Friday 21 Sep 2018 | 17:07 | SYDNEY
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EU

French choreography in the Pacific

French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Australia was a frank success, although some observers were puzzled after he raised the idea of a “Paris–New Delhi–Canberra” diamond within an Indo-Pacific axis.  Yet this proposal is clarified by French national objectives

Sea cables in a thawing Arctic

China has made a significant foray into the Arctic with the creation of a data “silk road”. Strongly supported by a newfound closeness with Russia, preliminary planning of a Chinese and Finnish–led trans-Arctic cable along the Arctic’s Northeast Passage in partnership with Japan and Norway

The unending nightmare for Germany’s Social Democrats

Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) is having a political nightmare from which it is unable to awake. Wounded by the experience of four years as junior governing party to Angela Merkel’s conservative Union, in September the party limped to a meagre 20.5% of the vote: their

Macron’s mission to China

During French President Emmanuel Macron's visit to China, which concluded last week, his choice to gift China's Xi Jinping with a horse was apparently prompted by Xi's words of admiration during a 2014 trip to Paris. On that visit, Xi was greeted by a guard of honour from the Garde Ré

Breakdown in Berlin

Since the beginning of Germany's election campaign a few months ago, Christian Lindner has demanded his role on centre stage. His slightly dishevelled face stared out in black and white from every brochure, billboard and advert for the Free Democratic Party (FDP), shamelessly transforming the proud

Macron, America and Iran: Searching for a middle way

French President Emmanuel Macron is considering a visit to Tehran in early 2018. Macron would be the first French President to visit Iran since Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in 1976, and given the tensions between Washington and Europe over the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of

German elections: The collapse of consensus

It is unusual for a major party to assume a 'great responsibility' by being relegated to opposition. But this is precisely the situation facing the German Social Democrats (SPD) following its disastrous election performance last night. Humiliated by its worst result since World War II, SPD leader

Turkey’s EU accession: A useful fiction

By any measure, the German Chancellor debate between Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz last weekend was a dispiriting, monotonous affair. On irrelevant issue after irrelevant issue, both candidates spoke around each other, barely acknowledging one another's presence and finding themselves more often

The Russian ‘taboo’ and the German election

We need to come out of the dead end … Something must be offered so that Putin can change his policy without a loss of face … To express a taboo: I fear that the Crimea must be regarded as a permanent provisional solution. These words caused something of a sensation in Germany earlier this

Clash or compromise: The return of history in Poland

Poland today gets almost uniformly bad press in the West, replete with stories alleging that Beata Szydło's government has all but dismantled the foundations of democracy on orders from Jarosław Kaczyński, Chairman of the governing Law and Justice Party (PiS), often identified as its é

Macron puts his stamp on French foreign policy

French President Emmanuel Macron is striking a new, pragmatic and self-confident tone in the country's foreign policy, for which he's received a lot of kudos. The recent reception for US President Donald Trump in France is a perfect illustration of this new approach. Macron invited Trump to attend

Trump in Warsaw, Hamburg and Paris

Trump divides. Most people are either staunchly against or for US President Donald Trump – if not the man, then what he supposedly stands for. As most commentators find themselves in the former camp, there is no shortage of Trump critiques. Thus this piece will concentrate not so much on

Macron and the uprooting of France

For months the world has waited with bated breath for Emmanuel Macron to save France, Europe and democracy by succeeding in his outwardly improbable campaign to become the next French president. Now that he has, it is time to ask: what, with the 'Far Right' duly slain, does he actually have a

Post-Brexit: Will the Kingdom stay united?

British Prime Minister Theresa May's decision to send the formal notice to Brussels that the United Kingdom will leave the European Union within the next two years has ignited restiveness on the fringes of the Kingdom. Scotland voted by 55% to 45% to remain in the Union in September 2014,

How Erdogan makes EU opprobrium work in his favour

The recent standoff between Turkey and several European countries shocked the world. For the first time in NATO and EU history, a member (or member candidate, in the case of the EU) state's foreign minister's plane was not allowed to land in EU territory (the Netherlands). Another Turkish

Finally, good news for the European Union

Three major recent developments appear to indicate that the EU, at long last, is on the up again: solid growth in the EU; the populist wave apparently cresting with Brexit and the Trump Administration; and it migration appearing to be manageable without totally wrecking 'Schengen',

The EU shouldn’t strike a Turkey-style deal with Libya

Last week, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that EU member states are not obliged to issue humanitarian visas to asylum seekers at their overseas missions. A humanitarian visa would enable a third-country national at risk of torture of inhumane treatment to apply in situ for entry

European defence policy after Trump and Brexit

While international attention, especially from financial markets, is focused on how well nationalist-populist right movements in various EU member states perform in upcoming elections (Marine Le Pen in France, Geertt Wilders in the Netherlands, the Alternative für Deutschland in Germany), more

Theresa May’s Brexit cherry-picking is doomed to fail

In her two recent Brexit speeches, one delivered in London to the representatives of the 27 other EU-members and a second delivered two days later at Davos, May insisted that she wants a clean break: an exit from the single market (implicating the four freedoms) and from full membership of the

The British left must rediscover its internationalism

When the United Kingdom first applied to join the European Common Market in the 1960s, the great Clement Attlee, former Labour PM, rose in the House of Lords to argue against membership. His objections were made on two bases: The harmful rigidity of a political union with European countries,

EU-Turkey relations: A decade of reversals

After the European parliament’s overwhelming vote to freeze Turkey’s EU accession process, the European Council summit that will get underway later today in Brussels will debate relations between Turkey and the EU. For economic and strategic reasons, both the EU Council and the Turkish

Renzi's referendum and the future of the euro

On Sunday, Italians resoundingly rejected the constitutional changes put to them by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Formally, the referendum sought to curtail the powers of the Senate (Italy’s upper house). But despite arguments to the contrary, the real question was: ‘How much pain are you