Monday, June 16, 2014

A new week

British Prime Minister David Cameron had hoped to rally more support for his blocking tactics against former Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker. In this he has been remarkably unsuccessful. The very real possibility now exists that Juncker will be nominated by 25 out of 28 governments and the United Kingdom ( together with Sweden and Hungary ) will find itself with an arch-federalist ( and presumably anti-British ) head of the EU. Ouch ! It has been a long time since the British Foreign Office has failed so miserably and the Brits ( never popular at the best of times ) were left so isolated in Europe. 

London is now desperately hoping that new Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will swing behind the opposition to Juncker. Renzi is young, has a mandate for change and may be willing to see a reform minded President of the Commission emerge. As part of a deal being discussed the current ECB Chief Mario Draghi may be put forward as the governments candidate to replace ageing Italian President Giorgio Napolitano in two years time. Draghi's place would then be taken by Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann. 

With ISIS fundamentalists continuing to advance the US is left in a quandary. There are already signs that the Afghan Taliban are taking heed of what is happening in  Iraq. A US response will need to address not only the situation in Iraq but also the likelihood that a similar reversal may occur in Afghanistan. Expect drone attacks to signal a more hands on response. The resignation of PM Maliki would be a good signal to all parties that reform is belatedly taking hold.

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