Spain's general election: What just happened?

  • 29 April 2019
  • From the section Europe
Santiago Abascal gives a thumbs-up to the camera while smiling on stage after the election results came in Image copyright AFP
Image caption Vox, led by Santiago Abascal, will take seats in parliament for the first time

After weeks of Spain's resurgent far right hogging all the headlines, didn't the centre-left just win a resounding victory?

Did Spaniards have a last-minute change of heart? What does this all mean?

Spain's Socialist party members will certainly have the biggest smiles on their faces this morning. But landslide victory this was not.

The party improved massively on its last performance in national elections. It managed to take control of Spain's upper house of parliament too, but still lacks a majority to govern.

Financial markets and the EU would ideally like to see the Socialists now jump into bed with the centre-right Citizens' party (which prefers to describe itself as "liberal") but a more likely Socialist party partnership is with populist left Podemos, with added support from Basque and possibly Catalan parties.

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Brexit: EU keen to quiz Theresa May ahead of summit

  • 9 April 2019
  • From the section Europe
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Theresa May will hold talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday

Europe's leaders feel they have already lost far too much political time on Brexit.

Again today, Prime Minister Theresa May heads to Paris and Berlin for talks with Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel - this after a number of phone calls on Monday with other EU leaders - with little up her sleeve or in her pocket to share with them.

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Brexit: Germany's CDU leader hopes for second referendum

  • 5 April 2019
  • From the section Europe
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Media captionAnnegret Kramp-Karrenbauer: "Brexit has been a strain on all of us"

"Have you heard about the British party guest? He's the one who announces he's leaving, then you find him hours later wandering around the house with no money for a taxi. When he finally goes, he takes two bottles of wine with him."

European stereotype depictions tend to portray Germans as lacking a sense of humour.

Read full article Brexit: Germany's CDU leader hopes for second referendum

Brexit: EU nervous over UK's 11th-hour rethink

  • 1 April 2019
  • From the section Europe
: Demonstrators protest at the Pulse of Europe demonstration on March 31, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. The pro-European Union citizen"s initiative encourages citizens of the bloc to speak out publicly in favor of a pan-European identity as a counter to Euroskepticism and certain sentiment behind Brexit and right-wing ideologies. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption In Berlin on Sunday, demonstrators held aloft EU and UK flags - and the German word for "friends"

The EU is closely watching the indicative votes process in the UK parliament today.

EU leaders would, of course, welcome a softer Brexit. It would ease friction in post-Brexit EU-UK trade relations – but at the same time, they believe MPs are out of touch with reality.

Read full article Brexit: EU nervous over UK's 11th-hour rethink

Brexit: EU leaders plan for no deal as other options dissolve

  • 30 March 2019
  • From the section Europe
EU leaders and Theresa May pose for a photo at the informal leaders summit in September Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Theresa May stood out from the crowd at an informal EU leaders summit back in September

EU leaders head into this weekend with a heavy heart. They know, in theory, that all Brexit options remain on the table and they haven't entirely given up hope of a negotiated UK departure, but there is little trust here that the prime minister or Parliament will manage to pull it off.

Despite all the drama, the money and time spent by EU leaders on Brexit over the last two years (summits, dedicated governmental departments, no-deal planning), all the hard, hard graft put in by the EU and UK negotiating teams, Europe's leaders are asking themselves what there is to show for it all.

Read full article Brexit: EU leaders plan for no deal as other options dissolve

No EU joy as UK parliament gears up for Brexit votes

  • 26 March 2019
  • From the section Europe
Luxembourg"s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Belgium"s Prime Minister Charles Michel, Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker share a smile and a joke at last week's European Council summit Image copyright EPA
Image caption Theresa May shares a joke with some other PMs at last week's European Council summit

So, is the EU jumping up and down with glee at the prospect of indicative votes in Westminster on Wednesday?

For months, even years now, Brussels has been urging the UK to "tell us what you want, what you really, really want!"

Read full article No EU joy as UK parliament gears up for Brexit votes

Brexit: EU agrees breathing space for UK

  • 22 March 2019
  • From the section Europe
British Prime Minister Theresa May walks away after holding a press conference in Brussels on March 22, 2019 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Theresa May is urging British MPs to pass her withdrawal agreement

By the time the 27 EU leaders emerged at their Brussels summit, bleary-eyed from hours of bad-tempered debate about delaying Brexit, it became clear that they had "done a May".

By that, I mean they had managed to kick the Brexit crunch-time can another couple of weeks down the road - something Theresa May has become famous for throughout the Brexit process.

Read full article Brexit: EU agrees breathing space for UK

Brexit: EU wary of divisions over UK delay

  • 18 March 2019
  • From the section Europe
Donald Tusk Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Can European Council President Donald Tusk unify all of the EU's leaders?

The EU has almost given up understanding what's going on in UK politics.

This weekend, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte compared UK Prime Minister Theresa May to the Monty Python knight whose limbs get cut off in a duel, but insists to his opponent that the fight was a draw.

Read full article Brexit: EU wary of divisions over UK delay

Brexit: Will EU leaders agree to an extension?

  • 15 March 2019
  • From the section Europe
Theresa May arrives for a family photo during the European Union leaders informal summit in Salzburg Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Theresa May will need to formally ask the EU's 27 other leaders for an extension

In contrast to the sound and fury coming out of Westminster on Thursday night, the silence on EU leaders' Twitter accounts was deafening.

In part it is surely a stunned silence. Europe's politicians gaze open mouthed at the maelstrom of division and chaos currently whirling through the House of Commons.

Read full article Brexit: Will EU leaders agree to an extension?

Brexit: EU points finger at UK for Theresa May's deal defeat

  • 13 March 2019
  • From the section Europe
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (l), European Council President Donald Tusk (c) and European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier (r) Image copyright Reuters
Image caption EU politicians are united whereas British ones are not

Once again - just as the last time the Brexit deal was rejected in parliament - reaction by EU leaders was prompt, co-ordinated and on message.

It was a result they'd been dreading but expecting.

Read full article Brexit: EU points finger at UK for Theresa May's deal defeat