Political Briefing #93/2016

POLITICS & POLICY

The election of Donald Trump continues to be one of the main concerns of European politicians and institutional leaders. On Monday, the vice president of the European Central Bank Vítor Constâncio talked about the potential consequences of Trump’s election for the world economy. Constâncio warned about a comeback of protectionist economic policies that could damage international trade. More specifically he claimed that countries strongly depending on exports may suffer a setback due to the new economic policies proposed by the US President-elect. Constancio also made some positive remarks about the economic outlook of the Eurozone, where inflation is on the rise. However, he also argued that an increase of labour remuneration could bring core inflation back to a rate of 2%.

Greece continues to make the headline across Europe. According to newly released data, the Greek economy grew in the second trimester of this year. This news casts doubt on previous forecasts by the European Commission, who claimed that the country would still experience negative growth rates in 2016. On Tuesday, talks between international creditors and the Greek government started again in order to discuss the completion of the so-called “second review”. According to some senior officials, December 5 could turn out to be a key date for the discussion on the much awaited debt relief for the country. On the occasion of his last European trip as President of the United States, Barack Obama called for international creditors to give hope to the people of Greece after many years of sacrifices.

Brexit continues to be at the centre of political debates in the UK. After the US elections, Theresa May suffered a serious blow as media outlets highlighted that Nigel Farage was the first British politician to be invited to the White House. However, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, claimed that Britain should see the US election outcome as an opportunity for the UK. His words came right after Federica Mogherini, the EU’s high representative for foreign and security affairs, criticized the Foreign Secretary for not taking part in a key reunion dealing with the consequences of the US vote. Meanwhile, as the UK economy is experiencing an unexpected phase of economic growth, the Governor of the Central Bank, Mark Carney, dropped plans to cut interest rates later this year. However, there are still rumours that a rising number of UK-based financial institutions plan to move their headquarters to Frankfurt, Germany. The decision of the banks would follow the almost certain transfer of the European Banking Authority (EBA) to the German city.

Nevertheless, the shape of the Brexit process still remains mostly unclear. After the High Court’s ruling blocking the UK government from unilaterally triggering Article 50, a new ruling by the Supreme Court on the matter is expected for early December. The Liberal Democratic party argued that it will not vote for activating Article 50 without the execution of a second — this time legally binding — referendum on the matter.

On Monday, Policing Minister Brandon Lewis told Westminster that the British government plans to “opt-in” the new legal framework of the Europol agency, which will come into force early next year. Lewis’s stance highlighted once more the ambivalent position of the UK with respect to the opportunity of leaving the EU for good. In a leaked Irish Cabinet memo, UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox was described as a “husband who wants to divorce his wife while keeping all the assets”. Meanwhile, Theresa May is put under pressure by former Leave campaigners, who ask the Government to honour its commitment to invest the savings from leaving the EU into the national healthcare service. Moreover, Alan Milburn, the Government’s social mobility adviser, called for the scrapping of the “Big Society” agenda of May’s predecessor, David Cameron. He suggested that the government undertake a new policy approach aimed at sustaining the employment chances of minors with a working class background.


THE STATEMENT

“I’m not against Europe, but I am against the single currency. Conversely, I am for the idea of a common currency. The words are important: ‘common’ and ‘single’ are two different concepts”.

Beppe Grillo, leader of the Italian 5 Star Movement

Source: Euronews, 14.11.2016


NUMBERS

9.6%

The level of overall employment in the EU in 2015, according to the Social Justice Index.

Source: EurActiv, 14.11.2016


Photo Credits CC UK Parliament


Originally published at EuVisions.