Tag Archives: Madrid

NATO supper at Prado Museum

Madrid 29.06.2022 The leaders of 44 countries participating in the 32nd NATO Summit organised in Madrid, the capital of Spain, had dinner at the Prado National Museum.

The dinner event offered to the leaders by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez brought together the heads of state and government, foreign and defense ministers from 30 NATO member countries, and also 14 countries that participated in the Summit as guests.

The meal was prepared by Spanish chef Jose Andres, who went to Ukraine for humanitarian aid in the first months of the war, and the Kiev Symphony Orchestra also gave a concert.

The leaders also had the opportunity to see some of the works of famous Spanish painters Diego Velazquez and Francisco de Goya in the museum.

Biden’s granddaughters, daughters of Hunter, Maisy and Finnegan fill in for Jill at a lavish NATO dinner.

NATO: Turkey opens perspective to Scandinavians

Madrid 29.06.2022 Turkey Sweden and Finland signed a trilateral memorandum on Tuesday, 28 Juin, in view of the perspective of the Nordic countries’ NATO membership process after an important meeting in Madrid in which Ankara has framed its demands, especially in the field of terrorism.

Turkey “got what it wanted” from the talks with Sweden and Finland talks, the Turkish presidency said in a written statement, underlining that full cooperation was agreed on with Turkey on fighting the PKK terrorist group and its affiliates.

Solidarity will be demonstrated towards Turkey in its fight against all branches of terrorism, it said. Furthermore, Sweden and Finland also agreed not to support the PKK organization’s Syrian wing, the YPG, as well as the Gülenists Group (FETÖ), all of them regarded as extremists in Ankara.

“As prospective NATO Allies, Finland and Sweden extend their full support to Turkey against threats to its national security,” the trilateral memorandum read.

“To that effect, Finland and Sweden will not provide support to the YPG/PYD, and the organization described as FETÖ in Turkey” the document continues.

“Finland and Sweden reject and condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, in the strongest terms,” it continued, highlighting that Finland and Sweden condemn all terrorist organizations perpetrating attacks against Turkey, and express their deepest solidarity with Ankara.

“Finland and Sweden commit to preventing activities of the PKK and all other terrorist organizations and their extensions, as well as activities by individuals in affiliated and inspired groups or networks linked to these terrorist organizations,” the memorandum said, adding that Finland and Sweden will address the issue of Turkey’s pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects expeditiously.

However, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told reporters after the meeting that the trilateral memorandum does not list individuals for extradition but rather describes principles for extraditions related to terrorism, not individual citizens.

NATO leaders will formally invite Finland and Sweden to join the alliance Wednesday, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said during the membership process.

“I’m pleased to announce that we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO. Turkey, Finland and Sweden have signed a memorandum that addresses Turkey’s concerns, including around arms exports, and the fight against terrorism,” Stoltenberg said Tuesday after crunch talks in Madrid.

The Turkish presidency added that the Nordic countries have also agreed to lift their embargoes on weapons deliveries to Turkey, which were imposed in response to Ankara’s 2019 operation into Syria.

The two countries will ban “fundraising and recruitment activities” for the PKK, and “prevent terrorist propaganda against Turkey.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted Sweden and Finland to abandon their long-held nonaligned status and apply to join NATO. However, Turkey had opposed the move on the grounds that these two countries were supporting terrorist organizations.

The agreement comes at the opening of a crucial summit dominated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. U.S. President Joe Biden and other NATO leaders arrived in Madrid for a summit that will set the course of the alliance for the coming years. The summit was kicking off with a leaders’ dinner hosted by Spain’s King Felipe VI at the 18th-century Royal Palace of Madrid.

Diplomats and leaders from Turkey, Sweden and Finland earlier held a flurry of talks in an attempt to break the impasse over Turkey’s opposition to expansion. The three countries’ leaders met for more than two hours alongside Stoltenberg on Tuesday, Juin 28, before the agreement was announced.

Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson hailed the “very good agreement” with Turkey and said the move would make the alliance stronger.

“Taking the next step toward a full NATO membership is of course important for Sweden and Finland. But it’s also a very important step for NATO, because our countries will be security providers within NATO,” Andersson told Agence France-Presse (AFP) in an interview.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also hailed Turkey’s agreement to drop its objections to Finland’s and Sweden’s membership of NATO.

“Fantastic news as we kick off the NATO Summit. Sweden and Finland’s membership will make our brilliant alliance stronger and safer,” Johnson wrote on Twitter.

On the other side, a U.S. official said on the same day that Turkey did not demand concessions from Washington to support Finland and Sweden.

“There was no request from the Turkish side for the Americans to make a particular concession,” a senior administration official told reporters.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official called Turkey’s decision a “powerful shot in the arm” for NATO unity, Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah writes.

Madrid Summit transforms NATO

Madrid 28.06.2022 “The Madrid Summit will be a pivotal Summit. We will agree a new Strategic Concept, the Madrid Strategic Concept, that will be the blueprint for NATO in a more dangerous and unpredictable world” said the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, while opening the historic NATO Summit in Madrid together with the Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez.

“We will agree a fundamental shift of our deterrence and defence with more high readiness forces, with more forward defence, with more pre-positioned equipment” he continued.

“We will agree a Comprehensive Assistance Package to Ukraine to help them uphold the right for self-defence. It is extremely important that we are ready to continue to provide support because Ukraine now faces brutality which we haven’t seen in Europe since the Second World War” Stoltenberg underscored.

“And then, we hope to make progress on the accession of Finland and Sweden. And then, of course, we will also state that to be able to defend ourselves in a more dangerous world we also need to invest more in our defences…” he concluded.

Spain hosts the NATO Summit in Madrid on 28, 29 and 30 June 2022. The meetings are chaired by the NATO Secretary General, and take place at RECINTO FERIAL IFEMA MADRID.

NATO: New Strategic Concept

Brussels 27.06.2022 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday (27 June 2022) said NATO leaders meeting in Madrid this week are set to sign off on key decisions, including a new Strategic Concept, a major strengthening of NATO’s deterrence and defence and greater support to Ukraine.

Speaking in Brussels ahead of the Summit which begins on Tuesday, the Secretary General said NATO leaders will also focus on investing in defence, aim to make progress on Finland and Sweden’s historic applications for NATO membership and deepen cooperation with Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

“At the Summit, we will strengthen our forward defences. We will enhance our battlegroups in the eastern part of the Alliance up to brigade-levels. We will transform the NATO Response Force. And increase the number of our high readiness forces to well over 300,000. We will also boost our ability to reinforce in crisis and conflict” Stoltenberg said.

“Nine Allies now reach or exceed the 2% target. Nineteen Allies have clear plans to reach it by 2024.
And an additional five have concrete commitments to meet it thereafter. Two percent is increasingly considered a floor, not a ceiling. We will also agree to invest more together in NATO for the benefit of our security” the Secretary General continued.

Stoltenberg welcomed President Zelenskyy joining the NATO Summit in Madrid.
“NATO and Allies have provided substantial support to Ukraine since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, including with military and financial aid, and training for tens of thousands of Ukrainian forces.
All of this is making a difference on the battlefield every day. And since the invasion in February, Allies have stepped up even more. With billions of euros’ worth of military, financial, and humanitarian assistance.At the Summit, we will agree a strengthened Comprehensive Assistance Package for Ukraine.
This will include substantial deliveries of support. In areas like secure communications, anti-drone systems, and fuel” Stoltenberg underscored.

COVID19: Europe gradually lifts restrictions

A number of European countries are further lifting their restrictions on May 25, Monday:

Gyms and swimming pools reopen in Italy, except in the hardest-hit region of Lombardy. The country has the third-highest recorded death toll from the virus worldwide.

Spain’s two biggest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, both move into phase one of the country’s 3-phase lockdown lifting plan. People can now gather in small groups, while bars and restaurants can serve customers outside. Other parts of the country move to phase two – meaning beaches, businesses and public areas can open more extensively.

Ferry services in Greece resume to all islands and ports, as the government hopes to boost domestic tourism. Cafes and restaurants are also reopening in the country from Monday.

Bars repent in the Czech Republic – the country with the highest per capita beer consumption in the world – as the country enters its final lockdown easing stage.

As well as restaurants, cafes and pubs, the doors are also reopening at primary schools, zoos and castles.

Puigdemont admitted to EU elections

A Madrid court ruled on  that former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, who lives in a self-imposed exile in Belgium since 2017 to escape arrest for his prominent role in organising  the independence referendum, could run in the European Parliament election on May 26.

Spain’s electoral commission last month barred Puigdemont and two other fugitive Catalan politicians from standing, but they contested  the decision in court. Puigdemont and Toni Comin live in Belgium while Clara Ponsati lives in Scotland.

All three face imminent arrest in case they return to Spain as the referendum was ruled  not only illegal by the Constitutional Court. Nine Catalan leadersincluding Puigdemont’s former vice-president, Oriol Junqueras  are going through trial in Madrid on charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

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.

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.

 

 

Spain warns no-deal “catastrophe”

Leaving the European Union without a deal, or so called ‘hard’ Brexit would be catastrophic, Spain Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said, while confirming that there were contingency plans in place.

Britain’s exit from the bloc on March 29 is uncertain as Westminster is highly likely to vote against a proposed by Theresa May cabinet deal, opening up a way to a disorderly retreat to.

A hard Brexit would be a catastrophe for everyone,”  Borrell, Socialist politician and former President of the European Parliament said during a conference in Madrid.

Catalonia protests amid Sanchez visit

Catalan politicians sentenced over organising independence referendum called on for peaceful protests ahead of a first visit of the Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

Prime Minister  has planned to chair the weekly meeting in the Catalan capital Barcelona on December 21 in a gesture towards the conflict resolution with the northeastern region where Catalan pro-independence movement rejects the authority of Madrid central government. The claims for independence has not been dropped since the results of the referendum 2017 October 1, declared illegal by Spain’s Constitutional Court, about 90% of Catalan voters backed independence with turnout of 43%.

The leaders of Catalan government and the speaker of the Parliament were arrested, and jailed shorty after the declaration of independence charged with ‘rebellion‘, a non existent crime in the other EU democracies.

21/12/2018 AMENDMENT:

Catalan News channel reports the mobilization of protesters from early morning hours.

The Socialist (PSOE) Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced that he would be holding the meeting of his government in the Catalan capital Barcelona, after having done the same in Andalusia, in a bid to bring the central government closer to the people of Spain. These intentions have been interpreted otherwise by the supporters of the Catalonia independence,  and groups such as the self-styled Committee for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) have called for mass protests.

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