Business & Finanz
The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 08/05/2017

The Economist is the premier source for the analysis of world business and current affairs, providing authoritative insight and opinion on international news, world politics, business, finance, science and technology, as well as overviews of cultural trends and regular Special reports on industries and countries.

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The Economist Newspaper Limited - Europe
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8 Min.
the world this week

Politics In an extraordinary few days, even by the febrile standards of this White House, Donald Trump sacked Reince Priebus as chief of staff. His defenestration came after Anthony Scaramucci, the new head of communications, gave an expletive-laden account of why he thought Mr Priebus was behind a number of recent leaks. Mr Trump replaced Mr Priebus with John Kelly, who had run the Department of Homeland Security. His first move was to deploy his well-honed military discipline and fire Mr Scaramucci. He had held his job for ten days. Preceding the White House drama, the push in the Senate to pass a “skinny” bill on health-care reform failed, when three Republicans, including John McCain, joined Democrats in voting against the measure. Mr Trump signed a bill that imposes sanctions on Russia over…

5 Min.
it could happen

IT IS odd that North Korea causes so much trouble. It is not exactly a superpower. Its economy is only a fiftieth as big as that of its democratic capitalist cousin, South Korea. Americans spend twice its total GDP on their pets. Yet Kim Jong Un’s backward little dictatorship has grabbed the attention of the whole world, and even of America’s president, with its nuclear brinkmanship. On July 28th it tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit Los Angeles. Before long, it will be able to mount nuclear warheads on such missiles, as it already can on missiles aimed at South Korea and Japan. In charge of this terrifying arsenal is a man who was brought up as a demigod and cares nothing for human life—witness the innocents beaten…

3 Min.
no deal

THE pact between Republicans in Congress and the president always looked more than a bit Faustian. Many Republican lawmakers decided to cheerlead for a president who won the nomination by running against their party, in the expectation that he would then help them pass the laws they wanted. They were misinformed. The collapse of health-care legislation has shown that, despite his boasts, the president is hardly a master-dealmaker who can help Republicans get bills through Congress. The defenestration of Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer and the short-lived Anthony Scaramucci shows that he also has a habit of rewarding even his most loyal defenders with public humiliation. This pact is indeed like Faust’s—but without the enjoyable moments of omnipotence before the reckoning falls due. It is past time for Republicans in Congress…

3 Min.
keep your nerve

THINK of it as a Macron micro test: the first industrial intervention by the man French voters put into the Elysée Palace, although he had never held elected office. It involves France’s biggest shipyard, at Saint-Nazaire, on the Atlantic. At the end of last month, rather than see the yard sold into Italian hands, the government of Emmanuel Macron pledged to nationalise it instead. A fervent supporter of the European Union and globalisation, Mr Macron is being accused of nationalism, protectionism and of trying to shore up his declining popularity. It is not that bad—yet. But Mr Macron should be wary of being sucked into an industrial policy that sets back his central aim of making France and the EU more competitive. Shipbuilding in Saint-Nazaire has a troubled past. François Hollande,…

4 Min.
third time unlucky

OF THE 25 people who have held the job of prime minister of Pakistan, not one has served a full parliamentary term. Nawaz Sharif became the latest to find himself unemployed on July 28th, when the Supreme Court dismissed him for omitting some income from the declaration of assets he was obliged to submit as a parliamentary candidate (see page 38). This is the third time Mr Sharif has been ejected from the post: the president booted him out in 1993, the army in 1999. The court’s decision to oust Mr Sharif was questionable, to say the least. It ruled that his incomplete declaration fell short of the constitutional requirement for MPs to be “honest and upright”. But that is an impossibly woolly standard, which could be used to ban almost…

3 Min.
rooms for improvement

ON EVERY side, Britain’s politicians are grappling with problems of immense scale and nightmarish complexity. How to manage the departure from the European Union? How to help a crumbling health service cope with an ageing, weakening population? How to deal with persistent regional deprivation? Yet one national scourge that holds back the economy and poisons politics is readily solvable—politicians just need to be brave enough to act. That scourge is the cost of housing. Through the roof The ratio of median house prices to earnings in England hit 7.7 in 2016, its highest recorded level. In the past four decades house prices have grown by more in Britain than in any other G7 country. Home ownership has been falling for more than a decade, after rising for most of the past century.…