Author Archives: Europe correspondent

Batten MEP calls for hard Brexit

Gerard BATTEN MEP (UKIP) shared his views on Brexit vote in Westminster, and commented on proposals of political groups of the European Parliament to extend deadline if needed. Batten also warned against Brexit EU trap, which will make Britons an eternal vassal of Brussels.

Ahead of the vote Batten said that the best way to Brexit is just to go without any deal, and then gradually restore the  sovereignty of the UK, adjusting laws to citizens needs. MEP does not believe Prime Minister Theresa May intentions to leave the EU, and deliver Brexit, he presumes that May as a Remainer will do everything in her power to tight Britons to EU forever.

The readiness to extend the deadline for Brexit  has been expressed by Esteban GONZALES PONS (Spain), representing the EPP, the biggest Europarliament group, however he added that Westminster has to make up their mind before the European elections in May this year.

The leader of Greens Philippe LAMBERTS (Belgium) has a vision of the II referendum as the best solution for a current political deadlock in Westminster, highly likely to be voted down the Article 50 deal with the EU27, negotiated by Theresa MAY government.

Juncker letter to May

“In these challenging times, we therefore share with you the determination to create as much certainty and clarity as possible for citizens and companies in a situation where a Member State leaves the European Union after more than four decades of closest economic and political integration. That is why the Withdrawal Agreement that you and the Leaders of the 27 EU Member States agreed after long negotiations is so important. It represents a fair compromise and aims to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, thereby limiting the negative consequences of Brexit. That is also why we wish to establish as close as possible a relationship with the United Kingdom in the future, building on the Political Declaration, which the Leaders of the 27 EU Member States agreed with you. It is also why we want negotiations to this effect to start as soon as possible after the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.”

France hopes for orderly Brexit

France is hoping that Westminster will approve Prime Minister Theresa May negociated Brexit deal, an unnamed official at President Macron’s Elysee administration said to Reuters news agency.

Asked whether France would support an extension to the official deadline to Article 50 – regarding little time left for Brexit – the official replied: “We would hope that the vote tomorrow is a favorable one.”

Afterwards, if that is not the case, it will be up to the United Kingdom to make a certain number of demands and proposals to the European Union,” added the official.

Spain warns no-deal “catastrophe”

Leaving the European Union without a deal, or so called ‘hard’ Brexit would be catastrophic, Spain Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said, while confirming that there were contingency plans in place.

Britain’s exit from the bloc on March 29 is uncertain as Westminster is highly likely to vote against a proposed by Theresa May cabinet deal, opening up a way to a disorderly retreat to.

A hard Brexit would be a catastrophe for everyone,”  Borrell, Socialist politician and former President of the European Parliament said during a conference in Madrid.

Russian owner released lion cub in streets

According to the ‘Petersburg Diary‘ ( «Петербургский дневник») online residents of a residential complex located along one of the cities avenues, noticed a lion cub on the street, who was frozen (-5C°) and placed himself  sunder a car to keep warm. It turned out that the animal belongs to a man living in a house near the place where the little inhabitant of savanna was found by shocked pedestrians.

The owner of the lion cub said that sometimes he walks with the lion cub, but sometimes he releases him into streets alone, he plans to sell the cub in the nearest future, because he is “growing very fast”. The owner was not punished for cruelty, and the animal was returned to him as if nothing wrong happened.

Although Russia signed to CITES the black market of wild animals flourishes. Lion cubs are in high demand for photo shooting at parties, and events. There are companies renting lion or tiger cubs for an evening for a photo session for weddings, or fashion presentation.

lion cub bride

However they grow quickly, and owners are willing to get rid of them, selling to private zoos, where the stay in misery locked in cages until the end of their days. Some of them are sold to circuses to be trained by electroshock collar to jump through the fire ring. The Stone age entertainment, subsidized by the Ministry of Culture.

padalko lion update

 

 

EPP Weber aims for EU agenda of change

Manfred Weber (Germany, EPP) backed by 79% of his party members, launches his campaign across the continent for a position of the president of the European Commission, the powerful executive branch of the European Union, the guardian of the treaties, also possessing powers to  propose laws and policies on its own initiative. Although there is no election for this particular position, but an appointment behind the closed doors of the Council, there is an obvious need to introduce Brussels politician to the broader European audiences.

Starting his European tour in Cyprus, the stronghold of the European People‘s party, Weber (46) promises to re-connect the European project with the citizens through attentive listening to them, and crystallizing broader frame programme for the five-year period mandate ahead of his appointment.

Representing young generation of the European politicians, Weber claims that the EU project’s success depends on clarity of the messages, which should replace the general slogans, filling them with the “concrete substance”, including taking a definite stand on existential for the EU27 issues as Turkey‘s accession. He also wishes similar clearly-shaped approach to the trade agreements: CETA, EU-Japan, and the others, which were in the lime-light of an intense public debate.

However it is the “democratisation” of Europe that is at heart of the project, Weber claims, eager to make key promises to Europeans while assuming the job, a gesture needed to restore the link between the citizens and the institutions. One of the mistakes of the past, Weber presumes, was insufficient investment in European youth, the deficiency he would address.

Although Weber underlined that he only started his campaign, he reiterated his loyalty to basic EPP framework, believing in Trans-Atlantic relations as one of the core policy for the EU security, especially now, when “it became cold outside Europe“. Nevertheless he criticized the European foreign policy lacking of ambition, letting the the others like US, Russia, or Turkey to take lead. “There should be more Europe in external affairs and defence, and the intentions should be lined with concrete initiatives, which are lacking nowadays”, – he said referring to the declarations of Macron-Merkel to organise the EU army, complementing NATO. Some of the projects could be delivered without delay, Weber assumes, pointing at cyber-defence, and drone brigade, – both costly high-tech projects, difficult to implement for small EU member-states. However he had no immediate answer to the decision-making mechanism in such a unit, suggesting it can be resolved in due time. The other matter to be reformed is unanimity in decision-making process in foreign policy and defence, shifting to qualified majority voting.

Weber underlined his sees his major political partners in Socialists, and Liberals, brushing off the perspective of co-operation with the European far-right: “I don’t want to listen Le Pen“, he said frankly. He also has cast doubt in success of new Liberal Macron-Rutte alliance, who have not so many issues in common.

However, as a contemporary politician Weber believes the technocratic position only is not good enough for the leader of the European Commission, offering an emotional pledge to defeat cancer. There should be a sufficient European funding to find a remedy, Weber believes, referring to his personal experience of losing his brother to cancer.

The initiative to launch a campaign across Europe for the position of the president of the European Commission is certainly innovative, however it might be also related to low profile of Manfred Weber, known as a leader of the EPP group in the European Parliament, who has punched above his weight being a Bavarian politician, without any relevant national or international experience.

The incumbent President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker is the longest-serving head of any national government in the EU, he led Luxembourg as Prime minister (1995-2013), and chaired Eurogroup for eight years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Berlin polar bear cub to enter stage soon

Germany‘s oldest zoo, which maintains to the world’s largest variety of species in captivity, welcomed an adorable polar bear cub, which is expected to bring a commercial success, and restore the flow of visitors after loss of Knut ( 5.12. 2006 – 19.03 2011) bear celebrity (pictured).

Polar bear mother Tonja gave birth to her cub on December 1. The cub has finally opened its eyes and spends most of the day sleeping, cuddling and drinking.

Tonja and her cub will not leave their enclosure until the spring when they will be seen in public.

This is a cause for celebration for the Berlin Zoo, where the pair live, since its famous polar bear Knut drowned in 2011. Scientists say they can now explain what happened to Knut, A new investigation has shown that he had a type of autoimmune inflammation of the brain that is also recognised in humans.

Knut became an international celebrity, after being abandoned by his mother and then hand-raised by a zookeeper.

For a while, he was the most recognisable bear on the planet, with his face featuring regularly on TV and in newspapers, and even on the front cover of an edition of Vanity Fair magazine. He brought millions of visitors to Berlin zoo, and became a public magnet generating revenues. His sudden, inexplicable death became a blow to the zoo management, apparently they hope to start the commercial exploitation of a newly born cub in spring 2019.

 

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