About: The Brief


The Brief: Europe’s radioactive iso-dopes

As the UK very slowly sails off into the sunset, the race to be the EU's leading rogue state is now a faceoff between Hungary and Poland, as the Commission toys with triggering its ‘nuclear option’: Article 7.


The Brief: Europe’s Latin love

Europe’s long-term relationship with the US has hit a rocky patch and a number of trysts in the East haven’t met expectations. But there’s life in the Old Continent yet, with a promising love affair in Latin America blooming.


The Brief: Time’s up for toothless ethics committee

One year ago, the post-mandate activities of European Commissioners made headlines when it emerged that former Commission President José Manuel Barroso had accepted a top job at investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Oil and Industry 14-07-2017

The Brief, powered by Eni – To understand Turkey, speak to the Cypriots

Tomorrow (15 July) is the first anniversary of the failed Turkish coup. Too much analysis has already taken place. To really understand a country, it’s always good to speak to a neighbour. My take will be on Cyprus.


The Brief, powered by Eni – Loose policy sinks ships

The EU’s naval mission in the Med has failed to stop the criminals it was meant to target and has actually contributed to more deaths, according to a report by the UK parliament. So why is Ireland on the brink of joining Operation Sophia?


The Brief, powered by Eni – Softly trolling Trump

After three terrible meetings, NATO in Brussels, the G7 in Taormina and the G20 in Hamburg, the EU is fed up with the America's rude and stubborn president. So why has Emmanuel Macron invited Trump back?


The Brief, powered by Eni – When life gives you lemons… pick up a broom

It’s hard to equate the statue of a 19th century lemon seller with being a capitalist symbol. But one of Hamburg’s most colourful characters wasn’t spared by anti-globalisation protesters last week, some of them eager to share their rampage via their latest iPhones.


The Brief: Is everything OK with Juncker and Weber?

Rumours suggest that the two men, who both belong to the centre-right political family, have not been getting along with each other lately.


The Brief: Italians should be furious

Unprecedented numbers of sub-Saharan African migrants are arriving in Italy. Most of them are not in need of international protection, and the EU and its member countries are doing nothing to share the burden.


The Brief: Europe, the city upon a hill

With global challenges emerging and international cooperation eroding at roughly the same pace, the presidents of the EU institutions tried to paint Europe as the ‘city upon a hill’, in the same way American politicians used to depict their country.


The Brief: Strasbourg hotheads

Jean-Claude Juncker lost his temper in Strasbourg today but only around 30 MEPs were there to take the flack. Just a smattering of seats were filled as Malta’s prime minister gave his final words on the island country's EU Council presidency.

Oil and Industry 03-07-2017

The Brief: Why being a French pharaoh is a good bet

For the second time in just a few weeks, the French pharaoh’s court today headed from Paris to Versailles.

Politics 30-06-2017

The Brief: Are old socialists cowards or just still in love with EPP?

Cooperation of the so-called progressive political forces has lately been the new mantra for the EU socialists.


The Brief: The secret weapon against rogue countries

At his first EU summit last week French President Emmanuel Macron signalled that there will be a change of attitude vis-à-vis the EU's 'rogue countries'.

Oil and Industry 28-06-2017

The Brief: Commission penny-pinching plan risks opening Pandora’s Box

And so the Commission did the unthinkable. In one fell swoop, by unveiling its thoughts on the post-Brexit budget challenges, it managed to show its caring, anticipating side - and create a host of new problems.


The Brief: Margrethe Vestager’s Googlewhack Adventure

First she took a bite out of Apple. Today, it was Google's turn to face the music, courtesy of the European Commission's Great Dane.

Oil and Industry 26-06-2017

The Brief: Radioactive Ga Ga

Brexit means leaving the EU’s nuclear treaty. But as massive protests in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands showed yesterday, the UK is playing with an emotional and high-risk issue it may not truly understand.


The Brief: De Gaulle was right about Britain all along

Back in the 1960s, Charles de Gaulle vetoed the UK’s attempts to join what is now the EU. Exactly one year on from the Brexit vote, it’s clear that ‘the Great Asparagus’ was right to try and keep Britain out of the club.


The Brief: Will Trump divide Europe?

Last month Barack Obama was in Berlin, where he participated in a panel discussion on democracy with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in front of 70,000 people.

Oil and Industry 21-06-2017

The Brief: The EU’s summer of love

Despite many lingering issues, Europeans are once again starting to see the EU as a solution rather than a problem, says European Council President Donald Tusk.


The Brief: With great investment comes great leverage

Greece has blocked an EU statement at the United Nations criticising China’s human rights record.


The Brief, powered by Eni: The hypocrisy of liberalism

The Commission is clearly on an investment drive. But several member states have expressed concerns about so-called “hostile takeovers” by non-EU companies and want legislation to protect critical national infrastructure.That’s a fair point considering the mounting pressure by new players in the international markets. But what is critical infrastructure? From telecoms networks to power grids, …


The Brief, powered by Eni: Troublemaker Poland needs patience

At least three EU countries are troublemakers (not to mention the one ‘walking dead’ member state). Hungary receives a lot of attention but the most severe case is Poland.

Digital 14-06-2017

The Brief, powered by Eni: EU wants us out of the roam zone

Hats off to the European Commission for squeezing two crowd-pleasing stories into one week. Just yesterday, Jean-Claude Juncker celebrated the 1 million 'Erasmus babies' (TMI, really) during a celebration of the programme. Tomorrow the EU wants to score again when it gets rid of mobile roaming fees within Europe.