Wolfgang Münchau

Wolfgang Münchau

Wolfgang Münchau is a former co-editor of Financial Times Deutschland and director of Eurointelligence.

The Swiss-style Brexit delusion

Rotation is the clearest sign of intellectual muddle. When Britain left the EU, some leave supporters thought they could negotiate a bespoke agreement that would give them all the benefits of membership but none of the obligations. Then it was the Swiss model. Remember Chequers? It was the beginning of the end of Theresa May.

The UK is getting caught in an austerity trap

The teenagers are once again in charge of UK fiscal policy. The teenagers are not the Chancellor and his team, but those who set the tone of the fiscal debate in the media and the financial markets. The reasons the Conservatives are now embracing austerity is the fear that higher interest rates will kill house

Britain’s economic crisis is a warning to the world

A falling exchange rate and rising bond yields are the typical characteristics of a financial crisis in an emerging market. Those who never forgave the UK for its decision to leave the EU like to remind us of this fact right now. But an emerging market crisis doesn’t even begin to capture what is going

Cold War

41 min listen

In this week’s episode:Can Russia turn off Germany’s gas?Wolfgang Münchau and Katja Hoyer discuss Germany’s looming energy crisis (0.51).Also this week:What are relations like between Boris Johnson and Prince Charles? The Spectator’s diary editor, James Heale joins Camilla Tominey from the Telegraph talk about the growing tensions between the Prime Minister and future King (19.56).And

Wolfgang Münchau

Cold war: Putin’s plan to hold Germany to ransom

Russia has a long history of using the cold to defeat Europe. The winter of 1812 arrested Napoleon’s special military operation. Hitler’s troops hit the deep-freeze outside the gates of Moscow in December 1941. Now Vladimir Putin has the option to turn off the gas sent to Europe – a strategy against which Germany appears

How Boris can cling on

What is happening in the UK right now is similar to the later Berlusconi years, the opera buffa phase of Italian politics with bunga-bunga parties, and worse. Readers may remember Berlusconi’s infamous put-down of recession warnings in 2009, when he remarked that he was not worried because the restaurants were still full. I remember having

What makes the EU think it can run an army?

The German political economist Benjamin Braun recently made an astute observation about the editorial position of a German newspaper – in fact, it is an observation about the German policy consensus in general. “Eurobond? Never, it’ll kill us all. Eurobomb? Bring it on.” Incomprehensibly, the EU is now discussing yet another field of political integration:

How Russia wins

It is still too early to predict the outcome of the war in Ukraine. Russia has certainly solidified its position in the east and is making small military gains. What’s become clear over the last few days is that Russia may, after all, be able to achieve at least some of its military goals. Here is an interesting, albeit disturbing, political scenario by

Are sanctions making Russia richer?

Before the invasion of Ukraine, it was by no means certain that there would be a united response from the West. The sanctions imposed on Russia after Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 were fairly limited, especially from the European Union. Germany pressed on with the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Russia. But

Olaf Scholz is tanking

North-Rhine Westphalia is Germany’s largest state, almost as large as the Netherlands. It was a traditional SPD fiefdom during the time of Helmut Kohl, but in 2005 it became a CDU state. Surely, if the SPD was on the march, ready to turn Germany’s regional politics red as it did the chancellery in last year’s

Olaf Scholz is becoming Putin’s most valuable ally

If you think that Boris Johnson’s parties in Downing Street constitute a serious matter of state, you might want to take a look at what is happening in Germany right now. Olaf Scholz has been caught red-handed misrepresenting facts about weapons deliveries to Ukraine. Behind the scenes, he is busy frustrating efforts to help the

How Putin wins the war

There was a revealing comment yesterday from Robert Habeck, the German economics minister. It is a comment that inadvertently suggests how Vladimir Putin will end up winning the war. Habeck said Germany would not agree to an import ban of Russian gas, oil and coal, because this would endanger the social peace in Germany. It is

Europe is painfully reliant on Putin

Vladimir Putin declared war on Ukraine in the early hours of this morning, starting with a massive air attack from the north, south and east, targeting military and civilian infrastructure. This is the worst-case scenario. Putin’s speech on Monday set the ideological groundwork. This morning he spoke again, calling Ukraine ‘our historic lands’. He said

Sanctions won’t stop Putin

The Lithuanian prime minister, Ingrida Šimonyte, put it well yesterday: ‘the way we respond will define us for the generations to come’. The invasion of Ukraine started last night with Vladimir Putin’s order to send troops into eastern Ukraine. He had earlier recognised the breakaway provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, which together constitute the Donbas region,

How the Ukraine crisis ends

Vladimir Putin does not think in the way the West does. Of course sanctions will hurt. But so what? He may be wrong in his strategic calculations, but he is not, as Boris Johnson claimed over the weekend, irrational. Putin is an old-school strategist. This is one of the reasons that sanctions will not have

Blair is right: Boris doesn’t have a plan for Britain

What can Boris Johnson and the Tories learn from Tony Blair? While Labour’s former leader remains deeply unpopular – and indeed ultimately fell over a grave misjudgement – he was the UK’s last successful prime minister. Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May and, now, Boris Johnson exist in his shadow. The PM would be wise then to look to Blair’s rise

Why Omicron may overwhelm the NHS

What we know from the imperfect data we have is that Omicron is vastly more infectious but less virulent than the Delta variant. If the UK Health Security Agency is right in its modelling estimate that as of last Sunday, there were already 200,000 cases of Omicron in the country, compared to 60,000 confirmed and

Wolfgang Munchau, Andrew Watts, Hannah Tomes

19 min listen

On this week’s episode, we’ll hear from Wolfgang Munchau on the political situation in Germany. (00:49) Next, Andrew Watts on his year long battle against a parking ticket. (11:01) And finally, Hannah Tomes on her love of Baileys. (15:33) Produced and presented by Sam Holmes Subscribe to The Spectator today and get a £20 Amazon