Eurosphere agenda: “Commission won’t call Castro a dictator…”French primaries…

Commission won’t call Castro a dictator

The EU executive says that a statement decribing the former Cuban leader as a “hero for many” is balanced and suggests that the use of the word dictator by a commissioner doesn’t reflect its position.

The Trump election gave real legitimacy to Europe’s fascist parties, including France’s Marine Le Pen of the National Front; and in the absence of real, left-win alternatives for populist discontent, the only real opposition to these authoritarians is coming from the hard right parties, which are swinging even further to the right to try to gain back some of their supporters.

What you need to know about the French left primary

The right has chosen François Fillon, now it is up to the left to choose its candidate for the 2017 presidential election.
France’s ruling Socialists scramble to avoid a damaging split over the spring presidential election.
Francois Fillon, having clinched the presidential nomination for the right-wing Republicains party, will now join a far bigger battle for the future of France, the European Union and mainstream politics in the West.

France election: Fillon floors rival in conservative primaries

Francois Fillon takes the conservative ticket in France’s presidential election by a landslide. is happy to unveil the Europa building, expected to be opened during the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU, starting 1 January 2017. Photographs of the Brussels location for future EU summits were kindly provided by the presidency.
The centre-right presidential candidate, who just won his party’s primary, wants a “more political” EU that would focus on security and the economy.

Commissioners at odds over Castro legacy

The death at the weekend of the revolutionary Cuban leader Fidel Castro saw sharp differences of opinion within EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s cabinet.

Notes on Associate EU Citizenship for Brits after Brexit

There has been quite some heated reaction to Guy Verhofstadt saying he backs the idea of individual Brits somehow being able to retain EU citizenship after Brexit, for a fee (Guardian story here). This builds on the initial proposal of Luxembourg liberal MEP Charles Goerens.

This is a pretty complicated and multi-faceted debate, and I will try to take apart each aspect of it.

A huge victory for Belgium’s CETA opponents: Paul Magnette’s speech

A patched deal allows CETA to pass to the next stage. But Belgium gained important concessions. We translate the historic parliamentary speech by the Minister-president of Wallonia in Namur on October 14, 2016.

The Italians will vote on a complex constitutional reform on December 4 that among other things foresees a smaller Senate. However according to observers the referendum is no longer about reform but a vote for or against Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and the potential consequences of a government crisis for all Europe. What is really at stake in Italy?
As of Monday Denmark has a new centre-right government. A coalition made up of the Liberal Party, the Liberal Alliance and the Conservative People’s Party has taken over from the minority government of the Liberal Party which had ruled the country up to then. The Danish media are scathingly critical of Prime Minister Løkke Rasmussen’s plans.
After his clear victory in the primaries, François Fillon will be the conservative candidate in France’s presidential election next year. Seen as embodying traditional values, the former prime minister is considered an economic liberal hardliner. Commentators discuss his chances against National Front leader Le Pen should the two face each other in a second round of voting.
Finance ministers from the main eurozone countries will meet IMF negotiators on Friday as Greece warns of new delays in the bailout programme.
Soigneusement évitée durant la primaire de la droite, la question européenne devrait s’inviter dans le débat pour le second tour. Le sujet représente en effet une ligne de fracture majeure entre les deux candidats en lice.

Maltese Presidency unveils logo, priorities

Malta, which will take over the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU on 1 January 2017, has unveiled its logo and priorities, its overarching objective being to restore trust in the Union.

EU citizens enjoy longer lives, but not health equality

Europeans live almost 7 years more compared to 1990, but this does not necessarily mean that these years are healthy, a new report has found

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