Author Archives: Europe correspondent

EU offers 22 May Brexit deadline

The European Union 27 leaders, gathering for a Summit in Brussels offered an extension of Brexit deadline to 22 May, the day before the European election voting starts in member-states (23-26 May).

However the deadline extension is not unconditional, EU27 Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said at arrival to the European Council. A short Brexit delay “should be conditional on a positive vote next week in the House of Commons“.

We have done our best, now the solution is in London,” Barnier said.

EU Summit Brexit deadline dilemma

The European Council will start on Thursday (21.03.2019) afternoon with our usual exchange with President Tajani. We will then turn to Prime Minister May who will share her assessment of the latest developments regarding Brexit. After this, we will discuss the next steps concerning Brexit at 27″ Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council wrote in his open letter.

In the statement president Tusk underlined “..even if the hope for a final success may seem frail, even illusory, and although Brexit fatigue is increasingly visible and justified, we cannot give up seeking – until the very last moment – a positive solution, of course without opening up the Withdrawal Agreement. We have reacted with patience and goodwill to numerous turns of events, and I am confident that, also now, we will not lack the same patience and goodwill, at this most critical point in this process.” 

I believe that we could consider a short extension conditional on a positive vote on the Withdrawal Agreement in the House of Commons. The question remains open as to the duration of such an extension. Prime Minister May’s proposal, of the 30th of June, which has its merits, creates a series of questions of a legal and political nature”,  Tusk continued, adding that the issues would be discussed during the  European Council Summit #EUCO.

 

Orban Fidesz party suspended from EPP

The center-right European People’s Party (EPP) has voted to suspend Hungary leading conservative party Fidesz, Joseph Daul (pictured)  group’s president announced.

The largest political “family” in the European Parliament, gathered in Brussels for an Assembly to decide upon the future relations with  Fidesz led by Hungary Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The negative decision did not come as a surprise after a protracted period of arguments between Orbán and the leading EPP figures, clashing over the EU migration policy, and border controls. The EPP opponents continuously blamed Orban  for obstruction the EU migration and asylum policy, but also the issues of the judiciary and media independence. At September Plenary (2018) European Parliament adopted the so-called Sargentini Report, condemning the anti-democratic stance of Hungary’s leadership and initiating the procedure related to Article  7 (1) of the Treaty on the European Union.  

However Prime Minister Orban has not been receptive to criticism, on contrary he flaunted his alliances with Italy Matteo Salvini Lega party, and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, resisting the EU migration concept.

In spite of a huge deal of criticism many of the EPP  party members  continued to demonstrate tolerance towards Orbán’s government, until the last straw dropped in the form of a poster campaign, accusing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker of promoting migration policies compromising Hungary’s security.

Fidesz party  made clear that  it would immediately abandon the EPP in case of suspension, Orban’s chief of staff said to the Hungarian media.

The posters ruining the relations between Orban and EPP depicted the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker as a puppet of the American billionaire – globalist George Soros, sponsoring uncontrolled immigration via his Open Society Foundation. There has also been consternation at the plight of the Soros-founded Central European University, which claimed it was being forced out of Budapest because of the Orbán government’s hostile stance.

“You have the right to know what Brussels is about to do!” 

“You have the right to know what Brussels is about to do!”

Thirteen constituting EPP parties called for a vote on Fidesz’s continuing membership, in the wake of the Juncker-Soros poster campaign.

Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of the Liberals in the European Parliament was unsatisfied with the EPP measures to discipline Fidesz: “EPP have lost the moral authority to lead Europe“, he wrote in his Twitter micro blog.

Senegalese sets school bus ablaze in protest

Senegalese immigrant Ousseynou Sy (47) was held by Carabinieri police after hijacking a bus with schoolchildren for subsequently setting ablaze in an apparent murder attempt, sources close to investigation said.
According to an initial reconstruction, the assailant hijacked the bus with 51 pupils from school in the northern Italian province of Cremona.

The suspect has been named as Ousseynou Sy, with a criminal record who is originally from Senegal, in 2004 granted Italian citizenship.
The perpetrator also explained he wished to commit suicide afterwards to “stop the deaths in the Mediterranean,” the sources said.
No one will survive,Ousseynou Sy threatened after hijacking the vehicle, according to Carabinieri Provincial Commander Luca De Marchis. After being stopped by police, he jumped off the bus and set it ablaize, presumably premeditating the act by pouring inflammable liquid inside.
But the Carabinieri managed to get the children out by smashing windows at the back, the sources said. Before being stopped, the suspect had also tried to ram through a road block. Twelve children and two adults were taken to hospital after suffering smoke inhalation. The bus has burnt out.
A teacher who was with the children said that it was not the first time Sy worked as a driver with pupils on board.
We knew him” the teacher said, adding that the hijacker was angry about the government’s migrant policy. According to the teacher the hostage situation occurred when Sy intended to get to Milan’s Airport Linate.

A Senegalese with Italian citizenship behind a wheel of a school bus, with precedents for driving in the state of intoxication and sexual assault, hijacked the vehicle and finally set fire to him. It happened in the province of Milan. The man was arrested.” Matteo Salvini, Italian Interior Minister wrote in his Twitter micro blog.

Right now the Police are searching his house. I want to see clear: why did a person with similar precedents drove a vehicle to transport children?” Salvini added.

 

June 30 Brexit deadline announced

Theresa May announced June 30 as a new deadline for Brexit to be requested at the upcoming European Union Summit on 21-22 March in Brussels.

The leader of a recently established Brexit party,  Member of European Parliament,  Nigel Farage has immediately reacted on a new deadline, insisting there should not be any extension “in first place”. He also requested the guarantees that the new deadline would be respected: “why should we believe her?” Farage wrote in his Tiwtter micro blog.

AMENDED: According to President of the European Commission press-person the telephone consultation between him and Prime Minister Theresa May are ongoing.

May expected to request Brexit delay

British Prime Minister Theresa May will request a “short delay” for departure of the UK from the EU in a letter to the European Council on March 20, Sky News cited an s senior government source. The move is feared by the Leavers to become a first step in a sequence of events leading to de facto cancellation the results of the Brexit referendum.

The request of delay, almost three years since Britons voted in referendum to leave the European Union, leads to the Brexit uncertainty with options of the a sequence of delays, mounting up to next five years of negotiations to produce a meaningful and mutually acceptable Article 50 Agreement. Some experts consider the delay in reality might become open-ended, without any  definite deadline to respect, but causing by obligation of the UK to participate in the upcoming European elections, and engage in the next Brussels political cycle.

In need to postpone the formal Brexit date March 29  Prime Minister May has to apply to European Council President Donald Tusk, responsible for the EU Summit preparations to present the request to the heads of states and governments of the EU member-states on 21 of March.

However the length of the delay beyond May 24 inevitably leads to the engagement of the UK in the European elections, and the next political cycle in the EU, the move that the Leavers presume will jeopardise the entire Brexit process for years to come.

There are also concerns among the European politicians about the import the Westminster political crisis to Brussels, affecting the future of the bloc. The president of the EU Council Donald Tusk indicated via his Twitter micro blog, that ‘no-dealBrexit, or the break with the UK without any agreement, is still on the cards.

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Kassym-Jomart Tokayev leads Kazakhstan

The speaker of the SenateKassym-Jomart Tokayev (65) will become an acting head of state in Kazakhstan until next presidential elections scheduled for December 2020. The shift of power to the speaker has been done in accordance with the Constitution, declared by resigning President Nazarbayev, who ruled the country for three decades.

Tokayev is the very person that we can trust to govern Kazakhstan,” Nazarbayev said. “I know him well. He is an honest, responsible and reliable person.”

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is a career diplomat, and a political scientist, who hold prominent positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ascending to the top, and leading the foreign policy of the country for a decade. He is fluent in Russian, English, and Chinese languages.

As Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of Kazakhstan, Tokayev was elected in 2008 Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Strong President, authoritative Parliament, accountable Government” said Tokayev , while describing his vision of Kazakh state model.

The appointment of the acting President coincided with the Kazakh traditional spring celebrations of  Nowruz, marking the beginning of a new cycle of life (21 March).

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