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The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 09/15/2018

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 In Sweden’s general election, the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats did less well than many had feared, ending up in third place with 17.5% of the vote. But forming a new government could now be difficult, as the centre-right and centre-left alliances are both well short of a majority. Another election may have to be called. The European Parliament voted to condemn Hungary for abusing democratic norms. This starts a process that could theoretically see Hungary stripped of its voting rights, but actual sanctions are certain to be blocked by Poland and perhaps others. Theresa May, Britain’s prime minister, faced speculation about a leadership challenge. Some 80 Tory MPs opposed to her Chequers proposal on Brexit were reported to have met to discuss options that include a no-confidence vote. Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of…

10 min.
a manifesto

LIBERALISM made the modern world, but the modern world is turning against it. Europe and America are in the throes of a popular rebellion against liberal elites, who are seen as self-serving and unable, or unwilling, to solve the problems of ordinary people. Elsewhere a 25-year shift towards freedom and open markets has gone into reverse, even as China, soon to be the world’s largest economy, shows that dictatorships can thrive. For The Economist this is profoundly worrying. We were created 175 years ago to campaign for liberalism—not the leftish “progressivism” of American university campuses or the rightish “ultraliberalism” conjured up by the French commentariat, but a universal commitment to individual dignity, open markets, limited government and a faith in human progress brought about by debate and reform. Our founders would be…

3 min.
selling chequers

THERESA MAY could be forgiven for seeing next week’s trip to Salzburg to meet her fellow EU leaders as a welcome break from continual harassment at home. Her plan for Brexit, announced at Chequers, her country retreat, in July, is under attack from all sides (see Britain section). Hardline Brexiteers hate the idea of keeping in close alignment with EU regulations so as to preserve frictionless trade in goods. Remainers dislike the plan’s omission of services, which are Britain’s most competitive sector. This week there was even wild talk among some Tory MPs of ousting Mrs May as party leader. In today’s febrile political climate, the chances of getting a Chequers-like plan through Parliament seem alarmingly small. Alas the EU may not offer the prime minister much succour. Reports that it…

4 min.
weak is strong

THE judiciary, wrote Alexander Hamilton in Federalist Paper 78, “may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment...[It] is beyond comparison the weakest of the three departments of power.” For much of American history, politicians saw the Supreme Court as a backwater. John Rutledge, one of the first justices appointed by George Washington, resigned to become chief justice of South Carolina. Not until 1935 did the court have a building of its own. Today it occupies a central and increasingly untenable position in American life (see Briefing). The centrality stems largely from gridlock. As Congress has grown incapable of passing laws involving even straightforward political trade-offs, power has flowed to the executive and judicial branches. Political questions best settled by the ballot box—about abortion, for instance, or…

3 min.
lessons from lusaka

DEBT stalks Africa once again. Over the past six years sub-Saharan governments have issued $81bn in dollar bonds to investors hungry for yield. Piled on top of this are murkier syndicated loans and bilateral debts, many to China and tied to big construction projects. Public debt has climbed above 50% of GDP in half the countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The risk of a crisis is growing. Consider Zambia. In 2012 this southern African country could borrow more cheaply than Spain. Now bond yields have jumped above 16%, suggesting that investors fear that it will default (see Middle East and Africa section). This fall from grace offers several lessons. Time to tighten the copperbelt The first relates to the “moral hazard” of debt write-offs. Zambia, along with 29 other African countries, had many…

3 min.
ma where he came from?

THE most recognisable face of Chinese capitalism belongs to Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, an e-commerce juggernaut matched in size only by Amazon. Mr Ma, who launched Alibaba from a small apartment in Hangzhou in 1999, is an emblem of China’s extraordinary economic transformation. This week’s announcement that he will step down as the firm’s chairman a year from now, to concentrate on philanthropy, was greeted with comparative calm by investors. He stopped being chief executive in 2013; Alibaba’s share price has more than doubled since its initial public offering, the world’s largest-ever, in 2014 (see Business section). But one question presents itself: could China produce another story to match his? The answer is almost certainly not. There are some very good reasons for that. China’s own rise is an…