The path to European Parliament elections is cluttered with national mishaps – these days a particularly remarkable one came to light: a video leaked to German media Süddeutsche Zeitung and Spiegel shows Austrian (now former) vice chancellor Hans-Christian Strache of the far-right FPÖ party getting himself into a talkative mood in Ibiza, dreaming of autocratic rules and badmouthing his political counterparts in Austria whilst offering state contracts to an alleged Russian investor (who happened to be a good-looking lady) in exchange for her buying the popular news media „Kronenzeitung“, getting rid of some critical journalists and promoting his party.
Whilst Strache and his FPÖ colleagues are desperately trying to deviate attention from what he said to the fact that he was framed, the Austrian government is crumbling, and so are hopefully the stakes for the next Far-Right party group in the European party group.
Other far-right parties, such as the German AfD, are thus already eager to stress that this case is an internal, Austrian problem. With less than a week to the European Parliament elections, crisis management is more than necessary.
Which is also true for the Heads of State, where even a recent slight translation problem of confusing a struggle with each other with a full-blown confrontation can push the tensions up between France and Germany, and where it remains all but clear if the elected “Spitzenkandidat” will have a chance to become Commission President (meaning that it is more likely that he will not).
Google, Facebook and Twitter – a big surprise – are apparently far from helping, and the Commission is getting angry and is publicly scolding the tech giants, in the absence of any immediately working stronger instruments.
Almost forgotten over the electoral personnel issues is the hot topic of the past months: Brexit. Do not hold your breath: Tories and the Labour party do not find any common ground, but withdrawal agreement is going to one last vote on 3 June for a very probably 4th defeat. That will most certainly mean that Theresa May has to resign, and figures such as former London mayor and Brexiteer-of-the-first-hour Boris Johnson already self-declared their interest in taking over.
Almost without attention the Romanian presidency assured in yet another aspect that it is unfit for running the EU, even if it is only for 6 long months: rather than steering the legislative process in a presidential manner to achieve an acceptable compromise on alcohol excise duties, the Romanian finance minister blocked the whole process in an attempt to push through an exemption for his local alcohol producers.
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