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The Economist Continental Europe Edition

The Economist Continental Europe Edition 03/10/2018

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 мин.
the world this week

Politics Italy’s general election resulted in a badly hung parliament, with none of the three main political groupings close to a majority. Populist parties did better than expected, winning more than half the vote. Weeks of uncertainty lie ahead, though either one of the two big populist parties—the Five Star Movement and the Northern League—looks sure to end up in power. In Germany the Social Democratic Party’s membership voted to approve a new coalition government with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, paving the way for Mrs Merkel to start her fourth term as chancellor later this month. British police said a nerve agent had been used to try to murder Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, and his daughter. Mr Skripal had been jailed in Russia for passing secrets to British intelligence, but he…

5 мин.
the threat to world trade

DONALD TRUMP is hardly the first American president to slap unilateral tariffs on imports. Every inhabitant of the Oval Office since Jimmy Carter has imposed some kind of protectionist curbs on trade, often on steel. Nor will Mr Trump’s vow to put 25% tariffs on steel and 10% on aluminium by themselves wreck the economy: they account for 2% of last year’s $2.4trn of goods imports, or 0.2% of GDP. If this were the extent of Mr Trump’s protectionism, it would simply be an act of senseless self-harm. In fact, it is a potential disaster—both for America and for the world economy. As yet it is unclear exactly what Mr Trump will do (see Briefing). But the omens are bad. Unlike his predecessors, Mr Trump is a long-standing sceptic of free…

3 мин.
proceed with caution

AFTER months when the prospect of a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula seemed all too real, it is a relief that America and North Korea may soon start talking to each other. A flurry of diplomacy has paved the way for negotiations. North Korean athletes and cheerleaders attended the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang; South Korean officials went to Pyongyang and met the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un. However, when Mr Kim suggested on March 6th that talks might lead to him giving up his nuclear weapons, diplomats were astonished. The Trump administration’s policy towards North Korea of “maximum pressure and engagement” has been all about the pressure. Here, many feel, is a chance to try some engagement. That must be right. But past experience suggests that an ocean of…

3 мин.
a vote for irresponsibility

THE election was bound to be messy. But on March 4th Italian voters came up with a result that has surpassed the worst predictions, and cast a pall over not only Italy but the rest of the European Union, too. Both chambers of parliament are hung, with no easy or quick way for anyone to achieve a majority (see Europe section). More alarming is that half of the voters—fed up with high unemployment, stagnant wages, uncontrolled immigration and a self-serving political class—voted for the two main populist parties, the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the Northern League. Both are hostile to the EU and especially the euro, and both campaigned on lavish tax and spending promises that Italy cannot afford. Mathematically, no government can be formed without one of them. The…

4 мин.
stop, thief!

IN MOST countries a government that allowed $4.5bn to go missing from a state development agency would struggle to win re-election. If some $681m had appeared in the prime minister’s personal account around the same time, which he breezily explained away as a gift from an unnamed admirer, the task would be all the harder. An apparent cover-up, involving the dismissal of officials investigating or merely complaining about the scandal, might be the last straw for voters. But in Malaysian elections, alas, voters do not count for much. Under any reasonable electoral system, the coalition running Malaysia would not be in office in the first place. The Barisan Nasional, as it is known, barely squeaked back into power at the most recent election, in 2013. It lost the popular vote, earning…

3 мин.
rearing its odious head once more

TWO decades ago much of sub-Saharan Africa was frozen out of the global financial system. Reckless lenders had lent too much to feckless (and often unelected) governments. Crooked officials had stolen billions, stashed their loot abroad and left their fellow Africans with the bill. Places such as Ghana (with a public debt of more than 120% of GDP) and Mozambique (more than 200%), could not cover the interest payments on existing loans, never mind service new ones. Unable to borrow, such countries could not invest in roads, ports, schools and clinics. Pop stars and preachers campaigned for relief from “odious debt” that dictators imposed on their people. The IMF responded with a “heavily indebted poor countries” (HIPC) scheme, wiping out many of the debts of 36 countries, 30 of which were…