WELCOME TO EUROPE DECIDES » INSIGHTS INTO POLITICS, ECONOMICS AND BUSINESS IN EUROPE, FROM BURSON-MARSTELLER EMEA

The rivals scrambling to succeed Schulz

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Martin Schulz, so long a fixture in European Union politics, is finally leaving the European Parliament, where he has been president for almost five years. First elected in 1994, Schulz’s time patrolling the Parliament’s cavernous chambers has seen MEPs gain more power and influence, even as the European project has endured its greatest crises since its creation six decades ago. While he now positions himself as the centre-left’s standard bearer in Germany and challenger to Chancellor Angela Merkel, the focus in Brussels passes to Schulz’s would-be successors, and the intricate political calculations needed to restack the EU’s house of cards.

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The Swiss Energy Strategy 2050 is on track

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Swiss voters turned down a Green initiative that demanded the rapid disposal of nuclear plants. Instead, voters preferred the gradual phasing out of nuclear energy in Switzerland.

While the amount of nuclear power plants keeps growing worldwide, the Swiss electorate had to decide whether Switzerland’s five plants should be shut down after 45 years of operating at maximum capacity. An adoption of the popular initiative would have deemed the operation of nuclear power plants unconstitutional, but the text was rejected by more than 54% of the people, and 20 out of 26 cantons.

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Borrowing for Brexit

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Chancellor Philip Hammond made his first, and it emerged last, Autumn Statement today as he set out how Brexit would affect the public finances and British economy.

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Italian referendum: a matter of political preferences

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On 4 December, Italian citizens will go to the polls. The referendum will determine whether or not to accept or reject the constitutional reform bill proposed by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s government and approved by the Parliament in April. The reform would be one of the most ambitious changes ever put forward in Italy, amending 47 out of 139 articles.

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EU trims its green ambitions

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The electric toaster makes an unlikely instrument of citizen upheaval. The humble kitchen appliance has changed little since it was invented by Scottish scientist Alan MacMasters in 1883, but its breakfast function is fundamental enough to deserve a special carve out from European Union rules: if saving the world means redesigning a cherished century-old contraption, then the bread grilling device comes first.

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Playing it Safe

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Steinmeier – The safe choice

On 12th February 2017, current German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD), one of Germany’s most popular politicians, may be elected as Germany’s 12th President. His promotion to the highest office in the country would be seen as a sign of political stability and a very safe choice. Yesterday, it was formally announced that the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Christian Social Union (CSU) endorse Steinmeier, the proposed candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SPD).

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Does the digital economy need strong copyright?

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The European Union has been talking about digital commerce since the Internet’s early days. The success of European companies engaged in e-commerce is highly dependent on a well-connected and robust digital single market (DSM). While much of the work on the DSM is focused on removing barriers to access, one of the keys to ensuring a successful digital economy is the harmonization of European copyright laws. Consistent copyright rules will both help European companies compete on a level playing field, and copyright owners to obtain fair compensation for their intellectual capital.

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What a Clinton or Trump presidency would actually mean for the EU

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With just hours to go until the polls open, Europeans are watching the race with almost as much fascination as Americans, mesmerised by the dramatic spectacle playing out across the Atlantic.

Even by the hyperbolic standards of US politics, there has never been anything like this year’s contest, an explosive clash pitting the wife of a former president and first female nominee of a major party against a business billionaire and reality television star who has never held public office.

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An uncertain government, but a government at last

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This week marked the one-year anniversary of the provisional Spanish Government. On the 27th of October 2015, the Official Journal announced the dissolution of parliament and called for elections to be held on the 20th December. After two elections, it seems that by the end of the week, Spain will have at least a new Prime Minister, thanks to the abstention by the Socialist Party (PSOE).

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October’s Brussels summit shows the EU getting back to business by ignoring Brexit

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The European Union has been battered so badly in recent years, that it seems these days that no news article about it can avoid the word ‘crisis’. The ongoing economic and migration sagas, terrorism threats, tensions with Russia, and the near-collapse of its trade policy have all forced themselves onto the EU agenda. And, of course, Brexit: the UK’s June vote to leave the EU has shocked the bloc, raising deep, existential questions about the European project.

Yet despite this in-tray from hell, the EU achieved a minor success at its October 20-21 summit in Brussels: it got on with business.

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