News from the Capitals #39

by RPP colleagues

 

Europe is a colourful continent in terms of policies and outcomes. It is essential to stay updated on how these policies may impact your work to build better regulatory frameworks, enhance your message and enhance communication with stakeholders. Here you can find a summary of the major European political updates of this week.

 

France

The results of the first round of the legislative elections show the preeminence of President Macron’s Ensemble coalition and the left-wing NUPES group. While the president will for sure obtain a majority at the National Assembly, it is not certain it will be an absolute one. Besides, right-wing party LR further lost districts, while the far-right RN should be able to form a parliamentary group (> 15 deputies). Eric Zemmour’s Reconquête was severely beaten.
Both Ensemble and NUPES have called for voting against RN candidates, in a move that is reminiscent of the long-standing practice of the “Republican front” against the far-right.

All ministers have qualified for the second round, albeit with every uneven results. Some of them may face hurdles in securing their reelection and their defeat would entail their resignation from the government, according to an unwritten rule put in place under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy. According to the media, a governmental reshuffle is already being thought of, and could be announced after the elections.

Bills supported by the government should also be introduced after the elections, in particular that on purchasing power; the Senate, for its part, will introduce a bill to streamline the State’s recourse to consultancy firms, in the wake of the McKinsey scandal.


UK

After months of failed negotiations and continued trade disruption, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss this week laid out the government’s new legislation that will unilaterally override parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol. The European Union has announced it is launching legal action over the UK’s decision which could lead to months of further uncertainty and disruption.

The UK will also face months of discussion and debate with the EU over its new Rwanda deal which looked to relocate migrants to Rwanda after the European Court of Human Rights stopped ministers deporting the migrants on the first flight. Following the intervention by the ECHR, several Conservative MPs have called for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights.

Domestically, Boris Johnson is once again facing calls for his resignation after Lord Geidt, his ethics advisor, resigned unexpectedly on Wednesday evening. While it is not yet clear what caused Geidt to resign after months of turmoil in Downing Street, it is nonetheless damaging for Johnson as he loses his second ethics advisor since taking up the role and continues to face questions over his honesty and integrity.


Spain

The Council of Ministers has approved, in the second round, a bill that amends several health regulations with the aim of plugging the remaining holes in the universality of healthcare and, according to the Government, eliminating co-payments and shielding itself against the privatization of public healthcare.

This Sunday, June 19, the autonomic elections will take place in Andalusia and so far, it appears that the polls favor the Partido Popular.

Diplomatic relations between Algeria and Spain are in a complicated situation. Last week Algeria announced that it was suspending the Treaty of Friendship with Spain, a political and commercial cooperation agreement in force since 2002, because of Spain's support for Morocco over Western Sahara.

This decision jeopardized trade agreements between the two countries and, on the rebound, threatened to paralyze gas supplies and provoke a serious energy crisis in Spain, since Algeria is the main supplier of gas to the Spanish market.

As a member country of the European Union (EU), Spain turned to the European authorities for support. The European Union issued an official communiqué denouncing that Algeria's decision could be considered a violation of European trade laws, which could imply EU-wide sanctions against Algeria.

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