Category Archives: Politics

EU sanction policy against Russia continues

At European Union Summit in Brussels the leaders unanimously endorsed the prolongation of the economic sanctions against Russia for its actions against Ukraine for another six months with the official rollover expected next week.

The sanctions, mainly targeting the Russian banking and energy sectors, were first imposed in the summer of 2014 in aftermath of  Maidan revolution in Ukraine  and have been extended every six months since then.

EU unanimously prolongs economic sanctions against Russia given zero progress in implementation of Minsk agreements,” European Council President Donald Tusk wrote in his Twitter micro blog referring to peace accords brokered by Germany and France in the Minsk, Belarus capital, aiming to end ongoing armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.

‘In a short term, the impact of oil prices is much more important for Russia than any sanctions,” said Sergey Khestanov (Сергей Хестанов), a professor at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) . Oil income makes up 40%  of federal budget revenues and is trading at its highest level in more than four years.

Salvini assesses EU too weak to attack Italy over budget

The European Union  has too many problems to sanction Italy for its 2019 budget, Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini said.
I don’t think the EU is enjoying a state of health such as to allow it to question and sanction Europe’s second industrial power,” he said.
Salvini added he was confident that a budget deal would be found, “we are working with alacrity on it”.
   

Italy accused the EU of “economic terrorism,” as its row with economic leaders in the bloc deepened when the EU finance ministers warned Italy that it must abide by EU rules on public spending.

The war of words between Rome and Brussels is focused on Italy’s new budget proposal, which seeks to increase spending and cut taxes, but would raise Italy’s debt and breach EU budget rules.

There are European institutions playing at bringing terrorism to the financial markets,” said Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio who heads the Five Star Movement (M5S).

EU-Swiss relations vector unchanged

The European Commission favorably received the results of the Swiss referendum on auto determination, the spokesperson said. He underlined that the vote brought clarity and indicated that Swiss will remain “reliable partner” in international relations, and those with the EU. (Image: climbing in Swiss Alps).

Swiss voters have rejected an initiative to give national laws precedence over international laws and treaties, according to results coming in from the plebiscite.

Data based on partial results indicated  two thirds of voters rejected the proposal  – 67% against and 33% in favour, national broadcaster SRF reported.

Critics of the imitative said the proposal would have damaged the country’s global standing, and status of an international player.
When it comes to our favorite themes, self-determination, sovereignty, immigration, we are alone against all. In this context, this defeat is not a failure,” explains the father of the initiative on self-determination, the lawyer and Zurich national councilor Hans-Ueli Vogt.

Contrary to the demographic pressure caused by immigration, which everyone feels every day on the train or in traffic jams on the highway, the safeguard of democracy is too abstract” – adds the president of the Swiss People’s Party (UDC), the Bernese Albert Rösti, lamenting the loss.

In 2014, the EU and Switzerland started negotiations on a common institutional framework. Such overarching “house rules” are necessary to ensure a “homogenous application of internal market law in both the EU and Switzerland” according to the European Commission. An institutional agreement would enable Switzerland to strengthen the partnership with the EU and deepen it further.

However,  in spite of the vote, favorable for the relations with the EU, there are just a few Swiss enthusiasts to engage with the bloc. Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, in charge of the framework deal negotiations with the EU, will meet trade union and business leaders this week in a highly  likely to be an unsuccessful bid to convince them to support the Swiss-EU deal, newspaper Sonntags Zeitung reported on the weekend.

EP president Tajani seeks to renew mandate

Incumbent president of the European Parliament  Antonio Tajani (Forza Italia)  expressed his readiness to seek for the second mandate.
“I think the EU institutions need an Italian at their head,” he told reporters during his attendance at European People’s party Helsinki congress.
“I’m ready to stand again, if there are the conditions, obviously inside the parliament, and if there is a good electoral result for the European People’s Party to lead the EP for the next two and a half years”.

Previously the position of the speaker of the European parliament was a subject for rotation each two and a half years between two major political groups. The tradition was ended by Socialists & Democrats, who promoted their leader Martin Schulz (Germany) for two successive terms.

25 years in prison for Catalan referendum

The Spanish prosecutor’s office demands a 25-year prison sentence for the leader of the pro-independence Catalan party Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ErC), Oriol Junqueras, for a challenge to the central government that resulted in the unilateral declaration of independence on October 27, 2017. Junqueras is charged with the Medieval crime of “rebellion”.

After a year of investigations, the prosecutor presented the request for sentences, ranging from 25 years for former Catalan vice president to 16 for five former “advisors”: Jordi Turull, Raul Romeva, Joaquim Forn, Dolors Bassa and Josep Rull.

For the leaders of Omnium Cultural and the Catalan National Assembly, Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez, the prosecution requests 17 years in jail and a 17-year ban on holding public office, similar punishment is proposed for the former Catalan Parliament Speaker Carme Forcadell.

All are charged with “rebellion“, a crime that carries a 30-year maximum sentence. For the three advisers who are not in detention – Carles Mundó, Maritxell Borrás and Santiago Vila – the requested sentence is limited to 7 years, since they are accused only of embezzlement.

EU leaders call Barnier to continue effort

At the European Council (Art. 50) working dinner on 17 October 2018, EU27 leaders reviewed the state of the negotiations with the UK.

Ahead of the meeting, Prime Minister May updated the leaders on the UK perspective of the negotiations.

EU27 leaders reaffirmed their full confidence in Michel Barnier as the negotiator and their determination to stay united. They also noted that, despite intensive negotiations, not enough progress has been achieved.

The European Council (Art. 50) called on the Union negotiator to continue his efforts to reach an agreement in accordance with previously agreed European Council guidelines.

The leaders declared their readiness to convene a European Council, if and when the Union negotiator reports that decisive progress has been made.

EU strengthens cooperation with United Nations

In a joint statement the European Union and United Nations have expressed their determination to further strengthen their cooperation.

At a time of unprecedented and pressing global challenges, the United Nations and the European Union continue to engage together as positive forces for change to promote and renew full commitment to multilateralism and a rules-based global order, in line with their respective mandates, and to work closely for stability and prosperity to promote a safer and better world for all” it says.

“We are also here to say that the multilateral approach is not dead, it has to be maintained – it is the only chance we have to shape the future of the globe in a way which is acceptable for all the stakeholders. We do not like the unilateral approach. We do think that multilateralism has to have a chance” said president Juncker after the meeting.

The joint EU-UN statement stressed the importance of the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights  as an opportunity to reaffirm the commitment of the two organisations to stand up for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all across the world. It is also the 70th anniversary of United Nations Peacekeeping, an institution that for seven decades has helped protect the vulnerable and promote peace and security across the globe.

 

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