Once for a change, Slovenia and Croatia have every right to feel like the centre of the world. It’s not as if they don’t feel like that most of time, but with the final decision of the arbitration tribunal on the border between the two former Yugoslav republics due on Thursday, the attention of much of the continent (if not the world) will be upon them. And it shows.
The disputed maritime border between Slovenia and Croatia
The story of the Slovenia-Croatia border dispute is as long as the independence of the two countries and has in the past quarter-century gone from practically non-existent to near-armed-conflict and back again, with everything in between. It has been used time and again for scoring cheap political points, divert attention from other problems or even (allegedly) coordinated by players on both sides of the borders to swing elections. But in reality it was nothing more than a neighbourly dispute over a few patches of land that got out of hand.
Continue reading Will Thursday Finally See The End Of The Border Dispute Between Slovenia And Croatia?
Much has happened in the two months since the last post on this blog but as luck would have it we are dealing with la presidentielle yet again. Specifically, how the evolution (or is that regression?) of the Slovenian political landscape can be used to explain, albeit in broad contours, ouate de phoque happened in France. And that’s even without Macron’s campaign being hacked hours before the campaign media blackout.
To begin with, it turned out that our reading of François Fillon‘s political fate was spot on. He did cling on by means of ever more ludicrous claims which however did convince enough of his base to stick with him to claim third place. But since there are no points for third place, he is now reduced to claiming that a satire magazine “illegally influenced the campaign“. The absurdity of the sentence alone is worthy of making it Le Canard enchaîné‘s tagline.
Continue reading Notes From A Former Province (part deux)
Many well-placed observers expected François Fillon, the French centre-right presidential candidate to finally pull the plug on his beleaguered campaign as news of him being put under formal investigation finally broke. After all, that was what he promised to do.
Janez Janša and François Fillon being all statesman-like and shit (source)
But it appears the ties betwixt France and Slovenia, the proud observer in La Francophonie, the former Ilyrian province of the French Empire and one of the few European countries other than France to have fond memories of a certain Corsican corporal, are more than just historic and/or cultural. In particular, they seem to include a former French prime minister heavily copying the playbook of a former Slovenian prime minister.
Continue reading For François Fillon, Notes From A Former Province
It’s been 72 hours since The Donald was sworn in as the 45th US president and it is already clear that the next three-to-four years are going to be. So. Much. Fun.
I mean, yes, it will not be pleasant, to say the least. But the US will recover. Let’s not forget just how indignant the same crowd (more or less) was when Dubya was appointed president in 2000. Many people were freely using the term coup d’etat at that point. And indeed, this has brought at least two wars, human suffering beyond belief and an economic catastrophe of biblical proportions. True, it wasn’t all George W.’s responsibility and when shit hit the fan economically, it was the black man left holding the bag, but there you go.
Continue reading The Alternative President
The much-anticipated Brexit Speech by British PM Theresa May yesterday was dubbed the biggest speech of her career. But if there ever was an overhyped media event, this was it. In fact, even the annual State of the European Union addresses by Jean-Claude Juncker have more zest (especially when he goes off-script). But the fact that she basically reiterated that Brexit means Brexit, only in longer sentences, should surprise nobody.
PM Theresa May using longer sentences to say that Brexit still means Brexit (source)
To be fair, May did try and put some meat onto the shaky English skeleton flipping the bird to Europe. She has, for all intents and purposes, outlined the UK’s opening positions when and if Article 50 is triggered. The meat being so-called Clean Brexit.
OT: Did you notice how the narrative has changed? It’s no longer Hard Brexit versus Soft Brexit (with soft being instinctively preferable) but rather Clean Brexit versus… Muddy (Dirty? Unclean?) Brexit. The name alone is designed to make it instantly more appealing to the masses. So, expect this Clean Brexit narrative to be pushed, well, hard, for the next couple of weeks until the March/April deadline for triggering Article 50 (or will that be rebranded as “launching Article 50”?) starts to loom large.
Continue reading Theresa May Day