Trump’s critics ignoring their own problems

TK DAYS

While the EU-Turkey migrant deal is on the rocks, with President Erdogan claiming political refugees all over Europe, and jailing thousands of journalists and critics at home, EU’s left and centre-right politicians prefer to criticise President’s Trump ban on migrants from seven countries at high risk of jihadists infiltrations.

The passions about Mr.Trump fulfillment of his political project looks slightly misplaced within the context of current cacophony of proposals concerning the solution of migrant crisis in Europe itself.
The EU-Turkish deal has been marked with controversy right from the start: if it is legal in the framework on international laws, and if it can be a comprehensive solution of the problem. Both questions were always left without a sound answer.
However, next to Turkish migrant route problem, partially addressed, and generously footed by taxpayers, there is a chronic problem of flows from Africa via Libya to Italy and Malta, remaining unresolved due to the fragmentation of the country after Colonel Gaddafi assassination five years ago.
The ‘failed’ state ol Libya at the doorstep of Europe, ‘the worst mistake’ of Obama’s presidency became a playground for various terroristic group, and traffickers, representing high risk for European security, is still awaiting for a comprehensive solution. Seven European vessels and four helicopters of EU naval operation Sophia are not coherent with the scale of the task: there are between 16 to 20 million displaced on African continent, according to the UN, entitled to claim refugee status in Europe. The southern Europe
is increasingly burdened with the new arrivals, appealing to relocate them among EU member-states.
The ongoing Maltese presidency of the EU continues still calls for solidarity among the EU member-states to relocate migrants, however these appeal does not meet many enthusiasts, while anti-mass migration political forces gain strength.
The eurosceptic parties regard President’s Trump policies on restricting migration as a model to follow in case their ascendency to power.
While loudly criticising President Trump for acting up to the expectations of his electorate, the European politicians presume that their own citizens share their views. The polls profiling Front National leader Marin le Pen as a front-runner for the presidency of France show otherwise.

Fillon liberates the way to Le Pen

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Photo: illustration Francois and Penelope Fillon in better days
When Mr.Fillion was singing a lavish allowance to his wife from a public fund he couldn’t have guessed what an effect his misplaced generosity would have on the cause of European history. If before #PenelopeGate the majority of French were sure Fillon is their next president, after the scandal the wheel of fortune definitely moved away from him. The downfall of the front-runner gave to Marine Le Pen’s chances to become next president of the V Republic, changing her candidate status from ‘probable’ to ‘highly probable’. The ascendancy of Front National leader to Élysée Palace will certainly initiate the fundamental reshaping of the European project, so much feared by the keepers of EU dogma.

The sudden “misfortune” in the form of preliminary investigation in the prosecutor’s office that brutally changed the fate of the front-runner of the French presidential elections Francois Fillon, recasts the whole of political performance just a couple of month before the J-Day.

Many observers point out that French electorate is quite used to a fact of public fund abuse and flourishing nepotism in the political cast, so they can not be surprised by one more scandal, because they have seen so many. However this time there is a particular case because while generously filling the family budget from the public funds, Mr.Fillon called for austerity policy for his compatriots – the hypocrisy that destroyed his reputation forever.
The jungle of politics follows its laws, scavenging on what is over from Fillon’s reputation, the public opinion is upgrading in ranks Front National Marine Le Pen, and a newcomer – semi-Socialist Emmanuel Macron, from now onwards two most probable candidates to confront in the second round of elections.
If before the #PenelopeGate the battle between Fillon and Macron was considered to be difficult to latter because of lack to the governing experience, the competition with Marcon profiles Le Pen to her advantage. As a career politician she is heavy-weight next to Macron-banker, and short time finance minister of the most unpopular president of the V Republic. Not the best of the references so far. However his very recent political record would not encourage many to experiment with Mr.Macron as a president of the country, already hugely disappointed in the management of his Socialist boss.

Philadelphia: PM May on EU

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“…Nations, accountable to their populations – “deriving” as the Declaration of Independence puts it “their just powers from the consent of the governed” – can choose to join international organisations, or not. They can choose to cooperate with others, or not. Choose to trade with others, or not.

Which is why if the countries of the European Union wish to integrate further, my view is that they should be free to do so. Because that is what they choose.

But Britain – as a sovereign nation with the same values but a different political and cultural history – has chosen to take a different path.

Because our history and culture is profoundly internationalist.

We are a European country – and proud of our shared European heritage – but we are also a country that has always looked beyond Europe to the wider world. We have ties of family, kinship and history to countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and countries across Africa, the Pacific and Caribbean.

And of course, we have ties of kinship, language and culture to these United States too…”

UK PM Theresa May’s speech to Republicans, Philadelphia, 26 January 2017

EC: Leviathan gas ranks high

Today high-level contacts between Israel and European countries on laying a gas pipeline from the Leviathan natural gas reservoir are about to take place. Reportedly the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources director general Shaul Meridor will travel to Brussels  on Monday 23/01 to meet his counterparts from Italy, Greece, Cyprus, and the European Commission officials. The meeting is arranged to prepare for a summit between the four countries’ energy ministers next month in Israel.

However the issue of its economic viability of the Leviathan has been debated for some time without any definite outcome. Gas experts express doubts about the project’s benefits: transporting gas over such distances would increase the price by $3-4 per heat unit. The same time such a projet fits into the energy diversificaiton policy of the EU, aiming at independence, or at least lesser dependence  from Russian gas imports.

PM May: UK surfs global

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In a comprehensive and inspirational speech Prime Minister Theresa May has sketched a framework for Brexit goals and future of the UK-EU relations. In a way she picked up a glove of those sceptics, including recently quit ambassador to EU Ivan Rogers, who were hinting the government had no plans, no clarity, and even suggested that it will take a decade to Brexit due to ‘mission impossible’.
However now there are concepts both for the post-Brexit UK surfing in the global world and relations with the EU as ‘strategic partner’, but no attempts to get anything close to membership. No Single Market, but an ambitious free trade agreement with the EU, and customs deal, ‘keeping open mind’. Indeed, no sense to start everything from a scratch.
Although May used as a refrain the suggestion of partnership  with the EU in many areas, she made it clear-cut, that no deal is better than a bad deal, which should go for endorsement by the UK Parliament in case of achievening a result.
For the EU institutions this means an additional bitter pill to swallow, because the UK departure without ‘a deal’ means not only leaving mandarins with a considerable hole in the pockets depriving of handsome British contribution to the EU budget, but a heavvy loss of workplaces related to trade and services, adding steam to Euro scepticism, already blaming EU austerity politics for sluggish economic growth.
The ‘hard’ #Brexit is on the cards, and ‘no deal’ is a real perspective in case British negotiators will be confronted with dogmatism which became a visit card of Juncher’s Commission, prescribing ‘more Europe’ as a universal remedy for all kind of problems to occur.
However it is an image of the UK ‘global’ which is the most catchy for many who aspire liberation from the EU ‘directives’ and ‘regulations’, ‘more Europe’ and ‘4freedoms’, which became inseparable like 10 commandments of Christ, without being so highly contribution to public mores, observing new realities of workers from different European member states receiving different salaries for the same job. Times of sweeping changes are coming. Who  is the next caught in the UK whirlwind of ‘global surging’?
Anna van Densky,  OPINION,  17/01/2017, Brussels
(Photo: illustration)

‘Five Stars’ MEPs to join Liberals

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Today he Italian Five Star movement  launches negotiations over joining ALDE group in the European Parliament, meaning an enlargement of the EP Liberals by 17 MEPs. Certainly a hight tight for Guy Verhofstadt, who recently launched campaign #guy4president, wishing to chair the institution.

The decision of abandoning the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group appeared after on-line Five Star party vote concluding 80% of participants supportive of the idea of joining the European Liberals.

Apparently,  for Five Star leader and former Italian comedian Beppe’s Grillo ALDE is ‘second to best’ choice, because initially he attempted to join the Greens, but has not found reciprocity. The necessity of leaving of the EFDD group lead by #Brexit ideologist MEP Nigel Farage became obvious immediately after the UK referendum when the major political objective was attained, said Grillo, commenting the anticipated change. However the independent experts noticed , that at the moment there is no clarity how the Five Star will harmonise its political programme with the Liberals in view of many incompatible positions.

(Source: ‘5 Stars movement’)

 

 

 

MEP Tajani for European Parliament President

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The promotion of the former EU Industry top civil servant Antonio Tajani (Italy, EPP) from Barroso’s Commission to the position of the European Parliament president, once again demonstrates the failure of the institution to  renew. The civil servants becoming politicians and politicians styled into mandarins, surfing freely between  Schuman and Luxembourg squares, just hanging backdrop of the official photos, do not inspire confidence of the EU citizens, trying to figure out a raison d’être of the EU costly project, while getting increasingly confused between loyalties and separations of powers.

Nobody is going to held Antonio Tajani (63) responsable for a move of his former boss José-Manuel Barroso accepting a chairmanship at Goldman Sachs, however the maneuvering of Tajani as the Industry Commissioner to Member of the  European Parliament (MEP), with a view of ascending to the top of the latter, makes the whole intrigue look more as a part of a chess game, than a progressive political process, reflecting public interest.
Once the spokesperson of Silvio Berlusconi, Tajani made a spectacular career in the EU institutions, coming just as a replacement of a departing for a national appointment college. With zero chance to receive a second mandate as a civil servant to ‘reign’ over the EU industry while rival party gained power at home, he returned to active politics in European elections to mold into a Member of the European Parliament immediately after
the end of his mandate in the Commission.
At present a much-anticipated farewell of twice a president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz (61),(Germany, S&D) evoked European People’s Party (EPP) to claim its rights, indicating that the second mandate of Schulz was already against all the odds, because according to the  major agreement the five years Parliamentary term was divided between representatives of two biggest political groups EEP  and Socialists and Democrats.
However the double mandate of five years  of a Socialist did not become a window of opportunity to new political actors. No new generation, no new member-states, no new leaders, but the former Commission apparatchik from fading ‘Forza Italia’ party, claiming to be a brand new political group, led  by one of the most controversial figures of Italian politics, four times Prime Minister – Silvio Berlusconi (80), whose lucky star is at decline.
Reportedly Tajani is campaigning, looking for support at home and among the other political groups in the European Parliament. The situation should be clarified mid-January, because Social democrats leader Gianni Pittella (IT, S&D) does not accept EEP president bid, claiming it will ruin the fine balance among the EU institutions, leaving socialists in minority in position of leadership.
The beginning of this year a long standing leader of EP Liberals – Guy Verhofstadt (63) (ALDE, Belgium) entered the presidential race, in hope for tactical votes.
However the chances of Mr.Tajani to raise to the summit remain high, thanks to support of his own political group – the most representative in the EP.
Still it looks the idea of renewal remains foreign to the Europarl, along with the idea of gender equality  largely remaining a rhetoric exercise: since Simone Veil (1979-1982) no one women-politician ascended the president’s position, acutely no women before either.
The true impact of institutional stagnation expressed in reshuffling the very same people over and over again will be concluded at next Parliament elections, when the European citizens will come to drop their ballots, or will not come. So far last two decades the turnouts for European elections are in study decline.
#Anna van Densky