more

Duncan Robinson