Category Archives: Europe

Macron as “major producer” of fake news

The Russian Foreign Ministry will request official explanation from l’Elysée, as well as from the French Embassy in Moscow concerning a media-cited statement by President Emmanuel Macron alleging that Russian media is meddling in the republic’s affairs, namely Yellow Vests protests, Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said.

“If this piece of news cites everything correctly (and we will officially request the French side both in Moscow and in Paris about this), then President Macron is the main producer of fake news in France, and all his activity towards fighting this is a sham,” Zakharova blogged on her Twitter micro blog.

 

 

More:
http://tass.com/politics/1043182

Three GRU officers under EU sanctions

The Council imposed  sanctions on nine persons and one entity under the new regime of restrictive measures against the use and proliferation of chemical weapons created on 15 October 2018.

These designations include the two GRU  officials, and the Head and Deputy Head of the GRU (also known as the G.U., or the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces) responsible for possession, transport and use in Salisbury (UK) of a toxic nerve agent on the weekend of 4 March 2018. Sanctions are also imposed on the Syrian entity responsible for the development and production of chemical weapons, the Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC), as well as five Syrian officials directly involved in the SSRC’s activities. These persons and entity are the first one being listed under the new chemical weapons sanctions regime. The SSRC was already listed under the Syria sanctions regime.

Sanctions consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed. This decision contributes to the EU’s efforts to counter the proliferation and use of chemical weapons which poses a serious threat to international security.

The legal acts, including the names of the persons concerned, are available in the EU Official Journal.

Benalla risks trial over diplomatic passports

Disgraced bodyguard of President Emmanuel Macron, Alexandre Benalla admitted he was using his diplomatic passports, “for personal comfort”, and plans to return “in the coming days,” he told the Journal du Dimanche (JDD), while the Paris prosecutor’s office opened investigation.

The #Benalla cases do not just reveal a malfunction, but a denaturing of our Republic. Emmanuel #Macron  has spoiled so much in so little time“, Marine Le Pen wrote in her Twitter micro blog.

“I may have been wrong to use these passports,Alexandre Benalla told the JDD via telephone from abroad.”But I did it only for personal comfort, to facilitate my passage through the airports. In no way did I use them for my business. I do not see where they could have served me”.

Previously Benalla said to another French media that his visit to Chad ahead of the presidential visit was a “coincidence“.

Macron Idriss Deby

Benalla added in the same conversation to the JDD that he had returned the passports to the Élysée’s services at the end of August but then they were  returned to him with other personal belongings in a pocket, in early October, by a “member of the presidency” during an appointment near the presidential palace.

As far as they were returned, I did not see any reason not to use them,” he explains. He claims he did not lie to the Senate inquiry when he said he had left his passports in his former Elysée office.

A few hours earlier, the Paris prosecutor had announced the opening of a preliminary investigation for “breach of trust” and “use without right of a document justifying a professional quality”.

The Paris public prosecutor, Rémy Heitz, has addressed the Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, after press reports about a trip to Africa by the former aide to the presidency with these passports.

The presidency had pleaded ignorance this week: it said it had “no information from the State services concerned the use by Mr Benalla  of the diplomatic passports that had been awarded to him in the exclusive framework of his services to the President of the Republic

“. “They are  mocking us”, writes French author Oliver Marteau in his Twitter.
“➡️ Any passport can be canceled by the authorities at any time without being physically returned.
➡️ At the 1st crossing of the border the owner of the passport is stopped.
➡️ The authority has knowingly left #Benalla to use these 2 passports” he explains.

French newspaper Le Monde has discovered new details on Benalla voyage to Chad. The former bodyguard of the President Emmanuel Macron arrived to Chad few days ahead of Emmanuel Macron‘s trip.

Macron Idriss Deby

Benalla travlled  by private plane, stayed in a luxury hotel, and his trip did not pass unnoticed, explains Le Monde. A source in the newspaper said that the former “security adviser” to the President, indicted for “willful violence” arrived accompanied by half a dozen people, by private plane, paying fees by Credit cards”.

Fired from Elysée after the national scandal when disguised as policeman he was beating  demonstrators,  Alexandre Benalla traveled to N’Djamena the beginning of December for a brief stay, before leaving by regular airline on 4 December. He reportedly met the brother of Chad‘s President, Oumar Déby, who leads the country’s Directorate-General for Strategic Reserves (DGRS) in charge of arms purchases, according to La Lettre du Continent. Afterward, a loan of €40 million and a donation of €10 million were granted by the Elysee to Chad  so that the regime can pay the salary of civil servants for the month of December, it was said.

 

 

 

Catalonia protests amid Sanchez visit

Catalan politicians sentenced over organising independence referendum called on for peaceful protests ahead of a first visit of the Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

Prime Minister  has planned to chair the weekly meeting in the Catalan capital Barcelona on December 21 in a gesture towards the conflict resolution with the northeastern region where Catalan pro-independence movement rejects the authority of Madrid central government. The claims for independence has not been dropped since the results of the referendum 2017 October 1, declared illegal by Spain’s Constitutional Court, about 90% of Catalan voters backed independence with turnout of 43%.

The leaders of Catalan government and the speaker of the Parliament were arrested, and jailed shorty after the declaration of independence charged with ‘rebellion‘, a non existent crime in the other EU democracies.

21/12/2018 AMENDMENT:

Catalan News channel reports the mobilization of protesters from early morning hours.

The Socialist (PSOE) Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced that he would be holding the meeting of his government in the Catalan capital Barcelona, after having done the same in Andalusia, in a bid to bring the central government closer to the people of Spain. These intentions have been interpreted otherwise by the supporters of the Catalonia independence,  and groups such as the self-styled Committee for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) have called for mass protests.

EU-Swiss agreement extended deadline

The European Commission agreed to grant  Switzerland six more months  to achieve progress in a dispute over a deal governing EU market access and  free movement of labor.

The agreement negotiated between the European Commission and Switzerland is meant to provide a framework for bilateral cooperation including agricultural trade and aviation.

The EU had expected to strike a deal by the end of December, but earlier this month Swiss said they need more time for consultations with businesses and citizens at home.

However at press-conference the EU Commissioner on Neighborhood policy Johannes Hahn underlined the has not interest in ‘special deals‘. “…Bern should understand that   appetite for special deals and exceptions have drastically diminished over the last years. Now up to CH (Confoederatio Helvetica-editor) to tell us results of consultations. Negotiations are over.’

The European Commission proposes to extend for six months its decision to recognise trading venues in Switzerland as eligible for compliance with the trading obligation for shares set out in the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and Regulation.

Once adopted, the measure will ensure that businesses and markets can continue to operate smoothly and without any disruptions after 31 December 2018.

 In addition to the fact that the Commission has already threatened to refuse the renewal of equivalence for the stock market in case of rejection of the framework agreement, the Hahn has also been clear on the issue: without agreement, Switzerland will not be able to claim new access to the EU internal market or even the updating of existing agreements, which will pose significant challenges for some sectors, such as medical devices.

“A temporary extension of equivalence should provide time to Switzerland to finalise its internal consultation on the Institutional Framework Agreement. It will also ensure continuity for portfolio managers and brokers active in Swiss equities. We want that European firms can continue trading in Swiss equities both in the EU and on the Swiss exchanges. Open and competitive stock markets are vital for a healthy economy and to provide reliable income sources for investors in equities” Valdis Dombrovskis, Commissioner for Euro said.

Cyril accuses Kiev politics of invading in God realm

Patriarch Cyril  (Kirill) of Moscow and All Russia launched an appeal to heads of the the United Nations and OSCE secretary generals and the leaders of France and Germany, drawing their attention to violations of the rights of bishops, priests and parishioners of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations said in a statement.

The authorities of the secular state of Ukraine, who have been interfering in the affairs of the Church for quite a while, have recently moved to exert brutal pressure on bishops and priests of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which makes it possible to say that a large-scale persecution has begun,” Cyriil claims, according to TASS news agency.

Ukrainian priests will meet on December 14 to work towards an independent from Moscow church, following an Orthodox “schism”, in what Kiev authorities hope will mark a further step out of Russia’s influence.

The meeting will seek to realise a landmark decision by Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I to recognise Kiev’s independence from the Moscow Orthodox Church.

October ruling sparked protests in Moscow claiming its rights on the part of Ukrainian Orthodox Church as an integral part of the Moscow Patriarch establishment, also claiming all the  historic buildings and properties.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who is expected to attend the council, has made an independent Church a campaign pledge for his election campaign for the next mandate.

Kurz aims to improve EU-Russia relations

Vienna perceives easing tensions between the European Union and Russia as its priority task for 2019 to ensure long-term peace in Europe in cooperation with Russia, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said at press conference, dedicated to the Austrian cabinet’s activities.

Easing tensions in relations with Russia will be a major foreign policy challenge for us in the European Union, as well as ensuring de-escalation in the Ukrainian conflict because it is only possible to ensure long-term peace on our continent by cooperating with Russia, and not by opposing Russia,” he said in response to a question about Vienna’s priority tasks for 2019.

According to Kurz, adopting EU measures to ensure fair and free global trade will be Austria’s second priority. “The second big foreign policy challenge is that as a small export-oriented country, we need fair and free global trade, so the United States’ doubts in this regard pose a threat to Europe and Austria in particular. This is why we, the European Union, need to try to do everything possible to make sure that we have fair and free global trade in the future,” Kurz added.

 

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