DW – December 15, 2017
EU leaders meeting in Brussels said on Friday that the way was clear for the opening of the second phase of Brexit negotiations with the UK.
European Council Donald Tusk announced the agreement on Twitter, at the same time congratulating British Prime Minister Theresa May on having brought the divorce settlement negotiations thus far.
“As for the framework for future relations, it is now time for internal EU 27 preparations and exploratory contacts with the UK to get more clarity on their vision,” Tusk later said, referring to the 27 EU member states that will remain after Britain’s departure.
Friday’s approval gives May a welcome success after she lost a parliamentary vote over giving lawmakers the ultimate say on the final Brexit deal.
Simon Kent – December 15, 2017
French-Jewish families are being forced from their homes in Paris suburbs as Europe continues to be convulsed by levels of anti-Semitism not seen since the end of the Second World War.
The Paris commuter newspaper 20 Minutes documents an “internal exodus” during 2017 of Jews from the Seine-Saint-Denis department, saying it is emblematic of broader concerns that French Jews, like their brothers and sisters across Europe, are finding it increasingly difficult to reconcile their faith with the changing demographics of the continent.
The paper reports that Jews are leaving their homes on the northeastern fringe of Paris to escape the open hostility that French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Sunday condemned as “well-rooted.” The newspaper reports:
This ‘internal exodus’ is difficult to quantify, but it is clear that many synagogues of Seine-Saint-Denis have closed, for lack of people. In Pierrefitte, the rabbi has recorded a 50 percent decline in the congregations since his arrival thirteen years ago. A similar story is told in (nearby) Bondy, where attendance on Yom Kippur (the holiest day of the Jewish calendar) has fallen from about 800 to 400 in the last decade.
Sputnik News – December 14, 2017
German SPD party leader Martin Schulz’s talk of a European federalist constitutional treaty sparked an uproar of dissent and criticism within the European Union, especially from its Eastern European members. Speaking to Sputnik, Czech politician Premysl Votava outlined what he said was so dangerous about Schulz’s proposal.
Last week, Schulz outlined his desire to create a legal mechanism for Europe’s federalization, subject to EU member approval, leading to the creation of a ‘United States of Europe’ by the year 2025. According to the politician, any country opposed to the idea would be free to exit the supranational bloc.
Speaking to Sputnik Czech, Premysl Votava, deputy chairman of the Czech National Social Party, a left civic nationalist and soft Eurosceptical party, said that while Schulz’s proposal was absurd, it was by no means accidental.
“It turns out that one of the countries of the European Union, and one which from the economic point of view is the strongest, wants to determine how the EU will look within the next few years. This looks like a return to the time of the dictate, when small states have to submit to the interests of stronger states,” the politician warned.
Newsmax – December 7, 2017
BRUSSELS – The EU’s top diplomat pledged Thursday to reinvigorate diplomacy with Russia, the United States, Jordan and others to ensure Palestinians have a capital in Jerusalem after President Donald Trump recognized the city as Israel’s capital.
The European Union, a member of the Middle East Quartet along with the United States, the United Nations and Russia, believes it has a duty to make its voice heard as the Palestinians’ biggest aid donor and Israel’s top trade partner.
“The European Union has a clear and united position. We believe the only realistic solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine is based on two states and with Jerusalem as the capital of both,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told a news conference.
Sputnik News – December 12, 2017
The leader of the German SPD party, Martin Schulz, wants to turn the European Union into the so-called “United States of Europe” with a common constitution.
The initiative differs little from the idea of a “Multi-speed Europe” that has been recently voiced by French President Emmanuel Macron in his speech at the Sorbonne, Vladimir Ardaev wrote for RIA Novosti.
According to the political observer, the initiative contributes to a standoff within the EU, as it literally divides the bloc’s members into “first” and “second” class.
“The desire to unite the ‘the EU’s core,’ consisting only of those ready for a closer integration of the countries, didn’t come out of thin air. Disagreements in the European community have lately been increasing with the main division line passing along the borders of the Eastern European and Central European states. These states, that joined the European Union after the dissolution of the socialist bloc, differ from the Western ‘veterans’ not only in their development, but also in their stance on very important issues,” Ardaev wrote.
For instance, the position of the countries of the Visegrad group — Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia — that joined the European Union in 2004, often contradicts with that of the other EU states.
Neil Murphy – December 8, 2017
This morning (8 December) Fleet Street was abuzz about a deal struck between Theresa May and the EU over the final divorce bill, Irish border and migrant rights – thus paving the way for further talks on Brexit.
A senior British source has revealed the UK will pay a financial settlement estimated at £35-£39 billion (40-45 billion euro) as it leaves the EU.
Ireland’s border with the UK had become a major sticking point in negotiations and a previous agreement was scuppered by unionists in Northern Ireland, who were opposed to any move that would see it economically separated from the rest of the country.
The DUP has now cautiously welcomed Whitehall’s assurances that the province would not remain in the single market when the UK leaves the EU in 2019, but says there is “more work to be done” on the matter.
Despite the positive signs from most commentators, Pro-Brexit figures have been growing increasingly angry about details, which seem to suggest that the UK could headed for a soft Brexit.
Tovah Lazaroff – December 8, 2017
European countries, Egypt and Russia are slated to rail against US President Donald Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, when the United Nations Security Council holds a meeting on the matter in New York on Friday.
PLO Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour called on the council “to act swiftly” to avoid “this extremely dangerous situation, which constitutes a threat to international peace and security,” according to the Palestinian news agency WAFA.
The Palestinians have argued that the declaration, including the decision to relocate the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, runs counter to past Security Council decisions, including Resolution 242 passed in 1967 and Resolution 2334 approved in December 2016.
It also goes against Security Council Resolution 478, approved in 1980, which specifically called for embassies not to be located in Jerusalem.
These texts reject Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, particularly in area over the pre-1967 border.
It’s expected that the US, one of five Security Council countries with veto power, would block any action against Israel.
Jordan Bhatt – December 4, 2017
Nationalist leaders from across the United Kingdom have voiced their concerns over a possible deal that could see Northern Ireland continue under EU trade laws and regulations.
In a bid to maintain the peace between Northern Ireland and the Republic, leaked reports have suggested that there would be no divergence in law across the island of Ireland, even after Brexit.
But leaders from the devolved regions have all raised concerns with the plans.
In Brussels, Theresa May was forced to exit talks without a signed deal.
Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said that there was no deal reached but that it was still possible by the end of the week.
Sputnik News – November 29, 2017
On Tuesday, health officials revealed that the HIV epidemic is growing at an “alarming pace” in Europe.
According to a joint report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), more than 160,000 people contracted HIV in 53 European countries in 2016.
The number of newly-diagnosed infections in Europe has increased from 12 in every 100,000 people in 2007 to 18.2 for every 100,000 in 2015, with most of the new cases appearing in Eastern Europe.
“The HIV epidemic continues to rise at an alarming pace in the European Region, mostly in its eastern part, which is home to almost 80 percent of the 160,000 new HIV diagnoses. This is the highest number of cases ever recorded in one year. If this trend persists, we will not be able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal target of ending the HIV epidemic by 2030,” WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab said, according to a Tuesday press release.
The findings reveal that many patients have HIV for several years before it is diagnosed, increasing the probability of the virus being passed on to others.
Brittany Vonow – November 29, 2017
THE Muslim population in countries across Europe could triple by 2050, a report has suggested.
Finland’s Muslim population alone could increase by more than four times, while the UK could see an increase of 2.65 times in little more than a decade, according to projections made in the study.
Around 6.3 per cent of the UK’s population is currently Muslim – compared to the percentage of 4.9 across Europe – with the country potentially reaching 17.2 per cent in the high migration scenario, to the Washington-based Pew Forum report suggested.
The report said countries like Germany and Sweden that would see the biggest growth in Muslim population, stating: “Countries that have received relatively large numbers of Muslim refugees in recent years are projected to experience the biggest changes in the high migration scenario.”
Under the highest level projections, one in five people in Germany would be Muslim by 2050, Sweden is expected to see almost one in three.