Your Evening Briefing
Here are today’s top stories for Europe.
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After a brisk, eight-week campaign, the surprise British general election vote is entering its final hours. Polls are set to close just before 10 p.m. U.K. time. Here is a look at the five potential scenarios that could play out. For complete election coverage, see our special report page. And for real-time results, check out our dynamic map. — Andy Reinhardt
Bold step. Better known for accumulating capital and emphasizing internal growth than doing deals, Santander chairwoman Ana Botin took a page from her late father’s playbook by agreeing to buy troubled lender Banco Popular for €1 while absorbing the €37 billion ($42 billion) in non-performing assets that laid it low. Popular chairman Emilio Saracho, hired just four months ago to save the troubled lender, lost his battle to keep it independent.
Revolving door. French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to change how politics is done in France, starting with the parliament to be elected beginning Sunday. But one ingrained aspect of French politics remains beyond his grasp: the fact that bureaucrats can hold political office—multiple offices, in fact—without having to quit the civil service. He might tackle the longstanding sinecure later, but observers say it’s still too soon.
Heavy toll. It has taken the Spanish economy a decade to claw back lost output after its worst crisis in modern history, and the wounds are far from healed. While gross domestic product is on track this quarter finally to reach the level registered in 2007, employment is almost 12 percent lower, wages remain subdued and social inequality has risen even amid the recovery.
Swedish concessions. Stockholm-based Nordea Bank has won an important concession from the Swedish government, whose proposal to sharply raise taxes on banks prompted Nordea to threaten to relocate its headquarters to another country. Now, Sweden says it will cap the size of a fund into which banks are required to pay, rather than allowing the fund to grow indefinitely.
Keeping Dubai’s lights on. The United Arab Emirates depends on imported gas to power half its electricity, and much of it comes from Qatar. Unless the U.A.E. wants Dubai’s glittering skyscrapers to go dark, it can’t afford to cut off the flow of gas.
Fashion giant. Two museums honoring the late designer Yves Saint Laurent are opening this year, one in Paris at his old studio and one in the Moroccan city he loved. Designed by the French architecture firm Studio KO, the Marrakech venue is built of terra cotta, concrete, and an earthen-colored terrazzo with pieces of Moroccan stone, perfectly fitting in with the surroundings.
Compiled by Andy Reinhardt and Leila Taha