Alessandra Scotto di Santolo – June 16, 2018
GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel could lose her powerful seat in the heart of Europe as soon as next week amid clashes within her coalition Government over EU migration policies, claimed German MP Kai Whittaker.
Speaking on BBC World at One, the German politician claimed clashes between Angela Merkel and German interior minister Horst Seehofer could result in a “new political situation” in Germany by the end of next week.
The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) politician said it was still unclear in Berlin what the essence of the disagreement between the Chancellor and Mr Seehofer was and that other members of the coalition had been left “in the blue”.
Mr Whittaker said: “We are in a serious situation because the question of the migration crisis evolved into a power question.
“The question is who is leading the Government? Is it Angela Merkel or is it Horst Seehofer?
Sputnik News – June 14, 2018
The European Union has unanimously approved a set of retaliatory tariffs against the US trade duties, including those on whiskey and motorcycles, according to AFP citing sources.
“Member states have today unanimously supported the commission’s plan for the adoption of rebalancing measures on the US tariffs on steel and aluminum,” the media outlet reported, citing a source from the European Commission on condition of anonymity.
The retaliatory measures are expected to take effect “in coming days,” the source was quoted as saying.
Other officials claim that the measures will enter into force in early July.
The move came as a response to Donald Trump’s recent decision to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminum exports.
RT – July 12, 2018
MPs have voted down the House of Lords amendment to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, which, if it had passed, would have given parliament the final say over Brexit negotiations.
This is essentially a win for Brexiteers who feared the change could be used to halt Brexit entirely.
Earlier on Tuesday Brexit Minister David Davis issued a warning to parliament over the possibility of rejecting the government’s compromise on the “meaningful vote” and backing the House of Lords amendment.
“What it actually amounts to is an unconstitutional shift which risks undermining our negotiation with the European Union,” he said. “The government cannot demonstrate the flexibility necessary for a successful deal if its hands are tied midway through that process.”
In a tense afternoon in parliament, Remain MPs said they had received death threats and brandished a copy of the Daily Express newspaper, which ran a headline saying: “Ignore the will of the people at your peril”.
Amanda Billner, Niklas Magnusson, Rafaela Lindeberg – June 11, 2018
(Bloomberg) — A key committee of Swedish lawmakers wants to force the country’s biggest banks to handle cash in an effort to halt the nation’s march toward complete cashlessness.
Parliament’s Riksbank committee, which is in the process of reviewing the central bank law, proposed making it mandatory for banks to offer cash withdrawals and handle daily receipts. The requirement would apply to banks that provide checking accounts and have more than 70 billion kronor ($8 billion) in deposits from the Swedish public, according to a report.
The lawmakers said there needs to be “reasonable access to those services in all of Sweden,” and that 99 percent of Swedes should have a maximum distance of 25 kilometers (16 miles) to the nearest cash withdrawal. The requirement doesn’t state how banks should offer those services, and lenders can choose whether to use a third party, machines or over-the-counter services.
The move is a response to Sweden’s rapid transformation as it becomes one of the most cashless societies in the world. That’s led to concerns that some people are finding it increasingly difficult to cope without access to mobile phones or bank cards. There are also fears around what would happen if the digital payments systems suddenly crashed.
Patrick Donahue – June 7, 2018
(Bloomberg) — Chancellor Angela Merkel made a forceful pitch for Europe to play a more assertive role in global affairs as U.S. President Donald Trump dismantles the post-World War II order, setting the stage for a potential tense standoff at the Group of Seven summit this week.
The German leader again questioned the durability of trans-Atlantic relations by referring to eye-raising comments she made over a year ago in which she said that “the times when we could fully rely on others are to some extent over.” Those words, spoken at a beer-tent election rally, were a reaction to Trump hectoring European leaders for not spending enough on defense at a North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Brussels. Since then, more fuel has been added to the fire.
“That was my takeaway from the NATO summit, and in the meantime I continue to feel confirmed by my statement,” Merkel said in Munich on Wednesday, this time to a meeting of the European People’s Party, a grouping of center-right parties in the European Parliament.
In addition to the disruptive effects of the rift in NATO and Trump’s exit from the Paris global climate treaty, Merkel pointed to the fresh conflict over trade and the U.S. leader’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear accord last month.
DW – June 8, 2018
Austria’s government on Friday said it would potentially expel dozens of imams and close several mosques in a move to tackle political Islam and stem the foreign financing of mosques.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the government was shutting down a hardline Turkish nationalist mosque in the capital, Vienna, and dissolving a group called the Arab Religious Community, which runs an additional six mosques.
The chancellor said the initiative followed an investigation into images that emerged in April of young boys wearing Turkish uniforms marching, saluting, playing dead and waving Turkish flags. The pictures were found to have come from the Cologne-based Turkish-Islamic Cultural Associations (ATIB) organization, a branch of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet).
“There is no space in our country for parallel societies, political Islam and radical tendencies,” said Kurz, whose conservative Austrian People’s Party (VPÖ) rules in coalition with the right-wing nationalist Freedom Party of Austria (ÖFP).
RT – June 7, 2018
Europe should defend its interests from US policies that undermine the “international system of norms,” former Austrian chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel said on RT’s Worlds Apart.
Schuessel, who also served as president of the European Council, told RT’s Oksana Boyko that the Trump administration posed a serious threat to the “international systems of norms” and should not be allowed to disregard international law with impunity.
Criticizing Washington’s decisions to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and initiate a trade war with its Western allies, Schuessel said that Europe “should stand up and defend our interests.” He suggested that Europe could seek remittal through international bodies such as the United Nations and the World Trade Organization.
The former Austrian chancellor also noted that souring US-Europe relations could provide an opportunity for Brussels and Moscow to increase economic, political and security cooperation.
Virginia Hale – June 6, 2018
“There will be no more European Union” unless the continent shuts the border and makes illegal migration “impossible”, Belgium has declared, as interior ministers from the EU28 met to discuss plans for a common asylum policy.
“Reform of the Dublin Regulation is dead”, Secretary of State for Migration Theo Francken declared, pointing out that staunch opposition from Central Europe and voter swings to the right in nations like Italy and Slovenia have all-but killed the prospect of agreement over a system of sharing responsibility for third world migrants throughout the bloc.
“First we have to fix the front door, fix the back door, and then we can find a compromise on who is doing what,” he told reporters in Luxembourg, stressing that Europe must put a stop to illegal immigration before the bloc can discuss matters like “who is put in which [EU nation]”.
“I have been making a plea for us to take the Australian approach, which tells migrants, ‘You will not make Europe your home’,” the Belgian minister said, advocating that EU nations follow the antipodean government’s policy of pushing back boats carrying third world migrants.
DW – June 6, 2018
The EU executive said Wednesday it would start imposing higher duties on a number of US products in July in response to US President Donald Trump’s recent decision to slap higher tariffs on some EU exports.
The Trump administration had made up its mind not to grant the EU any exemptions from duties that had earlier been imposed on China and other nations.
As a result, European Union producers now have to put up with a 25-percent tariff on steel exports and a tariff of 10 percent on aluminum shipments to the United States.
European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic said Wednesday that formalities in finalizing the EU’s response should be completed this month and “that the duties start applying from July.”
RT – June 4, 2018
Chancellor Angela Merkel has supported “in principle” the idea of a joint European Defense Force proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron. Germany’s opposition had been the main stumbling block for the much-discussed project.
“I am in favor of President Macron’s proposal for an intervention initiative,” the German chancellor told Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper on Sunday.
“However, such an intervention force with a common military-strategic culture must fit into the structure of defense cooperation,” she said.
Merkel said that the German military, the Bundeswehr, “must, in principle, be part of such an initiative,” but added that her statement “doesn’t mean that we are to be involved in every mission.”
During his key speech at Sorbonne University last September, Macron proposed a European military “intervention force” that would protect the continent by taking action in hotspots around the globe. It’s a crucial element of the French leader’s defense reform, which is aimed at integrating European defense capacities.