French election: Why EU should not count its chickens on Macron

  • 24 April 2017
  • From the section Europe
Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement En Marche !, or Onwards !, and candidate for the 2017 French presidential election, celebrates after partial results in the first round of 2017 French presidential election, at the Parc des Expositions hall in Paris, France April 23, 2017 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Emmanuel Macron is a passionate Europhile

The relief in Brussels is palpable. It believes it is (almost) back from the brink.

A passionate Europhile, Emmanuel Macron's presidential campaign is as much blue and yellow as it is the "tricolour" of France.

The EU, he believes, should to be at the heart of French politics, with more integration in finance, defence and migration.

He wants to breathe life into the now-spluttering Franco-German motor; to take a lead role with Germany to - in his eyes - Make Europe Great Again.

Angela Merkel and the European Commission's Jean-Claude Juncker can hardly conceal their delight. Both were quick to get on the phone to congratulate Mr Macron on his strong showing in Sunday's vote.

Read full article French election: Why EU should not count its chickens on Macron

Confident EU coy on start date for Brexit trade talks

  • 3 April 2017
  • From the section Europe
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Greeks have already learned it can take time for the EU to switch on the green light to talks

So how long is that famous piece of string? I certainly don't know.

Nor, I suspect, does the European Commission. Or the press. Or the UK government.

Read full article Confident EU coy on start date for Brexit trade talks

EU 'not in hostile mood' as Brexit talks beckon, says Juncker

  • 24 March 2017
  • From the section Europe
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Media captionJean-Claude Juncker: EU will negotiate in 'friendly and fair way'

"It's like musicians in their bow-ties playing on board the Titanic," remarked a friend of mine as I was talking to them about the EU's 60th anniversary celebrations in Rome.

A mild exaggeration, shall we say - but the image sticks in my mind.

Read full article EU 'not in hostile mood' as Brexit talks beckon, says Juncker

Birthday bash and Brexit set Brussels abuzz

  • 20 March 2017
  • From the section Europe
A banner marking the 60 years of the singing of the Treaty of Rome is displayed at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. Photo: 20 March 2017 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The EU celebrates its 60th birthday this Saturday

Brussels was abuzz on Monday.

And I don't get to say that very often.

Read full article Birthday bash and Brexit set Brussels abuzz

An EU dinner with Brexit for each course

  • 15 December 2016
  • From the section Europe
Image copyright AP
Image caption Theresa May is in Brussels for a meeting of the European Council

It's not a snub.

Or a rule-breaker.

Read full article An EU dinner with Brexit for each course

EU leaders sing from same Brexit hymn sheet

  • 13 December 2016
  • From the section Europe
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Media captionSweden PM: UK 'can't pick and choose' over Brexit

It's a twitchy, tetchy time this pre-Brexit talks, post-Brexit vote period.

So much said. So little known.

Read full article EU leaders sing from same Brexit hymn sheet

Should European leaders fear Austria-Italy backlash?

  • 2 December 2016
  • From the section Europe
Poster of Austrian far-right leader Norbert Hofer/Pic of Italian PM Matteo Renzi Image copyright AFP/reuters
Image caption Sunday will be decisive for Austrian far-right leader Norbert Hofer (L) and Italy's centre-left PM Matteo Renzi

There are an awful lot of alarmist headlines about this weekend in Europe - screeching headlines about the far right swooping into Austria's presidential palace, and painting Italy as poised to crash into financial, banking and political oblivion if Prime Minister Matteo Renzi loses a referendum on constitutional reform.

And both those hypothetical events would be hugely significant if they came to pass: Europe's first far-right head of state since World War Two in Austria, and uncertainty and instability in the eurozone's third-largest economy - Italy - spoken of in hushed, nervous whispers in EU corridors as "too big to fail".

Read full article Should European leaders fear Austria-Italy backlash?

Trump election: Europe looks to its defences

  • 14 November 2016
  • From the section Europe
Members of Poland's special commando unit Lubliniec during a Nato tactical exercise at the land forces training centre in Oleszno Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Eastern European and Baltic states feel particularly exposed to Russia

Walk the normally staid, greying corridors of EU power in Brussels at the moment and you sense an unaccustomed buzz, a nervousness; there's a whiff of almost frenzied expectation.

Change is in the air: exciting and emboldening for some, frightening for others.

Read full article Trump election: Europe looks to its defences

US election result: Europeans stunned by deafening Trump roar

  • 9 November 2016
  • From the section Europe
Dutch politician Geert Wilders poses for a photograph with an unidentified man on the convention floor before the start of the second day of the Republican National Convention, at which Donald Trump was confirmed as the Republican candidate, on 19 July 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio Image copyright AFP
Image caption Could Trump's victory herald the ascendancy of populist European politicians, such as Geert Wilders of the Netherlands?

The "sincere" (their word) letter of congratulations to Donald Trump penned this morning by the big cheeses from the European Commission and the European Council oozes EU angst from every line.

Messrs Juncker and Tusk rushed to remind the US president-elect of "shared values of freedom, human rights, democracy and a belief in the market economy" in a way that lays bare their very clear fear that Mr Trump doesn't prioritise these values at all.

Read full article US election result: Europeans stunned by deafening Trump roar

Cold and frosty EU morning for Theresa May

  • 20 October 2016
  • From the section Europe
British Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: 19 October 2016 Image copyright AFP
Image caption British Prime Minister Theresa May has been invited to give a "Brexit update" to EU leaders

Proudly straightening her skirt, jauntily knotting his tie - a new premier usually feels some excitement about attending their first summit of European Union leaders.

Not so Theresa May.

Read full article Cold and frosty EU morning for Theresa May