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

Writing off written declarations

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Thanks to the European Parliament, March 24 is a date celebrated by Europeans with as much veneration and delight as July 14, November 9 or December 25. For March 24 is, of course, the European Day of Artisanal Gelato.

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Is Europe ready for clean energy?

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Clean energy should be an easy sell. It is not just about phasing out dirty and impactful fuels, while meeting climate change goals. It is also about being smarter with energy, so the electricity we use is efficiently resourced and distributed. Clean energy technology has an obvious economic appeal, with countries increasingly recognising that it will help spur job creation and growth for years to come. And it is well-suited for common European action, with costs of renewables softened if they are shared widely and connected across the continent.

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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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