Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

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Here are today’s top stories for Europe.

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What is Boris Johnson up to? Britain’s colorful foreign secretary sparked weekend controversy with a 4,200-word essay in the Daily Telegraph outlining his vision for Brexit. Is Johnson making a renewed play for the party leadership? Or is he resentful at being shut out of Brexit policy formulation? He and May will be together in New York this week, so keep your eyes peeled for a showdown before she gives her big Brexit speech in Florence on Friday. The premier has already rebuked him for speaking out of turn. — Andy Reinhardt

Revolving door. Hillary Clinton may regret having given speeches on Wall Street after leaving government but her old boss doesn’t seem to share her concern. Just seven months after leaving office, former President Barack Obama earned $400,000 for a speech to clients of Northern Trust. Last week he reminisced about the White House for private equity giant Carlyle Group. And he’ll speak next week at a health care conference sponsored by Cantor Fitzgerald. 

Scheduling fiasco. Budget airline Ryanair scrambled today to recover from an own-goal of epic proportions. The Dublin-based carrier has overbooked its staff and suddenly had to cancel hundreds of flights through the end of October to meet Irish rules on minimum holiday time. The cancelations could leave up to 400,000 passengers in the lurch and may cost Ryanair €25 million in profit for refunds and compensation. The snafu occurred at a time when Ryanair is trying to improve its mixed reputation.

Preparing homes for assembly in Germany, Austria and the U.K.
Photographer: Piotr Malecki/Bloomberg

The end of cheap labor. Companies across Eastern Europe are facing the specter of eroding profits as their cheap-labor business model is shaken by worker shortages. Polish unemployment is at the lowest since 1991, and more than two million Poles work abroad. Companies complain a dearth of workers threatens to foil their growth plans. But as long as Polish wages remain lower than in Western Europe, Poles will still seek better pay abroad, cutting the pool of qualified staff at home.

Nuclear power. Emmanuel Macron wants to show the world that France can punch its weight. The French president has already weighed in on crises from North Korea to Qatar to Yemen. This week in New York he’ll hold meetings about ongoing conflicts in Libya and Syria. With Trump’s erratic behavior, Britain preoccupied with Brexit and Germany lacking a serious military, there’s a spot open for a western power to take the lead on security. For Macron, it’s an opportunity to re-establish France’s traditional postwar heft. 

Price hike. Saudi Arabia might soon end gas and jet fuel subsidies, raising prices by 80 percent in November to bring them to parity with international norms. The world’s biggest oil exporter is pushing a program to cut spending as the global oil slump continues to take a toll on its economy, and subsidy reform is a key part of that plan. There may be some relief for citizens who have to pay more at the pump: authorities have announced plans for a cash transfer program to help Saudis cope with the impact.

Air wars. With U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May dependent on lawmakers from Northern Ireland to sustain a majority in Parliament, she has taken up a cause dear to DUP leader Arlene Foster. Canadian giant Bombardier is the biggest private employer in Northern Ireland, and it’s the target of a trade complaint from rival Boeing. May takes her campaign to Canada on Monday, where she’ll discuss the matter with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Back to the future. British fashion company Burberry Group is betting on growth in smaller handbags and playing up its trademark check patterns as new CEO Marco Gobbetti seeks to join the luxury industry’s turnaround. At its first major runway show since Gobbetti took over in July, the trenchcoat maker showed off reversible tote bags decked out in its tartan plaid, including a £1,490 pound version lined in honey calfskin.

Models present creations from the Burberry collection during a catwalk show on the second day of The London Fashion Week.
Photographer: NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP

Compiled by Andy Reinhardt and Leila Taha

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