About: The Brief

Elections 12-06-2024

The Brief – France’s political scene in chaos

Est. 4min

Three days after the European elections and Emmanuel Macron's dissolution of the National Assembly, the French political landscape is a field of ruins.

Politics 11-06-2024

The Brief – The kids are federalist now

Est. 6min

Young voters in Western Europe turned out surprisingly in favour of a 'United States of Europe' in the European elections, paving the way for passing the torch in the EU's dusty federalist circles.

Elections 10-06-2024

The Brief – Who needs a weak France?

Est. 7min

The announcement by President Emmanuel Macron that he is dissolving the National Assembly and calling snap elections caught me (and the rest of the world, probably) by surprise just two minutes before I went live on TV on Sunday night.

Elections 07-06-2024

The Brief – Groundhog Day for Europe’s ‘far-right surge’

Est. 6min

Too often we speak about the surge of 'the far-right' in Europe but we forget this is neither new nor too surprising. The reality is, the far-right is joining the mainstream as we speak.

Politics 06-06-2024

The Brief – Remembering D-Day and its legacy to Europe

Est. 6min

Today’s 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings is an opportunity to remember a great military victory against the Nazis but also - on the day European elections start - an important reminder to voters of the values that were fought for, which become the basis of the EU.

The Brief – Make electric cars, not war

Est. 6min

The global liberal order has long been written off. It was naïve, the argument now goes, to think that trade would bind together countries’ interests and encourage cooperation over conflict. But Europe’s current China contortions suggest that global trade can still keep the peace.

Global Europe 03-06-2024

The Brief – Lord, protect me from my friends

Est. 6min

“Lord, protect me from my friends; I can take care of my enemies” is a quote attributed to many, specifically to Voltaire. In recent times, the tensions between Joe Biden and his main Western allies over the two conflicts burning at the gates of Europe have never been so visible.

EU-China 30-05-2024

The Brief – China as a global peace broker?

Est. 7min

Today, news agencies broke two news stories that are worth a closer look as both seem to indicate that China has ambitions to help solve the two wars at the gate of the EU.

Global Europe 29-05-2024

The Brief – Is the EU ready to break taboos to restrain Israel?

Est. 6min

With horrifying images coming out of Gaza, Europeans have started looking for the right tools to exert pressure on Israel, but they might not be able to bridge their fundamental internal differences.

Global Europe 27-05-2024

The Brief – A nuclear blast that would kill nobody?

Est. 6min

During the Russian invasion of Ukraine, several senior Russian politicians, including President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and former president and prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, have made several statements widely seen as threatening to use nuclear weapons.

Elections 24-05-2024

The Brief – What about LGBTIQ+ rights, Ursula?

Est. 6min

After the second EU election debate, everyone talked about von der Leyen leaving the door wide open to Giorgia Meloni’s hard-right Fratelli d’Italia. But does the Commission president also tolerate the party’s questionable stance on LGBTIQ+? Her answer was decidedly ... evasive.

Global Europe 23-05-2024

The Brief – New Caledonia: Another stone in Macron’s shoe

Est. 6min

What a difference a few weeks can make. Until recently, this was a standard description of New Caledonia: A French territory comprising dozens of islands in the South Pacific, known for its palm-lined beaches, marine-life-rich lagoon, and a barrier reef that surrounds the main island, Grand Terre, a major scuba-diving destination.

Elections 22-05-2024

The Brief – TV duel that may set France’s political course

Est. 6min

It's a face-off that could shake up the French political landscape. Prime Minister Gabriel Attal will take on the up-and-coming president of the Rassemblement National (RN), Jordan Bardella, in a televised debate on the national TV channel France 2 on Thursday (23 May).

Azerbaijan 21-05-2024

The Brief – The cunning state of Azerbaijan

Est. 6min

A few months ago we described Qatar as a “cunning state”. Cunning means the quality or skill of being clever at planning something to reach your goals, even by tricking others. Lately, it has emerged that Azerbaijan has also resorted to cunning strategies to punch above its weight.

Elections 17-05-2024

The Brief – New Dutch coalition opts for a politics of defeat in Europe

Est. 6min

Less migration, more manure: For EU purposes, that could have been the motto chosen by the four Dutch right-wing parties that agreed this week on a programme for a new government in the Netherlands. Instead, they went for ‘hope, courage and pride’, preferring to address the Dutch voters.

Politics 16-05-2024

The Brief – Open wounds in the flesh of a nation

Est. 7min

Political murders often happen in authoritarian countries, and even more often in dictatorships, but when an elected politician gets shot in a democratic country, it opens wounds in the nation’s society that are very hard to heal.

Economy 15-05-2024

The Brief – Merz in the driving seat in von der Leyen’s campaign

Est. 5min

In her first term as Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen was largely free to push through her agenda without having to worry about backlash from her party. If she gets a second mandate, however, this is bound to change, with her conservative CDU party taking a much more prominent role.

Elections 14-05-2024

The Brief – The rehearsal

Est. 6min

Austria is charged with political electricity, but it's not because of the upcoming EU elections in June. Bigger events are looming only three months later: the national election that might put the far-right in charge of the Alpine country.

Elections 13-05-2024

The Brief – The EU election punching bag

Est. 6min

Regards from Sofia, where the author of this Brief has witnessed the first days of the European election campaign and concluded the following: The number one election punching bag is the European Green Deal, and it's no different in many other EU countries.

EU-India 10-05-2024

The Brief – Time for an India free trade agreement

Est. 5min

Even before Chinese leader Xi Jinping's jet touched down in Paris on Monday, Europe was anxious about how to deal with the Asian giant. Could a free trade agreement with India solve the Chinese conundrum?

The Brief – Europe Day: Who’s actually waving the EU flag?

Est. 4min

While the current EU member states need a specific day as a reminder that belonging to the bloc bears advantages, for those outside, every day is ‘Europe Day’.

Migration 07-05-2024

The Brief – Brace for frenzy of EU migration deals with third countries

Est. 5min

Distrustful of the freshly passed asylum and migration pact, EU countries and the European Commission have turned to third-country deals to curb irregular migration, thus finally aligning with Hungary, until recently criticised as a migration hardliner.

Elections 06-05-2024

The Brief – Looking back before we vote

Est. 7min

One month before the EU elections, it is useful to look back and see how the nine previous votes have exemplified historical developments and the changing balance of power in our union.

Media 03-05-2024

The Brief – The EU has a media freedom problem

Est. 6min

The EU likes to think of itself as the birthplace and guardian of the free media. But at least once a year, it has a chance to look the truth in the face - and it's not pretty.