EU, Britain Reach Transition Deal, Black Men Face Challenges in America
The United Kingdom has agreed to remain part of the European single market during the transition period following its departure from the bloc on March 29, 2019.
For the next year and a half, goods, services, capital and people would continue to move freely in and out of the United Kingdom. However, London will no longer have a say in the making of EU rules, including setting fishing quotas.
Other parts of the transition agreement include:
Britain will be allowed to negotiate and sign trade deals that go into effect after December 31, 2020.
Short of an innovative solution, Northern Ireland will continue to live under EU rules and regulations, avoiding the need for a hard border in Ulster but creating the need for one between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom.
Hardliners in Britain are appalled by the concessions. Read more
Reality Check for Macron, Trump’s Emptying Administration
EurActiv reports that European reform is facing a reality check.
French president Emmanuel Macron has, with support from Germany, called for a common eurozone budget, harmonizing corporate tax and social security rates across Europe and merging national asylum procedures.
Two recent developments have poured cold water on his ideas:
The Italian election, which saw gains for Euroskeptic parties.
The Dutch, Balts and Nordics fear that further risk-sharing in Europe will discourage high-debt countries from controlling spending. As if on cue, the same Euroskeptic parties that won the election in Italy now argue for relaxing the bloc’s 3-percent deficit rule.
These fears are shared in Germany, where conservatives have long been wary of transfer union: the permanent subsidization of the south by the north. Read more
Marine Le Pen has proposed to change the name of her far-right party from Front National to Rassemblement National (National Rally).
The rebranding follows a disappointing performance in last year’s presidential election, when Le Pen placed a distant second with 34 percent support to Emmanuel Macron’s 66 percent.
“Originally, we were a protest party,” Le Pen told delegates in the northern French town of Lille on Sunday. ”There must be no doubt in the eyes of all that we are now a governing party.”
To accomplish that, the Front must change more than its name; it must change its beliefs.
I argued after the 2017 election that the Front stood most to gain from becoming a socially, as opposed to a national, conservative party. With the defection of center-right, pro-market Republicans to Macron, there is even more of a vacuum on what in American terms could be called the “Christian right”.
But Republicans know it. They have made Laurent Wauquiez their leader, a social conservative and hardliner on immigration, in order to woo those same voters. If the Republicans turn into Front-lite, does is still make sense for the Front to become Republicans+?
Somebody who is definitively not helping: Steve Bannon, the far-right American firebrand who this weekend urged the Front to wear accusations of racism and xenophobia as a “badge of honor”. Read more
Democrats Should Keep Superdelegates, Salvini Calls for Anti-EU Budget
BuzzFeed reports that Democrats in the United States are considering eliminating superdelegates from their presidential nominating contest.
That would be a mistake.
Superdelegates — governors, members of Congress and party officials — are a failsafe, to prevent a Democratic Donald Trump.
Opponents consider them undemocratic, but this fetishizes democracy. The point of the primary process is — or should be — to find the best candidate possible who can then go on to win in a democratic contest. Read more
Democrats Have Early Advantages, Berlusconi Backs Hard Right
How good are Democrats’ chances for the midterm elections in November? Jonathan Bernstein argues in Bloomberg View that it’s too soon to tell, but that the party’s early advantages, in terms of candidates, money and volunteer commitments, could make the difference.
We like to think of voters as the key players in elections, write Bernstein. However, “voters are strongly influenced by the choices of others within the political system and by the general electoral context.”
This is where the “party decides” theory comes in: party elites (including activists who probably don’t think of themselves as “elite”) actively shape the choices voters get.
Voters may not consider themselves partisans, but they tend to vote for a party — and the same party — rather than the candidate.
The president’s job approval and the state of the economy play a huge role as well. There are political scientist who argue these factors alone determine the outcome.
Five Stars Eye Coalition, Dutch Form Anti-Macron Pact, Cohn Resigns
Italy’s Five Star Movement may go into coalition after all. Having placed first in the election on Sunday, the populist movement is reportedly eying an accord with the left.
The Five Stars, center-left Democrats and left-wing Free and Equal would have a majority in the new parliament.
The Five Stars and Free and Equal share views. Free and Equal was formed last year by Democrats critical of Matteo Renzi’s market reforms.
Renzi has come out against a deal, calling the Five Star Movement “anti-European”. But he is on his way out as leader. The rest of the party may be willing to reverse his signature labor reforms in return for staying in power.
For the rest of Europe, a Five Star pact with the left would be better than a Five Star pact with the right. The worst-case outcome would be a government of the Five Stars, (Northern) League and Brothers of Italy — parties that are anti-EU, anti-immigration and pro-Putin. Read more