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The week that was: Brexit chaos, Lord Chaos and the Hulk in Paris

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Welcome to our new weekly review of the hot topics that have you all talking. In this inaugural round-up of the week that was, we aim to give you a flavour of the opinions here on View that have driven debate across Europe and beyond over the last seven days.

Without question, the story that has most dominated the headlines this week has been the Brexit deal impasse. Facing rebellion over her draft withdrawal agreement with the EU, Theresa May has been put through the mill. With a potential leadership challenge looming, probable defeat of her proposed Brexit agreement at the hands of MPs in parliament and a flurry of Cabinet resignations, there appears to be few viable escape routes left open.

One potential scenario, according to Scottish MEP Alyn Smith, is to extend or revoke Article 50. Read what he had to say here. The heavy cost of Brexit is already starting to become apparent, especially for businesses like Robbie Toan’s preparing for a potential ‘no deal’. For Irish activist Emma DeSouza, leaving the EU is becoming a personal struggle as she battles for her very identity – and for her husband’s right to stay - in Northern Ireland.

From Brexit chaos to Lord Chaos, the world came together to pay homage to cultural icon Stan Lee this week, after news broke that he had passed away earlier this week, aged 95. The pioneer behind Marvel Comics was regarded as a hero to many. “Stan Lee may have been mortal, but his ideas, like his superheroes, will never die,” opined blogger Ani Bundel. Read her tribute to Lee in full here.

US president Donald Trump appeared to some commentators to be channelling one of Lee’s most famous creations, the Hulk, during a sullen and antagonistic state visit to France for the centenary commemorations of the end of the First World War. Doing what he loves best, President Trump fired off a fiery tweet criticising French president Emmanuel Macron just minutes after Air Force One touched down on French soil. “It quickly became quite clear that Trump’s attitude would be colouring much of his stay in Paris,” noted David A. Andelman in his analysis of the president’s latest polemic.

With Europe facing a resurgence of the Far Right and a spiral towards authoritarianism, the continent is more need of a caped crusader superhero than ever. But will it come in the guise of Manfred Weber, the EPP’s Spitzencandidat hotly tipped to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission? Well, that is open to debate. As R. Daniel Kelemen notes in his op’ed this week, Weber often talks about the importance of protecting the rule of law but has a proven track record of siding with autocratic leaders like Viktor Orbán.

Of course, the dark clouds gathering over Europe are nothing compared to the daily hell of those living through the conflict in Yemen. While heinous terror attacks carried out by Islamic State and their ilk generally steal the headlines, the brutal acts of Houthi militias against the Yemeni population are going unreported. But how do we put an end to the ongoing conflict? Cut off their support network in the West, according to French senator Nathalie Goulet.

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