May Has No Good Options to Heal Party Rift on Brexit

British prime minister Theresa May gives a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 25
British prime minister Theresa May gives a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 25 (WEF/Jakob Polacsek)

Divisions over Britain’s exit from the European Union are once again dividing Conservatives, leaving Prime Minister Theresa May with no good options. Read more

Party of Conspiracy Theorists

American president Donald Trump makes an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 24, 2017
American president Donald Trump makes an appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 24, 2017 (Michael Vadon)

Damon Linker wonders what’s worse: that Republicans believe the FBI was doing the bidding of the Democratic Party by using opposition research funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign to get a court order to approve surveillance of a Donald Trump campaign advisor, Carter Page — or that they are only pretending to believe it in order to whip the Republican electorate into a conspiracy-addled froth of indignation against the legitimacy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation? Read more

Conservatives Undermine Their Best Argument Against Labour

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives for a meeting with other European socialist leaders in Brussels, December 17, 2015
British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn arrives for a meeting with other European socialist leaders in Brussels, December 17, 2015 (PES)

Alex Massie argues in The Spectator that Britain’s Conservatives are making a mistake pooh-poohing forecasts about the economic impact of Brexit.

At the next election, this will make it much easier for Labour to wave away warnings about its program. Read more

South Tyroleans Bide Their Time

View of Bolzano, the capital of South Tyrol, Italy, July 30, 2007
View of Bolzano, the capital of South Tyrol, Italy, July 30, 2007 (Flickr/gigi62)

An Austrian proposal to extend dual citizenship to German-speaking inhabitants of South Tyrol has heightened already tense relations with Italy over the region.

However, secession — in the wake of failed independence bids in Catalonia and Scotland — remains unlikely. Read more

Merkel’s Possible Successors

Prime Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer of Saarland attends a session of the Bundesrat in Berlin, Germany, July 10, 2015
Prime Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer of Saarland attends a session of the Bundesrat in Berlin, Germany, July 10, 2015 (Bundesrat/Henning Schacht)

Angela Merkel is expected to step down as leader of Germany’s Christian Democratic party (CDU) some time during or after her fourth term as chancellor.

Der Spiegel reports that she is grooming Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the prime minister of Saarland, as her successor.

But there are at least two more candidates: Ursula von der Leyen, the current defense minister, and Jens Spahn, a lawmaker from North Rhine-Westphalia. Read more

Macron Has Not Saved Europe All By Himself

French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel deliver a news conference in Berlin, May 15, 2017
French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel deliver a news conference in Berlin, May 15, 2017 (Bundesregierung)

Another reason why you shouldn’t read only American and British news about Europe is their fixation on personalities.

Not so long ago, we were told the EU’s very survival hinged on Angela Merkel.

Now it’s Emmanuel Macron’s turn. Read more

Politics Isn’t Fair, Italian Edition

Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi answers questions from reporters in Rome, December 10, 2015
Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi answers questions from reporters in Rome, December 10, 2015 (Palazzo Chigi)

Giuliano Ferrara, founding editor the center-right daily Il Foglio, writes about the Italian election for Politico:

  • The center-left Democrats have governed the country capably. Many of the structural reforms recommended by the EU have been implemented. Unemployment is falling. Incomes, investment and productivity are up. As a consequence… the party is highly unpopular.
  • The anti-establishment Five Star Movement has failed over and over again, most spectacularly in the city government of Rome. So… they are the single most popular party.
  • On the right, Silvio Berlusconi and Matteo Salvini have failed to provide the appearance of being anything but a motley crew hastily assembled around a patchy political program. And because of that… they are viewed as the safest, most responsible choice.