POLITICS & POLICY
The electoral campaign of the German elections is under the spotlight. Over the weekend German Chancellor Angela Merkel released a long TV interview claiming that she is ready to lead the country’s executive for another four years. According to recent polls, Merkel’s CDU has a firm grip on the German public opinion, leading the polls with 39%. Meanwhile, the leader of the German Social Democratic party (SPD) and former President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, criticised the Merkel government’s European policies. Schulz also pledged to raise the level of public investments in the country. Last week, the British magazine The Economist published a long article advocating a similar investment policy in the country. The editorial board of The Economist wrote that the increasing levels of German exports are becoming a problem for the European recovery. However, the Director of the German Institute of Economic research in Munich (IFO), Clemens Fuest, said that any comments criticising the German export sector are nonsense as the latter simply signal the competitiveness of the German economy.
In other news, the refugee crisis is making the headlines in Austria and Luxembourg. The leader of the Austrian right wing party FPÖ, Heinz-Christian Strache, claimed that the government should close the southern border of the country as Italy is experiencing massive immigration flows from the Mediterranean sea. Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister of Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn, accused EU member states’ for their stance with respect to the migration crisis and pushed for more intra-European solidarity. The Greek newspaper Ekathimerini revealed that more than 9,000 migrants are stranded on the Greek islands in the Aegean sea.
Brexit is still under the spotlight. On Monday, the UK Government and European institutions met in Brussels for the second round of negotiations. As talks between the two sides proceed, so-called hard Brexiteers are losing influence within the British government. Indeed, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said that a majority of Conservative MPs in the country would support a “soft Brexit” option at this point. A recent poll by YouGov revealed that a majority of British citizens who voted for the UK to leave the EU in the 2016 referendum would give in on the principle of free movement, in exchange for the UK gaining access to the European Single Market.
Last week the leader of the British Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, visited Brussels and met with the EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. Corbyn claimed that a UK Government under Labour’s siege would do anything to obtain access to the Single Market for the UK. However, over the weekend, former Labour leader Tony Blair blasted Corbyn for not moving away from a Brexit scenario. Meanwhile, according to the Daily Express¸ some 170,000 migrants from Romania and Bulgaria have reached the UK since January 2014.
“We are worried about the [protectionist] economic policies put in place in Europe and Germany”
A spokesperson of the People’s Republic of China, commenting on a recent bill drafted by the German Government establishing a national veto power over foreign takeovers.
Source: Handelsblatt, 14.07.2017
The number of families in Dublin who are living in emergency accommodation. The number has doubled over the past nine months.
Source: Irish Times, 17.07.2017
Photo Credits CC: European Parliament
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