About: The Brief

Coronavirus 24-07-2020

The Brief – Breaking (for) summer

This summer will be different. Travelling in the time of COVID-19 is not a pleasure, even inside Europe, and especially if you live in the EU and want to go to another continent. Intercontinental travel has almost completely stopped, only...
Brexit 23-07-2020

The Brief – Poking the Bear

It only took a few short months for the accusation that the 2016 Brexit referendum was rigged, unfair and corrupt to start doing the rounds. This week, Boris Johnson’s government finally published the Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee report, which...
Future EU 22-07-2020

The Brief – Monnet’s law

“All’s well that ends well” should have been the refrain among exhausted diplomats after 92 hours of very intense negotiations in Brussels. With one of the longest summits in history now behind us, it is time for EU pundits to...
Politics 20-07-2020

The Brief – EUCO Wrestlemania

Europe’s premier political entertainment extravaganza, EUCO Wrestlemania, kicked off on Friday for a full weekend of fighting. Here’s the play-by-play account of the still ongoing summer slam in Brussels.
Economy & Jobs 17-07-2020

The Brief – Ursula needs a ‘State of the Fusion’

Ursula von der Leyen is already starting to prepare her first ‘State of the EU’ address, due in the autumn. She is not the first leader to face an economic downturn or be in urgent need of a way to lift the morale of crisis-hit citizens or catch up in the technology race.
Economy & Jobs 16-07-2020

The Brief – All hands to the pumps

Whichever way you cut it up, €750 billion is a lot of public money. Yet one of the striking parts of the debate on the post-COVID-19 EU Recovery Fund is that, whether from the ‘Frugal Four’ or Club Med, EU...
Enlargement 15-07-2020

The Brief – North Macedonia’s latest moment of truth

As we wrote only a few weeks ago, there is a flurry of post-COVID elections across Eastern Europe and now it is the turn of North Macedonia, a country with a chequered history of international relations. The result of today's vote could well determine the next chapter for the Western Balkans EU candidate.
Future EU 14-07-2020

The Brief – Orbán’s Christianity has limits

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has repeatedly stressed that Europe can only be saved if it returns to its Christian roots.
Politics 13-07-2020

The Brief – Virus separatists

The UK government’s handling of the corona-crisis threatens to split the union of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales - already weakened by Brexit - as separatism stands to enjoy a virus dividend.
Future EU 10-07-2020

The Brief, powered by BSEF – Gone with the wind

There is something fittingly telling about the way the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre will play out on 11 July. For those who don't know, it's the biggest single atrocity on European soil since World War Two, where Bosnian Serb troops slaughtered 8,372 Muslim men and boys after overrunning the designated UN safe area in eastern Bosnia.
Global Europe 09-07-2020

The Brief, powered by BSEF – A ‘forgotten’ conflict

Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world, whose collapsed health system is unable to cope with COVID-19, has been devastated by civil war, with no end in sight. But contrary to the wars in Syria and Libya,...
Coronavirus 08-07-2020

The Brief, powered by BSEF – The price of delay

Boris Johnson’s UK government has been widely flayed, quite rightly, for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Slow to lockdown and slow to test and trace, the result is the highest death toll in Europe. But Johnson and his Finance...
Politics 06-07-2020

The Brief, powered by BSEF – Ursulala Land

Ursula von der Leyen may well have opened up a Pandora’s Box when it comes to her institution’s role and its relationship with governments, after an ill-judged foray into national politics at the weekend. Surely the Commission president has more important matters to attend to?
Transport 03-07-2020

The Brief – Air EU is now ready for boarding

Europe’s airlines are set to get more than €30 billion in coronavirus-busting aid. But do we really need so many flyers? And wouldn’t the EU be better off setting up its own carrier?
Brexit 02-07-2020

The Brief – Global Britain: We’re just not that into EU

As vacuous slogans go, ‘Global Britain’, launched when Theresa May took over Brexit Britain from David Cameron in 2016, has been hard to beat. In 2018, UK lawmakers urged the government to set out what its international partners could expect...
Future EU 01-07-2020

The Brief – Revive the Weimar Triangle, or kill it

With Germany taking the helm of the EU Council, there is a unique opportunity to revive the cooperation format between Berlin, Paris and Warsaw.
Future EU 30-06-2020

The Brief – Keep out, Karlsruhe

After the sound and fury from Karlsruhe in May, the German Constitutional Court’s misguided attempt to rage against the European machine appears to have ended with something of a whimper.
Elections 29-06-2020

The Brief – Going to the polls after COVID-19

What is it with Eastern Europe and the rush to the polling stations as soon as the lockdown measures were relaxed?
Politics 26-06-2020

The Brief – The battle for hearts and minds rages on

The four year anniversary of the Great Liberation - or Great Unpleasantness - depending on your point of view, passed without much comment this week. For those in the UK, and most of Europe, who were heartily fed up of the never-ending futility of Brexit, that is cause for some celebration.
Politics 25-06-2020

The Brief – We’ll always have Strasbourg…?

Strasbourg’s monthly ‘travelling circus’ of MEPs cannot coexist with the EU’s current priorities and the post-pandemic world we are swiftly moving towards. France should see the opportunities on offer, not rage against the dying of the Alsace light.
24-06-2020

The Brief – Oops, he did it again…

Yes, French President Emmanuel Macron appears to have an idée fixe concerning the medical condition of NATO. In late 2019, Macron’s comments on the “brain death” of the alliance came as a shock, and possibly a welcome wake-up call. But...
Coronavirus 23-06-2020

The Brief – Keep the taps flowing

A cold beer always tastes best when drunk with friends after work on a summer’s day. As most of Europe continues to emerge from the deprivations of lockdown, this pillar of basic human happiness is returning to the social calendar.
Economy & Jobs 22-06-2020

The Brief – Ceci n’est pas une troïka

The Commission is going to great lengths to stress that the proposed recovery fund will not be a bailout programme. “This is not an adjustment program with a different name,” the Commissioner for Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, said in May. We are not back to troïka times.

The Brief – Gangster’s paradise

In mafia circles all around Europe, the big news these days is that the EU has gone mad. It is going to disburse, in addition to the usual funds the mafia is familiar with, an additional €750 billion to member states.
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