Spellman 1The European Union recently proposed a framework for scrutinizing incoming foreign investments that may affect “public order” or “security,” a veiled initiative to address Europeans’ rising concerns over China’s state-owned companies acquiring EU-based businesses that are seen as key for Europe’s competitiveness in the global technology tsunami.[1]

In introducing the proposal in his state of the union address (September 13), the EU President Jean-Claude Juncker said it "strikes a smart balance between strengthening the EU's role where appropriate, a more coordinated approach and the preservation of member states' decision-making authority. The proposal promises to tackle potential national security issues.”[2] He assured Europeans he is not “a naive advocate of free trade,” a signal to those arguing that there is little reciprocity from China and other countries for accessing EU’s open markets.

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The prank election poster in white and red reads: “Okay, one more time Merkel. But then it’s enough. SPD”. The SPD, the Social Democrats, are the junior partner of the conservative CDU in the currently governing grand coalition - and they want anything but another four years with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Published by a German satire magazine, the spoof went viral on the internet. Why? Because in a nutshell it captures the dilemma of the SPD. As long as Angela Merkel is on the stage there does not seem to be a way around her. Merkel is set to win the national elections for a fourth time. And the SPD is set to lose, once again.

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paul horneBanks, insurers, businesses and European Union (EU) agencies based in the UK are accelerating their moves to assure full access in the EU, the world’s largest financial-economic area. Their theoretical deadline is Friday, March 19, 2019, when Britain will be out of the EU according to EU Treaty rules, but practical hurdles make the real deadline mid-2018. The exodus of Brexit-generated refugees is also growing more urgent because the Tory government has failed to clarify its Brexit negotiating strategy during the 14 months since the fateful referendum. This policy vacuum is forcing companies to plan for the worst-case scenario – “hard Brexit.” 

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Spellman 1On many fronts, Europe’s economy is strengthening as consumers become more confident, investment inflows accelerate, unemployment falls, and sovereign debt costs decline for the EU’s most troubled member-countries.

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jbebel201707At its June summit, the European Council agreed to further strengthen EU security and defense. In what European Council President Donald Tusk called a “historic step”, member states agreed to move forward with the proposed European Defense Fund and activate the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) mechanism. With Brexit negotiations underway, the agreement came without the UK, which has consistently opposed increased EU defense integration. Additionally, member states also agreed to revisit the funding of the EU battlegroups to facilitate their future deployment. This ambitious goal coincides with conclusions adopted by the Council in May to “reinforc[e] military rapid response” by restructuring the EU battlegroups.

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