Benjamin Fox

Global Europe 11-05-2021

The Brief, powered by FACEBOOK – The next war over water

We Europeans take water for granted. Barring the occasional ban on using hosepipes during heatwaves, we use as much water as we like, when we like. It won’t be like that for much longer.
Brexit 06-05-2021

The Brief, powered by GIE – Cod War II

Nothing stirs Anglo-Gallic passions quite like the sight of gunboats in the Channel. The presence of several hundred patrol boats in the waters around Jersey – one of the picturesque Channel islands that provides offshore banking to the mega-rich – is the latest act in the Brexit farce.
Brexit 04-05-2021

The Brief, powered by GIE – The 28th state?

Theatre director Thomas Bellinck's dystopian vision 'The House of European History in Exile', a museum exhibition in Brussels in 2013, when Brexit itself looked improbable, predicted that an independent Scotland would be the last country to join the EU.
Coronavirus 30-04-2021

The Brief, powered by NGVA Europe – The Modi blues

As the past year has shown, finding the most balanced policy response to COVID-19 is often a case of trial and error. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi proclaimed in January that his government’s response, heavy on vaccine diplomacy, made it one of the victors of the pandemic.
Coronavirus 27-04-2021

The Brief powered by NGVA Europe – Whatever it takes

Wealthy countries and pharmaceutical giants have a “moral obligation” to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are available to all. So says a group of more than 150 religious leaders, including the Dalai Lama, who are demanding commitments from the EU and...
Future EU 23-04-2021

The Brief, powered by VDMA – Do away with the elites

Twenty years ago, the EU thought that a patrician, former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing, was best placed to chair discussions on its reform. For good measure, Giscard’s two vice-chairs were both former prime ministers.
Health 20-04-2021

The Brief, powered by VDMA – When greed is not good

The absence of sport, and particularly football, Europe’s favourite game, made last year’s lockdowns to stop the spread of Covid-19 even harder to bear. Since last summer, we have had the eerie spectacle of football without supporters. Lockdown football is...
Brexit 16-04-2021

The Brief, powered by FACEBOOK – Sold down the river

Even those of us who have the rosiest impressions of our politicians know that they all twist the truth. Most get away with it, but the biggest lies have a nasty habit of catching up with them.
Future EU 02-04-2021

The Brief, powered by bp – An elusive elixir: how to unite the right

A “European renaissance based on Christian values” is probably not what Emmanuel Macron and others have in mind when they think about the EU’s future. But that was top of the agenda for Europe’s three populist musketeers on Thursday. After...
Elections 30-03-2021

The Brief, powered by bp – Vanity before victory

At the start of the year, Scottish independence looked more likely than ever before. Opinion polls consistently suggested that a majority of Scots would vote for independence should a second referendum be held. The EU, meanwhile, might soon be restored...
19-03-2021

The Brief, powered by Eurochild – Get a grip on toxic vaccine nationalism

COVID vaccines are being mass-produced in plentiful supply. That should mean light at the end of a gruelling year. Yet vaccine nationalism is on the rise while, in the EU at least, case and mortality rates are soaring. It is a toxic combination.
Brexit 05-03-2021

The Brief, powered by FACEBOOK – Bluff, bravado and a fragile border

Divorces tend not to bring out the best in people and the UK’s divorce from the EU continues to produce some pretty unedifying behaviour and foolish bravado.
Future EU 02-03-2021

The Brief, powered by FACEBOOK – Strangled at birth

It’s been nearly twenty years since Giscard d’Estaing’s European Convention drew up a Constitutional Treaty that eventually became the Lisbon Treaty. Now, after a decade of muddling through, an assessment of what the EU’s role should be, how it should...
25-02-2021

The Brief, powered by APPLIA – Protect innovation, not greed

Emmanuel Macron was the first EU leader to pledge to offer surplus COVID vaccine supplies ahead of last week’s G7 summit and the French president got plenty of laudatory media coverage. However, neither Macron nor the UK’s Boris Johnson, who...
Brexit 23-02-2021

The Brief, powered by APPLIA – The price of unfinished business

It would be something of an understatement to say that there have been a few teething problems in the first two months of the brave new EU-UK trading world. The stories of rotting fish, visa-less musicians and lorries turned away...
Brexit 19-02-2021

The Brief, powered by FACEBOOK – The horse and his cart of euros

The €750 billion Eurobond to pay for the bloc’s recovery from the COVID pandemic “will pave the way for a treasury and common EU taxation”, a cross-party group of EU lawmakers have argued on these pages this week. It’s a...
Brexit 16-02-2021

The Brief, powered by FACEBOOK – Another pointless act

The theatre and live music are two of the joys of life that have fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic. After a year of silence in our theatres, concert halls and stadiums, with vaccine programmes moving apace (touch wood!), we should be able to enjoy these delights again in the coming months.
Global Europe 11-02-2021

The Brief, powered by GSMA – Vaccine diplomacy

As the reality of the coronavirus pandemic slowly dawned on Europe’s leaders last spring, the battle was about getting hold of personal protective equipment for the continent’s army of doctors and nurses.
Brexit 09-02-2021

The Brief, powered by GSMA – The protocol price

Accepting the Northern Ireland Protocol was the price that the UK's Conservative MPs had to pay for Brexit. Even so, they did so very reluctantly, at the fourth time of asking, and only after replacing Theresa May with Boris Johnson as prime minister.
Coronavirus 05-02-2021

The Brief, powered by Facebook – The other pandemic

There is light at the end of the tunnel. Despite the row over the supply and delivery of vaccines that has engulfed the European Commission over the past fortnight, the bottom line is that the vaccines exist and they are being rolled out, albeit with different degrees of success, across Europe.
Energy 26-01-2021

The Brief – EU energy diplomacy, a carrot that could become a stick

Energy is one of the oldest tools in the diplomatic policy box and it should come as no surprise that the EU appears to be actively seeking to export its climate change policy.
Brexit 22-01-2021

The Brief, powered by VDMA – The lost art of diplomacy

There is nothing like a break-up to prompt a few rounds of point-scoring and petty one-upmanship. The Brexit divorce process is more giving than most. The UK may be over and out of the bloc, legally at least, but there...
Global Europe 19-01-2021

The Brief, powered by VDMA – A declaration of self–reliance

It’s probably fair to say that most European leaders greeted Joe Biden’s victory in last November’s presidential elections with a huge sigh of relief. After four years of isolationism, bombast and unpredictability, Biden’s presidency, if nothing else, heralds a return to government by professionals, and an end of diplomacy by Twitter-rant.
Brexit 15-01-2021

The Brief – Rotting in the docks

The images of then UKIP leader Nigel Farage floating in a dinghy on the River Thames – encountering a flotilla of Remainers led by Bob Geldof and doling out profanity like candy – is one of the memories of the...