Tweets of the Week: Bercow, Orban, and Vestager

Bercow’s bombshell is rather splendid, Orban’s not banned, but he is suspended, and Google and Vestager are definitely unfriended. This week we are supported by EPRA.

Another week, another twist in the never-ending soap opera that is Brexit. Last Friday Berlaymonster moaned that the Meaningful Vote franchise was getting a bit samey.

Well hold on to your hat, because it’s Speaker of the House, John Bercow, to the rescue.

On Monday he denied Prime Minister Theresa May the possibility of a third vote on her deal using a little known 1604 convention.

Labour peer Andrew Adonis hailed Bercow as one of the few heroes of Brexit.

The British tabloids were less convinced, giving the Speaker what David Yelland called “one of the biggest kickings in Fleet Street history.” 

But as the Council considers Theresa May’s appeal for an extension, we’re still in Brexit limbo. Ian Dunt summed it up thus: Europeans won’t make decision on extension until May takes deal back to the Commons. And Bercow won’t allow the deal back in the Commons until May attaches an extension to it.

Daniel Boffey reported former European council president, Herman Van Rompuy saying that “in any normal country, Theresa May would have resigned a long time ago.”

The Telegraph thinks everyone would prefer the end of May.

On Wednesday, the European People’s Party held an extraordinary meeting to discuss the thorny topic of Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party. The Hungarian leader has been straining relations with the group for his attacks on Jean-Claude Juncker, attempts to oust a George Soros’ funded university, and general anti-EU values.

But according to Orban, no one in the EPP raised his anti-Soros campaign with him on Wednesday.

Which seems… uh… unlikely. But he went further: “We never had any campaign against Juncker,” Orban told reporters to gales of laughter.

But what actually happened? Well, it wasn’t exactly an expulsion as Katalin Halmai explained. Manfred Weber said the EPP has suspended Fidesz. Orban himself claimed we’ve unilaterally suspended our membership.

And the adopted text reads: the EPP presidency and Fidesz jointly agree that Fidesz suspends its membership.

The EPP had hoped to put the whole Fidesz issue to rest. Did it? No. No it did not. As all the other groups lined up to criticise the move.

ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt called the agreement between the EPP and Fidesz “a political trick and fudge that shames Europe.”

S&D said it was too little too late.

And the Greens’ Ska Keller said it was far from enough.

Finally this week Google was slapped with another billion euro plus fine for anti-competitive behaviour. In the third fine in recent years, the Commission charged Google €1.49 billion for forcing websites to favour its advertisements over competitors. The case closes a decade-long saga between Brussels and the tech giant.

Making the announcement, Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Google had “denied consumers choice, innovative products and fair prices.”

Asked by reporter James Crisp which was the naughtiest of all the tech giants she has fined, Vestager responded that since the GDPR, she doesn’t keep lists.

Cue more giggling in the press room… it’s been a funny week to be a journalist! And speaking of Vestager, on Thursday, she officially threw her hat in the ring to be next Commission President.

Cue everyone immediately calculating the odds.

This week we are supported by the European Public Real Estate Association check out their manifesto online or on the app to find out what they are calling for in the property sector.

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