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Wed 24 Apr 2019 / Europe

Franco-German questions on Europe

The longest-running conundrum in the European Union is: 'Who runs Europe – France or Germany?' With Britain on its way to leaving the EU, France and Germany are preparing in different fashions and with different expectations for a new European chapter in which the continent's two leading economies must come to terms with each other without the moderation of a third major economic and strategic player. If the challenges intensify, Angela Merkel in her twilight phase as chancellor will find President Emmanuel Macron a steely adversary.

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Tue 23 Apr 2019 / Global

Gender balance in central banks

One of the oft-cited arguments used to convince organisations to commit to gender diversity is how it benefits decision-making. Applying such analysis to central banks is tricky, if not impossible, chiefly due to the lack of a robust sample to conduct econometrics. Still, anecdotal evidence and views from central bankers highlight the benefits of diversity in helping to reduce the likelihood of 'groupthink'. Strategies to promote women in finance likewise help promote role models that can change outdated notions about women's abilities.

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Wed 17 Apr 2019 / Europe

Brexit delay may mean end of May

The agreement struck by the EU on the UK's Article 50 negotiating period was a difficult compromise, with few predicting the six-month extension. Theoretically, that should be long enough to facilitate change, if the political will exists. But one major reason to believe October could be too early is that the UK might have a new prime minister by then. Theresa May told Conservative MPs that she would step aside if her deal was passed, having also said in fairly strong terms that she couldn't stay if Article 50 was extended beyond June.

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Wed 10 Apr 2019 / Europe

France, Germany and the future of Europe

Europe continues to be prisoner to a concept of sovereignty developed for its past. Setting European sovereignty against national sovereignty is a mistake that would come at a high price. In the middle are France and Germany. Both are aware that the EU must decide, after the forthcoming elections to the European Parliament, how to face up to the threat of disaggregation. The EU needs institutional capacity-building in the centre, but it also needs member states with their own institutional strength. A new world requires new ideas.

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Tue 9 Apr 2019 / Asia Pacific,Global

Beijing ready to 'China-ise' the West

The West is slowly getting over the idea that China will 'westernise'. The illusion that it is only a matter of time before the population's rising wealth will deprive the Chinese Communist Party of the power it wields is dissipating. China is enjoying growing wealth because the authorities have set loose beneficial market forces. Many western firms have profited from this, and many more crave China's custom. This means Beijing can now take the route of 'China-ising' the West, including by promoting wider use of the renminbi.

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Fri 5 Apr 2019 / Asia Pacific

UK-Singapore ties after Brexit

A panel discussion on 3 April in Singapore, organised by the British Chamber of Commerce, was convened to discuss the probable repercussions of the delay and the implications of Brexit for Asian stakeholders. Speakers at the panel were positive about the future of the Singapore-UK partnership, writes Adam Cotter.

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Tue 2 Apr 2019 / Global

Mood set to be downbeat at IMF meetings

The IMF spring meetings will undoubtedly seek to create a positive buzz around policy-makers. But international co-operation may prove to be in short supply. The US is generating global trade tensions and understandably seen as an unreliable leader and partner. China is fighting off its near-term economic malaise at the same time its growth model is facing rising internal contradictions between the state and markets. An introverted Europe is consumed by its own weaknesses. Behind the curtains, the spring meetings are likely to be a downbeat event.

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Fri 29 Mar 2019 / Europe

UK and Germany 'looking beyond abyss'

Germany and Britain are trying to look beyond the abyss to focus on areas for beneficial bilateral co-operation after the UK's planned withdrawal from the European Union. But a debate on 29 March at the Allianz Forum in Berlin was heavily overshadowed by the impasse over departure. Michael Schmidt, president of the BCCG, presenting to the audience the British embassy-OMFIF report on 'UK-German futures', said: 'To find positive concepts about the future is a much happier task than carrying out a separation.'

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Thu 14 Mar 2019 / Europe,Global

US must pay greater heed of Brexit

It is tempting for Washington to dismiss the UK’s Brexit crisis as a problem affecting a former imperial power with little relevance to the US. That would be a grave mistake. On Wednesday the House of Commons voted to rule out a no-deal Brexit, and an extension of the negotiations seems probable. A stumbling UK is the last thing that an already challenged European economy needs. At a time of considerable global financial market fragility, it would be in the US economic interest to promote a healthy UK and Europe.

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Thu 14 Mar 2019 / Europe

May's deal will never pass parliament

Assuming the opposition parties maintain their vote against Theresa May's Brexit deal because of the contemptuous way May has treated members of parliament (other than Conservative loyalists), and assuming the hardcore anti-European MPs maintain their faith, the prime minister still does not have the votes to get her deal through in the next two weeks. On 30 March, the UK will still be in the European Union.

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