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Global Energy Advisory – 17 February 2017

Politics, Geopolitics & Conflict

• European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will step down in two years instead of running for a second term in office, arguing that the EU needs a more unifying figure in light of Brexit and the rising tide of right-wing parties across the union. Juncker has been hostile to the UK from the start, adopting a stance that can be summed up as “We’ll make it as hard for you as we can.” The latest from him was a warning for the UK against trying to lure individual EU members into its orbit in an attempt to strike bilateral trade deals after its exit from the EU becomes a fact. Juncker is far from alone in this attitude, but it seems that it is not helping matters: worries that more countries will follow the UK’s example persist. France is holding presidential elections later this year and, according to Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, there is a good chance that the leader of the far-right National Front Marine Le Penne could win, endangering the unity of the EU. Many share the belief that if France leaves the EU – perhaps a far-fetched possibility but still a possibility – the EU will be as good as dead, which means that the elections there will be watched very carefully. It’s fairly certain that Brussels will do everything in its powers to prevent a breakup of the union, whatever the costs.

• The U.S. may deploy troops in Syria, according to information…

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