Mogherini “so ashamed of EU”

Anna van Densky, OPINION

The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini refrain of being “so ashamed of the EU” came as startling amid the high level conference in the European Parliament on migration management. Lashing the European Union for not doing enough, Mogherini  expressed her profound disdain with the organisation, incapable to host migrants in numbers they appear at European coasts.

The frustration of Mogherini with the reluctance of the EU member-states to host massive flows of migrants has its pre-history. previously the head of the European Actions Service has been known as an ardent promoter of Islam: “I am not afraid to say that political Islam should be part of the picture”, said Mogherini at an event devoted to ‘Islam in Europe’.

“Islam belongs in Europe. It holds a place in Europe’s history, in our culture, in our food and – what matters most – in Europe’s present and future” – Mogherini continued.

However the biggest challenge to the diplomat is the  European identity, she sees as an obstacle for free inflows of the migrants from the Islamic countries: “Any attempt to divide the peoples of Europe into “us” and “them” brings us in the wrong direction.” Following this logic anyone who reaches geographic Europe becomes European in his own right, without any need to adapt to the European culture in a broader sense, moreover the newcomers are entitled to recreate the ideology which is the reason of their misery, pushing them to flee their homes. No one ever heard of the Christians searching for asylum in Muslim countries, but strangely enough the major reason of their life drama is preserved as an integral part of their personal ‘freedom’, especially grotesque in case of Muslim women, who insist in Western societies on freedom of submission. A perfect oxymoron, and contemporary paradox, but not the only one.

However deeply ‘ashamed ‘ of the EU Mogherini is, she continues to receive a mega-salary of a high-ranking executive from the EU she scorns: a monthly pay of 27,953 euros – which increased on 633 euros this year according to Bild newspaper – thanks to the generosity of the European ‘shameful’ taxpayer, sponsoring the entire project.

Pecunia non olet! (Latin – money doesn’t stink

EU migrant crisis deadlock

Although  focused on sanctioning Vicegrad4 (V4) group members – Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – for their reluctance to accept the refugees and migrants after the wave of the terroristic attacks in Europe, the EU does not have a concept or strategy for long-term solution of the problem of illegal mass migration from Africa. Tactically forcing the V4 to accept some thousands of migrants will not lead to the a halt, or even a relieve in the  Italian shelters, but achieve the opposite,  encouraging new massive arrivals. Even if hosted  proportionately among all EU27 states, the migration problem  will not be an inch closer to its solution, on contrary to what the leader of the European Parliament Socialsits @GianniPittella MEP, might hope for, insisting that there is no other solution, but sanctioning V4:

Next to old rivalries and violent conflicts the West introduced the new once, as a result of a passion for regime-change Libya has been degraded from one of the richest African nations under Colonel Gaddafi rule to a failed state, terrorized by various groups of jihadists, whom he once fought. Failed state became an open gate for anyone in Africa interested to try his luck in Europe. Different sources mentioned 15 000 jihadists who have already infiltrated in Europe with migrants flow, waiting for a suitable moment to strike.

Until Libya remains no man land, the perspectives to curb the flow of migrants from Sub-Sakharian  Africa stay feeble: countries like Nigeria with two million people fled from the militant group Boko Haram’s violence since 2014, will continue to represent a reserve of refugees eager to risk their lives to reach Italian coasts.

At the moment  six million people are looking for an opportunity to cross Mediterranean, gathering at Libyan coast, according to a report leaked to Build newspaper. The plea of the European Liberals to relocate to each European town “30 migrants” doesn’t work either, because it will privilege the happy few, inspiring deprived millions to require the same treatment. The re-location of even one million of Africans to V4 countries will not resolve the problems of the entire 1,2 billion population of the continent, suffering violent conflict, poverty and famine.

The restrictive measures towards V4 will alienate the citizens of these countries from the EU project, which has been passing through turbulent times of Brexit – the decision largely taken in discord with the EU open door policy, and a broad gesture of Chancellor Merkel inviting one million migrants to Germany. Calais camp Jungle has also played its part, while Britons were casting a ballot in referendum to share common destony with Europe. (Photo: a migrant camp in France set ablaze in a brawl between two ethinic groups).

However not everyone shares the views on sanctions against V4 as a solution: the leader of the European Parliament Nordic Greens MEP Gabi Zimmer admitted that the sanctioning is not, she believes in solidarity, but she doesn’t precise where its limits are.

The dilemma for the East European nations is the choise  between European Funds they are threatened to lose and security.

“Wallet or life?”- for V4 to decide…

 

Brexit: unfair reciprocity

 

Workers

Anna van Densky OPINION The first set of Brexit recommendations presented by Chief negotiator EU27 Michel Barnier strikes even unexperienced in politics eye by its unfairness – there can not be a reciprocity between the population of the EU27 bloc and the UK as a major principle of talks, because of the differences in capacities both human and natural resources as huge.

Even at first glance the idea of reciprocity, put forward by Barnier is at odds with the concept of fairness. The offer of identical rights for EU27 citizens in UK, and vice versa looks just only in words.

According to the United Nations Population Division, the number of British people living in the EU is 1.2 million with the largest communities in Spain – 309,000, Ireland – 255,000, France – 185,000 and Germany – 103,000. Many of the British emigrants to Europe, especially Ireland, Italy, Germany, Cyprus, France and Spain, are self-sufficient retirees so the numbers in employment are fewer than the total number of residents.

Only in  2013/14 the UK spent £1.4 billion on state pension payments to recipients living elsewhere in the European Union, making the UK senior citizens an asset to local economies in Mediterranean countries.

The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford underlines the fact of the UK being one of three countries which opened its borders straight away to workers from the new member states when the EU expanded to the East in 2004.

Subsequently over half of nowadays 3,2 million immigrants  – 1.6 million—of the EU nationals living in UK arrived between 2006 and 2014.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Labour Force Survey estimates for 2015, there were 3.3 million EU citizens in the UK – 1.6 million from the EU14,  (ante 2004 enlargement), 1.3 million from the EU8 (Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania,Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia), 300,000 from Romania and Bulgaria and the remainder from the other EU countries of Malta, Cyprus and Croatia.

The simple arithmetics reveals that the idea of ‘reciprocity’ put forward by the EU27 does not correlate with the idea of justice, as  the UK would be obliged to give equal rights and access to its social system to more than three million EU27 citizens in exchange for their own roughly one million living abroad looks already as a disproportionate claim.

Especially with a close-up to the social profile of the residents, while the Britons in the EU are mainly highly skilled labor or retired, while the EU27 in majority represent low-skilled labor, and their dependents.

Clearly if this EU27 claim of reciprocity persists the leaving without a deal would be the best option. The British expats can continue their stay in the legal frame preceding the UK entering the EU under a principle articulated by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties 1969, stipulating that the withdrawal from a treaty releases the parties from any future obligations to each other but does not affect any rights or obligations acquired under it before withdrawal. However in this case Briton would not be obliged to sign an asymmetrical deal, meaning they have to intake 2 million immigrants above the symmetrical 1,2 million in exchange for UK citizens wishing to stay in the EU.

 

 

Brexit day: farwell to Larry…

Larry the cat

 

In Brussels the triggering Article 50 day is a sunny for Sir Tim Barrow, who handed the letter, for the UKIP MEPs, for all those who voted #Brexit, and quite a grim experience for those who laments the departure of the UK, venturing how to remain in the European projet without its avantgarde.

The word whispered in Brussels corridors of power is the one Nigel Farage articulates aloud: would the European project exist in two-years time? And even if it does, how far its mutation goes?.. With Marine Le Pen as a front-runner of the French elections, and Geert Wilders promise to get 300 000 signatures to launch #Nexit referendum initiative for Dutch…

Whatever the way the project goes,  the moral blow of leaving the EU by Brittons is not to be recovered: feeling unwanted by the nation of so many virtues, the European adventure loses its glam and glitter, converting the remainers  into “down-shifters” on the ruins of the great ambitions, resembling the bunch of herders on the antiquities of Ancient Rome.

It looks like Europe once again remainers failed to get together into a powerful entity, so many times desired through its history, falling apart into ‘multi-speed’ congregation, looking different directions, without a rotational axis, replaced by spindles.

Me, I just suddenly realised that the moment Sir Tim handed The Letter, that my Brussels ‘capital of Europe’ habitat has been downgraded to a provincial one, with époque d’oré bygone.

But even worse than losing  the UK financial contribution, it will be a loss of British great sense of humour. It looks like without funny #Larry’s (pictured) tweet participation I have to get used to exist in quite bland space surrounded by the functionaries, devoted keepers of the acquis communautaire with a penchant for grey,  pushing our lives into the Procrustes bed of regulations and directives…

#Anna van Densky (this is a highly personal, apolitical note without any relation to my professional activities as a political commentator:)

 

Rome Summit: Tusk as EU symbol of strife

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While EU Council president Donald Tusk (pictured) is preparing the anniversary  of the Treaty of Rome Summit (25.03.2017), focusing of the ‘unity’ message of EU27 in post-Brexit era, the argument over his own re-appointment ignoring Polish government’s  protest, remains open, poisoning the historic event.

Although the Summit is informal, the open confrontation with Poland over re-appointment of Tusk is a toxic issue, that would be impossible to play down or brush off. The EU diplomacy showed  poor judgment when suggested Prime minister Beata Szydlo (53) would have no choise but submit to the will the fellow EU members, openly imposing Tusk – an active political opponent of her incumbent government.   Szydlo, the miner’s daughter, showed a remarkable capacity to withstand punch, and audacity to retaliate, rejecting to sign the Council conclusions. If this pattern is chosen as a long-term strategy, it will mean, as long as Tusk chairs the EU meetings, Poland will continue to obstruct the outcome, not honoring a legal status to its decisions. This conflict over Tusk might not hinder the upcoming ‘informal’ Summit in Rome legally, but it will certainly harm its image politically.

While preparing the Declaration of the Summit in Rome, calling for ‘unity’ as a universal remedy from all kind of problems Europeans suffer, Tusk’s controversial chairmanship, weakens the message a priori.   “Taken individually, we would be sidelined by global dynamics. Standing together is our best chance to influence them, and to defend our common interests and values … Our Union is undivided and indivisible,” – Tusk’s draft declaration calls, making this words to haunt him like a bitter irony.

Being ‘an apple of discord’ between Poland and the rest of the EU, Tusk himself is a at most eloquent physical evidence of the profound crisis of the EU, and a symbol of strife and decline.

The draft, dated March 16 and prepared by the contraversial chairman of EU summits Donald Tusk, will pass by all the capitals  next week before being endorsed in Rome on the 25th of March.

Anna van Densky OPINION published in @EuropeDiplomatic

To celebrate the EU that humiliates?..

sam_6367With Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo rejecting to sign the EU Council conclusions over a bitter argument of the second mandate of the Polish official Donald Tusk, the approaching celebrations of the Treaty of Rome become less of a festivity, and more of a challenge. An obstacle to overcome. Is there anything left to celebrate?..

With the looming Brexit talks one might think it would be better to opt for a compromise accepting Polish concerns, and respecting the idea of the rotation, initially conceived for the Council president seat. It will not be so difficult to select another candidate among some many member-states, eager to engage in European construction, however the EU leadership has not been looking for the easy ways and common sense. From all scenarios is was a dramatic one that prevailed, and so a couple of weeks head of the celebrations of the Treaty of Rome we observe the eruption of one more conflict in what is already largely considered the European Nations Union going through its decay.
Beata Szydlo said all the EU crisis have a reason to be analysed. But some prefer to create new ones to forget about the previous. Indeed with new chronic conflict between the EU and Polish government, the Brexit negotiations shifted to the mis-en-scène. Just a few noticed the UK Prime-Minister Theresa May made a shortcut to the meeting room, avoiding the press. Each new conflict makes the previous one less painful. With Beata Szydlo, challenging the EU establishment as Calvin of our days, all the rest falls out of focus.
If not this argument she would not a have reason to stand tall, and we, as the public to feel ourselves so small, awaiting for the smoke to come out of the chimney to scream ‘Habemos Papa!’
A good reason to reflect upon in coming days before the celebrations of The Treaty of Rome. It the EU that humiliates the one we are ready to celebrate?..

Juncker “melancholic” on the EU future

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Launching a debate on the future of the European Union, and subsequently the entire continent, Jean-Claude Juncker (pictured) – the president of the European Commission – has offered Five scenarios (5S), however none of them even hinted on a ‘catastrophic’ one – the  case of French or/and Dutch citizens would follow #Brexit way.

The front-runner for the presidency of France, the member of the European Parliament (MEP), the leader of Front National party – Marine Le Pen has integrated #Frexit – the referendum on France’s membership in the EU, – into her political project. So did her Dutch counterpart the leader of Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) Geert Wilders, who is enjoying high esteem of the electorate, foreseeing strong presence of his party in the Parliament in The Hague after the upcoming 15th of March general elections, opening the way to #Nexit referendum.
It is not that as press we want you to say “bad things” about MEP Le Pen, as you suggest, Mr.Juncker, it is about your readiness to continue to lead the #EU26, or even  #25, if Dutch and French follow #Brexit, preferring freedom to the EU institutional cage, prescribing everything from shape of cucumbers to open door migration policies, flooding streets of European cities with strangers from the violent cultures. The policy of open doors so dear to the institutions you are not going to give up at any cost, disguising it in ‘solidarity’ – the fundamental EU virtue. More migrants, less believers in cultural relativism, nostalgic about the times ante-Schengen with well-protected borders…
However, some things have changed already. Most probably, the European Commission mandarins understood that it would be better for everyone, if they concentrate on ‘important’ issues, leaving the details to the member states – the ‘efficiency’ option nr 4 among the 5S plan? They understood it or, they do  it is because the ‘instinct of life’ dictated them to do so, hoping to survive the period of low tight?..
Too much disappointment has accumulated into a toxic mass: with the south of Europe in lethargic misery under austerity policy, and the industrial north of ‘lenders’ unable to develop as fast as they wished to, obliged to level their pace with all the other EU members in a ‘solidarity’ name. Is Juncker’s nr.3 ‘mulitspeed’ Europe an answer? Hardly so, as the creation of the sub-unions would lead to ‘structured dismissal’ of the initial EU bankrupt project – promising prosperity it lead to poverty too many; promising peace, it set its neighbourhoods in blaze…
Finally the EU scenario nr 5 – ‘Doing Much More Together’, but after #Brexit it sounds even more fiction, that four previous ones all together. How many believes in  the EU ‘togetherness’ one can count in the beginning of 2017?.. How numbered will they be by the end of the year after the elections in the member states? The Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy…
Juncker’s striking ‘melancholy’ look replacing his personal warmhearted and extrovert style did not escape the MEPs, questionning his personal beliefs, but the president has every reason for melancholy – the l’époc d’oré of the European project is bygone, and discussing the EU obsucure future is not a euphoric exercise, especially knowing that the 6th scenario cenzored:  ‘no future’.
(Initailly published in @BrusselsDiplomatic)