Tag Archives: France

France hopes for orderly Brexit

France is hoping that Westminster will approve Prime Minister Theresa May negociated Brexit deal, an unnamed official at President Macron’s Elysee administration said to Reuters news agency.

Asked whether France would support an extension to the official deadline to Article 50 – regarding little time left for Brexit – the official replied: “We would hope that the vote tomorrow is a favorable one.”

Afterwards, if that is not the case, it will be up to the United Kingdom to make a certain number of demands and proposals to the European Union,” added the official.

Benalla risks trial over diplomatic passports

Disgraced bodyguard of President Emmanuel Macron, Alexandre Benalla admitted he was using his diplomatic passports, “for personal comfort”, and plans to return “in the coming days,” he told the Journal du Dimanche (JDD), while the Paris prosecutor’s office opened investigation.

The #Benalla cases do not just reveal a malfunction, but a denaturing of our Republic. Emmanuel #Macron  has spoiled so much in so little time“, Marine Le Pen wrote in her Twitter micro blog.

“I may have been wrong to use these passports,Alexandre Benalla told the JDD via telephone from abroad.”But I did it only for personal comfort, to facilitate my passage through the airports. In no way did I use them for my business. I do not see where they could have served me”.

Previously Benalla said to another French media that his visit to Chad ahead of the presidential visit was a “coincidence“.

Macron Idriss Deby

Benalla added in the same conversation to the JDD that he had returned the passports to the Élysée’s services at the end of August but then they were  returned to him with other personal belongings in a pocket, in early October, by a “member of the presidency” during an appointment near the presidential palace.

As far as they were returned, I did not see any reason not to use them,” he explains. He claims he did not lie to the Senate inquiry when he said he had left his passports in his former Elysée office.

A few hours earlier, the Paris prosecutor had announced the opening of a preliminary investigation for “breach of trust” and “use without right of a document justifying a professional quality”.

The Paris public prosecutor, Rémy Heitz, has addressed the Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, after press reports about a trip to Africa by the former aide to the presidency with these passports.

The presidency had pleaded ignorance this week: it said it had “no information from the State services concerned the use by Mr Benalla  of the diplomatic passports that had been awarded to him in the exclusive framework of his services to the President of the Republic

“. “They are  mocking us”, writes French author Oliver Marteau in his Twitter.
“➡️ Any passport can be canceled by the authorities at any time without being physically returned.
➡️ At the 1st crossing of the border the owner of the passport is stopped.
➡️ The authority has knowingly left #Benalla to use these 2 passports” he explains.

French newspaper Le Monde has discovered new details on Benalla voyage to Chad. The former bodyguard of the President Emmanuel Macron arrived to Chad few days ahead of Emmanuel Macron‘s trip.

Macron Idriss Deby

Benalla travlled  by private plane, stayed in a luxury hotel, and his trip did not pass unnoticed, explains Le Monde. A source in the newspaper said that the former “security adviser” to the President, indicted for “willful violence” arrived accompanied by half a dozen people, by private plane, paying fees by Credit cards”.

Fired from Elysée after the national scandal when disguised as policeman he was beating  demonstrators,  Alexandre Benalla traveled to N’Djamena the beginning of December for a brief stay, before leaving by regular airline on 4 December. He reportedly met the brother of Chad‘s President, Oumar Déby, who leads the country’s Directorate-General for Strategic Reserves (DGRS) in charge of arms purchases, according to La Lettre du Continent. Afterward, a loan of €40 million and a donation of €10 million were granted by the Elysee to Chad  so that the regime can pay the salary of civil servants for the month of December, it was said.

 

 

 

MEPs propose strategy to combat terrorism

xBased on a thorough assessment European Parliament sets out recommendations to tackle radicalisation, improve data exchange and support victims of terrorism.

In a non-legislative resolution adopted this week with 474 votes to 112 and 75 abstentions, Parliament suggests reinforcing the role of the EU agencies such as Europol and the European Agency for the operational management of large-scale IT Systems (LISA).

MEPs also voice concerns over insufficient data exchange among the agencies, and between the member states and EU authorities. They underline the importance of fully respecting fundamental rights, including data protection and freedom of expression, when undertaking counter-terrorism measures.

““…Attack on the Christmas market in Strasbourg was an attack on European citizens and the common EU values and principles in the worst possible way. The incident has shown us again that we need to leave empty slogans and unrealistic measures behind and concentrate our activities on what really makes Europe safe. Despite all the efforts made over the past years, there are still gaps and ways to make the fight against terrorism more efficient. This means wider cooperation and information exchange between intelligence services and authorities, more prevention measures against radicalisation, tougher legal instruments and better protection of the rights of victims” – Following the vote, the co-rapporteur, Monika Hohlmeier (EPP, DE) said.

The terrorist attacks in the centre of Strasbourg, yesterday evening, highlight the imminent threat and absolute urgency of dealing better with this sad new reality. Today our report has been put to the vote in the same city, the seat of the European Parliament. Many innovative ideas have been proposed, such as the EU black list for hate preachers, allowing people renting cars to be cross-checked against police databases, and including private planes under the PNR Directive. We are recommending best practices, such as the local anti-radicalisation cells introduced in Belgium. And we put the victims at the forefront, by asking for medical costs to be automatically pre-paid after an attack and smoother insurance procedures. These are just a few examples from the comprehensive and poignant report “The co-rapporteur, Helga Stevens (ECR, BE), said.

Among Parliament’s main proposals:

  • Creating an EU watch list of radical preachers;
  • Stronger monitoring to ensure harmonised security and judicial prosecution of identified ‘returning fighters’ to Europe;
  • preclude convicted terrorist offenders from being granted asylum;
  • Anti-radicalisation measures, such as programmes for prisons, education and campaigns;
  • Specific training on radicalisation for EU and member states’ officials;
  • Strengthening EU’s external borders and proper checks at all border crossings using all relevant databases;
  • Demand for legal procedures to probe the praise of acts of terrorism;Removing printed or online propaganda explicitly inciting to violence;
  • call for continuity of EU-UK cooperation and information exchange;
  • Restricting knife-carrying and banning particularly harmful knives;
  • Inclusion of private planes under the PNR Directive;
  • European system of licences for specialised buyers of explosive precursors;
  • Urgent need for a common definition of ‘victim of terrorism’ at EU level;
  • Commission asked to create an EU Coordination Centre of victims of terrorism (CCVT) to provide crisis support and assistance in cases of attacks;
  • use the European Solidarity Fund to compensate victims of large-scale terror attacks; Closer cooperation with non-EU countries, especially neighbouring countries.”How a man, who was convicted 27 times, and known for 10 years for radicalisation, received only 5 years of prison, and ended freely perambulating around?!” asked a rhetoric question  in his Twitter mico rbolg MEP Nicolas Bay (Fr, ENF)  reflecting on the incident at Christmas market in Strasbourg. “This is unacceptable laxism on all the level, because it kills!.”https://twitter.com/NicolasBay_/status/1072839646822981634

Leonardo da Vinci 500 anniversary

Loire Valley is preparing to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci.

From January to December 2019, over 500 cultural events have been scheduled, including exhibits, performances, concerts and debates in the Centre-Val de Loire region, the second most-visited in France, after Paris.

It was in this green valley on the rivers of the Loire, a UNESCO world heritage site, that the Renaissance master moved in 1516.

Tuscan genius was invited by King Francis I and took with him masterworks like  Mona Lisa and St John the Baptist, which are today part of the Louvre collection.
Leonardo died at the chateau du Clos-Lucé in Amboise on May 2, 1519, where he is buried.

#Strasbourg: France reinforces its borders

Early morning hours Minister of Interior of France Chirstophe Castaner (pictured) gave press-conference in Strasbourg, updating the information on the ongoing police operation. There are 350 policemen, and two helicopters involved in the search operation. Castaner declared plan “Vigipirate” at level of “emergency attack“.

Minister ordered to reinforce the border control.

The gunman, shot 14 people, 2 died instantly. During the conference Castaner delcared three people dead as a result of attack at Christmas Market in the historic city centre.

Strasbourg Christmas Market is a tourist attraction, known world-wide, and considered as oldest in Europe, in winter the city is often referred to as “Capital of Christmas“.

Strasbourg Marché

 

Trump trolls Macron over climate change

President Donald Trump used his Twitter  micro blog to comment on events in France, where fuel tax imposition caused public outrage culminating in a wave of  urban violence. President Macron  had to postpone his plans to implement his measure, conceived in name of climate change agenda:

I am glad that my friend @EmmanuelMacron and the protestors in Paris have agreed with the conclusion I reached two years ago,” Trump tweeted.

The Paris Agreement is fatally flawed because it raises the price of energy for responsible countries while whitewashing some of the worst polluters,” said Trump, referring to a global deal on the environment drafted in Paris in late 2015.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe decided to freeze planned increases to fuel taxes for at least six months in response to weeks of sometimes violent protests in big cities all over France, marking the first major U-turn by Macron’s administration in 18 months in office.

Niqab wear as ‘human right’

A panel of independent experts, monitoring states compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, said France had 180 days to report back about actions it had taken to restore rights of wearing niqab.

France’s ban on the niqab has been ruled a violation of human rights, The UN Human Rights Committee said, explaining that it has put Muslim women and risks “confining them to their homes.

In a landmark ruling the UN moved to support wearers of the full-body Islamic veil and ordered French authorities to repay two citizens convicted for wearing niqabs in 2012.

The committee issued a statement clarifying that France had failed to make the case for its so-called ‘burqa ban‘ and ordered it to review the legislation.

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