Mujtaba (Mij) Rahman Profile picture
MD Europe @EurasiaGroup. Formerly @hmtreasury @EU_Commission. Senior Research Fellow @LSEEI. Columnist @POLITICOEurope. My views. Seeking analytical truth
LittleGravitas 🇺🇦 🌻 🇪🇺 💙 #FBPE Profile picture Dame Chris🌟🇺🇦😷 #RejoinEU #FBPE #GTTO🔶️ Profile picture Hugh Sainsbury #FBPE Profile picture Birger Leth Profile picture meejahoar (Liz/she/her) 🇺🇦🇪🇺🌈🏳️‍🌈⚧🏳️‍⚧️ Profile picture 10 added to My Authors
May 10 4 tweets 2 min read
So @trussliz is the latest (in a long line) of UKG ministers to lose the plot with EU. Having failed to charm away a border in Irish Sea (😂😭) she is now trying to bounce EU (& @10DowningStreet) into unilaterally suspending Protocol to prize concessions from EU. It won't work 1/ It will:
-Divide EU & Western alliance against Russia;
-Limit @EU_Commission ability to work creatively with UKG & sell more flexibility to EU capitals;
-Undermine any possibility of 🇫🇷🇬🇧 reset;
-Further aggravate situation in NI & increase risk of direct rule from London 2/
May 9 15 tweets 3 min read
President @EmmanuelMacron today offered a sweeping vision of a new European Political Community - an outer circle of European states, including Ukraine and the UK, which would be linked to the EU but not part of it 1/ In a closing speech to a conference in Strasbourg on the future of Europe, Macron also called on the existing EU27 to create a new convention to negotiate change in the EU treaty from next month 2/
May 6 7 tweets 2 min read
Fears of a damaging split in the “Macronist” centre of Fr politics before June Parly elections were laid to rest yesterday. A centrist “confederation” of parties, called Ensemble (together) will share a common platform & run a single candidate in each of the 577 constituencies 1/ Crucially, the alliance includes Horizons, the party launched last year by Macron’s former PM Edouard Philippe. Philippe denied rumours of quarrels with Macron & said Ensemble was committed to winning a solid “presidential majority” in the national assembly next month 2/
May 4 4 tweets 1 min read
Will President Emmanuel Macron be forced to surrender power to a left-wing Prime Minister after the June parliamentary elections? Absolutely not, according to a new poll by Harris Interactive 1/ Despite successful efforts by the hard left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon to assemble a Popular Union of all the left-wing parties, Macron’s centrist party and its allies look likely to scoop well over 300 of the 577 seats in the new National Assembly, Harris calculates 2/
May 2 4 tweets 1 min read
Mélenchon’s hard-left party & French Greens agreed overnight to fight a joint campaign in Parly elections in June. At insistence of Mélenchon, they pledged to break EU budget, competition & farming rules. At Green insistence they pledged to “respect the law”. Incoherent? Yes. 1/3 Negotiations continue to persuade the Socialists & Communists to join a Popular Social & Ecological Union to try to win a Left majority in the National Assembly on 12 and 19 June – forcing Macron to appoint a left-wing PM. Senor Socialists are baulking at EU lawbreaking 2/3
Apr 26 8 tweets 4 min read
Am back to Bxl today - just as another massive UK/EU row seems likely given Govt plans to draw up a Bill to unilaterally effectively set aside the NI Protocol, first reported by @pmdfoster 1/ The proposal hasn't yet been cleared by Cabinet (discussion expected this/next week). So still unclear if Bill will be included in Queen’s Speech. The Lords will obv delay. Regardless, this is all about the signal - to hardline Brexiteers, unionist parties in NI & of course EU 2/
Apr 22 5 tweets 3 min read
.@EmmanuelMacron looks set this Sunday of becoming the first French head of state to win re-election for two decades. Since his combative performance in Wednesday's TV debate, his opinion poll lead over @MLP_officiel has expanded to 11 to 15 points 1/ 2 small risks 1) Macron needs millions of left-wingers who detest him to support him on Sun & 2) if they decide Le Pen’s defeat is assured they mightn't bother to vote for a President they dislike. So turnout is imp - for scale of victory, it's unlikely to put his win in doubt 2/
Apr 21 9 tweets 2 min read
Le Pen needed a knock-out. Macron won on points. Last night’s French presidential election debate was far from the 2017 walkover but Macron, harrying and interrupting, threw the far right leader off her stride. An Elabe poll today made him the victor by 59%-39% 1/ Macron took risk of seeming aggressive & arrogant. At times he appeared tetchy, even angry. He came over as a bad-tempered professor dealing with a struggling student. Interrupting your opponent – “oh no Madame Le Pen…You mix up everything Madame Le Pen” – is always hazardous 2/
Apr 6 15 tweets 4 min read
Here are some reasons to think Marine Le Pen @MLP_officiel might win the French Presidential election and some reasons to believe she won’t. In the end the “wont’s” have it 1/ Why she might:

This is her 3rd attempt. Both François Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac lost on two occasions before they took the biggest prize in French politics 2/
Apr 3 4 tweets 2 min read
🇭🇺 independent media reports long queues at 🇭🇺 embassies & consulates in W Europe, making it difficult for citizens to vote. Particularly hard hit are Hungarians in 🇳🇱, where problems on rail network have left 1000s in great difficulty, as they have to travel to Hague to vote 1/ Image A queue for buses to The Hague, where technical problems have crippled rail services. The majority of Hungarian ex-pats live in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Groenigen. Even those lucky enough to get to the embassy find themselves at end of 500-metre long line 2/
Apr 3 18 tweets 3 min read
Big election in Hungary today. 8.2 million Hungarians eligible to vote. This includes

65,500 living abroad, but registered in Hungary. These get 2 votes (one for their constituency and one for the party list) but can only vote by physical appearance at embassies or consulates 1/ + 456,000 citizens with no registered address in Hungary (mostly living in neighbouring countries). These get to vote only for the party lists, but they can vote by post 2/
Apr 3 11 tweets 3 min read
.@EmmanuelMacron warned 30,000 supporters in his biggest rally of the French presidential campaign yesterday that he might lose this month’s presidential election to the Far Right. He also made it clear that he does not expect to do so 1/ As some opinion polls tighten (and others move slightly in Macron’s favour), the President used a giant, US-style campaign rally in La Défense near Paris to scare and at the same time energize base 2/
Apr 2 4 tweets 2 min read
Hungarian's vote tomorrow in what's likely to prove Europe's most consequential election this year

Last plug for my essay in @NewStatesman on how we got here & what EU needs to do next. Assuming he wins - it's time to isolate and constrain Viktor Orbán

newstatesman.com/world/europe/2… "It is by using his personal charm in tandem with innovative PR that he has fooled so many for so long. They include highly intelligent friends and aides, professionals, seasoned diplomats, foreign politicians and, for sure, his counterparts in Europe–in EU capitals and Brussels"
Apr 2 6 tweets 1 min read
This poll re Hungary 🇭🇺 looks better than most polls for the opposition, BUT Publicus is generally seen as a somewhat pro-left pollster 1/ It's always possible that there have been some positive impact from the opposition push in swing and semi-rural districts in the past few days of course, and Publicus has picked up on that 2/
Apr 1 16 tweets 5 min read
12th in my series of weekly threads on 🇫🇷 pres polls. With 9 days to round 1 the race is now ALIVE. @EmmanuelMacron & Le Pen remain favourites to enter runoff on 24 Apr. But Le Pen's projected runoff score, an average of 43% & rising, is becoming too close for Macron’s comfort 1/ The 1st-round polls have changed relatively little this week. Macron dipped & then recovered. He remains well ahead of field on 27-28% (only 1 down on last Fri).  Le Pen is a couple of points higher on 20-21%. Jean-Luc Mélenchon is now >15%. Has he reached his ceiling? Not yet 2/
Mar 31 21 tweets 4 min read
News that an EU country's foreign ministry IT system has been hacked by Russian intelligence would normally be the lead story on TV's evening news. But not in Hungary, where PM Viktor Orban looks set to win re-election for 5th time on Sun (1998, 2010, 2014, 2018). Long thread 1/ Like hundreds of other scandals in Hungary over the last 12yrs, if you rely on state media, you would not know of allegations - or if you did, it would only be via very careful editing to slant story, deflecting any criticism of governing Fidesz party and the PM in particular 2/
Mar 28 4 tweets 1 min read
🇷🇺 invasion of 🇺🇦 has wrecked the campaign of racist, xenophobic, Putin-supporting candidate @ZemmourEric - who is now below 10% in some polls. Good. But it has also coincided with a surge in polling for Le Pen & Jean-Luc Mélenchon (who hails from hard, anti-capitalist left) 1/ Why? Le Pen & JL Melenchon have long campaigned on cost-of-living issues & are thus benefiting from spike in fuel/food prices since war began. Both also have electorates driven more by short-term domestic issues or ideology than sweeping considerations of war and peace 2/
Mar 28 4 tweets 2 min read
Lots of chatter about @ZelenskyyUa comments about @EmmanuelMacron in @TheEconomist. They were specifically about arms shipments. On other aspects of Macon's role, before and during the conflict, Zelensky  has been hugely complimentary about EM. They talk on the phone every day 1/ Image As for frightened, senior French sources say yes they are frightened - not of Russia but of a nuclear war. Who wouldn't be? Not escalating the conflict is Nato policy - not French policy alone 2/
Mar 26 6 tweets 2 min read
.@EmmanuelMacron will speak to Vladimir Putin today or tomorrow to try to persuade him to approve a French-Turkish-Greek plan to evacuate the besieged Black Sea coastal town of Mariupol. Macron announced the “humanitarian operation” after the EU summit in Brussels last night 1/ The planned operation, a French-Turkish initiative, is extraordinary for several reasons (and may not come off). Greece and Turkey are perennially hostile to one another. Macron exchanged insults with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan only three years ago 2/
Mar 25 10 tweets 3 min read
Eleventh in my series of weekly threads on 🇫🇷 presidential polls.
With 16 days to Round One, "déjà vu" remains  the most likely outcome. Macron & Le Pen are favourites to claim the 2 spots in Round 2 (as they did in 2017). Mélenchon is 3rd & rising fast but may fall just short 1/ .@EmmanuelMacron has fallen a little since formally entering the race but is still way ahead of the field on 28-29%.  Le Pen is now at 20% in some polls. Mélenchon (hard left) is 5 or 6 points behind. Eric Zemmmour and Valérie Pécresse (centre-right) have fallen off the pace 2/
Mar 18 18 tweets 5 min read
There is a fundamental contradiction at heart of 🇪🇺 response to 🇷🇺 invasion of 🇺🇦: an unwillingness to accept the fiscal consequences of what this war means

This will hurt EU's ability to sustain sanctions; increase them (oil/gas) & achieve 🇷🇺 energy independence & > defence 1/ I'm obviously talking about need for more common borrowing & fiscal transfers to EU members as @benjaminhaddad @maxbergmann & @Elysee 🇫🇷 are pushing. The war is an external shock. It is affecting member states differently. The EU clearly needs to play a role in policy response 2/