Europe/Middle East

  • French regional elections could foreshadow national elections to come.

    Could French Regional Elections Foreshadow Europe's Future?

    The second round of French regional elections is this weekend.  The first round last weekend saw the National Front do best in terms of popular votes and led in six of the twelve regions.  The National Front is not simply anti-austerity, but it is anti-EMU.

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  • Greece needs help, but it is dragging its feet.

    Grexit: I'm Back!

    Defying the expectations a few months ago, Greece remained in the Economic and Monetary Union.  It recently succeeded in implementing sufficient reforms to earn another tranche of aid.  However, the entire exercise exhausted whatever trust there may have been.  It has also further soured Greece's attitude toward the EU. This leaves officials ill prepared to deal with other issues. 

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  • Portugal's importance is greater than its economic size.

    Portugal is Growing So Will It Need More Austerity?

    A NATO country has shot down a Russian plane.  The refugee influx is threatening to unravel the Schengen Treaty of free movement.  Germany's Merkel celebrated her tenth anniversary as Chancellor this past weekend, but she faces one of the most serious challenges of her tenure.  

    Portugal accounts for less than 2% of the Eurozone GDP.  We argue that like Greece, Portugal's importance is greater than the size of its economy.  Among the political challenges Europe faces, the Iberian Peninsula should not be under-estimated. 

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  • Britain's craft-brewery revolution is setting trends.

    Britain Ups its Craft Beer Game

    The traditional worldview of the British pint is of something warm, flat, and rather unpleasant. However, the recent signing of a multi-million-pound deal to supply barley to China underlines the extraordinarily far-reaching esteem in which the world holds the British brewing industry.

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  • The already lenient EU fiscal policy is about to become even more so.

    A Lenient EU May Become More So

    The EU is warning that Austria, Italy, and Lithuania are at risk of not achieving their 2016 budget goals.  It also warned Spain that is too might miss its target.  Nevertheless, the EU said there were no serious violations.

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  • What happens next in Portugal is not exactly clear.

    What Happened in Portugal?

    Portugal's minority center-right government has collapsed.  It was less than two months old.  Its downfall made possible by the willingness of the Socialists, the main opposition party to form a majority with the Left Bloc, Communists, and Greens.  They garnered 123 votes in the 230-seat parliament to defeat Coelho's program.  Coelho led a majority government until last month's election that saw it reduced to a minority.

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  • Can Sharm el-Sheikh bounce back from the crash?

    Egypt's Need for Sharm el-Sheikh was Clear

    Sharm el-Sheikh is a well-known holiday destination. On the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, it is characterised by its year-round hot weather, long white sandy beaches, luxury hotels, and warm blue sea. However, with the recent tragedy of the Metrojet Flight 9268 crash, it is worth examining the importance of Sharm el-Sheikh’s position on the peninsula and within the Egyptian economy, as well, as how it can recover from this terrible event.

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  • Breaking the food bank addiction should be a top priority in the UK.

    Time for a Rethink of U.K. Food Policy

    It is a strange world if I can greet with pleasure two reports, which actually shame my own country. However, alas, it is so. In the UK, two excellent examinations of food poverty have been published just as Westminster is arguing over whether the government’s tax credits cuts are excessively punishing poorer working families. The timing could not be better.

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  • Delaying tax credit cuts leaves time to argue their effectiveness.

    How Will Proposed Tax Credit Cuts Help Britain's Hardest Workers?

    The House of Lords has voted to delay the government’s plans to cut tax credits. The cuts form a significant component (more than a third) of the Conservative government’s plans to reduce the UK’s welfare bill by £12 billion. However, George Osborne failed to sufficiently make the case to the upper house that they were part of a wider plan to create an economy that rewards “hard-working people.”

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