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The EU lets farm animals and people eat insects

FIRST IT WAS pets, then fish. Now it’s poultry and pigs. The list of animals allowed to feed on insects is growing. A new EU law authorising the use of insect protein in poultry and pig feed came into force earlier this month, a significant milestone for an industry keen to worm its way into the animal-feed business. Since a ban on processed animal...

Vladimir Putin is still rattled by Alexei Navalny

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN has every reason to be angry. He has tried to poison Alexei Navalny, Russia’s opposition leader. He has locked him up in one of Russia’s harshest penal colonies. He has outlawed his anti-corruption foundation. He has chased his comrades out of the country and barred his allies from standing in elections. And yet, after all this,...

How France tackled vaccine hesitancy

ACROSS EUROPE this summer, vaccine take-up began to slow after the willing got their covid-19 shots. Persuading the hesitant was always going to be harder. Few places looked more challenging than France. In December 2020 61% of the French said they would not get jabbed—twice the share in America. Yet what happened this summer has become a case study...

The warring parties’ plans for Germany’s economy are full of holes

“I HOPE YOU never have to see it like this again,” says Markus Quint, communications chief for Frankfurt’s Messe (exhibition centre), as he surveys 440,000 square metres of empty halls from a 22nd-floor terrace. When the pandemic struck last spring the Messe, which had welcomed nearly 2.5m visitors in 2019, had to shut for all business bar the digital...

What to make of Die Linke

EVERY TIME Olaf Scholz or Annalena Baerbock is asked about a coalition with Die Linke (The Left), a party that emerged in 2007 from the ashes of East Germany’s Communist Party, they furiously beat around the bush. Mr Scholz, the Social Democratic Party’s (SPD) candidate for the chancellorship, says that he needs a clear commitment to NATO from any future...

The Dull Man theory of history

EVEN THE hardiest of EU veterans find the gatherings of its finance ministers tough-going. “Soul-crushing” is the verdict of one regular attendee. The EU’s bean-counters are not given their roles for their personalities. When EU leaders meet, there is a sense of history being made; when finance ministers gather, there is a sense of life ebbing away....

Talks about the Catalan conflict are about to start

THERE ARE far fewer esteladas, the red, yellow and blue independence flags that only a couple of years ago draped the balconies of Barcelona. The atmosphere in Spain’s second city is more relaxed than at any time since Catalonia’s nationalist politicians began a drive for independence for one of the country’s biggest and richest regions a decade ago....

Why EU-watching is like astrology

THE GAP between astrology and European politics is alarmingly narrow. Both are more art than science, to put it charitably. Both involve professed experts making wildly inaccurate predictions, with metrics that turn out to be nonsense. Because of the peculiarly nocturnal habits of EU leaders, both require work at night. What astrology and EU-watching...

Germany’s Christian Democrats contemplate defeat

LAST MONTH the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Spandau, a borough in Berlin, stuck a campaign placard for local candidates over one of Armin Laschet, the main standard-bearer of the CDU and the Christian Social Union (CSU), its Bavarian sister party, in the federal election on September 26th. It was a mistake, says a local politician, but stories...

After Afghanistan Germans rethink their country’s foreign policy

AMERICA’S DEBACLE in Kabul has caused especially deep concern in Germany. Two decades ago, after rancorous parliamentary debate, Germany approved its first military deployment outside Europe since 1945, to Afghanistan. The vision was of a Bundeswehr (the armed forces) acting in the service of noble goals: state-building, humanitarianism and diplomacy....

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