About: The Brief

Global Europe 02-04-2020

The Brief – Solidarity with the South

‘Solidarity’ is one of the most overused words in EU discourse. There’s plenty of talk of needing it to combat the health and economic challenges of the coronavirus. What a shame that when it comes to actions, solidarity is in...
Coronavirus 01-04-2020

The Brief – Is Eastern Europe more resilient to COVID-19?

Have you ever wondered why the numbers of people contaminated with COVID-19 are substantially bigger in the western part of our continent than in the former communist countries? The subscribers to our The Capitals and the Coronavirus tracker haven’t failed...

The Brief – De l’esprit des lois

At the very heart of the European Union, another suffocating and potentially deadly virus has emerged in full light. It threatens the separation of powers as we’ve known it since Montesquieu’s De l’esprit des lois. Unless the European Union, its...
Coronavirus 30-03-2020

The Brief – Don’t let Italians feel abandoned

It’s not a good time for anyone being pro-European in Italy these days. In the thick of the COVID-19 crisis, a different one is looming in the country: an increasing sentiment of mistrust in the EU.
Economy & Jobs 27-03-2020

The Brief – Comrade Corona

A few months ago, the universal basic income was a left-wing pipedream. Now governments across Europe and beyond are preparing to pay people between 60% and 80% of their salary for the next few months.
Future EU 26-03-2020

The Brief – Ode to Schengen

On this day in 1995, the Schengen Agreement, a cornerstone of the EU’s freedom of movement, entered into force. Who would have thought that only a quarter-century later, it would become one of the main casualties of Europe’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic?
Politics 25-03-2020

The Brief – Every state for themselves?

Just as the World Health Organisation warned that the United States will become the next COVID-19 epicentre, US President Donald Trump wants a deadline for lockdowns to end. In two weeks, Americans could be back to work, according to his tweets
Politics 24-03-2020

The Brief – By Toutatis!

The co-creator of the Asterix comic books sadly passed away today (24 March) at the venerable age of 92. Albert Uderzo’s Gaulish warriors can teach Europe some useful lessons that we all can learn from - so long as the sky does not fall on our heads tomorrow.
Economy & Jobs 23-03-2020

The Brief – Hamilton versus coronavirus

The coronavirus COVID-19 is the most serious crisis Europe has faced since World War II, we heard over the past days in many capitals. In addition to the worrying number of victims, the European economy is plunging to “war-like times”.
Politics 20-03-2020

The Brief – Europe in a coma

We know (now), it’s serious. After having underestimated the threat for a long while, European governments have put the bloc’s economy in an induced coma to halt the dramatic spread of the virus.
Economy & Jobs 19-03-2020

The Brief – This time, no bazooka is too big

Boris Johnson wasn’t the only one being criticised for responding slowly to the social and economic crisis caused by the coronavirus.
Coronavirus 18-03-2020

The Brief, powered by ESA – Substantial marrow

In the Franco-German journalistic bubble, one never tires of highlighting the differences in leadership between Paris and Berlin. The COVID-19 crisis management is one of the best examples but things are about to change in a few hours.
Health 17-03-2020

The Brief, powered by ESA – ‘Whatever it takes’ to give EU the health competence

Eurogroup’s chief pledged on Monday (16 March) to do “whatever it takes” to fight coronavirus and protect the EU economy from another recession. It’s still early, let’s get there first, but after the crisis is over, citizens should rightly ask...
Coronavirus 16-03-2020

The Brief, powered by ESA – Coronavirus: The optimist’s take

There is a joke. The pessimist says “The situation couldn’t be worse”. And the optimist replies: “Oh yes, it can!”... Let’s just imagine that the coronavirus pandemic is over and that the world has learned the lessons.
Coronavirus 13-03-2020

The Brief, powered by APPLiA – British exceptionalism

Whoever said that British exceptionalism would end with Brexit? While the continental cousins put themselves on self-imposed lockdown – closing schools and ordering people to work and stay at home as much as possible, it is almost business as usual across the Channel.
Coronavirus 12-03-2020

The Brief, powered by APPLiA – Common good

The swiftly-spreading Coronavirus forces all of us to take a reality-check and face the ugly truth. It also forces us to adapt and change our behaviour for the common good. Because this is what it is all about. This is what is at stake.
Coronavirus 11-03-2020

The Brief, powered by APPLiA – Another failure of European solidarity

Europe’s coronavirus epidemic denial has come to a sudden end: Italy faces an unprecedented shut-down and other countries are anxiously preparing for their own potential quarantine measures. Another European crisis is looming but solidarity is, once again, in short supply.

The Brief, powered by APPLiA – How coronavirus helps the Green Deal

Rock-bottom oil prices normally mean bad news for the environment - you can burn more of a cheap fuel - but the world has changed and the latest slump might catapult the EU Green Deal’s to new heights.
Future EU 09-03-2020

The Brief, powered by APPLiA – Von der Leyen’s lacklustre 100 days

Ursula von der Leyen may have hoped to be an architect during her first 100 days as Commission president. Circumstances however turned her into a firefighter dealing with too many fires at the same time. 
Health 06-03-2020

The Brief, powered by EVA – Closing the stable after the corona-horse has bolted

Closing the European Parliament due to coronavirus is not currently being considered – but given the rising health concerns, this is something that should be put on the table, and sooner rather than later.
Politics 05-03-2020

The Brief, powered by EVA – Bringing back some rationality

More and more desperate people are fleeing from Idlib, Syria, and waiting at the Greek-Turkish border in the hope of getting into the EU. During the 2015 refugee crisis, it was possible to enter Germany - this time around, it's different. What has happened in the past five years?
Climate change 04-03-2020

The Brief, powered by EVA – Where is the ‘Klimakanzlerin’ when you need her?

This week is the super climate week in Brussels: Greta Thunberg is in town, the Commission has just presented its long-awaited and much-commented climate law, the Environment Council is meeting tomorrow.
Global Europe 03-03-2020

The Brief, powered by EVA – Europe’s broken border politics

With migrants trapped in no-man’s-land at the Turkey-Greece border, there are probably few tougher jobs in Europe these days than being a Greek border guard. With the world’s eyes upon them, whatever course of action the guards take, even if...
Climate change 02-03-2020

The Brief, powered by EVA – No more back-burners

Migration worries, coronavirus running amok, recessions on the horizon: there is plenty for European politicians to be vigilant about. But a new EU law due to be published later this week aims to ensure climate policy will not be sidelined by the news cycle.

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