Europe, so many years after the Cold War, is ideologically divided into a new East and a West. This time, the schism is over multiculturalism. What Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has termed "liberal babble" continues to govern Western Europe's response to the challenges that migration and Islamic terrorism have brought, especially to personal security.
The EU is facing an existential crisis and does not look like it will survive the massive political and financial challenges it is faced with. This has ramifications for investors in the EU itself and throughout the world.
A ruling by the European Union's top court on Tuesday, which allows companies to bar staff from wearing Islamic headscarves and other visible religious symbols, has set off a storm of complaint from rights groups and religious leaders and particularly the Open Society Justice Initiative, a group backed by the philanthropist George Soros.
The Ides of March looks like the perfect storm just as the Trump Rally shows signs of tiredness. The debt-ceiling bomb, the Fed's next interest hike, and Dutch elections that could lead to Nexit all hit on March 15 just as oil prices are plunging again.
A pivotal, catalyst-filled week for global markets is now underway as investors brace for the second US interest rate hike in 2 quarter, a Dutch election, the expiration of the US debt ceiling deal, the imminent invoking of Article 50 by Theresa May, the first G20 finance ministers' meeting of the Trump era and perhaps the disclosure of Trump's proposed budget.
On Monday the Brexit bill returns to the House of Commons, for debate after the House of Lords. The final bill must be approved by both houses. Should the bill pass Monday, the government could invoke Article 50 as early as Tuesday. Meanwhile BBC reports that Scotland's Nicola Sturgeon will give PM an ultimatum - give Scotland a different Brexit deal or she'll call for section 30, launhing another indepence referendum.
European bourses advance and Asian share rose led by a surge in Hong Kong stocks which rose the most in three months as Japan hit 15 month highs. U.S. futures are little changed along while the dollar rebounded from session lows after Friday's selloff. Crude oil has continued its retreat, down 0.2% and sliding for a 6th straight day after breifly dropping below $48 in overnight trading.
The European Parliament has introduced a new procedural rule, which allows for the chair of a debate to interrupt the live broadcasting of a speaking MEP "in the case of defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behavior by a Member". No one, however, has bothered to define what constitutes "defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behavior". Where does this clearly totalitarian impulse stop and who will stop it?