Category Archives: Politics

Austrian politicians propose to end EU sanctions against Russia

Austria’s vice chancellor and leading Freedom Party called for ending the European Union’s sanctions against Russia, ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a trip to Vienna.

Heinz-Christian Strache, whose party is a partner to Chancellor Sebastian Kurz conservatives, said in the past he also did not favor EU sanctions against Moscow over its backing of rebels in Ukraine.

“It is high time to put an end to these exasperating sanctions and normalize political and economic relations with Russia” – he said in staccato  in an interview with the newspaper Oesterreich printed on Sunday  (4/06/2018).

 

Socialist Pedro Sanchez becomes Prime minister of Spain

Mariano Rajoy,  the Prime minister of Spain, whose Partido Popular (People’s Party) has been plagued by corruption scandals, is stepping down after losing a no-confidence vote. Socialist Party leader Pedro Sanchez will replace him.
The no-confidence motion was initiated by the opposition Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) on Thursday and supported by Catalan parties and the leftist Podemos. With the centrist party Ciudadanos abstaining, Rajoy’s People’s Party (PP) and its allies was left at the mercy of the Basque Nationalist Party and its five crucial votes.

Earlier on Friday, Rajoy conceded defeat to PSOE leader Pedro Sanchez, who will now become prime minister.

Rajoy had refused to step down before the no-confidence vote, and has defended his party in the corruption scandal that has now proven to be his downfall. Last week, dozens of former PP officials were jailed for money laundering and fraud, and the party fined €240,000 over a kickbacks-for-contracts scheme they ran between 1999 and 2006.

Italy: Mattarella risks impeachment

League leader Matteo Salvini said that Italy will have to have a new general election after premier designate Giuseppe Conte handed back a mandate to form a government. “The Italians come first, their right to work, to security and happiness,” Salvini quoted by ANSA news agency.

“We worked day and night for weeks to form a government that defends the interest of the Italian citizens. But someone (under whose pressure?) said No. Never again slaves, Italy is not a colony. At this point, with the honesty, coherence and the courage of always, the words must go back to you” – Salvini concluded.

After rejection of the candidacy of the economy minister, causing the failure to form a government,  Five Star Movement (5SM) considers launching President Sergio Mattarella impeachment procedure.

 

Italy: Conte gave up efforts to form government

Italy’s Prime minister-designate Giuseppe Conte said he’s given up on attempts to form a government after President Sergio Mattarella rejected his candidacy of an anti-euro economy minister. The country may now face a new election by the end of 2018.

“President has received Prof. Giuseppe Conte …. who returned the mandate given to him on May 23 to form the government. The president has thanked him for his effort in fulfilling this task,” Ugo Zampetti, an official within the presidential administration, told RAI.

After the talk, Mattarella said that he was going to make a decision on the new parliamentary vote in the country in the coming hours.

In doubts Rajoy attends Sophia Summit

On contrary to previous information, the prime minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy attends EU Western Balkans Summit in Sofia, however  some elaborate diplomatic work is going on to avoid Kosovo representatives. EU members Slovakia, Romania, Greece,  and Cyprus along with the Kingdom of Spain did not recognize the independence of Kosovo, however their leaders are present at the Summit without hesitation. The ongoing Catalan crisis makes the Kosovo status at most sensitive issue for the Spanish government.

Released ahead of the Summit  by Serbian news agency Tanjug article claimed Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy would NOT participate in the EU #WestBalkans Summit in Sofia, due to his country’s position on unilateral proclamation of independence of #Kosovo. Tanjug also indicated only lower ranked diplomatic officials would represent the Kingdom of Spain at the summit.

Does the change of mind of Rajoy mean he received the EU ‘guarantees’ that Kosovo was-is-will be a sui generis, one in its own kind, and the bloc would never accept the unilateral declaration of independence of Catalan Republic? According to the Spanish press the government made a considerable effort to prevent Kosovo to be treated as an independent state at Sofia Summit. The media sources also  indicate the mission was not entirely successful, resulting in acceptance of the prime minister participation in the dinner with the EU leaders, and honoring a number of bilateral meetings to return to Madrid afterwards.

Quim Torra elected Catalan President

Catalonian parliament has elected pro-independence politician Quim Torra as president, ending months of Barcelona political stalemate with Madrid.

A close ally of the independence leader Carles Puigdemont, Torra, 55, won the ballot by a simple majority with the backing of 66 members of the parliament, and four abstentions. However 65 legislators voted against his candidacy.

Torra has promised to draft a constitution for a future Catalan Republic and restore regional laws that were suspended by Spanish courts in the wake of Catalonia’s October 1, 2017, independence referendum in which about two million Catalans voted to secede from Spain.

Israel celebrates US Embassy inauguration in Jerusalem

In afternoon the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel opened in an official ceremony with many guests of honor.

Israel is a sovereign nation, with the right like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital. Yet for many years, we failed to acknowledge the obvious. The plain reality that Israel’s capital is Jerusalem” – said President Donald Trump in his video address.

The Ambassador David M. Friedman credited President Donald Trump for having the courage to open an embassy in Israel’s capital. “Today’s historic event is attributed to the vision, the courage, and the moral clarity of one person to whom we owe an enormous and eternal debt of gratitude, President Donald J. Trump.”

On this exact day 70 years ago, at almost this exact time, David Ben Gurion declared Israel’s independence. Just 11 minutes later, President Harry Truman caused the United States to be the first nation to recognize the reborn State of Israel. He later regretted that he waited so long,Ambassador David M. Friedman said in his inauguration speech.

Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, along with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, led the US delegation with the message from President Trump that the United States will continue to support the peace process in every way it can, but also that the President is determined to deliver upon his promises. President Trump ensured that he remained committed to “facilitating a lasting peace agreement,” and that he was “extending a hand of friendship to Israel, the Palestinians and to all of their neighbors.”

While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American Embassy once they were in office, this president delivered. Because when President Trump makes a promise, he keeps it,” Kushner said.

The truth and peace are interconnected” Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in his welcoming speech. “A peace that is built on lies, will crash on the rocks of Middle Eastern realities. You can only build peace on truth. And the truth is that Jerusalem has been and will always be the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish state” – he added.

The Palestinians responded to the opening of Embassy with an outbreak of violence.

 

 

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