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"EU competition enforcers have been investigating Facebook for practices related to the use of data in apps since last year, as well as reviewing how the company operates its online marketplace."

Does Vestager overplay her hand again?

The EU General Court overturned the landmark 2016 decision by EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager that Ireland should claw back €13 billion in unpaid taxes plus interest from Apple

The question is, shall the ‘gains’ of the so called five frugal member states last? Or will appear at the end of the battle with the EP, that all the Council efforts and long hours were for nothing?

Will the ‘Historical Deal’ survive in the European Parliament?

By: N. Peter Kramer | Wednesday, July 22, 2020

After five days of intense discussions, the European Council, which brought together the Heads of State and Government of the 27 member states, reached an agreement on the next long-term EU budget

‘They should not count on me as an ally in keeping EU spending low’, Merkel said.

The Council of Angela Merkel’s U-turn

By: N. Peter Kramer | Wednesday, July 15, 2020

We are getting closer to the summit that will kick off in Brussels on Friday and could last till Sunday. The tensions are mounting. The gloves are off

"Von der Leyen has till now completely stayed out of her party family’s debates. For instance about whether Hungary’s Fidesz still has a place in the EPP."

European Commission President Von der Leyen’s faux pas

By: N. Peter Kramer | Wednesday, July 8, 2020

European Commission Ursula von der Leyen appeared last week in a campaign video for Croatia’s HDZ, member of the European Peoples Party (EPP)

The French Greens (les Ecologistes) became the big winners, seizing 4 of the 10 biggest cities in the country, Marseille, Lyon, Strasbourg and Bordeaux.

Emmanuel Macron’s black Sunday

By: N. Peter Kramer | Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Last Monday French President Macron discovered that being a European leader is much more comfortable than running a country

The Commission President called China a ‘systemic rival’ of the EU, meaning that ‘there are two very different systems, very different views on values’.

European Commission top disconnected on China

By: N. Peter Kramer | Wednesday, June 24, 2020

It appears that Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell have different views on China

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"The current US military presence is based on a reality that no longer exists. Far from being the weak and vulnerable region it was in the fifties and early sixties of the last century, today Europe is one of the most wealthy and sophisticated regions in the world."

Europe’s NATO members must pay more for their defense and security

By: N. Peter Kramer | Tuesday, June 16, 2020

President Trump’s decision to withdraw 10.000 US troops from Germany perplexed the European NATO allies

"It is clear, Merkel and Macron have finally started to feel more uncomfortable with China. The question is whether they can reconcile their reflexes and interests with those of India, Japan, Australia, the US and other democratic countries."

After corona, Merkel and Macron finally critical on China

By: N. Peter Kramer | Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Germany will be the rotating President of the European Union in the second half of this year. Merkel had already put China at the top of the agenda

Some diplomats said the effort to investigate civil servants for sharing information with national governments and branding those disclosures as ‘leaks’, reflect a continuing struggle by Von der Leyen, a former German defense minister, and her inner circle including several advisers she brought in from Berlin, to adept to the ways it works in Brussels.

Von der Leyen’s hunt for ‘leakers’ to the member-states

By: N. Peter Kramer | Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Politico let know, that, according to EU officials with direct knowledge of the investigations, European Commission officials are hunting for leakers

The EU’s decision not to use its leverage as the self-declared world’s biggest trade bloc comes in stark contrast to the US, which is threatening trade measures if Beijing proceeds with imposing the national security law in Hong Kong.

Australia, Canada, UK, US clash with China; EU bows for the third time

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, June 1, 2020

‘Signatories to this statement reiterate deep concern regarding Beijing’s decision to impose a national security law in Hong Kong….to impose the new national security law on Hong Kong lies in direct conflict with its international obligations under the principles of the legally-binding, UN registered, Sino-British Joint Declaration’

«Europhiles hope that the fund will address Italy’s lurch into Euroscepticism. But will the impact be enough to persuade Italy to stop breaking EU ranks on China?»

Is Italy playing on two sides? China and the EU?

By: N. Peter Kramer | Wednesday, May 27, 2020

‘An Italian poll sees China as the most friendly foreign country, followed by Russia. Germany is considered the least friendly foreign power, followed by France

For Germans, the constitutional court is the most respected institution in the country, together with the Bundesbank, the German central bank. For the EU to humble the most important pillar of Germany’s post-war stability would invite a public backlash.

The double standards of the European Commission

By: N. Peter Kramer | Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Europhiles and other ardent supporters of the EU have reacted with horror and disbelief at the ruling of the German Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe that the European Central Bank’s bond buying programme failed a ‘proportionality test’ by not taking into account its broad economic effect

Once again Ursula von der Leyen shows herself to be the mouthpiece of French President Emmanuel Macron. He has pleaded repeatedly on behalf of nine southern European indebted countries for financial transfers from north to south.

Is Von der Leyen Macron’s mouthpiece?

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, May 18, 2020

Governments in EU member states have been given the green light by the European Commission, since the lockdown and the resulting economic damage, to give €1,900 billion in guarantees, loans and gifts to national businesses

A professor at the European University Institute School of Transnational Governance, Miguel Maduro, said in the Financial Times, ‘This is an open challenge by the German Constitutional Court to the ECJ, and that is why it is such a gamble’.

Von der Leyen threatens Merkel with infringement proceedings

By: N. Peter Kramer | Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The German Constitutional Court’s decision last week, casting aside a European Court of Justice ruling on monetary policy, marked the most overt and significant challenge ever posed to the EU’s highest court

An EEAS (European External Action Service) report obtained by the New York Times said, that ‘China has continued to run a global disinformation campaign to deflect blame for the outbreak of the pandemic and improve its international image’.

EU High Representative Borell bows for China’s pressure

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, May 4, 2020

Worried about repercussions, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell bowed to pressure from Beijing and softened last week EU criticism of China

On May 6, the Commission must put forward a draft proposal for a new long-term budget, the multiannual financial framework (MFF), including a plan to finance the economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

Merkel takes the reins for a recovery fund and makes her conditions clear

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, April 27, 2020

After having left the lead in earlier Summit discussions on an EU recovery fund to The Netherlands, Chancellor Angela Merkel took the reins this time around

‘I thought to myself that now that the new legislation has come into force in Hungary, the governments and the Commission will call a spade a spade’.

Is the ‘Hungarian question’ fuelling the EU east-west division?

By: N. Peter Kramer | Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Is the ‘Hungarian question’ fuelling the EU’s East-West division? According to former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker it is

"Sir Keir Starmer wants a real opposition, even in the current difficult times where the Brits have to live in along with the rest of the world."

Labour on the way back to a credible opposition with Keir Starmer?

By: N. Peter Kramer | Tuesday, April 7, 2020

With a landslide win, last Saturday Sir Keir Starmer was elected as Labour’s new leader

To the Council Von der Leyen said that the Commission will develop a coordinated ‘exit strategy’ for lifting the lockdown in countries across the EU. ‘We need to coordinate our decisions when, at a certain time, we want to go back to normal’.

‘This is the hour of the memberstates, not so much of the EU’

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, March 30, 2020

Commission President Von der Leyen slammed the egoism of the EU member states; failing to coordinate their initial responses to the pandemic

The dramatic situation is revealing the fragility of global supply chains. It is hard to believe that developed nations will continue to accept a situation in which they have to import most of their vital medical supplies.

In times of emergency people look to their national government

By: N. Peter Kramer | Thursday, March 26, 2020

It is clear, in times of emergency people look to their national government, which has financial, organisational and emotional strengths that supra-national organisations and institutions are lacking

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EU Actually

Does Vestager overplay her hand again?

N. Peter KramerBy: N. Peter Kramer

The EU General Court overturned the landmark 2016 decision by EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager that Ireland should claw back €13 billion in unpaid taxes plus interest from Apple

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Europe

Autumn challenges ahead as COVID rates rise amid European travel season

Autumn challenges ahead as COVID rates rise amid European travel season

Several European countries are experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases as holidaymakers set out to enjoy the last month of summer but experts are more concerned about a potential increase in COVID-19 infections in autumn

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COVID-19 has disrupted cybersecurity, too – here’s how businesses can decrease their risk

COVID-19 has disrupted cybersecurity, too – here’s how businesses can decrease their risk

COVID-19 is changing everything. Along with social distancing, obsessive sanitisation, broken supply chains, fragmented workforces and the rise of video meetings, the pandemic is driving acute systemic changes in consumer and business behavior

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