VGE: tribute in Strasbourg Parliament

Brussels 05.12.2020 In agreement with President Emmanuel Macron the European Parliament will pay tribute to Valéry Giscard d’Estaing in the Strasbourg hemicycle on February 2, during a ceremony attended by the President of France and other heads of state and government, wrote on his Twitter micro blog David Sassoli, the speaker of the European Parliament.

Valéry Giscard d’Estaing was asserting himself as a defender of multilateralism. Initiator of the G5, which later became the G7, he was committed to increased cooperation at European level, and a new political impetus for the European institutions. While conferences between European heads of state and government took place on an informal basis, “VGE” took advantage of its first summit as president, which was held in Paris, in December 1974, to institutionalise these meetings.

“We attended the last European summit, and we participated in the first European Council,” he said after the meeting. It was also under his mandate that the election by direct universal suffrage of the European Parliament was decided: in 1979 the first European elections were held, won by the UDF (the president’s party), which brought Simone Veil to the presidency. of the institution.

Giscard d’Estaing aspired to found a whole new EU system with framed by the Constitution, which is supposed to replace all of the current EU treaties, but after failure of referendums in France and the Netherlands in 2005, where the idea was rejected by citizens, this project was adjusted and realised in a form of the Lisbon Treaty.

On Saturday, December 5, about thirty people were invited to enter the church to attend the funeral ceremony, while a security perimeter prevented access to residents of the commune d’Authon. According to the wishes of the deceased, music was part of the ceremony. Access to the vault of the former head of state, buried alongside his daughter Jacinthe, who died in 2018, will be free, as confirmed by the prefect of Loir-et-Cher. All citizens who wish to pay tribute to Valéry Giscard d’Estaing will therefore be able to do so.

French society regards among his achievements: the majority at 18; improving the condition of women;
free access to contraception; the legalisation of abortion; divorce by mutual consent; decriminalisation of adultery; the unification of college system for youth.

Turkey in EURONEWS: qui prodest?

Brussels, 06.11.2020 Anna van Densky OPINION The strangling of Freedom of speech policy of increasingly authoritarian Turkey at home, in the European Union and across globe, preventing 400 million audience of the EURONEWS to receive an objective coverage of the events concerning Ankara actions, is paradoxically rooted in the EU public funds being abused by Turkish government and used for the purpose, opposite to its original concept.
Unfortunately, the European Commission continues to subsidise EURONEWS TV Channel in spite of the fact that Turkey is in all structures, aggressively opposing and blocking the adequate news coverage.

Even previously, in the 2019 report by the European Court of Auditors (ECA) has underlined that EURONEWS is “not a public service broadcaster in any member state”, and analysing a total of €122M of funding for the channel from 2014-2018, concluded that the Commission “does not have a system to verify whether EURONEWS is achieving the objectives agreed in the partnership agreements.”
Today the European Commission has confirmed the continuation of subsidising Euronews TV, regardless Ankara opposition of freedom of speech – core value of the EU, and the fact of incarceration of more than 200 Turkish journalists.
Apparently, following the answer of the European Commission spokesperson they had no mechanism foreseen to freeze the payments.

Needless to say, that being in EURONEWS editorial Turkish broadcaster TRT uses their right to veto all the unflattering information about their country, preventing the global audiences to access to the information of tremendous significance, alerting public about Turkish actions alike supporting Muslim Brotherhood, defined a terrorist organisation by the governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates.

Not least crucial is information of transfer of 2 000 jihad fighters from Syria to Nagorno-Karabakh by Turkey, reported by some media, but denied by Ankara. However at present it is impossible to deliver objective coverage of conflict taking place in Caucasus between Armenia and Azerbaijan in spite of the generous subvention to EURONEWS, because Turkish editorial is there to block it.

On top of using the channel to condemn the freedom of speech policy of the EU member-states in the articles of the Turkish editorial, Ankara earns from EURONEWS, being a shareholder, while the EU citizens pay tens of millions yearly to ensure the channel function, they supply profit to Turkish oppressive state which cashes on TV advertising.

Obviously when in February 2009, the Turkish public broadcaster TRT became a shareholder of the channel and joined its supervisory board, the context was different, and there were no major objection for Ankara to joint the team. The same year the TRT purchased 15.70% of the channel’s shares and became the fourth main partner after France Télévisions (23.93%), RAI (21.54%), and VGTRK (16.94%). Turkish was added as the ninth language service in January 2010 as a result of this purchase.

The EURONEWS TV channel was established in 1993 by ten European public broadcasters to “reinforce European identity and integration” and the EU has provided it with a generous financial support since then. In recent years, the channel has changed its ownership structure by acquiring private investors.

Continue reading “Turkey in EURONEWS: qui prodest?”

Erdogan anger amid fossil fuel decline

Brussels 26.10.2020 Anna van Densky OPINION Recent President Erdogan verbal attacks on France have many reasons rooted in frustrations, not least is the economic difficulty of Turkey, experiencing sharp decline of demand of fossil fuels on world markets. Related to COVID-19 pandemic reduction of demand has dropped to record 30%, however the experts explain that the trend is here to stay. Before the pandemic broke out Turkey has been gaining strength as an energy corridor, supplying oil and gas to Europe from oil-rich suppliers of the region. However now, in so rapidly changing world, will Ankara be able to preserve its plans, or following the hydrocarbons definite decline of demand, it will face the economic consequences of end of fossil fuel era?

In the beginning of the pandemic, China’s economy slowed down, impacting fossil fuel demand, subsequently the OPEC tried to negotiate with Russia the limitations of production, but failed, the price struggle erupted between Saudi Arabia and Russia, and oil prices collapsed. Moreover, end October crude oil prices sank after Libya’s National Oil Corp (NOC) announced the output would reach one (1) million barrels per day in four weeks. Futures in New York fell 2.3% to drop below $39 a barrel.

In this volatile context Turkey will begin to discuss the new long-term energy contacts with a number of suppliers – Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Algeria and Nigeria, of total 45 billion cubic meters of gas. Three of them are covering one third of the energy imports – with Russia, Azerbaijan and Nigeria – will expire next year. The Turkish state-owned crude oil and natural gas pipelines and trading company BOTAŞ and Russian Gazprom had to negotiate delivery of 8 billion cubic meters of gas; the contract with Azerbaijan is covering 6.6 billion cubic meters of natural gas and with Nigeria for 1.3 billion cubic meters of LNG will – all of them expire in 2021.

Till present Russia remains the largest gas supplier to Turkey – 33.6% of total imports, followed by Azerbaijan 21.2% and Iran 17.1%. The rest 28.1% is covered by the liquefied gas (LNG) from other sources. However fossil fuel companies have entered the state of “terminal decline”, and fossil fuel companies are set to face it because of falling demand and higher investment risks caused by competition from clean technologies and tougher government climate and energy security targets, according to climate finance analysts, because of falling demand accelerated by COVID-19 pandemic, and higher investment risks explained by competition from clean technologies and strict government climate and energy security targets.

In this contemporary context the belligerent rhetoric of Erdogan against President of France, reflects tensions in Turkish society, facing the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The government has no plan B to answer to the fossil fuel decline impact of the economy. According to official figures Turkey’s unemployment rate improved slightly to 12.8% in April despite the raging pandemic, while the alternative calculations indicate that more than 50% were jobless. These figures might grow sharply while fossil fuels demand is declining, and plans of President Erdogan to create Turkish energy hub became dim.

The exaltation of the crisis of the relations between Turkey and France did not come as a surprise: France had systematically criticised Turkey’s role in Syria and Libya, and nowadays the unfolding conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, defending human rights of the Armenian inhabitants there. This recent conflict has added to the other tactics of President Erdogan to deviate the attention of his compatriots from gravity of economic situation in Turkey to various conflicts and crisis he stirs in outside world.
But not only, the active Ankara political support of Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabach conflict, will certainly reflect on energy talks of next year expired contracts, the moment when Erdogan will attempt to convert his political influence into preferences and privileges enshrined in new energy energy agreements with Russia and Azerbaijan, allowing Turkey better gains from gas and oil transit.

Curfew against virus

Brussels 14.10.2020 Tonight the speech of President Macron is awaited in many EU capitals: will he apply method of curfew as a tool of defeating COVID-19 pandemic also in the Hexagone? Neighbouring Belgium has already imposed this drastic measure from 14 October in some provinces.

Several French media evoked the possibility of curfews in the most affected territories of the V-th Republic, the strategy promoted by the president of the National Academy of Medicine, the former Minister of Health Jean-François Mattéi.

The curfew option is also being considered by the Covid-19 Scientific Council in an alert note dated September 22. The body chaired by Jean-François Delfraissy recalls that a curfew has notably been introduced in Guyana, where Jean Castex went shortly after his appointment to Matignon.

At this stage of the epidemic, the Scientific Council does not envisage proposing the option (of a curfew) at the national level, but cannot exclude its use in certain metropolitan areas and of course in the event of deterioration. later ”, the text of this note reads, which mentions curfews for a period of a fortnight.

On Monday, October 12, referring to a “very difficult” situation facing the “reality of a second epidemic wave”, the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, did not rule out the new period of re-confinement in the country where the health crisis will last according to him several more months. (However the World Bank in its documents mentions 15 month of the second wave).

“General re-confinement must be avoided by all means,” the head of government told France Info, referring to the “absolutely dramatic” consequences of such a drastic measure. “Nothing should be excluded when we see the situation in our hospitals,” he replied when asked about possible local.

The Scientific Council warns that the population’s support for such a measure would be “probably weak, with detrimental effects in terms of social cohesion and confidence” and indicates that its economic cost would be “all the greater as it occurs. after a first period of confinement and that it feeds negative economic expectations with potentially disastrous effects ”.

As in other European countries, France is facing a marked deterioration in health indicators this autumn. The threshold of 1,500 patients treated in intensive care for a Covid-19 infection was crossed again on Monday for the first time since May 27.

One of the leading world experts in virology Professor Didier Raoult initially regretted “the global state of nervous crisis in which the country is dived”, while invited by CNews to comment on certain measures taken by political authorities in regions of France to slow the spread of Covid-19.

“It is beyond reason and understanding,” he proclaims. “This leads to adopting strategies that put more health at risk.”

Europe neo-tribalism trending

Anna van Densky OPINION Concluding the second decade of the 21 century, the special attention is given to the major events and trends, which will shape the years to come.

The departure of the UK from the European Union, commonly known as Brexit, undoubtedly is the major historic happening of the past decade, which has modified the DNA of the entire European project, setting the trend to follow. The Brexit effects are beyond the financial blow to the EU pocket, but are representing the major failure of cosmopolitism and globalism – the Britons are shifting away from the geography wise close and economically lucrative Europe to focus their sight over Atlantic to achieve proximity with their former colony – the United States of America.The knock down to cosmopolitism from triumphant neo-tribalism, when ethno-cultural identities win over economic and other considerations.

The Brexit calamity has effected Europe in many ways, inspiring wide-spread rise of tribalism. The last decade the nostalgia shrouded Warsaw and Vilnius reminiscent of the greatness of their historic Unia – the Union between the Lithuanian and Polish Kingdoms, – reflected in their joint attempt to launch Ukraine to the EU orbit, subsequently causing Russians to remember about their own Orthodox universe and Byzantine roots.

As a result of this ravaging tribalism, the Europeans have been startled by seeing Russians ready to die, defending their identity in Donbass, and voting for re-unification with Russia in Crimean referendum.

However the are not only EU newcomers who succumb to tribalism – there is deep concern of France with the destiny of their former colonies, receiving the absolute priority of foreign policy. This year the President of the Vth Repubic has celebrated Xmas together with French troops in Cote d’Ivoire, underlining the significance of Sahel for the Hexagone. Clearly the historic symbiosis between France and Africa is prime, the rest is secondary. Emmanuel Macron has not been hésitent while criticising NATO, indicating to its existential crisis, echoing President Trump claim of Alliance being “obsolete“, the same time he has underlined the vitality of ties between former African colonies and the metropole. The historic colonial heritage has been not abandoned but re-formatted – the west French Colonial Franc CFA currency became new “Eco”, aiming to become an African equivalent of euro (€). However the name was not even Africanised, reminding of old French coin “ecu”, descending from Spanish escudo of Golden Age. Isn’t the renewal of the “monde francophone” also the effect of nostalgia for cultural tribalism?..

The evidences of Europe scattered in fragments by ethno-cultural thinking are all over the place, but the most emblematic European figure of the neo-tribalism trend, the challenge to all globalists and cosmopolitans is … yes, Madame President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, who refused to settle in Brussels, where she was born, preferring to travel weekly to her home in Hannover.

Von der Leyen decision to stay in the adjacent to her office apartment during the week, and travel home on weekends, has been falsely dabbed as “bunker mentality”. No way!Madame President has an open mind, but to her tribe only.

Cosmopolitism is dead, long live TRIBALISM!

G7: Tusk waywardness in Juncker absence

Anna van Densky OPINION The clumsy attempts of the president of the European Council Donald Tusk to influence the decision of British Prime minister Boris Johnson determined to depart from the EU on time with or without agreement, dabbing him “Mr.No-Deal”, look like an agony of the bloc, paying high price for its rusty mechanics unable to adapt to changing context. Teasing has never been an effective method in international politics.

G7 Summit in Biarritz (France) opens an opportunity to built bridges, however the representative of the EU prefers to burn them with provocative information war style public pressure, attempting to challenge Boris Johnson, instead of engaging in dialog with him. War of words with the UK is not what the European citizens wish, concerned by economic consequences of ‘no-deal’.

While American President Trump is actively using G7 platform for rapprochement with the UK, promising mutually beneficial trade deal, the EU has no other message, that insisting of the document that is already ‘dead’. The useless promotion of the Withdrawal Agreement (WA), which was the EU miscarriage, is aggravated by the contrasting surrealist proposal of Tusk to invite heavily indebted and plagued by ongoing armed conflict Ukraine to G7 ranks. While the oldest European democracy, and second net contributor to the EU purse is abandoning the EU, Tusk has nothing better to offer instead than to promote rapprochement with Ukraine one of 10 most corrupt nations in the world.

Just a week ago President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker was hospitalized saving the EU from one more embarrassment, caused by his physical condition. However in comparison with Tusk intellectual inability, and primitive ways of conducting international politics, varying from schoolboy teasing, to lobbying of Polish regional interests promoting Ukraine in a blunt gesture of tribalism, – all of those, evoke nostaliga for Juncker‘s clarity of thinking. Cogito, ergo sum!

Caravaggio à la Flamande

Anna van Densky OPINION from Brussels. Discovered in attic in a house in Toulouse (2014) canvas depicting a Biblical story of the decapitation of Holofernes by Judith  is not universally attributed to Italian genius Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, but some consider it to be a copy of his contemporary, a Franco-Flemish artist Louis Finson, who was well acquainted with Caravaggio‘s masterpieces.

Those days artists had no notion of copyright©, and making of a copy of a masterpiece was not seen as a violation of author’s rights, so someone, who was sincerely impressed by a canvas of Caravaggio was doing his absolute best to share his experience with the other audiences, especially foreign ones, without feeling of guilt. It would also be logical to make an adaptation of the canvas copy to a foreign taste, translating drama into preferred visual  language of the audience.

To my eye the painting to be auctioned on June 27 in Toulouse, France, looks like an interpretation of the story by a Flemish baroque artist, acquainted with Caravaggio masterpiece, and eager to share his special experience back at home in Antwerp, or Brugge. However he is adapting it to the lavish tastes of Flemish art collectors, shaping their preferences  in tradition of luxury of legendary Burgundy. 

The unknown (Finson?) artist depicted Judith as a burger’s wife, dressed in rich black silk, decorated with Flemish lace. With a prosecutor’s eyes, she executes the enemy to fulfill her moral duty.  Judith‘s gaze escapes spectators, underlining the profoundly introvert nature of her act, motivated by her conscious. She is self-confident and stable, convinced of making the ultimate right choice.

The other protagonists, are subordinate to Judith: servants face is reminding of a dry fruit, lacking vivid emotion, and obviously is designed to create a contrast with the widow’s porcelain skin, and full, peach-like round cheeks. Almost decapitated general Holofernes body is in convulsions,  and his served head with imprinted grimace of pain, and open mouth exposing sharp teeth, and white eyeballs – all of them are hinting on his bestial nature.

The tent of the Assyrian general Holofernes is decorated by the traditional “drappo rosso” – rich purple curtain, but it is far too intense in color, too heavy and has too many folds in comparison with light floating draperies of Caravaggio, touched with subtle shades of red,  which are creating backdrop a dramatic understatement, never competing for attention with the human figures in the front.

However they are just purely visual elements of ‘Toulouse‘ canvas, while the major challenge is to explain the message of the painting, which has an atypical of Caravaggio didactic tone, while the Italian genius was never interested in morality or ethics as such. Caravaggio is an obsessive investigator of the darkness of human soul, fascinated by desires, passions, searching and exposing paradoxes, without intention to rationalise them.

The acknowledged canvas on the same subject of Judith and Holofernes, attributed to Caravaggio exposes drama, full of passion and mystery. The master is definitely not seduced by an idea to depict one more illustration of the well-known Biblical story, but he presents his unique view on turbulent lives of the widow and the general, fascinated with the depth of characters and infinite complexity of feelings.

Young Judith of angelic beauty disgusted, and taken aback by her own deed: she, herself, is definitely traumatized by the act of beheading, continuing almost mechanically to cut through Holofernes neck. While the general is searching for the eye contact with her in disbelief that a women with angel’s face is his murderess. Holofernes is definitely not ugly, he his not vile, or bestial, still alive he desperately searching for an answer in Judith‘s eyes, in vain…

Nobody can assemble the pieces of the puzzle – why? Why an idea of committing such a gruesome murder occurred in a such an angelic head?.. Why the army general Holofernes was trapped by Judith’s beauty, and femininity to such an extent that he paid a price of his live for the perception of a beauty incapable of evil?..  Caravaggio does not give the answers, there is no lesson to learn, just an endless wandering in a labyrinth of reflections, feelings and hints. Eros and Thanatos, love and death. Assassination as a sacrifice. Caravaggio has no slightest intention to structure the world around him, on contrary he enjoys it as it is – troubled, impulsive and erratic, being a rebel as he is.

 

 

 

 

#YellowVests: reporter Gaspard Glanz handcuffed

Anna van Densky: According to reports from Paris reporter Gaspard Glanz has been handcuffed. Arrests have multiplied, also a journalist from French newspaper Le Figaro has been taken to custody by an agent of anti-riot police during 23 week of protests of Yellow Vests named Acte XXIII. The Vth Republic under Macron‘s leadership swiftly degenerates into Banana Republic, using police batons to oppress wide-spread public discontent. Citizens with shot off eyes, ripped off limbs, and reporters handcuffed – is that EuropeanRenaissanceMacron’s party “En Marche” is marching to?..

“I adore to inhale the smell of tear gas in the morning“, wrote Gaspar Glanz on his Twitter micro blog page. “Ideals are peaceful history is violent” is the second line, defining his vision.

One tries to prevent independent journalists by fear. The censorship of absence on spot” Gaspard Glanz writes, explaining governments’s policy towards independent press, covering Yellow Vests protests against Macron‘s presidency.

 

Amorphous Macron’s LaREM in identity crisis?

Anna van Densky OPINION All new political parties and movements, who have not yet declared their intentions are categorised as “other” in the first chart of the European Parliament projection for the composition of the upcoming in May 2019 assembly. The Movement of the President of France Emmanuel Macron LaRem is among “others” – the political entities, who have not decided upon their political family 100 days before the European elections.

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Monsieur Macron has an ambition to lead Europe, but he is not able to decide his political color?... An identity crisis or “felix culpa”?

The European Parliament has published a first set of projections on how the next chamber would look like based on national polling data taken up to the beginning of February 2019.

However Macron’s LaREM “En Marche” is not the only”amorphous” European political entity: the other indecisive congregation is the Italian Five Star Movement  (M5S) also labeled with grey color on the chart. However one should not conclude that the grey color in Europe is a disadvantage: Europeans have a penchant for grey since it was noted once upon a time by Marquis de Custine. And even within grey they are able to distinguish many sophisticated shades:)

Undoubtedly there will be voters dropping ballots for amorphous entities, which allow them to stay in grey  zone of comfort, avoiding clear choice between classical political right and left, but in the end with the UK leaving the bloc, the identity crisis of the President of France political party is not a major challenge for the EU27. The turn out will be the major indicator for the life expectancy of the bloc. Will it stay or decline? Up to the European to decide.

France: Mutilation of democracy

Anna van Densky OPINION The images of a Yellow Vest protester with a ripped off hand agonizing in arms of street medics, attempting to deliver first aid, is hundred times more shocking, because of the place of the incident – the National Assembly of France – the parliament, the democratic institution, representing citizens.

If such an image had come from Venezuela there would have been an immediate call for a Security Council meeting for discussing the violations with human rights there, and most probably to make the resolution more convincing, the Americans would sent there a couple of missiles, just to be sure the warning is taken seriously.

However if the events are taking place in a country which is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and founding member of the European Unionthere is nobody to remind the French government about the respect of human rights. Equally silent is the European Union, proudly celebrating the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), a milestone document, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (10.12.1948) at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France.

While Europe is celebrating the Declaration, it is also carefully watching the compliance, but mainly in oil-rich countries, like Venezuela, where you have to be careful with human rights, or you are risking to lose everything like it happened with the leaders of Iraq or Libya after the riot in Benghazi…

Benghazi. The most striking is the silence of the leading French human rights defenders like Bernard-Henry Lévy, known as BHL, who was promoting the intervention to Libya without the UN resolution, insisting the international organisations are far too slow to react adequately on ongoing human tragedy there. But nowadays who from famous French human rights defenders is  standing against mutilation of citizens, manifesting their indignation with the government’s policies?..

Mid-January the LCI TV channel has revealed statistics pointing at 1700 wounded, among them around 100 people with serious injuries.

Among grave injuries the most common were head wounds,  and often with serious consequences, leaving people with lifelong disabilities: 13 have lost an eye since the beginning of the movement as a result of police shooting. There were are 9 (+1) hand injuries caused by grenades; 5 in the leg, one in the reproductive organs, and one in the foot. The wounded are mostly men. There are 10 women out of 93 cases, according to BFMTV assembling data mid-January.

Nevertheless the numbers of injured and mutilated don’t motivate international organisations, obliged to defend human rights, to say a word on French government repressions, reducing the human rights to a tool of foreign policy, a reason to interfere in home affairs of the other countries, especially those which are oil-rich…

GJ target