About: The Brief

25-09-2017

The Brief: German vote takes wind out of Europe’s sails

Almost two weeks ago, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker delivered his annual State of the Union speech on the most positive note since the start of the euro debt crisis, saying "The wind is back in Europe's sails”. And indeed, so it looked, until the German elections on Sunday.

Politics 22-09-2017

The Brief: On Catalonia, time to de-escalate

Catalonia caught Europe's attention like never before this week. The arrest of regional government officials involved in organising the 1 October referendum was published on front-pages across Europe and sparked a torrent of questions from the international press in Brussels.

21-09-2017

The Brief: All eyes are on the money in Florence

Theresa May’s speech in Florence tomorrow is her chance to bring order to the Brexit chaos. Brussels will look on with interest but will pay closer attention to the reaction of May’s colleagues and her party than to the prime minister herself.

20-09-2017

The Brief: Head in the sand

The refugee crisis got the EU by surprise, mainly because the Union was blind to conflicts in its neighbourhood. It still is.

The Brief: Should climate really end up on EU’s back burner?

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone in Brussels, or in any part of Europe for that matter, who isn’t worried about climate change. So why isn’t the EU putting all its efforts into fighting this immense threat?

18-09-2017

The Brief: Who’s playing who, or how basketball mirrors Balkan complexities

Sunday night's thrilling European Basketball Championship finish, dubbed 'The Balkan finals', could probably tell Brussels just as much about the complexities of the Balkans as any commissioned study or research.

15-09-2017

The Brief: What happens when the Commission ‘fully respects’ a referendum outcome

European Commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday that if Catalonians vote “yes” in an independence referendum, he will respect it.

14-09-2017

The Brief: The European Bond, James Bond

In his State of the Union speech, President Juncker made a timid call for a European intelligence unit. He was wise enough not to call it a ‘European FBI’ or ‘DG CIA’ as that would only have given tabloid headline writers a field day.

13-09-2017

The Brief: What a difference a year makes

This time everything was fine. This time Parliament wasn't "ridiculous", unlike at the end of the Maltese presidency in June, when an angry Juncker lashed out at the almost empty hemicycle.

Politics 12-09-2017

The Brief: Catalonia, Scotland and the EU’s double standards

The huge rally for Catalan independence on Monday did not go unnoticed in Brussels and in Strasbourg, where most of the EU talking heads are right now.

Politics 11-09-2017

The Brief: Will Juncker sugar-coat the #SOTEU?

So, Jean-Claude Juncker delivers his much-awaited State of the European Union (SOTEU) address on Wednesday morning. The big question is: will he sweep the threats to the EU’s future under the rug and focus instead on his own ‘vision for a new Europe’ or will he choose to shine a spotlight on them?

Global Europe 08-09-2017

The Brief, powered by Eni – Don’t expect consensus on Turkey

For reasons of internal policy, some EU leaders like to talk about decisions they don’t need to take. If Angela Merkel brings the Turkish issue to the summit table on 19-20 October, she may be isolated, or at least, end up as a loser in the debate.

07-09-2017

The Brief, powered by Eni – You Brexit, you fix it

The talking points of the day are some cheeky sentences in the minutes of the College of Commissioners’ meeting, published yesterday, and today’s presser by chief EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

Brexit 06-09-2017

The Brief, powered by Eni – The Brexit tango: Does it really take two?

“Sufficient progress” has become something of a Brexit catchphrase.

Politics 05-09-2017

The Brief, powered by Eni – Clean-up on aisle Brexit

Another round of Brexit negotiations came and went last week, not with a bang but with a whimper. Only now it actually looks like the UK is waking up to the seriousness of the situation and is more willing to start cleaning up the mess.

Politics 04-09-2017

The Brief, powered by Eni – Bled Forum kicks off new political season for EU

Slovenia launched the annual Bled Strategic Forum eleven years ago. In time, it has gained recognition as a mini Davos, where decision-makers debate contemporary political, security and development challenges, and search for new ideas and solutions.

Economy & Jobs 01-09-2017

The Brief: A ‘plan B’ for the grand bargain

Summer is over but winter is yet to come. The rentrée to meetings in broken English and hundreds of unread emails is seen by some as a window of opportunity.

Politics 31-08-2017

The Brief: Betrayed by Bambi? UK agonises over ‘secret Brussels meeting’

The UK's ongoing divorce from the EU has hardly been an affair short on controversy or confusion. Just when you thought it couldn't get any messier, Tony Blair rocks up to reshuffle the deck.

Agrifood 30-08-2017

The Brief: EU food standards are no yolk

The Dutch name for a slow news day is a “cucumber day”. But after this summer there is a strong case to rename it a “tainted egg day”.

Brexit 29-08-2017

The Brief: We need another word for Brexit

Brexit talks round three is underway amid accusations of ‘magical thinking’ and frustrations about a lack of progress.

Politics 28-08-2017

The Brief: Macron scores points in first mission to Eastern Europe

French President Emmanuel Macron opened the autumn political season last week by meeting four Central and Eastern European leaders, succeeding in drumming up support for his key political initiatives.

The Brief: Can justice really be judged?

Greek judges and the country’s government have been bickering lately about whether court decisions can be criticised or not.

Transport 27-07-2017

The Brief: Emissions collusion dampened EU spark

After the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal broke in late 2015, it quickly became apparent that the German giant was not the only car company with dirty secrets to hide.

Brexit 26-07-2017

The Brief: Headless chlorine chickens

Chlorinated chicken, washed eggs, beef dripping in hormones. Sound tasty?