Ab absurdo: Puigdemont as asylum-seeker

Anna van Densky, OPINION The circulating in mainstream media hypothesis of President of Catalan Republic Carles Puigdemont escapade to Brussels in search of political asylum can’t be regarded otherwise as absurd.

First, if politicians have to flee Spain because of dissent, it will mean that Kingdom of Spain is not a democracy. (Political dissident from Span? Hmmm… It reminds me of something…)

Second, it would mean that organising plebiscite is a criminal activity, which will provoke a confrontation with the United Nations, being in contradiction with the most sacred part of international law – the human rights.

Third, the attack on human rights will torpedo the work of entire EU External Actions Service, discrediting their efforts to improve human rights situation outside the bloc.

Forth, it will reinforce the public sympathy for Catalans, and raise criticism against the European institutions for not respecting their own engagements, and principles. So many citizens will ignore the next elections to the European Parliament, which will be a blow to the EU credibility. Imagine if only 20% of Europeans come to drop ballots for EU?..

So there are some reasons for which Carles Puigdemont will be never charged for organising a plebiscite, and never arrested.

Unfortunately, the crisis government of prime minister Mariano Rajoy created will continue, however the EU can not afford to let it rub off its own image and activities, subsequently the EU will not allow Puigdemont to become Europe’s Nelson Mandela. The Brussels has many faults, but giving in to Madrid in human rights abuse means to agree to look like a theatre of absurd – a suicidal move for an already shaken by Brexit project. Ab absurdo!

 

Brexit negotiations pessimistic forecast

Anna van Densky, OPINION

The repeated requests for ‘clarifications’ from behalf of the EU27 articulated by the chief negotiator Michel Barnier reflect the state of the disbelief of the block vis-à-vis Britons who voted for abandoning of Europe’s project. In a long list of issues to be settled to the UK membership expiration date, the rights of the EU citizens, and the payments of fees beyond departure date are among the most controversial.

The demands of Barnier to create a three million strong growing expat community in UK, subdued to the EU law under umbrella of the European court of Justice, attributing it supremacy in jurisdiction over these citizens, and offering the European Commission right to monitor the situation, is de facto a claim of creating a EU27 enclave in the UK.

Nowadays the two groups of expats are different not only in numbers, as the Europeans are roughly three times more numerous in the UK, but also have different demographic potential. If the UK group has a large segment of senior citizens, which will be reduced with time for natural reasons, the Europeans represent the young generation with growing families, eager to pass their status to children. The demographic potential of 3,3 million of Europeans including more than a half a million of children in need of schooling  is in stark  contrast with the decreasing group of British wealthy senior citizens purchasing properties, and healthcare on continent.  As the recent study shows the biggest UK citizens community resides in Spain – more than 300 thousand people, and one-third of them are over 65, presumably retired.

However it is not economic, but political potential of EU growing group that should be of concern for Britons, risking to face a sizable problem in hosting a young and fast growing community, which can be a subject to a different kind of manipulations in the hands of the Brussels bureaucracy. In reality Barnier promotes the European community in the UK as a Trojan horse, serving the EU interests in the UK, and not the interests of the community itself, which naturally should be aiming at integration, and not prioritising the ties with the continent they have abandoned.

The other contradictory claim derives from the EU27 ‘divorce’ concept of Brexit, which is also at odds with the enshrined in Lisbon Treaty right of a state to cancel its membership. With the  ‘divorce’ concept Brussels is attempting to plant in public conscience the idea of ‘allowance’,  ethically framing the move of taking Prime minister Theresa May to cleaners.

If brushing away the profane description of the process, imposed by the European Commission, the membership cancellation does not include any membership fee beyond the actual legal period of being in the ranks of the European Union project. However the EU27 with a remarkable tenacity attempts to force the UK to pay the fees until the end of the financial term to ensure the stability for the European programmes until the finale of the current institutional mandate for the EU top executives, prioritising their personal political ambitions over long standing strategic interests of the continental Europeans, and Britons.

The exaggerated claims of the EU27 are rooted in the denial  of the reality of Brexit, namely the rejection of the UK citizens to continue their engagement with the European project, shifting from Single Market to European superstate. The obsessive pursuit of Brussels financial interests, and claims of an exclusive status to EU expats, will force the UK to leave without a deal, and this episode will leave a profound scar in relations between former partners for generations to come.

Mogherini ignores Sophia mission failure

The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini ignores the obvious Sophia operation failure in Mediterranean, in spite of the clear will of Belgium to cancel the participation of their vessel in sea rescue mission. Mogherini also pretends to be unaware of the assessment of the House of Lords, openly stating the EU mission has failed to prevent massive migrant smuggling to Europe.

Ahead of the Council meeting the Foreign minister of Belgium Theo Francken clearly stated during a national TV programme that his country has the intention to end Louise-Marie frigate participation in the Mediterranean operation, because of the double message it sends inspiring more migrants to undertake the risky journey in a hope to be saved and transported to European coasts, thus not only saving lives but also  increasing flows of the ‘illegal migrants” eager to gamble.

The UK House of Lords report on Sophia mission is even more eloquent in its assessment, entitled: “Failed Mission”. The major recommendation is to disrupt the business model of smuggling networks through required ‘concerted action’ at Libya’s southern land border.

The Council agenda foresees discussion on migration, focusing on the situation on the Central Mediterranean route. Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and William Lacy Swing, Director-General of the International Organisation Migration will both take part in the discussion.
Grandi is also known for his criticism of the ‘xenophobic climate’ in Europe vis-à-vis mass migration from Africa and Middle East.

EU-Russia talk – falling on deaf ears

The consultations between Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini were very brief, and hardly resembled the ostentatious format of the strategic partnership, practiced between the EU and Russian in the recent past, before the Maidan revolution in Ukraine. Lavrov did not make a secret of the EU meeting taking place as an addition to his visit to Belgium, however he agreed to accept the invitation, and thanked for it, considering exchange as useful.

However even at a glance at two gloomy and tense officials one could assess the talks as a formal exercise, where none of the parties expected a rapprochement. The long list of issues from the international agenda, cited by Mogherini, just made one think how little left in common between two neighbours, sharing the responsibility for the security and stability of the European continent.

Although Lavrov expressed confidence in returning of the EU-Russia relations to  its ‘normal course’, it is difficult to imagine how this normalisation is possible with the incumbent EU leadership’ hostility towards Kremlin. The comparison of Russian press to Islamic state propaganda in a resolution of the European Parliament marks the lowest of the relations since collapse of the USSR. But high tight is possible: fragile after the departure of the second net contributor in two years time, the EU after Brexit will have no reserves to continue its ‘crusade’ against Kremlin. “Money is a nerve of war’.

Cornered by the US request to contribute to NATO according to the engagement, and cut off the UK fee to the European purse, the EU27 will be pushed to reconsider its strategy towards Moscow unable to maintain the current level of hostility for purely economic reasons. Moreover in the end of the day the heavily  indebted Ukraine does not have the required features to remain an Appel of Discord for long – political instability and endemic corruption make it an unsuitable  partner for the EU, and unreliable client of Siberian gas for Russians. But coming on terms with realities of life is not an easy exercise for the ambitious Brussels bureaucrats, subsequently at the moment Lavrov’s reasoning falls on deaf ears.

 

Schaeuble: liberal world needs commitment of US

Germany Sch

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Thursday it would be possible to develop the euro zone’s European Stability Mechanism (ESM) rescue fund into a European monetary fund soon.

Asked if this would be possible in the short term, Schaeuble replied: “Yes, I think so.”

Speaking on the sidelines of International Monetary Fund meetings in Washington, he also said any new aid programs for euro zone countries should be without the international lender and so under European auspices.

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)

Tillerson’s voyage to Moscow

Tillerson Moscow

Anna van Densky OPINION

It does not make much sense to discuss the possible outcome of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s (pictured)  first visit to Moscow, because the new US administration was not given an opportunity to work out their political strategy, or even modify the concept of the Obama’s administration. From the moment of the inauguration the inner political struggle took all the energy and resource, hardly leaving an opportunity to bring to live any of campaign foreign policy promises,  including the alliance with Russia against international terrorism.

While eager to play the doves of peace, the Democrats intentionally pushed the Republicans into the role of demons of war. The first visit of #Hillary to Moscow with a ‘reset button’ was a sheer public relations operation, however it worked on global popularity of Obama’s administration, profiling him on long-term as Nobel peace prize winner. On contrary the faux pas of the missile offensive in Syria shapes the image of Trump as a hawk, representing the unpredictable punitive forces with tyrannic inclinations, ignoring the international laws. Rex Tillerson’s mission is defined and shaped by this spontaneous US offensive in Syria.

However the US military action in Syria by no means is a result of a profound political thought, neither a beginning of a new strategy, but a haphazard tactical move to distract attention from #russianconnectons scandal during  the initial period of Trump’s presidency.

It seems that in the eyes of President Trump’s advises the offensive in Syria is about a creation of a backdrop to spoil the game of the Democrats, an answer to #russianconnections allegations. The allegations intensely undermining president’s Trump image in an attempt of the Democrats to win majority in the Congress in the future.

Tillerson’s call to Russians to abandon president Assad is largely a rhetoric exercise for a number of reasons, not the least an absence of an alternative – there is no opposition figure in Syria able to take the responsibilities, and enhance the reconciliation process.

The talks about dismissing Assad in military action in ‘regime change’ favorite US concept are even more surrealistic after the assassination of Libya’s leader colonel Gaddafi, whose death marked a beginning of an ongoing turmoil, transferring the entire country in a huge playground of jihadists.  Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya – the US foreign policy has demonstrated an out of ordinary capacity to destroy, but not reconstruct. Subsequently in Kremlin there is an understanding of that ‘creative capacity’ of the US, and certainly there is no slightest desire to give up a secular ally as Assad, who was educated in London, to one of the so-called ‘moderate opposition’ bearded fanatics.

The decision of Kremlin to decline the meeting between Putin and Tillerson indicates the initial pessimistic modality of the talks in Russian foreign ministry, because in first place there is no political agenda or strategy. Today State Department activity is a hostage of the warfare the Democrats declared to the Republican president, rejecting to accept his power and the choice of American people.

Without any new doctrine, scattered in tactical moves the US administration is chosing for spectacular actions and loud declarations to disguise its huge problems at home. No one expects any results from Tillerson-Lavrov (illustration) talks: Russians will not bow to the US to retreat from the Middle East, leaving Assad to the  wolves and Americans, stuck with home politics problems, will continue to use tactic of distracting of public attention from its interior weakness and failures by the belligerent rhetoric and operations, flexing steroid muscles of the military-industrial complex, – the true master of the game behind the scenes.

Dulce bellum inexpertis! *

(* War seems lovely to unexperienced, Latin)

PUBLISHED in @EuropeDiplomatic