Tag Archives: EU

Weg mit den Rettern

Der Anfang scheint gemacht. Am Wochenende stellten die Organisationen Ärzte ohne Grenzen und Sea-Eye ihre Rettungsaktionen für schiffbrüchige Flüchtlinge im Mittelmeer bis auf Weiteres ein. Andere werden wohl folgen. Denn Libyen hat eine nationale SAR-Zone (abgeleitet von “Search and Rescue”, deutsch: “Suchen und Retten”) ausgerufen, die weit über die libyschen Hoheitsgewässer hinausreicht. Und die Regierung in Tripolis, die im Land selbst kaum etwas regiert, hat die privaten Helfer ausdrücklich gewarnt, diese Zone zu befahren.

Die Drohung ist ernst zu nehmen, denn zu Wasser ist Libyen gut bestückt. Man hat aus Europa moderne Schiffe für die Küsten- und Seekontrolle bekommen, dazu viel Geld und Ausbildungskurse und was man sonst noch so braucht für den kleinen Seekrieg vor der Haustür.

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Posted by on August 21, 2017 in Africa, European Union


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Washington and Berlin on a Collision Course

The Russia sanctions bill that passed the US Senate by 98:2 on June 15 is a bombshell; it directly demonizes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, under the Baltic Sea, which is bound to double Gazprom’s energy capacity to supply gas to Europe.The 9.5 billion euro pipeline is being financed by five companies; Germany’s Uniper and Wintershall; Austria’s OMV; France’s Engie; and Anglo-Dutch Shell. All these majors operate in Russia, and have, or will establish, pipeline contracts with Gazprom.In a joint statement, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern stressed that, “Europe’s energy supply is a matter for Europe, not the United States of America”; “instruments for political sanctions should not be tied to economic interests”; and the whole thing heralds a “new and very negative quality in European-American relations”.

Source: Washington and Berlin on a Collision Course

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Posted by on July 6, 2017 in European Union, North America


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Germany’s Russian gas pipeline smells funny to America

LIKE vinyl records and popped collars, rows between the United States and Europe over Russian energy are making a comeback. In the early 1980s Ronald Reagan’s attempts to thwart a Soviet pipeline that would bring Siberian gas to Europe irritated the West Germans and drove the French to proclaim the end of the transatlantic alliance. The cast of characters has shifted a little today, but many of the arguments are the same. In Nord Stream 2 (NS2), a proposed Russian gas pipeline, Germany sees a respectable project that will cut energy costs and lock in secure supplies. American politicians (and the ex-communist countries of eastern Europe) detect a Kremlin plot to deepen Europe’s addiction to cheap Russian gas. They decry German spinelessness.

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Posted by on July 1, 2017 in European Union


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Albania is the Future of Europe

There is a moment in Adam Curtis’s documentary Bitter Lake in which the narrator (Curtis) talks about the ideals that brought both the Soviets and Americans to Afghanistan: to create a state based on their respective principles and ideologies, to create an ally in the region, to change the country in their likeness.But, Curtis concludes ironically, little did they know that Afghanistan would change them instead. Neither the Soviets nor the Americans could fathom that they would bring back to their home countries the very habits that they tried to eradicate in Afghanistan: corruption, nepotism, and the like.*For seven years now I have lived in Albania. I have seen ambassadors and foreign representatives come and go. And they all, so they say, share this same ideal: to make Albania a better place. Or rather, to make Albania more like wherever they came from: the West. Their presence would change Albania, would stabilize Albania.

Source: Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Albania is the Future of Europe – Berfrois

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Posted by on May 17, 2017 in Europe


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Don’t believe the liberals – there is no real choice between Le Pen and Macron

The title of a comment piece which appeared in The Guardian, the UK voice of the anti-Assange-pro-Hillary liberal left, says it all: “Le Pen is a far-right Holocaust revisionist. Macron isn’t. Hard choice?”

Predictably, the text proper begins with: “Is being an investment banker analogous with being a Holocaust revisionist? Is neoliberalism on a par with neofascism?” and mockingly dismisses even the conditional leftist support for the second-round Macron vote, the stance of: “I’d now vote Macron – VERY reluctantly.”

This is liberal blackmail at its worst: one should support Macron unconditionally; it doesn’t matter that he is a neoliberal centrist, just that he is against Le Pen. It’s the old story of Hillary versus Trump: in the face of the fascist threat, we should all gather around her banner (and conveniently forget how her side brutally outmanoeuvred Sanders and thus contributed to losing the election).

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Posted by on May 11, 2017 in European Union


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Perché le ong che salvano vite nel Mediterraneo sono sotto attacco

Nel fine settimana del 15 e 16 aprile sono state soccorse al largo della Libia 8.300 persone in 55 diverse operazioni condotte dalle navi delle organizzazioni non governative e dalle navi militari, i soccorsi sono stati coordinati dalla centrale operativa della guardia costiera di Roma. L’aumento degli arrivi è in parte da attribuire al miglioramento delle condizioni del mare, tuttavia ha riacceso le polemiche che negli ultimi mesi hanno coinvolto le organizzazioni umanitarie che si occupano di soccorrere i migranti nel Mediterraneo. Il leader della Lega nord Matteo Salvini ha minacciato di “denunciare il governo italiano” per aver soccorso migliaia di persone al largo della Libia. Anche il leader dei cinquestelle Beppe Grillo sul suo blog ha parlato “del ruolo oscuro delle ong”.

Source: Perché le ong che salvano vite nel Mediterraneo sono sotto attacco  – Annalisa Camilli – Internazionale

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Posted by on April 24, 2017 in European Union


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Freeing up the rich to exploit the poor – that’s what Trump and Brexit are about

Propaganda works by sanctifying a single value, such as faith, or patriotism. Anyone who questions it puts themselves outside the circle of respectable opinion. The sacred value is used to obscure the intentions of those who champion it. Today, the value is freedom. Freedom is a word that powerful people use to shut down thought.When thinktanks and the billionaire press call for freedom, they are careful not to specify whose freedoms they mean. Freedom for some, they suggest, means freedom for all. In certain cases, this is true. You can exercise freedom of thought, for instance, without harming others. In other cases, one person’s freedom is another’s captivity.

Source: Freeing up the rich to exploit the poor – that’s what Trump and Brexit are about | George Monbiot | Opinion | The Guardian

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Posted by on April 11, 2017 in Economy, Europe, European Union


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We cannot deal with Islamist terrorism alone. Using security as a Brexit bargaining chip is a dangerous game

This is Theresa May in her Article 50 letter on a post-Brexit trade deal with the EU: “In security terms, a failure to reach agreement would mean our cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened.” Then we had Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, talking about Britain’s contribution to Europol: “If we left, we would take our information with us.”

And this is Alex Younger, the head of MI6, in his first public speech three months ago addressing the issue of Brexit and security: “The need for the deepest cooperation can only grow. And I am determined that MI6 remains a ready and highly effective partner, just as the UK is and will be. These partnerships save lives in all our countries.”

Whose views should the people of this country, a week after the Westminster attack, believe offers greater protection against terrorism? The chief of the intelligence service? Or politicians trying to use public safety as a bargaining tool?

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Posted by on April 10, 2017 in Europe, European Union


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Why the system will still win

The term ‘anti-systemic movements’ was commonly used 25 years ago (1) to characterise forces on the left in revolt against capitalism. Today, it has not lost relevance in the West, but its meaning has changed. The movements of revolt that have multiplied over the past decade no longer rebel against capitalism, but neoliberalism — deregulated financial flows, privatised services and escalating social inequality, that specific variant of the reign of capital set in place in Europe and America since the 1980s. The resultant economic and political order has been accepted all but indistinguishably by governments of the centre-right and centre-left, in accordance with the central tenet of la pensée unique, Margaret Thatcher’s dictum that ‘there is no alternative’. Two kinds of movement are now arrayed against this system; the established order stigmatises them, whether from the right or left, as the menace of populism.

Source: Why the system will still win, by Perry Anderson (Le Monde diplomatique – English edition, March 2017)

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Posted by on March 22, 2017 in European Union



Brexit unleashed an English nationalism that has damaged the union with Scotland for good

Brexit is English nationalism made flesh, but the English underrate its destructive potential as a form of communal identity. Concepts like “nationalism” and “self-determination” have traditionally been seen as something that happens to foreigners. An English failing today is an inability to recognise the egocentricity implicit in such nationalism and the extent to which it alienates and invites confrontation with other nations in the British Isles and beyond.

A classic example of this blindness to the consequences of this new type of nationalism came this week when Theresa May denounced Nicola Sturgeon for “playing politics with the future of our country” in demanding a second referendum on Scottish independence. This immediately begs the question about the nature and location of this “country” to which such uncritical loyalty is due. If the state in question is the UK, then why do the advocates of Brexit ignore the opposition – and take for granted the compliance – of Scotland and Northern Ireland in leaving the EU?

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Posted by on March 21, 2017 in Europe, European Union


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