What the French riots mean for the Franco-German relationship

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Good morning. A scoop to begin: The EU is contemplating a proposal to let one in all Russia’s sanctioned banks create a subsidiary that may be allowed to make use of the Swift monetary messaging system, in an try to win the Kremlin’s help for extending the Black Sea grain deal essential for Ukraine’s agricultural exports.

At this time, our Berlin bureau chief dissects the German authorities’s response to French president Emmanuel Macron’s cancelled state go to as a consequence of home riots. And our Madrid bureau chief ponders whether or not driving a motorcycle makes you a leftie.


German chancellor Olaf Scholz stated he understands why French president Emmanuel Macron cancelled his state go to to Germany to take care of riots at dwelling, saying “I’d have performed precisely the identical factor.”

However, he added, such riots wouldn’t have occurred in Germany, writes Man Chazan.

Context: France has been shaken by violent protests since a 17-year-old teenager was shot by police final Tuesday. The riots started calming down yesterday, authorities stated, however Macron determined to stay in Paris to concentrate on the federal government’s response.

Talking in an interview with the German public broadcaster ARD yesterday afternoon, Scholz described the riots as “very miserable”, however stated he didn’t suppose France was coming into a brand new period of instability.

He stated there was no justification for acts of violence and wished Macron “good luck” in coping with the scenario.

Macron’s state go to to Germany, the primary by a French president in 23 years, had been seen as a uncommon alternative to kick-start the sputtering Franco-German engine, seen by many as crucial bilateral relationship within the EU.

Ties between Berlin and Paris have been strained by disagreements over every part from the standing of nuclear power to European co-operation on air defence and reform of the EU’s fiscal guidelines.

However Scholz brushed apart ideas that each international locations would now be denied a possibility to inject contemporary momentum into their relationship. He stated he and Macron “meet virtually each week, and don’t simply name one another”.

Requested whether or not he feared Germany might expertise the identical form of riots as France, he stated that was out of the query.

As proof, he cited the “winter of discontent” predicted by the far-right Different for Germany (AfD) final yr, when Russia suspended gasoline deliveries to Europe, however which by no means materialised as the federal government took the mandatory steps to defend individuals.

“Germany has a tradition of social partnership that stretches again a really good distance, in addition to . . . an efficient welfare state and a superb financial future,” Scholz stated.

Chart du jour: Divergence

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Poverty charges for youngsters in immigrant households are twice that of youngsters in native-born households in additional than half of all EU and OECD international locations. Learn extra within the Datawatch column.

Pedal politics

Does driving a motorcycle make you leftwing? In Spain, the place voters are shifting rightward, there’s purpose to suppose the reply is sure, writes Barney Jopson.

Context: Conservatives made large positive factors in native elections in Might, with the principle opposition Folks’s occasion allying with the hard-right Vox to take management of a number of metropolis councils. Among the new rightwing metropolis governments are focusing on cyclists with a coverage that’s set off a brand new tradition conflict on the elimination of motorbike lanes.

In Elche, a city in Alicante province, two bike lanes are being scrapped as a result of they’re “inflicting plenty of visitors jams and issues with buses and ambulances,” stated PP mayor Pablo Ruz. Different lanes (however not all) are set to be closed in Valladolid, Gijón and Palma de Mallorca.

This could possibly be a harbinger of issues to come back. If the leads to Spain’s snap common election this month are much like the Might vote, Vox might change into the primary ultra-conservative occasion within the nationwide authorities since Spain’s return to democracy 4 a long time in the past.

For individuals on the left, the bike lane cull confirms their imaginative and prescient of rightwingers as automobile lovers who don’t care about local weather change.

However PP chief Alberto Núñez Feijóo, who has a superb probability of changing into Spain’s subsequent prime minister, says he has no downside with bike lanes. “Quite the opposite. I’ve been driving a motorcycle for a very long time,” he informed the FT in an interview.

The PP’s solely objection is to bike lanes which can be badly designed or too brief, he stated. “What occurs in some Spanish cities is that they make bike lanes that don’t connect with the subsequent avenue, or are on slopes that make it actually not possible to make use of the bike,” he stated.

Feijóo doesn’t communicate for Vox, which tends in the direction of radicalism. However what mattered to him, he stated, was doing issues correctly. “We’re in favour of pedestrianisation, bike lanes and public transport, but it surely needs to be effectively managed, effectively deliberate.”

What to observe at the moment

  1. Faculty of EU commissioners visits Spain.

  2. UK international secretary James Cleverly attends assembly of EU-UK Parliamentary Partnership Meeting in Brussels.

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