Latest Blog Posts — Page 3

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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Is the EU finally ready to pool its defences?

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A country’s ability to defend itself with its own armies is one of the hallmarks of sovereignty, so it is understandable that European Union governments are sensitive to the idea that their militaries might one day fall under the command of someone else. In the almost six decades since the Treaty of Rome set up what is now the EU, talk of pooling armed resources has been so toxic that it barely crept on the agenda. Until now.

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Why is the EU so cool on the global aviation emissions deal?

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It might have been the perfect moment for the European Union to celebrate: a global aviation emissions deal was last week clinched after long, intricate, complex negotiations of the sort that EU officials tend to excel. It means carbon emissions from air travel will be capped for the first time.

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Will Brexit affect European patient advocacy groups?

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It has been four months since Britain’s referendum vote to leave the European Union, and we are still not much closer to knowing the EU’s future relationship with the UK. Article 50 negotiations are due to start in early 2017, and there is still time for a lot to happen before their expected completion in 2019. One of the many sectors that may be affected is patient advocacy, and the key role of British groups in this area means the next two years will be a time of great uncertainty.

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Switzerland’s tax shake-up

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The third series of corporate tax reforms (CTR III) have lately become one of the biggest political and economic issues on the national agenda.

The Swiss tax system offers tax privileges on the foreign revenue of holding, domiciliary and mixed companies, and has been facing increasing international pressure since 2007. The OECD, with support from the G20 and the EU, have worked towards the standardisation of global tax practices. Since 2010, the CTR III were designed to bring in new tax measures consistent with international standards.

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Paris climate deal marks rare EU victory

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The European Union is getting so used to feeling under siege, it is easy to forget it can eke out a victory every now and then, and last week’s move to ratify the Paris climate change agreement is definitely a win.

After a series of recent setbacks, from Brexit to the persistent refugee crisis and the ongoing economic slump, the Paris deal is proof that EU officials still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

There were doubts about whether the ministers could pull off what is effectively a fast track approval of the sweeping agreement from last December’s United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21, in the French capital. Legal experts pondered the legitimacy of a decision by the EU to deposit its ratification of the accord to cut greenhouse gas emissions before it was ratified by all 28 member states.

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Going Dutch – looking back at the presidency

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In the first half of 2016, The Netherlands held the presidency of the European Council for the fourth time since 1986, a record in the Union. Many think the country’s stance towards the EU has been changing for the worse, in fact, the Financial Times even named The Netherlands ‘the most obstructive’ EU-member state. 

In line with their reputation, the Dutch went cheap on their presidency. All meetings were held in the same location, hardly any trips were organised outside of Amsterdam, and there was no grand opening or closing. This was to accommodate the increasing anti-EU sentiment in the country. At the start of the Dutch term, Rutte had already been Prime Minister for six years, and was fairly familiar with the EU routines and key players.

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What’s next for Spain?

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The major Spanish parties can no longer use the regional elections in Galicia and the Basque country as an excuse for not forming a national government. The spotlight has been put on the weakened socialist party, as the citizens in both ‘communities’ have grown tired of seeing the parties failing to come to an agreement throughout the country.

On Sunday, 25 regional elections took place in two ‘communities’ characterised by very different political situations.

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