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Trump’s 2017, in 17 tweets

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When it's been suggested he set his phone aside and more meticulously manage his message, Trump reacts angrily. And, on occasion, philosophically. "My use of social media is not Presidential," he wrote on July 1, "it's MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL." As Trump's presidency has leapt from controversy to scandal to achievement and, inevitably, back home to grievance — it's been a path few can reliably predict, but one we can trace via his telltale Twitter feed. Here are 17 tweets that (begin to) tell the story of the White House in 2017.

1. "If something happens blame him …"

Tweeting on Super Bowl Sunday, Trump lashed out at a federal judge who put a nationwide hold on his first travel ban. That executive order would have barred citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for 90 days and suspended the entire US refugee program for 120 days, with Syrian refugees locked out indefinitely. But it set off mass protests and was soon tied up in the courts. The Supreme Court has allowed a third iteration of the ban to go into effect pending appeal.

2. "… enemy of the American people…"

Trump vilified the press throughout the campaign and carried on, undeterred, into the White House. Still, this tweet marked a jarring escalation between his administration and those who cover it.

3. "… Obama had my 'wires tapped'…"

Trump's view of himself as the persecuted enemy of the "deep state" is on early display here, as he alleges that former President Barack Obama ordered a wiretap of his campaign headquarters. The White House never produced any evidence to back the claim and both James Comey, before his firing, and Trump's own Justice Department have said they're not aware any exists.

4. "We must fight them …"

Relations are cuddlier today, with Republicans in the House and Senate delivering a tax bill to Trump before the holidays, but the failed effort to repeal Obamacare exposed rifts in the party — and set off a series of Twitter tantrums. Trump has repeatedly excoriated GOP lawmakers, in public, over their opposition to his agenda.

5. "James Comey better hope …"

Days after firing the former FBI director, Trump suggested there might be recordings of their White House discussions. The claim prompted Comey to speak up and share details of those conversations, including one in which he alleges Trump asked him to lay off former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.On June 22, Trump tweeted that he "did not make, and do not have, any such recordings."

6. "… the single greatest witch hunt …"

On Wednesday night, May 17, the Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee a federal investigation into Russia, the 2016 campaign and any potential collusion between Moscow and the Trump team. That evening, the White House released a statement from the President.It read: "As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know — there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country."Then morning came — and with it, the tweets.

7. "…from a face-lift."

Trump has directed many of his nastiest Twitter attacks at high-profile women. In particular, those who might speak ill of him on television. On a Thursday morning in late June, he set his sights on "Morning Joe" co-anchor Mika Brzezinski, who along with co-host Joe Scarborough had abandoned their once chummy relationship with Trump as the 2016 campaign ramped up. "I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don't watch anymore)," he tweeted. "Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came…to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year's Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!"

8. "… our beleaguered A.G …"

By all accounts, Trump is still knotted up in anger over Attorney General Jeff Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all things Russia — a move that helped pave the way for the appointment of a special counsel. A day before this tweet, Trump griped that it was "very sad" how Republicans were doing "very little to protect their President." Trump's view of loyalty, and the resentment he feels when it's not delivered in full, has propelled a number of his most damaging missteps.

9. "After consultation with my Generals and military experts …"

He continued: "…Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming…victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you."In a flurry of morning tweets, Trump in late July announced plans to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals serving "in any capacity" in the US armed forces. Federal judges have since blocked subsequent action and the Pentagon plans on enlisting transgender recruits in 2018. But the ad hoc declaration stirred up a mostly dormant culture war surrounding LGBT service at a time when top military officials seemed content with opening up the ranks.

UK Supreme Court dismisses Northern Ireland abortion law case

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The Supreme Court said it had no jurisdiction to consider the challenge brought by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) because the proceedings did not involve an identified victim. But a narrow majority of the seven-strong panel of justices were of "clear opinion" that the current legislation is "incompatible" with Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights in cases of fatal fetal abnormality, rape and incest, but not serious fetal abnormality. The Deputy President of the Supreme Court, Lord Jonathan Hugh Mance, said that "the present law clearly needs radical reconsideration." NIHRC told the court in October that the current law criminalizes women and girls, subjecting them to "inhuman and degrading" treatment. It had asked the court to rule on whether it was unlawful to prohibit abortions that arise from sexual crimes or cases involving "a serious fetal abnormality."After the Irish republic's overwhelming abortion referendum result in late May, Northern Ireland is now the only area of the British Isles where termination is only permitted if there is a risk to the woman's life or if there are long-term or permanent threats to a woman's mental or physical health. The republic's constitutional reform had spurred questions over whether there should be a similar change to the law in Northern Ireland.Decisions on abortion law are the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Assembly, but it has been suspended for more than a year because of a political impasse. But despite the hiatus, the UK government has said it will not intervene on the issue. The minority government of British Prime Minister Theresa May relies for its survival in the UK parliament on support from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), a deeply conservative party from Northern Ireland that opposes any attempt to ease restrictions on abortion.DUP leader Arlene Foster said last week that the referendum in the republic had "no impact upon the law in Northern Ireland."

Pressure falls on UK PM

Shortly after the ruling, NIHRC Chief Commissioner Les Allamby said in a statement: "The highest court in the UK has today agreed with the Commission that Northern Ireland's laws on termination of pregnancy are incompatible with human rights."Allamby said that Thursday's proceedings made it clear that Northern Ireland needs to reform its termination laws and called on the UK government to intervene."The law now needs to change to stop women and girls from further anxiety and suffering. In the absence of the NI Executive and Assembly it falls to the UK government to make this change and it must act without delay," he added. More than 160 lawmakers, including some Conservatives, have written to May demanding she allow a referendum on relaxing the abortion laws in Northern Ireland. The UK's Royal College of Midwives has also said it supports such a move.

CNN's Simon Cullen and Hilary Clarke contributed to this report.

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It claims that the deal is likely to be ‘against the public interest’

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Murdoch-Trump and the Disney-Fox deal

A U.K. regulator is recommending that the government block Rupert Murdoch's planned $16 billion takeover of Sky TV in its current form.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said in a statement Tuesday that the proposed deal by Murdoch's 21st Century Fox(FOX) is likely to be "against the public interest" because it would give the mogul too much control over British media.

"Media plurality goes to the heart of our democratic process. It is very important that no group or individual should have too much control of our news media or too much power to affect the political agenda," said Anne Lambert, chair of the regulator's investigations group.

The CMA's recommendation is provisional. Its final report will be submitted to U.K. Culture Secretary Matt Hancock by May 1. He will then have to decide whether to block Murdoch.

If he does, Disney(DIS) — which is buying most of 21st Century Fox — would end up owning Fox's existing 39% stake in Sky. Disney would then have to decide whether to make its own offer for the remaining 61%.

The CMA proposed steps 21st Century Fox could take to address its concerns, including spinning off Sky News.

The British government asked the regulator in September to examine the Sky takeover because of concerns that the deal would concentrate too much power in the hands of the Murdoch family.

Murdoch already owns three of Britain's biggest newspapers: The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times.

Related: Disney is buying itself a messy TV deal in Europe

21st Century Fox said in a statement Tuesday that it was "disappointed" by the CMA's provisional findings and would continue to engage with the regulator.

Japan and EU sign massive trade deal

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How to negotiate a trade deal

The European Union and Japan signed a huge free trade deal on Tuesday that cuts or eliminates tariffs on nearly all goods.

The agreement covers 600 million people and almost a third of the global economy. It's also a major endorsement of a global trading system that is under increasing threat from protectionism.

It will remove tariffs on European exports such as cheese and wine. Japanese automakers and electronics firms will face fewer barriers in the European Union.

The dismantling of trade barriers stands in stark contrast to the approach taken by President Donald Trump, who has imposed tariffs on a range of foreign goods and is threatening more action.

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, hailed the agreement as the "largest bilateral trade deal ever."

"Relations between the European Union and Japan have never been stronger," he said in a written statement. "Geographically, we are far apart. But politically and economically we could hardly be any closer."

Japan and the European Union traded roughly €129 billion ($152 billion) of goods last year, according to EU data.

Related: Trump missed his chance to cut Canada's dairy tariffs

With the largest bilateral trade deal EVER, today we cement Japanese-European friendship. Geographically, we are far apart. But politically and economically we could hardly be any closer. With shared values of liberal democracy, human rights and the rule of law. pic.twitter.com/ICcGTY3XI8

— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) July 17, 2018

Baker McKenzie partner Ross Denton said the deal signed Tuesday sends "a very strong signal to the US Administration that the EU and Japan, two major trade partners of the US, both see the benefits of removing barriers and reducing, not increasing tariffs."

EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström said last month that Europe was willing to lower some of its tariffs and cooperate with the United States. But the Trump administration "closed the door" on the talks and subsequently slapped tariffs on EU steel and aluminum.New American tariffs on European cars could follow soon.

Trump also pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership at the start of his presidency, another trade deal that lowered tariffs and trade barriers for the 11 remaining signatories.

japan eu handshake
Japan and the European Union signed a new free trade deal on Tuesday.

Average global tariffs are near record lows. EU products currently face an average tariff of 1.6% when they arrive in Japan, while Japanese products face tariffs of 2.9% in the European Union, according to the World Trade Organization.

Still, the European Union said the tariffs cost its companies up to €1 billion ($1.2 billion) per year.

The trade deal is expected to come into force in 2019 after being approved by lawmakers on both sides.

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Russian opposition leader had called for rallies on ‘rigged elections’

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Navalny wrote that he was released until a court hearing, but did not provide details on when the hearing would be held. He also thanked demonstrators who had gathered near the detention center where he was being held. Navalny, a longtime critic of President Vladimir Putin, was arrested earlier Sunday during nationwide rallies protesting what the opposition leader calls rigged presidential elections set to take place on March 18. "I've been detained. This doesn't matter. Come to Tverskaya (Street). You are not going there for me, it's for you and your future," Navalny tweeted after his arrest.Within minutes of arriving at Pushkinskaya Square, where hundreds of protesters had gathered, Navalny was wrestled into a patrol van by police, in dramatic footage posted on Youtube.Moscow Police said Navalny was taken to a police station for arraignment on charges of illegally organizing a protest. If found guilty, he faces 30 days in detention and a fine. Hundreds of demonstrators fill Pushkinskaya Square in central Moscow.Coordinating protests in the largest country in the world by land mass is no small task, and the Russian Interior Ministry said events coordinated with local authorities were held in 46 places.Demonstrations have ranged from gatherings of a few dozen in remote areas to about a thousand people in central Moscow–which the Interior Ministry described as an "uncoordinated mass demonstration." Protesters also turned out in arctic areas of the country, where the temperature during winter is around -40 degrees, said CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Moscow.Elsewhere, there were 600 demonstrators in Russia's third-most populous city, Novosibirsk, and 550 protesters in Nizhny Novgorod in western Russia, the ministry said.Around 1,000 protesters gathered in the Moscow area Sunday, police said."I am proud of all those who joined us today in any capacity: from Magadan to Sochi. From the FBK office to the headquarters in Kemerovo. From Krasnodar to Yakutsk, where the meeting took place at -40. These are real citizens," Navalny said in a Facebook post."Be real citizens. Go out to the demo in your city."

Police interrupt broadcast

Earlier Navalny said police forced their way into his Moscow office hours before the protests were due to take place. A Russian police officer stands outside Alexei Navalny's Moscow office on Sunday.He said police sawed through the door of the office's studio during a YouTube broadcast Sunday morning."In order to take down our broadcast, the police cut out the door to the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) office, and then began to saw the door to the studio right in the middle of broadcast," he said in a Facebook post."Do you know the formal reason? Dmitry Nizovtsev, the host, was accused of planting a bomb (without actually going off air, we must assume), and it was necessary to cut the doors ASAP in order to find this bomb."And then they detained him. Watch it, it's a good example of what the Russian police has become."CNN contacted the Moscow police, but officials there said they "have no information regarding the raids."Service members gather at Triumfalnaya Square ahead of an opposition rally calling for a boycott of March 18 presidential elections.Eight staff members from Navalny's Moscow offices were detained in the raid and were among 185 people arrested across the country, according to independent monitoring group OVD-Info. They included the head of Navalny's Moscow headquarters, Nikolay Lyaskin, who was grabbed by police on his way out of the office, according to Navalny press secretary Kira Yarmysh.During the raid, police also seized computers and cameras from the office, tweeted the director of Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation, Roman Rubanov.One protester in Moscow brandishes a placard saying: "Demand lawful election."

Navalny's weapon of choice

Putin controls and dominates Russian State TV, where there has so far been no mention of the demonstrations.Instead, Navalny and his supporters have turned to YouTube to get their message out, with over 50,000 people watching his live feed as of Sunday morning.

Who is Alexei Navalny?

Navalny, Russia's best-known opposition leader, was barred from running in the upcoming elections after a 2017 criminal conviction for embezzlement. The Russia threat is real -- and it mattersCritics say the case against the 41-year-old was politically motivated.In an exclusive interview with CNN at his Moscow headquarters last week, Navalny accused the Putin administration of being "built on corruption" and warned of growing impatience for political change. "Putin has been in power for 18 years now," he said. "People are not ready to wait another six years, then another six, then another."The Kremlin has rejected allegations of widespread, high-level corruption and has condemned Navalny as a dangerous influence whose calls for protests could plunge Russia into chaos.

CNN's Antonia Mortensen, Fred Pleitgen, Carol Jordan and Dakin Andone contributed to this report

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Massive sinkhole prompts evacuation of 22 families in Rome

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The incident took place on Wednesday in via Livio Andronico, in Rome's Balduina district, just before 6 p.m. local time, according to Italian firefighters who were called to the scene. "The road had sunk for about 10 meters, dragging parked vehicles with it," firefighters said in a statement. About 22 families were evacuated from the surrounding buildings. No injuries have been reported. As of Thursday morning, firefighters were still carrying out security and stability checks on the scene with help of technicians. The sinkhole appeared near a building site where construction workers are erecting residential buildings, according to public broadcaster RAI News. Workers remove cars that were sucked down into the sinkhole.Some of the residents said they had complained to authorities about cracks in the roads. Lawyer Giancarlo De Capraris told La Repubblica newspaper: "In the last three months I filed a complaint to Carabinieri (national police) and firefighters. Everything remained unheeded. I flagged the cracks on the road surface that became deeper every day and the continuous passage of heavy vehicles. This was a disaster waiting to happen."One resident told RAI News she felt the floor of the house shaking in the past few days. Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi told Italian news agency ANSA: "Those responsible will pay."

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Three dead in Europe storm

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A 21-year-old man was killed in France after high winds caused a tree to fall on him while he was skiing Wednesday in the Morillon area in the southeast of the country, Savoie police told CNN.In Spain's Basque Country, two people died Wednesday night in the coastal town of Mutriku after they were swept out to sea by a large wave, police said.A third person attempted to rescue the 74-year-old man and 76-year-old woman but could do nothing to help them, police officer Josu Elesgarai told CNN.At least 29,000 homes were without electricity in France Thursday as a result of the bad weather, according to energy company EDF.The French Interior Ministry warned late Wednesday that gusts could reach 180 kilometers per hour (112 mph) in the French Alps and 200 kph (124 mph) on the Cap Corse, a peninsula at the northern tip of the French island of Corsica, in the next 24 hours.Heavy snowfall is forecast in the Alps, increasing the risk of avalanches, the ministry warned. There is also a risk of flooding in many coastal areas of France.People stop to look at damage to the harbor wall caused by Storm Eleanor in Portreath, Cornwall, in the UK.Rain and high winds brought by Eleanor lashed parts of Ireland and the United Kingdom on Tuesday and Wednesday, causing flooding in some areas, downing trees and temporarily cutting power to tens of thousands of homes.Gusts of 100 mph were recorded in the Pennines, a range of mountains and hills in northern England, the UK Met Office said Wednesday.The stormy weather in Europe comes as icy blizzards pummel the northeastern United States and eastern Canada. More than 2,700 US flights have been canceled Thursday, according to Flightaware.com.Forecasters are predicting heavy snow in New York City and Boston, among other places.Before the storm pushed north, southeastern US cities that rarely see snow turned into winter wonderlands, with snow weighing down palm fronds and freezing water in fountains.More than a dozen people in the United States have died this week owing to factors related to the cold, officials said.

CNN's Saskya Vandoorne reported from Paris, while Lorenzo D'Agostino and Laura Smith-Spark reported from London. CNN's Kristina Sgueglia and journalist Peter Taggart contributed to this report.

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Opinion: Why a second Brexit vote would be a bad idea

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Right about what about would happen if Britain held a second EU referendum. Right that a second vote on EU membership anytime soon would kill, possibly forever, any chance of rebuilding a meaningful relationship with the EU. Right that Remainers should be careful what they wish for.The passionate demand for a second vote echoes loudly on social media, which has rather too much influence on British political debate. Go to Twitter or Facebook and invoke the letters FBPE (Follow Back, Pro-EU) and you'll soon get the impression that simply everyone agrees Brexit is a disaster, that everyone now realizes that Leavers (poor, gullible fools) were tricked into voting Leave and will now welcome the chance to change their mind and keep us in.But step out of the bubble, and leave London (or its cultural suburbs in Brighton, Oxford, Bristol and Cambridge) and you'll discover that precious few Leavers have changed their minds. Brexit may well be a disaster in the making, but it's a disaster that millions of people have yet to see or experience. Indeed, the most remarkable thing about public opinion on Brexit is not how many people have changed their minds since the referendum, but how few: opinions remain remarkably stable and consistent in almost all polling.Of course, that could change in the event of a second referendum. Perhaps the Remain campaign would learn from its 2016 failures and do better this time, engaging with the cultural and social factors that drove the Leave vote instead of relying on a dry economic threat. But so far, there is no sign of the arch-Remainers doing so: Too many still believe that all that's needed is another lecture on the horror of Brexit and the Leavers (poor, simple-minded folk) will final realize how stupid they've been and recant. Or die: Perhaps the most horrible and counterproductive Remain trope is that Leavers are all elderly pensions who will pass away soon, leaving Britain with a pro-EU majority. Leaving aside how distasteful this is, and how statistically dubious, it's also very revealing: if you're relying on the Grim Reaper to help you, you're admitting you can't win the argument by force of persuasion.Or perhaps to win Britain back into the fold, the EU27 would suddenly make a big, generous concession on, say, freedom of movement? Again, there seems little sign of other EU nations wanting to reverse the British referendum. The Union has already started to move on to other priorities and debates. Ask yourself how far Emanuel Macron would go do bring Britain back into the EU? And how would the UK's liberalising Anglo-Saxon presence at the Council table help him advance his plans for a "Europe that protects"? So absent a better Remain campaign and a better EU offer, what else would UK voters be presented with at the second referendum? An angry, motivated and battle-hardened Leave machine driven by the narrative of betrayal and outrage. Theresa May strengthens party apparatus in Cabinet shakeup"You voted already. You know what you voted for — but these people just won't listen to you. You need to shout louder," Farage could say in that campaign. "What part of 'Leave the EU' didn't they understand? Use your vote this time to make sure these sneering, London elites finally get the message."And he would, I suspect, find himself on the same side of the referendum as not just the Conservative Party leadership, but Jeremy Corbyn's opposition Labour team too.My guess is that such a campaign would not just win but win by a wider margin than in 2016. And my fear is that in winning after a campaign charged with even greater anger and vitriol than in 2016, Britain would be left with an even more divided and dysfunctional politics than it has today.Instead of pursuing the risky dream of a second referendum, a better use of Remainer energy is the Single Market. There is very likely a majority in Parliament for a Brexit that keeps Britain in the Single Market, and very likely a majority in the country for it too. Remainers can still bring this about, but instead of trying to reverse the 2016 referendum, they need to find allies on the other side: the Leavers who would back the Single Market, who believe that "Norway" or EFTA membership or some similar deal can both honor the demand to leave the EU and avoid huge economic harm to the UK.So Remainers should pay close attention to Mr. Farage today. He's right, sadly.

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UK told to pull more diplomats from Russia

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Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told CNN on Saturday that the number was calculated to ensure the two nations achieve parity in how many staff members they have working at their diplomatic missions. Moscow initially expelled 23 British diplomats after 23 Russian diplomats were told to leave the UK.Russia is now insisting that more leave so the staff will be the same size in the countries' respective embassies.More than 25 countries announced this week that they would expel Russian diplomats in support of Britain, which blames Moscow for the March 4 nerve agent attack against Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the southern English city of Salisbury. Russia denies involvement.Also Saturday, Russia's Ministry of Transport said it planned to ask the UK why authorities searched a Moscow-bound Aeroflot plane Friday at London's Heathrow Airport. On its website, the ministry said, "In the absence of an explanation, the Russian side will regard these actions against our aircraft as illegal, and also reserves the possibility of similar actions against British air carriers."The UK Security Minister said the search was "routine.""It is routine for Border Force to search aircraft to protect the UK from (organized) crime and from those who attempt to bring harmful substances like drugs or firearms into the country," spokesman Ben Wallace said in a statement to CNN. "Once these checks were carried out the plane was allowed to carry on with its onward journey."The UK is also considering Russia's request for consular access to Yulia Skripal, whose condition has improved since being poisoned by the Novichok nerve agent in Salisbury."We are considering requests for consular access in line with our obligations under international and domestic law, including the rights and wishes of Yulia Skripal," a spokeswoman for the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office said Saturday.On Friday, the Russian Embassy in London tweeted, "Good news as Yulia Skripal is reported as recovering well. We insist on the right to see her, in accordance with the 1968 Consular Convention."

CNN's Emma Burrows reported from Moscow, and Hilary Clarke wrote in London. CNN's Matthew Chance and Lauren Kent contributed to this report.

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Can France’s Emmanuel Macron save EU in 2018?

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His improbable rise to the French presidency, the near-historic parliamentary majority achieved just a month later by his fledgling movement, and the reform of France's notoriously rigid labor laws were all derided as pipe dreams … until he proved that they were not. A dose of luck and good timing undoubtedly helped, but so too did his determination and the almost messianic sense of mission that he seems to bring to everything he does. Now he wants to bring it to Europe. In his New Year's Eve address he told not only the French, but also his "fellow European citizens," that the European Union needed to rediscover its ambition in order to become "a more sovereign, more united, more democratic" union. It is a theme he is likely to return to on Wednesday when he outlines his foreign policy priorities to journalists at the Elysee Palace.His plan is no mystery since it was the subject of three major speeches in 2017 and has already been presented to the European Council. And it is, as you would expect, nothing if not ambitious. The French President wants to do away with the Europe of nations to create something much closer to a nation of Europe. He wants the EU to have its own finance minister, its own budget, its own economic governance. He believes it should have its own army and border police force. He wants a harmonized tax system and, politically, a stronger European Parliament with transnational parties and lists. Along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Macron is seen as one of the key players in forging Europe's future.In short, the sort of federal Europe that has, over the last few decades, been an almost taboo subject, spoken of in hushed voices in the corridors of Brussels, and certainly not called for by the leader of one of Europe's most powerful nations.In order to achieve that, he wants a consultation this year with Europe's people and its nations, several of whom have spoken of their outright opposition to any moves toward federalism, precisely because their governments face electorates that have, in the past few years, voted for less Europe rather than more of it. Among them are not just the Eastern countries, which would be excluded from the heart of the multi-tiered union that Macron envisages, but Germany, Holland and, possibly soon, Italy, which goes to the polls this year. France's Macron announces first 'Make our Planet Great Again' winnersJean Monnet, one of the architects and founding fathers of the EU, had predicted that Europe would be forged in its crises. But the recent ones, focused on sovereign debt and migrants, were born precisely of the fact that Europe had not yet forged itself, and seemed therefore to threaten the union existentially by reinforcing the positions and popularity of those who wanted it destroyed — the very nationalists and skeptics that Macron is calling on Europeans to resist. The answer, he believes, is for Europe at last to answer the question of what it is: a loose federation of European nations or a federal European Union. It is the question that has divided and bedeviled Europe since its creation. And until Macron's meteoric rise to power, the former had been defended with far more vigor than the latter. Now the latter has a champion, willing not only to speak up for it, but to stake his substantial political capital on the necessity of its success. The real question is whether in 2018 — after all that has happened these last few years, from the debt crisis to Brexit — it is too late or, on the contrary, precisely the right time.If Macron gets his way, Europe will take a massive leap to become much closer, in the end, to what its founding fathers had envisaged, but very different from what it has become. And, as with so many things in France these days, the feeling seems to be that if he can't do it, then it simply cannot be done.

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