DW – June 19, 2018
Germany and France have agreed to “open a new chapter” in European Union relations, after Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron met to finalize plans for sweeping reforms of the 19-member eurozone, including a new parallel budget.
Tuesday’s talks at Meseberg castle outside Berlin have a lot riding on them: Merkel’s political survival rests on her finding a European solution to prevent another influx of migrants to Germany, while both leaders have staked their reputation on further reworking the eurozone.
“We are working to make sure that the eurozone budget will be used to strengthen investment, also with the aim of strengthening convergence within the eurozone,” Merkel said.
Paul Taylor – May 2, 2018
PARIS — Impatient with German foot-dragging on defense, French President Emmanuel Macron will bring together a 10-nation coalition of the willing next month designed to prepare European armed forces to take action together in emergencies, and to bind Britain into military cooperation as it leaves the EU.
Defense ministers of France, the U.K., Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, Denmark and Estonia will sign a letter of intent in Paris in June, officials told me, pledging to develop a common strategic culture, share analysis and foresight on trouble spots that may require intervention and work to coordinate their forces for future operations.
Macron outlined the idea in his keynote Sorbonne speech on European integration last September, calling for a common European intervention force, defense budget and doctrine for action in contingencies where the United States and NATO may not get involved. France wants to recruit allies that could help share its military burden especially in Africa, where it intervened alone in Mali in 2012 to prevent Islamist militants seizing control of a weak state.
RT – April 29, 2018
Be it warm hugs in Washington or unity over Syrian strikes, it all fades when money talks, and the leaders of Germany, France and Britain say they will “defend” against any US unilateral trade measures against the EU.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Theresa May had a joint phone call on Saturday and mulled potential retaliatory measures against Washington’s protectionist practices.
“They agreed that the United States should take no trade measures against the European Union or else the European Union should be ready to defend its interests within the framework of the multilateral trade order,” a German government spokesman said in a statement.
DW – April 28, 2018
Finance ministers from Germany and France committed on Saturday to deliver a eurozone reform road map in time for an EU summit planned for June. Germany’s finance minister, Olaf Scholz, said, “We are optimistic that we will be successful.”
Saturday’s joint announcement is seen as a breakthrough following German resistance to French President Emmanuel Macron’s earlier wide-reaching ideas for strengthening economic and financial cooperation in the single currency bloc.
Saturday’s promise of reforming the 19-member eurozone was announced despite earlier resistance from Berlin to Macron’s proposal of pooling financial resources. Many in Germany’s parliament believe it would likely see the country provide more financial resources to poorer neighbors — such as Italy and Greece — than it would receive from a collective fund. Berlin has also emphasized that such a fund should be linked to economic reforms.
TR – April 29, 2018
The mayor of a southern French town known in the media as the ‘Jihadi capital’ and ‘French Molenbeek’ has called upon the state to prevent the “radicalized Muslim community” from “flourishing” in Lunel.
“I solemnly appeal to the state to prevent fundamentalist Islamic movements from flourishing freely in Lunel,” Mayor Claude Arnaud wrote in an emotional letter, first seen by France Bleu newspaper. The town has been hit hard “by the consequences of radical Islam, which is the gateway to Islamic terrorism,” Arnaud wrote.
With 26,000 residents, the coastal settlement on the Mediterranean, 20km from Montpellier, has become an unofficial symbol of jihadism. Earlier in April, five people were tried for supplying extremists in Syria. Some of them were also accused of briefly traveling to the conflict-stricken country to join the ranks of terrorist groups.
Mac Slavo – April 17, 2018
Russia sent two warships carrying tanks and other military supplies to Syria in the wake of the United States-led attack on Damascus for an alleged chemical attack. It looks like the West’s attack accomplished one thing: a stronger Syria/Russia alliance.
The boats were spotted on The Bosphorus (the straight of Istanbul) on Sunday. This delivery of military supplies from Russia comes on the heels of an attack on Syria led by US president Donald Trump, the United Kingdom, and France. Russian president Vladimir Putin has also since warned that the world would experience “chaos” if Syria was attacked again.
Russia continues to allege the chemical attack used as reasoning by the West to bomb Syria was fabricated. Based on all the evidence currently gathered, it appears to be a false flag, making Russia correct, and the US guilty of producing massive amounts of pro-war propaganda.
Newsmax – April 15, 2018
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Sunday that further Western attacks on Syria would bring chaos to world affairs, while signs emerged that Moscow and Washington want to pull back from the worst crisis in their relations for years.
Putin made his remarks in a telephone conversation with Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani after the United States, France and Britain launched missile strikes on Syria on Saturday over a suspected poison gas attack.
A Kremlin statement said Putin and Rouhani agreed that the Western strikes had damaged the chances of achieving a political resolution in the multi-sided, seven-year conflict that has killed at least half a million people.
“Vladimir Putin, in particular, stressed that if such actions committed in violation of the U.N. Charter continue, then it will inevitably lead to chaos in international relations,” a Kremlin statement said.
Yaron Steinbuch – April 13, 2018
An armada of 12 warships — the largest US strike force since the 2003 Iraq war – is steaming toward the Middle East as President Trump mulls an attack on Syria in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack on civilians, according to a report.
The aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman set sail from Norfolk, Va., on Wednesday with five escort warships and they were expected to join four destroyers and two nuclear-powered subs believed to already be in or near the Mediterranean, the Times of London reported.
Trump on Wednesday appeared to telegraph an attack on Syria by tweeting that missiles “will be coming” in response to the attack on the town of Douma on April 7.
The president threatened that “nice and new and ‘smart’ missiles will be coming” after a Russian diplomat pledged that its military would intercept any rockets fired into Syria.
But Trump tempered those remarks the next day as he consulted allies such and Britain and France, who could join in any American-led strikes on Syria.
Debkafiles – April 10, 2018
US President Donald Trump’s “major decision” on Syria is contingent on the rallying of sufficient air and naval strength and allied participation. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the only US warship immediately available for the promised US military response to Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons in Douma is the guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook, which sailed from Larnaca Monday, April 9, on its way to the eastern Mediterranean. The USS Iwo Jima strike group, which visited Haifa last month, is now cruising in the Arabian Sea, days away from the scene, whereas the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group only departs the US port for the Middle East on Wednesday, April 11, and is not due in the Mediterranean before next week.
The Trump administration is negotiating with Britain, France and other allies, including Arab governments, for their roles in the Syrian operation. Our Washington sources report that the commander-in-chief is looking at a major operation in Syria, to unfold over several days and lead to a concerted allied assault on the Iranian military presence embedded in that country. This extended goal may give US allies pause.
RT – April 9, 2018
Not everyone in the West is happy about Viktor Orban’s victory, in which he secured a third straight term as Hungarian prime minister. Some Western media call the result a serious warning and a problem for the EU and its values.
Orban’s Fidesz party, with its strong anti-immigration agenda, won a large majority – 133 of the 199 seats in parliament – as it gained over 66.8 percent of the votes in Sunday’s parliamentary election. It is the Hungarian Euroskeptic’s third consecutive term and fourth overall, but these elections gained much attention in the wake of rising right-wing sentiments in Europe.
Some politicians welcomed the results, including Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, as well as Christian Social Union (CSU) member Manfred Weber. However, the latter’s support for Orban was lambasted by Washington Post columnist Brian Klaas, who called Orban an “anti-Semitic, racist demagogue and an authoritarian… destroying” Hungarian democracy.
One of the EU member states, Luxembourg, also took a rather aggressive stance and called for its allies in the bloc, namely Germany and France, to stand against the elected Hungarian prime minister. Luxembourg’s foreign minister warned that Hungary may even trigger a trend of “undermining values and scaremongering” across the EU.