To receive the Brussels Briefing in your inbox every morning, sign up hereIt was such a politically risky visit that a hundred journalists took a bus at 3:15am from Paris to see French president Francois Hollande walk in the quagmire of Calais on Monday.
Normally, only 20 sign up for presidential visits.For the embattled socialist leader, who is seeking to restore his shattered popularity before (probably) seeking reelection next year, the northern French port was a photo opportunity he had managed to avoid – choosing to expose his interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve instead. The “Jungle” – a shantytown in the fringe of Calais where 9,000 migrants from Africa and the Middle East live in squalor in the daytime and risk their lives to reach the UK at night – has become the symbol of the failure of France and the EU to deal with the largest migration to affect the continent since the second world war.
Local politicians, residents and aid workers oscillate between resentment, revolt and doubt over whether there can be a lasting solution to a daily tragedy that has been unfolding for more than a decade. But for presidential hopefuls such as former president Nicolas Sarkozy, former prime minister Alain Juppe and far-right leader Marine Le Pen, it is a godsend seven months before presidential elections.
They are flexing their muscles and demanding the revision of the Touquet accord, which allows the UK to perform border controls in France. They feel galvanised by the UK’s vote to leave the EU: “Either you’re in or you’re out,” Mr Sarkozy – who, ironically, was the one who signed the Touquet accord in 2003 – said on Monday in reference to Britain.
Faced with the impracticality of moving the border from Calais to Dover and the untimely diplomatic row that would ensue, the socialist president has uncomfortable choices: defend a bilateral agreement negotiated by his predecessor, build a wall to prevent refugees from reaching the land of their dreams, or dismantle the Jungle “completely, definitively.” Talk about political quagmire.
Elsewhere in Europe
Talking Britain up Brexiters found an unlikely ally in the chief executive of Axel Springer, who argued that the UK could do rather well out of leaving the EU. Mathias Döpfner predicted short term pain but long term gain for Britain’s economy. “[In] three to five years from now, my bet would be that England will be better off than continental Europe”. Readers of Springer’s fiscally hawkish newspapers will have few surprises about the reasons: “Europe is step by step transforming into a transfer union,” said Mr Döpfner, “and that can put a lot of investors off”.
Deutsche Bank woe Shares in Deutsche Bank slumped another 7 per cent after it denied that it would need a bailout. In Brussels attention immediately turned to how strictly bailout rules – if necessary – will be enforced.
Plus ça change Deutsche Bank has been pretty dire for a while, points out Alphaville. “Put a dollar in a Dax tracker in 1992, you get $7 [today]. Put it into Deutsche and you get 36 cents.”
Tuesday motivation Gideon Rachman provides today’s excuse to crawl back under the covers and never wake up.
With Britain on its way out of the EU, Donald Trump dangerously close to the White House and Ms Merkel’s political future in doubt, it would be folly to ignore the risks that a more open policy towards refugees could feed the rise of the far-right in the west. The conclusion is bleak: to sustain liberal politics at home, western politicians may have to tolerate outrages against liberal values overseas.
Refugee misery in Hungary Amnesty International accused Hungary of deliberately mistreating asylum seekers ahead of the country’s vote over whether to accept quotas of refugees. The full report is here.
L’affaire Barroso Alex Barker argues that those lashing out at former commission president Jose Manuel Barroso should for taking a job at Goldman Sachs should look closer to homeat Europe’s banks.
“For all its faults Goldman is probably a sideshow. Populists hate to admit it, but Europe’s banking crunch — in Italy, Spain, Greece, Slovenia, Ireland and Portugal to name a few — was as much about low finance as high finance.”
Not an EU army The Italians have come up with their plan to bulk up the EU’s defence capabilities post-Brexit with a plan for a “powerful and usable European Force that can also be employed in support to Nato or UN operations”. Actual headlines in 2016
Boris Johnson lauds his Turkish washing machine on first visit to Ankara British foreign secretary displayed his typically raffish style during first official trip since writing a poem about the Turkish president having sex with a goat
Brexit means … what exactly?
Wonk corner Brexit will reveal the UK economy’s fundamental weakness, argues Simon Tilford at the Centre of European Reform. Read the full piece here.
Britain and the single market ECB chief Mario Draghi called for the EU to take a tough line in negotiations with the UK over Brexit- saying Britain should be refused access to the single market unless it sticks to rules on free movement of labour.
“Regardless of the type of relationship that emerges between the European Union and the United Kingdom, it is of utmost importance that the integrity of the single market is respected,” Mr Draghi said, speaking at the European Parliament on Monday. “Any outcome should ensure that all participants are subject to the same rules.