Caroline de Gruyter

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Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob arrives at an EU Council meeting in Brussels on June 23. Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

At a June European Union summit meeting in Brussels, Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob spoke for 15 minutes about Europe’s energy problems. This was remarkable, as it was his first European summit ever. Usually, newcomers mostly listen at first. If they speak at all, they keep it ultrashort.

Even more remarkable, Golob also spoke on behalf of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. He did it skillfully and with authority, diplomats said afterward. Before winning Slovenia’s elections in April with his new Freedom Movement party and forming a government in May, Golob, an electrical engineer, founded a successful energy trading company, GEN-I, and led it for many years.…  Seguir leyendo »

Boris Johnson and Vladimir Putin at the International Libya conference in Berlin, Germany, January 2020. Photograph: Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik/Kremlin/EPA

The British government has taken the first steps to unravelling its agreement with the EU on Northern Ireland – the so-called Northern Ireland protocol. Many Europeans are baffled by this. How can the government – which not only signed this legal agreement but negotiated it “word by word, comma by comma”, to quote the EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier – just tear up a binding international treaty that only came into force last year?

But surprised, they are not. Not really. Because in its relationship with the EU, the UK is increasingly starting to behave like Russia – by unilaterally creating facts on the ground.…  Seguir leyendo »

Europe Is in Danger. It Always Is.

In July 2020, along with European officials and experts, I was asked to take part in a policy game. Convened by a German think tank, we were asked to play out what would happen if either Matteo Salvini or Marine Le Pen, the far-right leaders in Italy and France, came to power. We spent a few hours frenziedly debating how the European Union would respond to each occurrence. Of one thing we were sure: It would be a disaster.

Neither scenario, of course, materialized. In Italy, Mario Draghi is prime minister and Mr. Salvini is sliding in the polls. In France, President Emmanuel Macron defeated Ms.…  Seguir leyendo »

Eu citizens queuing to vote in the European elections in Berlin. ‘Young audiences understand they have something to preserve. Photograph: John MacDougall/AFP/Getty Images

I’ll never forget my first visit to the European parliament, in 1986. I was a student from the Netherlands. MEPs from 12 member states were discussing a report on broadcasting policy – thick as a brick, full of jargon and endless footnotes – including proposals to break up national television channels, many of which enjoyed monopolies back then. For me, this was boring. All I cared about was funnelling it all into my thesis and graduating. For millions of people who spent hours in front of their TV it was potentially a huge issue – if only they’d known about it.…  Seguir leyendo »