EU calls Trump’s bluff as he takes an ax to the WTO The big question is whether the US president wants to reform the WTO or kill it. -Politico.eu

After demos, far-right AfD overtakes German Social Democrats Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) has overtaken the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), a poll showed on Tuesday, days after some of the most violent protests by radical right-wingers the country has seen in decades. -Reuters

Only Ireland matters in final Brexit exam Unless a solution can be found to the Northern Irish border conundrum, the political fight over the future relationship is moot. -Politico.eu

Can Trump’s Sanctions Break Iran? Iran and the US seem to have reversed roles with the Trump administration's decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran’s isolation before the agreement now contrasts with America's determination to swim against the global tide. -Project Syndicate

Ankara aims to defuse tensions with European allies As Turkey seeks to mend ties with its allies in Europe, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is making his first visit to the country. Ankara will likely use his visit as a chance to score points with Berlin. -DW

China’s Xi pledges $60 billion to Africa, says 'no strings attached' -France24



Auto industry pushes back against tougher EU emissions targets European carmakers have openly questioned the EU's 2021 car emissions goals, rejecting tougher reduction targets planned for 2030. They claim the bloc's climate targets and its push toward more e-cars will cost jobs. -DW

Paris leads efforts to puncture Airbnb Airbnb follows in Uber’s footsteps as the platform big cities love to regulate, with Paris cracking down the hardest. -Politico.eu

UK companies spend least on foreign takeovers since 2013 British companies’ spending on takeovers of foreign businesses fell to its lowest in nearly five years during the three months to June, as Brexit worries appeared to weigh on firms’ appetite to make big investments, official figures showed on Tuesday. -Reuters  

Citi wins tender to buy Israeli government's Bank Leumi stake -Reuters

French oil giant Total officially quits US sanctions-hit Iran -France24 (video)

Nigeria slaps $2bn bill on phone giant MTN Nigeria has asked mobile phone operator MTN to pay a $2bn (£1.6bn) tax bill, the company says. -BBC


EU unemployment at its lowest since the financial crisis The strengthening of economic growth has led to a further improvement in labour markets. Eurostat’s latest unemployment figures, released today, show that EU unemployment is with 6.8% in July 2018 back to pre-crisis levels, and well below the 11% in March 2013 at the peak of the Eurozone crisis. -BusinessEurope

Italy's League Discussing Deficit Below 3%, Official Says -Bloomberg

Fitch Revises Italy's Outlook to Negative; Affirms at 'BBB' Fitch Ratings-London-31 August 2018: Fitch Ratings has revised the Outlook on Italy's Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to Negative from Stable and affirmed the IDR at 'BBB'. -Fitch

Russian Rate Hike in Play After Ruble Finally Fires Up Inflation Russia’s latest bout of currency weakness is doing more damage than just taking the wind out of the central bank’s monetary stimulus this year. -Bloomberg

Romania’s Black Sea gas sparks political crisis Spat over tax law puts in jeopardy multi-billion effort to tap offshore gas reserves. -Politico.eu