Sunday, 24 September 2017

The speeches podcast: May in Florence, Trump at UNGA

It's a week of speeches - Theresa May asking for extra Brexit time in Florence, Donald Trump ushering in the dog-eat-dog era at the UN, and Emmanuel Macron spelling out his vision of EU reform.


Friday, 22 September 2017

Pseudo-independence

Facing increasing panic over a looming exit deadline in March 2019, the Theresa May has called for a ‘transition period’ in which the UK loses its EU voting power but still has to follow its rules. It could easily turn permanent.

Desperate to salvage Brexit talks which have gone off the rails, British Prime Minister Theresa May gave a much-anticipated speech in Florence today. She surely hopes it will stem the panic over the country’s lack of preparedness for the ‘cliffs edge’. That is March 29, 2019, when the country must leave the EU.

There is now little prospect that an agreement on Britain’s post-Brexit relationship with the EU can be agreed by that date. And so the prime minister had little choice but to do something to calm the jitters of British businesses and markets. 

Friday, 15 September 2017

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Should Germans stop speaking English in Berlin?

A rising star in Merkel's CDU party has criticized Germans in Berlin for speaking too much English, calling them "elitist hipsters". Is he right to say the omnipresence of English in Berlin is exclusionary?



Saturday, 9 September 2017

Juncker's Wallonia bypass could save Brexit

Next week the Commission is expected to outline a plan in which governments will no longer have veto power over most EU trade deals. It could be a game-changer for the Brexit negotiations.

One year ago, as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepared to board a plane tp Brussels to sign a landmark free trade deal with the European Union, he had a bone to pick with some fellow Francophones 4km to the south of the EU capital.

The deal was done and all 28 EU national governments had agreed to it. But the tiny region of Wallonia, the French-speaking, politically far-left Southern part of Belgium, was threatening to wield a veto. A region of 3.5 million people was about to unilaterally kill the trade deal agreed by the other 509 million. 

The premier of Wallonia asked Trudeau to cancel the visit, saying it would be a "provocation" to do so while Wallonia had not yet given its assent. The Canadian PM cancelled his flight, but he was not pleased. "If, in a week or two, we see that Europe is unable to sign a progressive trade agreement with a country like Canada, well then with whom will Europe do business in the years to come?" he asked.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Fake Brexit: Is Britain heading for pseudo-independence from the EU?

On this week's podcast, we look at issues of national pride. Would a 'fake Brexit' be enough to satisfy British yearning for a feeling of sovereignty? And as the German election nears, what does a recent uproar about the use of English in Berlin say about the changing nature of German politics?