About: The Brief

Brexit 15-01-2021

The Brief – Rotting in the docks

The images of then UKIP leader Nigel Farage floating in a dinghy on the River Thames – encountering a flotilla of Remainers led by Bob Geldof and doling out profanity like candy – is one of the memories of the...
Coronavirus 14-01-2021

The Brief – Travel in EU, the obstacle course

Travel has become a nightmare lately. In my journalistic capacity, I still do some travel in the EU during COVID-19, although sometimes I come to regret it. Because every country has its own rules. One requires that you bring a...
Elections 13-01-2021

The Brief – Of German vaccines and dark horses

Germany's Christian Democrats are set to elect their new leader among the three candidates vying for top post this weekend. But the winner might not necessarily go on to become the party's designated candidate to run for the chancellorship in this year’s general election.
Global Europe 12-01-2021

The Brief – The new fascism?

Last week's storming of the Capitol by Donald Trump’s supporters calls for serious reflection. EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell has already published a blog post to that effect, titled “The events in Washington and what it means for Europe”.
Brexit 11-01-2021

The Brief – Letter from the UK

Two days after the UK left the EU’s single market, England was placed into its third national lockdown on 3 January, joining Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who had already imposed their own restrictions. With people confined to their homes...
Enlargement 18-12-2020

The Brief, powered by Goldman Sachs – Which vaccine for the Western Balkans?

The first COVID-19 vaccine will be authorised within a week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced this week, and EU member states have been pressing ahead with plans for mass vaccination programmes while also keeping measures tight to...
Economy & Jobs 17-12-2020

The Brief, powered by Goldman Sachs – Erasmus Fuss

UK students are set to lose access to the EU’s foreign exchange scheme, Erasmus+, in what will arguably be the biggest Brexit-perpetrated crime. Forget the economics of it, this is wrecking a whole generation’s prospects.
Coronavirus 16-12-2020

The Brief, powered by Goldman Sachs – Christmas conundrum

If you’re really pressed for time, here is the gist of this Brief: In case you’re thinking of driving home for holidays, think twice and, if you decide to go, brace for impact because, right now, confusion reigns supreme. The...
Future EU 15-12-2020

The Brief, powered by Goldman Sachs – Two visions of England, and Europe

Aside from being great yarns, Europe and the project of European integration lie at the heart of the best work of the great spy novelist, John Le Carré, who died on Saturday.
Coronavirus 14-12-2020

The Brief, powered by Goldman Sachs – Where have the populists gone?

Where have Europe’s far-right populists disappeared to? Where are Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders, Matteo Salvini and the others? There has not been a peep from them for a long time – almost since COVID-19 came about.
Politics 11-12-2020

The Brief, powered by Facebook – Veto power, used and abused

Europe’s surly teenager – the UK – may have left the club only to be replaced by the new enfants terribles of the EU – Poland and Hungary. But like it or not, the two Visegrad states were protecting their national interests.
Politics 10-12-2020

The Brief, powered by Facebook – Strasbourg Farce

The European Parliament’s president will open next week’s plenary session in person in Strasbourg. But there won’t be any MEPs there, in what is the latest mad installment of the single-seat saga.
Future EU 09-12-2020

The Brief, powered by Facebook – EU summits as storms

There are several established methodologies to measure tropical storms and hurricanes, but none for measuring EU summits. Most summits will not be remembered in EU history, Some bring memories thanks to anecdotes outside the summit room, like Jacques Chirac answering...
Global Europe 08-12-2020

The Brief, powered by Facebook – Keep hypocrisy at arms length

We all know there’s no idealism when it comes to arms. Every European country with an arms industry worthy of the name sells its wares to whoever is willing to pay. Consequently, French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement that his government...
Digital 07-12-2020

The Brief, powered by Facebook – Journalism from the couch

Nine months have elapsed since journalists have had no other choice but to exercise their profession from the couch. Press briefings are held online, leaders speak in front of a microphone with no one behind it. Even institutional leaks are...
Climate change 04-12-2020

The Brief, powered by APPLiA – Climate brain death

‘The Paris Agreement is not dead yet’, climate analysts insisted this week, after crunching the numbers on the latest slew of green policies pledged by countries around the world. But with the hope comes the risk of fatal complacency.

The Brief, powered by APPLiA – Waiting for the white smoke

Waiting for a Brexit deal is like waiting for Godot but with added ennui. Now we are just waiting for white smoke. Around 95% of the legal text has been in place for some time. So, too, has the shape...

The Brief, powered by APPLiA – Au revoir, consensus?

The new NATO reform report recommended a more political role for the Western alliance, which is unlikely to go without some resistance in allied capitals. Au revoir, consensus? Not quite. After French President Emmanuel Macron said NATO was suffering “brain...
Economy & Jobs 01-12-2020

The Brief, powered by APPLiA – When a bailout fund needs a backstop

Hurriedly set up a decade ago as a special purpose vehicle domiciled in Luxembourg, the European Stability Mechanism looks and sounds like a relic of crises past. After being at the centre of attention for the bailouts of five eurozone...
Global Europe 30-11-2020

The Brief, powered by APPLiA – Imagine Turkey without Erdogan

At the 10-11 December EU summit, the main foreign policy intrigue is whether the member states will adopt sanctions against Recep Erdoğan’s Turkey. But Germany and France are divided.
Non-discrimination 27-11-2020

The Brief, powered by Facebook – Refuge of the roads

In the words of Joni Mitchell, the iconic Canadian singer-songwriter, you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone, and this phrase has never rung truer than this year. A whole host of privileges, taken by many of us as...
Coronavirus 26-11-2020

The Brief, powered by Facebook – Christmas slopes on the ropes

We're in the middle of a full-blown second wave of a health crisis, with millions of businesses at risk of bankruptcy and families being separated over Christmas. Yet for some, there is no question more urgent than how we will survive Christmas without skiing.
Economy & Jobs 25-11-2020

The Brief, powered by Facebook – On trade, politics is still king

The European Commission likes to proclaim itself a defender and promoter of free trade and the review of EU trade policy, the public consultation on which closed last week, is only likely to double down on that promise. But the...
Brexit 24-11-2020

The Brief, powered by Facebook – A journey without destination

You can tell that it’s squeaky bum time, as Alex Ferguson was so fond of saying. Industry groups and think-tanks are rushing to the printers to publish warnings of doom for their sector if Boris Johnson and the EU decide they can’t or won’t compromise on a post-Brexit trade deal in the next few days.