Following the promise of president Trump to renegotiate NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Association, trade talks have begun on Wednesday. President Trump has called the agreement bad for the USA and wants to get more favourable conditions, even if this might mean stepping out the association. Trade is foundational pillar of Trump’s foreign policy, as he sees the free trade agreements like NAFTA and TTP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) as a threat to USA’s welfare and trade balance. His aim is to renegotiate such trade agreements or to step out if the demands of the USA are not met.

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After weeks of coalition talks the liberal FDP walked away from the table, saying it was ‘better not to govern than to govern in a bad way’. The failure of the talks is Germany’s biggest political upheaval in many years. The talks collapsed as the parties could not reconcile their ideas on energy and above all, migration. As the ‘Jamaica coalition’ of the Greens, FDP and Merkel’s CDU was the only logical outcome of the elections this year, an uncertain time for Germany and indeed Europe has arrived.

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After the Catalan parliament declared its independence from Spain on Saturday following the outcome of the referendum earlier this month, the Spanish federal government stripped the Catalonian government of its powers and autonomy. The referendum was ruled unconstitutional by Spain’s highest court and the Spanish government blocked several voting stations. The Catalonian government ignored the calls from Madrid and pushed ahead with a secret vote anyway, prompting Spain’s government to act.

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After a record 225 day formation following the March parliamentary elections Mark Rutte’s third term cabinet was sworn in on the 26th of October. The coalition of four parties took long to form and relies on a 1 seat margin and replaces the ‘Grand Coalition’ of the past four years.


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‘Czech Trump’ Andrej Babiš won the Czech general elections on Saturday. ANO, the party of Babiš, secured over 29% of the votes and it won in every constituent. The Czech Republic is the third European country after the Netherlands and Germany where the ‘Grand Coalition’ loses control after elections. In the Czech Republic, the Social democratic ČSSD and centre right ODS have ruled since the fall of communism, but this era has come to an end.

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Winning her fourth federal election, Angela Merkel faces a relatively splintered parliament with the worst electoral result of the Christian democrats CDU and social democrats SPD since the 1950s. The ‘Grand Coalition’ of CDU and SPD lost heavily as the Liberal FDP returned to parliament after a four-year absence and the AfD, branded as a far-right party, enters the Bundestag for the first time. The latter is unprecedented as far-right politics have been virtually absent in Germany’s parliament since the 1950s.

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The first round of Brexit negotiations in Brussels started on Monday the 19th of June. The negotiations between the United Kingdom, represented by David Davis and the EU, represented by Michel Barnier, will take place in Brussels in a series of meetings. This round concerns the detailed timeline of the negotiations, the meeting of the representatives and the first talks on the issues which are vital for the EU to address before moving onto negotiations about a future trade deal.

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After the second round of voting on Sunday the 18th of June the party of French president Emmanuel Macron obtained a majority in the parliamentary elections. La République En Marche! (LREM) carried 308 seats out of 577 in the Assemblé National, France’s lower chamber. The win gives the recently elected Macron the parliamentary majority and democratic mandate to carry out his liberal reforms in traditionally socialist France.

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Mexico fired back in response to American President Donald Trump’s tweets demanding that the country pays for the border wall that President Trump promised during his campaign. President Trump said that it was necessary for Mexico to pay, due to high crime rates in the country. He also said that Mexico is being ‘very difficult’ in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement and simultaneously threatening to withdraw the United States from the agreement. Mexico has also released a statement saying that the country will not negotiate any areas of its bilateral relations with the US via social media.

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Today Kenyans go to the polls in order to elect a president, members of its legislature, governors, and county assembly members. Tensions run high as this vote holds the potential of sparking ethnic violence that could be a continuation from a decade ago that left some 1,100 dead and more than half a million people displaced. More than 150,000 security forces have been deployed across Kenya’s 47 counties in an effort to ensure that voting takes place peacefully. Former US President Barack Obama has also chimed in, urging the Kenyan people to reject violence and ‘to work for a future defined…by unity and hope’.

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