Marriage Vote Has All the Characteristics of Merkel’s Success

German chancellor Angela Merkel addresses her parliament in Berlin, June 14, 2012
German chancellor Angela Merkel addresses her parliament in Berlin, June 14, 2012 (Bundesregierung)

Germany’s vote for marriage equality is a perfect example of how Angela Merkel has been able to stay in power for twelve years.

Parliament unexpectedly voted to legalize gay marriage on Friday after Merkel announced a free vote. A quarter of her own Christian Democrats joined the left in supporting marriage equality. Read more

In Era of Trump, Europeans Become Free Traders

French president Emmanuel Macron is greeted by German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, May 15
French president Emmanuel Macron is greeted by German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, May 15 (Bundesregierung)

European leaders are preparing for a showdown on trade when they meet Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Hamburg next month.

“Whoever believes that the world’s problems can be solved by isolationism and protectionism is mistaken,” Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, told her parliament on Thursday.

French president Emmanuel Macron chimed in: “If free trade is questioned by a member state then we need to address this.” Read more

Conservatives Have Neglected Their Responsibility to the Union

The flags of the United Kingdom and Scotland fly in Sumburgh on the Shetland Islands, July 3, 2014
The flags of the United Kingdom and Scotland fly in Sumburgh on the Shetland Islands, July 3, 2014 (Julien Carnot)

The full name of Britain’s ruling party is the Conservative and Unionist Party, but you wouldn’t know it from the way they have governed lately. Read more

Macron Makes Start with Labor Reform in France

Danish prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen is greeted by French president Emmanuel Macron outside the Elysée Palace in Paris, June 9
Danish prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen is greeted by French president Emmanuel Macron outside the Elysée Palace in Paris, June 9 (Facebook)

French president Emmanuel Macron has unveiled his first labor reforms:

  • Capping the damages judges can award to employees who have been wrongfully terminated.
  • Merging workers’ councils in companies.
  • Enabling employers to go around workers’ councils — which are often dominated by trade unions — and call company-wide referendums on sensitive topics, like overtime.
  • Allowing multinationals to lay off workers at loss-making French subsidiaries even if the foreign-based parent company is profitable.

“The idea is to loosen the rules while also ensuring safeguards for employees,” Muriel Pénicaud, the labor minister, said. Read more

Scotland Delays Independence Plans in Wake of Election Defeat

Nicola Sturgeons waves to photographers outside the Scottish first minister's residence in Edinburgh, November 20, 2014
Nicola Sturgeons waves to photographers outside the Scottish first minister’s residence in Edinburgh, November 20, 2014 (Scottish Government)

Scotland’s ruling nationalists have delayed plans for a second independence referendum with Nicola Sturgeon, the regional first minister, arguing it is “too soon right now” to make a decision.

The climbdown comes after the Scottish National Party went down from 50 to 37 percent support in parliamentary elections. Read more

Dutch Liberal, Christian Parties Start Talks to Form Government

Former Dutch finance minister Gerrit Zalm speaks at an event in Rotterdam, March 10, 2016
Former Dutch finance minister Gerrit Zalm speaks at an event in Rotterdam, March 10, 2016 (Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest)

Parties in the Netherlands have asked former finance minister Gerrit Zalm to lead negotiations for forming a government, signaling their seriousness to do a deal before the start of the fiscal year in September. Read more

DUP Pact Makes It Harder for May to Win Back Middle England

British prime minister Theresa May and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn walk down the Houses of Parliament in London, England to listen to the Queen's Speech, June 21
British prime minister Theresa May and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn walk down the Houses of Parliament in London, England to listen to the Queen’s Speech, June 21 (UK Parliament)

The compromise British prime minister Theresa May has hashed out with Northern Ireland’s unionist party to stay in power could make it even harder for her Conservatives to win back the trust of Middle England.

May didn’t have much of a choice. No other party was willing to prop up her minority government, which is nine seats short in the House of Commons.

But the pact with the hardline Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which hasn’t updated its social views since the 1980s, compounds the mistake May made in calling an early election. Read more