About: The Brief

EURoad2Sibiu 22-02-2019

The Brief – Sibiu, the right cradle for a new Europe?

Sibiu was intended to be the synonym of a ‘new hope’ for Europe. But the landmark summit to take place in the Romanian city in May is increasingly overshadowed by the tricks and faults of the host country. Romania’s rotating...

The Brief – The untold Brexit story

There are hundreds of articles about the impact of Brexit on UK businesses. What is striking is that there is virtually nothing similar about its impact on European businesses. As if Brexit would only hurt the UK side. While the EU stands to profit from it. We don’t buy that.
Brexit 20-02-2019

The Brief – The Independent Eleven

Leaving the party that got you elected is very rare in Britain. So, too, is the emergence of a new party. That makes the joining of eight ex-Labour MPs with three ex-Conservatives in the Independent Group the most significant since the launch of the Social Democrat Party in 1981.
Enlargement 19-02-2019

The Brief – Euromaidan post-mortem

Council President Donald Tusk is in Ukraine to mark the fifth anniversary of Euromaidan, more precisely of the fierce fighting on 18-20 February 2014 in which 77 activists were killed.  Others consider 22 February, when Yanukovich fled to Russia, the culmination...

The Brief – Worlds apart, but still together

Is the once powerful transatlantic bond dying? If the last few weeks are anything to go by, one might well wonder… The disarray between Washington and its European allies became even more strikingly evident as US Vice President Mike Pence...
Elections 15-02-2019

The Brief – Spain’s call for elections: A wish for common sense

Spain wrapped up a dizzying week as Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called early elections for 28 April. It will be the third time Spaniards go to the ballot box in four years, with the political scene thrown wide open by recent developments. 
Politics 14-02-2019

The Brief – Eurocrat XI

The European Parliament has teamed up with the world of football in an effort to get us all out to vote in May and it’s not a bad idea. But how would the EU officials we know and love fare on the pitch if asked to pull on a pair of boots?
Politics 13-02-2019

The Brief – Germany: Europe’s Janus

The day after the new leader of the Christian Democrats, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, distanced herself from Angela Merkel's migration legacy, economists published a report showing that Germany needs at least 260,000 migrants a year by 2060 if the country is to meet its skilled labor needs.
Transport 06-02-2019

The Brief – Rail delay scarf

Deutsche Bahn has recently reached a record number of passengers, despite defective reservation systems, chronic delays, poor maintenance and not enough staff. But German frustration with a service that is meant to be the pinnacle of reliability is on the up and was recently creatively expressed by one Munich commuter.
Politics 05-02-2019

The Brief – Don’t mix EU elections and referendums!

It’s quite likely that Emmanuel Macron will use the European elections to ask voters to have their say on various domestic issues covered as part of the “great debate” he recently initiated. But this is risky business.
Global Europe 04-02-2019

The Brief – Removing the EU’s straitjacket

The Venezuelan crisis is the latest example of how the unanimity rule continues to hamper European leadership on issues like foreign affairs and taxation. Is it time to smash national vetoes to make Europe greater… again?
Politics 01-02-2019

The Brief – Shilly-shally socialists versus monolithic right?

With 439 votes in favour, 104 against and 88 abstentions, the European Parliament recognised earlier this week (31 January) the Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as president of the Latin country.
Transport 31-01-2019

The Brief – Pulmonary madness

Everybody enjoys clean air. It invigorates you, draws the pollution out of your lungs and makes you feel alive. We even spend fortunes to escape the city in search of it. But some people in Germany do not seem to be interested in that and even think that air quality standards are protecting our health too much.
EU Elections 2019 30-01-2019

The Brief – Commissioners in campaign

Why is Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič taking unpaid leave to run in the Slovak presidential election, while First Vice President Frans Timmermans, who is the Spitzenkandidat for the European elections, is keeping his seat at the Berlaymont? Timmermans is far from...
Politics 29-01-2019

The Brief – An outbreak of visa sanity

Across the UK and the rest of Europe, citizens let out a collective groan when UK Prime Minister Theresa May said she wants to reopen the Brexit deal. But there was at least a glimmer of hope among the fudge.
Politics 28-01-2019

The Brief – Young Europeans, more than ever, must learn from Auschwitz

Yesterday, Europe marked the 74th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. A visit to the site of the camp or even seeing the haunting images of the atrocities should spark one question: why are neo-Nazis still tolerated in our society?
Enlargement 25-01-2019

The Brief – A historic defeat of nationalism

The best world news to come in a long time is today’s vote by the Greek parliament, ratifying the so-called Prespa agreement and putting an end to the name dispute between Athens and Skopje.
Politics 24-01-2019

The Brief – Preparing to fail

David Cameron acquired a reputation as ‘an essay crisis prime minister’; through sheer force of will at the eleventh hour he could win an unlikely election or deliver a game-changing speech. It worked at home, but not in Brussels where preparation is everything.
Politics 23-01-2019

The Brief – The Pinocchio test

There is a lot of hype about fake news coming from Russia. In one way or another, the EU is getting organised to deal with that. But there is another type of fake news – home-made inside the EU, which...
Politics 22-01-2019

The Brief – Opting out of opt-outs

Hardships are almost always easier to bear when there’s a “we’re all in the same boat” philosophy at work. But the EU struggles with that mantra and now its lawmakers want to bolt the stable door.
Economy & Jobs 21-01-2019

The Brief – Why Davos?

The World Economic Forum starts today but as fears of a new recession grow and political tensions arise, the question for many is: does the exclusive meeting serve any actual purpose?

The Brief – The future is theirs… unless we destroy it first

Belgian school students feel abandoned by their politicians so they have started a weekly strike for the climate. Their protests pose a major question about how young people are represented in politics ahead of the EU elections in May.
EU Elections 2019 17-01-2019

The Brief – Look who’s back…

The old king of political vulgarity, the proto-Trump, is back. The news of the day is that Silvio Berlusconi will be running for a seat in the European Parliament, reviving his political career after a ban imposed over a tax fraud conviction expired.
Politics 16-01-2019

The Brief – A Day without Europe

During a recent discussion about the future of the EU, one of the speakers suggested that there should be a “Day without Europe”, in the same way that cities hold an annual day without cars, or some people go offline from the web for 24 hours.

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