politics

Macron Flexes His Muscle in London

Macron Set to Loan 950-Year-Old Artifact to U.K.

Want to receive this post in your inbox every morning? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.

The weakness of British Prime Minister Theresa May's hand as she enters the crucial phase of Brexit negotiations is evident in the diplomatic coup her team is trumpeting before a meeting with Emmanuel Macron today -- Britain gets to borrow a 950-year-old wall hanging.

In contrast, the French president -- on his first official visit to the U.K. -- secures 45 million pounds ($62 million) of British funding for border checks in the French port of Calais, military support for French operations in Africa and a commitment to join EU combat forces.

The juxtaposition shows how little leverage May has -- and how much she needs Macron to soften his line on Brexit. France has been one of the biggest obstacles to May's goal of retaining access to the bloc's markets.

Of course, the Bayeux tapestry will doubtless generate a lot of interest among British museum-goers. But the symbolism may go down better in Paris than in London -- the tapestry shows England's King Harold being killed in battle as nobles from what is now northern France conquer his country.

The Bayeux Tapestry is normally housed at a museum in northern France.
Source: Getty Images

Global Headlines

Keeping the lights on | With the House on track to pass a one-month funding bill today, Anna Edgerton looks at the challenge Speaker Paul Ryan faces as he once again tries to shepherd his fractious majority. For Ryan, the cost of progress on spending is postponing action on more divisive issues like immigration that require political cover from an often inconsistent partner: President Donald Trump.

Midterm warm up | Trump plans to visit Pittsburgh today to stump for a House candidate in a special election that Republicans view as a bellwether for their prospects of retaining their congressional majorities in the 2018 midterms. The race will test the president's sway following an embarrassing defeat last month in Alabama, where he backed two losing candidates and the state elected its first Democratic senator in a quarter century.

Blame game | After months of leaning on Beijing to curb its support for North Korea, Trump is shifting the blame for the regime's sanctions dodging to Moscow. In a rare criticism of Vladimir Putin's foreign policy, he told Reuters that "what China is helping us with, Russia is denting." Meanwhile, the two Koreas appear to be doing their best to get along, agreeing to march under one flag at next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Bite at the Apple | Apple Inc. became the first U.S. technology company to act on the Republicans’ new tax law by announcing it will start bringing home some of the hundreds of billions of dollars stashed overseas -- paying about $38 billion in taxes and spending tens of billions on domestic jobs, manufacturing and data centers. The company also told employees yesterday that it’s issuing stock-based bonuses worth $2,500 each.

Surveillance state | China is trialing a new tracking tool in one of its favorite testing grounds: Xinjiang. Already full of checkpoints and security cameras, the restive region that’s home to about 10 million Muslim Uighurs is piloting facial-recognition systems that alert authorities when targeted people venture more than 300 meters (1,000 feet) beyond designated areas. China’s treatment of the ethnic minority has long been the subject of international criticism. 

And finally… The billionaire daughter of Angola's former president who chaired the national oil company -- terminated! The son who led the sovereign wealth fund -- terminated! The multi-million dollar TV contracts for two other siblings -- terminated too! As Henrique Almeida and Pauline Bax report, President Joao Lourenco's sharp break with his predecessor's regime has the public purring over comparisons to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movie character, The Terminator. He even stops at red lights in the capital.

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE