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Taxes, polls and strikes – welcome to France!

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These days, French football is not so much about goalscoring, match results and league tables. Much of the football talk is dominated by the exceptional tax of 75% on incomes above 1 million that the Hollande government is decided to impose on all companies operating in France over a period of two years. Needless to […]

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Mesut Özil has style, and there’s plenty of evidence on youtube for that. But Mesut Özil also has influence on the style of others. The Guardian to start with: for decades the British quality newspaper had stipulated in its well-known ‘House Style Guide’ that capital letters should have no accents. But Özil’s arrival at Arsenal […]

Surprise, surprise

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Germany has voted. And – surprise, surprise – the voters have confirmed the first female Chancellor ever of their Republic for the second time. Surprising then that there was next to no mention of gender equality among the major topics of the election campaign. Not so surprising when one recalls that only last April the […]

8:45 – the European hour

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  This evening the Champions League will be back. At 20:45, the coins will have been thrown and both the game and its powerful marketing machine will be kicked off yet again across the continent, from Copenhagen to Istanbul, from San Sebastian to Piraeus. There is a lot that can be said against the Champions […]

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How English can a German become?

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There are not many Germans who made it into the hall of fame of English football. There are not many Germans either who were made OBE (‘Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’), especially if they started their stay as POW (prisoner of war) in 1945. In fact, there’s only one who […]

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Season’s greetings

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End of August. Time to update one of my all-time favourite football cartoons. If I remember correctly, it dates from 1992, but it never seems to become obsolete. You just have to update the text of the first three panels of the strip with what you see in the television news, and you can be […]


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Since 1927 this expression, based on the second half of the French call for help “Venez m’aider” has been used to signal a life-threatening emergency for ships or aircraft. Out of this context, and spelt in two words, it may of course simply refer to a day in the month of May. For the European […]

Language skills required

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Europeans enjoy freedom of movement, but they don’t make enough use of it. The European labour market could benefit tremendously from a higher degree of mobility. If it was not for the language barrier. But in times of crisis, people – especially qualified young people from Southern Europe – no longer hesitate to accept the […]

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