POLITICS AND POLICY

French Presidential elections, round two. With the run-off looming, the cross-party, anti-far right Republican front tries to counter attack the nationalist rhetoric of Marine Le Pen. Unexpected support for Macron came on Tuesday from former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, who rounded on the leader of the Front National. In his editorial for the French newspaper Le Monde, Varoufakis argued that the leader of En Marche! (EN) was one of the few European leaders who wanted to save Greece from the politics of austerity. Meanwhile, Marine Le Pen struck a deal with Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, the leader of Debout la France. According to Le Monde, the agreement would imply a softer take on the Euro in case of a victory of the Front National in the second round. Moreover, Le Pen announced that Dupont-Aignan would be the Prime Minister if she was elected in the run-off. During last week’s European summit, the outgoing President Francois Hollande claimed that the French vote of next weekend will be a vote on Europe: moreover, Hollande stressed the need for the Franco-German relationship to be kept alive whatever the outcome of the 2017 elections in the two countries.

Greece and its creditors have reached a preliminary bailout deal on Tuesday. The deal would allow Greece to receive critical bailout payments, in exchange for reforms to its labor and energy markets, pension cuts and an increase in taxes. According to Greek Finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos, “a preliminary technical agreement” had been reached. The deal should be approved in the next scheduled Eurogroup meeting on May 22, where debt relief measures for Greece will also be discussed. On Sunday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble had praised the reform efforts undertaken by the Greek Government and paved the way for a smooth finalisation of the second review of the bailout agreement.

In other news, the clash between the Hungarian government and European institutions makes the headlines in Brussels and Hungary. On April 29, the European People’s Party group (EPP) rounded on the Hungarian Prime Minister on the occasion of a visit in Brussels. Viktor Orban had recently launched a political campaign called “Let’s stop Brussels”, which adds up to the highly contentious actions undertaken by the Government to shut down the Central European University. The EPP asked the Hungarian government to take all the necessary steps to abide by the EU law. On May 1, thousands of Hungarian citizens took the street of Budapest to protest against Orban’s government and his anti-EU rhetoric.

What’s at stake in UK snap election. On Saturday, on the occasion of the European summit in Brussels, the leaders of the EU-27 agreed unanimously on an uncompromising negotiation strategy with respect to the Brexit issue and the UK government. The President of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker argued that EU leaders expect the British government to take a clear stance on the so-called divorce bill and the guarantee of EU citizens’ rights. Juncker attacked the UK Prime Minister, arguing that Theresa May seems “to live in another galaxy” over Brexit. Meanwhile, former Prime Minister and Labour party leader Tony Blair said that he still believes in an “exit from Brexit”, implying that last year referendum results could still be reverted should the Labour party have the willingness to fight for the EU cause. Likewise, Clive Lewis and Rachael Maskell, two prominent Labour MPs and former shadow Ministers, suggested that Labour should offer to British citizens a referendum on the final Brexit deal.


THE STATEMENT

“I don’t want to stop halfway. I want to continue moving forward. I am here to ask you whether you want to run with me. Do you want to walk this road with me?”

Joseph Muscat, PM of Malta, calling snap elections after the Panama Papers inquiry.

Source: Politico.eu01.05.2017


NUMBERS

10,000

The number of extra police officers the Labour party has pledged to put on the
streets of Britain, in case of a victory at the next General elections.

Source: The Guardian, 02.05.2017


Photo Credits CC Kancelaria Premiera


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