2 months ago



YOUR MONTHLY G DRIVING BRUSSE Malta Business Review POLITICO BRUSSELS PLAYBOOK PLUS By RYAN HEATH with HARRY COOPER & MORGEN EUROPA HAMLET COMES TO THE GERMAN SOCIAL DEMOCRATS It wasn’t quite a mass murder, nor a suicide pact, but the top two figures in the German Social Democrats appear to have killed their national political careers. Sigmar Gabriel, the outgoing foreign minister, gave a damning interview that pointed out how much more popular he is than the man who was supposed to replace him in that role, Martin Schulz. Then on Friday, Schulz, who also replaced Gabriel as party leader, said “my personal ambitions should take a back seat to the interests of the party,” and he wasn’t going to be foreign minister after all. MBR Former U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg Theresa May, Michel Barnier and David Davis pictured in deep discussions at Downing Street BARNIER ISSUES ULTIMATUM AND WARNING TO LONDON The EU draft of the U.K. withdrawal treaty will be based on Northern Ireland remaining in the EU customs union: an ultimatum to London to accept the status quo or come up with other options for managing the Irish border. “A U.K. decision to leave the single market and leave the customs union would make border checks unavoidable,” Michel Barnier said. He also bluntly warned the U.K. risks missing out on a transition deal if it continues to dispute the proposed terms. Meanwhile, the U.K. is considering making a demand for an “emergency brake” clause that would allow it to unilaterally diverge from the EU during the Brexit transition period if it felt any new Brussels rules were creating serious economic, social or environmental problems for the country. The clause would be modeled on Article 112 of the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement. Not that 112 emergency number: On an entirely separate note, Sunday is “112 Day” — an awareness-raising exercise named after the EU-wide emergency number. MBR NICK CLEGG ON EU CONFIDENTIAL PODCAST EU politics this week was all about shrinkage (Brexit) and enlargement (Western Balkans). EU Confidential’s featured guest is former U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg who is agitating for a constitutional crisis — via a standoff between parliament and government over Brexit — and slams the “muppets” in the U.K. Cabinet for their “cluelessness.” A MESSAGE FROM THE EPP GROUP: The European Parliament has voted for tougher sanctions against the Venezuelan regime as it prepares for early presidential elections seen as a sham. President Nicolás Maduro is running for a re-election, after his bloody crackdown on the pro-democracy opposition. The suffering of the people must end, says our MEP José Ignacio Salafranca, who helped to shape the Parliament’s position. MBR WHO’S UP? Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: The Turkish president was invited by European Council President Donald Tusk to a summit of EU leaders in Bulgaria in March. Nicos Anastasiades: Defeated his leftist rival to secure a second term as president of Cyprus. AND WHO’S DOWN? Dimitris Avramopolous: The European migration commissioner on Friday strenuously denied claims that he took bribes from Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis when he was Greek health minister. Julian Assange: A British arrest warrant for the WikiLeaks founder is still valid, a London court ruled. MBR ‘VOTES FOR ALL’ CAMPAIGN IN BRUSSELS The European Union institutions are used to coming under fire for having a democratic deficit; but this week it’s Belgium’s turn. A group of Brussels residents on Wednesday launched the #1Bru1Vote campaign to extend voting rights in Brussels regional elections to non-Belgian citizens, accusing the Belgian state of disenfranchising one-third of the city’s residents. The campaign calls for Prime Minister Charles Michel to submit a draft law granting all adult residents the right to vote in the May 2019 regional elections. Backers of the campaign include professor Philippe van Parijs, who initiated the Picnic the Streets movement that led to the creation of the Brussels center pedestrian area, and Brussels Master Architect Kristiaan Borret. 34

POLITICO BRUSSELS PLAYBOOK PLUS Malta Business Review UIDE TO WHAT’S LS AND EUROPE presented by EPP Group: SPD goes full Hamlet - Barnier's Brexit truth serum - Clegg and the Muppets Nora Bednarski, one of the organizers, said “the time has come” for Brussels to modernize its governance. The Brussels capital region, formed 29 years ago, is governed by a complex web of political parties, and a system that ensures representation for both French and Flemish speakers, while excluding more than 300,000 non-Belgian residents. All Brussels residents can vote in local commune elections, which take place every six years, though non-EU citizens must have lived in the city for at least five years to qualify. Most eligible non-Belgians don’t register to vote. Brussels regional government responsibilities include mobility and public transport, urban planning and heritage, parks and green spaces, waste and recycling, infrastructure and public works, pollution and air quality. When Playbook hit the streets and social media to find out what those without a vote think, most said they would like to have the right to vote. That’s not a surprise. There are no occupations of Belgian government buildings planned, but support for voting rights campaigns does appear to be a step beyond the apathy and complaint culture generally associated with the members of the EU bubble. Many residents Playbook spoke to think it makes sense to merge the 19 Brussels communes and regional parliament into a single layer of government. Thomas Huddleston, a naturalized Belgian and migrant rights campaigner, said “Brussels is the place in Belgium and in Europe where I feel most free and welcome. But the challenges and inequalities are growing. I fear that both a city like Brussels and our project as a European Union won’t be able to respond and survive if we don’t open up and work together with our neighbors.” MBR QUOTE OF THE MONTH “Frankly, people have got to grow some, get a spine, stiffen up, stand up to these people — most of them are ghastly bullies but also cowards at the same time.” — Tory MP Anna Soubry says British Prime Minister Theresa May should stand up to hard-line Brexiteers and kick them out of the Conservative Party. MBR REIMAGINING BREXIT What if 19 countries left the EU single market all at once? That’s how German MEP Hans- Olaf Henkel, a former president of BDI, Germany’s biggest industry lobby, wants you to think of Brexit. Playbook ran the numbers, and he’s right. Give or take a small part of Austria’s economy, the GDP of the 19 least populous EU countries is indeed close to the GDP of the United Kingdom. MBR MEP Hans-Olaf Henkel UNFRIENDLY FIRE The European Parliament this week voted by a large majority in favor of removing one of its vice presidents, Ryszard Czarnecki, from his position after he sparked outrage by comparing a fellow Polish MEP to a Nazi collaborator. Czarnecki’s a member of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party, which has just passed a law making it illegal to accuse Poles … of complicity in Nazi crimes. Awkward. MBR FEUD OF THE WEEK Poland vs. everyone: France on Wednesday became the latest country to criticize Poland’s new Holocaust law, with Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, below right, calling the text “ill- advised.” The U.S. has already expressed “disappointment” and Israel said it was worried the law could stifle the truth about the role of some Poles in World War II. Poland’s retaliatory PR efforts left a lot to be desired. The prime minister’s office organized a press tour for foreign correspondents that was intended to show how difficult and risky it was for Poles to save Jews during the war. (POLITICO wasn’t invited.) The journalists were fed omelette with Kiełbasa, a Polish sausage made with pork (a curious choice on a trip whose purpose was to make clear that the government has nothing against Jews). MBR NEW NATIONAL FRONT MEP NOT GREAT ON GAY RIGHTS Jacques Colombier, the president of the National Front in Nouvelle Aquitaine — who is set to replace recently deceased Edouard Ferrand in the European Parliament — isn’t helping Marine Le Pen’s push for a more gay-friendly party image. In June last year, Colombier issued a statement against a local Pride march, saying the FN “opposes many of the claims made by gay pride” like same-sex marriage and gay adoption. For Colombier, “sexual practices should remain in the private sphere and not be discussed in the public sphere, especially given they sometimes involve a show close to indecency in front of young people.” MBR BY THE NUMBERS 3,148: Amount of megawatts of new offshore wind capacity installed in 2017, a European record, according to data released Tuesday by the industry group Wind Europe. That’s twice as much as in 2016. 1,000,000: The number of people who’ve viewed a recent TED talk by European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. 177: The number of pages in the new German coalition government agreement. MBR GAFFES & LAUGHS Bold mottos: Why have one company motto when every employee can have one? The four founders of new consultancy boldT have each indicated what their personal mottos are. For Chairman Herbert Heitmann, it’s the slightly wooden “reputation and brand can be managed like a balance sheet … and should be part of it.” Jeremy Galbraith, who was at Burson-Marsteller for more than two decades, says his is “Never, never, never give up.” Michiel van Hulten, a founding partner, thinks “honesty is the best policy” and newcomer Morten Pedersen “can prove that it works.” (Playbook isn’t sure what “it” is.) Cheese creator delivers vegan speciality: French people might want to sit down before reading the next bit: One of your own — a woman from Lorraine (but not called Lorraine) — has come up with a vegan camembert! Anne Guth has made a dairy-free version of Camembert, made with cashew nut “milk”. As there’s no actual milk, it cannot be advertised as cheese. Guth calls it a “vegetable speciality” instead. MBR Creditline: POLITICO; Morgen Europa; Brussels Playbook Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian 35

Luxembourg Business in the New Digital Economy -
National reform programme 2008-2010 Malta - European Commission
July - August 2012 -