Bill Wirtz
Bill Wirtz
Name
Bill Wirtz
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Luxembourg
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Bill Wirtz comments on European politics and policy in English, French, and German. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The Washington Examiner, CityAM, Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Die Welt.
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The European Union should not receive its own direct income

The European Union should not receive its own direct income

In an effort to make the European Union independent of its funders, the European Parliament is making clear demands in the 2021-2027 budget talks. Their calls for direct income would have significant ramifications.   Not every federal state is the same   When talking about federal states or the creation thereof, one usually thinks of the United States, or maybe even Germany. But…

Kosovans deserve visa-free travel

Kosovans deserve visa-free travel

A generation of young Kosovans has been taught that freedom of movement is conditional on productivity, and that their productivity is conditional on their freedom of movement. Let’s avoid a generation of “trapped” youth. Last week I had the utmost pleasure to be a speaker at the European Students For Liberty Regional Conference in Prishtina, Kosovo, where I explained the…

Salvini's ethnic shop restrictions are purposefully destructive

Salvini's ethnic shop restrictions are purposefully destructive

Italy’s interior minister, Matteo Salvini, suggested this month that “ethnic shops” should not be allowed to remain open past 9 p.m. The suggestion is not only bigoted, it is also likely to worsen the state of integration in the Southern European country.   Salvini specifically targets migrants   The far-right Lega leader, Salvini, is targeting these night shops,…

Should Russia's chequebook diplomacy be a real concern in Europe?

Should Russia's chequebook diplomacy be a real concern in Europe?

The European Union is debating whether or not to include more countries from the Balkans in the organisation. The narrative is: integrate them into the West now, before they become puppets of Putin's Russia. But is that really true?   The "How" and "Why" of the EU's enlargement   In 2004, the European Union had its biggest enlargement process yet,…

Questions to ask your MEP candidates

Questions to ask your MEP candidates

In May of 2019, voters of European Union member states will elect a new European Parliament (EP), which will become the basis for the establishment of a new European Commission. Thousands of hopeful candidates are standing for election in the individual states, and voters  should ask some essential questions before entering the voting booth.   On harmonisation and centralisation…

The Commission front-runner: who is Manfred Weber?

The Commission front-runner: who is Manfred Weber?

The German politician Manfred Weber is the current front-runner of the European People's Party (EPP), making him the most likely personality to become the next Commission president. So who is Manfred Weber, and what does his candidacy mean for EU politics?   Manfred who?   Whenever there is a presidential election, people are generally aware of the front-runners. You could…

Italy's funding threat will force the next European Commission to make fundamental choices

Italy's funding threat will force the next European Commission to make fundamental choices

In a recent statement, Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Luigi de Maio said that if the European Union cannot agree on a comprehensive redistribution system of migrants coming from Africa, the government could withhold funds to Brussels. This would be a first in the history of the EU, and presents some key questions about the federalism and the priorities of the next executive.  …

EU institutions are back from their holidays--and so are Macron's demands

EU institutions are back from their holidays--and so are Macron's demands

Brussels has woken back up; but it's not only the trams and metros that are seeing themselves filled to the last remaining standing spot, the political machinery has also been rebooted. For French president Emmanuel Macron, the pitch is out for his EU reforms; but unlike last time, the EU now has other priorities.   Macron's aspirations   Back in April, Macron laid out his…

No tariffs, no non-tariff barriers, no subsidies. Yes, Trump wants this.

No tariffs, no non-tariff barriers, no subsidies. Yes, Trump wants this.

U.S president Donald Trump continues to be blamed for initiating a trade war with Europe, when indications for that are not entirely there. During this week's rally in West Virginia, however, Trump reiterated that he'd love to see no tariff-barriers whatsoever. Why is he still not striking a nerve with EU leaders?   "That's what we learned at the Wharton School of…

European defence in the age of Trump means actually taking responsibility

European defence in the age of Trump means actually taking responsibility

Last month, we've seen U.S president Donald Trump slam European leaders for their lack of commitment to NATO military spending targets. Trump believes that his European partners are spending too little on defence and says that in the future, they shouldn't rely on the States to provide for their security. In light of this policy change from America, European nations need to actually step…

China's trade and investment policy can break up the European Union

China's trade and investment policy can break up the European Union

At the current moment, the European Union is as divided as ever: Central and Eastern European nations are fundamentally at odds with the vision of EU leaders in Brussels. The one thing that has been holding the group together is a common investment and trade policy. The People's Republic of China however, has the potential of turning it all upside down.   Strategic investments  …

National voter disenfranchisement can't be solved with transnational democracy

National voter disenfranchisement can't be solved with transnational democracy

In recent piece for Politico Europe, Italian Jean Monnet professor Alberto Alemanno backs down on the (already dead) idea of transnational lists for European elections. According to him, current problems of European democracy can be solved through more internationalised elections. He's very wrong.   What people want   In Pew polling from last year, favorability ratings of the EU…

About those childish semi-final reactions

About those childish semi-final reactions

On Wednesday, England lost its semi-final World Cup game against Croatia. Reason enough for those obsessed by Brexit, and having lost the argument in 2016, to get out and moralise based on a sport. It doesn't take much reading to understand how the question of  "why do they hate us" answers itself. After the chances of the Croatian football team looked promising for a…

The EU's enlargement process needs to stop

The EU's enlargement process needs to stop

As the European Union's integration policies come increasingly under fire, and the union does not agree between itself where it wants to head, it is unwise for Brussels to flirt with the accession of countries such as Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia or Albania. In fact, the EU needs a halt to all accessions for a longer period of time. Current EU summits, which are so largely dominated by the…

EU cohesion spending is non-cohesive and out of control

EU cohesion spending is non-cohesive and out of control

In a crushing report, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) went after EU spending on plans for a European high-speed rail network. The institution calls current plans "very unlikely", and describes them as having "low added" value. And yet, the Juncker Commission does little to nothing to reduce cohesion spending, which, according to its own auditors, is a waste of money. The…

The European Union now goes after beer

The European Union now goes after beer

The European Union is cracking down on alcohol consumption. The newest idea: changing tax policy to incentivize the brewing of beers that are lower in alcohol percentage. This change will hurt craft breweries.   The proposal   The European Commission has proposed making  a change on beer excise duties in the EU. As of now, lower-strength beer benefits from a reduced tax rate,…

Every purchase is a vote: the daily democracy of the free market

Every purchase is a vote: the daily democracy of the free market

Advocates of government interventionism continuously try to make consumers appear as the victims of large corporations, who are being enslaved by consumerism and predatory advertisement. However, it's actually consumers who together make the decisions of what is being sold in the first place.   There are elections on every day!   Whenever you go grocery shopping, you engage in…

I searched Twitter for "European values". Now I'm more confused than before.

I searched Twitter for "European values". Now I'm more confused than before.

In my first article for this blog, which happened to be republished from a column of mine for the Foundation for Economic Education, I asked what "European values" are supposed to be, and who gets to determine them. In the year leading up to the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union, this question is set to be posed repeatedly. So I took it to the centre of all intellectual…

Zuckerberg will testify in the European Parliament. The script writes itself.

Zuckerberg will testify in the European Parliament. The script writes itself.

After his testimony in front of Congress, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been summoned by the European Parliament. Weeks after the invitation, Zuckerberg has now agreed to meet parliamentarians in a private session.   EU Legislation is already set   Initially, Italian European Parliament chairman Antonio Tajani reacted in a very polite, yet firm manner to Zuckerberg's…

The EU Commission's survey on the future of Europe is big-government confirmation bias

The EU Commission's survey on the future of Europe is big-government confirmation bias

When EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted out a survey on the future of Europe on May 9 (Europe Day), my expectation was that I would be able express my opinion. Where else would I let representatives know my feelings about free markets, decentralisation and limited government? I soon discovered that my views weren't really an option.   A closer look at the questions…

The entitlement epidemic

The entitlement epidemic

In France, radicalised students are blocking the entrance of multiple universities. Estimates count more than one million euros in damages, with higher education establishments being affected with damages of about €300,000. What exactly do these students want, and what needs to be done about their feeling of entitlement?   A student’s fight against meritocracy   French…

Macron in Strasbourg: more excitement, and yet more of the same

Macron in Strasbourg: more excitement, and yet more of the same

Emmanuel Macron's much anticipated speech in the European Parliament marked an important moment for EU leaders in Strasbourg. Finally, the king spoke to his servants, so to speak. And indeed, much has been said in recent weeks and months about Macron's undeniable leadership in the European Union. However, has been discussed about how different the ideas of the "En Marche" leader…

Whom do unions really protect?

Whom do unions really protect?

This week has seen massive strikes in the French public railway services. While the unions are holding the French transport system hostage, only a fraction of both regional and high-speed intercity trains are operational. France is a notable example of what happens when unions gain the upper hand. But whom do they really protect?   The illusion of support   During a recent carpool…

On AI, Europe prefers to "think" than to innovate

On AI, Europe prefers to "think" than to innovate

Despite the enormous opportunities provided by the technology surrounding artificial intelligence, the European Union is more preoccupied with coming up with creative ways of taxing automation and regulating AI. This will eventually show to be a massive error of judgement.   The Commission's AI "strategy"   During the Digital Summit in Tallinn in October, the…

European political parties need to draw red lines. Viktor Orbán is showing why.

European political parties need to draw red lines. Viktor Orbán is showing why.

For years, a political class offended by everything and begging for apologies on minor scandals has seemingly been fine with benefiting from the membership of parties with very questionable views. A recent speech by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán makes it clear that European political parties need to screen their memberships and stop the opportunism.   Orbán's…

The European Union needs tax competition

The European Union needs tax competition

Back in December, the finance ministers of the European Union agreed on a new common list of so-called “tax havens”, which compete with particularly lower corporate income tax rates. On this “black list”, a total of 17 states around the globe appeared  amongst them were Mongolia, South Korea, Bahrain, Barbados and the United Arab Emirates. The consensus then was that…

Where did the European moral high ground on trade go?

Where did the European moral high ground on trade go?

With the announcement of new tariffs on steel and aluminum, U.S president Donald Trump is setting  the international community up for a trade war. At least that seems to be the conclusion that EU leaders are drawing from the announcement. Instead of trying to find a diplomatic solution, the Juncker Commission is taking a confrontational stance.   Tariffs as political powerplay…

Germany's new Facebook-law is downright dystopian

Law
Germany's new Facebook-law is downright dystopian

Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz. No, I didn't just fall asleep on my keyboard. This is the actual name of Germany's Facebook law which came into effect in autumn of 2017. This new legislation, officially known as "law for the improvement of law enforcement on social media", is cracking down on "fake news" and abuse on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The unique and…

Post-Brexit budget talks: have we learned nothing?

Post-Brexit budget talks: have we learned nothing?

Brexit will tear a hole in the European Union's budget, but Brussels seems determined to go ahead as if nothing happened. If the European Union wants to actually improve the life of its citizens, it's not by increasing spending that it will do so. A closer look at the EU budget’s aims EU Budget Commission, the German Günther Oettinger has already set an agenda for reaching…

Macron's "fake news" legislation raises serious concerns about press freedom

Macron's "fake news" legislation raises serious concerns about press freedom

Bill Wirtz is a Young Voices Advocate. His work has been featured in several outlets, including Newsweek, Rare, RealClear, CityAM, Le Monde and Le Figaro. He also works as a Policy Analyst for the Consumer Choice Center. ______ Macron's "fake news" legislation raises serious concerns about press freedom   After president Macron had made it one of the priorities earlier this…

What Are "European Values" Anyway?

What Are "European Values" Anyway?

Bill Wirtz is a Young Voices Advocate. His work has been featured in several outlets, including Newsweek, Rare, RealClear, CityAM, Le Monde and Le Figaro. He also works as a Policy Analyst for the Consumer Choice Center. ______ "European values" are the poor excuse for a political project that doesn't have a monopoly on them anyway.   As the Brexit negotiations progress and…

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