Latest Blog Posts — Page 3

Borrowing for Brexit

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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

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?

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?

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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