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Posts Tagged ‘Europe’

EU leaders ready to help May sell Brexit deal to parliament

Posted by hkarner - 19. Oktober 2018

Date: 19-10-2018
Source: The Guardian

PM will receive backing to build ‘coalition of the reasonable’ in desperate bid to avoid no deal

Angela Merkel, left, and Emmanuel Macron. The German chancellor stressed that the EU had to pursue “all avenues” to find a deal that can get through the Commons.

EU leaders are preparing to back Theresa May in building a “coalition of the reasonable” in the UK parliament, in a desperate bid to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

Following what has been described by diplomats as a “call for help” by the prime minister at a crunch summit in Brussels, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, stressed that the EU had to pursue “all avenues” to find a deal that can get through the Commons.“I think where there is a will there is a way,” she said.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, said: “It will be done.” He is understood to have told EU leaders that May needed “help” to sell a deal in parliament.

While ruling out major concessions, Emmanuel Macron, the French president, said it was clear that the roadblock to a deal did not lie in Brussels. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Into the Brexit Labyrinth

Posted by hkarner - 15. Oktober 2018

Jacek Rostowski

Jacek Rostowski was Poland’s Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister from 2007 to 2013.

After a year and a half of negotiations with the European Union, the British government is no closer to a divorce agreement than it was when it invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty in March 2017. Sooner or later, Britons will have to choose between self-destruction and no Brexit at all.

LONDON – Anyone familiar with M.C. Escher’s famous illustrations knows what it is like to lose oneself in the haunting infinitude of an eternally recurring maze. The British people are now enduring something similar, only without any of the Escherian precision or wonder.

Call it the Brexit Impossibility Maze. Prime Minister Theresa May marched boldly through the main entrance on March 29, 2017, when she triggered Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon. She has been wandering through a political and logistical labyrinth ever since.

Seeking a Direction

When one first steps into the darkness of the Brexit Impossibility Maze, one must walk forward until encountering a sturdy cross-hedge. At that point, one has a choice: take a sharp turn to the left, or follow a gentle curve branching off to the right. The first path leads toward the “framework for the final relationship” section of the maze; the second toward an “exit treaty” – which deals solely with the conditions of the UK’s divorce from the EU. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Marine Le Pen is hoping to come top in next year’s Euro-election

Posted by hkarner - 14. Oktober 2018

Date: 11-10-2018
Source: The Economist

After a poor showing last year, the nationalists are resurgent

LESS THAN 18 months ago, Marine Le Pen was beaten and exhausted. She had lost the French presidential run-off to Emmanuel Macron, after a wild-eyed debate performance that left her fans aghast. Her leadership of the National Front, a party of blood-and-soil populists, was strained, and she was said to be depressed. Within months, she lost her closest ally, Florian Philippot, and found her party’s French bank accounts unexpectedly closed.

Yet there she was in Rome on October 8th with a new glint in her eye. Alongside Matteo Salvini, Italy’s interior minister, a beaming Ms Le Pen railed against “totalitarian” Europe and proclaimed the start of a new “history with a capital H”. Populism and nationalism may have been defeated at the ballot box in France in 2017. But Ms Le Pen is hoping that next May’s elections to the European Parliament will show that her party, renamed the National Rally, is still a force to be reckoned with.

Thanks to a turnout that is usually low, and the opportunity for a low-risk protest vote, the French far right has often done well at European polls. In 2014 the National Front came out on top in France, with 25% of the vote. Next year’s ballot will be the first mid-term electoral test for Mr Macron. After a summer of poorly handled scandals and offensive remarks, the president’s popularity ratings have tumbled. This week Mr Macron was struggling to reshuffle his government, more than a week after his interior minister, Gérard Collomb, resigned after complaining that the president lacked humility. Next May’s election will be “very complicated”, says one of his deputies. “The risk is that the vote turns into a referendum on him.” As it is, one poll puts Ms Le Pen’s outfit neck-and-neck with Mr Macron’s La République en Marche, on about 20%, comfortably ahead of all other parties. Ms Le Pen could well come out on top again. “The populist wind is blowing everywhere,” warns Xavier Bertrand, president of the Hauts-de-France region, who beat Ms Le Pen to that job in 2015. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Europe’s history explains why it will never produce a Google

Posted by hkarner - 13. Oktober 2018

Date: 11-10-2018
Source: The Economist: Charlemagne
Subject: Waiting for Goodot

The digital desert

ON SUNNY evenings in Brussels, young Eurocrats mingle on the bar terraces of the Place du Luxembourg outside the European Parliament. The continent’s future leaders pay little heed to the bronze-green statue of John Cockerill at its centre. The Englishman commemorated at the heart of today’s EU moved to Belgium from near Manchester in 1802, importing the latest steam technologies. He founded a machine factory in a chateau near Liège which grew into an industrial empire and helped make Belgium second only to Britain in industrial sophistication.

Is Europe living up to Cockerill’s legacy? The continent has world-class companies in fields like biotechnology, luxury cars and nuclear energy, manufacturing sectors incorporating sophisticated software (a BMW these days is as much a computer on wheels as a car). London, a global tech hub, is home to DeepMind, a leading artificial intelligence (AI) outfit; Stockholm is home to Spotify, a dominant music-sharing service; Cambridge-based Arm makes processor chips for almost all the world’s smartphones.

Yet still Europe lacks large firms in areas like social media, e-commerce and cloud computing comparable in scale to America’s Google and Microsoft, or China’s Alibaba and Baidu. Of the world’s 15 largest digital firms, all are American or Chinese. Of the top 200, eight are European. Such firms matter. They operate dominant online platforms and are writing the rules of the new economy in the way Cockerill’s innovations did in his day. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Jungle Grows Back: America and Our Imperiled World

Posted by hkarner - 10. Oktober 2018

Date: 04-10-2018, The Economist
Source: Robert Kagan

We now live in a world:

„Where once people believed that the nation-state was a thing of the past in an increasingly cosmopolitan and interconnected age, we now see nationalism and tribalism reemerging, more than able to hold their own in the brave new world of the Internet.

Meanwhile, a profound and extended crisis of confidence besets the democratic world, even in the birthplace of modern democracy.

Liberal international institutions like the European Union, once considered the vanguard of a postmodern future, are now under assault from without and within.

In America, racial and tribal forces that have always been part of the “subterranean stream” of American history have reemerged to reshape politics and society.

Where thirty years ago the dreams of Enlightenment thinkers going back three centuries seemed to be on the cusp of fulfillment, today a Counter-Enlightenment of surprising potency stirs in Moscow, Budapest, Beijing, Tehran, and Cairo, in parts of Western Europe, and even in the nation that saved liberalism seventy-five years ago. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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China has designs on Europe. Here is how Europe should respond

Posted by hkarner - 6. Oktober 2018

Date: 04-10-2018
Source: The Economist

As Chinese investment pours into the European Union, the Europeans are beginning to worry

EUROPE has caught China’s eye. Chinese investments there have soared, to nearly €36bn ($40bn) in 2016—almost double the previous years’ total. Chinese FDI fell in 2017, but the share spent in Europe rose from a fifth to a quarter. For the most part, this money is welcome. Europe’s trading relationship with China has made both sides richer.

However, China is also using its financial muscle to buy political influence. The Czech president, Milos Zeman, wants his country to be China’s “unsinkable aircraft-carrier” in Europe. Last year Greece stopped the European Union from criticising China’s human-rights record at a UN forum. Hungary and Greece prevented the EU from backing a court ruling against China’s expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea. Faced with such behaviour, it is only prudent for Europeans to be nervous.

And not only Europeans. The terms on which the emerging undemocratic superpower invests in the outside world are of interest to all countries—particularly if other things, such as foreign policy, may be affected. Americans, increasingly consumed by fears that China poses a commercial and military threat, should be mindful of competition for the loyalties of its oldest ally. For everyone’s sake, it matters that Europeans gauge their welcome to China wisely. Just now, they do not. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The EU HAS to shift from unanimity to qualified-majority voting

Posted by hkarner - 6. Oktober 2018

(the fastest way to kick out the Eastern Europeans) 😒

Date: 04-10-2018
Source: The Economist
Subject: Gaining wisdom, marching forward

Chinese investment, and influence, in Europe is growing
The EU is, at last, beginning to take notice

UNDER the Renaissance ceiling of the Ball Games Hall in Prague Castle, Zhang Jianmin, the newly arrived Chinese ambassador to the Czech Republic, is quoting Xi Jinping, his president. “History always gives people the opportunity to gain wisdom and the power to march forward in some special years,” he says, declaring 2018 “just such a year”. It is four decades since China started its economic reforms, five years since it launched its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to knit together Eurasian economies, and thus a fine moment to accelerate the co-operation between his home and host countries.

The conference—billed as an educational event for Chinese investors—was co-hosted by the New Silk Road Institute Prague, a think-tank that describes its “fundamental mission” as “spreading the awareness about the concepts of New Silk Road in the Czech Republic and other European countries”. It is run by Jan Kohout, a former Czech foreign minister and an adviser to the Czech president, who used the event to extol the assets available for sale in his country. The mostly Chinese audience included influential Czechs, a former prime minister and a former industry minister among them. The tableau captured the essence of the blending of politics and commerce that marks China’s growing presence in the Czech Republic. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Wir müssen den Sumpf in der EU trockenlegen

Posted by hkarner - 5. Oktober 2018

Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister, is President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group (ALDE) in the European Parliament and the author of Europe’s Last Chance: Why the European States Must Form a More Perfect Union.

STRASSBURG – Populistische Politiker stilisieren sich schon seit langem erfolgreich als Alternative zu einer „korrupten Elite“, die sich auf Kosten „des Volkes“ bereichert. Die Populisten behaupten, nur sie allein könnten wieder für Anstand in der Regierung sorgen. Oder wie Donald Trump es 2016 im US-Präsidentschaftswahlkampf formulierte: „Ich allein kann die Sache in Ordnung bringen.

Trump nutzte das populistische Drehbuch in umfassender Weise – angefangen damit, dass er seine Gegnerin als „Crooked Hillary“ (betrügerische Hillary) bezeichnete, bis hin zu dem Versprechen, er würde „den Sumpf trockenlegen“. Doch inzwischen sind seit Trumps Wahl fast zwei Jahre vergangen, seine Regierung trieft vor Skandalen, und der Sumpf ist tiefer und trüber denn je.

Populisten erfüllen selten ihre Versprechen, für eine saubere Regierung zu sorgen. Das hat einen einfachen Grund: Ihre wahre Priorität besteht darin, das System zum eigenen Profit auszunutzen. Dies wird in Mittel- und Osteuropa deutlich, wo die Mini-Trumps der Region über ihre eigenen Korruptionssümpfe walten. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Facebook Faces Potential $1.63 Billion Fine in Europe Over Data Breach

Posted by hkarner - 2. Oktober 2018

Date: 01-10-2018
Source: The Wall Street Journal

Privacy watchdog looks into whether social network violated European’s Union new privacy law

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the European Parliament in Brussels in May. He said Friday that the social network is still trying to determine many details around the scope and impact of the data breach.

A European Union privacy watchdog could fine Facebook Inc. as much as $1.63 billion for a data breach announced Friday in which hackers compromised the accounts of more than 50 million users, if regulators find the company violated the bloc’s strict new privacy law.

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, which is Facebook’s lead privacy regulator in Europe, said Saturday that it has demanded more information from the company about the nature and scale of the breach, including which EU residents might be affected.

In an emailed statement, the regulator said it is “concerned at the fact that this breach was discovered on Tuesday and affects many millions of user accounts but Facebook is unable to clarify the nature of the breach and the risk for users at this point.” Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Der Brexit und die europäische Ordnung

Posted by hkarner - 2. Oktober 2018

Joschka Fischer was German Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor from 1998-2005, a term marked by Germany’s strong support for NATO’s intervention in Kosovo in 1999, followed by its opposition to the war in Iraq. Fischer entered electoral politics after participating in the anti-establishment protests of the 1960s and 1970s, and played a key role in founding Germany’s Green Party, which he led for almost two decades

BERLIN – Es sind nur noch wenige Monate bis zum 29. März 2019, dann wird Großbritannien aus der Europäischen Union austreten. Die Debatte um diesen Austritt wird gegenwärtig vor allem wirtschaftlich geführt. Es geht auf beiden Seiten um ökonomische Vor- und Nachteile, die in der Tat erheblich zu werden drohen, sollte es zu keinem einvernehmlichen Austrittsvertrag kommen, wofür gegenwärtig nicht allzu viel spricht.

Denn genau in diesem Fall eines vertragslosen Austritts des Vereinigten Königreichs würde an jenem 29. März um genau 11.00 Uhr mitteleuropäischer Zeit die Mitgliedschaft Großbritanniens in der EU und in allen ihren Verträgen, wie der Zollunion, oder von der EU abgeschlossenen internationalen Handelsverträgen erlöschen. Der bisherige Mitgliedstaat Großbritannien würde gegenüber der EU zu einem vertragslosen Drittstaat werden und dieser Status hätte weitreichende chaotische Konsequenzen für den beidseitigen Handel und das neue Grenzregime. Die Zeit läuft ab, und zwar aus ganz praktischen Gründen bereits vor dem 29. März 2019. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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