EU

  • O CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN – JUNCKER’S STATE OF THE UNION

    Among EU observers, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the Union speech was highly anticipated and widely expected to be more visionary and personal than in previous years. The speech was indeed much more optimistic and forward looking; Juncker claimed that the EU now had the wind in its sails. In this snapshot, we…

  • Third EU-UK Brexit negotiations: More questions than answers

    In this Brexit Perspective we discuss the third round of formal Brexit negotiations that took place in Brussels this week, amid continued disagreements between the EU and UK sides over the pace and scope of the talks. Despite another long week with dozens of negotiators and experts from both sides thrashing through complex political and…

  • Strasbourg blog # 5: Europe’s getting its act together?

    As always, last week was a busy week in Strasbourg. While MEPs and the European Commission celebrated the end of roaming charges (but forgot to mention the many exceptions), discussions on the future of Europe and its place in the world continued in the plenary. Among the many topics raised, discussions on the euro, global…

  • Estonian EU Council Presidency

    Estonia will take over the role of Presidency of the Council of the EU from Malta on 1 July 2017, their first since joining the EU alongside their Baltic neighbours in 2004. Their presidency’s slogan – “Unity through Balance” – shows Estonia intends to fully embrace its role to find agreement among very diverse national…

  • Bulgaria’s new government – what, if anything, has changed?

    Last week Bulgaria’s National Assembly approved the composition of the new government, following the victory of the centre-right party, GERB, at the snap elections held on 26 March 2017. Following the election, GERB’s leader, Boyko Borisov, became Prime Minister for the third time in eight years. GERB failed to secure an absolute majority at the…

  • What’s next for the EU? – The 60th Anniversary of the Treaty of Rome

    The European Union celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome on 25 March 2017. The Treaty of Rome is the bedrock of the longest period of peace the continent has ever experienced. Yet as leaders of the EU celebrate this achievement, multiple challenges lie ahead, ranging from populism, the refugee crisis, Brexit, geopolitical…

  • Dutch election snapshot: Rutte wins, fragmentation prevails

    There’s a saying in the Netherlands: “Act normal, that is crazy enough”. It seems that the Dutch who voted in yesterday’s general election felt the same way. The exciting election resulted in a record turnout (82%) and produced a clear winner: the VVD, party of current Prime Minister, Mark Rutte. Rutte’s right-of-centre VVD outperformed the…

  • Will the grass be greener on the other side of 2017? Guide to this year’s EU agriculture policy

    2017 started with the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as policymakers seek to finalise a number of regulations affecting the environmental impact of agriculture. In addition to the big overhaul and greening of the CAP, the EU aims to curtail emissions from agriculture and land-use by concluding the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) and…

  • EU TRADE: WHERE TO NOW?

    Last October, the EU signed the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada. This occurred just days before Donald Trump won the US presidential election with a campaign frequently attacking US trade deals as hurtful to the US. Many trade advocates in Brussels and across the EU have breathed a sigh of relief that…

  • REFIT: what’s it all about?

    Everybody loves a good plumber. One who comes in, fixes a leak and leaves with a minimum of fuss. That is precisely what the European Commission’s REFIT programme is designed for: give anyone in Europe the opportunity to flag red tape in EU laws and get EU institutions to fix it. Well, that’s the theory.…

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