Europe has little desire to be led by Emmanuel Macron.
The French president emerged as the figurehead for a European Union renaissance last year after beating Marine Le Pen’s nationalism at the ballot box. But the gratitude from the rest of the EU proved short-lived.
The Dutch are leading a group of nations opposed to Macron’s plans to make Europe great again, the Italians gave the upper hand to euroskeptics in last month’s election, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is stalling on a roadmap to further integration.
With critics multiplying across the board, Macron has found a surprising ally in Donald Trump, as Helene Fouquet and I report in this week’s Bloomberg Businessweek.
Macron built a rapport with the U.S. president where most world leaders have struggled. He heads to Washington for a three-day state visit next week just as Trump is threatening to impose tariffs on European exports and to pull out of an Iran nuclear deal that the EU supports.
Whether his fellow Europeans like it or not, the push to avert tariffs and their hopes of saving the Iran deal rests mainly on Macron.
Diplomacy trumps fire, fury | The methodical approach that Trump is taking to laying the groundwork for a landmark meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stands in sharp contrast to the haphazard one that’s followed his previous policy announcements. The preparations, including CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s secret trip to Pyongyang, indicate that the meeting is increasingly likely to occur by early June, Toluse Olorunnipa and Jennifer Jacobs write.
Trading arguments | Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe capped a two-day summit by announcing plans for new trade talks. There’s just one problem: They openly disagreed on what kind of deal they should aim for. Trump made the case for a bilateral “free, fair, and reciprocal” accord, while Abe said he thinks the Trans-Pacific Partnership is “best for both of the countries.” Trump pulled the U.S. out of TPP his first week in office.
No Brexit change of heart | Outside of the U.K., it’s often assumed that the country regrets its decision to leave the EU — not true, according to an exclusive poll for Bloomberg by Matt Singh of Number Cruncher Politics. Given a hypothetical choice in 2020 post-Brexit Britain, 47 percent of respondents said they’d vote not to rejoin the bloc, versus 31 percent in favor. So the lesson for staunch Remainers may be that it’s now or never in their efforts to halt Brexit.
South Africa’s fresh face | President Cyril Ramaphosa brought his roadshow touting a “new dawn” in South Africa to London, meeting Prime Minister Theresa May and Queen Elizabeth II and urging investors to pony up $100 billion in new commitments to kick-start his anemic economy. In a speech at Bloomberg’s offices and an interview with Guy Johnson yesterday, Ramaphosa laid out how he’s fighting the mismanagement and corruption that ran riot under his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, who’s facing graft charges back home.
The next Syrian crisis? | Angered by last week’s U.S. attack on Syria, Russia warned there’d be consequences. But only one was spelled out: The Kremlin said it may supply its Syrian ally with state-of-the-art air defenses. David Wainer and Henry Meyer look at why alarm bells among President Bashar al-Assad’s enemies are ringing loudest in Tel Aviv, not Washington.
Bigger read: The Big Bang Transformed Britain. Now It’s China’s Turn, by Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait.
And finally ... Saudis no longer have to travel abroad to watch a movie in a theater. Their crown prince made good on his promise to end a 35-year ban on cinemas with the screening of Black Panther yesterday. Interestingly, the movie that was chosen features female warriors, dressed in sexy outfits, defending male rulers — this in a paternalistic kingdom that forces women to cover up in public.
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