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.

 

#MeTooEP side effects

While the progressive part of the European Parliament enthusiastically welcomes #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment at work place it is right time to mention it’s overlooked side effects. First of all, only very naive souls could believe that the movement is a universal remedy of the problem. It is sufficient to take a close-up  to understand that so far #MeToo had very selective implications.

While some reputations and businesses are in ashes, the others, wanted by police, enjoy impunity. Since March 1977 film director Roman Polanski has been avoiding justice in his Parisian ‘refuge’ unattainable for FBI, protected by a French state, and a number of celebrities, considering themselves above laws reflecting “mediocre‘ morality.

However they are not only Bohemian personalities, who insist on deviation from laws, and unconventional perception of good and evil. The Minister of Culture of the V Republic, Fédéric Mitterand was questioned in a special program of French TV channel, requesting explanations of his involvements in sexual relations with boys  in Thailand, described in his book “Mauvaise vie” ‘ (The Bad life).  The Minister managed to keep his job, in spite of the public indignation of his so-called “fantasies” of Bangkok brothels.  The controversy around the book uplifted it to best-seller status to benefit of the author, encouraging him to continue  his  spicy publications. In his diaries “La Récréation” Mitterand  enjoyed sexual outlook towards politics while being a minister: struck by the “physical beauty” of then prime minister François Fillon and diving into fantasies of another minister, Laurent Wauquiez.                     

From condemned Hollywood lustful filmmakers, to obsessed by sexual fantasies provocative ministers, – the defenders of morality have a considerable challenge in absence of a ‘benchmark‘ of admissible within different cultures and subcultures, confronted with subjective assessments of victims, pointing at abuse, and insisting on protection from sexual advances at work place.

Word against word. A common contemporary practice of sexual scandals, rocking US politics entered the European Parliament with opening a special blog on sexual harassment for the employees.  In case a verbal statement is sufficient to trigger the accusation as it happens in the US , any politician at any given moment can face a provocation, aiming at destruction of his reputation – a hidden shredder, which can be brought in action suddenly.

How will the Members of the European Parliament react to defend themselves from possible provocations in ruthless jungle of politics? The answers are on the surface: first, to avoid employment of candidates without references, and avoid employing young people, whose looks might be considered as seductive. At present we can expect a number of #MeToo scandals shuttering European elections, some tears, some juicy publications and some ruined reputations. But learning from this drama, the newly elected MEPs pursuing safety will certainly employ mainly their relatives, and friends, and in case it is impossible to find a needed expert among them, opt for wrinkled candidates of advanced age.  And… warm welcome to Quasimodos!

Orban: lion’s uproar

Farewell l to a shy and clumsy man with blushing cheeks, –Viktor Orban, whom once president Juncker was jokingly slapping and calling  the“dictator”.

The times of jokes are over, and there are no traces of shyness left.

Vikor Orban showed his true self, answering to the adoption of the Article 7 European Parliament resolution with the lion’s uproar, reminding to the EU of a power of a democratically elected leader of a nations state.

The clash between nation and supranational construction as the European Union has never been so dramatic – it is the first time in the history of the bloc that Members of the European Parliament voted to reprimand a state for its independent policy, while Hungarians openly called the action a “revenge” for reluctance to follow the EU migration strategy opening arms to flows of illegals on humanitarian grounds.

Formally the Resolution based on Socialist MEP Judith Sargentini report accuses Hungary of disrespect and violations of human rights.

Elected upon the resistance of the Hungarians to follow
French and German model of hosting flows of illegal migrants from Africa and Middle East, Orban holds mandate from Hungarian nation
to protect “Europan Chrisitan values“, and insists that when
his country joined the club of nations nobody ever mentioned
a obligation to abandon protection of the EU outside borders,
and massively accept illegals.

Orban positioned himself a as true defender of “European values”,
unlike his opponents, who flooded Europe with descendants from
other civilizations carrying different, and often conflicting
with the modern European lifestyle views.

So far Orban didn’t react upon Nigel Farageinvitation” to follow the UK path and show back to the EU. On multiple occasions Orban underlined Hungarians are the most loyal Europeans and they sill believe in the EU, so at present they don’t consider the exit scenario.

In spite of Orban‘s intentions to ‘make peace’ with the EU, it is obvious, that the arrogance of Brussels, imposing the policy of globalists eager to flood graying Europe with cheap labor force, will inevitably push Hungarians
to the exit door, and there is no compromise possible.

The bitter irony of the situation that the EU member-state, which openly and massively abuses human rights – Spain, crushing Catalan attempts to organize independent referendum, and jailing Catalan politicians, – Spain did not receive any criticism from the European Parliament. No resolution in support of the human rights of jailed Catalan politicians has been issued so far, and nobody expects it will be in the nearest future.

However it is difficult to imagine most unsuitable time for sorting out relations with Orban, than the European Parliament election year.Imposition of illegal migrants, who in public debate already became just ‘migrants’, attempting to make Europeans forget the criminal  nature of human trafficking, continues to rise anti-EU sentiment, and pushing Hungarians away. Ceteris paribus!

 

Asylum Convention from Colonial era

Anna van Densky OPINION European suggestion to arrange illegal migrant ‘disembarkation platforms‘ outside the EU is a stillbirth, rejected by all Maghreb countries, insisting that the creation of migrant camps in not a solution for existing problems of Africa ravaged by conflict and poverty, but a translation of an existing difficulties into another form of challenge – ever-growing refugee agglomerations. Meanwhile European leaders insist on delivery upon ‘obligations‘ given by their ancestors towards asylum-seekers, however they prefer to ignore the fact that the entire international legislation on refugees dates from Colonial era – Geneva Conventions on Asylum 1951.

Looking at Kenya, one can imagine a scale of a problem of mass migration of population in modern Africa – huge numbers of people spending day after day,  year after year “camping” in tents. #Dadaab is an example of the failure even of the UN CHR to resolve problems of suffering from a conflict population through construction of permanent camps – the site hosting 300 000 Somalia refugees became an ever-growing hub attracting new arrivals, but failing to ensure return policies.

Refugee Convention 1951 is a genuine Colonial era document in the times when Africa had no single independent state, and the population of the entire continent was a half of European. Endorsing  Asylum Convention back in 1951 no one could imagine the entire populations of Africans would be moved to Europe, using the document created after the WWII for the devastated European continent. It was amended only once with a Protocol, declaring Convention ‘universal‘, but nobody outlined how the developed part of the world would host all asylum-seekers of the planet.

Refugee Convention 1951 remains a key legal document that forms the basis of international action. Ratified​ by 145 State parties, it defines the term ‘refugee’ and outlines the rights of the displaced, as well as the legal obligations of States to protect them.

The core principle is non-refoulement, which asserts that a refugee should not be returned to a country where they face serious threats to their life or freedom. This is now considered a rule of customary international law.

However with the spread of radical Islamic terrorism, and subsequently the threat to ‘life and freedom’ menacing the entire populations of African countries, opens a broad gate to migrant flows, claiming right to shelter in Europe.

Today African populations are the fastest growing, representing a huge challenge for the young states themselves, where deprivation is massive – half of the Africans live in poverty, without access to basic human needs, such as nutrition, clean water, shelter.

However the intense work of different aid, development, and charities, infant mortality is declining, leading to demographic explosion. With current trends – on average five children per woman – Africa will become the most populated continent, home to six billion people by the end of the century. The EU concept of hosting ‘all in need‘ is a total illusion, even with reforming the EU Dublin regulation, and relocation migrants all over Europe – the simple arithmetics shows that 500 million European have no capacity to deliver in accordance to obligations of their ancestors: African population has been growing from 221 million in 1950 to one billion in 2009.

Nowadays realties indicate to the only possible direction to resolve problems of Africa – in Africa, not outside. In cooperation with African governments, but not in waging wars against them, as it happened in Libya, where the Western “lesson of democracy” caused an ongoing tragedy, destabilising life of the continent.

#Dadaab, Kenya

Dadaab arial

Brussels to explore reception of migrants outside EU

European Council calls  the Commission to “swiftly” explore the concept of “regional disembarkation platforms”, in close cooperation with relevant third countries as well as UNHCR and IOM. Such platforms should operate distinguishing individual situations, in full respect of international law and without creating a pull factor, the conclusions of the meeting of heads of states and governments read.

In order to “definitively break” the business model of the smugglers, preventing tragic loss of life, the EU Council considers necessary to eliminate the incentive to embark on dangerous journeys along Mediterranean. The new approach to the problem is based on shared or complementary actions among the Member States to the disembarkation of those who are saved in Search And Rescue operations.

The new strategy of reception of illegal migrants outside the EU territory reminds experts an Australian systems, functioning both direction – saving lives of illegal migrants in sea, and the same time protecting national borders.

However Italian Interior minister Matteo Salvini announced his interest to see the EU passing for concrete actions, namely against those NGOs who help  smuggling illegal migrants in Europe: “STOP human traffic, stop helping accomplices! #stopinvasion!”, he wrote in his microblog.

The discussion over the text of conclusions about migration went through the last night, representing a challenge to reconcile positions of Italy, and southern European countries at forefront of migration flows, and Visegrad Four group, supported by Austrian upcoming presidency, insisting that instead of the change of Dublin regulation and relocation of migrants through the EU, the support and solidarity among member-states can be introduced on goodwill basis. The reform of Dublin is left to next EU Presidency to deal with. Austria Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has already announced a number of initiatives to curb illegal migration.

Anna van Densky, from EU Council, Brusssels

Juncker versus Italian corruption

Anna van Densky. OPINION. This week Brussels institutional  freedom of speech reached a new low, when the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has been confronted with the demands of withdrawing his comments on corruption in Italy.  During a public  exchange of views, the top EU executive referred to corruption and insufficient efforts as  the key obstacles,  blocking the development of the poorest regions in the south of Apennines peninsula.

Italians have to take care of the poor regions of Italy. That means more work; less corruption; seriousness,” Juncker said. “We will help them as we always did. But don’t play this game of loading with responsibility the EU. A country is a country, a nation is a nation. Countries first, Europe second”. These words caused the whirlwind of emotions from newly endorsed vice-prime minister Matteo Salvini, numerous political personalities, and even the president of the European Parliament (from Italian origin) Antonio Tajani, – all of them indignant about Juncker referring to the well-established facts. Yes, objectively speaking, there is a huge problem of corruption in Italy,  regarded as plague first of all by the Italians themselves.

According to the official statistics corruption, including political one, remains a major challenge, particularly in southern Italy, affecting Calabria, Campina, and Sicily, where citizens suffer from its consequences at most.  Transparency International   annual reports indicate Italy has been consistently assessed as one of the most corrupt countries in the Eurozone.  While 2017 Corruption Perception Index ranks Italy 54th place out of 180 countries. Scoring on a par with Montenegro, Senegal and South Africa. Yearly the crime of corruption causes Italians a damage of €60 billion .

However an attempt to smother Juncker with ‘politically correct’ banning from public debate the tensions in eurozone is not a unique episode in European political life, it is a chronic syndrome. A year ago then the chair of the Eurogroup Jeroen Dijsselbloem came under the fire for his criticism of abuse of solidarity by heavily indebted countries of the  EU south. The degree of indignation had  amounted to demands of resignation put forward by Spain and Portugal. However the most striking in rude tone was the comment from Italy: “He has missed a perfect opportunity to shut up,” former Italian Socialist Prime Minister Matteo Renzi wrote in a Facebook post. “The sooner he goes, the better.”

The entire calamity was caused by the Dutchman remarks to a  German newspaper: “As a social democrat, I think that solidarity is extremely important. But whoever benefits also has duties,” he added. “I can’t spend all my money on booze and women and then ask for your support.” It was the allegory implied to illustrate  the role of corruption and tax evasion in ongoing Greek financial crisis that caused the indignation, not the depressing reality. The Transparency International estimated Greek tax evasion figures between €11 – €16 billion per annum ‘not collectable’, and the corruption also played ‘massive role’ in an outbreak of financial crisis.  Dijsselbloem survived the criticism, so  did his corrupt foes.

One year later the situation of tensions between the north and south of eurozone reflected in Dijsselbloem polemics has not improved in a meaningful way, but instead of fighting grim realities of corruption, the Italian politicians almost unanimously prefer to put some makeup on a face touched by leprosy, while the northern societies reject to accept the trick, requesting accountability. Dijsselbloem then, and Juncker now said what millions of taxpayers in the north of Europe know and think, and silencing them one guarantees the rising pressure of their discontent, because they are the ones to endorse the checks.

Obviously, the expected contemporary modus operandi of the presidents of European institutions, reserving them a role of modern royals – smiling to cameras and shaking hands, plus signing big checks for charity – will not please the EU taxpayers from the northern countries. Being the donors to the southern economies,  where a portion of their transfers is systematically disappearing in the pockets of the corrupt, they are increasingly concerned about the profile of the recipients of their funds.

With the upcoming departure of the UK, the second net contributor to the EU budget, the monitoring of funds transferred from donors to recipients in the bloc will be much more keen. It is possible to smother the heads of the EU institutions by ‘politically correct’ reserving them a public role of mute modern royals, but it will hit back,  undermining the trust in EU institutions, unable to defend the European values.

Sans la liberté de blâmer, il n’est pas d’éloge flatteur”, Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (“Where there is no freedom of blaming, there can be no genuine praise”).

Bruxelles, 3 june 2018

 

#Liège: ‘prisoners of believe’

Anna van Densky, OPINION It was in exceptionally gloomy day in Belgium in spite of the sunshine: two police agents stabbed and shot dead – Soraya and Lucile;  one passerby civilian – Cyril just 22 years old shot dead, and a number of wounded police agents – all  in the city of Liège – a ‘capital of Wallonia’, otherwise famed by its rich cultural history.

Today outside Belgium, Liège is well-known for its University, attracting students from all over the world, but for those who are fans of crime novels, Liège is celebrated for being a birthplace and a favorite setting for the stories of George Simenon, the third most popular writer in French language, a creator of the legendary character commissaire Maigret, the ideal detective, who mastered psychology.

The city has drastically changed since those days Simenon had been describing. There are no more squalid little streets, without lanterns, and shabby houses – a usual background for Simenon crime scenes, but in the modern surroundings  the profession of a detective is as much in demand as in  those days.

Contemplating on Liège shooting we expect many questions to be answered: why a certain Benjamin Hermans 36 years old, native of Rochefort, a small town next to Liège, decides to spend his short “family” leave from a prison for killing police agents, his compatriots, in name of the Great God of Muhammadans – Allah Akbar?..What makes him to socialize with Islamists in prison? Why he decides to convert to Islam? And why above it all, the administration of the prison, knowing him as an extremely violent and marginal character, accepts the risks to release him for “socializing” in town?..

There are no simple answer, but they needed to be found honoring the memory of the victims – Soraya, Lucile Garcia and Cyril. We also need the conclusions to avoid new losses in future. However, today everything is shrouded in gloom.

Are we all just “hopeless prisoners of what we chose to believe”?..