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The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 05/05/2018

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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8 min.
the world this week

Politics South Korea said that American troops would remain in the country even if it does reach a deal with North Korea to end the Korean war formally. The statement came a few days after a much-trumpeted meeting between Moon Jae-in, the South’s president, and Kim Jong Un, the North’s dictator, in the demilitarised buffer between the countries. Mr Kim made lots of non-specific pledges about working towards a nuclear-free Korean peninsula. He is expected to meet Donald Trump soon. India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, and China’s president, Xi Jinping, held an informal summit in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. The meeting was aimed at defusing tensions between the two countries, which rose last year during a border dispute. After the summit, Chinese media said the two countries’ armies had agreed…

5 min.

RARELY do optimism and North Korea belong in the same breath. However, the smiles and pageantry in April’s encounter between Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in, leaders of the two Koreas, hinted at a deal in which the North would abandon nuclear weapons in exchange for a security guarantee from the world, and in particular America. Sadly, much as this newspaper wishes for a nuclear-free North Korea, a lasting deal remains as remote as the summit of Mount Paektu. The Kims are serial cheats and nuclear weapons are central to their grip on power (see Asia section). Moreover, even as optimists focus on Korea, nuclear restraints elsewhere are unravelling. By May 12th President Donald Trump must decide the fate of the deal struck in 2015 to curb Iran’s nuclear programme. This…

3 min.
block the call

SO MANY false starts would have soured other romances. Resistance from antitrust authorities halted a union between T-Mobile and Sprint, America’s third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers, in 2014. A row over merger terms scuppered talks last year. But the attraction never dimmed. This week the pair announced an all-stock deal that would create a company with a heft similar to that of AT&T and Verizon. The happy couple promises lower prices for customers, higher profits for shareholders and a sharpening of America’s technological edge (see Business section). Regulators should be sceptical. The tie-up is bad for consumers; and there are better ways to build whizzy new networks. Consumer welfare first. The international evidence suggests that cutting the number of big operators would be bad for customers. Research by British regulators into 25…

3 min.
identity crisis

THE harassment of the Wind-rush generation of Caribbean migrants is a shameful chapter in Britain’s history, and ministers are paying for it. One home secretary resigned on April 29th; her predecessor, Theresa May, now the prime minister, is weakened. It falls to Sajid Javid, who took charge of the Home Office this week, to clear up the mess. There is little to like about Mrs May’s migration policy. The state-led hounding of thousands of law-abiding British citizens was a side-effect of the “hostile environment” for illegal immigrants that she created as home secretary. Indeed, Mrs May’s rigid insistence on reducing net inflows to the arbitrary level of 100,000 a year created a hostile environment for all migrants, not just the illegal ones (see Britain section). Landlords, employers and others were given new…

4 min.
non-selective nonsense

“LIKE organising a shipwreck in order to find out who can swim,” is how Alain Peyrefitte, then France’s education minister, described his country’s non-selective system of recruiting university students half a century ago. Peyrefitte hoped to transform the system by introducing selective admissions. He failed, and instead triggered the student uprising of May 1968. Now President Emmanuel Macron, attempting a similar reform, has also brought students out on the streets (see Europe section), and the French hear echoes of soixante-huit. But he is right to try to reform a wasteful higher-education system, just as Peyrefitte was. France’s model is inefficient, inequitable and allows too many young people to sink without a chance. Napoleon who? That model traces its roots to 1808, when Napoleon Bonaparte introduced the baccalauréat and decreed that anybody who…

3 min.
augean angola

IF ANY country ever needed a fresh start, Angola does. It is more corrupt than Nigeria; its infant mortality is higher than Afghanistan’s. Until September it had been ruled by the same man, President José Eduardo dos Santos, for 38 years—more than twice as long as most Angolans have been alive. Even in retirement, many expected Mr dos Santos to continue pulling the strings; he remains head of the ruling party. Hardly anyone expected his successor, João Lourenço, to break the chokehold that the dos Santos family and their cronies have on the Angolan economy. So Mr Lourenço’s first few months in office have pleasantly surprised (see Middle East & Africa section). He has ousted Mr dos Santos’s daughter, reputed to be Africa’s richest woman, from her perch at the top…