European leaders’ beer summit as Britain dines alone
After Wednesday night’s inconclusive Brexit dinner, French President Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel walked back to their hotel together.
After a leisurely 25-minute stroll through Brussels’ old town, Macron received a text message from Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel: “Come and join us.”
A few minutes later Macron, Merkel, Bettel and Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel were sat round a convivial table on the city’s Grand-Place, beers in hand.
My favorite part of this story, though, comes from VRT, which notes that Visitors from Germany and the US struck up a conversation with the leaders. Inevitably, someone asked about Brexit, to which Angela Merkel replied:
It’s a beautiful evening, let’s not spoil it!
It’s Local Election day in Belgium on Sunday and, in my part of the world, there’s a new kid on the block. One of the parties standing is determinedly local and claiming to eschew ideology in favour of pragmatic solutions to local issues.
They are not unique and I have subsequently become aware of several other parties standing in a single community. Obviously, I know little to nothing of other campaigns but here the new kids look quite appealing. The party is made up up a mix of business owners, liberals and others and their program does promise to be as pragmatic as they suggest.
The only things that put me off a bit is their newness and the fact that, as far as I can tell, only two people on the list have any actual experience of local government.
That and The League of Gentlemen.
On a related note, local elections in Belgium are well worth taking seriously because (compared to the UK), local councils have a remarkable amount of power. The country as a whole is very decentralised and when you look at the number of things for which the town council has direct responsibility, it becomes clear just this decentralisation has gone.
If there were a competition for Bad Pun of the Day, this story about Vladimir Putin’s intention to replace Russia’s intelligence forces with more intelligent and more competent agents would be the hands-down winner:
Meet the new employees of GRU
EU offers to make Northern Ireland French, if it will help
What’s really unnerving is that this proposal is more pragmatic than anything anyone in the UK government has managed to come up with.
Following on from my previous post, this seems remarkably appropriate.
I saw this:
Naturally, I had to check. And it turns out that the Salt Gun Flycatcher really is a thing.
Now I know what I want for my birthday.