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April

Tue 12 Apr 2016 / Europe

Cameron’s unsatisfactory deal

In attempting to renegotiate Britain’s EU arrangements, David Cameron, the prime minister, has not secured a satisfactory deal. The UK has failed to enshrine the supremacy of UK law and parliament over European decision-making. The European court of justice can override the UK ‘supreme’ court. Cameron is unlikely to achieve the fundamentally reformed EU for which he urged the electorate to vote. In the 23 June vote I favour leaving the EU, with which the UK will retain close and friendly trading arrangements.

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Thu 7 Apr 2016 / Europe

Target-2 imbalances rise again

The European Central Bank’s quantitative easing, first announced in January last year, has – as its most visible effect – reduced the euro’s value against the dollar. It has had little impact on headline inflation, largely driven by oil price movements. But the ECB’s programme of purchasing €1tn worth of bonds has had some unwelcome side-effects, by increasing intra-euro area imbalances among national central banks, the so-called Target-2 balances.

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Mon 25 Apr 2016 / Asia Pacific

China accelerates SDR bond platform

China appears likely to speed up promotion of the International Monetary Fund's special drawing right under a plan to prepare a platform this summer for SDR borrowing by Chinese and foreign entities on China’s onshore capital market. The initiative, depending on the market response, could allow the SDR to become a currency in its own right, rather than an artificial, narrowly used aggregation of leading currencies. But this is a long journey that faces many hurdles and may never be completed.

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Tue 5 Apr 2016 / Europe

Fear of fissiparous forces

Many Britons might well have qualms in principle about deciding to stay within a grouping seen as so unstable that the UK’s departure might prompt its collapse. But the fear of fissiparous forces after a EU break-up may persuade many voters they should restrain their instinctive wish to leave an entity they do not really like. This viewpoint was born out by a poll of the OMFIF advisory board carried out in March, the findings of which are contained in the OMFIF Bulletin for April, which will be published this week.

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Wed 27 Apr 2016 / Europe

Back to hopelessness

I fear that, if the British decide to leave on 23 June, this will be, for the Germans, an enormous disappointment. Bereft of British support, Germany could be hemmed in by a coalition of forces within the euro area embarked on economic and monetary policies inimical to its interests. That could change the face of German politics in a way that can hardly be foreseen. The Germans would, once again, feel left alone. I do not wish it to happen but it might: the return of hopelessness, a period of darkness across the heart of Europe.

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Fri 8 Apr 2016 / North America,Europe

Nato needs an independent UK

Britain has always been a leader in strategic analysis and military readiness. It is also a generally well governed country. The EU is none of these and that is the problem. EU membership is stifling Britain’s inherent strengths in the field of security. Nato and the western alliance’s capability to act co-operatively to preserve peace and security in the western world would benefit from British exit from the EU. British voters on 23 June will have to come to terms with this reality, and decide accordingly.

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Wed 6 Apr 2016 / North America

Wisconsin turns the tables

The state of Wisconsin occupies a special place in US political history, and the primary votes there this week may prove pivotal for the 2016 presidential race. This year, Wisconsin voters have upended both the Republican and Democratic races for the nomination, handing double-digit victories to the second place candidates in both parties – Ted Cruz for the Republicans and Bernie Sanders for the Democrats. The consequences for both the frontrunners, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, could be significant.

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Fri 22 Apr 2016 / Europe

Why Europe needs Britain

The UK immensely enriches the European Union. The British bring about a useful equilibrium, offsetting corporatist tendencies embedded in Germany and Italy. They provide a contribution based on pragmatism and empiricism. Europe without the UK would simply not be the Europe we need. Especially now, when dangerous and uncontrolled forces are shaking world politics and with the global economy again under pressure.

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Wed 27 Apr 2016 / North America

Wage stagnation overshadows US poll

America’s economic worries hover like dark clouds over the presidential candidates’ campaign trail. In past campaigns, candidates could focus on shiny promises of education, a good wage, home ownership and future prosperity for voters’ children. This time, wage stagnation is the central issue – reflecting the electorate’s fears of losing both income and hopes for the future. Whoever takes office in January will have to find sound policies that can move America and Americans forward.

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Thu 7 Apr 2016 / Europe

EU would be better off without the UK

In a globalised world no individual European state can prosper on its own. Handling terrorism, refugee flows, climate change, financial stability: all these and many more problems require an ever more integrated Europe. We Europeans cannot wait for latecomers, nor can we constantly take care of permanently dissatisfied members. The British cannot always expect that the rest of Europe will allow them to ‘have their cake and eat it'. The British should go ahead and leave. The rest of Europe will be better off without them.

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