Hubris and the city

Pierre Moscovici: on psychoanalysis and a tall order

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Pierre Moscovici (59), European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs,  is the son of an adventurous Romanian Jewish immigrant, Serge Mosovici, one of the first to bring Social Psychology in Europe....

Unravelling Macron’s macro-mystery

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He has been accused of being gay, an accusation which in France would usually only provoke a smile. Still, Emmanuel Macron, a centrist former economy minister and ex-banker felt obliged to kill rumors of...

Jeroen Dijsselbloem: (euro)zoning out

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When the Eurogroup chief and Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said that the southern eurozone countries wasted money on ‘alcohol and women’, there was incredulity among all his peers. Then he refused to apologise, which determined Gianni Pittella,...

Mark Rutte: a clever show of Dutch tough modesty

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Dutch liberal leader Mark Rutte won the elections and managed to neutralise the threat from anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders. His victory has brought relief for fellow centrist politicians in the EU, who feared that...

Jarosław Kaczyński: Oh, brother, where art thou?

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Everybody knew he would lose in his fight against Tusk’s renomination, but few expected Jaroslaw Kaczyński to be such a bad loser. But everybody knew he was stubborn. As the former Polish president Lech Walesa...

Geert Wilders – the dye hard Koran-basher

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He is leading the polls in the Netherlands, but who is the dye hard man with a peroxided mane of hair? Can we make fun of his looks? One rule of civilised polemics is that...

The resistible rise of Artur Mas

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Some 40,000 people turned up outside a Barcelona court on 02 February, as the former Conservative president of the eastern Spanish region of Catalonia, Artur Mas, went on trial for staging an informal independence...

François Fillon and the “stink bomb”

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Une "boule puante", a "stink bomb", he shouted, when the respectable French politico-satyrical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné broke the news on Wednesday, 25 January: his British (Welsh, actually) wife Penelope Fillon has pocketed 600,000...

Guy Verhofstadt: the eternal candidate

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Last week, the European liberal party ALDE withdrew its candidate from Tuesday‘s ballot to elect a new speaker of the European Parliament and said it would back the center-right EPP candidate Antonio Tajani, seeking...

More than a gentleman: Paolo Gentiloni

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The new Italian prime minister, the Honourable Paolo Gentiloni, is the scion of an old and wealthy Roman family: a descendant of Count Gentiloni Silveri, related to the Italian politician Vincenzo Ottorino Gentiloni, leader...

Matteo Renzi, the Italian kamikaze

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He gambled and lost. Everybody elsewhere in Europe regrets him now. Whenever there was an EU council, Matteo Renzi was the youngest, the cutest and the most decorative chief of state. He was Italy’s...

Adrian Severin, the “cash-for-amendments” former MEP

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Last week, Adrian Severin has just been condemned to 4 years in jail for corruption. Who is Adrian Severin? Well, the “cash-for-amendments” former Romanian MEP. Until then, Severin (62) wasn’t seen as one of those...

Nicolas Sarkozy and the mutation of a political paradigm

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Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sárközy de Nagy-Bocsa (age 61) would like to become president of France again next year, but some accuse him of trying only to get the immunity again (he was president from...

José Manuel Barroso, the undertaker of EU’s moral code

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The former Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso has brazenly joined Goldman Sachs, the very Moloch that helped the Greek government hide details about its national debt for over a decade. “Barroso has already undermined the...

Theresa May, a “bloody difficult woman”

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A “bloody difficult woman”, said about Theresa May her party colleague, the media-savvy Kenneth Clarke. She keeps being compared with Margaret Thatcher.  A eurosceptic, she discreetly helped Cameron and let Boris Johnson lead the Brexit...

Boris Johnson: the hubris of a “spineless c$&t”

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Boris Johnson ran away from his responsibility and dropped out of the race for premiership last week, rejected by MEPs from his own party. Constrasting with the erratic and foul-mouthed Nigel Farage of Ukip, Boris...

Nigel Farage – when populist resentment wins the day (and the future)

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How would you like a (not-so)United Kingdom with Boris Johnson as prime minister and Nigel Farage as foreign minister? What? Farage head of England’s diplomacy?!… Why, he speaks no foreign language. Well, neither did Catherine...

David Cameron: the man in a dead-end alley

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“He did it to himself” is the general opinion about David Cameron and the dead-end alley in which he dragged his party, the United Kingdom, and finally the whole of Europe. After having, to many...

Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, the agony of her aunt

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Marion Maréchal-Le Pen is the extremely young (26) nemesis of her own aunt, the current Front national (FN) leader Marine Le Pen. There isn’t much to say about Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, other than she...

Norbert Hofer: The Third Man reloaded

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In Vienna veritas! “Magnificent”! “Bravo to the Austrian people”! In France, Marine Le Pen was ecstatic when the results of the first round of the presidential elections in Austria were announced on 24 April and, to the dismay...

Jan Jambon: Dancing with Muslims

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Jan Jambon: first of all, don’t pronounce his name à la française. The name of the tough Belgian interior minister is to be pronounced Yann Yambonn, not Jean Jambon. Tough he is, indeed, Jan Jambon,...

Serbia’s Aleksandar Vučić, the not so gentle giant

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The incumbent pro-European Union populists swept Serbia's parliamentary election in a landslide Sunday, leaving pro-Russia nationalists far behind, according to preliminary unofficial results. The triumph by Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić's Progressive Party means Serbia will continue on its path toward...

Volodymyr Groysman, Ukraine’s first Jewish prime minister

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Help us, God, there’s going to be no gay marriage in this country, ever’. So prayed during his investiture Volodymyr Groysman, Ukraine’s first Jewish prime minister in the country’s history. Groysman also told lawmakers that...

Petro Poroshenko, the man who lost Ukraine

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It didn’t help, in the Dutch referendum on Ukraine, that the name of the president Petro Poroshenko was found on the Panama Papers lists. He defended himself by repeating that there was nothing illegal...

Manuel Valls: the tough, ideal son-in-law

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Last week brought a major defeat for Manuel Valls: he and president François Hollande where forced to abandon the plans to strip the French nationality from people convicted of terrorism, climbing down from the...

Ahmed Aboutaleb, the Woody Allen of politics

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Woody Allen can make politically incorrect jokes about Jews, or so it is accepted. He is Jewish and a permanent object of study for psychoanalysis (he makes politically incorrect jokes about women as well,...

Windfried Kretschmann, a besuited, mass-attending Green

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Germany is the country where an ecologist such as Windfried Kretschmann, the president of the Land of Baden-Württemberg, wears a suit and a tie, attends mass and is elected repeatedly in one of the...

Elvis Pompilio – You can leave your hat on

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When MEPs want to dress smartly — when they need, let’s say, a Borsalino hat —they go to Elvis Pompilio in Brussels. The same goes for high officials who go on expensive trips to...

Arseniy Yatsenyuk: the eternal survivor

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He survived, on Tuesday last week, a no-confidence vote in parliament, but then two junior parties left his government coalition, leaving it hanging in the limbos of incertitude. Arseniy Yatsenyuk once said that taking the...

Christiane Taubira: from Cayenne to Paris

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In 2015, when she was still Justice minister, a Front National (that’s Le Pen’s far-right party) politician called Christiane Taubira “a monkey (or an ape, the French word is the same) who begs for...

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov: the alien gambit

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When it was recently announced that the Obama administration accused the former president of the autonomous Russian Republic of Kalmykia Kirsan Ilyumzhinov of helping Syria’s government to buy oil from the Islamic State, many...

Sandra Kim: surviving the glory of Eurovision

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Nothing is more European than Eurovision. All that kitsch and glitz is in the end what popular culture is after, and it is through this that Eurovision can appeal to various populations and cultures...

Pablo Iglesias: A turn of the screw to the left

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Still in his thirties, Pablo Manuel Iglesias Turrión (born in October 1978) is the secretary general of Podemos since 2014 and Spain’s newest maverick politician. He is the equivalent, at the other end of...

Dealing with refugees in Sicily: Rosario Crocetta, the unconventional governor

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The man overseeing the reception of the flood of refugees in Sicily is the governor Rosario Crocetta, a former Communist MEP, an avowed homosexual, a practicing Catholic and an anti-Mafia campaigner. Crocetta, a former MEP,...

Milo Đukanović seems to have been around forever, or at least since the fall...

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Đukanović is the man in the news nowadays, after NATO foreign ministers have agreed last week to invite Montenegro to join the military alliance. Russia has sent warnings that enlargement of the U.S.-led bloc...
Boris Johnson Mayor of London during his visit to the Western Wall in the old city of Jerusalem, Israel, 11 November 2015. Boris Johnson is on an official visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority; he is expected to visit Ramallah and to meet with the Palestinian Prime Minister later during the day. EPA/ATEF SAFADI

Boris Johnson: London calling

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One could hardly invent a more complex and exotic ancestry, and a more flamboyant character. Boris Johnson is the man everybody loves to hate, a clown even for his followers. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson...

After the Midnight’s Children: the “just” Sadiq Khan

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In Muslim theology, a “sadiq” is a righteous man, a “just”, the exact etymological and historical equivalent of the Jewish “tzadik”. Sadiq Khan, Labour’s surprise winner of London’s 2016 mayoral elections in May, is a human...