Thursday, July 23, 2020


Il est bon que l'accord UE sur le plan de relance post Covid 19 et sur le budget 2021 /2027 ait pu etre agree. 

Les longues journees et nuits de Bruxelles auront mis la patience de tous a dure epreuve. S'il est bon que le concept de solidarite ait pu etre sauvegarde, il n'en reste pas moins vrai que les fractures apparues resteront durables.

Le clivage entre "economes" et "depensiers" va laisser des traces, bien que le principe innovateur de subvention est maintenu. Que la Hongrie et la Pologne aient pu monnayer leur accord pour une exoneration morale peut etonner. 

Grace aux efforts Macron / Merkel surtout, l'accord a ete obtenu mais a l'arrachee. Charles Michel a ete  Belge. Le compromis l'a emporte sur l'engineering conceptuel. Le Premier Ministre neerlandais (et ses "suiveurs", en premier lieu l'Autriche) a ete deplaisant, quoique intellectuellement redoutable.

En realite, l'accord intervenu ne peut occulter les tensions et les divisions qui demeurent entieres entre un noyau puriste et un plus large consensus qui continue a privilegier une philosophie d'inclusion. A l'avenir, il sera difficile de trouver d'autres accords plus institutionnels, des lors qu'il faudra trancher entre plusieurs approches en vue de doter l'Union Europeenne de nouveaux moyens diplomatiques et militaires.

Pour l'essentiel, le cadre reste donc entier, bien que les membres du camps neerlandais aient desormais un droit de regard sur les subventions. Les relations personnelles entre certains chefs d'etat et de gouvernement ne sortent pas indemnes de ce marathon. 

Angela Merkel sort grandie de cet exercise. A l'heure ou l'Allemagne preside l'UE, les deniers mois du Chancelier sont reellement bismarckiens. On voit mal qui lui succedera . Sans elle, Macron risque de perdre une valeur ajoutee indispensable.

L'Europe peut difficilement se permettre un remake de ce Sommet lugubre si elle veut eviter que Bruxelles soit definitivement associee a Varennes.

Saturday, July 18, 2020


John Lewis, Congressman from Georgia, civil rights icon died. He was as strong in his convictions as he remained courteous during all the ordeals he lived through.

He was a man of rare class in times that often feel as if mutual respect risks extinction.

He was important not only to Americans but to all who are sickened by the wave of racist brutality which has become the poisonous daily supplement. Even in death, the usual Republicans, Trump or Marco Rubio, found in them to offend his memory by mistaken identity or a bland salute from the golf course. Speaking of taste...

Even Belgium could pay tribute, by finally honoring Roger Casement and Edmund Dene Morel, who uncovered the other face of the Congo narrative. Justice is less served by tearing down statues than by setting the record straight.

Friday, July 17, 2020


Under normal circumstances President Trump should already be considered as a passing aberration, with just a four-month life-span left and no future.

But...never underestimate this chief arsonist. He will resort to every troll, lie and misrepresentation to hold onto an office he stole. He stacked the Department of Justice with his cronies,  to serve only one purpose: himself. His rule by putsch has already bankrupted America's moral fiber and standing.

He has no other international following than the group of murky leaders in Russia, India, Brazil, Eastern Europe. In America he acts mostly through a Mafia-like family concern. The Republicans know too well that his demise would be their death warrant. Their corrupt servility will haunt them in the future.

If he loses in November, one should expect a nightmarish scenario of claims and disputes, supported by his Diane Arbus- like base and by the "coal death squad lobby" that got a free pass from him to kill and pollute. 

The Western Alliance might recover during a Biden presidency. The Democrat might not be the most inspiring candidate but he is a man of honor, a Mensch. Nobody in Trump's entourage comes close to the former vice-president's self control and suave convictions. No doubt the EU, NATO, the WHO, the Paris climate agreement would feel elated after having endured  four years of outrage.  So would America's natural wonders, after the corrupt mishandling by Trump's Neanderthals and "poacher sons". Most of all, America would be able to heal the wounds of racial warfare, discrimination and voting abuses.

Nevertheless it could still get worse during this presidential race, which will become even more merciless and vulgar on Trump's side. Everything is readied for a crusade against fact , truth and science. This president is never about anything other than himself or his close family, which will finally be under scrutiny as soon as the godfather quits. He will be tempted to come up with a September surprise, magnified by Fox News. He will always find a fool, like the Mexican president, who will do anything for a photo-op.

If he were to win (by way of the Electoral College) one may as well sign up for the de facto partition of the country. If he were to lose, one might consider a civil war between the more rural  and the coastal states.

America has now its own version of Maduro!   If Americans  were to re-elect this Manchurian psychopath, they would only confirm all the nasty things Gore Vidal said about them. Yesterday's mepris might be tomorrow's truth!

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Belgique : On aura tout vu...

Voila que Jan Jambon, Ministre President Flamand , vient de suggerer que certains portefeuilles federaux soient attribues a deux personalites, representant la Flandre et la Wallonie... comme si ce pays, qui plie deja sous le nombre insupportable de ministres et d'administrations deliquescents, n'en avait pas raz- le-bol .

Friday, July 10, 2020


On July 17/18, the 27 EU member states will convene in Brussels for the most arduous of decisions, the coming seven- year budget 2021/2027. Charles Michel, president of the Council will have to find common ground to steer this mega- ambition through the ruff waters of discontent. The numbers are staggering:  1.074 trillion euros budget and 750 billion euros for a recovery fund (grants and loans).

The divisions run deep. The Netherlands are leading a group of countries (Austria, Denmark, Sweden) which oppose the philosophy of solidarity and pursue greater meritocracy under supervision of the fittest. Financial support for the weaker member states would only be considered if a number of prior monitored measures and conditions could be fulfilled.

Germany is in charge of the EU presidency since July 1st. It is  to be expected that Chancellor Merkel will actively consider every effort which to avoid a split and the de facto creation of a secondary tier of states among the 27.

While China and Russia are consolidating their control, the West looks vulnerable. The United States are in an existential free-fall and the EU looks rudderless. The pandemic's range remains unclear but even in the best of scenarios, the long-term consequences are ominous. The Covid-19 is a watershed in history.

Obviously the traditional Keynesian approach will not be enough. What is needed is an engineering toolbox that is geared to multiple, diverse priorities and avoids the suspicion of being sanctimonious. The Thatcher cry "I want my money back" should not be heard in the dire straits the EU finds itself in. One is tempted to sulk over "the good old days" of Jacques  Delors, but nostalgia for the past is no remedy for the future.

The prevailing feeling is one of exhaustion. The lack of an elementary mission statement is becoming a liability. It is also true that many European states look pathetic in their denial of fact. Belgium is a prime example of a state with bankrupt institutions that go against every notion of efficiency, transparency and rationality.  One must hope that the Belgian curse will not end up infecting the workings of Europe as a whole. The ambition of great endeavors should be spared the crudeness of small minds.