Business & Finanz
The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 10/14/2017

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 Catalonia’s president, Carles Puigdemont, declared that the Spanish region had voted for a mandate for independence at a referendum on October 1st, but said he intended to delay acting on it pending negotiations. Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, did not offer talks, asking instead whether Mr Puigdemont was declaring independence or not. A few days earlier, huge pro-Spanish-unity rallies took place in Madrid and Barcelona, urging Catalonia not to secede. Public-sector unions in France staged a one-day strike against Emmanuel Macron’s labour-market reforms. Mr Macron has seen his popularity wane since his election as president in May. America enraged the Turkish government by suspending most visa approvals for Turks, in retaliation for the arrest of a Turkish national employed at the American consulate in Istanbul. Turkey then responded in kind. Running from the…

5 Min.
the world’s most powerful man

AMERICAN presidents have a habit of describing their Chinese counterparts in terms of awe. A fawning Richard Nixon said to Mao Zedong that the chairman’s writings had “changed the world”. To Jimmy Carter, Deng Xiaoping was a string of flattering adjectives: “smart, tough, intelligent, frank, courageous, personable, self-assured, friendly”. Bill Clinton described China’s then president, Jiang Zemin, as a “visionary” and “a man of extraordinary intellect”. Donald Trump is no less wowed. The Washington Post quotes him as saying that China’s current leader, Xi Jinping, is “probably the most powerful” China has had in a century. Mr Trump may be right. And were it not political suicide for an American president to say so, he might plausibly have added: “Xi Jinping is the world’s most powerful leader.” To be sure, China’s…

3 Min.
clear out the cabinet

ONLY six months ago Theresa May seemed all-powerful. Yet the snap election that was supposed to deliver a landslide for the Conservatives instead took away their majority, and with it every shred of the prime minister’s authority. The minority government is paralysed: it lacks the numbers to get anything meaningful through Parliament; the cabinet is unable to agree on anything, or to disguise the fact; and the party is terrified of ousting its feeble leader, lest the subsequent civil war let in the newly rampant Labour Party. Zombie governments like Mrs May’s can stagger on for a long time. John Major spent most of his six years in office in the 1990s fighting assassination attempts by his own backbenchers, yet the ship of state chugged on. The difference today is that…

4 Min.
a cost-benefit analysis

CONSPIRACY theorists who support President Donald Trump fulminate against the so-called “deep state” that is trying to thwart him. The federal bureaucracy of Washington, they believe, is the main source of resistance. But this claim exaggerates the influence of bureaucrats and fails to do justice to Mr Trump’s achievements. The president may not have repealed Obamacare or passed tax reform, but he has overseen, as he promised, a historic slowdown in rule-writing by federal agencies. Since Mr Trump’s inauguration, the flow of new rules has slowed by about 60% (see page 53). Is this an achievement to be proud of? The number of rules is a crude gauge of the burden of red tape. But it belies a much deeper shift in regulatory philosophy. The Trump administration claims that it will…

3 Min.
squandering the peace

WHEN Haider al-Abadi, Iraq’s prime minister, launched the battle a year ago to retake Mosul from the jihadists of Islamic State (IS, or Daesh in Arabic), he declared: “God willing we will meet in Mosul...all religions united. And together we shall defeat Daesh and rebuild this dear city.” The first part of his promise, the defeat of IS, is almost done. Mosul was liberated in July by an alliance of Shias, Sunnis and Kurds, supported by America, Iran and other powers. The fight to eject IS from Raqqa, its Syrian capital, is drawing to a close. Rebuild or rearm But the second part of Mr Abadi’s promise, the reconstruction of Mosul, has been woefully neglected. The fate of Iraq’s second city matters—not just to its people, but as a symbol of the reintegration…

3 Min.
the man who foiled the un

YOU don’t get to be the world’s longest-serving prime minister by leaving your future up to voters. Instead Hun Sen, who has led Cambodia since 1985, relies on curtailing their options. His government is petitioning the courts to dissolve the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), the only opposition group that threatens his grip (see page 45). As it is, the leader of the CNRP, Kem Sokha, is in jail, on charges of treason. His predecessor, Sam Rainsy, has fled the country, as have about half of the party’s 55 MPs. The head of the only other party bar Mr Hun Sen’s Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) to win control of any local councils in commune elections this summer is also behind bars. The evisceration of the opposition ensures that the CPP will…