The risk from Rome

With France moving in the right direction, the main political risk in the euro area stems from Italy. Parliament was dissolved on 28 December with elections taking place on 4 March. It is the first election under the new election law with a mix of a first-past-the-post system and proportional representation. The center-right alliance is headed…

The government reopens

It is rare that conservative and liberal media agree, but yesterday the headline “Democrats cave” was ubiquitous. On Day 3 of the government shutdown, Democrats accepted a vague promise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to hold a floor debate after 8 February on DACA (the legal framework for Dreamers), if an agreement has…

Germany moves closer to a government

No excitement, but progress In Germany, the SPD party conference yesterday voted to initiate formal government negotiations with the CDU/CSU. The talks could begin immediately and be concluded within weeks. The result then has to be confirmed by the SPD membership in a referendum, allowing for a new government to take office before easter.  …

United States: kicking the can

A week ago, there was bipartisan bliss. Now Washington has once again descended into partisan theatrics. If bipartisan progress had been made on the draft immigration proposal crafted by Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Graham (R-SC), we probably would not have heard about the President’s foul language just yet. Despite all this, Democrats continue to work…

Washington fireworks

Never a dull moment Those lucky people who spent the first two weeks of the year without Wi-Fi in the Ethiopian highlands or the Amazon jungle have truly missed out on some spectacular Washington fireworks. Many of the events I was expecting later in the year have already materialized, surrealism reached new levels, but there…

Busy bees return to Washington

Congressional leaders returned to work this week with a full plate of legislative leftovers – and with a Republican majority in the Senate reduced to 51-49 after Democrat Doug Jones was sworn in as the junior senator from Alabama. However, Republicans will need 60 votes in the Senate for everything on the agenda. That means…