About: The Brief

Politics 17-11-2017

The Brief: Puigdemont, the doomed architect

For some, ousted president Carles Puigdemont is the architect of a new independent Catalan Republic. For others, he is just a coward who led his citizens to chaos and ruin, and fled to Belgium. Today, he got his day in court.

Economy & Jobs 16-11-2017

The Brief: Overtaxation transports moral people to Paradise

In total, 130 Greek names were on the Paradise list and one of them was Mareva Grabowski Mitsotaki, the spouse of the conservative opposition’s leader, New Democracy’s Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Grabowski Mitsotaki was allegedly the manager of a mutual fund based in the Cayman Islands.

Politics 15-11-2017

The Brief: Bulgaria, Romania and Juncker’s curtain call

When Bulgaria’s PM came to Brussels last week, in preparation for the country’s upcoming stint holding the EU Presidency, Jean-Claude Juncker said the Commission’s latest monitoring report would be “very positive”. It was released today and did not go down well in Bulgaria…

Politics 14-11-2017

The Brief: Fashion! Turn to the EU

Forget the gaudy Union Jack t-shirts and American university hoodies. Soon you might be able to flaunt your European-ness with a line of new EU clothing.

Politics 13-11-2017

The Brief, powered by ENI – Ostrich tactics won’t stop the far-right

In the marketplace of ideas, the best one will win. This market metaphor for freedom of expression is the very foundation of our democracies.

Politics 10-11-2017

The Brief, powered by Eni – Run, Agrokor, run!

Bemused Londoners were treated to an odd sight earlier this week, as one of the Balkans’ richest men ran past them, fleeing the baying press from his native Croatia after his arrest (and release) in the British capital. But just who is sprightly 66-year-old Ivica Todoric?

Agrifood 09-11-2017

The Brief, powered by Eni – So much for science-based policy-making

Member states met today to decide the fate of glyphosate, the most used weed killer in the world and Europe. But the decision was  postponed for the seventh time and the ball is now back in the Commission's court once again. Is there even an end in sight to this whole sorry affair?

Politics 08-11-2017

The Brief, powered by Eni – Catalonia and Belgium: Ceci n’est pas une crise

Charles Michel could hardly imagine few weeks ago that he would have a hard time in the Belgian Parliament because of Catalonia. But the escalation of the crisis in Spain, and the escape of sacked Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and part of his cabinet to Brussels, turned the early winter into a dark nightmare for the Belgian prime minister.

Transport 07-11-2017

The Brief, powered by Eni – Trickle-down mobility

Tomorrow, the European Commission reveals its plan to cut transport emissions and boost electric vehicle use. For its ambition to pay off, the EU will have to bank on the business argument for e-mobility.

The Brief, sponsored by Eni – Paradise papers will help Juncker clean up his legacy

This weekend’s massive leak from an offshore law firm implicating businesses, celebrities and top politicians in a global tax evasion scandal was further confirmation – if we needed it – that tax is not fair.

Brexit 03-11-2017

The Brief: Associate EU citizenship is the good news Brits need

UK Brexit boss David Davis told MPs in London yesterday that he is “interested” in discussing the idea of optional EU citizenship for Brits. This is a good sign ahead of next week’s negotiations.

The Brief: Berlaymont lobby blues

Lobbying: a dirty aspect of the EU bubble or a necessary part of the legislative process, depending on who you ask. But Brussels’ finest influence peddlers have really been pushing the envelope lately.

Politics 31-10-2017

The Brief: The fall of Puigdemont, the start of normalisation

Carles Puigdemont and five members of the dismissed Catalan government appeared before reporters today in Brussels in a highly anticipated (and messy) press conference.

Agrifood 30-10-2017

The Brief: Where does all the waste go?

Every year EU citizens waste an estimated 88 million tonnes of food, a number which is expected to rise to approximately 126 million tonnes by 2020 if no immediate action is taken.

Politics 27-10-2017

The Brief: Madrid’s heavy-handedness is not a solution

Spain is slipping into a major crisis, which is also bad news for the EU. The current showdown is hardly unexpected, especially when you’re unlucky enough to have extremists at the helm both in Barcelona and Madrid.

Politics 26-10-2017

The Brief: Banks, not streets, call the shots

It has always been like that. There is the power of the street, and there is the power of the banks. In Catalonia, it looks like the silent message from the banks speaks more loudly that the boisterous streets

Politics 25-10-2017

The Brief: EU #metoo

Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal hit Hollywood, 1.7 million women and men worldwide have gone public with their own stories of sexual harassment or voiced support for victims under the #metoo hashtag, or the more forceful French version, #balancetonporc (dump your pig).

24-10-2017

The Brief: To ban or not to ban, that is the question

Deciding whether to ban certain weedkillers or limit the use of potentially dangerous ingredients is a poisoned chalice for legislators. That’s why it was easy for MEPs to go along with popular demand. After all, all they had to do was agree or disagree with the Commission.

Politics 23-10-2017

The Brief: What’s the EU leverage in Czech Republic, Austria, Spain?

Only a day after the EU27 leaders agreed on the 'Leaders agenda', a roadmap for two years packed with high-level meetings, new creases are appearing on the EU's fabric.

Politics 20-10-2017

The Brief: More EU money for Turkey’s civil society

The toughest discussions EU leaders had during the two-day summit that just ended was on Turkey, multiple sources said.

Global Europe 19-10-2017

The Brief: Can Europe afford to continue its ‘politics with a smile’?

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini described yesterday the European way of doing politics: with a smile.

Global Europe 18-10-2017

The Brief: Islamic State and our way of life

The Commission today presented a communication which begs to be translated into more understandable language. Security Commissioner Julian King faced the press and presented a set of new measures to help protect EU citizens against terrorist threats. The measures at aimed at protecting our “public spaces”. This means our way of life.

Brexit 17-10-2017

The Brief: Accelerating the Brexit circle

Theresa May was dispatched to Brussels last night for dinner with Jean-Claude Juncker but the outcome of the “friendly” meet-up only served to illustrate nicely the Brexit talks so far: completely lacking in substance. A free meal's a free meal though.

16-10-2017

The Brief – Juncker’s muted message to Austria’s Wunderkind

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker congratulated Sebastian Kurz, who is already seen as the next prime minister of Austria, and wished him success in the formation of a pro-European government. He has also spoken to him, most probably on his iconic old-fashioned mobile phone.