[Discussion] European Political Landscape

There are three elections occurring over the coming year that are of huge importance. They are:

Italian Constitutional Referendum - 04/12/16
French Presidential Election - 1st Round 23/04/17, 2nd Round 07/05/17
German Federal Election - 22/10/17

This thread is to discuss the political realities, results and fallout around these elections. The scope is broad but try to keep the post relevant to the elections referenced above.

Edit - Updated thread title

Prederick wrote:

How the killing of an abusive father by his daughters fuelled Russia's culture wars

Hundreds of social media accounts representing conservative movements are promoting an apocalyptic narrative that claims any moves towards regulating family affairs will lead to the disintegration of Russian families – and perhaps of Russia itself.

If stamping out domestic violence causes that kind of fall-apart, it's well deserved and long overdue.

The Patriarch also recently called all women prostitutes who live with a (male partner) outside of marriage.

That law change regarding domestic violence made beating your family an administrative issue rather than a crime. As long as nothing seriously broken you get a small fine and go on your merry way.

Viktor Orban in Hungary has used the CoVid crisis to complete the country's transition to authoritarianism.

Supposedly the "rule by decree" crisis powers are only temporary, but I'll be very surprised if the "crisis" in Hungary doesn't last for numerous years.

It pains me to say it, since I do love that country, but one of two things have to happen there in the very near future - either regime change (highly unlikely, since Orban's government has rigged public opinion and elections to ensure they maintain power indefinitely), or the EU finally needs to grow some balls and finally throw them out of the EU - also as a warning to similar developments in places like Poland (EU) and Serbia (wants to be in the EU).

Trying to change behavior only through dialog with a bad-faith actor like Orban is like promising a carrot without the threat of a real stick.

Sure, the EU wants to prevent Hungary from turning increasingly to Russia, but that seems to be happening no matter what the EU tries to do via incentives and gentle slaps on the wrist. It's time to hit Orban where it hurts - free EU money.

Of course, he'll just blame Brussels, George Soros, homosexuals and migrants.

I lived in Hungary from early 2007 to early 2012. I remember when the socialist government fell because of Gyurcsány's speech in Balatonőszöd (which to my understanding was a call to action for his government to finally do something productive and beneficial to the country) and Orban's Fidesz took the reigns of goverment.

(I also remember the scary rise of the far-right Jobbik party and the formation ...and luckily outlawing... of its paramilitary guard).

At the time, when asked who I preferred - Gyurcsány or Orbán - I would say I don't know either well enough to choose, but I didn't really like either much - Gyurcsány seemed untrustworthy, but Orbán seemed like he would take the country in directions I was very strongly against.

The latter has definitely turned out to be true.

Agree, AUs_TBirD. You get the feeling that once Brexit was out of the way, Poland and Hungary were next. CoVid has thrown everything of course for now and most member states are using pretty draconian laws to combat it. Unfortunately the Commission has to turn a blind eye to all sorts of breaches of EU directives to roll back the pandemic. However seeing as Orban used his new powers to attack the LGBTQ community, his actual motivations are fairly obvious.

So, AUs_TBirD, is CoVid going to work in Merkel's favour and grant her a fifth term? Derek Scally I find it very well connected in German politics so I take this claim quite seriously. I'd say Macron must be delighted

Also, Johnson admitted to hospital?

I seriously doubt Merkel will go for a fifth term. You really got the impression that she was increasingly keeping a low profile, even in instances when you really wanted her to take a stand - though at least she did in the election in Thuringia earlier this year, in which the new state leadership was elected with help of far-right AfD votes. That didn't last long after massive backlash.

Like the article states - the two figures besides Merkel that have really stood out during the coronavirus crisis have been Markus Söder and Jens Spahn. Söder (and the CSU) represent several political stances that neither I nor my wife would support, but she started following him on FB and I honestly tip my hat to his handling of things.......even if he has ruffled a few political feathers (most notably for announcing a lockdown in Bavaria two days before an agreed upon meeting during which all state leaders were to debate/announce one) in doing so.

Jens Spahn has been very steady in all of this, and I wouldn't be surprised if Merkel doesn't support him whenever the time comes to pick a new lead candidate.

The crisis seems to have been a boon to the established "Volksparteien" CDU/CSU and SPD. These parties have traditionally always held the chancelorship, but have continuously lost voter share in the past decade or more - the SPD has even been in the mid teens lately. Come crisis-time however, voters seem to turn to the traditional powerhouses. The Green party, especially, has lost a notable chunk of voter preference after being in second place behind CDU/CSU since 2018. Others, such as the AfD, have also been feeling some polling pain however.

I see the Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, is renewing his medical license to work part-time as a doctor during the crisis. That's a symbolically impressive and very important gesture, though I'm not sure how sensible it is - especially if he were to get ill and could not execute his government duties. Who takes over in that case? Coveney, Fitzgerald, or Higgins?

Well, I'm hoping for a SPD/Green rump controlling the Bundestag next time around. That is interesting about Spahn, however. I'd have to think that Merkel must be exhausted at this time and is looking for any successor.

As for Varadkar, I'll save my opinion on this for another time but he is very media savvy if he is nothing else. That said, I still don't doubt his desire to help. He is a doctor after all.

As for succession, it would be Tánaiste Simon Coveney. Taoiseach means chief or leader in Irish and Tánaiste means heir to the chief or leader. The Tánaiste doesn't have a portfolio but is usually given the Foreign Affairs Department. Higgins is our Head of State, not terribly different to old Queen Liz. No real power but at the very least Higgins can have the Supreme Court double check bills if they happen to breach our constitution.

Thing, technically Varadkar isn't actually the Taoiseach at the moment. We had our last election in January and the parties are still debating over who will take power. A debate they began before the pandemic started. It's entirely possible, however, that Varadkar, Micheál Martin and Mary Lou-MacDonald could all inform Higgins they cannot form a government. Such an act will trigger a new election. Which brings us right back to the start of this post

Well, Macron certainly sees opportunity in a crisis. Again, I don't necessarily disagree with the sentiment as the details remain to be ever agreed. Still interesting article given the decisions that the EU will face over the coming months. I don't see Macron going anywhere anytime soon so it's really a question of what emerges from Germany.

In other news and not a Brexit story and I don't want that thread to become a UK catch-all, a leaked report was published regarding the Labour Party. You could argue the veracity of the report but the real fallout is that the Tories will hold power for years to come as Labour are going to tear themselves apart. A fractured Labour with just split votes between other parties like Lib Dems and Greens leaving the Tories a free run. Especially since UKIP and the Brexit Party have left the frame.

First past the post voting system fails again.

Is there anyone Italian on the forum who could give some insight into how Italians are feeling about the Eurozone right now?

From the outside it sort of looks like they are about to get screwed Greek style but I can’t tell if that is just because I can only read English language reporting.

Your first link is subscription-only, Axon.

Try a different browser, Malor. Just tested it and that link will open on several of mine. You might have some cookies from a previous visit.

Edit: How do I get rid of the captcha check. It's driving me wild. I've even got this Privacy Pass installed.

Ah, Greece, the memories :).

On Italy getting "screwed", the Eurozone is split on how to proceed. Italy has France and Spain on it's side while the Dutch have Germany. Those five countries basically make up well over half the Euroarea's population and wealth. Therefore, nothing has really been decided and mutualisation of debt put back for another time. Perhaps not for long.

Macron is clearly waiting to see who is going to be the next German leader. No point wasting time with Merkel if she is gone in the next few months. And then again, she might shift dramatically. European unity will trump financial concerns with the Germans when push comes to shove.

Edit: DoveBrown, we should be getting a new Eurobarometer results very soon. Euro support fell in Italy 4% to 61% in favour in from mid 2019 to late 2019. This was due to a fight over Italy's budget with the Commission, I suspect. Remains to be seen what the fallout is from this bailout. It still remains strongly popular in the Eurozone, a fact you wouldn't glean from the British press :).

I'm quite pro-EU, but EU really failed with the early Italy response, with support for their health care system. If there ever is a time to show the worth of working together it would be a moment like that, but apparently that wasn't meant to be. A bigger crisis for EU than Brexit could ever be tbh.

The financial response is complicated. It is not a great solution to show up and bail out Italy, Greece etc. every time they encounter a problem - they actually DO need to change some things themselves.
But the health crisis response should have been simple, and fast. Instead it was just embarrassing.

At the very least, the Commission did hold their hands up over the response to Italy's outbreak. But I'll be fair here and say it's not really the Commission's competence to manage health issues, that remains a Member State's. However, in the vacuum created by the Member State's lack of co-ordination, VDL is taking responsibility for it now. I'm willing to view this as one of the moments that the EU get's hit with and results in a large leap forward. Much like the recent financial and immigrant crisis, it will be interesting to see what comes of it.

That is definitely a subscription-only link here; I've tried it in three different browsers. And my main browser stores almost no state between runs; only a few cookies are preserved. ft.com cookies are not on the to-be-saved list.

No, you are right. I'll see if I can grab the text of it somewhere. It's well worth a read. Macron clearly wants to drive the EU in a direction and is starting to gain allies.

Edit: Updated the above link with I hope is a non subscriber one.

ft.com wrote:

Subscribe to the FT to read: Financial Times Transcript: ‘We are at a moment of truth’ (English)

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later but debt underwriting on an EU level is now a thing. Of course, the "frugal four" will want protections which one suspects is more power to the Commission to enforce rules. The member states don't like ceding, nobody does, but we'll see. Interesting times.

In every beginning dwells a certain magic,” beamed Angela Merkel, cribbing from Herman Hesse, when a freshly inaugurated Emmanuel Macron visited Berlin three years ago. But Germany’s chancellor added an earthy caveat: “The magic lasts only when there are results.” And there have been precious few to speak of. A plan to reboot the euro area was ground down to a budget of homeopathic insignificance. A revised Franco-German treaty substituted symbols for substance. Mrs Merkel and Mr Macron fell out on everything from Brexit to the Balkans. Europe’s “locomotive” was left idle in the sidings.

So the ambition of the two leaders’ proposal for a post-covid eu recovery plan, unveiled on May 18th, came as a genuine surprise. The plan, mainly thrashed out in three videoconferences between the pair, comprises four pillars, including boosting the eu’s health-care capabilities and its economic “sovereignty”, a pet theme for Mr Macron. But at its heart is a recovery fund worth €500bn ($546bn), or 3.6% of the eu’s gdp, to be financed by common borrowing and sitting inside the club’s seven-year budget (“multiannual financial framework”, or mff). Italy and Spain immediately signed on. Markets surged and Italian borrowing costs fell. French media, often hostile to Mr Macron, were c*ck-a-hoop.

Mr Macron would have preferred a larger fund, preferably operating outside the mff. But by far the bigger compromise is Mrs Merkel’s. As covid-19 ripped through Europe, the chancellor resisted calls to lend Germany’s full weight to collective efforts to support the hardest-hit countries. France led a nine-country push for joint and severally guaranteed “coronabonds”, but Peter Altmaier, Germany’s economy minister and a Merkel confidant, dismissed it as a “phantom debate”.

That has not changed. Under the new plan governments’ liabilities would be limited to guarantees equivalent to their contribution to the mff (Germany’s 27% share would leave it on the hook for €135bn). Yet German support for eu debt incurred on this scale is “an enormous shift in principle”, says Iain Begg, an eu-watcher at the London School of Economics. Mrs Merkel’s second concession is to agree that countries that receive the funds, which will be directed to regions and sectors in acute need, need not repay them. Germany, relatively unscathed by the crisis and less exposed to its economic consequences, such as a collapse in tourism, can therefore expect to stump up a lot more than it receives.

The deal appears to have come together only in the few days preceding the announcement, after pressure on Mrs Merkel from both Mr Macron and Olaf Scholz, Germany’s finance minister. Why did she budge? Officials say her first instinct was simply for a larger mff, until it became clear that cash-strapped governments could not afford it. The chancellor repeatedly described the crisis as the worst the eu has ever known, a hint she was open to more drastic steps. A recent ruling by Germany’s constitutional court questioning the European Central Bank’s bond-buying may also have focused her mind on the risks of over-reliance on monetary policy.

Criticism from Mrs Merkel’s conservative allies has been muted. But other challenges lie ahead. The first is to plug the plan’s gaps, among them the rules for allocating funds and repaying the debt. This is the job of the European Commission; its mff proposal, which may offer loans on top of the envisaged transfers, will be unveiled on May 27th. That in turn will kick off fierce negotiations among the eu’s 27 governments, all of which must approve the new budget. Several have already signalled displeasure. Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden, the self-styled “frugal four”, want a smaller fund, loans rather than grants, and tight conditions.

These minnows will surely bow before the combined might of France and Germany, but may extract a price. mff disbursements are usually light on conditions. But the Franco-German deal commits governments that tap the fund to “sound economic policies and an ambitious reform agenda”. German sources have hinted at a role for the annual economic-reform proposals Brussels sends to governments. But accepting structural reforms demanded by outsiders could prove hard to swallow for countries like Italy.

The frugals’ greatest fear is a permanent shift to deeper fiscal integration. The new fund is supposed to be temporary, and can only hope to mitigate the harm to ravaged economies. But establishing the principle that common challenges require common debt may ensure that next time the threshold for action is lower, says Jacob Funk Kirkegaard at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. The need to repay the debt will also spur ideas for common eu revenues, such as a tax on plastic or climate-unfriendly imports. Mrs Merkel’s rhetoric on eu reform has begun a curious shift; in the twilight of her chancellorship she has revived talk of revising its treaties to shift towards “political union”. This week’s may not be her last surprise.

Germany’s Constitutional Court has gone nuclear. What happens next will shape the EU’s future

The judgment everyone is talking about, in the case of Weiss and others, was handed down by the Second Senate of the German Constitutional Court (the Bundesverfassungsgericht, or “BVerfG”) on 5 May 2020. In what might be its most significant ruling in its more than 70-year-long history, the Karlsruhe-based court declared that both the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) and the European Central Bank (ECB) acted outside the scope of their powers (ultra vires) in relation to the Public Sector Purchase Programme (PSPP) launched by the ECB in 2015.

As a result, for the first time ever, the BVerfG declared a judgment of the Court of Justice (the one rendered in 2018 in Weiss) as inapplicable in Germany, and unilaterally granted itself the power to decide on the validity within Germany of the PSPP decision of the ECB, an EU institution under the exclusive jurisdiction of the CJEU.

It may seem that the dispute is one of a technical nature in the field of monetary policy between two very powerful courts in Europe. However, this is by no means the case. The Weiss judgment involves an act of constitutional rebellion with potentially far-reaching consequences at many levels. An understanding of its implications, though, requires putting this ruling into context, as well as examining its content and the consequences it may have in the short and medium term....

...The question now is how the EU should reply. After the recent announcement by Commission President von der Leyen that the launch of an infringement procedure was under consideration, this appears as an inevitable course of action, in spite of the cautions with which it should be managed when applied to “judicial infringements.”.

Although an Article 258 TFEU infringement procedure will not be enough to solve the challenges posed by the BVerfG’s ruling, it can be a useful tool. Nevertheless, in the long-term, further measures will be needed to reshape the scenario for judicial dialogue in Europe. One possible path, as suggested by Joseph Weiler and José Luis Requejo, may be the creation of a constitutional chamber within the CJEU, an ad hoc body composed of EU and national judges that rules upon the request of a supreme or constitutional court when it considers that the EU has manifestly exceeded its powers. In the context of the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe, this is a proposal that could at last be worth discussing.

I'm a bit late posting this up as I was interested to see what the fallout would be. Long story short, the EU is a rules based authority and if those rules cannot be enforced as this ruling does, it will fail. So this is quite serious. Fatal even. However, I've no concern the EU will cease to exist. That fatalism, as I often point out, projection from certain media outlets.

Anyway, the real tangible outcome will be seen at the Conference on the Future of Europe as pointed out in the article. This is VDLs Convention on the Future of Europe. If you consider the Convention gave us the Lisbon Treaty and all those reforms (and conspiracy theories about those reforms), we can expect some significant change coming down the track.

Considering the Commission and VDL are effectively driving a joint financial Union in response to the covid-19 pandemic and succeeding, it appears that major reforms are on the cards.

Soooooo.............................

As Neo-Nazis Seed Military Ranks, Germany Confronts 'an Emeny Within'

Germany has a problem. For years, politicians and security chiefs rejected the notion of any far-right infiltration of the security services, speaking only of “individual cases.” The idea of networks was dismissed. The superiors of those exposed as extremists were protected. Guns and ammunition disappeared from military stockpiles with no real investigation.

The government is now waking up. Cases of far-right extremists in the military and the police, some hoarding weapons and explosives, have multiplied alarmingly. The nation’s top intelligence officials and senior military commanders are moving to confront an issue that has become too dangerous to ignore.

Reads like an episode of 24 or Jack Ryan.

EU Summit: Talks are 'deadlocked' says Italy's Conte

There is very little hope that we'll see a break through this weekend but there is still much to shift through here. There are two existential questions that the EU members will have to answer and they are both wound up in this issue. They are mutualisation of debt and EU members respecting the rule of law.

I expect the former to get solved, the how remains the issues as the article states, and the latter will be vetoed by Orban as he won't like the strings attached. The question is after that is if Orban can be voted over or can the process devised for debt mutualisation be delivered as a seperate treaty just like the Fiscal Compact was. What is 100% sure is no member state is going give funds to Orban without some serious oversight. That would be politically poison for the EU as an institution.

Either way, this was they route Hungary's and Poland's "illiberal democracy" project was bound to go. I mean, did they seriously think Germany or Austria, for example given their past, was going to actually blindly fund the type of policies PiS and Fidesz support forever?

Busy week but wanted to close the loop on this summit as it's significant.

The EU’s leaders have agreed on a €750bn covid-19 recovery package

...

The deal broke two historic taboos, says Silvia Merler, head of research at Algebris Policy Forum, the advisory branch of an asset-management firm. First, Europe’s leaders agreed that the European Commission, acting on behalf of the member states, may incur debt at an unprecedented scale. The ngeu will be funded by borrowing over six years, with bonds issued at maturities extending to 2058. Second, €390bn of the €750bn will be distributed as grants, and hence will not add to governments’ debt loads—breaching what had been a red line over substantial intra-eu fiscal transfers. Both developments would have been unimaginable just six months ago.

...

There are two areas of concern. The first is the price demanded by the frugals. To preserve the recovery grants, cuts fell on so-called “future-oriented” areas like research, health care and climate adjustment. These, critics grumble, are precisely the themes the frugals always said should take priority over farming and regional subsidies, which remain intact. And the frugals won big increases to the rebates they get on their eu budget payments (Austria’s more than doubled). Such small-country triumphs do not fatally undercut the deal, but they cost money and will be bitterly contested at the next mff round.

A second set of worries centred on how to prevent handouts to countries that undermine the rule of law. Wayward governments like Hungary and Poland are big winners from the mff, and some had hoped that attaching rule-of-law conditions to disbursements might help bring them to heel. In the end the leaders agreed on studiously ambiguous language, shaped by Angela Merkel’s team. It promises “a regime of conditionality to protect the budget” but postpones the decision on how to obtain it. “Lots of people will want this made more precise,” says Katarina Barley, a German social-democratic mep.

The wording around the oversight on the grants and other funds going to member states has yet to be formed as stated in the article. This was a practical move to get the deal over the line and separate both processes. The language describes that QMV (qualified majority voting) but everyone read what they wanted into the language. I suspect that when it is clarified, some will be happier than others.

Bild, Merkel and the culture wars: the inside story of Germany’s biggest tabloid

‘It would be ideal if you could hit a deer,” Julian Reichelt, editor-in-chief of Europe’s largest tabloid, Bild Zeitung, told his chauffeur. “Guardian readers could do with a bit more colour.” We had reached escape velocity out of ice-encrusted Düsseldorf. The Mercedes S-Class locked into place like a bobsled on the Autobahn. I sat shotgun with Reichelt’s assortment of sports gear, a hockey stick between my legs. “We are lucky in our driver today,” Reichelt said, deadpan. “Last time we hit a wild boar and the boar and the car went flying.”

I was travelling with Reichelt on one of his publicity tours across Germany. For the past two years, he has made an appointment once a month to commune with groups of Bild’s 1.3 million readers. “You have to feel their emotions,” he told me from the backseat. “You have to listen to their hearts.”

Reichelt, who is 40, made his name as a war reporter in Syria, but today confines most of his battle courage to Twitter, where he enjoys needling the German political establishment and barging into leftwing echo chambers. In person, Reichelt exudes a twitchy exuberance, like a fighter pilot who has managed to smuggle champagne into the cockpit. His eyes restlessly gauge the world around him, clocking who he needs to avoid and who he needs to attract. Into his phone, he volleys directives to subeditors, assistants and the band of young male disciples he sends around the world to collect stories. “The leading populist in western Germany,” is how Albrecht von Lucke, editor of the prestigious left-liberal monthly Blätter, describes him.

Available at train stations, supermarkets, bakeries, kiosks, factories, Portuguese beach resorts, online, and everywhere else Germans buy things, Bild Zeitung squats like a large toad on German life. Bild, which was partly modelled on the Daily Mirror, is the largest newsprint publication in the world that uses Roman characters. Unlike its closest analogue in Britain, the Daily Mail, it has no real national competitors. Twenty regional editions seep into every pore of the country. Each month, its website attracts about 25 million readers. Bild is the prize battleship of Axel Springer, the German company founded in 1945 by the rightwing publisher of the same name. Today, Axel Springer is the largest media publishing firm in Europe, and is valued at about €7bn. Last year, the US private equity firm KKR acquired a 44% stake in the company.

For decades, Bild was an object of scorn for any self-respecting West German of social democratic orientation. In a political culture more conformist and decorous than most of its western peers, Bild functioned like the Las Vegas strip, concentrating all of the Federal Republic’s seediness in one place. Seven days a week, Bild pumped free-market mantras, alongside ads for car tyres and chicken wings, into the stiff arteries of cold war West Germany. Bild decried long hair on men and the marriage of its top models to foreigners. It genuflected before South African apartheid, Greek dictatorship, Bavarian sedans and American Pershing missiles. Above all, Bild dedicated itself to the destruction of communist East Germany, and fought a long battle against what it viewed as enemy collaborators in the leftist student movement at home.

Such was the stature of Bild in West Germany that in 1965, after the daily rose in price from 10 to 15 pfennigs, Axel Springer, who referred to Bild as his “dog on a chain”, proposed to Chancellor Ludwig Erhard that the state introduce a special 15 pfennig coin to make it easier to purchase the paper. Meanwhile, the East German Stasi was so impressed by Bild as a state propaganda tool that it crafted its own – imaginatively titled – NEUE Bild Zeitung, which was sold at the border with West Germany, where it conspicuously failed to wean class enemies off the original.

Today Bild is paradoxically less influential than it was in the 60s, but more politically important. “I read it first in the morning because it is the agenda-setter,” says Josef Joffe, the publisher-editor of the liberal weekly, Die Zeit. “Politicos in Berlin probably read it first in the morning as well.” The paper enjoys a close relationship with the German political elite. The former German chancellor, Helmut Kohl, was one of the best men at the wedding of former Bild editor, Kai Diekmann, and in 2008, Diekmann performed the same role for Kohl at his wedding. “Kohl rules with Bild,” the Nobel laureate Heinrich Böll wrote, and Kohl’s successor as chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, affirmed the practice: “To govern I need Bild, Bild Sunday’s edition, and the telly,” he once said.

As someone currently reading a book about the 30 Years' War and the various incompetent heads of state, this tickles my fancy.

Spain’s emeritus king Juan Carlos I to leave country amid tax haven scandal

Spain’s emeritus king Juan Carlos I has informed his son, King Felipe VI, of his “well-considered decision to leave Spain,” and his residence at Zarzuela Palace, where he has lived for the last 58 years. The decision comes after Swiss and Spanish prosecutors opened an investigation into bank accounts allegedly held by Juan Carlos in tax havens.

In a letter to his son released by the Royal Household, Juan Carlos writes that due to the “public impact” of the investigation, he has decided to leave Spain in order to enable Felipe VI to act as head of state from a place of “peace and tranquility.”

The complete letter reads:

“Your majesty, dear Felipe, with the same zeal to serve Spain that inspired by my reign and faced with the public impact that certain past actions of my private life is causing, I wish to show you my absolute willingness to contribute to helping the exercise of your functions from the peace and tranquility required of your high level of responsibility. My legacy, and my own dignity as a person, demands it.

“A year ago, I told you of my willingness and desire to stand down from my institutional activities. Now, guided by the conviction to provide the best service to Spaniards, its institutions and to you as King, I am informing you of my well-considered decision to move away from Spain.

“It is a decision I take, with deep feeling but great calm. I was king of Spain for 40 years and during all those years I have always wanted the best for Spain and the Crown.

“With my loyalty always.

“With great affection, you father.”

According to the press release from the Royal Household, Felipe VI has told his father of his “respect and appreciation” for the decision.

Since when the hell did we have King Emeritus? Is it because I am an American? Because I've only ever heard of Professor Emeritus. What in the name of Crusader Kings are you people doing over there?

Prederick wrote:

As someone currently reading a book about the 30 Years' War and the various incompetent heads of state, this tickles my fancy.

Spain’s emeritus king Juan Carlos I to leave country amid tax haven scandal

“Your majesty, dear Felipe, with the same zeal to serve Spain that inspired by my reign and faced with the public impact that certain past actions of my private life is causing, I wish to show you my absolute willingness to contribute to helping the exercise of your functions from the peace and tranquility required of your high level of responsibility. My legacy, and my own dignity as a person, demands it.

“A year ago, I told you of my willingness and desire to stand down from my institutional activities. Now, guided by the conviction to provide the best service to Spaniards, its institutions and to you as King, I am informing you of my well-considered decision to move away from Spain.

“It is a decision I take, with deep feeling but great calm. I was king of Spain for 40 years and during all those years I have always wanted the best for Spain and the Crown.

“With my loyalty always.

“With great affection, you father.”

According to the press release from the Royal Household, Felipe VI has told his father of his “respect and appreciation” for the decision.

Since when the hell did we have King Emeritus? Is it because I am an American? Because I've only ever heard of Professor Emeritus. What in the name of Crusader Kings are you people doing over there?

1. I bet he wrote that in cursive.
2. This leaves him free to fulfill the prophecy and drive a Zamboni.

Axon wrote:

Busy week but wanted to close the loop on this summit as it's significant.

The EU’s leaders have agreed on a €750bn covid-19 recovery package

It seems short-sighted to take on bond payments for the next 38 years. What are they going to do when the next crisis comes in the next decade?

It is also surprising the EC is taking on the huge debt. What happens when a country leaves the EU, like Britain did. Does their 'portion' of the debt just transfer to the other states that are still members?

“It is a decision I take, with deep feeling but great calm. I was king of Spain for 40 years and during all those years I have always wanted the best for Spain and the Crown.

Ah yes, stealing from your citizens to line your own pockets in offshore bank accounts and tax havens to avoid paying taxes. Doesn't sound to me like he wanted what was the best for Spain.

LeapingGnome wrote:
Axon wrote:

Busy week but wanted to close the loop on this summit as it's significant.

The EU’s leaders have agreed on a €750bn covid-19 recovery package

It seems short-sighted to take on bond payments for the next 38 years. What are they going to do when the next crisis comes in the next decade?

It is also surprising the EC is taking on the huge debt. What happens when a country leaves the EU, like Britain did. Does their 'portion' of the debt just transfer to the other states that are still members?

Short-term debt would seem entirely appropriate for this kind of crisis, but not long-term. That's a bad idea.