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Meanwhile, the EU memberstates refusing to take in migrants, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic (the ‘Visigrad Four’) let know they would not attend. French President Emmanuel Macron however wants a swift deal on migration; it would allow the European Summit to focus on his plans on reform to the Eurozone.

A ‘Union’ in disarray

By: N. Peter Kramer | Friday, June 22, 2018

Commission President Juncker announced an ‘informal working meeting’ on Sunday June 24 to discuss the migration and asylum problems

Leaving the euro is not on the agenda in Rome, but there is no doubt that the new Italian government will be on a collision course with ‘Brussels’ over the tight strictures of the single currency and the fiscal stance that it demands.

Dramatic political changes in Italy and Spain

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, June 4, 2018

We write at the very beginning of June 2018. Two new national governments were sworn in in the 3rd and 4th biggest economies of the Euro-zone

Rusal is the world’s largest producer of aluminium outside China.  US sanctions made prices to jump 30% in the past fortnight.  Rusal is also a major supplier of alumina, the refined white powder used by Europe’s leading aluminium producers to make the metal. Insiders said that if these producers could not secure alumina supplies, they would be forced to cut production. With a disastrous effect on industrial giants such as Airbus, BMW and Volkswagen.

US sanctions against Russia are threatening European industrial giants

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, April 23, 2018

They are going, cap in hand, to President Donald Trump this week. First Emmanuel Macron, President of France, and later in the week Germany’s Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel

In Brussels, France easily gets  away with it, as Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says: ’ because it is France!’.  France is too big to fail. But Macron has a solution. He wants, in the name of European solidarity, an EU transfer union to keep the French system afloat. The money should come from Germany, the Netherlands and some other member states, the so-called net-payers who are paying the EU bills already.

Macron’s trick and Merkel’s weakness

By: N. Peter Kramer | Thursday, March 29, 2018

The French president Emmanuel Macron has lost his popularity. France is striking again. Macron profiled himself as the leader of a revolution against "a caste of privileged top officials of the French state."

Election results all over the EU reveal extraordinary levels of voter discontent. The centre-left lost support massively, while the far-right went from strength to strength. One effect is that it is becomes more and more acceptable for centre-right parties to govern with the far-right.

It is clear: voters in the EU are moving more and more to the (far-)right

By: N. Peter Kramer | Friday, March 9, 2018

In Italy voters turned their back on the mainstream parties. They felt abandoned by the rest of the EU, as its coastal areas bore the brunt of the influx of migrants crossing the Mediterranean

The refugee crisis goes on; eastern European countries, especially Poland and Hungary (but they are not alone) persist in not taking their share. This leaves Italy, with its weak economy, and Greece, emaciated by EU politics on their own to find a solution for the inhuman situation. Meanwhile the Commission is powerless, and the Council divided.

A difficult year ahead for the EU

By: N. Peter Kramer | Friday, January 12, 2018

2018 will see more self-interest by EU member states than ever before. Politico calls it even ‘more naked self-interest’

It seems that the Brits have largely ignored the intimidation and doomsday predictions of the top EU negotiators Juncker, Barnier and Verhofstadt; which have been blindly echoed by the mostly Europhile press corps in Brussels.

Britons looking positively to their future

By: N. Peter Kramer | Thursday, January 4, 2018

Most Britons believe that their job will be safe in 2018 and house prices will rise

The energy ministers also ignored calls by the European Parliament to raise the EU’s 2030 target for renewable energy. Projections show that the current target is too low to meet the EU’s commitments under the Paris climate agreement. The EU uproar at Trump’s stance on the agreement and its declaration of world leadership in the wake seems somewhat hypocritical in these circumstances.

EU Energy ministers give Europeans coal for Christmas and ditch the Paris Climate Agreement

By: N. Peter Kramer | Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The EU Energy Ministers have backed coal and other fossil fuels over renewable energy, in the ongoing reform of the EU’s energy laws

The European Commission concluded from an evaluation of the ECB’s banking supervision in October that the European Court of Auditors had less power to audit the ECB than many eurozone audit institutions had to audit their national public supervisors. The national public supervisor is usually the central bank; in the Netherlands it is De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB). The European Commission therefore insisted that the European Court of Auditors and the ECB should reach an agreement on the exchange of information. The five supreme audit institutions consider this to be a ’first step’. ’But ultimately the European Court of Auditors’ mandate in this area needs to be extended.’ They suggest that the European Court of Auditors’ powers should be equal to the mandates that the eurozone audit institutions, such as the Algemene Rekenkamer in the Netherlands and the Bundesrechnungshof in Germany, had to audit their national supervisors before 2014.

Eurozone banking supervision shows a growing audit gap

By: N. Peter Kramer | Thursday, December 14, 2017

The supreme audit institutions of five European countries (Germany, Cyprus, Finland, Austria and the Netherlands) conclude in a joint report that there is a growing audit gap in the public supervision of banks in the eurozone

The perspectives look positive, but the price is high, very high. Comparing the Greece of today with the country of eight years ago is shocking. For instance, the unacceptable high unemployment rates especially among young people; many pensions are nowadays on an inhumanly low level; the quality of health care for all is not consistently optimal; many teacher jobs have been cut. It is all the result of the austerity programmes the EU has forced down the throat of Greece.  The German Finance Minister Schäuble and his Dutch colleague Dijsselbloem, President of the so called Eurogroup, were particular culprits.

Greece is recovering, ’slowly but steadily’

By: N. Peter Kramer | Thursday, December 7, 2017

Greece is recovering 'slowly but steadily' after eight years of crisis and recession. That was the message Prime Minister Tsipras brought to the members of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce in Athens on December 5

For Martin Schulz, the SPD leader, it has been disastrous. In the beginning of the week the small-town librarian turned European Parliament President came out firmly against such a grand coalition. But he was forced by his party into a humiliating U-turn, saying the SPD would after all help form a new government. Rumours are going around that he might be forced to resign, also in view of his complete lack of experience with negotiating on federal political level.

A week without winners in Berlin…

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, November 27, 2017

‘Everybody lost’ was the verdict in Berlin after a tumultuous week in German politics. When coalition talks between CDU/CSU, FDP and Greens broke down, Germany and the EU faced the prospect of a prolongation of the uncertainty that paralysis Berlin already for months

 In my opinion Merkel is being written off too quickly by these journalists. The negotiations simply didn’t last long enough to kickstart new elections. It is very un-German and un-Merkel to return so quickly to the voters.

Is the end of the Merkel era within sight?

By: N. Peter Kramer | Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Now that the liberal FDP has pulled the plug from the German government negotiations, there is plenty of speculation about the future of Angela Merkel

It means that one of the most progressive countries in Europe now embraces more right-wing policies on immigration and nationalism. It is true that the new coalition describes The Netherlands as ’inseparable’ from the EU. But at the same time Wilders’ influence is marked: a strong focus on inculcating the Dutch identity gets more attention and elaboration than do European goals.

To hold off Wilders, the new Dutch government embraces some of his rightist ideas

By: N. Peter Kramer | Tuesday, November 7, 2017

In March, Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom (PVV) became the second biggest political group in the Dutch parliamentarian elections. Only Prime Minister Mark Rutte's conservative People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) won more seats

However, after Prime Minister May’s broad offer in Florence that no EU member state should pay more or receive less from the current EU budget, and her commitment to honour obligations taken during the UK’s membership, it is difficult to see how much more the UK government can put on the table during this first stage.

Brexit negotiations: the EU stays persistent

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, October 23, 2017

Last week's meeting of the European Council had not looked likely to unlock Brexit negotiations

Her Florence speech confirmed the UK’s intention to adopt a status quo transition, where the UK continues to operate under ‘the existing structure of EU rules and regulations’, for around two years after March 2019. Mrs May also said that no member state would have to pay more, or receive less from the EU budget until 2020, the end of the current multiannual budget period.

In a ‘constructive’ Brexit spirit May repeats: ‘better no deal than a bad deal’

By: N. Peter Kramer | Tuesday, September 26, 2017

In her speech in Florence (Italy) at the end of September, UK Prime Minister May made clear that Britain will not leave the EU on March 30 2019, the date that the EU Withdrawal Bill will be enacted and the UK membership will be terminated officially

Brussels’ cheerleading journalists were euphoric as never before. They agree with Juncker and Verhofstadt that the ’populist spring’ was halted in Austria, the Netherlands and France, ignoring that in the next Austrian elections nationalism may be close to winning.

An ominous sign: Verhofstadt applauded Juncker’s State of the Union

By: N. Peter Kramer | Thursday, September 14, 2017

Even the ultra-Europhile Guy Verhofstadt applauded after Juncker had finished his State of the Union address yesterday morning in the European Parliament, an ominous sign!

It’s clear, the EU elite, still flabbergasted by the decision of the Brits to leave the EU, is in trouble. After the UK has left, there will be a big hole in the EU budget. The remaining net-contributors, most importantly Germany and The Netherlands, don’t want to fill the gap; the net-receivers with Poland by far on top of the list, insist that they want to continue with unchanged financial EU support. Trouble lies ahead. In this context, it was not very smart of President Macron of France, also a net-receiver, to set Eastern-European EU memberstates, also notorious net-receivers, against him.

Brexit negotiations make EU elite nervous

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, September 4, 2017

The third round of the negotiations over the UK’s exit cannot be called a success

Friday last week VW’s Audi division followed Daimler’s and BMW’s plans to upgrade emissions software on diesel vehicles across Europe.  They have good reason to act; the public is losing their faith in the integrity of German carmakers. High pollution has prompted several European cities to consider banning or limiting diesel vehicles. The British government announced recently that it will ban all new diesel cars by the 2040, following France’s announcement earlier in July to do the same.

Lies, cheating and German carmakers

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, July 31, 2017

The full extent of lies and cheating that enabled automobile manufacturers to sell diesel vehicles that were anything but ‘clean’ is coming to light

What about the money? And what about the relationship with NATO?  Proud Commission President Juncker presented the EU Defence Plan and mentioned the price tag - €5,5 billion!  Naturally born by the member states. The money will be redistributed to them by the Commission, of course after deducting the costs of Brussels bureaucracy and probably a new palace, a HQ for the EU Army.

High Representative / VP Federica Mogherini also Commander-in-Chief of the EU Army

By: N. Peter Kramer | Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Listening to the martial language used by the highest ranked EU dignitaries such as Juncker, Tusk, Tajani and Mogherini, their EU has many enemies: Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Recep Erdogan and, after Brexit, maybe even the UK

The dilution of his proposal shows that the new French president will not have an easy ride in ‘Brussels’. It was also a warning for the German chancellor: most EU member states are waiting critically for the results of her political bond with Macron.

Macron had taken the wind out of his sails in his first EU Summit

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, June 26, 2017

The new French President put forward at his first EU Summit a plan of tougher screening of Chinese investments in the EU.

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Editor’s Column

The EP cacophony after Lagarde’s hearing

N. Peter KramerBy: N. Peter Kramer

On Wednesday Christine Lagarde had her ‘hearing’ in the EP’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs

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