EU Doesn’t Budge on Brexit

Prime Ministers Theresa May of the United Kingdom and Mateusz Morawiecki of Poland talk during a European Council summit in Salzburg, Austria, September 20
Prime Ministers Theresa May of the United Kingdom and Mateusz Morawiecki of Poland talk during a European Council summit in Salzburg, Austria, September 20 (KPRM/Krystian Maj)

The EU summit in Salzburg, Austria has driven home two truths about Brexit:

  1. The United Kingdom cannot cherrypick the conditions of its future relations with the EU. If it wants to stay in the single market, it must accept the same terms as Iceland and Norway.
  2. There is no point in going over Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier’s head and appealing directly to EU leaders.

None of this should be news. Read more

Don’t Bet Against Pedro Sánchez Yet

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez gives a speech in parliament in Madrid, September 12
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez gives a speech in parliament in Madrid, September 12 (PSOE/Eva Ercolanese)

The Spanish right is taking Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to task for the unrest in his minority left-wing government.

First Sánchez lost his minister for culture and sports, Màxim Huerta, after it emerged he had been fined for tax fraud.

Then his health minister, Carmen Montón, was forced to resign for obtaining a Master’s degree seemingly without attending any classes.

Now Sánchez himself is accused of plagiarizing his PhD thesis.

Meanwhile, his government has yet to pass a 2019 budget with the deadline one month away. Read more

How to Interpret the Collapse of Bavaria’s Christian Democrats?

German Christian Social Union party leaders Joachim Herrmann, Horst Seehofer and Markus Söder speak in Munich, March 16, 2013
German Christian Social Union party leaders Joachim Herrmann, Horst Seehofer and Markus Söder speak in Munich, March 16, 2013 (Michael Lucan)

How much of a cautionary tale is the center-right’s collapse in Bavaria?

The Christian Social Union (CSU), which allies with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats nationally, is down from nearly 48 percent support in the last state election to 35-37 percent in recent polls. The far-right Alternative for Germany is up from 4 to 11-13 percent. Read more

Catalans Demonstrate for Independence on National Holiday

Catalans demonstrate for independence from Spain in Barcelona, July 10, 2010
Catalans demonstrate for independence from Spain in Barcelona, July 10, 2010 (Wikimedia Commons/Josep Renalias)
  • Catalonia celebrates its national holiday on Tuesday.
  • The date, September 11, commemorates the fall of Barcelona in 1714. Catalonia had backed the losing side in the War of the Spanish Succession. Read more

Spain’s Socialists, Podemos Eye Deal

Spanish party leaders Pablo Iglesias and Pedro Sánchez speak in Madrid, February 5, 2016
Spanish party leaders Pablo Iglesias and Pedro Sánchez speak in Madrid, February 5, 2016 (PSOE)

Spain’s ruling Socialist Party and the far-left Podemos are closing in on an agreement that could allow Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to stay in power until 2020.

Sánchez does not have a majority of his own. He came to power with the support of Podemos and small regionalist parties, but they have since voted against his 2019 budget proposal, putting his minority government in limbo. Read more

Merkel Breaks with German Tradition in Seeking EU’s Top Job

German chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a news conference in Berlin, November 9, 2016
German chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a news conference in Berlin, November 9, 2016 (Bundesregierung)

Angela Merkel has broken with German tradition by endorsing a fellow German for the EU’s top job: the presidency of the European Commission.

Merkel supports Manfred Weber, the group leader of the European People’s Party (EPP), as Spitzenkandidat for the European Parliament elections in 2019.

Given that the EPP is, and will most likely remain, the largest bloc, Weber’s election is almost a foregone conclusion. Read more

Italy’s Populists Come to Terms with Reality

Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte attends a meeting with Five Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio, August 15
Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte attends a meeting with Five Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio, August 15 (Governo Italiano)

Italy’s ruling Five Star Movement and League have shelved proposals for a universal basic income and flat tax, La Stampa reports.

Implementing either policy, let alone both, would have blown a hole in Italy’s public finances and broken the EU’s 3-percent deficit ceiling. Read more