The Brief: Women are better drivers than men, confirms Commission

The Brief is's evening newsletter.


Women can’t park. Men might kill you. Autonomous cars are just weird. You have to feed horses.

Transport is tricky. People zooming round in big metal death-boxes is dangerous. And if those folk are Italian, well, it is probably safer to stay at home.

Who are the best drivers? Men or women?

The stereotypes are well known. Men are too aggressive. Women have no reason. Men drive too fast, women have no sense of direction.

Fortunately, thanks to the European Commission, we can set this controversy to rest, once and for all.

Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc was in the Commission press room today. The Brief nailed her down on this fundamental question.

We’ve probably stopped ten million arguments and saved a million relationships.*

Bulc confirmed that women were the safest drivers. So she said some more analysis might be needed, but from what she knew, girls are better behind the wheel than boys.

So, ladies of Brussels. You win. You are officially the best drivers.

Men of Brussels. Don’t drive. On the plus side, you can drink instead.

*Not Eurostat figures.


The Walloons have either caved or got what they wanted. Whichever it is, they stopped dreamy Justin Trudeau visiting Brussels. Some will never forgive or forget that.

The backlash came quickly. The European Commission denied offering Wallonia EU cash to drop their opposition, but said it was involved in “every step” of the negotiations.

“Mounties” had earlier turned up in the EU quarter to show support for the deal, which led to this amusing interchangeAnti-CETA protestors managed to catch the cops on the hop outside the Berlaymont.

The fun isn’t over yet. Belgium will ask the European Court of Justice to give an opinion on the legality of its investor protection clause. The Commission has refused to ask the ECJ for an opinion in the past, and was sued for its trouble. Here is a brilliant example of Belgian ingenuity.

Two Yazidi women who survived kidnapping, rape and slavery at the hands of Islamic State have won the Sakharov Prize.

Islamist militants are murdering journalists with impunity, the Committee to Protect Journalists has warned. The European Parliament has called on Turkey to set the Turkish press free.

The European Council has added ten top Syrian officials to its sanctions list. At least 22 children were killed today in air strikes on a Syrian school.  Don’t miss this piece on women’s role in the rebuilding of Syria.

MEPs have told nuclear-armed states like North Korea to chill out. We hear they backed the resolution for non-proliferation, despite last minute pressure from France.

Some EU countries are spending more overseas aid on domestic asylum costs than on development. The EU is training the Libyan coastguard to try and stop migrants coming to Europe. Take a look at this witty take on the crisis.

Cécile Barbière traces the history and future of the Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base. Sarantis Michalopoulos has the exclusive lowdown on the Greek TV licence row and there has been a pretty predictable legal spat over Privacy Shield.

Britain’s opposition Labour Party has warned the country is hurtling towards “a chaotic breakfast”. It is also demanding the Tories don’t deliver a bankers’ Brexit. It turns out the UK secured Nissan’s investment by offering a Brexit insurance policy/subsidy.

Interested in the history of the British tabloids and their influence on UK politics? This long read is worth a look.

The world could lose two thirds of its animals by 2020…


No fewer than five Commissioners will be in Bratislava for the Tatra Summit, a flagship event of the Slovak Presidency of the EU. Wolfgang  Schäuble and Brendan Cox, who was married to the murdered British MP Jo Cox, are also speaking at the event. You can join the conference which will cover Brexit, migration and economic reform, online.


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