Tag Archives: France

NATO: French flag half-mast

The flags of France are at half-mast outside NATO Headquarters to honour the fallen French soldiers in Mali.

Thirteen French soldiers were killed in Mali when their helicopters collided at low altitude as they swooped in at nightfall to support ground forces engaged in combat with Islamist militants.

A Tiger attack helicopter crashed into a Cougar military transport mid-air as it manoeuvred to engage the militants, who were fleeing on motorbikes and in pick-up trucks.
The two aircraft collapsed not far from each other, killing everyone on board including six commandos and an officer.

It is the heaviest toll in a single combat operation since 1986 when a French sea surveillance plane crashed into a mountain in northern Djibouti with the loss of 19 soldiers.

Estonia is one of the Allies of France, expressing it profound condolences. It is also
about to commit 160 military personnel to international operations, along with 234 service members to readiness units, next year. This includes a continued contribution to the French-led anti-insurgency Operation Barkhane, in the West African country of Mali, for which 95 personnel will be assigned. The Barkhane contingent will increase from 50 to 95 troops, and special operations forces will be deployed.

EU Juncker mourns Jacques Chirac

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker was moved and devastated by the news that Jacques Chirac has passed away.

For him, Europe is not only losing a great statesman, but also losing a dear personal friend.

His legacy for France and the European Union will stay with us forever.

AMENDED:

MEPs endorsed Lagarde for EBC chair

Christine Lagarde (France) obtained Parliament’s approval to be the European Central Bank (ECB) next president, in a plenary vote on September 17.
In the secret vote, MEPs casted 394 ballots in favour, 206 against and 49 abstentions to recommend Lagarde to head up the European Central Bank.

The European Parliament gives a non-binding opinion on whether or not a candidate is suitable to fill the role of President of the ECB, with the final decision taken by the European Council. She is due to replace the current incumbent, Mario Draghi on 1 November.

Earlier on Tuesday, the plenary held a debate on her suitability for the position.

Chrisine Lagarde’s candidature will now be put on the agenda of October’s European Council Summit.

Lagarde previously held various senior ministerial posts in the French government, and led International Monetary Fund (IMF) since 2011,  being reelected by consensus for a second five-year term, starting 5 July 2016 as the only candidate nominated for the post.

Tense G7 opens in Biarritz

World leaders are gathering in Biarritz (France) for the G7 summit. Addressing the event the European Council President Donald Tusk said will be a “difficult test of unity and solidarity” due to deep divisions over a range of issues including trade and climate change.

The annual gathering of the G7 nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States) some of the world’s key industrial countries, open on August 24 in the French Atlantic resort of Biarritz.

The three-day summit is taking place against the backdrop of an escalating trade war between the US and China, Brexit, mounting tensions between Washington and Tehran over Iran nuclear programme and global concern over Amazon forest fires ravaging Brazil.

Thousands of different groups of protesters from all over the world rallied in the nearby town of Hendaye.

Donald Tusk vows to protect French wine export

Addressing G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, the president of the European Union Council Donald Tusk called for “Putting a stop to trade wars. Trade deals and the reform of WTO are better than trade wars.Trade wars will lead to recession, while trade deals will boost the economy, not to mention the fact that trade wars among G7 members will lead to eroding the already weakened trust among us.”

The European Union will “respond in kind” if the U.S. imposes tariffs on France over digital tax plan, Donald Tusk added.

Before leaving for the Summit the American President Donald Trump warned about possible tariffs imposition on French wines in retaliation of the decision of National Assembly to tax US digital companies (GAFA) 3%, operating in France. At present this tax could generate an amount up to €500 million a year and more for the French state purse.

Juncker will not attend Biarritz G7

Urgent hospitalisation prevents Jean-Claude Juncker (64), the incumbent president of the European Commission from attending the G7 summit in Biarritz (France) on August 24-26, a spokesperson said. (Image: archive)

Jean-Claude Juncker a former Luxembourg Prime minister, and the chair of the Eurogroup, whose health has been the subject of widespread speculation for years, will conclude his mandate as head of the commission on October 31. He will be replaced by the German politician Ursula von der Leyen.

Dutch burqa ban challenges

Around one hundred people, mainly women, protested in  The Hague, The Netherlands on August 9 against “Burqa ban“, which came into effect in the on August, 1.

Around couple of dozens of women wore a niqab and carried plates with texts like “I am getting robbed of my freedom“, “Hands off my niqab”, “We are the victims of symbolized politics” and “Human rights are being violated” during the silent protest.

The demonstration took place at the Koekamp Park, and passed without incidents. The protesters demand the Dutch government to recall the law. A few secular human rights activists were present to demonstrate their solidarity and support to the Muslim believers.

According to the organizers, the law violates freedom of movement, freedom of religion and self-determination of women. In addition, they think that woman wearing a niqab/burqa are excluded from social life and that the law leads to polarization of society.

The new Dutch law partially prohibits face-covering clothing. It means that people are no longer allowed to enter public space such as hospitals, government buildings, schools and public transport with face-covering clothing, such as a burqa, niqab and balaclava.

The Party for Freedom (PvV) leader Geert Wilders sees it differently: as far as he is concerned, the Dutch government should deport all those burka/niqab groupies to Saudi Arabia, where then can practice their cult without risking to clash with democracy, fundamental rights and equality.

However the biggest challenge of Dutch government is that the overwhelming majority of these women were born in the Netherlands, and have Dutch nationality. Their mothers were eager to integrate, and they were not wearing Muslim veils.

When the law passed in June 2018, Upper House of the Parliament press officer Gert Riphagen estimated that it concerns between 200 and 400 burqa or niqab-wearing Muslims  in the Netherlands, out of a population of 17 million people.

The Dutch law is similar to bans in the other European countries: in France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Denmark, some of which go further than the prohibition, but they impose fines: 1,000 Danish kroner (€100) in Denmark and  €150 in France.

In October 2018 the United Nations Human Rights Committee opposed the bans, explaining that it violates the human rights of Muslim women and risks “confining them to their homes.” However the opinion of international experts did not have any effect on the implementation of the legislation.

 

 

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