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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.

The new legislation allows new sanctions on Russian mining, metals, shipping and railways and targets Russian guilty of conducting cyber-attacks and supplying weapons to Syria’s government. The new punitive measures could expose European companies involved project in Russia to fines. This could include – and here we have it! - the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.

US Senate decision: cold war or export promotion?

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, June 19, 2017

Last week the US Senate voted nearly unanimously for new sanctions on Russia

Regarding the ‘divorce bill’ or ‘Brexit bill’, the manifesto’s echoes the language of May’s March 29 letter that triggered Article 50: a settlement will be reached ‘in accordance with the law and in the spirit of the UK’s continuing partnership with the EU’. Much work is left for UK chief Brexit negotiator David Davis, who introduced Theresa May on stage at the manifesto launch in Halifax. He has to trash out the specific details with EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

‘For the UK, no deal is better than a bad deal’

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, May 22, 2017

Last week Prime Minister May introduced the Conservative Party election manifesto, that kills off any lingering hope of a soft, half-in-half-out Brexit

The election is undoubtedly a risk for the Conservatives, but it also offers the opportunity for incredibly high rewards. The party enjoys now a working majority of just 17 seats, a margin that has proved highly susceptible to backbench revolts and coordinated attacks from the Labour Party.

UK Prime Minister announces general election for June 8th

By: N. Peter Kramer | Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that a general election will take place in the United Kingdom on 8th June

None of the other EPP leaders present at the meeting confronted Hungary’s prime minister directly in their own remarks. German leader Merkel  again repeated her defence of EU refugee policies and defended the deal with Turkey which has closed the western Balkan route for migrants and asylum seekers trying to reach the EU. But she didn’t say anything about the tens of thousands stranded in camps in Greece before the deal was struck; nor about the East-European Visegrad countries (Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Czech Republic) refusing to agree with the European Commission’s proposal to find a place for the refugees  in the EU member states. Enda Kenny, Ireland’s prime minister, could only muster the cliché that to aid those in need is a core European value: ’we comfort the dispossessed and welcome the stranger’… That helps!

Viktor Orban, EPP’s tolerated maverick…

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, April 3, 2017

A week after the EU United show in Rome, Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orban, reopened old wounds, criticising EU policies on the refugee crisis that, he said, had aided terrorists and threatened the European 'Christian identity'

Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam PVV (Party for Freedom) ended in second place. It won 5 seats and went from 15 to 20 and Wilders is considered to be the one who lost the election. But from who or what did he lose? From polls and prognoses! Nobody in The Netherlands expected that PVV should become the biggest party; nobody, including his own supporters and probably not even the man himself, expected that Wilders would become the next prime-minister.

Did Wilders really lose?

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, March 20, 2017

It is not often in politics that you can lose the elections and still call yourself a winner. That's what happened to Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte

Margaritis Schinas, the European Commission chief spokesman, said that the Barroso doctrine would apply if Scotland was to become independent, which would mean “If a country becomes independent it is a new state and has to negotiate with the EU.”

Scotland: part of EFTA instead of EU membership?

By: N. Peter Kramer | Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Last week Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans for the Scottish Parliament to vote on whether the executive should seek a Section 30 order to allow Scotland to legislate for a referendum

Timmermans has accused Poland of deploying ‘alternative facts’ to justify the changes and has sought a signal from Poland that it would change course. The Polish government accused the VP of trampling over Poland’s sovereignty.

Timmermans will lose his battle with Poland

By: N. Peter Kramer | Tuesday, February 28, 2017

At a time when the EU is confronted with many very serious crises, the European Commission is spending its energy on a dispute with one of the member states, Poland

It looks like British Prime Minister Theresa May can pull the trigger for Article 50 in the beginning of March. Then the real task begins. The forthcoming negotiations could get ‘nasty and acrimonious’. Don’t underestimate the rancour and thirst of revenge on EU side. The result of the Brexit referendum was for Europhiles and Eurocrats a slap in the face.

No apocalypse after Brexit vote

By: N. Peter Kramer | Thursday, February 2, 2017

Those who predicted economic apocalypse if the Brits voted for out on June 23 last year were wrong

 It has sparked criticism especially in Germany. Recent ECB policies combined with rising inflation are ‘catastrophic’ for Germany, said Markus Soeder, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel. The German economy certainly doesn’t need a stimulus by the ECB. But elsewhere in the Eurozone, criticism focuses on the ECB failure to revive the many sluggish economies.

Draghi between Scylla and Charybdis

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, January 16, 2017

A month after announcing a half-trillion-euro extension of the European Central Bank’s ‘quantitative-easing’ programme and hinting the bank would do little for most of 2017, its president, Mario Draghi, is in the spotlight amid an anti-European Union backlash

How serious is Timmermans’ brave talk? The Commission’s only weapon is the threat of removing Poland’ vote in the European Council of Heads of States and Governments. But it is very unlikely that such a move would get the backing of all EU member countries.

Commission’s Christmas Carol for Poland

By: N. Peter Kramer | Friday, December 23, 2016

Three days before Christmas, Commission VP Frans Timmermans gave Poland’s rightwing government another two months to reverse changes to its constitutional court or face sanctions.

The next parliamentarian elections in Austria are foreseen for 2018; there could be a serious chance that Hofer’s Freedom party winning more seats than its rivals. The Christian-Democrats anticipated already on this possible result by saying that they don’t exclude a coalition with Hofer’s party in 2018!

The blinkers of EU leaders

By: N. Peter Kramer | Friday, December 9, 2016

Austrian voters rejected the far-right, anti-EU and anti-immigrant, candidate Norbert Hofer’s bid to become president

Other EU countries are anyhow unwilling to intervene for fear it would achieve sour relations with Warsaw. Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker hinted already that proposing sanctions would be pointless ‘because some member states are already saying they will refuse to invoke it’. After the Brexit vote member states don’t want to risk alienating another big EU country.

Who is afraid of the Commission?

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, November 21, 2016

Poland’s ruling Law & Justice party, has for a year ignored the European Commission’s threatening demands for it to roll back reforms that neutered the country’s constitutional court, designed to check parliamentarian power

Trump, initially derided as an outsider, actually led an anti-establishment movement. He made a hostile takeover of the Republican platform and then hatched a burglary of the Democratic electorate, especially in the Rust Belt with states like Ohio and Michigan. Democrats are for immigration. Result: low wages.

Brexit, Trump, what’s next?

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, November 14, 2016

Donald Trump’s election and Britain’s rejection of the EU surprised everyone and in similar ways. Hillary Clinton campaigned with the message ‘Stronger Together’ while the Remain campaign promoted a ‘Britain Stronger In Europe’

Maybe you remember the exhortation from Jean Claude-Juncker that this will be the “Commission of the last chance,” which needed more than ever to be accountable for its actions. At Monday’s Commission midday briefing for EU correspondents that accountability was missing-in-action. Margaritis Schinas, Commission chief-spokesperson, fended off a barrage of questions, repeatedly refusing to condemn Oettinger’s remarks and insisting there was nothing more to say about them.

European Commission: Insult and be promoted!

By: N. Peter Kramer | Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Last week, Günther Oettinger, Germany’s EU Commissioner for digital economy, unleashed a storm of criticism by referring to Chinese people as ‘slant eyes’ and ‘rascals’, seriously denigrating women and mocking gay marriage

One major area of concern is the inclusion in CETA of ICS – the Investment Court System – which gives foreign investors privileged rights.

CETA’s future lies in doubt: trade or democracy?

By: N. Peter Kramer | Wednesday, October 19, 2016

CETA, a controversial EU-Canada trade deal, has suffered a major political setback

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Editor’s Column

‘The Times They Are a-changin’

N. Peter KramerBy: N. Peter Kramer

With apologies to Bob Dylan for using his already so often (mis)used words: ‘The Times They Are a- changin’

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Geopolitics begins at home: Europe’s challenge is in the Western Balkans

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’’Huawei is a trusted ally of Europe’’

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