POLITICO Brussels Playbook Plus: DIPLOMATIC TIES — MINI-EUROSKEPTICS — EUROPEANS AT THE CONVENTIONS
SARTORIAL LESSONS FROM SWEDISH AMBASSADOR TO WTO: Playbook Plus loves a good fashion blog, especially if it is one tailored for European diplomats. “Diplomatic Ties” is run by Daniel Blockert, Sweden’s ambassador to the World Trade Organization, who describes himself as “a diplomat with a midlife crisis who needed to spread his views on all things popular to the whole world.” The ambassador’s website includes an impressive array of photos of him modeling snazzy linen suit/tie combos.
THE US POLITICAL SHOWDOWN IS SET: It’s only been 18 months in the making, but now we finally know the U.S. presidential tickets for November. It’s Towering Trump and Sideshow Mike (Pence), versus Witch Hillary and Vanilla Nice (Tim Kaine). Get out your popcorn and stay tuned!
CONVENTION CORNER — EUROPEANS ARE ALL DEMOCRATS NOW: At least if you judge by European politicians’ presence at the U.S. political conventions. Yes, there were some members of the European Parliament’s European Conservatives and Reformists group at the Republican convention in Cleveland, as well as EU rabble-rousers Nigel Farage and Geert Wilders, above. But European pols were more visible in Philadelphia, with Hillary Clinton and her crew. Among the notables at the Democratic convention were members of several European Parliament political groups, including the Socialists and Democrats leader Gianni Pittella, who was spotted lining up to meet the Clintons and Bernie Sanders; Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe president Hans van Baalen; senior European People’s Party MEPs Esteban González Pons and Antonio López-Istúriz White; and Greens member Reinhard Bütikofer. Also in Philadelphia for a POLITICO event: Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander de Croo.
NOT A HUGE NUMBER OF WOMEN FOR TRUMP: Donald Trump spent a lot of last week trying to prove he’s got a base beyond angry white men. His daughter Ivanka wowed the Republican convention audience, even getting delegates to cheer the idea of government-subsidized childcare. But beyond Ivanka the ranks of Women for Trump appeared rather thin, at least at one event with a lot of empty seats.
— Laurie Penny (@PennyRed) July 18, 2016
POKÉMON GO EUROPEAN FRENZY: The goal is to catch as many Pokémon as possible — and the rare ones have already got crowds running wild across parks in cities including Brussels and Bordeaux. This week on Twitter, French Health Minister Marisol Touraine encouraged Pokémon trainers to “go out and walk, it’s healthy! But watch out to avoid accidents.” In the U.K., rail companies are warning commuters to be careful when playing the game around train tracks. Royal Stoke University Hospital has requested that nobody play the game in its emergency room. Seems reasonable.
BIG BEN AT RISK OF DEMOLITION: Well, not the real one. One of Brussels’ more peculiar and endearing attractions, Mini-Europe, may not escape the Brexit earthquake. The theme park is home to a miniature version of a famous monument from each of the 28 members of the EU. The Palace of Westminster is currently in situ, but for how much longer? Tiny Leave and Remain protesters are now stationed outside the tower…
FARAGE TURNS DOWN CHANCE TO BE CROCODILE DUNDEE: Nigel Farage loves Europe after all! According to Sky News, the former United Kingdom Independence Party leader turned down an offer of €300,000 to be dumped in the Australian jungle to perform feats of survival and humiliation for the TV show “I’m a celebrity…get me out of here!” Instead, Farage will embark on a European tour starting in Greece in September, in an effort to spread demand for referendums on EU membership across the Continent.
NOT SO EASY: The Brussels meal delivery service Take Eat Easy is shutting down, according to an email its founders sent to users Tuesday. Looks like it’s Deliveroo for anyone who’s working late in the office or staying at home to watch “Game of Thrones.”
ILLUMINATI: The British and German leaders have been pictured with their hands in the same upside down diamond shape. The U.K. tabloid The Sun, which campaigned for Brexit, thinks this may be evidence of something sinister, citing illuminatiRex, a conspiracy theorist blog: “The pyramid is an important Illuminati symbol showing their few ruling the many on the bottom type power structure.” We’ll let Playbook readers decide for themselves…
SERBIAN FURY AT QUASHING OF CONVICTION OF WWII CARDINAL: In 1946, the Yugoslav Supreme Court sentenced Alojzije Stepinac to 16 years in prison for collaborating with Nazi Germany and fascist Italy as part of the Ustaša regime in Croatia. Last week a court in Zagreb overturned the conviction. Why? Croatians say he didn’t get a fair trial. Serbians think it’s to put pressure on the Vatican to move ahead with plans to canonize the now-deceased cardinal. Serbians are furious: They believe the cardinal allowed the execution of Serbs by the Nazi-backed regime during the war. Serbia’s president Tomislav Nikolić said Friday that Croatia risked losing “the support of the civilized, anti-fascist and anti-Nazi part of humanity.”
WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GET SOME AIR: The hit feature of the POLITICO hub in Philadelphia is flavored oxygen, helping hungover delegates get back in shape for politicking and networking, one nasal tube at a time.
Donald Trump: Even after allegations his wife Melania plagiarized her convention speech, the Republican nominee received a bump in the polls
Theresa May: With the opposition Labour Party tearing itself apart, the new British prime minister’s party is polling 16 points ahead
Matteo Renzi: With an approaching referendum on constitutional reform and a possible meltdown in the Italian banking sector, the Italian leader is under pressure on all sides
Cecilia Malmström: The EU’s trade commissioner has been tying herself in knots about how to deal with China, and is not being helped by her boss, Jean-Claude Juncker