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The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 07/21/2018

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

Politics President Donald Trump of America and President Vladimir Putin of Russia met in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, for their first-ever summit. The bulk of the meeting was conducted without officials present, leading to much confusion. In their press conference, the two men praised each other and appeared to be in broad agreement. Mr Trump even exonerated Mr Putin of interfering in America’s election, in defiance of his own country’s intelligence assessments. However, in subsequent days, he appeared to change his mind. America’s Department of Justice charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking Democratic officials in the presidential election of 2016. The indictment was the first by American officials to directly charge Russia’s government with meddling in the poll. In an unrelated case, a Russian woman, Maria Butina, appeared before a court…

5 min.
a plan to save the wto

THE headquarters of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), on the banks of Lake Geneva, once belonged to the League of Nations. That ill-fated body was crippled by American isolationism. The building’s occupant today is also at the mercy of decisions taken in Washington. President Donald Trump has circumvented the WTO to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports, including those from America’s allies. Complaining of unfair treatment, the administration is blocking nominations to seats on the WTO’s appellate body, which could leave it unable to hear cases after 2019. Most ominously, America is embroiled in a trade war with China. Both sides have imposed tariffs on goods worth tens of billions of dollars and are threatening worse. The WTO was supposed to contain trade disputes and prevent retaliatory pile-ups. Today it appears…

3 min.
humiliation in helsinki

DONALD TRUMP likes to boast that he does things differently from his predecessors. That was certainly true of his trip to Europe. In Brussels he chided Germany for a gas deal that left it “totally controlled by Russia”. In England he humiliated his host, Theresa May, blasting her Brexit plan before holding her hand and hailing “the highest level of special” relationship. From his Scottish golf resort he called the European Union a “foe” on trade. And in Helsinki, asked whether Russia had attacked America’s democracy, he treated President Vladimir Putin as someone he trusts more than his own intelligence agencies. It was a rotten result for America and the world. Americans were more than usually outraged. At the post-summit press conference in Helsinki, with the world watching and the American…

4 min.
the case for a second referendum

THE new Brexit plan has crumpled on its first contact with reality. Faster than even we expected, Parliament has been seized by the idea that Theresa May might not be able to win a majority for a Brexit of any sort. If nothing changes, the prime minister could break the jam in three ways: use crashing out of the European Union without a deal as a threat to get MPs to compromise; ask voters to elect a new Parliament that is up to the task; or, as the author Robert Harris says, hand “the screaming, defecating, vomiting baby back to its parents—the electorate” for a second referendum. All three have problems but, if Brexit must be unblocked, a referendum would be least bad. Mrs May’s plan, imposed on her cabinet this month…

3 min.
high fines, meagre results

HOW high can they go? On July 18th the European Commission hit Google with a record fine of €4.3bn ($5bn) for entrenching its dominance in internet search by illegally tying together this service and other mobile apps with Android, the firm’s mobile operating system. A year ago the commission levied a fine of €2.4bn on Google for using its clout in search to steer users away from rival offerings and towards its own comparison-shopping service. At this rate of inflation, the next fine—there is one other case against Google pending in Brussels, with more expected—could reach the maximum allowed: 10% of the firm’s global revenues, or about €9bn. The size of the fines hides an inconvenient truth, however. The commission deserves credit for scrutinising the behaviour of dominant online firms—its activism…

3 min.
foul play

AS A fast bowler, Imran Khan made rival batsmen quake and led Pakistan to victory in the Cricket World Cup in 1992. As a politician, he is thundering towards the election on July 25th and appears to be on the point of scoring another famous victory. Polls suggest his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), may emerge as the largest; and Mr Khan may well become the country’s next prime minister. Yet, as a pukka sportsman, can Mr Khan really be happy? Although he and Pakistan’s army deny foul play, the match has been rigged. The army is ensuring that the PTI enjoys privileged access to media, endorsements from powerful people and defections from rival parties. Nawaz Sharif, a three-term former prime minister, and his daughter, Maryam, were arrested as they stepped off…