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Memories of Cold War I

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Was it the chandelier aesthetics of the grotesquely over-dimensioned Palace of Independence in Minsk that brought up Cold War memories, or the desperate attempts by Angela Merkel and François Hollande to contain the Ukraine crisis by confronting an enigmatic Soviet leader, sorry : Russian president? The entire setting looked strangely familiar to those who had grown […]

Against the stream

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In the current high season of EU-bashing, whoever stands for whatever election seems to be well advised to either join the chorus of Eurosceptics or avoid the topic altogether. It is all the more surprising – one is tempted to say: refreshing – that Alain Juppé, mayor of Bordeaux and former prime minister (1995-1997), has […]

All alone

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Two weeks after the shootings in Paris and ten days after the memorable rallies of 11 January, emotion gives way to lucid analysis. There should be no illusion: France stands all alone. Of course, there were millions of individuals all around the globe who instantly displayed the “Je suis Charlie” slogan in order to show […]

Unanimous respect, ambiguous legacy

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30 years ago, on 14 January 1985, Jacques Delors, who had just taken office a week before, pronounced his programmatic ‘Declaration on the orientation of the Commission’ in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg. He did so with ‘intellectual humility’ and ‘political determination’, two attitudes that seem to characterise rather well both the man […]

2015: The top three challenges for the EU and China

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Time flies, no news on that front, but 2014 seems to have flown particularly quickly. One of the reasons for this impression may be the accumulation of global economic and political challenges. And 2015? Here is my list of the top three challenges for the new year: CHINA Challenge no. 1: Corruption. Despite a certain continuity […]

European Values

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The debate has been ongoing for as long as the expression ‘European integration’ has existed, and it is not likely to stop any time soon: is the self-proclaimed ‘European Community’ underpinned by a set of ‘shared values’? ‘Values’, like ‘culture’, is a sufficiently vague term to allow very divergent interpretations. It is one of these […]

Three wishes for 2015

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Brussels in December: damp, windy, grey. An hour to kill between the meetings at the Berlaymont and the Thalys at Gare du Midi. Three snapshots taken on the way, each of them with a funny symbolic twist. And each of them accompanied by a good New Year’s wish for the EU. First stop: on the […]

Please remain faceless!

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Now that Donald Tusk has officially taken office as new President of the Council, the Trinity of European leadership as provided by the Lisbon Treaty is complete. In due course there will be plenty of opportunity for Euro-scoffers to ridicule the fact that one never really knows who is in charge of the EU. They […]

How to kill a premium brand

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Remember when they wanted to change the recipe of Coca Cola? Very bad idea. If there’s one golden rule in marketing, it’s not to mess around with well-established household brands. You may surprise the customer with brand extensions – diet coke, cherry coke, coke zero – but you never ever alienate him from the core […]

A growing feeling of hysteria

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The pictures on French and German television showing Vladimir Putin all alone at his lunch table in Brisbane and explicitly meant to illustrate his alleged ‘isolation’ at the G20 summit were obviously fake. Dilma Roussef had already taken place at the other side of the table and both were waiting for other guests to join […]

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