Brexit and the Pressures of Devolution (4/28)

By Konstantin Veit, Washington, DC
According to a draft text of European Council summit minutes seen by The Guardian newspaper, at this weekend’s first Brexit summit, the EU 27 will consider including Northern Ireland in the bloc, pending Irish unification. “The European Council acknowledges that, in accordance with international law, the entire territory of such a united Ireland would thus be part of the European Union (in the event of Irish unification).” For Dublin, which has been pressing for the inclusion of the so-called “GDR clause,” a reference to the integration of the former East Germany following the fall of the Berlin Wall, this is a clear victory.

History Shudders, but Paris Shrugs (4/24)

WalterNicklen2015By Walter Nicklin, Paris

Cool and sunny.  That’s the weather in Paris the morning after the first round of the Presidential elections.  That also seems to capture the mood: cool and sunny.  Among the normal crowds along the Seine as well as the outer arrondissements, there is no sense of “morning-after” shock, as had been the post-Presidential-election case in the United States last November.   For unlike in the U.S., the national polls pretty much predicted what would happen. 

With ballots still being counted, independent centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen were the clear winners in a crowded field of 11 Presidential candidates.


Progress on the Greek Bailout (4/7)

katerinasokou.2016By Katerina Sokou, Washington DC
“White smoke” indicating agreement from the Malta Eurogroup Meeting of Eurozone Finance Ministers on the Greek bailout program negotiations  brought some smiles to the government faces  in Athens, together with the hope that the ongoing review can be completed and bailout funds disbursed after months of wrangling with and among its creditors. The Greek government hailed the decision to allow technical teams from the EU and, significantly from the IMF, to return to Athens to reach a staff-level agreement, even while warning that the agreement “will sadden the Greek people.” In exchange for the bailout, Greece has agreed to more taxes and pension cuts over and above the measures already taken.