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

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.

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

Syria: Trump starring Machiavelli

Trump US Syria

The President Trump’ missile strikes on Syria amid #RussianConnections investigation give a déjà vue feeling reminiscent of Bill Clinton’ bombing of Iraq amid #MonicaGate. The initiative of a crusade for alleged chemical weapons used by president Assad reminded many,  including UN diplomat is, the bulb with white powder, demonstrated by gen.Powell before US invasion in Iraq.  Trump’s missile strike evoked so many memories…

It is hard to belive the US President was so touched by the dead babies in Syria, as some suggest,  to order a strike in an emotional move. Just couple of weeks ago (17.03.2017) he let pass unnoticed the assassination of 300  civilians in residential area of Mosul. There were certainly babies among the Iraqi victims too, but it was qualified as an ‘an unintentional accident of war’ without any consequences for the perpetrators.

Nobody was indignant about these casualties, the slain were not honored by Ambassador Haley demonstrative grief and indignation at UN emergency meeting, and there was no urgent meeting as such. The information in the beginning came to public attention  through non-American media sources, while  the US representatives were trying to find excuses for the  massive loss of human live, ‘further investigating’ and ‘learning lesson’.

In case of late US missile strike on Syria is became clear that is was planned sometime before the alleged chemical incident reported by  human rights NGOs used by the administration in bona fide, and merely as a pretext to intervene. Why ?

The first explanation is on the surface: it allows to distract attention from ongoing #RussianConnections investigation fuelled by the Democrats. Startled to discover the President is acting towards Assad in the same lines as Hillary Clinton suggested, the opponents have to put their criticism of Trump’s foreign policy on a halt, finding themselves in confusion over the U-turn strategy of the Commander-in-Chief.

Even more so the Democrates were puzzled with stakes in prism of policy towards Russia – just a week before Rex Tillerson visit to Moscow, – the missile attack on Syria, a Russian ally, transforms the US Foreign Secretary in a powerful foe, entering Moscow in the context close to the dark times of Cold War. Although there is some feeling that the Americans were sure, that president Putin would not clash with them over a remote airbase in Syria.

Awkwardly the ‘imperialistic’ ambition of Trump’s administration would help a great deal to President’s Putin re-election (endorsement) for the fourth term, uniting the nation in face of ‘American threat’, convincing a regular Russian in need of a ‘strong man’ at a steering wheel in turbulent times.

Altogether with one strike President Trump hit many goals: distracting attention of his opponents at home, pleasing his electorate with an image of a powerful and fearless world leader, protecting world order and going back to blacks of international politics making some of the European leaders delighted by clashes with Kremlin, and later paradoxically not so discontent, how it might look at first glance, benefiting from US unlawful military action in domestic political discourse. The revival of the US ‘imperialistic ambitions’ will help Putin in re-elections (endorsement) of his fourth term by regular Russians, convincing them he is a ‘strong man’ they need to withstand the predator’s instinct of ‘American imperialism.’

Machiavelli style of President Trump, making it an almost perfect a ‘knights move,’ is certainly impressive in many ways, if not contributing to Daesh survival, but never mind. Most probably DAESH was not ment to vanish, creating a protracted conflict in the Middle East. However it is a different issue. Today the mega-winner of the strikes is the Commander-in-Chief himself. Vivat!