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Biarritz, hybrid threats and political therapy

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Biarritz, hybrid threats and political therapy
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Politically, it was a brutal end to this year's summer vacation, the G7 summit in Biarritz.

Or should I say: G6 plus Donald Trump?

The US president once again entertained the world by trashing his predecessor, praising Kim Jong Un, advocating to bring Putin back into the fold, flip-flopping on trade, skipping the climate meeting and touting his personal golf club in Florida as the venue for next year's G7 summit in the US.

What is maybe most disturbing is that the other world leaders just shrugged it off, tip-toeing around Trump to not get him mad.

At the G7 summit one leader stood out as the master of this new art: the host, French president Emmanuel Macron.

He managed to tame Trump and still advance a multilateral agenda, achieving a surprising level of consensus.

The best example: the crisis over Iran's nuclear program.

Relations with Russia

In Macron's vision of world relations there is a place for Russia.

That's why he called for “re-visiting” relations with Moscow.

Otherwise, according to Macron, Russia might team up with China which is not in Europe's interest.

Maybe... Yet, there is another view on Russia.

This week saw EU defense ministers talk about a so-called “hybrid threat” to the European Union.

Listening to the various facets of this phenomenon, one gets the strange feeling that we have heard about these things before – mainly in connection with Russia.

Belgium beer therapy

Since the elections in May, Belgium still doesn't have a new national government.

Not that this is overly important, as Belgium is a funtioning state.

Plus, there are so many layers of government in that country that one would hardly notice the absence of a ruling coalition...

The reason is that Belgium is organized along the lines of its linguistic communities, the Dutch and the French speakers.

Whether both really like each other is subject to an eternal debate.

Corporate Belgium now wanted to know more and launched a sort of a giant blind date around one of the countries most famous features.

Next week

And here's a look at some top events next week:

In Berlin, political parties will start the new week analysing important regional election results in two East German states and how they will impact Angela Merkel's ruling coalition.

A new round of Brexit drama starts on Tuesday when the House of Commons returns from its summer break.

After Boris Johnson's orchestrated suspension of parliament during the run-up of Brexit, the parliamentary battles are back with a vengeance.

And more Brexit talk on Wednesday when US Vice President Mike Pence will be in London to talk about a future trade relationship with the UK.

That does it for us today; but before we go, take a look at this:

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg sailed into New York Harbor to take part in a UN climate summit.

The teenager arrived together with her father and a crew in a zero-carbon emissions yacht to make a point.

Asked about her message for Donald Trump, a climate change denier, she said:

My message for him is: just listen to the science.

Well, good luck with that!

State of the Union returns next weekend.