About: The Brief

Future EU 12-04-2021

The Brief, powered by FACEBOOK – Michel’s musical chairs

European Council President Charles Michel missed a few good chances in Ankara. But despite his apology tour, where he tried to frame the 'Sofagate' incident as a diplomatic snub rather than a sexist move towards a female leader, this musical chair mishap will mark his mandate, which is up for evaluation in less than a year.
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 01-04-2021

The Brief, powered by bp – Dress rehearsal elections

As Bulgarians are gearing up for a general election on Sunday (4 April), the crucial issue - or risk, for some - is whether Boyko Borissov, who has run the poorest EU country with small interruptions since 2009, will get another mandate.
Coronavirus 31-03-2021

The Brief, powered by bp – Not that ‘smart’ after all

All it took was a few hours of warm weather and the Brussels parks were suddenly flooded with hundreds of young people on Tuesday as if there had never been any confinement. Similar pictures could be seen across Europe - a clear sign that people are reaching their confinement limits during this seemingly never-ending pandemic.
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...

The Brief, powered by BP – Franco-German troubleshooting

Two parallel efforts to develop Europe’s next-generation fighter jets are making progress. One of them, however, looks like it is stalling, caught in a spat between participants and political realities. The European defence market is looking forward to two sixth-generation...
Politics 26-03-2021

The Brief, powered by FACEBOOK – Kanzlerinnendämmerung

We saw a preview of the upcoming change of guard in German politics this week...

The Brief, powered by FACEBOOK – A NATO for Asia?

The Biden administration is wasting no time with its foreign agenda. Under the thumb of a very capable diplomat, Anthony Blinken, the US is mobilising its Asian allies against China in a way reminiscent of how NATO was built in the period after the Second World War, only faster.
Global Europe 24-03-2021

The Brief, powered by FACEBOOK – Syria’s V day

The 10th anniversary of the Syrian uprising passed last week without as much comment as it merited. Next week, the EU will host the fifth international pledging conference tasked with ‘Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region,’ also referred to as ‘Brussels V’.
Brexit 23-03-2021

The Brief, powered by FACEBOOK – From bad deal to no deal

"Once we have left the EU and have a new trade deal, then we will be friends again." So said many a Brexiteer over the last five years. That argument always struck this reporter as spectacularly naïve, almost as naïve as the notion that both sides would follow the principle of rational self-interest in the negotiations.
Global Europe 22-03-2021

The Brief, powered by Facebook – Spy hard

Hallelujah. A recent spy scandal in Bulgaria has reminded us that there other things besides COVID vaccines that are geopolitically important…

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.
Global Europe 18-03-2021

The Brief, powered by Eurochild – If words could kill

US President Joe Biden gave an affirmative answer when asked by ABC's George Stephanopoulos if he believed Vladimir Putin was a “killer”. You would think that such an important question and answer would have been carefully arranged in advance...
Global Europe 17-03-2021

The Brief, powered by Eurochild – Transatlantic construction sites

EU-US relations will not return to how they were before the rise of Trump. Still, the transatlantic reset is on its way, although it's arriving a bit slower than some might have wished. Yet Europeans should remember that even with Trump out of the picture, American interests are still what counts most in Washington.
Global Europe 16-03-2021

The Brief, powered by Eurochild – Global Britain struggles to find its voice

Boris Johnson is one of life’s optimists – it’s one of the reasons why Britons keep giving him the benefit of doubt. And the promise of a ‘Global Britain’ pursuing its new course outside the EU is a suitably grand-sounding project for him. But wishing won’t make it so.

The Brief, powered by Eurochild – Being proactive in a slow-moving Europe

When Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis first proposed to have a European vaccination certificate a few months ago, to facilitate life and travel across the continent, the first EU reactions – especially from Germany and France – were dismissive and...

The Brief, powered by amfori – EU’s ‘toolbox fetishism’

Next to the rule of law dilemma, growing assaults on media freedom are posing another test for the EU’s resolve and unity. The question is whether yet another ‘toolbox’ can solve the problem. Do you remember the then European Commissioner...
Europe's East 11-03-2021

The Brief, powered by amfori – Georgia on my mind

How much good can a single man do for his country? And how many bad things? And isn’t it extraordinary if the same man can do good things during one part of his life and bad things in the other?
Politics 10-03-2021

The Brief, powered by amfori – When in Rome, do as the Bruxelloises do

Gone are the days when Italians used to look at the EU’s political arena with scant interest: goings-on in Brussels can really help to get a better grasp of Italy’s ever-shifting politics. A cease-fire took effect on the Italian political...
Global Europe 09-03-2021

The Brief, powered by amfori – Africa, the EU and empty vaccine diplomacy

Vaccine diplomacy was at the heart of European Council President Charles Michel’s three-day trip to Rwanda and Kenya this week. Michel said all the right things, stating that “we won’t be safe until everyone is safe” and pointing to the...
Coronavirus 08-03-2021

The Brief, powered by amfori – The road to nowhere

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused mass trauma on a scale larger than World War II, and the impact will last “for many years to come,” the World Health Organisation’s top official has said. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus believes that...
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 04-03-2021

The Brief, powered by FACEBOOK – Conquistador

Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party has left the European People’s Party. Or the EPP has kicked out bad-boy Orbán. Both narratives are true, choose the one you like. Today we will dwell on the consequences.
Future EU 03-03-2021

The Brief, powered by FACEBOOK – Fidesz and EPP part ways at last. What now?

After years of disagreements, Fidesz's exit from the European People Party’s (EPP) group in the European Parliament was a step long overdue. The question remains, however, where Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's puszta populism will find its new shelter.