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Just ask Theresa May. On Friday the British prime minister felt she had pulled off a diplomatic miracle in Washington – literally glad-handing Mr Trump while still leaving with a nod of support for Nato and a semblance of dignity. Read more

Alan Beattie

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Chlorinated chicken is not, you would think, the stuff of transatlantic trade battles. But one of the more esoteric points of dispute between the EU and US down the years may well re-emerge between the US and UK. Read more

James Politi

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Not only is Mr Renzi still reeling from having to resign as prime minister after losing a constitutional referendum in December, but the country’s judiciary has now struck down a key aspect of his flagship electoral reform, passed with much fanfare in 2015. Specifically, the court said that the idea of a run-off between the two leading parties, which was central to the law because it ensured that the winner would be able to govern with a comfortable majority in the lower chamber of parliament, is unconstitutional. What is left is a single-ballot contest in which seats in a general election will be apportioned by proportional representation, with one unlikely exception: if a party wins more than 40 per cent of the vote, it will gain enough bonus seats to govern with an absolute majority. For anyone familiar with Italian politics – where coalitions of unstable governments have been the name of the game for decades – this looks a lot like the return to old days, for better or for worse. But while the ruling looks on paper like a setback for Mr Renzi, he may actually welcome the the blow to his legacy as it could, ironically, help him return to power. The key point is that the decision makes it more likely that Italian elections will be called earlier than expected, possibly as soon as June instead of the scheduled date of February 2018. And since Mr Renzi – arguably still Italy’s most influential politician – has been calling for early elections in order to attempt a comeback as prime minister, this would seem to fit his political goals. The main reason early elections are potentially closer is that the judges made the electoral law in the lower chamber more consistent with the one in the Senate, Italy’s upper house. Many political leaders, beginning with Sergio Mattarella, Italy’s president, see such a reconciliation as a prerequisite for any general election. The other reason early elections are closer is because the magistrates said the ruling could be applied immediately, without any intervention of the parliament, which would have meant drawn-out negotiations and delays. Other fans of early elections who may be cheering at the ruling are the populist Five Star Movement and Northern League, who have ardently called for snap polls. On the other side of the divide is Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, which wants to slow things down, along with Mr Mattarella and Paolo Gentiloni, the current prime minister who is loyal to Mr Renzi but may want to spend some more time at the tiller. They may still prevail. Ultimately, the decision on early elections will be made by Mr Mattarella, together with Mr Renzi, based on their calculation of the odds of locking the Five Star Movement out of power, even if means a “Grande Coalizione” with Mr Berlusconi. At this juncture, their chance of that are pretty high. But whether that still holds a year from now is a gamble they may not want to take. Email: james.politi@ft.com Twitter:@JamesPoliti Read more

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That hasn’t stopped the centre-left Social Democrats anointing him as their candidate for chancellor in this September’s Bundestag election, in a surprise move that dramatically reorders Germany’s normally static political landscape. Read more

Jim Brunsden

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The parliament of French-speaking Wallonia, a region of Belgium, last year came perilously close to derailing years of work on an EU-Canada trade deal that may turn out to be the main achievement of Ms Malmström’s time in office. Read more

Jim Brunsden

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Now he is the runner up in the first round of the Socialist Party’s primary contest, behind a man who once resigned in protest at his polices, and who has promised to repeal his government’s signature labour law. Read more

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Now for the main event. Donald Trump finally takes office today after a noisy transition that served only to amplify many of the most unsettling questions that surround his incoming administration. Read more

Duncan Robinson

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But they are still trying. EU ambassadors will today discuss a so-called “line of protection”, where Libyan authorities – with “strong and lasting” EU support – will intercept people before they leave territorial waters, according to notes circulated before the meeting. Read more

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The Brexit plan she set out yesterday includes historic judgement calls on how to approach Britain’s most important postwar negotiation. Her speech mixed optimism, realism, veiled threats, open threats, clear red lines, blurred red lines, all cut with some creative (and some would say implausible) ideas to soften a hard Brexit. Sterling rallied, and so did the Tory party. The right-wing press was not far behind: Read more

Duncan Robinson

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Politicians across the EU were left to come up with a response to the president-elect actively championing the continent’s disintegration: many opted for anger and incredulityRead more

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