#Strasbourg: EU commemorates slain reporters

The EU institutions and the International Press Association (API/IPA) paid tribute to two reporters, victims of the #Strasbourg terrorist attack.

The journalists in the press centre of the European Commission paid tribute to both reporters – Antonio Megalizzi  (29) and Bartosz Orent-Niedzielski  (35)– slain in jihad attack by a minute of silence.

The reporter Antonio Megalizzi (29) from Trento, Italy  was in Strasbourg to cover the European Parliament plenary session for radio network Europhonica.

His friend Barto Pedro Orent-Niedzielski (35) from Katowice, Poland, nicknamed #Bartek lived in Strasbourg, he was engaged in cultural life of the city, and also in promotion of the LGBT rights.

 

EU avoids speculations on II Brexit referendum

The carefully worded statement on possibility of the second Brexit referendum in UK reflects the cautions attitude of the EU institutions to possible repeated plebiscite, attributing to the first one a status of a ‘dressed rehearsal’.

First and utmost, the EU27 does not wish to make an impression of a player, influencing the cause of events, and especially its impact on the future of Britons, to avoid being blamed for interference in home affairs of a sovereign state. Although the grounds for retaining the UK in the EU are in place, ensured by the European Court of Justice (Luxembroug)  the further maneuvering are far too risky to be undertaken publicly.

Dabbing the UK  claims as “nebulous“, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has already slipped, receiving an explosion of fury from both of camps: the Brexiteers and the Remainers.

The tough talk with Prime Minister Theresa May made headlines, but did not bright any sympathy to Brussels, blamed to exaggerate the demands over the notorious Irish-border guarantee – ‘backstop‘. For many British legislators the requests of an indefinite ‘backstop‘ will create the major controversy, risking to pull the Brexit deal down while voting in the House of Commons.

The rigid position of the EU27, and reluctance to introduce any amendments in the Brexit deal ahead of the ratification, can be interpreted as a wish of its failure, with a hope of a the collapse of May‘s government, subsequently leading to the II referendum. and cancellation of Brexit. However those who promote the scenario forget about the high risks to receive the second rejection, damaging beyond repair the image of the bloc already in a profound crisis. The EU is caught between a rock and a hard place…

May gets political reassurances from EU

Britain’rime minister, Theresa May, appealed to the EU leaders at the EU Summit for concessions to help her receive the support in Westminster next month for an Article 50 deal that can  facilitate the UK exit from the European Union.

 

Arriving at a Brussels Summit May said she was not expecting an immediate breakthrough but wanted help to get a Brexit deal she agreed with the EU27 last month ratified in London, where many in her Conservative Party who claim the concessions made are unacceptable on long term, trapping the country into endless limbo.

May urged the EU leaders to work with her to “change the perception” of the controversial  Irish borderbackstop” plan.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the “backstop’ concerning the Irish border is not negotiable red line of the Article 50 deal. If it is applied it should be applied for a shortest possible period, however the EU would refuse the expiration date.

In aftermath of the confidence vote May promised to listen to concerns of those members of her party who oppose negotiated by her government deal. The “backstop” remains an apple of discord and puts the entire deal ratification at risk.

In case House of Commons votes down the deal, the UK ‘hard’ Brexit under WTO rules becomes inevitable.

Apart of her doorstep remarks at arrival, German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not give a press conference after the first day of the EU Summit.

 

Yellow Vests: downfall of ‘Jupiter’

Anna van Densky OPINION The fumes of riots of Yellow Vests don’t distort the clarity of the picture – the working France could not bear any more the policy of successive governments pressing them as lemon to fund their ambitious European and international agenda. The plans of the President Macron to go global came in clash with local: the gasoline tax became the last straw that broke the back of many, especially “working poor“.

Following their ‘Jupiter’, or like French say it, ‘the elected King‘, French people had to continue to actively participate in footing the EU cohesion of Eastern Europe, flows of migrants and refugees,  who have right to live in dignity, the aid to the other continents for their development, climate change, and many other noble causes in the world, sacrificing their own needs. “Americans First!” gave them some eyeopening ideas. Are French really responsible for all the grief in the world?..Don’t they deserve to benefit from the advantages of technological revolution?..

Doubtfully the EU aggressive foreign policy added a huge portion of combustible: the Enlargement shifting borders to the East came to its logical end in a Donbass conflict.  The following war of sanctions with Russia had negative effects on French economy, although not direct, but long lasting,  when the exports being replaced without reverse by the other countries like Turkey, Morocco, or Argentina. In spite of the shrinking agricultural exports, and related difficulties the President declared the increase of the 2019 defense budget by €1.7 billion – up five percent from the present year, the move made under pressure of the Pentagon hawks to meet NATO target military spending.

Detached from working France in his gilded office of the impératrice Josephine palace – Elysée in his rigid role of an ‘elected KingEmmanuel Macron looks archaic, like a relic of another epoch, next to the leaders of the other democracies in Europe, framed in their actions by national parliaments. The modernization of the Fifth Republic, shifting powers from President to Parliament could restore the coherence of French society, while conservation of the archaic forms of governance will  continue to provoke the archaic forms of answers – insurrections.

However the uprising of the Yellow Vests is just the first act. The real tectonic shift in politics will take place in upcoming elections to European parliament: the downfall of ‘Jupiter’.

Pedro Sanchez Gibraltar ‘Chandelier Bid’

Anna van Densky  OPINION  It would be utmost naive to believe Spanish Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is eager to enter history books as a man, who derailed Article 50  deal, and destroyed the the EU27 collective effort to avoid ‘hard Brexit’ over such a ‘eternal‘ issue as Gibraltar ceded to  British crown in 1713. Even more so, the derailing of Brexit deal would be senseless facing the solid support of the leadership of territory unequivocally given to British government both by the Chief Minister and opposition.

However Spanish veto threats hanging as Damocles sword over the final draft deal to be presented for endorsement on the EU Brexit Summit just in a day is an ideal opportunity for Sanchez to raise his own stakes politically in Europe and gain a considerable capital at home, boosting his own popularity.  Virtuoso of public relations, formed in Brussels institutions, Sanchez mastered modern communication strategies and has no intention to miss an opportunity Brexit offers.

In profound need of electoral support,  Sanchez, whose ascension to power happened though elaborate parliamentary chess combination, but not the citizen’s vote, finds himself in a need of political capital,  and voters sympathies, he has been chronically missing. The struggle for Gibraltar status is a ideal subject to raise media and public attention in Spain to gain so much needed  for the Socialists popularity.

The other paramount issue is the Spain‘s shattered image within the EU over the Catalan  referendum oppression – the last minute compromise Sanchez will offer to the bloc will be undoubtedly  presented as an ultimate sacrifice on the alter of collective European good to be exchanged in the future on ‘carte blanche‘ in some sensitive issues and benefits  for Spain to obtain from Brussels.

Pedro Sanchez will definitely not bloc the EU27 Brexit deal, and destroy the fruit of Michel Barnier elaborate arrangement to be delivered at the historic EU Summit, however there is a price for Spanish generosity the Brussels will discover later when leaders gather for the final say. Meanwhile the Article 50 game of nerves will go on, reminiscent of classic ‘Chandelier Bid‘, in order to create the appearance of greater demand or to extend bidding momentum for a piece on offer – #Gibraltar, whose inhabitants have already  twice in referendums supported status quo.

This Millenium Gibraltar sovereignty referendum was held on 7 November 2002 within the British overseas territory on a proposal by London to share  the sovereignty of the territory between Spain and the United Kingdom. The result was a rejection of the proposal by a landslide majority, with only just over one per cent of the electorate in favour.

#Khashoggi assassination as Trump’s ordeal

Anna van Densky OPINION There is no surprise that President Donald Trump is reluctant to accuse the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Jamal Khashoggi assassination, even if there is an overwhelming evidence delivered by CIA, for a simple reason that the President-businessman perceives as a sheer nonsense the sacrifice of such a generous client as Saudi Arabia in name of a  memory of such a nuisance as a journalist.

The ‘Holy warsPresident Trump is waging against press loyal to Democrats are notorious, however it is more than a political argument, but a profound conviction of obsolete character of the profession as such. An avid user of social media, electrifying communications with his 220W Tweets, President does not see much sense in existence of press, on contrary, he experiences it as a malicious and destructive force, intentionally deforming his ideas and policies in mass conscious. Additional scars were left after the press vehement attacks on the First Lady,  and the First family.

Clearly it would be rather naive to expect the President to demonstrate solidarity with Washington Post mourning one of its columnists after all caustic the editorial has poured on the White House. 

However this would be a strategic mistake to think that Khashoggi’s assassination is limited to a newspaper employee or a citizen of a country, because any journalist on planet Earth, irrespective of his political conviction is associating himself with the victim, whose gruesome torture, leading to an atrocious death profoundly shocked even used to regular murders press communities. Shooting, exploding, raping, – even for journalists, who systematically suffer loss of their colleagues, the way Jamal Khashoggi was tortured, assassinated and disposed was too much to bear.

… And the cynicism of the Crown Price, staging the handshake with the killed journalist young son, was tormenting to see…

Will President Trump favor humanism over profits? Will he defend the freedom of speech? Will he condemn the crime? Or will he return to the laws of Ancient Babylon, accepting compensation for the killings signing multi million contracts with Saudis?..

Each day postponing of the final conclusion on Khashoggi’s murderers is damaging the image of the Presidency irreversibly. With indulgence to Prince bin Salman less and less journalists respectful of Trump‘s left around, and their absence may become regrettable in the next elections.  #Justice4Khashoggi

 

Austria top diplomat enjoys ‘wedding of the century’

No need to spend a fortune on a wedding gown, no need to follow strict diet to fit in either. No need to look like a Hollywood star and suffer from plastic surgeries and pain from injecting Botox to enjoy ‘wedding of the century‘. Even at the age of 54 and with some extra kilo you can catch the limelight of the entire mankind, if you invite distinguished guests. Since times of late Tsar Nicolas II Russian heads of state have not been attending weddings abroad. Austrian Minister of Foreign affairs Karin Kneissl performed a dance with one of the most powerful politician in the world, sparkling both indignation and admiration. Public opinion has never been so divided, however the wedding has not passed unnoticed. Was that the purpose?

 

Imperium blandum imperiosissimum!

(Soft power is the strongest! Latin)