The conventional wisdom is that Greek debt relief can’t happen before the German election. Angela Merkel wouldn’t want to risk the ire of her conservative voters.
But things could be more difficult after the election. There is a good chance Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the liberal Free Democrats will win enough seats to form a center-right government. The latter, while smaller, are more adamant in their views on the Greek debt crisis. They would find it hard to justify debt forgiveness to their voters.
That’s not the only reason why the time is right. Donald Trump and the rise of illiberal democracy around the world is another. Europe must circle the wagons to provide a counterweight to this dangerous development. Read more
Once the Party of Stability, Conservatives Now Provoke Unrest
Kate Maltby argues in The Guardian that Britain’s Conservative Party has lost its way.
For centuries, Conservatives warned against the dangers of too much change too quickly, she points out. They argued revolutions leave children starving and adults bleeding. That stability leads to prosperity. That inequality is a price worth paying for economic growth.
Don’t rock the boat, don’t scare the banks and the middle classes get their quiet life.
Remember the “long-term economic plan”? It was only two years ago that David Cameron couldn’t stop talking about.
Then his party brought Brexit on the United Kingdom. Read more
Philip Hammond, the number two in Britain’s ruling Conservative Party, has urged ministers who disagree with his views on Brexit to stop leaking against him.
“It would be helpful if my colleagues — all of us — focused on the job in hand,” he told the BBC on Sunday.
Earlier in the day, The Sunday Times had cited as many as five ministers in a story that showed Hammond in a bad light.
The chancellor, who is responsible for economic and fiscal policy, reportedly called public-sector workers “overpaid” during a cabinet meeting. He clarified to the BBC he was referring to civil servants’ generous taxpayer-funded pensions. Read more
One Year After Referendum, Brexit Questions Remain Unanswered
What’s going to happen to Britain’s £700 billion trade with the EU?
How many planes will be allowed to fly across the Channel once Britain exits Europe’s open-skies regime?
How long is it going to take to assess and renegotiate 759 international treaties Britain is currently part of as a member of the EU?
What will happen to the European Health Insurance Card and the 27 million Brits who have one?
The deadline for a Brexit deal is March 2019, but some of these questions need to be answered sooner. Businesses want to make plans. Airlines, health insurers, hospitals, logistics companies and merchants can’t wait and hope for the best. Read more
Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party pushed through more changes to the court system on Wednesday:
One bill takes power to appoint members to the National Judicial Council, which is responsible for appointing lower-level judges, away from the judiciary itself and gives it to parliament, where Law and Justice has a majority.
The same law removes fifteen of the 25 judges currently serving on the National Judicial Council.
A second bill gives the justice minister the power to unilaterally replace court presidents. Read more
Denmark’s Left Must Find Balance Between Nativists and Progressives
Denmark’s Social Democrats are eying cooperation with the nationalist People’s Party which they have shunned for years.
Under Mette Frederiksen, who took over the party leadership after its 2015 election defeat, the center-left has supported such far-right policies as a ban on prayer rooms in schools and universities.
The two parties, who are both in opposition to a liberal minority government, have also made common cause against raising the pension age.
Frederiksen argues she is defending the Danish welfare state from the challenges of globalization.
Her strategy is not too dissimilar from her Swedish counterpart’s. Stefan Löfven, the ruling Social Democratic Party leader in Stockholm, has taken a hard line on border control, crime and defense in a bid to stem working-class defections to the far right. Read more