Bill Wirtz
Bill Wirtz
Name
Bill Wirtz
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Belgium
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Motto
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.
« Overview

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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