Soft or hard Brexit: do the UK’s political parties know what they want?

On the single market, Labour, the Tories, and UKIP, appear to agree: good access to the single market not membership of it – in disagreement with the SNP, LibDems and Greens.

Scottish Independence activists take part in an Independence 2 rally, outside the SNP conference in Glasgow, mid-October, 2016. Jane Barlow/Press Association. All rights reserved.Amidst the rapidly changing politics of Brexit, and the furore around the Article 50 judgement, it seems that the big division between the government and opposition parties is whether the UK heads towards a ‘soft’ or a ‘hard’ Brexit. But with Theresa May denying she wants a hard Brexit, and Labour and the LibDems not in the same place on what a soft Brexit looks like, the question arises both as to how meaningful the soft/hard distinction is, and whether any of the parties really know what they want.

Europe’s capital cities have a great deal to offer, but it often comes with a hefty price tag. A recent Eurostat study ranked the EU’s most expensive places to live.

Refugee ‘crisis’? Try ‘crisis in the European press’

A new study finds some disturbing trends in the European press coverage of refugees and the purported consequences of their arrival.

Refugees and migrants, mostly from Afghanistan, walk towards a transit centre on the Macedonian border in February 2016. Boris Grdanoski/Press Association. All rights reserved.

After the failed referendum against EU refugee quotas, Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán has also been unsuccessful in his attempt to have his anti-refugee bill passed by parliament. The far-right Jobbik party withheld its support after Orbán refused to accept its condition of an end to residence permits for rich foreigners. Migration policy has become Orbán’s nemesis, some commentators believe. For others he has emerged strengthened from the confrontation.

France 2017: The primaries and the secondaries

The French are still numerous to consider voting both a right and a duty (‘un devoir citoyen’, as they say). This is probably why turnout – despite a wide-spread feeling that nothing ever changes – has been remarkably stable over the decades, especially at the presidential elections. Even the lowest participation ever (71.6% in the 1st round of the 2002 election, the one that famously saw Jean-Marie-Le Pen qualify for the runoff, precisely because many Socialists didn’t bother) is higher than what has been registered in the UK since the turn of the century (between 59.4% and 66.1%). And the decisive 2nd round consistently mobilises around 80% of the electorate (between 79.7% in 1995 or 2002 and 83.9% in 2007), which is above the turnout for the last four German Bundestagswahlen(only 71.5% in for Angela Merkel’s third victory in 2013) or even Spain (66.5% in June 2016, down from 69.6% in December 2015).

Europe reacts to Trump’s victory

Europe reacts to Trump’s victory

 

The French will select the conservative presidential candidate in a primary at the end of November. Ex-prime minister Alain Juppé and former president Nicolas Sarkozy are the main contenders for the post. The Socialists plan to hold a vote in January 2017. The primaries will only deepen the political divides, some commentators write. Others, however, see them as indispensable.

[Analysis] One year after attacks, French emergency persists

The Paris killings and the ensuing state of emergency have opened an era of fear and doubt that will have an influence on next year’s elections.

Italy and Spain: A tale of two deficits

While Italy has opted for a confrontational approach to clinch budget spending leeway from the European Commission, Spain is hoping that better-than-expected growth will placate EU demands.

Tagged in: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: