Category Archives: Politics

Catalans call for flexible political maneuver

Four Catalan leaders on trial in Madrid over a 2017 referendum their said the independence parties should be more flexible about entering negotiations on forming the next Spanish government after a April 28 national election.

The Catalan leaders’ published an open letter in weekend’s edition of La Vanguardia newspaper, suggesting the independence parties should enter talks with potential coalition partners as long as they refused to rule out an independence referendum as a “possible solution” for the region.

Utrecht gunman Chechnya-ISIS record

The leader of Dutch anti-Islam Freedom Party (PvV) Geert Wilders  (pictured) confronted  Prime Minister Mark Rutte with a request to explain how a Turkish man who is suspected in involvement in terrorism in Chechnya, and with Islamic State (ISIS),was released from prison, and could freely perambulate in Utrecht streets.

“…How can anyone with a criminal record full of atrocities from manslaughter to theft, destruction and rape roam freely and shoot with a weapon in a tram innocent people dead??? Explain that, Rutte”, Wilders challenged the Prime Minister, via his Twitter micro blog.

Meanwhile a Turkish businessman residing in Utrecht told BBC Türkçe that the shooter Tanış had “fought in Chechnya and that a “few years ago was arrested and released for his connection to ISIS. He was not a part of the Turkish community [in Holland], he was a outcast“, he added.

EU expects Turkey juridical reform

The EU reaffirmed the importance of the relations between the EU and Turkey, a candidate country and a key partner and stressed the importance of open and frank dialogue, within the established framework, in order to address common challenges in areas of joint interest such as migration, counter-terrorism, energy, transport, the economy and trade.

“The EU underlined that the Turkish government’s stated commitment to EU accession needs to be matched by corresponding reforms and recalled that the Council conclusions of 26 June 2018 state that Turkey has been moving further away from the European Union and that accession negotiations have therefore effectively come to a standstill. The EU reiterated its concerns over the continuing and deeply worrying backsliding in the areas of fundamental rights and rule of law, and the deterioration of the independence and functioning of the judiciary. In this regard, the EU expressed its expectation from Turkey to ensure that its plans for judicial reform are realised in line with EU and Council of Europe standards.”

The EU welcomed the UN efforts to resume negotiations for the reunification of Cyprus, and recalled that it remains crucial that Turkey commits and contributes to the process and to a fair, comprehensive and viable settlement within the UN framework, in accordance with UNSC resolutions and in line with EU principles and the EU acquis.”

The EU-Turkey Association Council held its 54th meeting on Friday, 15 March 2019, in Brussels. The meeting was the first one held after the lifting of the State of Emergency in Turkey last year, and provided a useful opportunity to take stock of EU-Turkey relations and exchange views on a range of issues.

On the EU side, the meeting was chaired by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ms Federica MOGHERINI. Mr Johannes HAHN, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations also participated. Mr Mevlüt ÇAVUŞOĞLU, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chief Negotiator of Turkey, led the Turkish delegation.

MEP: Catalan trials reminiscent of comrade Stalin ‘justice’

The Calalan trials in Madrid are reminiscent of ‘Vishinky justice’  of comrade Stalin style dealing with his political opponents“, said Indrek Tarand, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Estonia, while commenting on the accusations of the Catalan politicians. MEP is definite about the status of all the Catalans accused at High Court in Madrid as ‘prisoners of conscious“, and he also sees the sinister parallels between Spain’s political system oppressive methods and the extinct USSR.

“In democracy, debating and talking about everything is normal and logical. In democracy, voting is not a crime. We have made it very clear” said the former speaker of the Catalan parliament, Carme Forcadell to the judges in Spain’s Supreme Court in Madrid.

Spain’s public prosecutor has requested prison 17 years of sentence for her. Forcadell, is the first of among  accused of rebellion Catalan politicians  to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg.

Her lawyers have already presented her appeal to ECHR arguing  the gross disproportion of her pre-trial detention. Forcadell has been under this restriction since 23rd March 2018.

Before the arrest Forcadell used to be the president of the Catalan parliament when lawmakers passed referendum laws and voted on the declaration of independence, perceived as a “rebellion” by Madrid.

In her testimonyForcadell underlined that it was not within her competences to assess the “constitutionality” of parliamentary proposals, and said that “censorship can’t be allowed in parliament.” Former speaker Forcadell denied that the declaration of independence actually passed, as it was included in the preamble of a resolution and was therefore just a “political statement.

The first phase of the Catalan independence trial is completed, after 12 politicians and activists charged for calling a referendum and declaring independence in 2017 gave their testimony.

The accused, including former members of the Catalan government, defended themselves against accusations such as violent rebellion, sedition, misuse of public funds, and disobedience.

 

 

Russia presumes US intervention in Venezuela

Moscow presumes Washington is preparing a military intervention in Venezuela, Nikolai Patrushev (pictured) the secretary of Russia’s Security Council said, quoted by Russian news agencies.

Russia had agreed to a proposal from Washington to hold consultations on Venezuela crisis, but the United States had repeatedly postponed them on “invented pretexts”. The United States show “sarcasm and arrogance towards the Venezuelan people” while it imposes humanitarian aid that will be rejected. Patrushev stressed that the United States, deploying military forces to Puerto Rico and Colombia are preparing an invasion to Venezuela to overthrow legally elected incumbent President Maduro.

Tajani bans Catalan event in Europarliament

The European Parliament President Antonio Tajani has canceled a conference (18.02.2019) with participation of the Catalan president, Quim Torra, and his predecessor Carles Puigdemont, citing “security threats.”

The conference was due to take place in in Brussels on February 18, but the parliament decided to cancel it saying there was a “high risk” that the event “could pose a threat to the maintenance of public order on the parliament’s premises.

The chamber detailed its decision in a press release: “The assessment takes into account several elements, including the recent occupation by the protesters of the European Parliament and Commission buildings in Barcelona, the tensions linked to the trial against Catalan pro-independence leaders that started on February 12, the lack of information on the participants at the event and, especially, the possibility of incidents within or around the Parliament premises.

Apparently the ban came as a result of relentless efforts of Spain‘s three largest parties opposing Catalan independence to bloc the debate. They had sent a letter to the Speaker Antonio Tajani, urging him to prohibit the event on the grounds that Puigdemont planned to “overthrow Spain’s constitutional order.

Allowing Puigdemont’s presence is not compatible with the noble role of the European Parliament as an example of democracy and rule of law in force in the EU,” said MEPs from the Socialist, People’s, and Ciutadans parties.

However the ban to host a conference in the European Parliament premises is not conducive to the resolution of the Catalan issue, seen by many Catalans as an act of an ultimate betrayal of their fundamental freedoms by the EU.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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