Category Archives: EU

MP laments EU “toxic for Italy”

Lega economy wizard Claudio Borghi said that Italy should consider leaving the European Union if the bloc does not change radically following European elections. in May.

I think that this is the last chance. If, after the European elections, the same mandarins led by Germany are the ones driving the economic, social and migratory policies, for the sole benefit of Germany and to our detriment, I’ll say we should leave,” Borghi said.

We either manage to change it or we’ll have to come out“. The Lega MP said the EU project was a “failure” and “toxic for Italy”. “If the environment remains toxic, I’ll say let’s get out, Borghi warned.

We have no intention of leaving Europe, we want to change it, improve it, but not abandon it,Salvini said in a texted statement, clarifying his position.

 

 

Italy PM Conte debates Future of Europe

MEPs will exchange views on the future of Europe with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday at 17.00.

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Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte leaving the Europarliament studio where he had an interview with European Youth. He refuses questions of press, under pretext that he is in a hurry to meet the President and MEPs to debate The Future of Europe.

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In a plenary debate on the Future of Europe, the Italian Prime Minister said: “This is a valuable opportunity to reverse the process of detachment between rulers and governed, which if fed could lead to the European project imploding”. The prerequisite for relaunching it, are “solidarity and cohesion between the member states”.

Prime minister focused on different aspects of the EU foreign policy, in first ranks challenges of African multiple crisis, causing migration, but also paid a lot of attention to Venezuela problems, he also mentioned the need of more coordinated approach to foreign policy, for example a need to receive a common EU seat in the UN Security Council. Among priorities he underlined the significance of strengthening relations with the United States, an imperative of a strong dialogue with Russia and China and the creation of a meaningful European common defence.

In spite of explaining at length the Italian position towards Venezuela, it was Africa to absorbing the central place of Italian foreign policy.  Through his speech and in the debate with MEPs Prime minister Conte underlined the paramount significance of Africa for European future, underlining that in spite of all efforts the EU border guards, or asylum policy are in modality of coping with consequences of multiple crisis Africa suffers. He insisted on intensifying aid to African states,  build on new partnerships, and aimed at assistance in crisis resolution. Concerned with human dignity, Conte underlined that fighting African poverty is one of the biggest challenge for the EU future.

A bitter regret of absence of EU solidarity has been a bitter refrain thorough the speech and debate with MEP,  Prime minister blamed the EU a great deal of hypocrisy in handling the migration crisis, producing declarations, but failing to deliver upon promises.

 

France-Italy diplomatic clash over Yellow Vests

President Emmanuel Macron’s government recalled France ambassador to Rome Christian Masset on February 7 in an unprecedented act since World War II , saying it had enough with “repeated, baseless” attacks by Italian political leaders against France.

The decision came after a meeting between Italy’s deputy prime minister and leaders of the French Yellow Vest movement who have been calling for President Macron’s resignation.

Luigi di Maio, Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement welcomed the “winds of change across the Alps” yesterday on Twitter after meeting with Yellow Vest activists Cristophe Chalencon and Ingrid Levavasseur.

The vise-president of the European Parliament Fabio Castaldo has also taken part in the meeting. (Pictured below: first from right).

In a statement on the decision, France’s foreign ministry blamed Italian officials of making “outrageous statements” and “repeated, baseless attacks” for months.

The statement said the attacks were without precedent since World War II. “Having disagreements is one thing, but manipulating the relationship for electoral aims is another,” it said.

“All of these actions are creating a serious situation which is raising questions about the Italian government’s intentions towards France,” diplomats added, making clear that Paris is increasingly worried by Di Maio and Salvini’s vocal support for the anti-establishments protest movement.

Ambassador Fr Rome

Ambassador Christian Masset (pictured above) arrived to Rome on 6 of December 2017.  As a carreer diplomat he previously served as an Ambassador to Japan, and held other prominent positions in Foreign Affairs Ministry working in Brussels, London, and Pretoria.

 

 

EU Eastern partnership ambiguity

Dr Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann – OPINION –  There have been no celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership project between the European Union and the former Republics of the USSR.  Officially  launched as a joint policy initiative which “aims to deepen and strengthen relations” between the European Union Member States and its six Eastern neighbors: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine, with time it failed to clarify its strategic goals.

In reality the ambivalence of the aims the EU pursues, namely in the frame of the Enlargement policy, the obscurity of perspective of the membership for, at least some of the six, – are the elements which plague the endeavor for participants from both sides. 

Ten year after the EU narrative on the Eastern Partnership is partially biased since it does not explain the complete picture and maintains ambiguity about future relations between the EU and Eastern neighbors.

Previously on the occasion of the 5th Eastern Partnership (EaP) Summit in Brussels,  24 November 2017, EastStratCom, a unit within the European External Action Service (EEAS) of the EU, set up to address Russia‘s ongoing disinformation campaigns, published a document on its website, entitled “Myths about the Eastern Partnership”  supposed to counter false information about this policy. 

According to its website, the East StratCom Task Force “develops communication products and campaigns focused on better explaining EU policies in the Eastern Partnership countries“. The document pretends to counter the myth that participation in the Eastern Partnership (Eap) leads to EU membership. It underlines that this claim is false” and that the Eastern Partnership initiative “is not a EU accession process“, however its aim is to build “a common area of shared democracy, prosperity, stability and increased cooperation“.

In reality the situation is even much more ambiguous, than its reflection in the document, which omits to mention that although the accession is not mentioned in EU or other Eastern Partnership documents, further EU Enlargement to the East is an objective of some members in the bloc.  The EU Enlargement has to be approved by Member States at unanimity and Member States are today divided on the issue. However, the pro-enlargement countries think the situation can change in the future.

Subsequently Ukrainian think tanks in Brussels are promoting future enlargements after a process of Europeanisation through the Eastern Partnership program. East StratCom omits to inform about the implicit sides of this policy. The EaP policy is from its origins, used both by the EaP countries and some EU Member States to push for further EU enlargement in the longer term.

Geopolitical analysis is about highlighting the implicit objectives of actors. In this respect, the former EU ambassador to Russia has unveiled his support for EU enlargement to the Ukraine. The Lithuanian Vygaudas Ušackas, declared in October 2017 that “we need not only to acknowledge Ukrainians’” European aspirations but at some point grant them a path towards EU membership.

We know from experience that the prospect of membership works as a stimulus for reforms. Uncertainty about Ukraine’s geopolitical position also leaves it exposed to further destabilisation by Russia, which in turn has a negative impact on EU-Russia relations. A successful Ukraine will contribute to stability in our region and represent a powerful example for the Russian people.”

Unsurprisingly, this is in  line of Poland and Baltic countries, but also more recently Romania and Croatia, who are openly in favour of further EU enlargement and this is precisely why they support the Eastern Partnership policy. The President of the European People’s Party (EPP) Joseph Daul also underlined we must offer concrete European prospect to Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. And we must offer them the hope that one day they can join our family“. 

The EU narrative on the Eastern Partnership is therefore partially biased since it does not explain the complete picture and maintains ambiguity about future enlargement. This ambiguity is reducing trust, not only with Russia, but also with EU citizens. To resolve this crucial problem, as part of this reform, the EU needs to fix its frontiers in order to preserve its cohesion, strengthen its identity and facilitate the identification of its interests.

 

EU sets contact group for Venezuela

“On Venezuela: First of all, I have seen a very united position among Member States on a position we have already expressed several times, but it was reiterated strongly today – that is that the Presidential elections that were held in last May in Venezuela were lacking democratic legitimacy”, said EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini at the press conference following the first day of informal meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers in Bucharest.

“This is why the European Union and its Member States decided not to attend the inauguration of Maduro on 10 January and this is why we underline strongly and all united today our full support to the National Assembly as the democratic, legitimate body of Venezuela and the strongest possible support to its President in its institutional role.

“We have decided the establishment of an international contact group that has been agreed among our Member States and with some Latin American countries that will participate in it. I believe the terms of reference of this international contact group can be made public, as an act of transparency. 

“The objective of this international contact group that will be coordinated by the European Union will be, first of all, to have a limited time framework – 90 days – to promote a common understanding and a concerted approach among key international actors on the situation in Venezuela, aiming at a peaceful and democratic outcome for the crisis. The group will help to build trust and create the conditions that are necessary for a credible process to emerge in line with the relevant provisions of the Constitution of Venezuela, enabling Venezuelans to determine their own future through the holding of new elections, with all guarantees for a free and fair electoral process that can be supervised by international, independent observers. 

“The objective – and I want to underline it very clearly – is not to open a formal mediation process and not to open a formal dialogue, but to support a political dynamic that the group can then further accompany and consolidate.

The group has a clear mandate with different phases and a clear time framework, because the work and the results possibly achieved by the contact group will be reviewed after 90 days of its creation, and it will be terminated in the absence of sufficient progress.

The first meeting of the group shall take place at ministerial level in Latin America – hopefully we will be able to convene it already next week. We will have meetings both at ministerial and at technical level and, as I said, it will have a permanent secretariat for these initial 90 days in the EU. Part of the group will be on the European Union side – obviously, the European Union, but also some of our Member States: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the UK – and on the Latin American side we already have confirmation from Ecuador, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Bolivia. And we are waiting for confirmation from another few countries of which I would not mention the name today. But hopefully in the coming one or two days I will be able communicate them to you.”

“As you see, it is countries that have different positions and that will help the contact group to have contacts to accompany the process, in particular of new presidential elections” Mogherini concluded.

However not everyone believes the American narrative about Maduro being a tyrant, there are more free voices on social media, accusing Trump administration in seeking control over the largest in the world oil resources.

Bulgaria abandons passport for investment practice

Bulgaria plans to end practice offering wealthy foreigners to obtain citizenship against investment, the justice ministry said on the 22 of January,  adding the scheme had failed to bring any significant economic benefits.

The legal changes come a day after the media reports about the European Commission plans to warn against such an application schemes, which could be used by foreign organized crime groups to infiltrate the EU. It also increases the risk of money laundering, emblazonment, corruption and tax evasion.

Bulgaria is one of three EU countries, along with Cyprus and Malta, that currently grant citizenship against investment. The other 20 member states, including these three, also offer the resident permits on similar conditions.

Macron-Merkel Aachen Treaty controversy

French President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel signed a friendship treaty in Aachen (Germany). The document is designed to deepen the Franco-German alliance, lift it up to a “new level” with a purpose of improving  lives of citizens in both countries.

The treaty was signed in the German city of Aachen, the legendary capital of King Charlemagne, as France and Germany marked the 56th anniversary of the Elysee Treaty.

The idea isn’t new. Paris, in particular, has regularly suggested renewing the treaty in the decades since it was first signed, despite the fact that amendments have been added over the years.

The Treaty of Aachen will be the “foundation of cooperation between our countries,” said Merkel. Seventy-four years, a single human lifetime, after the end of World War II, what seems self-evident is being called into question again,” she continued. “That’s why, first of all, there needs to be a new commitment toward our responsibility within the European Union, a responsibility held by Germany and France.”

French President Emmanuel Macron responded to those “spreading lies” about the treaty and underlined the importance of French-German reconciliation.

Those who forget the value of French-German reconciliation are making themselves accomplices of the crimes of the past. Those who … spread lies are hurting the same people they are pretending to defend by seeking to repeat our history,” Macron said.

Opinion of a professor of law who asks for the Constitutional Council ruling, because the treaty of #Aachen carries several attacks on the national sovereignty. Neither the Constitutional Council, nor the French, nor the Parliament have been consulted” wrote in his Twitter mico blog Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, the leader of “Debout, la France!” (‘Stand up, France!‘), promoting direct democracy. The politician referred to an article in Le Figaro newspaper, written by the professor of law faculty of the University Paris II-Panthéon-Assas, Olivier Gohin, who argues, that several clauses of the treaty are not in conformity with the Constitution of the Fifth Republic, and asked for the Court ruling.

 

 

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