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‘the Power of Siberia’. It is the largest gas project in history and symbolic of Moscow’s diplomatic pivot towards Beijing at a time of worsening relations with the EU for both countries.

‘The Times They Are a-changin’

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

The continued funding of projects like gas pipelines until 2021, and the modernisation of existing fossil fuel infrastructure beyond 2021 threatens the EU’s climate commitments.

New EIB funding policy threatens EU climate commitments

By: N. Peter Kramer | Friday, November 15, 2019

The European Investment Bank’s new policy will limit funding for new fossil fuels projects starting at the end of 2021

The EU write the rules for the Brexit negotiations. Although many observers have the impression that the word ‘negotiations’ is a straight euphemism.

The Brexit negotiations near to an end…

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, October 14, 2019

On Sunday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told his cabinet that while he could see a ‘pathway’ to a deal, there was ‘still a significant amount of work’ needed to get there

Goulard’s rejection was a betrayal of Von der Leyen by her own European People’s Party (EPP). Its leader, Weber, was once EPP’s Spitzenkandidat for the Commission presidency, but he was blocked by the liberal and social democrat leaders in the European Council, notably by Macron.

The Von der Leyen Commission will not take office on November 1!

By: N. Peter Kramer | Friday, October 11, 2019

The European Parliament overwhelmingly rejected Sylvie Goulard, the French nominee to be commissioner for the EU’s internal market and industrial policy

Despite this escalating emergency, EU-wide commitments to cut emissions to net-zero are yet to materialise, while a far more urgent decision about ramping up short-term targets in line with science has been delayed.

The EU still fails a serious climate-policy

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, September 23, 2019

A United Nations climate summit in New York City exposes Europe’s lack of progress to tackle the climate emergency. World leaders are meeting after millions took to the streets in unprecedented global protests last weeks and months, demanding urgent political action. The aim of the summit is to bring political commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris climate agreement

In her replies, Ms Lagarde agreed that it was time to review the ECB’s monetary framework to address new challenges such as non-bank lending, fintech, crypto currencies, and climate change. She also said that the ECB’s quantitative easing had led to negative effects.

The EP cacophony after Lagarde’s hearing

By: N. Peter Kramer | Thursday, September 5, 2019

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

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In September, France will host a summit of Merkel, Putin and Ukraine’s president Zelenskiy. Pushing Russia further away from the EU would be a mistake in Macron’s view. He worries that Moscow will ally more closely with China, whom he regards as the real ‘enemy’ of the EU since he saw China and Russia coming closer together over summer than they have done in decades.

Macron the new leader of the EU but unpopular at home

By: N. Peter Kramer | Friday, August 30, 2019

Angela Merkel is no longer the undisputed leader of the EU 28. She looks old and tired, lacking energy to play her role as she did before

Prime-Minister May was the biggest loser, and with her the Conservatives recording their worst ever result in a national election because of May’s defending the WA. The big winner was Farage with his Brexit Party. This party topped the polls and won every region in England and Wales outside London. It was a crystal-clear demonstration of how strong and how widespread the view is that the UK must leave the EU by October 31.

Boris Johnson and his mandate to take the UK out of the EU

By: N. Peter Kramer | Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The ball has come out of the scrum and Boris Johnson has been able to claim it. Many people are asking now, what is he going to do with it

But how is Britain? Let me quote the columnist Simon Kuper of the Financial Times, an absolute quality paper but to put it mildly, not pro-Brexit. ‘There has been lots of talk lately about how unhappy the UK is. The vote for Brexit is often described as a cry of pain from suffering people’, he wrote. But he was stunned by research done by the independent Resolution Foundation think-tank. About 93 per cent of Britons now say they are ‘fairly’ or ‘very’ satisfied with their lives; a very marked upward turn since 2000.

Brits, Boris and Brexit

By: N. Peter Kramer | Tuesday, July 2, 2019

‘Brussels’ politicians, eurocrats and the unconditionally pro-EU media (almost all) are telling us, time after time, how bad Brexit is for the British people. Much, much worse than for those left behind

Merkel’s choice for the function of President of the European Commission remains Manfred Weber, the ‘Spitzenkandidat’ of the centre-right EPP.  But Macron, and many of the leaders with him, see Weber as a too light weight, with insufficient experience for this job. He has never achieved a more important function than leader of the EPP group in the European Parliament.

EU leaders struggle over EU top jobs

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, June 24, 2019

Last week, when the EU leaders left a summit without a decision about the EU top jobs for the second time, Dutch PM Mark Rutte said to reporters, ‘we got nowhere’. Therefore, next Sunday, the EU leaders must reconvene during a dinner

There is only one clear route to survival for the Conservatives and that is to be unequivocally the party of Leave, they will lose support of the Remain-supporting Tories, but they have discovered now, to great costs, that trying to find a path in the middle has proved pointless.

Great Britain: what next?

By: N. Peter Kramer | Wednesday, May 29, 2019

In the UK, the elections to the European Parliament that were never supposed to happen, delivered an outcome many had expected; but it was no less a traumatic moment.

Pro-EU parties can no longer prevaricate and must expedite their attempts to think beyond traditional political families in the way they battle for seats in the EP, according the ECFR. Listening at the mainstream political parties, you can hear they share seriously the ECFR concerns, but looking at them, you see that they are exclusively busy with tackling each other in the race for delivering the President of the European Commission.

EU mainstream political parties feel cornered

By: N. Peter Kramer | Thursday, May 2, 2019

According to a recent report* published by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), there is a distinct possibility that anti-EU parties could form the second-largest group in the European Parliament after the elections the end of May

It is true, the experiment has helped to undercut the ‘gilets jaunes’, but this movement remains volatile and could erupt again if people are disappointed by what Macron is going to do with the demands for tax cuts and better public services. But also for more measures to protect the environment and a system of government that allows for direct participation by citizens.The government announced already to put cash in the pockets of everyday French citizens, including a boost to minimum-wage earners and cuts in taxes for some pensioners. The decree to freeze the state pensions for a period of two years has been reversed.

President Macron wants a change, the French people tax cuts

By: N. Peter Kramer | Tuesday, April 9, 2019

After months of town hall debates across France, it is clear: the French people demands for tax cuts and better public services

Orban and his party, Fidesz, should leave the EPP, he added. But a day later Juncker called, totally surprising his audience, the Hungarian PM still ‘my friend’. Anyhow, Angela Merkel offered Juncker immediately her “full solidarity”, what is not surprising, the German chancellor is another of Orban’s favorite targets. But she didn’t say anything about Fidesz should leave the EPP.

Victor Orban, the ‘thorn in the flesh’ of the EPP

By: N. Peter Kramer | Friday, February 22, 2019

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, asked about Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s recent anti-EU poster campaign against him, declared, “enough is enough.”

The paradox is, that the EU hates one of its members having a budget deficit of 2 percent of GDP (Italy) but is totally fine with another member having a surplus of the same size (Germany). Is starving your country of money any less egregious than borrowing to spend?  A parallel can be made with how the European Central Bank manages monetary policies. The ECB keeps, in contrast with for instance the Bank of England and the FED in the US (under pressure of President Trump), interest rates higher than they would be for fear of allowing inflation above the ceiling of 2 percent.

Ailing Eurozone can learn from Britain

By: N. Peter Kramer | Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Barely a year ago they told us that the Eurozone was at its strongest and that Britain had stepped into the jaws of Brexit and would become the sick man of Europe again

Macron’s government abruptly raised the price of car fuel, without any comprehension of millions  living in rural parts of the country, where public transport is lacking and driving is an unavoidable reality of life. But that became a bridge too far,  the last straw that broke the camel’s back!

"Monarch" Macron, an out-of-touch president

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, January 28, 2019

France is a republic that creates monarchs out of its presidents only to behead them

 ‘Der Manfred’ made his audience even more stupefied when he told them that he appreciated the European Conservatives and Reformists group (ECR). Ten years ago the ECR was formed by the British Conservatives to provide a euro-critical alternative to the EPP’s traditionally blind pro-EU stance. Weber even praised ECR’s member and Poland’s governing national-conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party

“Spitzenkandidat” Manfred Weber is everyone’s friend (except Marine Le Pen’s)

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, January 14, 2019

Probably Socialists will be wiped out in the European elections in May; and also for the liberals the ‘political barometer’ doesn’t show nice weather

The origin of Juncker’s doubts is that Romania’s government has been rocked of fights within one of the ruling parties, the Social Democratic Party, the resignation of the country’s EU minister, and of backsliding in the fight against corruption

Juncker calls Romania unable to lead the Council of the EU

By: N. Peter Kramer | Friday, January 4, 2019

In an interview in the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker expressed blunt and unprecedented negative comments on the next EU Presidency, Romania

May’s deal keeps the UK aligned to the EU but with no jurisdiction of EU courts.  Of course, it will not have the full benefits of a customs union, but neither it will have the same obligations.  It allows the UK to have its independent immigration policy. Regarding the Irish question, the backstop will give the UK frictionless trade possibilities inside the customs union, without contributing to the EU budget

Britain becomes an EU colony?

By: N. Peter Kramer | Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The dust has a bit settled on Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the EU. It looks like that more people took the chance to read more of it and to compare it, for instance, with a no-deal that no one knows what exactly will mean

The Commission has raised concerns that the expanding US economy will suck in more imports, widening the country’s trade deficit and prompting fresh tariff increases. But be not be surprised if the US administration is not impressed by such a comment from ‘Brussels’

The weakening economy in the Eurozone and Brexit still to come...

By: N. Peter Kramer | Monday, November 19, 2018

The European Commission delivered last week the message that the Eurozone economy is shrinking seriously over the next years

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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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Europe

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

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

Ursula von der Leyen is right: geopolitics must shape the policies of the new European Commission

Business

’’Huawei is a trusted ally of Europe’’

’’Huawei is a trusted ally of Europe’’

In response to the opinion piece by US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo published today in Politico Europe Huawei issues the following statement

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