Failed Mogherini’s bit of trolling May

It looks the EU top diplomat Federcia Mohgerini’s attempt to troll the UK Prime Minister May failed – there will be no ‘hung’ Parliament in the UK, and #Brexit talks will start in 10 days as foreseen due to the alliance between the Conservatives and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), joining with 10 MPs. Apparently the heavy-weight in politics May is not an easy target even for mega-trolls:)

However it would be better for the EU executives to restrain from the trolling PM May in the future, because on contrary to Brussels, leaving without the Article 50 deal has a lot of political benefits for the Conservatives, delivering  the desirable STOP of paying Brussels all at once. The departure of the  UK being a second net contributor with full membership fee of £17.8 billion (the deduction of the Thacher’s rebate reduces it to £12.9 billion),  or £35 million a day, – this departure leaves the EU without an answer how to mend the giant hole in the pocket.

The chances of Conservatives oping for #hardBrexit in alliance with DUP loom large, envisaging the scenario of the UK leaving Brussels ‘elite’ insolvent, and immobilized to move forward their ultimate target of ‘more Europe.’

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.

Marion Le Pen bowed out

Marion Maréchal-Le Pen (27) declaration of stepping down closes the chapter of the Front National history. In spite of her young age, Maréchal-Le Pen represented the conservative wing of the party, very much associated with it founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, the grand-father and family’s patriarch. The elections showed the limits of the ‘Le Pen’ brand, unanimously cursed by the French left-wing and centrists for almost half-a-century. Emmanuel Macron received two-thirds of votes as a protest against a perspective for Le Pen family ascendance to power, not due to high opinion of his programme.

The structural changes are ahead of the Front National, led by Maréchal’s aunt – Marine Le Pen: the union with the other right-wing patriotic movements, following the successful alliance with Nicolas DupontAignan. The change of name, and further shifting to the political centre are imminent.

However impressive personal talents, charisma and presence of Marechal  are, her departure will have a positive effect of the party, allowing to switch from a Medieval congregation around one family into modern form of gathering, based on meritocracy.

Generally speaking French electorate is tired of nepotism, flourishing in ranks among French elite of the entire political spectrum, representing  a modern version of Roman nobiles, ruling in name of people, but in reality being a closed self-serving cast.

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!

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

French ‘Revolution 2017’

Marion et Marine

The major conclusion of the first round of the French presidential election is the marginalizing of the two major political parties: centre left and centre right – the Socialists and the Republicans – sharing power through the history of the V Republic. The period  of their reign came to the end, closing the whole chapter of the post WWII political development, which is a revolutionalry change as such.

The other crucial outcome of the elections is the evolution of the Front National from a marginal force into a main stream and, moreover, number one political party, because En Marche! of Emmanuel Macron is a rather broad movement, but not a classical political congregation one can regard as a party with an ideological core.

En Marche! is a young movement, which is captivating the protest moods of the French youth, disappointed in the major political forces, however there is no classical political congregation behind him. En Marche! is not represented in the Assemblée Nationale – the parliament, so even elected, Macron would find himself in a difficulty to deal with the other experienced political forces like Republicans, Socialists, and now, very likely, the Front National. This difficulty would be only aggravated by his lack of experience in dealing with the French political system.

On contrary to En Marche! Marine Le Pen leads a solid and well-defined political force, with a comprehensive plan for governing  the country.  One of her strongest points is a programme of defeating terrorism through curbing mass-migration, ending the system of double citizenship, revoking French citizenship from involved in terrorism, etc.

Till now Macron did not explain how he is going to addressed the security concerns of the French citizens, while keeping open door policy. This is one of the multiple inconsistencies in his programme. In case he will not be unable to guarantee the security, and the terroristic acts will continue to devastate public life, the position of Marine Le Pen will be solidified, and she will continue to raise in ranks.

The  failure of a big experiment called ‘Emmanuel Macron’, will not resurrect the Republicans or Socialists, who had a chance to govern the country already, and in case of the Republicans for a long period of time, but bring the electorate to a conclusion, that the only political force that had not had a chance to show its capabilities to ‘save France’ is Front National.

In the next presidential election the frustration in ‘Macron experiment’ might lead to the necessity to continue the experimental way.  If French are so disappointed in politics that they turned to unjustified belief in a miracle of Macron ‘The Savor’, what will prevent them to put their trust in Marion Marechal Le Pen as ‘The Maid of Orleans’?..

Anna van Densky