EU vs.Trump+33,284,020 Republicans

Brussels 08.11.2020 Anna van Densky OPINION On November 7 the Saturday evening in his Tweet micro blog the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell congratulated Democrat Joe Biden, who proclaimed himself the President-elect of the U.S. in spite of the wide-spread protest of the Republicans who openly accused their opponents in endemic fraud with postal ballots. Meanwhile Georgia State top election official has dispatched a team of investigators after a ballot “issue” was discovered in one of the counties most responsible for giving former
Joe Biden (D) the lead over President Trump (R). The U.S. election process is clearly not over.

However soon Josep Borrell was shortly joined by the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, who said she was looking forward to working with “President Biden”, following the European leaders footsteps: Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, who also rushed to congratulate Mr.Biden.

The question is what happens when the Republicans start their lawsuits in the Courts, demanding investigation into fraud, and re-count of the votes? The was one 20 years ago in Florida in 2000 during contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore. The Florida vote was settled in Bush’s favour by a margin of 537 votes in manual recount in Bush v. Gore lawsuit.

Nowadays while the mainstream media has announced Nevada and the election race in favour of Joe Biden (D), President Trump’s campaign claims that the race is not over and litigation is just beginning on Monday, November 9.

Governor Kristi Noem (R-South Dakota) noted on November 8 on ABC’s “This Week” programme that during the 2000 election, former Vice President Al Gore was given 37 days to run the process of legal challenges to the election.
Therefore, she said we should “afford the 70.6 million Americans that voted for President Trump the same consideration.” She has also underlined that it was not only about this election, it was about the entire institution, and if Joe Biden was not willing to “break-up the nation” he should allow the legal process to take place to proof that he had really won. The governor’s words were reflecting the position of the Trump voters, who point at too many evidences of fraud during the postal ballot count.

In case in legal procedures there will be no change of results in his favour, President Trump’s term expires at midday on January 20, 2021, and many leaders are showing reserve unlike the EU top executives, who rushed with their congratulations to a candidate who they consider to be more favourable to the EU project.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he would not congratulate Biden on his victory until all legal challenges are resolved. Similar stance took Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China Xi Jinping.
There was silence from President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, and many others who preferred not to gamble. From the other hand, they wished to keep good working relations with the Republicans, respecting their concerns of illegitimate postal ballots.

Even if the lawsuits fail to establish the ballots count, allowing President Trump to stay in the White House for the second term, there are strong inclinations for Republicans to stay in control of the Senate, meaning the prospects of Mr.Biden to fulfil his campaign promises are dim, and the EU executive rush wishing him well largely misplaced. The neutrality of Europe would deliver more in every sense, keeping good relations with both camps, defining the ties with the EU as a bipartisan issue.

Turkey in EURONEWS: qui prodest?

Brussels, 06.11.2020 Anna van Densky OPINION The strangling of Freedom of speech policy of increasingly authoritarian Turkey at home, in the European Union and across globe, preventing 400 million audience of the EURONEWS to receive an objective coverage of the events concerning Ankara actions, is paradoxically rooted in the EU public funds being abused by Turkish government and used for the purpose, opposite to its original concept.
Unfortunately, the European Commission continues to subsidise EURONEWS TV Channel in spite of the fact that Turkey is in all structures, aggressively opposing and blocking the adequate news coverage.

Even previously, in the 2019 report by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) has underlined that EURONEWS is “not a public service broadcaster in any member state”, and analysing a total of €122M of funding for the channel from 2014-2018, concluded that the Commission “does not have a system to verify whether EURONEWS is achieving the objectives agreed in the partnership agreements.”
Today the European Commission has confirmed the continuation of subsidising Euronews TV, regardless Ankara opposition of freedom of speech – core value of the EU, and the fact of incarceration of more than 200 Turkish journalists.
Apparently, following the answer of the European Commission spokesperson they had no mechanism foreseen to freeze the payments.

Needless to say, that being in EURONEWS editorial Turkish broadcaster TRT uses their right to veto all the unflattering information about their country, preventing the global audiences to access to the information of tremendous significance, alerting public about Turkish actions alike supporting Muslim Brotherhood, defined a terrorist organisation by the governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates.

Not least crucial is information of transfer of 2 000 jihad fighters from Syria to Nagorno-Karabakh by Turkey, reported by some media, but denied by Ankara. However at present it is impossible to deliver objective coverage of conflict taking place in Caucasus between Armenia and Azerbaijan in spite of the generous subvention to EURONEWS, because Turkish editorial is there to block it.

On top of using the channel to condemn the freedom of speech policy of the EU member-states in the articles of the Turkish editorial, Ankara earns from EURONEWS, being a shareholder, while the EU citizens pay tens of millions yearly to ensure the channel function, they supply profit to Turkish oppressive state which cashes on TV advertising.

Obviously when in February 2009, the Turkish public broadcaster TRT became a shareholder of the channel and joined its supervisory board, the context was different, and there were no major objection for Ankara to joint the team. The same year the TRT purchased 15.70% of the channel’s shares and became the fourth main partner after France Télévisions (23.93%), RAI (21.54%), and VGTRK (16.94%). Turkish was added as the ninth language service in January 2010 as a result of this purchase.

The EURONEWS TV channel was established in 1993 by ten European public broadcasters to “reinforce European identity and integration” and the EU has provided it with a generous financial support since then. In recent years, the channel has changed its ownership structure by acquiring private investors.

Continue reading “Turkey in EURONEWS: qui prodest?”

“Golden” passports vs. migrants welcome

Brussels. 30.10.2020 The EU President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that she condemned the “hideous act” in the Church Notre Dame in Nice, and the head of the EU diplomacy Josep Borrell tweeted that he was “shocked” by the “barbarism”. But do they really believe that the Islamist radicals care what the EU leaders think about their attacks? To whom do they address their condemnation?
To the radicals, who are considering themselves the “martyrs in Islam”, offering the ultimate sacrifice to Allah Akbar?..

(Image: actress, and devote Catholic Nadine Devillers, victim of Nice attack).

The assailant, who was kindly assisted by the Italian Red Cross, issuing him a document, when he landed at Lampedusa, had been less than a month in France, when he had undertaken gruesome knife attack against Christians in a central church of Nice out of ideological motives, shouting “Allah Akbar!”, while stabbing, slitting throats, and cutting off head of an elderly woman. It did not look like he new any of his three victims, who came for the morning prayer.

What the “condemnation” of the EU top executives mean in practical terms of protection of human life (European Convention of Human Rights Article 2 – right to life)?
“Thought with families of victims”, “shock from barbarism” are only words, which protect no one.
The EU has launched an infringement procedure against Cyprus and Malta for “golden passport” scheme, exchanging citizenship for investment into economy. But why there are no infringement procedures against Italy and France, for neglecting Article 2 of European Human rights Convention, neglecting Islamist threat, and allowing extremists to acquire permits to stay, converted later to citizenship?

The served head of the teacher Samuel Paty by Chechen radical, or Chechen-Maghreb gangs fighting for drug traffic, – all these crimes have one feature in common: unrestricted access to settle in France to abuse the democracy, profiting from its fruit, and denying the values of the hosting society.

It is time to face the reality: for more than a half of Muslims living in Europe Sharia law is more important than the civil law, and even more so for the newcomers, who by no means are interested to embrace European cultures, but to preserve their own, they have fled.

The European Commission has started an infringement procedure against Cyprus and Malta over European citizenship, which should not be “for sale”, but should it be granted freely to any migrant landing in Europe under asylum-seeking pretext? What is “dignifying” about distribution of the European permits and passports for migrants with obscure past and dim plans for future? Denouncing 800 Maltese “golden passports” to distribute more than half-a-million yearly to migrants whose claim is based on the length of stay. It is useful to remember that the very idea of ‘naturalisation’ is entirely “Western”, and is not practised across the world.

The trend of beheading in France should remind us about the history of asylum-seeking which was launched in Colonial era (1951), when nobody could imagine that the entire Africa would be free, and these Conventions of Geneva would be used to move populations massively from one continent to another, allowing Islamists to infiltrate. Nowadays there are more than 8 000 radicals in France on the surveillance list “S”, and 400 are not in possession of any valid document to stay. 

The “golden passports” scheme “undermines the European values” the EU civil servants claim, but indiscriminate welcome to migrants undermines the “right to life” of the European citizens. The issue that continues to be neglected and overlooked. 

Image above: Nadine Devillers, victime of Nice Notre Dame cathedral attack during her last performance in Phoenix theratre.

Brussels at eve of II lockdown

Brussels 18.10.2020 The sector of hospitality is in total disappointment, injustice, disaster, shock. The sector does not have strong enough words to describe the measure taken by the Concertation Committee: the closure of all restaurants and cafes in the country as of Monday, October 19 for a period of four weeks. “We were prepared to accept interim measures like a 11 p.m. shutdown, or even 10 p.m. if necessary”, but the authorities were not open to negotiations, said Thierry Neyens, president of the Wallonia Horeca Federation.

Brussels, rue de Marché aux Fromages, 18 October 2020

A new closure of the Horeca has been a decision received with tears, a real blow to the hospitality sector, facing the second lockdown in the atmosphere of the financial uncertainty dominates. However nobody knows if the shutdown will actually last for a month or more. There is also uncertainty over the amount of aid promised by governments.

“It’s a cleaver, it’s a misunderstanding, it’s very painful to hear. The entire sector has reacted on social networks. We believe we are being sacrificed, punished. We have a lack of prospects. There is a I think there is even a little disrespect for an entire sector which has made a lot of effort, ” underlined  Thierry Neyens.

Brussels, Grand Sablon, 18 October 2020

Following the Concertation Committee on Friday, October 16, a curfew was declared by the federal government. As of Monday, October 19, it will be forbidden to leave your home between midnight and 5 a.m.

The Horeca represents more than 60,000 companies in Belgium.

Brussels, Grand Place neighbourhood, 18 October 2020

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Belgium since the declaration of the pandemic by WHO in March now stands at 213,115. The total reflects all people in Belgium who have been infected, and includes confirmed active cases as well as patients who have since recovered, or died.

Brussels, Grand Place, 18 October 2018

During curfew, take-out food orders can be made until 10 p.m. in restaurants. Some establishments have the option of transforming into a catering service. A solution to try to cover the fixed costs, but many will keep their doors closed.

Brussels, Grand Place, 18 October 2020

Meanwhile in Sweden the government wishes to exempt restaurants, bars and cafés from the specific rules for public events, the Culture Minister Amanda Lind announced at the press conference. The exemption for bars and restaurants came into effect on October 8th. After this date, restaurants were no longer a subject to the 50-person limit in case they host events, but they should continue to comply with the existing restrictions for restaurants including table service only and a one-metre distance between groups of people, the Local reports.

Brussels, rue Royale, 18 October 2020

Curfew against virus

Brussels 14.10.2020 Tonight the speech of President Macron is awaited in many EU capitals: will he apply method of curfew as a tool of defeating COVID-19 pandemic also in the Hexagone? Neighbouring Belgium has already imposed this drastic measure from 14 October in some provinces.

Several French media evoked the possibility of curfews in the most affected territories of the V-th Republic, the strategy promoted by the president of the National Academy of Medicine, the former Minister of Health Jean-François Mattéi.

The curfew option is also being considered by the Covid-19 Scientific Council in an alert note dated September 22. The body chaired by Jean-François Delfraissy recalls that a curfew has notably been introduced in Guyana, where Jean Castex went shortly after his appointment to Matignon.

At this stage of the epidemic, the Scientific Council does not envisage proposing the option (of a curfew) at the national level, but cannot exclude its use in certain metropolitan areas and of course in the event of deterioration. later ”, the text of this note reads, which mentions curfews for a period of a fortnight.

On Monday, October 12, referring to a “very difficult” situation facing the “reality of a second epidemic wave”, the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, did not rule out the new period of re-confinement in the country where the health crisis will last according to him several more months. (However the World Bank in its documents mentions 15 month of the second wave).

“General re-confinement must be avoided by all means,” the head of government told France Info, referring to the “absolutely dramatic” consequences of such a drastic measure. “Nothing should be excluded when we see the situation in our hospitals,” he replied when asked about possible local.

The Scientific Council warns that the population’s support for such a measure would be “probably weak, with detrimental effects in terms of social cohesion and confidence” and indicates that its economic cost would be “all the greater as it occurs. after a first period of confinement and that it feeds negative economic expectations with potentially disastrous effects ”.

As in other European countries, France is facing a marked deterioration in health indicators this autumn. The threshold of 1,500 patients treated in intensive care for a Covid-19 infection was crossed again on Monday for the first time since May 27.

One of the leading world experts in virology Professor Didier Raoult initially regretted “the global state of nervous crisis in which the country is dived”, while invited by CNews to comment on certain measures taken by political authorities in regions of France to slow the spread of Covid-19.

“It is beyond reason and understanding,” he proclaims. “This leads to adopting strategies that put more health at risk.”

Strasbourg plagued by COVID19

Anna van Densky, Brussels 25.09.2020 The opening of October European Parliament session in Strasbourg does not look promising for the Members of the European Parliament, while the significant for the city business event for 2.200 participants has been cancelled today over sanitary situation #360GrandEst.

The planned September Plenary in Strasbourg was cancelled and took place in Brussels, and it is highly likely the similar situation is awaiting for both October sessions scheduled in the hauntingly beautiful capital of Grand Est region of France.

As is clear to us all, we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 emergency. We had hoped before the summer break that we would be returning to some degree of normality. Unfortunately, this is not the case and we find our countries still greatly affected by the pandemic. The rate of infection has increased, leading to the adoption of new containment measures by national governments.

“For this reason, and on the basis of information provided by the French medical services and authorities, I regretfully took the decision not to hold the plenary session in Strasbourg for this September session”  wrote David Sassoli, the president of the Europarl.

“…I am grateful to the French authorities for their understanding and their constant collaboration in these difficult months. On behalf of all our members, I extend a warm greeting to the mayor and people of Strasbourg, where we hope to return soon.”  Sassoli concluded, however it the sanitary situation in France does not look encouraging for travel to host the MEP “soon”.

1992 decision formalised a situation that already existed at the time and which reflected compromises arrived at over a number of years.

When the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was set up a few years after WWII, in 1952, establishing joint management of the steel and coal reserves of six countries, including Germany and France, its institutions were located in Luxembourg. The Council of Europe (an intergovernmental body made up of 47 countries championing human rights and culture was also set up in the immediate post-WW2 period), was already based in Strasbourg and it offered its plenary chamber for meetings of the ECSC’s “Common Assembly”, which was to develop into the European Parliament. Strasbourg gradually became the main home of plenary sessions of the Parliament, though additional sessions were also held in Luxembourg in the 1960s and 1970s.

After the creation of the European Economic Community in 1958, much of the work done by the European Commission and the Council of Ministers came to be concentrated in Brussels. Since Parliament’s work involves closely monitoring and interacting with both these institutions, over time Members decided to organise more of their work in Brussels. By the early nineties, the present arrangement was more or less in place, with committees and political groups meeting in Brussels and the main plenary sessions taking place in Strasbourg. A major part of Parliament’s staff is based in Luxembourg.

Mali: EU-ECOWAS democratic dogmatism

Brussels, 20.09.2020 Anna van Densky, OPINION: An extraordinary pressure on Mali officers to transfer power to civilians without delay paves the way to one more failed state on the map of the world. During the anti-government protests, which led to the coup d’état, ousting of President Keita, there has been no single political force able to offer a comprehensive programme to reform the Sahel country and direct it firmly to the democratic future. Moreover, there is not such a clear path to democracy for Malians, plagued by extremism, sectarian conflict, ethnic divisions, and endemic corruption.

The European Union (EU)- the avid supporter of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) efforts in Mali- actively promotes a model of the democratic institutions, run by the civilians, without any consideration of the context, and previous failures of the similar kind – the state-building in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and in Libya. Nowadays the ECOWAS, flanked by the European diplomacy, is pushing Malians towards pro-forma return to the “Constitutional” order, denouncing the idea of the country run by the military for the next 18 months. However the energetic push is performed in absence of a coherent strategy in dealing with corrupt and ineffective state structures, and detached local communities doomed to isolation in absence of adequate infrastructures. Last, but not least is the factor of the general instability in the region, aggravated by rise of Islamists in Sahel, affiliated with Al-Qaeda and Islamic State aiming to restore the legendary Caliphate of Sokoto.

Sadly the list of problems does not end here, the Tuareg dream of creation of an independent state in the north of Mali – Azawad – has never faded, but retreated for time being under pressure of the overwhelming French army, while the experts unanimously admitted that there is no military solution to the ethnic conflict, and invited the belligerent parties to resolve the conflict at the negotiation table defining the region future status within Malian state. So far in vain.
Back in 2012, while declaring the independence, Azawad leaders claimed that Mali was an “anarchic state”, and Tuareg liberation movement has opted for a military transition period, to ensure the protection of their land and conducting the transition to the democratic institutions. The massacre (2014) of the Tuareg civilians by Fulani-Islamists has been too recent to be forgotten. Not least are the tensions between Tuareg and Chadians, caused by massacres of the civilians by Chadian army in the North of Mali in the region of Kidal.
In short, not only a clear path to democracy is absent, but also there is no path in view for national unity, allowing to construct a functional political system producing a corruption-free credible government, leading way to economic recovery, and well-being of regular Malians.
Struck by multiple systemic conflicts, causing a permanent state of crises, Malians are not able to rise out of poverty, in spite of the remarkable natural wealth.
The profound misunderstanding of capacities of a new born protest movement of 5 June (M5) to become a constructive political force over night will result in further turmoil in political life, and cause even more resent of the citizens, searching for responses to their justified claims. Being the prime victims of the ECOWAS blockade, the regular Malians will turn to an available alternative, finding warm welcome by the anti-Occident militant groups, and the extremists will rise again, feasting on poverty, and frustrations of communities.
The five thousand strong French military corps, fulfilling the counter-terrorist operation Barkhane in Sahel region has limited capacity to deal with the consequences of the ongoing failed state drama in Mali, and it would be too naive to expect them to defeat jihad, in absence of the state-building process.
The EU is a major donor of assistance in Mali, providing more than €350 million in humanitarian aid in the country since the beginning of the crisis in 2012, adding to €23 million in 2020. However the Europeans contribute without any pragmatic plans for the future of the country, preferring in the current crisis to support the ECOWAS blindly, joining the pro forma claims of civilian government, without any consideration of its notoriously poor quality, leading to the current state of affairs, while under President Keita 40% of state purse vanished in pockets of corrupt civil servants.
The ECOWAS-EU strategy of pressure on the Malian army by imposing border and financial transactions blockade, will destroy the relations with Malian patriotic officers, and cause further impoverishment of Malians, pushing them into the arms of extremists of various calibre.
Mali is far too significant to the West Africa to allow the Europeans to leave it alone, watching it’s descending to chaos, but it is far too big as a challenge to resolve the complex of state-building and security problems, through simplified linear punitive measures.
Recent Ursula von der Leyen sanctions policy concept will create nothing but remorse and discontent among Malians, who today still regard Europe as a friend. The enduring threat of Islamic extremism requires elaborate and flexible European diplomacy, navigating the country to effective forms of governance. Further escalation of tensions in name of democracy and “Constitutional order” will produce exactly the opposite effect – an explosion. An explosion, throwing Malians into hands of kleptocratic clans of war-lords, descending into chaos.
Instead of fearing of a hypothetical dictatorship led by Colonel Hassimi Goita as deviation from the imaginary path to democracy, the EU should embrace the co-operation with the patriotic and secular Malian army as the constructive force in disposal of capabilities to introduce reform, and allowing the political process to thrive towards the meaningful free and fair elections concluding the suggested transition period.
Let us not forget that Kemal Ataturk, and General de Gaulle were military man, however their remarkable contribution to democracy is ways more significant, than of many other statesmen in civilian suits. Rejection of enthusiasm of young generation of Mali officers, aiming at reforming their country and nation-building will end in one more fiasco, making Mali to follow the path of the other failed states. It is clear there are not simple answers to Malian crisis, and the obsession with the civilian rule, achieved by imposing de facto sanctions, will result in a huge bill for the European tax-payer for the humanitarian aid, and ever-growing burden for the French army, combating extremism in Sahel, transforming into another Afghanistan.
The EU diplomacy, led by Josep Borrell needs to regard the context, abandoning dogmatism in promoting of democracy and rule of law in Mali, and become flexible and adaptive, formulating short, medium and long-term goals, working on achievement of them in stages, with a focus on long-term stability of both Mali and Sahel.
Moreover, the EU needs to built genuine partnership with the Malian armed forces, investing in development of their capabilities to defend Malian state, and combat extremism. The essential element of the EU success in promotion of the democracy, is the demonstration of a genuine interest in problems of Malians, and readiness to compromise in search for attaining long-lasting common goals, as stability, prosperity and lasting peace.

However, today, when the Malian state is in a profound crisis, and its future is in peril, nothing is so detrimental to promotion of the European values in Sahel, as dogmatism and forceful imposition of European concepts within fragile Sahel context. Mali is on the crossroads, it is up to the EU to decide if it wishes to contribute to the push of the Malians down the slope, following Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, direction of the failed state, fanatically exporting European concepts to vast spaces of African Savannah.
Will the EU diplomacy in Mali adapt or become obsolete? The ability of the bloc to change, adapt and experiment will become far more significant in Sahel, than the capacity to punish and sanction. Above all, it makes little sense from the EU behalf to appeal to legality and return to the constitutional order – “Necessitas non habet legem” – Necessity has no law.

#SOTEU: Leyen formal debut

The traditions September State of the Union Speech (#SOTEU) of the European Commission president has been the first one for Ursula von der Leyen. The address before the European Parliament took place in Brussels, instead of Strasbourg, because of the coronavirus restrictions.
On 16 September in her first #SOTEU speech, she shared her vision for a stronger Europe and a better world after the coronavirus pandemic, radiating obligatory for her status enthusiasm over the EU radiant future.
However if in tone the speech did not deviate from the EU classical tradition of depicting the project as the ever-growing and successful endeavour in essence it broke with the tradition,because COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination of humanity, and related issued became the major focus, causing compression, and sidelining of many other policies – international relations became one of these areas of shrinking attention.

The overview of the EU external relations started with China, and ended with Africa with Enlargement and Neighbourhood policies squeeze in between, and complimented with haphazard mentioning of human rights. The compression of the foreign affairs chapter was striking,leading to frantic dashes from Uyghurs to Magnitsky Act, from Salisbury poisoning of former Russian secret service agent to migrant camps in Turkey.

President von der Leyen has been mixing the issues and problems with vague promises, and warnings of international politics as a disc jokey (DJs) mixes melodies, weather forecasts and advertising. The speech has been delivered on time, and almost entirely in English language in spite of the fact it is used only in two of the bloc members – Malta and Ireland – which constitute one per cent of the EU population. This Anglophilia was largely misplaces, taking into consideration the recent British Prime Minister consideration to opt for no-deal exit.

According to British press Boris Johnson will present an ultimatum to negotiators in coming days, demanding the UK and Europe to agree a post-Brexit trade deal by 15 October or Britain will step out without any agreement at all. Under the circumstances von der Leyen choice of English language looked rather submissive, and even masochistic, dissonating with major tones of the oratory, mixing cheerful slogans and staccato warnings.
“And the band played on…”

Belarus future and EU aid

Anna Van Densky OPINION #Belarus #Minsk #Lukashenko #BelarusProtests #Tikhanovskaya

The proposal to facilitate the engagement into “political dialogue” between the discredited Lukashenko regime and people of Belarus the EU has announced, looks like a stillbirth already, because the entire crisis is created by the blunt refusal of compromise between the authoritarian model, and democratic pluralism. Moreover it is impossible for Lukashenko to accept any compromise, because it will mean the definitive dismantling of his rusty “last dictatorship of Europe”.

Reacting upon the political crisis the president of the EU Council Charles Michel delcrared the start of the work on creating of the sanctions lists of the leading figures from the government responsible for repressions of the protestors, however they will remain a higly symbolical gesture in absence of the real political process of democratic transformaiton of Belarus.

The stubborn refusal of Lukahsnko to leave, his clinch with power, creates new, but predictable trubles, and a substantial challenge to the EU diplomacy, claiming ambition of being a global player.

However there are effective ways for the EU to promote democracy and political pluralism in Belarus instead of focusing on the punitive symbolism of sanctions. While the opposition leader, and the major challenger of the incumbent President Lukashenko, Svetalana Tikhanovskaya expressed her readiness to become a national leader in the transition period in order to organize new free and fair elections, the EU could give an unequivocal political support to her plan.

The proposal of leading the country towards new elections means that Svetlana Tikhanovaksya submits her personal victory in order to create opportunities for Belarus political Renaissance, opening the way of participation to all political prisoners and other candidates who were barred from the elections process at the intent of Lukashenko, who was announced an absolute victor of the elections, with the 80% of vote. The result has been widely considered considered as falsified not only by Belarus people, but also by the EU foreign ministers.

The question is if the European Union will support Svetlana Tikhanovakaya the same way as they supported Roza Otunbayeva, the President of the transition period in former Soviet Republic of Kyrgyzstan 10 years ago, after they overthrew of their dictaror. Then the top EU diplomat Baroness Ashton proposed to support Kyrgyzstan “politically, financially, technically” in order to ensure fundamental rights and freedoms to Kyrgyz people.

The role of the EU insitutions will be crucial in overcoming the political crisis and conducting democratic reforms in Belarus, establishing genuine pluralist political system, representing broad spectrum of interest and arbitation. The void, the absence of meaningful offer for practical aid from the behalf of the international community, reducing the EU role to the punitive measures as sanctions, will certainly allow the crisis to become protracted, and costly in all the senses to Belarussian people.
Moreover it might deteriorate further, creating conditions for chronic confrontation between people and Lukahsnko apparatchiks, and part of the police and military, still defending the discredited regime. This will lead to general fatigue, and loss of opportunities for promotion of genuine democracy. (Formally Belarus Republic is a democratic state).

In this context plagued by refusal of the authoritarian Lukahshenko regime to accept the justified demands of the people of Belarus, the EU aid to opposition, led by Tikhanovskaya and supported by the majority of citizens, is becoming pivotal in introduction of the democratic change to ensure definitive collapse of the last dictatorship of Europe. However the time is crucial to avoid new victims in the ongoing struggle between antipodes without any perspective of compromise. Instead of attempting to reconcile irreconcilable in the best interest of Europe is to invest in Belarus progress without delay.

German leadership in EU mulitcrisis era

Anna van Densky OPINION The German presidency of the Council of the European Union takes lead on 1 July 2020 in the context of the global COVID-19 crisis, and the EU ante-pandemic challanges, which have been already serious enough to be assessed as the “existential” threats to the organisation.

The first half of the year the global COVID-19 context has been negatively impacting long existing EU challenges, namely the well-known process of post-Brexit talks with the United Kingdom, aiming to produce an agreement to diminish damages to the European economies of “hard” Brexit; and not less significant EU agreement on the future seven year budget (multiannual financial framework) for the 27 members strong bloc without the UK – the second net contributor.

None of the ante-COVID19 challenges seem to be diminishing, on contrary, the Brexit talks are in libmo, so is the future budget, dividing the EU in groups of wealthy countries of the North, and indebted Mediterranean – pre-existing North-South divide is becoming even more dramatic after pandemic. The so-called “Frugal Four” – Austria, Denmark, Finland and The Netherlands – will hardly change their minds in favour of the South, reflecting the will of their citizens. Finanical Ice Age approaching, will the EU, especially the Visegrad East European countries, withstand it? They have been used to recipient role within the organisation, and they might object to any other.

However outside the EU the challenges are not less impressive: it is on the November 3 Americans will go to ballot boxes to elect their new President, producing a long-lasting effect on the entire set of international relations, and global development.

The EU dialogue with Russia, a former “strategic partner” and well-establish American foe is also on the brink, plagued in different dimensions internationally both by the conflict in Donbass, and U.S. sanctions blocking the construction of final 160 km of Nord Stream 2 pipeline, delivering gas via the sea from Russia to Germany.

The energy issues, and conflict are not limited to the EU Eastern borders, because the situation in the Mediterranean became even more alarming with the new Turkish assertiveness, pursuing gaz drilling in Cyprus waters, and casually threatening with massive release of migrants to Greece.

Migrants! And here we come to a sensitive issue, because still there is public opinion, blaming the German Chancellor her generous invitation to “all refugees”, which created the notorious migrant crisis in 2015 – swinging in a few months from Willkommenskultur to Flushtilingskrise. Since then there have been no acute migrant crisis of the similar scale, but an ongoing political systemic crisis over the issue, without unanimously agreed strategy towards exterior migration flows into EU, splitting the Union into antagonising communities. So far the Visegrad 4 group of East European countries firmly rejects the reception of migrants, occasionally ready to allocate funds.

In January this year, addressing Davos, Angela Merkel said, that it was a mistake to miss out of view the refugees as a direct consequence of conflict, and not to create an environment, where people can stay, without need to flee. Concluding German migrant experience, Angela Merkel, warned about possible next wave of refugees caused by military actions in Libya. But reflecting upon Chancellors’s words, there is no secret that solidarity does not really work in the realm of migration issues, and in post-pandemic period the migrant/refugee unsolved problem will re-emerge again. The only element about migration is consensual among member-states: Dublin system is obsolete. Will German presidency produce a new migration package in co-operation with the European Commission? The escalating conflict in Libya, and growing terrorist threat in Sahel, might create in the nearest future a significant pressure of migrant flows via Mediterranean route, resulting in raise of the eurosceptic moods in the Member-States.

The German presidency of EU will also ‘crown’ personally Angela Merkel’s fourth and final term of leadership after 15 years in the Federal Chancellery. Well-known for her capacity of reaching compromises, erecting solid political consturctions through multilateral agreements, she is expected to navigate between Scylla and Charybdis of the EU politics. Will Macron-Merkel initiative put forward on May 2020 – the stimulus fund – become a further step for European integration, solidifying the seamless transnational market enshrined by Kohl-Mitterand in Maastricht Treaty? Or the Eurosceptic forces will start pulling it apart, fragmenting and polarising communities, and the European nations, attempting to find the solutions to systemic crisises in individual ways?..

Whatever the outcome of German presidency will be, the decisions taken within next six months will shape the live of the next generation of Europeans and model the face of Europe up to the mid of the 21 century in a unique irreversible way.

Image: Angela Merkel, EU Council, archive