Category Archives: Uncategorized

EU sets Poland on pariah track

The EU executive  Commissioner and First vice-president of the European Commission Frans Timmermans  launched an unprecedented process, triggering Article 7 of Lisbon Treaty to suspend Poland’s voting rights in the European Union after two years of dispute over judicial reforms that Brussels claims undermine Polish judiciary independence.

Polish government has three month ahead of them to abolish the judiciary reforms to avoid the so called “nuclear” opinion to lose voting rights within the EU. The visit of the incumbent Prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki to Brussels is forseen in January, however so far Polish government refused to bend to EU demands, insisting on their sovereign right to carve laws.  The move of the executive is largely interpreted as ‘anti-Polish’, and there are fears it will only deepen the growing gap between Brussels and Warsaw.

Many experts interpret the Commission’s selective application of Lisbon Treaty articles to fact of the growing longng of Poland for sovreignty, led by nationalist government of ight-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party.

Taoiseach “surprised and disappointed”

The leader of Republic of Ireland is “surprised and disappointed” that the British government was unable to conclude a deal Dublin believed had been agreed on the future of the Northern Ireland border after Brexit, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Monday.

“We had an agreement this morning. We’re disappointed and surprised to hear that agreement cannot be concluded today but we’re happy to give the UK government more time, if it needs it, so we can conclude it in the coming days,” Varadkar told a news briefing in Dublin, commenting of events taking place in Brussels, where Prime minister Theresa May had an exchange of views with the head of European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

Varadkar confirmed his position was unequivocal and Dublin would accept changes to the agreed text only if the essence remained.

Puigdemont: “Democracy in danger in EU”

The congregation of 200 Catalan Mayors at prestigious BOZAR concert hall in Brussels, gave unanimous support to the only ‘legitimate’ President Carles Puigdemont, and his government, partially in exile in Belgium, and partially in prison in Spain. Mayors demanded immediate liberation of the 10 political prisoners, and EU mediation in negotiations with Spain over independence settlement.

Among the speakers Mayors of small villages and cities were expressing concern about the silence of the EU, and incapacity to defend their fundamental rights. Also the atmosphere of fear, caused by Madrid’s offensive over what Mayors called was the fulfillment of the election promise to the electorate to organise referendum on independence.

Each Mayor made an accent on the democratic process of Catalan independence movement, insisting it is a mature decision of people, a result of a long history, culture, achievements, and needs for public life, society organization based on Catalan unique identity. He also insisted there should be an agreement before the upcoming snap election to respect its outcome.

Concluding the event the President of self-proclaimed Catalan Republic Carles Puigdemont gave a programme speech, analysing the situation, and calling the EU leaders to listen to the will of people, protecting fundamental rights of the Catalan people.

Puigdemont called for immediate liberation of all political prisoners in Spain, pointing that the precedent of jailing politicians over fulfilment of the election programme they were voted for brings the democracy in danger not only in Catalonia, but in entire EU. He pointed that it is “anomaly” in Europe to have a territory with suppressed democratic institutions.

From congregation Puigdemont addressed president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, demanding to defend the fundamental rights of Catalans, reminding him that they are also European citizens.

Madrid predicts ‘misery’ for Catalonia outside Spain

In case of declaration of independence of Catalonia Madrid will order an exodus of all enterprises to doom the rebellious region to misery. The war of words between Madrid and Barcelona intensified as a deadline of activation of Article 155, taking Catalonia under direct control of Madrid, looms. The Sénate has to vote of the proposal of Mariano Rajoy government on Friday 27, ending almost a month of stand off between central government and freedom aspiring region.

What Madrid realises, but does not articulate, is that Catalonia break away causes loss of the richest region of Spain with 266 billion euros of economic output, and subsequently 20%  countries of GDP. The threat of re-localisation of enterprises and replacement of specialists can not be done overnight, so far only head offices were moved under pressure of Madrid, but production at enterprises continued uninterrupted. Spain will definitely suffer from any drastic moves in economy as much as the region it is vowing to punish, stripping from freedoms, and taking under direct control.

In case of Catalonia decides to pursue the independent future, the role of third countries as lenders outside the EU will become crucial, especially EFTA members, who might find in Catalans dynamic and inspiring partners. The loud declarations of the EU institution in Brussels warning that no country in Europe will recognise Catalonia, were premature. None of European parliaments could react upon the issue as long as the suspension of Catalan independence lasts.

EU building up a new defence structure

At the EU Summit the EU27 leaders reiterated their commitment to launch a new EU defence co-operation structure – Permanent structured co-operation (PESCO) – early next year. It will assemble member-state resources to conduct specific operations and provide funding for joint research and procurement.

The initiative is a joint German-French project, although the two differ over how easy the new structure can be to join. The French prefer a tighter group with more specific financial obligations, the Germans propose to make it flexible and open to a maximum number of members to join.

 

Tusk soliciting €100 million for Africa

At the EU Summit #EUCO president Donald Tusk confirmed that the bloc is ready to offer assistance to Italy in resolving the Mediterranean migrant crisis.

“We have spoken about how to help Italy manage the central Mediterranean route,” Tusk said. “The leaders agreed to offer Premier Gentiloni stronger support for the Italian work with the Libyan authorities. We have a real opportunity to close the route”.

There are controversial reports on migrant arrivals to Italy in recent months, while the EU sources claim the numbers have fallen sharply since Italy struck a deal with Libyan coast guard, a number of independent sources indicate opposite, lamenting sharp rise of arrivals to Italy in October.

Tusk called the member states to donate a total of 100 million euros for the European Fund for Africa, in particular Libya, by the end of the year.

Juncker-May dinner with “autopsy” in view

The following joint statement was issued by President Jean-Claude Juncker and Prime Minister Theresa May following their working dinner in Brussels on 16 October 2017:

“The Prime Minister and the President of the European Commission had a broad, constructive exchange on current European and global challenges.

They discussed their common interest in preserving the Iran nuclear deal and their work on strengthening the security of citizens in Europe, notably on the fight against terrorism. They also prepared for the European Council that will take place later this week.

As regards the Article 50 negotiations, both sides agreed that these issues are being discussed in the framework agreed between the EU27 and the United Kingdom, as set out in Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union. The Prime Minister and the President of the European Commission reviewed the progress made in the Article 50 negotiations so far and agreed that these efforts should accelerate over the months to come. The working dinner took place in a constructive and friendly atmosphere.”

A few hours earlier Juncker was criticised for his black humor, anticipating dinner with Prime Minister  Theresa May.

Asked about the meeting, Mr Juncker said: “I never understood why journalists even the most eminent journalists ask for an outcome of a meeting before the meeting takes place. I will see Mrs May this evening, we will talk and you will have the autopsy report afterwards. ”

Ukraine defence to receive $500 millions from USA

The US Senate passed roughly $700 billion for National Defense, foreseeing budget of $500 million to support Ukraine, President Petro Poroshenko said.

“The US Senate approved the draft, providing for the allocation of $500 million to support Ukraine in the field of security and defense,” Poroshenko wrote on his official Twitter page.

The draft law authorizes the provision of Ukraine with lethal weapons of a defensive type. It also includes provisions allowing the use of US defense budget funds for the rehabilitation of wounded Ukrainian servicemen in medical institutions in the United States, as well as strengthening the capabilities of air and naval forces.

“For the first time at the legislative level, it is proposed to provide Ukraine with such defensive means: radar equipment of air defense and observation of the sea surface; naval anti-mine equipment; coastal and coast guard ships” – Poroshenko continued in detail.

“We really appreciate the fact that the United States stands shoulder to shoulder in our struggle,” Poroshenko said during a speech at the military academy West Point.

“Your country remains the world leader in providing practical assistance to the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” Poroshenko said, adding that Ukraine’s military spending has already exceeded 6% of GDP – “a figure that is much higher than the obligations for NATO.”

Previously, Peter Poroshenko noted that Kiev is waiting  not only defensive weapons from the US. He also confirmed that now Ukraine is reforming its defence and security in accordance with NATO standards.

Zapad-2017 Russian military drills

he Zapad-2017 (or West 2017) joint Russian-Belarusian military drills have kicked off in the two countries, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

“Heads of military administrative bodies and commanders of units involved in the drills have received instructions from the General Staff of the Union State concerning their training tasks,” the statement reads.

The drills involve up to 12,700 troops, including 7,200 Belarusian and around 5,500 Russian troops, with up to 3,000 of them deployed to Belarus.

“Staged tactical events and live firing exercises, involving aircraft and air defense units, will take place at the Lepelsky, Losvido, Borisovsky, Osipovichesky, Ruzhansky and Domanovsky training ranges, as well as in the Dretun area in Belarus, and also at the Luzhsky, Strugi Krasnye and Pravdinsky training ranges in Russia.

The Russian and Belarusian chiefs of General Staff are in charge of the drills that constitute the final stage of the joint training program of the Russian and Belarusian Armed Forces.
The drills are purely defensive and not aimed against any countries, the Russian Defense Ministry stressed, according to TASS news agency.

 

UK committed to European security

The UK will offer to contribute military assets to EU operations, cooperate on sanctions and agree joint positions on foreign policy as part of a deep security partnership with the EU after Brexit, the Government will say today Tuesday 12 September.

In a renewed demonstration of the UK’s commitment to European security, the latest future partnership paper signals the Government’s willingness to partner with the EU in the face of ever-growing global threats.
It makes clear the UK will seek to use our assets, capabilities and influence to combat the shared challenges facing the continent —- including illegal migration, terrorism, cyber and state-based threats and amounts to a security partnership ‘that is deeper than any other third country and that reflects our shared interest’.
There is a significant amount of collaboration between the UK and EU on defence, security and development.

The paper lays out how Britain will want to build a new partnership with the EU that goes beyond existing third country arrangements, and reflects our shared interests and values of upholding democracy and protecting peace across Europe and the world.

“After we leave the European Union we will continue to face shared threats to our security, our shared values and our way of life. It’s in our mutual interest to work closely with the EU and its member states to challenge terrorism and extremism, illegal migration, cyber-crime, and conventional state-based military aggression.” – secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis said.  “Today’s paper highlights Britain’s world class diplomacy and defence capabilities, our leading contribution to international development, and our desire to continue to use these as part of a deep and special partnership with the EU.”
“As we leave the EU, the UK’s commitment to European security is undiminished. We will pursue a global foreign policy, and continue to work in partnership with our neighbours to promote peace, democracy and security in our continent and across the world, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said. “In recent years, the European Union has helped achieve crucial foreign policy goals – from bringing Iran to the negotiating table, to uniting in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine.  We want this EU role to continue after we leave” – Johnson added. “This is why, in addition to stronger relations with EU member states, we also envisage a strong UK-EU partnership on foreign and defence policy following our departure. This will allow us to continue our work in tackling the shared challenges we face worldwide.”

“At a time of increased threats and international instability the UK remains unwavering in its commitment to uphold European security. With the largest defence budget in Europe, the largest Navy British troops and planes deployed across land, air and sea in Europe, our role in the continent’s defence has never been more vital” – Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said . “As we leave the EU, the UK and our European allies will ensure a close partnership that meets these shared challenges head-on.”

The paper highlights the UK’s successful military cooperation with the EU on tackling piracy off the Horn of Africa, to joint defence projects with the EU — including the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.

The UK has the largest defence budget and development budget in Europe, and is the only European country that meets both the NATO target of spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence, with 20 per cent of this on equipment, and the UN target of spending 0.7 per cent of gross national income (GNI) on international development.

The UK has also committed to invest at least 50 per cent of development spend in fragile states and regions. The UK and France are the two European permanent members of the UN Security Council and the only European countries with an independent nuclear deterrent, while UK proscriptions and asset freezes are the basis of many of the EU sanctions on terrorist organisations.

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