Amorphous Macron’s LaREM in identity crisis?

Anna van Densky OPINION All new political parties and movements, who have not yet declared their intentions are categorised as “other” in the first chart of the European Parliament projection for the composition of the upcoming in May 2019 assembly. The Movement of the President of France Emmanuel Macron LaRem is among “others” – the political entities, who have not decided upon their political family 100 days before the European elections.

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Monsieur Macron has an ambition to lead Europe, but he is not able to decide his political color?... An identity crisis or “felix culpa”?

The European Parliament has published a first set of projections on how the next chamber would look like based on national polling data taken up to the beginning of February 2019.

However Macron’s LaREM “En Marche” is not the only”amorphous” European political entity: the other indecisive congregation is the Italian Five Star Movement  (M5S) also labeled with grey color on the chart. However one should not conclude that the grey color in Europe is a disadvantage: Europeans have a penchant for grey since it was noted once upon a time by Marquis de Custine. And even within grey they are able to distinguish many sophisticated shades:)

Undoubtedly there will be voters dropping ballots for amorphous entities, which allow them to stay in grey  zone of comfort, avoiding clear choice between classical political right and left, but in the end with the UK leaving the bloc, the identity crisis of the President of France political party is not a major challenge for the EU27. The turn out will be the major indicator for the life expectancy of the bloc. Will it stay or decline? Up to the European to decide.

#AfricaEurope2018: Juncker collapsed

It does not make much sense to continue hiding President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker‘s illness. The secrecy around it only nourishes abominable calumny about his presumed alcoholism, used by his political enemies to discredit his work. (Image: Daily Mail online newspaper).

A problem of bending his joints has been visible for a couple of years already, and has caused embarrassment a number of times. Some medical experts suggest Juncker has an aggressive form of portraitists, provoking a continuous inflammation of his joints, a few times Bekhterev’s disease was mentioned,  while analyzing his way of walking with difficulty of turning his head, and increasingly crooked back. Affecting the joints and heart, it doesn’t damage the brain, however only medical specialists know it, because among the broader public, it creates an image of someone, who is unable to carry on his public duties.

It is in the best interest of the European Commission as an institution to publish the medical report of its president, to end all kind of insinuations, and calumny. The comparisons with fading Leonid Brezhnev are far more damaging to the European project, than the publication of the medical report, however grim it is. There are just some month to go on until the end of his mandate, but they are decisive for the Future of Europe. “Let there be light!”

 

#Strasbourg: EU commemorates slain reporters

The EU institutions and the International Press Association (API/IPA) paid tribute to two reporters, victims of the #Strasbourg terrorist attack.

The journalists in the press centre of the European Commission paid tribute to both reporters – Antonio Megalizzi  (29) and Bartosz Orent-Niedzielski  (35)– slain in jihad attack by a minute of silence.

The reporter Antonio Megalizzi (29) from Trento, Italy  was in Strasbourg to cover the European Parliament plenary session for radio network Europhonica.

His friend Barto Pedro Orent-Niedzielski (35) from Katowice, Poland, nicknamed #Bartek lived in Strasbourg, he was engaged in cultural life of the city, and also in promotion of the LGBT rights.

 

EU avoids speculations on II Brexit referendum

The carefully worded statement on possibility of the second Brexit referendum in UK reflects the cautions attitude of the EU institutions to possible repeated plebiscite, attributing to the first one a status of a ‘dressed rehearsal’.

First and utmost, the EU27 does not wish to make an impression of a player, influencing the cause of events, and especially its impact on the future of Britons, to avoid being blamed for interference in home affairs of a sovereign state. Although the grounds for retaining the UK in the EU are in place, ensured by the European Court of Justice (Luxembroug)  the further maneuvering are far too risky to be undertaken publicly.

Dabbing the UK  claims as “nebulous“, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has already slipped, receiving an explosion of fury from both of camps: the Brexiteers and the Remainers.

The tough talk with Prime Minister Theresa May made headlines, but did not bright any sympathy to Brussels, blamed to exaggerate the demands over the notorious Irish-border guarantee – ‘backstop‘. For many British legislators the requests of an indefinite ‘backstop‘ will create the major controversy, risking to pull the Brexit deal down while voting in the House of Commons.

The rigid position of the EU27, and reluctance to introduce any amendments in the Brexit deal ahead of the ratification, can be interpreted as a wish of its failure, with a hope of a the collapse of May‘s government, subsequently leading to the II referendum. and cancellation of Brexit. However those who promote the scenario forget about the high risks to receive the second rejection, damaging beyond repair the image of the bloc already in a profound crisis. The EU is caught between a rock and a hard place…

May gets political reassurances from EU

Britain’rime minister, Theresa May, appealed to the EU leaders at the EU Summit for concessions to help her receive the support in Westminster next month for an Article 50 deal that can  facilitate the UK exit from the European Union.

 

Arriving at a Brussels Summit May said she was not expecting an immediate breakthrough but wanted help to get a Brexit deal she agreed with the EU27 last month ratified in London, where many in her Conservative Party who claim the concessions made are unacceptable on long term, trapping the country into endless limbo.

May urged the EU leaders to work with her to “change the perception” of the controversial  Irish borderbackstop” plan.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the “backstop’ concerning the Irish border is not negotiable red line of the Article 50 deal. If it is applied it should be applied for a shortest possible period, however the EU would refuse the expiration date.

In aftermath of the confidence vote May promised to listen to concerns of those members of her party who oppose negotiated by her government deal. The “backstop” remains an apple of discord and puts the entire deal ratification at risk.

In case House of Commons votes down the deal, the UK ‘hard’ Brexit under WTO rules becomes inevitable.

Apart of her doorstep remarks at arrival, German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not give a press conference after the first day of the EU Summit.

 

Pedro Sanchez Gibraltar ‘Chandelier Bid’

Anna van Densky  OPINION  It would be utmost naive to believe Spanish Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is eager to enter history books as a man, who derailed Article 50  deal, and destroyed the the EU27 collective effort to avoid ‘hard Brexit’ over such a ‘eternal‘ issue as Gibraltar ceded to  British crown in 1713. Even more so, the derailing of Brexit deal would be senseless facing the solid support of the leadership of territory unequivocally given to British government both by the Chief Minister and opposition.

However Spanish veto threats hanging as Damocles sword over the final draft deal to be presented for endorsement on the EU Brexit Summit just in a day is an ideal opportunity for Sanchez to raise his own stakes politically in Europe and gain a considerable capital at home, boosting his own popularity.  Virtuoso of public relations, formed in Brussels institutions, Sanchez mastered modern communication strategies and has no intention to miss an opportunity Brexit offers.

In profound need of electoral support,  Sanchez, whose ascension to power happened though elaborate parliamentary chess combination, but not the citizen’s vote, finds himself in a need of political capital,  and voters sympathies, he has been chronically missing. The struggle for Gibraltar status is a ideal subject to raise media and public attention in Spain to gain so much needed  for the Socialists popularity.

The other paramount issue is the Spain‘s shattered image within the EU over the Catalan  referendum oppression – the last minute compromise Sanchez will offer to the bloc will be undoubtedly  presented as an ultimate sacrifice on the alter of collective European good to be exchanged in the future on ‘carte blanche‘ in some sensitive issues and benefits  for Spain to obtain from Brussels.

Pedro Sanchez will definitely not bloc the EU27 Brexit deal, and destroy the fruit of Michel Barnier elaborate arrangement to be delivered at the historic EU Summit, however there is a price for Spanish generosity the Brussels will discover later when leaders gather for the final say. Meanwhile the Article 50 game of nerves will go on, reminiscent of classic ‘Chandelier Bid‘, in order to create the appearance of greater demand or to extend bidding momentum for a piece on offer – #Gibraltar, whose inhabitants have already  twice in referendums supported status quo.

This Millenium Gibraltar sovereignty referendum was held on 7 November 2002 within the British overseas territory on a proposal by London to share  the sovereignty of the territory between Spain and the United Kingdom. The result was a rejection of the proposal by a landslide majority, with only just over one per cent of the electorate in favour.

EU wrestles May into II referendum

The EU top negotiator Michel Barnier has put the cards on the table offering British Prime Minister Theresa May to postpone Brexit for one year. However one month would be suffice to launch the second referendum procedure in alliance with the Remaines in the House of Commons, including pro-EU Tory MPs in May’s own camp.

The frankness of Barnier brought certain relieve explaining the outstanding difficulty of the talks – the EU does everything possible to keep the UK ‘in’, making problem of every issue. #PeoplesVote is the ultimate goal of the Brexit talks, which follows the EU logic. If you vote ‘wrong’ you have to vote again until you aline with Brussels interests. Will May accept the EU27 ULTIMATUM tonight? She has 30 minutes of dinner speech to clarify her intentions. Afterwards the world will know if Brexit referendum was just a dressed rehearsal for a II one, or Britons really mean it.