Europe

Theresa May, the UK prime minister, says that “Brexit means Brexit”. But when will it actually happen?

The whole question of the timing of Britain’s departure from the EU is now open to question. Britain has still not triggered Article 50, which gives formal notification that the UK intends to leave and fires the starting gun for negotiations. The Sunday Times claimed recently that Article 50 may not be triggered until late next year because of a mixture of administrative chaos in the UK and political uncertainty caused by elections in France and Germany in 2017.

Given that it will then probably take a minimum of two years to negotiate the divorce, that would mean that Britain’s exit from the EU would not happen until the end of 2019. Over at the Independent, however, Andrew Grice makes the case that delaying Brexit this long is not politically feasibleRead more

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech to his supporters in Istanbul

Live coverage of the aftermath of an attempted military coup in Turkey, where 3000 members of the military and security forces have been arrested and the judiciary has been purged.

Key developments

  • Erdogan demands “head” of suspected coup plotter Gulen from US; White House says it has not received extradition request
  • Gulen tells FT coup may have been orchestrated by Erdogan
  • PM hails Turkey now back in “complete” control of government
  • Nearly 3000 members of the military arrested; 2750 judges purged, senior judges arrested
  • Plotters who fled to Greece will be returned to Turkey – foreign minister
  • Total death count hits 265, with 161 civilians killed and 1440 wounded
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    “Now it’s our turn!” So said Geert Wilders (above), leader of the far-right PVV party in the Netherlands, after the UK electorate voted in last week’s referendum to leave the EU.

    In practice, there is next to no chance of a Dutch referendum on EU membership — certainly not under Dutch law as it stands. However, to say this is not to underestimate the serious political challenges that lie ahead in the Netherlands. Read more

    Over the years, I’ve followed stories of English football hooliganism around the world with a certain grim fascination. Last night, unfortunately, I got to witness it first hand – at the England-Russia game at Euro 2016 in Marseilles.

    During the day it is not hard to avoid the trouble. Just avoid city-centre bars full of singing, chanting drunkards. Nearer the ground things got nastier. Read more

    By Gideon Rachman

    The way the press treats political leaders marks a crucial dividing line between free and authoritarian countries. In an authoritarian state, presidents and prime ministers demand and receive reverential treatment. In democratic countries, political leaders know that they will be subject to satire — and vicious and sometimes unfair criticism.

    The Isis threat to European security
    Last week’s attacks in the Belgian capital have raised fresh questions about the extent of Isis operations in Europe and whether security services and law enforcement agencies are capable of containing the threat. Ben Hall discusses the attacks and their ramifications with Peter Spiegel, the FT’s Brussels bureau chief and Sam Jones. defence and security editor.

    By Gideon Rachman
    The EU has faced two major crises over the past six months — one involving the euro, the other involving refugees. By coincidence, the same two countries are at the centre of both problems — Greece and Germany. Last summer, Germany almost forced Greece out of the euro, rather than agree to the EU lending further billions to the Greek government. Now, Germany is reeling under the impact of the arrival of more than 1m would-be refugees, most of whom have entered the EU through Greece.

    Brussels launches probe into rule of law in Poland
    Poland’s conservative government has taken decisions about the courts and media that are causing concern across Europe, prompting the European Commission to launched an investigation into the rule of law in Poland. Gideon Rachman discusses the unprecedented move with Henry Foy, FT correspondent in Warsaw, and Neil Buckley, East Europe editor.

    By Gideon Rachman
    In the 18th and 19th centuries, Europeans populated the world. Now the world is populating Europe. Beyond the furore about the impact of the 1m-plus refugees who arrived in Germany in 2015 lie big demographic trends. The current migration crisis is driven by wars in the Middle East. But there are also larger forces at play that will ensure immigration into Europe remains a vexed issue long after the war in Syria is over.

    Paris atrocity exposes European security shortcomings
    The Paris terror attacks have exposed Europe’s security and intelligence shortcomings and fulfilled officials’ worst fears about blow back from Syria’s bloody civil war. Ben Hall discusses the attacks and their implications with Sam Jones, defence and security editor, and Roula Khalaf, foreign editor.

    By Gideon Rachman
    At the beginning of this year, Angela Merkel had a good claim to be the most successful politician in the world. The German chancellor had won three successive election victories. She was the dominant political figure in Europe and hugely popular at home.

    Europe’s fraying union
    Mark Vandevelde, executive comment editor, joins Gideon Rachman, Tony Barber and Peter Spiegel to discuss how the dual euro and refugee crises are putting strain on the EU, what role the Schengen agreement may or not have played in the latter, and whether or not the union can weather the storm.

    I was at the Greek archaeological site of Delphi last weekend, attending a conference on Europe’s future, when the news arrived that Jeremy Corbyn, a 66-year-old leftwinger, had been elected as leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party. I climbed up the hill and asked the Oracle for some predictions.

    TB: Oh, Oracle, will the world see Corbyn’s triumph as irrelevant? After all, Labour’s never going to win a general election under him, so he will never be prime minister.

    ORACLE: Not irrelevant, my friend, but illustrative. The world will see Corbyn’s success as one more that Britain, like a snail, is retreating from the international stage and withdrawing into itself. Read more

    By Gideon Rachman
    There is a comforting cliché in Brussels that the EU needs crises in order to progress. But the current cocktail of problems facing Europe — refugees, the euro and the danger that Britain might leave the union — look far more likely to overwhelm the EU than to strengthen it.

    By Gideon Rachman

    Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is right that the current refugee crisis is forcing Europe to consider whether it can live up to its own, self-proclaimed values. Unfortunately, the answer is likely to be “No”.

    Europe’s borders under strain
    Europe is facing its biggest refugee crisis in decades, with Germany assuming the greatest burden for absorbing the asylum seekers. Gideon Rachman talks to Jeevan Vasagar, FT correspondent in Berlin, and Tony Barber, FT Europe editor, about the political strains caused by the crisis.

     Read more

    Flexibility is a prized trait for leaders in a world of uncertainty, constant change, and unpredictable competition. So it is hardly surprising that leaders should seek the same flexibility from their own staff.

    Administering such a system of shorter-term or temporary contractors is ostensibly easy, using shift-management software that matches hours required to hours on offer. The economic advantages look attractive.

    But if companies treat temporary workers as factors in an equation rather than as individuals, they will undermine the benefits of a less rigid labour system. It is training that will make the difference between a flexible but durable approach, which is of mutual benefit to employer and employee, and one that eventually disadvantages both company and worker.

     Read more

    Behind Turkey’s volte-face on Isis, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is fishing for nationalist votes by tarring as terrorists the pro-Kurdish coalition, argues David Gardner

    Something is rotten with the eurozone’s hideous restrictions on sovereignty, writes former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, in response to allegations he planned to hack Greece’s tax system Read more

    Once again, it was an agonisingly long piece of Greek parliamentary theatre. But once again, in the early hours of Thursday morning, Alexis Tsipras came out on top.

    For the second time in a week, the prime minister survived a mini-rebellion in his radical leftist Syriza party and, with the help of opposition parties, passed a set of reforms required to secure a new, €86bn financial rescue from Greece’s international creditors. Read more