About: The Brief

Enlargement 18-07-2019

The Brief, powered by BP – Time for New Democracy to apologise

Realpolitik can be tricky. It often makes politicians go back on things they had promised before taking office. Greece's newly-elected centre-right government is a case in point. It’s high time they apologised for their stance on the North Macedonia name change deal.
Future EU 17-07-2019

The Brief, powered by BP – Building Ursula’s platform

The first question any candidate faces when running for office is why they decided to join the race. The second question is what platform of voters will help them get the job.
Politics 16-07-2019

The Brief, powered by BP – il Segreto

Those of you familiar with a certain Italian eatery in the European Quarter in Brussels will be aware of an enigmatic pizza option known as il Segreto. But MEPs would be wise to dispense with secrets when it comes to making far-reaching decisions, like who should be Commission president.
Politics 15-07-2019

The Brief, powered by BP – Ursula’s wheel of fortune

When the crunch time comes in Strasbourg tomorrow (16 July), what exactly will be the key factor in deciding Ursula von der Leyen's fate? Other than the fact that voting is secret and each MEP is free to do whatever they want.
Global Europe 12-07-2019

The Brief – The ‘Super-Commissioners’

In spite of EU leaders’ opposition to measures to make the Commission more functional, the rise of three ‘super-commissioners’ to support the next EU executive chief would improve Europe’s response to the turbulent world. The death of the Spitzenkandidaten process...
Climate change 11-07-2019

The Brief – The art of the climate deal

Commission president hopeful Ursula von der Leyen tried her hand at a spot of climate diplomacy on Wednesday (10 July) but her efforts fell flat. Finland’s EU presidency showed her how it’s done today.
Future EU 10-07-2019

The Brief – Parliament’s Revenge

MEPs made no secret of their unhappiness at how names for EU top jobs emerged last week. At the European Parliament’s constitutive meeting in Strasbourg, lawmakers did not attempt to hide their disappointment at being simply swept aside, especially after...
Brexit 09-07-2019

The Brief – The Lion and the Unicorn

The perils of dealing with Donald Trump have been spelt out in technicolour to the wounded British Lion, who must be wondering why nobody gives her a break. ‘Dysfunctional, unpredictable, diplomatically clumsy and inept’ were some of the phrases the...
Future EU 08-07-2019

The Brief, powered by EURIMA – The Juncker Commission leftover

Leftovers are, by their very nature, often overlooked and forgotten. Let’s not forget this one. The outgoing European Parliament passed last March a resolution calling, among other things, on the next Commission to review the controversial appointment of Martin Selmayr as secretary-general of the EU executive.
Future EU 05-07-2019

The Brief – The EU’s undiplomatic diplomat

He was probably the most surprising – and arguably the most controversial - pick of the whole EU top job package: Joseph Borrell, Spain’s incumbent foreign minister.
Future EU 04-07-2019

The Brief – The costs of a cordon sanitaire

The practice of shutting the far-right out of influential positions in the European Parliament has been around for over a decade. Now it has a name: cordon sanitaire.
EU Elections 2019 03-07-2019

The Brief – The darkest ‘white smoke’

After five summit days and hundreds of hours of phone calls, meetings and backroom chats, the EU conclave agreed on its new leadership. But the ‘white smoke’ that emerged from the Council building preludes storm clouds for the nominees and the European demos.
Future EU 01-07-2019

The Brief – Real Europe

Remember U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld? In 2003, he created a huge row in Europe by dividing the continent between ‘old’ and ‘new Europe’. Well today we want to twist his words to talk about 'real Europe’.
EU Elections 2019 28-06-2019

The Brief – The EPP’s Hobson’s choice

The clock is ticking on agreeing on the new European Commission president and the once almighty European People’s Party is having some tough choices to make in the next couple of days. The Mexican standoff between France and Germany, amplified...
EU Elections 2019 26-06-2019

The Brief – EUCO’s choice

Picking the new batch of EU leaders, and especially the Commission president, is much more difficult this time around. And it’s not really about the Spitzenkandidaten system, it’s not even about the political, gender or geographic balance. It’s about the...
Global Europe 25-06-2019

The Brief – It’s over (soon), Mr President?

Imagine it’s 2021. Russian President Vladimir Putin has lost his grip on power and recalled his henchmen from the war in Ukraine. US President Donald Trump lost the US elections (and not only by popular vote) against a liberal Democrat candidate...

The Brief – Poland’s failure to think big

"We don't know what they're playing at". "It's impossible to have a debate on this". "We were ready to tear our hair out". Those are just some of the diplomatic reactions to Poland's blocking of a climate deal at last week's Council summit.
EU Elections 2019 20-06-2019

The Brief, powered by ADF International – Fixing for a compromise

The divvying up of the EU’s top jobs is the bun-fest of bun-fests, one of the ultimate collisions of egos and national interests.
EU Elections 2019 19-06-2019

The Brief, powered by ADF International – Beyond Spitzenkandidaten

EU leaders meet on Thursday (20 June) to decide the top EU jobs for the next five years. They have a good incentive to make a decision. If they fail, they will have to hold another summit in the next ten days, before the first European Parliament session on 2 July.
Brexit 18-06-2019

The Brief, powered by ADF International – The Union not forever?

Pollsters YouGov have taken time out from examining how voters look at the field of Conservative leadership candidates, to survey the party’s activists and the scale of their commitment to Brexit. The results are striking. By roughly 60-30 margins, Tory members...
EU Elections 2019 17-06-2019

The Brief, powered by ADF International – The EU conclave

The decision-making for the top jobs in the European institutions bears some similarity to how Roman Catholic Cardinals elect the new Pope. There is a lot of unpredictability and a long wait for the outcome of a less than transparent process.
Brexit 14-06-2019

The Brief – Parallel lines

Those who shuttle between Westminster and Brussels aren’t just swapping meat pies for moules frites. The two-hour ride on the Eurostar transports you to a parallel political universe.
Transport 12-06-2019

The Brief – Merger madness

Fiat-Chrysler’s offer to merge with Renault fell apart last week, with the Italian-American firm citing French government influence as an insurmountable challenge. How does this tally with Paris and Berlin’s quest to create so-called European champions to compete globally?
Politics 11-06-2019

The Brief – Words have power

On 12 June 1942, Anne Frank received a notebook recovered by a red-a-white plaid. It was her 13th birthday. She made it her diary, which, 77 years later, became one of the world’s most famous book. She would have turned 90 tomorrow.

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