May to review counter-terrorism

Prime minister Theresa May said the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy would be reviewed. The announcement was made in the wake of the terrorist attack on London Bridge  where a van hit pedestrians at about 22:00 BST on Saturday, 3.06.2017, and immediately after the three assailants got out from the vehicle and went on stabbing people in nearby Borough Market.  The toll: 7 dead and 48 injured.

The prime minister said “it is time to say enough is enough” as she condemned a terror attack on “innocent and unarmed civilians” which left seven people dead and 48 injured in London.

Tusk: ‘good will’ for Brexit

“…We confirmed our strong commitment to the transatlantic relationship, and to further strengthening security cooperation, including between NATO and the EU” – said President Donald Tusk after his meeting with Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg.

“… Let me make a general remark about Brexit. These negotiations are difficult enough as they are. If we start arguing before they even begin, they will become impossible. The stakes are too high to let our emotions get out of hand. Because at stake are the daily lives and interests of millions of people on both sides of the Channel. We must keep in mind that in order to succeed, today we need discretion, moderation, mutual respect and a maximum of good will.” – said President Donald Tusk after his meeting with Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg.

Macron faces “la cohabitation”

Macron minister

The impressive victory in presidential elections does not secure power of Emmanuel Macron, who should gain an impressive number of votes in upcoming legislative elections, 11.06.2017, to be able to realise the package of reforms proposed to his compatriots.

Among the ballots dropped for Macron a considerable amount were transferred from Republicans (Gaullist) – centre right and lesser from Socialists, – both mainstream parties endorsed their support to create a ‘barricade’ against the rival anti-globalist Marine Le Pen.

However in legislative elections every political congregation will struggle for proper seats, and it is highly probable that the Republicans will enter the coalition with En Marche!  to get the comfortable majority. In this case the Republicans will impose their Prime Minister on Macron. The ‘coexistence’ (or ‘la cohabitation) of a President and Prime Minister from different political parties is not new to French political system. In case with the Republicans (centre right) and En Marche! (centrist) of Macron it would be easier functional tandem than la cohabitation Chirac/Mitterrand (Gaullist vs. Socialist).

However, the real challenge for President Macron’s plans of reform will not come from his political opponents, but the powerful syndicates, which had already opposed ‘Macron Law’ when he served as a Finance minister, attempting to modernise and liberalise economy.  The syndicates did not hesitate to take their protests to the streets.

Attempting to reform stagnating French economy, as a minister Macron was blamed to hinder traditional French life-style, and worker’s rights, even dominical work of shops  has been largely seen as an attack on Christian traditions, especially in French rural areas.

The entering Élysée Palace as such does not give a cart blanche to reform profoundly archaic French society. The presidency of Francois Hollande was fractured when  then prime minister Manuel Valls unveiled a second pro-business reform in 2016 that allowed bosses to fire and hire workers more easily, leading to eruption of massive and violent street protests. Holland’s popularity has never risen since. Forced to give up the claims for the second mandate, the stepped down from the scene of history.  But now the pain of his departure soften by his successor, his minister, of his dauphin.

Le roi est mort,  vive le roi!

 

 

 

 

France voting for the future

Marine Le Pen votes

France goes to the polls on Sunday for the first round of a dramatically polarized presidential election, crucial to the future of the European Union, and the destiny of the continent.

Nearly 47 million voters will choose between a pro-EU centrist newcomer breaking away from the incumbent Socialist government, a scandal-ridden veteran conservative eager to slash public spending, while accused in indulging himself in public funds spending for private gains, a far-left eurosceptic, exercising a classic repertoire to blame all the misery of the world to the rich, or France’s first woman president, promising a U-turn from globalism to nation-state.

The  latest polls indicated the two major contestants: Emmanuel Macron et Marine Le Pen, with a real battle promised at the second round of elections, while struggling to attract the electorate of the other candidates, fallen out of the race.

The rivary for the crown of the French ‘elected king/queen’ will be for the senior electorate, increasingly numerous in aging France. Remarkably seniors vote more than average,  and subsequently are over-represented among voters. The attraction of the older generation of the voters, who are characterized by specific political choices, will become a real challenge for both Le Pen and Macron. However it would not be easy for the latter, as the senior citizens have an inclination to vote a conservative political programme, and are closer to traditional values.

So far Marine Le Pen showed more understanding for the needs of the senior citizens; on the strong side of Macron  is contact with the youth, and diasporats/ immigration, especially from Muslim countries, who see in him a solid ally.

However any chosen candidate will face the  need to conquer the parliament –  Assemblée National, and the mega-challenge of dealing with French syndicates – powerful trade-unions, who keep under control economic development in the country, and the endeavours of  presidents, irrespective their political convictions.

Tillerson’s visit as a glimpse of hope

Tillerson Moscow

The reception of State Secretary Rext Tillerson in Kremlin gives hope that the superpower leaders are prepared to assume their responsibilities towards global community, and stabilize the rapidly deteriorated US-Russia relations.

The high expectations of Russians did not come true – the change of the administration did not bring a major change in foreign policy. Whoever is the master of the White House, it is the  US military-industrial complex having the last say.  In this way Trump’s presidency will not become any different. Bowing to the Pentagon, Trump had to retreat into admitting that NATO is ‘not obsolete’. Acceding power, he had to follow the path of his predecessors,  meaning to stay in a rut of the US expansionist foreign policy.  We all have to come to the terms that none of his revolutionary anti-war proposals, captivating the moods of his electorate, can be transformed into reality,  and both Russian and American people have to live with that sinister truth.

In spite of the economic crisis the US launched without blinking a missile offensive on Syria – the firing a shot worth USD 88 mln  demonstrates that there will be no savings on military adventures. The offensive that also left in ashes the Kremlin hope of ‘peaceful coexistence’ of the nuclear superpowers.  Syria and Ukraine as the frontlines set ablaze.

Putin and Tillerson

However the pressure of the international terrorism still might push even those the most reluctant into a coalition with Russians. The rapidly spreading network of jihadists worldwide has no other solution, but a united effort.

Although the agenda of almost two-hour discussion between Putin and Tillerson was not revealed, it is certain that the anti-terrorist coalition proposal had its prominent place.

(Photo: illustration)

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:)

 

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?..