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Category Archives: Current Affairs

EU-China: the origin and future path of the new doctrine

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On Tuesday 9 April, Brussels will host the 21st EU-China summit. This time around, the underlying tone of the meetings may be slightly different than before, following the recent “Strategic Vision” submitted by the Commission to the Council. In its relations with the People’s Republic of China the EU is said to be unable to […]

Business interests and cultural perception patterns. A French region’s view on Brexit.

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It might not be the first question on your mind when you think about Brexit, but should French SMEs be better prepared for a no deal scenario? Pierre Séjourné certainly thinks so. As the head of the international mission at DIRECCTE, a French trans-ministerial agency for economic development, he politely but very firmly has been […]

Deeply conservative

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There will be a lot of talk about the extreme right’s entry into the Bavarian parliament and the impact of yesterday’s election on the federal government in Berlin. But the most important fall-out may reside in a significant shift in political semantics. For as long as I can remember, Bavaria has always been described to […]

Keep calm and worry on – transatlantic relations in the Trump era

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It’s not because the messenger is particularly unpleasant that the message is necessarily wrong. And its not because many of his messages are plain lies, narcissistic bragging or whining paranoia that each and every message is automatically beside the point. This may be, in an admittedly crude nutshell, one of the main lessons for Europeans […]

Mr Macron goes to Germany

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After being busy getting elected in May 2017, Emmanuel Macron used the traditionel French ‘Bridges of May‘ in 2018 to take a trip to Aachen in order to accept the so-called ‘Charlemagne Prize’ that the city bestows each year on a prominent individual ‘for work done in the service of European unification’. Some might argue […]

Weakened leadership, but undiminished potential

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One year after the disastrous TV debate, where does the Front National stand in spring 2018? One year ago, on 3 May 2017, I watched the final debate between the two remaining candidates for French presidency. It turned out to be the most curious ‘Surreality TV show’ ever on French television. It was almost as […]

The railwayman’s dignity shall be inviolable.

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French society under Macron’s reform steamroller. „I do think that we can build efficient politics; politics that escape ordinary cynicism and engrave in reality what must be the foremost duty of political action, I mean human dignity.” Who would want to contradict Emmanuel Macron on this point? Certainly not the venerable ‘Episcopal Conference of France’, […]

EU sport diplomacy gathers momentum, step by step

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What does the EU have to do with ‘sport diplomacy’? In a post published on this site fifteen months ago, I reported on the reflections of a high-level group that was set up by Commissioner Tibor Navracsics in 2015 and that produced a report with a series of recommendations in June 2016. Since then, the […]

Zeit fürs Gegenpressing!

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Der Schatz an Metaphern, den der Fußball für die Politik bereithält, ist immer wieder erstaunlich. Gar nicht so einfach, ihnen zu widerstehen; sie drängen sich ja oft geradezu auf. Und oft genug gehen sie semantisch nach hinten los. Aber jetzt, da sogar Jürgen Habermas der Versuchung erlegen ist, sei es gestattet, eine seiner Vorlagen aufzunehmen. […]

Germany need some ‘Gegenpressing’

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The abundance of metaphors that football holds in store for politics is amazing. Used by tongue-in-cheek commentators like Anand Menon – who recently compared the successive Theresa May speeches in Florence and Manchester to a European Cup away game and return leg – they can be funny and meaningful. Used by leading politicians – remember […]

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