• Law and order

      Law and order

      Law and Order is a top-charter US TV series. At first sight it may seem paradoxical but it is exactly the issue of law and order, i.e. security, that could have nearly toppled German Chancellor Angela Merkel and along with that destroyed the European Union altogether. The invitation Merkel sent to refugees and migrants in 2015 was not only ill-judged or an act of folly. More than that – it amounted to something much worse: it is a mockery of justice and order which is “sanctum sanctorum” for the Germans.

    • At 6 months, Austria's coalition support remains stable

      At 6 months, Austria's coalition support remains stable

      Six months ago, on 18 December, the new Austrian government was sworn in. Its composition guaranteed international media attention: First, the 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, leader of the conservative People’s Party (OVP), became chancellor. Second, the radical right Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) returned to power. Its long-term leader Heinz-Christian Strache became Austria’s vice-chancellor. Last year, not only the FPO, but also the OVP put restrictive positions on immigration and integration at the centre of its electoral campaign. The parties of the left proved unable to respond effectively – the Social Democrats (SPO) lost the chancellorship, while the Greens were voted out of parliament completely. The OVP and FPO agreed on a coalition agreement that focuses on liberal economic policies and measures to reduce immigration.

    • Stop the whining and start rethinking global rulebook

      Stop the whining and start rethinking global rulebook

      Enough tears have been shed, egos and emotions shaken and obituaries written about the transatlantic relationship. It’s time to move on. So wipe the tears, stop the whining and turn over a new page. The US has embarked on a new journey. The EU should do the same. Europe has already started to woo new partners, tackle fresh challenges and explore roads less-travelled. But more can be done.

    • Italy's migration approach risks messy repercussions

      Italy's migration approach risks messy repercussions

      Just days after its formation, the Italian government has become the protagonist of yet another heated debate on migration. Having caused a diplomatic crisis with Tunisia by claiming that “Tunisia exports convicts”, newly appointed Interior Minister Matteo Salvini declared on 9 June that he would prevent the Aquarius – a ship carrying 629 sub-Saharan African migrants rescued off the Libyan coast – from accessing Italian ports. Italy argued that responsibility for hosting the migrants fell on Malta, which rejected the claim on the grounds that the rescue took place in Libyan territorial waters under Italian oversight. In the day or so it took to resolve – with the Spanish government's decision to allow the Aquarius to dock in Valencia – the dispute produced a series of reactions and controversies.

    • Rules-based trade made world rich

      Rules-based trade made world rich

      Nations sell goods and services to each other because this exchange is generally mutually beneficial. It’s easy to understand that Iceland should not be growing its own oranges, given its climate. Instead, Iceland should buy oranges from Spain, which can grow them more cheaply, and sell Spaniards fish, which are abundant in its waters.

    • Italy will confront EU, but will stay in currency union

      Italy will confront EU, but will stay in currency union

      Almost three months after elections, Italy has a government. The coalition between the populist Five Star Movement and the nationalist League will lead to friction between Italy and Brussels. But the EU should avoid head-on confrontation and wait to see what the new government does. The government is not as radical as it could be: League leader Matteo Salvini and Five Star Leader Di Maio are deputy prime ministers, and the eurosceptic Paolo Savona, initially vetoed by Italy's President as finance minister, is minister for Europe – allowing Salvini to claim victory despite his swift climb down. But the government includes moderate figures, with economics professor Giovanni Tria in the finance ministry, and Enzo Moavero Milanesi, Europe minister in Mario Monti's government, as foreign minister.

    • Only strong euro can make Europe ever stronger

      Only strong euro can make Europe ever stronger

      Last Friday, we marked 20 years of the European Central Bank. And on the first of January next year, we will celebrate 20 years of our single currency. It has come a long way in that time and it is a true European success story. Today, 340 million Europeans use the euro every day in 19 of our Member States.

    • First Swiss Brexit lesson: Negotiations never end

      First Swiss Brexit lesson: Negotiations never end

      Switzerland regularly finds itself lassoed into the Brexit debate, because of its unusual relationship with the European Union. This is to be expected. Switzerland is a prosperous country, sitting within Europe yet not within the EU. The EU-Swiss relationship is a product of its time and the EU is reluctant to base the future UK-EU relationship on one that gives it a constant headache. However, there are lessons from the Swiss experience that the UK and its policy makers would do well to take on board.

    • Why the focus is so often wrong

      Why the focus is so often wrong

      With this summer's European Council just a month away, now seems a good time to ask “what's the summit for?” At first glance, the EU leaders' agenda suggests that's a stupid question because it's dominated by the unending nonsense of Brexit, the North-South deadlock over Eurozone reform and how the EU should respond to the Trump administration's trampling of the bonds that hold our unruly world together.