Category Archives: European Union

(DW) EU leaders reconvene to resolve top jobs impasse


After marathon talks ended without a compromise, EU leaders are meeting again to try and overcome a deadlock over key job nominations. The talks come as the newly elected European Parliament kicked off its first session.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at an EU leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium (AFP/Getty Images/G. Van der Hasselt)

European Union leaders gathered in Brussels on Tuesday for a third day of talks after they failed to come to an agreement on the bloc’s top jobs during a marathon 18-hour session the day before.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was entering Tuesday’s talks with “new creativity” and urged other leaders to be more open to compromise.

“I think that everyone understands that they need to move a bit” in order to achieve a result, she said. Her remarks come after Italy, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia opposed a possible compromise the day before.

The official start of Tuesday’s summit was delayed until the afternoon as European Council chairman Donald Tusk continued separate talks with leaders.

Leaders from the bloc’s 28 member-states have been in disagreement for weeks over naming a successor to outgoing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Much of the impasse is centered on picking a nominee to succeed Juncker, who heads the EU’s powerful executive arm. The leaders also hope to name a new European Council president as well as a foreign policy chief.

This requires the approval of 21 of the 28 EU leaders, representing 65% of the bloc’s population. The top job nominations must also have a geographical and gender balance that represents both the smaller and larger member states.

Frans Timmermans (picture-alliance/XinHua)

Frans Timmermans of the Netherlands emerged as a surprise favorite for the top European Commission job

Timmermans ‘not acceptable’ for some EU states

Following talks yesterday, Dutch Social Democrat Frans Timmermans was favored to take the top European Commission post.

That option didn’t sit well with some EU member states, as Timmermans has been a vocal supporter of the refugee quota distribution system and threatened legal action in order to improve rule of law in Hungary and Poland.

“We want somebody on the presidency of the commission who doesn’t have a negative view on our region. Mr. Timmermans is not acceptable for us. That’s it,” Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis told reporters as he arrived in Brussels.

Timmermans main challenger Manfred Weber, a German EU lawmaker with the center-right European People’s Party (EPP), could possibly end up being the speaker of the European Parliament. Going into the talks, Weber had been favored to succeed Juncker, but appears to have slipped in the rankings during negotiations.

  • CANDIDATES FOR EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENTManfred Weber (EPP)The center-right European People’s Party (EPP) — the largest faction in the European Parliament — has picked Manfred Weber, its German parliamentary party leader. He has the backing of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Though considered the front-runner, Weber is little known on the international stage, and his language skills are considered poor.


European Parliament convenes

The talks in Brussels came as the European Parliament opened its first post-election session in Strasbourg on Tuesday.

The opening session was disrupted by some newly elected legislators from right-wing parties, Catalan independence supporters and others.

Some lawmakers with the Brexit Party were seen turning their backs while the EU’s anthem “Ode to Joy” was playing.

Once the 28 EU leaders make a final decision on the candidates for the top jobs, these must be approved by the European Parliament. Lawmakers are due to vote on a new leader for the European Parliament on Wednesday.

The new session follows elections in May that saw the bloc’s two traditional center-right and center-left parties lose votes, while the Greens and far-right parties saw solid gains.

(Reuters) USTR proposes $4 bln in potential additional tariffs over EU aircraft subsidies


WASHINGTON, July 1 (Reuters) – The U.S. Trade Representative’s office on Monday released a $4 billion list of additional products that could be hit with tariffs in an ongoing dispute with the European Union over its subsidies on civil aircraft.

The list, which includes a range of European foods and liquor, adds to products valued at $21 billion that USTR had identified in April as facing possible tariffs.

USTR said it was adding to its initial list in response to public comments and following additional analysis, but gave no further explanation.

(ZH) Dalai Lama: Europe Will Turn “Muslim Or African” If Migrants Not Returned “To Their Own Land”


The Dalai Lama has warned that ‘the whole of Europe will eventually become a Muslim, African country” unless refugees that have been taken in are not returned to their home countries.

Speaking with the BBC‘s Rajini Vaidyanathan from his home in the mountainous town of McLeod-Ganj in Northern India, the 83-year-old spiritual leader said that while Europe was under an obligation to take in those who need help, they must ultimately be returned to their homelands. 

“European countries should take these refugees and give them education and training, and the aim is return to their own land with certain skills,” said the Dalai Lama, adding “A limited number is OK, but the whole of Europe [will] eventually become Muslim country, African country – impossible.” 

“Receive them [migrants], help them, educate them, but ultimately they should develop their own country. I think Europe belongs to the Europeans.” 

We wonder if virtue-signaling liberals will peel off their “Free Tibet” bumper stickers now that their idol is one pair of Khakis and a tiki-torch away from Europe’s identitarian movement? 

The Dalai Lama sought refuge in India, where he has been living in exile with 10,000 Tibetans. The view from the Dalai Lama’s residence in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh (via BBC)

His monastery – which overlooks the snow-capped peaks of the Dhauladhar range in the Himalayas – is breathtakingly beautiful. But the view is bittersweet.

His life’s cause – to return home – remains a distant dream, even if he insists it may yet happen. “The Tibetan people have trust in me, they ask me [to] come to Tibet,” he says.

But in the next breath he adds that India has also become his “spiritual home”. An implicit acceptance, perhaps, that his goal of an autonomous Tibet is far from reality. –BBC

When asked about President Trump, the Buddhist monk said that he “lacked moral principle” and that the administration’s America first policy is “wrong.”  

(EUobserver) EU to sign free trade deal with Vietnam


The EU will sign an accord with Vietnam this Sunday to remove virtually all customs duties on trade, the EU commission said Tuesday. The agreement was negotiated in December 2015, but EU member states only gave their approval on Tuesday at a ministerial meeting. EU-Vietnam trade represents €50bn in goods and €4bn in services, according to the commission. The EU parliament will is expected to ratify the deal later.

(Politico) Russian groups targeted EU election with fake news, says European Commission


Analysis finds ‘continued and sustained disinformation activity.’

Russian groups carried out a widespread disinformation campaign aimed at influencing the European Parliament election, according to an analysis by the European Commission and the European Union’s diplomatic service.

These digital tactics were aimed at undermining the EU’s democratic legitimacy and used hot-button topics to sow public anger, based on evidence collected by Brussels-based institutions in a report released today.

“The evidence collected revealed a continued and sustained disinformation activity by Russian sources aiming to suppress turnout and influence voter preferences,” the analysis said. “These covered a broad range of topics, ranging from challenging the Union’s democratic legitimacy to exploiting divisive public debates on issues such as of migration and sovereignty.”

The attribution to “Russian sources” is exceptional, as the EU is generally cautious to point fingers at foreign countries when commenting publicly on cybersecurity attacks.

But lately the Kremlin has come under increased attention for attempted digital assaults on international institutions in The Hague late last year, and suspicion has grown among Western officials that Russia was behind a hack that targeted the EU’s diplomatic mission in Moscow — an incident that became public last week.

“The disinformation campaigns were smart and subtle to focus on issues that mattered to the target audiences” — Chloe Colliver, Institute of Strategic Dialogue

As part of widespread “fake news” around the election, domestic political groups and politicians also borrowed heavily from tactics initially used by Russia-backed groups, including efforts to sway discussion on social media, the report said. The goal, according to the EU analysis, was to promote extreme views and polarize national political debates ahead of last month’s vote.

The analysis said it was too soon to conclude whether the online campaigns had influenced turnout or voters’ choice of party.

“Given the increasingly sophisticated nature of disinformation activities, and the difficulties of independent researchers to access relevant data from the platforms, a conclusive assessment of the scope and impact of disinformation campaigns will take time and require a concerted effort by civil society, academia, public actors and online platforms,” the report said.

The report matches similar research by other disinformation experts that saw domestic and Russian-backed groups borrow heavily from each other — both in terms of tactics and digital content — in their efforts to sway last month’s vote.

Because disinformation groups now interchange ideas and strategies, often without direct coordination, it is almost impossible to link their online campaigns to one sole actor, making it extremely difficult to pinpoint from where these tactics originate.

Some officials in Brussels are growing frustrated that the likes of Facebook and Twitter are not doing enough to stop the spread of misinformation and extremist content

“The disinformation campaigns were smart and subtle to focus on issues that mattered to the target audiences,” said Chloe Colliver, who heads the digital research unit at the Institute of Strategic Dialogue, a London-based think tank that focuses on extreme speech, who was not involved in the EU report. “They are effective enough so that it’s impossible to attribute where the tactics came from.”

The EU’s analysis of disinformation during the recent electoral campaign follows concerted efforts by the Commission and some European countries to clamp down on how such messaging is spread and shared online. That includes a voluntary code for digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube to combat the worst offenders, as well as coordination between officials from EU members states to share how best to address these problems.

While the U.S. tech companies continue to meet the Commission’s non-binding standards in terms of tackling fake news, many outside experts and some officials in Brussels are growing frustrated that the likes of Facebook and Twitter are not doing enough to stop the spread of misinformation and extremist content. They say that these companies do not share enough data with outside experts, and that their existing efforts do not go far enough to thwart disinformation campaigns online.

In response, the companies say that they have taken down millions of fake accounts and thwarted hundreds of disinformation campaigns in recent months. Facebook also set up an EU election “war room” in its European headquarters in Dublin to coordinate its response.

Time, though, may be running out.

As part of its analysis, the Commission said that it would review the voluntary code of practice for platforms at the end of the year to assess if it had had an impact on how false narratives were circulated online.

“Should the results of this assessment not be satisfactory, the Commission may propose further initiatives, including of a regulatory nature,” according to the report.

(EUobserver) EU to discuss cyber attack on Moscow embassy


EU ambassadors in Brussels on Tuesday are to discuss a cyber attack on the bloc’s embassy in Moscow in February, following a report by US news website Buzzfeed, which said the EU external action service knew about it, but did not tell fellow European institutions. “We have observed potential signs of compromised systems connected to our unclassified network,” an EU spokesperson told Buzzfeed, amid suspicion Russia was behind the hack.

(EUobserver) Macron would ‘support’ Merkel for EU top job


French president Emmanuel Macron has told Swiss broadcaster RTS that he would endorse German chancellor Angela Merkel to be the next European Commission president if she wanted the post. The EU “needs someone strong” at the top, he said Tuesday. “If she were to want it, I would support her,” he added. Merkel herself has said she does not want to come to Brussels and will quit politics in 2021.


(DW) Boris Johnson ameaça dar calote na UE


Favorito à sucessão da premiê britânica, Theresa May, político propõe reter o dinheiro que Londres deve a Bruxelas até que a UE melhore as condições para a saída do Reino Unido.

Ex-ministro do Exterior britânico Boris Johnson

Ex-ministro do Exterior britânico Boris Johnson

O ex-ministro britânico do Exterior, Boris Johnson, favorito para se tornar o próximo primeiro-ministro, sucedendo Theresa May à frente do governo do Reino Unido, ameaçou não pagar a fatura do Brexit enquanto a União Europeia (UE) não aceitar melhorar as condições da saída do Reino Unido do bloco europeu.

“Nossos amigos e parceiros têm que entender que o dinheiro será retido até que tenhamos mais clareza sobre o caminho a seguir”, disse Johnson em entrevista publicada neste domingo (09/06) pelo jornal The Sunday Times.

“Para obter um bom acordo, o dinheiro é um excelente solvente e um ótimo lubrificante”, acrescentou, em suas primeiras declarações após anunciar sua intenção de concorrer ao cargo de primeiro-ministro. Na entrevista, Johnson também insinuou que recusaria o acordo de fronteira com a Irlanda.

Johnson é o favorito suceder a primeira-ministra Theresa May, que renunciou oficialmente como líder do Partido Conservador na sexta-feira. Ela continua no cargo até um substituto ser escolhido, um processo que deve ser completado no final de julho. Johnson afirmou que é o único candidato que pode enfrentar o líder da oposição trabalhista, Jeremy Corbyn, e o populista pró-Brexit Nigel Farage.

Atualmente, 11 membros do Parlamento pretendem concorrer para substituir May. O líder do partido, que ganhou a maior quantidade de assentos nas eleições de 2017, se tornará automaticamente o novo chefe de governo britânico. Entre os candidatos, estão o ministro do Exterior, Jeremy Hunt, e o do Interior, Sajid Javid.

Rejeitado pelo Parlamento britânico, o acordo firmado entre Londres e Bruxelas prevê que o Reino Unido pague à UE em torno de 44 bilhões de euros.

Na semana passada, o presidente dos EUA, Donald Trump, recomendou que o Reino Unido não pague o que deve à UE. Ele também apoia Johnson como candidato à sucessão de May.

(EUobserver) Danish left sweeps to victory after attacking migrants


  • Mette Frederiksen is to become Denmark’s second female prime minister after Helle Thorning-Schmidt in 2011 (Photo: News Oresund)

Denmark has elected a young, female, centre-left leader, completing a socialist sweep in the EU’s nordic states.

It also humiliated the country’s main far-right party, but only after the left poached its anti-immigrant policies.

(CNBC) EU says disciplinary action is warranted for Italy over its rising debt


  • The Commission said that in its latest assessment of member states’ compliance with deficit and debt rules, it had concluded that when it comes to Italy “a debt-based EDP is warranted.”
  • An EDP stands for an “Excessive Deficit Procedure” and is an action launched by the European Commission against any EU member state that exceeds the budgetary deficit ceiling or fails to reduce their debts.
Premium: Italy Daily Politics

(From L) Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development, Labour and Social Policies, Luigi Di Maio, Italy’s Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte and Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini on October 15, 2018.NurPhoto | NurPhoto | Getty Images

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, announced Wednesday that disciplinary proceedings against Italy are warranted because it’s breaking fiscal rules over its rising public debt.

The Commission said that in its latest assessment of member states’ compliance with deficit and debt rules, it had concluded that when it comes to Italy “a debt-based EDP is warranted.”

An EDP stands for an “Excessive Deficit Procedure” and is an action launched by the European Commission against any EU member state that exceeds the budgetary deficit ceiling or fails to reduce their debts.If an EDP went ahead, Italy could face a fine of around 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion), according to some reports.

”(The report) concludes that the debt criterion is not complied with and thus a debt-based excessive deficit procedure is warranted,” Valdis Dombrovskis, the EU Commission vice-president for the euro and social dialogue, said at a press conference.

“To be clear, today we are not opening the EDP. First, EU member states have to give their views on … the report then the economic and financial committee has two weeks to form its opinion on our conclusions. But it’s much more than just about the procedure, when we look at the Italian economy we see the damage that recent policy choices are doing.”

Worryingly for the Commission, Italy (Europe’s third-largest economy) has the second-highest debt pile in the EU (expected to reach 133.7% this year) and was asked to explain why its debt had risen in 2018.

Dombrovskis said the Commission estimated that Italy’s spending to service its debts in 2018 turned out to be 2.2 billion euros higher than expected in its 2018 spring forecast. He added that the country pays as much toward its debt servicing as it does toward its entire education system.

“Growth has come to almost a halt … and we now expect the Italian debt (to GDP) ratio to rise in 2019 and 2020 to over 135%,” he said.

Italian banking stocks fell 1% on the announcement Wednesday and the country’s bond prices (the amount investors will pay to hold Italian debt) also declined, signaling a drop in risk appetite toward the country.WATCH NOWVIDEO01:54Euro zone is an unstable economic region, strategist says

The Commission presented what is known as its Semester 2019 Spring Package on Wednesday which amounts to 27 country-specific recommendations which set out the Commission’s economic and social policy guidance for member states for the next 12 to 18 months.

Italy’s coalition government — a fractious alliance between the euroskeptic Lega party and anti-establishment Five Star Movement — has been on a collision course with the European Commission since it announced its 2019 budget plans which foresaw the coalition increasing spending and breaking a budget deficit target previously agreed by the former government.

The coalition initially agreed to lower its deficit target, to 2.04%, but then revised this upwards again.

The friction has put Economy Minister Giovanni Tria in a tricky position trying to navigate between Lega and M5S leaders’ demands for more spending and the Commission’s demands for less. He promised the Commission that the 2020 budget would be compliant with the Commission’s rules.

It’s likely that the EU will want to avoid launching punitive measures against Italy given concerns over rising euroskepticism in the country. EU Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said Wednesday that the “door remains open to avoid a disciplinary procedure against Italy.”

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (who does not belong to either the Lega party or M5S) said he would do his utmost to avoid any EU procedure, Reuters reported.

Earlier on Wednesday, however, the Lega party’s economic chief Claudio Borghi said the party would not accept any tightening measures this year and that Tria must take “a hard line on EU budget talks,” Reuters said. Whether that bullish stance will continue in the face of potential punishment from the EU remains to be seen.

(EUobserver) EU guilty of Libya migrant ‘tragedy’, ICC lawsuit says


EU states’ efforts to “deter” migrants from Libya have helped kill more than 14,000 people and exposed 40,000 others to “crimes against humanity”, according to a lawsuit filed at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

“‘Deterrent effect’ – what does it mean? It means [to] sacrifice the lives of some, in this case of many, to change the behaviour of others, to discourage others from doing the same thing,” Omar Shatz, one of the co-authors of the lawsuit, told The Guardian, a British newspaper on Monday (3 June).

(CNBC) Portugal becomes the first euro zone country to issue debt on China’s market


  • Portugal’s Finance Minister Mario Centeno told CNBC that the issuance is a “positive step in managing Portugal’s external debt in the medium term.”
GS - Portugal Hosts State Visit for President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping

QUELUZ, PORTUGAL – DECEMBER 05: The President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa.Horacio Villalobos | Corbis News | Getty Images

Portugal has become the first ever euro zone country to issue bonds denominated in the Chinese yuan.

Known as “Panda” bonds, that’s yuan-denominated debt issued by a foreign sovereign issuer, the sale will take place Wednesday and Thursday. The southern European country announced last week its intention to sell 2 billion yuan ($289 million) worth of bonds with a maturity of three years.

These Panda bonds will not be the first in the European Union, with Poland issuing government bonds on the Chinese market in 2016 and Hungary in 2018.

Portugal’s Finance Minister Mario Centeno told CNBC that the issuance is a “positive step in managing Portugal’s external debt in the medium term.”

This sale will allow Portugal to expand its investor base, Centeno also said in emailed remarks.

Portugal is one of the European countries with the highest level of Chinese investment. The country went through an international bailout between 2011 and 2014 during the height of euro zone sovereign debt crisis.

Since then, the Portuguese economy has returned to positive growth figures and credit ratings agencies have also turned more optimistic about the country. Last week, Fitch ratings updated its outlook on Portugal from “stable” to “positive,” opening the door to a ratings upgrade later this year.

(Politico) Brexit is ‘vaccine’ against Euroskepticism, says Tusk

(Politico) ‘No one even tried to discuss’ Brexit during leaders’ dinner.

Brexit acted as a “vaccine” against Euroskepticism that has led to a tempering of hard-line positions by anti-EU parties across the Continent, said European Council President Donald Tusk.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels following the EU election results on Sunday night, he said, “Europe is the winner in these elections.”

“I have no doubt that one of the reasons that people on the Continent voted for a pro-European majority is also Brexit,” said Tusk. “As Europeans see what Brexit means in practice they also draw conclusions. Brexit has been a vaccine against anti-EU propaganda and fake news.”

He added that some major Euroskeptic parties had abandoned anti-EU slogans and “presented themselves as EU reformers” — a development he said was “positive.”

Asked if the U.K. was using the Brexit extension granted by EU leaders at the last summit in April wisely, he said he wanted to be as “delicate as possible.” There is a race to succeed Theresa May as Tory leader and prime minster following her resignation announcement last Friday.

But he added: “We are all aware of the state of things in London — nothing promising I should say.”

Tusk said that during the leaders’ dinner “no one even tried to discuss” Brexit.

(DW) EU summit: Merkel, Macron at odds over top European Commission job


Ahead of a summit to discuss EU election results, the French and German leaders have disagreed over how to choose the next European Commission president. Emmanuel Macron has said the process should not be automatic.

European flags wave in front of the Berlaymont building (Photo by Michele Spatari/NurPhoto)

Speaking ahead of a special EU summit, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Germany still favors choosing the top candidate from the winning party of Sunday’s EU elections as the next president of the European Commission.

EU leaders are set to meet in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss the outcome of the blocwide vote and start the nomination process for the heads of the EU institutions.

On Monday evening, Merkel said EU leaders should make the decisions quickly. “We want to find a solution as soon as possible given that the European Parliament will convene at the start of June and it is naturally desirable if by that time we have a proposal from the European Council,” she told a news conference.

Read more: EU election: Germany’s youth wield their political power

  • EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ELECTION RESULTS, THE MAIN COUNTRIES AT A GLANCEItaly: Populist surge continuesInterior Minister Matteo Salvini’s far-right League took 33.6% of the vote, a jump from the 17% claimed by the anti-immigration party in 2018 national elections. The results may change the balance of power in the League’s fragile coalition with 5-Star, which slumped to 16.6% compared to with 32% in national elections last year. The opposition Democratic Party won 23.5%.


The chancellor said her conservative CDU/CSU alliance and the coalition’s SPD junior partners still backed the “Spitzenkandidat” process, whereby the candidate that was selected by the winning party ahead of the European elections is put forward to the EU Parliament vote as the next European Commission president.  

Though it suffered significant losses on Sunday, the conservative European People’s Party (EPP) and its leading candidate, Manfred Weber of Germany, still came out on top.

French President Emmanuel Macron also wants to see a speedy agreement on a nominee, “ideally” in June, but he said Monday that the “Spitzenkandidat” system should not be automatic, an official from Macron’s office told the Reuters news agency. Macron’s centrist En Marche party had repeatedly said it opposed the “Spitzenkandidat” process.

Infografik 27.05.2019, 7:07 EU Wahl 2019 - Parlament ENG

Shifting alliances

The EPP, which includes Merkel’s CDU, groups conservative parties across the EU and has had the largest presence in the European Parliament since 1999. But while the EPP came out of the elections as the strongest party, it lost 36 seats, giving it 180 in the new legislature. The center-left Socialists & Democrats (S&D) lost 39 seats, to reduce their total to 146.

As a result, the two parties will no longer enjoy their traditional majority in the 751-seat parliament, meaning they will need to involve at least one other parliamentary group in order to agree on appointments. 

Sunday’s results have also strengthened Macron’s influence via his En Marche party, created in 2016 and expected to have 23 seats in the European Parliament for the first time. It will likely be the largest party in the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), the third largest bloc in the parliament, behind the EPP and S&D.Watch video02:39

Heavy losses for Germany’s ruling parties

Coalition building

EPP leader Weber, of the CDU’s Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union, spoke with other political groups with the aim of forming a coalition stretched across a broader political spectrum. “The task for democrats is to sit down together,” he said Monday.

It may prove to be a difficult task. “In our view, Angela Merkel’s favorite candidate is totally disqualified today,” said Pascal Canfin, one of the leading candidates from Macron’s party, in an interview with Inter radio on Monday. “The future majority of the European Parliament goes through us, without question. There isn’t one without us.”

Read more: European elections expose polarized British public

In a statement on Tuesday, the leaders of the majority of parties in the newly elected European Parliament called on national leaders to nominate the Spitzenkandidat for the EU executive. 

The statement said it was “reconfirming our resolve for the lead candidate process so that the next Commission president has made her/his program and personality known prior to the elections, and engaged in a European-wide campaign.”

However, the liberal ALDE group rejected the statement, insisting national leaders abandon the Spitzenkandidat system.  

Besides Weber, others eyeing the Commission presidency are current Vice President Frans Timmermans of the S&D and outgoing EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager of ALDE.

The EU will also choose new leaders for the EU Council, the parliament, the European Central Bank and a foreign
policy chief. 

(EUobserver) After victory, Farage wants seat at Brexit talks


  • Nigel Farage has been an MEP since June 1999. He will be returning at least one more time, after the huge win of his Brexit Party (Photo: European Parliament)

The Brexit Party wants to be part of talks on how the UK will leave the EU, its leader Nigel Farage said late on Sunday (26 May), after provisional results showed a huge win for the six-week-old party.

The UK citizens that went to the polls on Thursday gave 31.7 percent of their votes to the Brexit Party, sending – in the words of Farage – a “massive message” to the UK government.

(ABC) Estrasburgo avala la suspensión del pleno convocado para declarar la independencia de Cataluña

(ABC) El Tribunal Europeo de Derechos Humanos rechaza la demanda de Puigdemont y otros 75 diputados catalanes

El Tribunal Europeo de Derechos Humanos ha rechazado este martes la demanda presentada por el expresidente de la Generalitat Carles Puigdemont, la expresidenta del Parlament Carme Forcadell, y otros 74 diputados contra la anulación del pleno de octubre de 2017 en el que se iba a declarar la independencia de Cataluña.

La Corte europea afirma en su decisión que la suspensión dictada por el Tribunal Constitucional era «necesaria en una sociedad democrática» para «mantener la seguridad pública, la defensa del orden y la protección de los derechos y libertades ajenas».

Añade la decisión de la Sala Tercera del Tribunal de Estrasburgo que la demanda presentada por el abogado Andreu Van den Eynde está «manifiestamente mal fundada».

La «injerencia» en el derecho de los demandantes a la libertad de reunión «puede ser considerada razonablemente» como «respuesta a una necesidad social imperiosa».

Después del referéndum ilegal del 1 de octubre, dos grupos parlamentarios – Catalunya Si Que Es Pot y la CUP – pidieron a la Mesa del Parlament que convocara una sesión para evaluar los resultados de la consulta.

La Mesa lo aceptó y planificó la reunión para el 9 de octubre, pero los otros grupos se opusieron con el argumento de que se infringía el reglamento de la cámara. Los socialistas llevaron el caso ante el Constitucional y pidieron una medida de suspensión cautelar.

Recuerda la decisión judicial que Puigdemont compareció ante el Pleno de la Cámara catalana al día siguiente, el 10 de octubre, donde «declaró la independencia de Cataluña, que el Parlament dejó después sin eficacia legal».

La decisión señala que la sesión plenaria fue convocada según el artículo 4.4 de la Ley 19/2017, «suspendida provisionalmente el 7 de septiembre de 2017 por el Tribunal Constitucional», por lo que quedó «temporalmente inaplicable».

La decisión de la Mesa del Parlament de convocar el Pleno «supuso un incumplimiento manifiesto» de las decisiones del alto tribunal que tenían por objeto «la protección del orden constitucional».

Entre los demandantes, se encuentran los que fueran miembros de Junts pel Sí y la CUP, Oriol Junqueras, Raül Romeva, Josep Rull, Jordi Turull, Dolors Bassa, Antoni Comin, Anna Gabriel, Marta Rovira, Lluis Llach, Roger Torrent, David Bonvehí y Germá Gordó.

En su demanda, alegaron que la suspensión del pleno «constituyó una vulneración de su derecho a la libertad de expresión y de reunión, en la medida en la que no pudieron expresar la voluntad de los electores que participaron en el referéndum».

Al suspender el Pleno, el TC recordó que la misión del Parlament era «representar al conjunto de la población y no sólo a ciertas fuerzas políticas, incluso si eran mayoritarias en la Cámara».

El Tribunal de Estrasburgo ya rechazó el pasado 4 de octubre una demanda de Montserrat Aumatell i Arnau, una organizadora del referéndum del 1-0, y tiene pendiente examinar si admite o no una veintena de demandas relacionadas con el proceso soberanista de Cataluña.

(BBG) EU Populists Fall Short as Voters Swing Behind Greens, Liberals


  •  Populist parties set to match 2014 result, exit polls show
  •  Liberals and Greens biggest winners as voter turnout soars

Mainstream European Union parties are holding their ground against the assault from populists in elections for the bloc’s Parliament, according to the first set of exit polls.

With voting still going on in some countries, the parties who rally against foreigners, want to rein in the EU and despise the cozy relationship between centrist groups, aren’t performing as well as some establishment politicians feared.

Instead, it’s the Liberals and the Greens set to post the biggest gains in the first EU-wide test of public opinion in five years. Turnout looks set to be the highest for two decades as voters respond to the populist threat.

The big exception looks to be France where President Emmanuel Macron talked up this election as a straight choice between those who are for or against the EU. His party has been defeated by Marine Le Pen’s euroskeptic National Rally, according to exit polls.

“The French people gave a lesson in humility” to Macron, far-right candidate Jordan Bardella said.

Bardella delivers a speech following initial results for the EU Parliament on Sunday.Photographer: Bertrand Guay/AFP via Getty Images

With full results from across Europe filtering in over the next six hours, the focus will be on whether the mainstream postwar center-right and center-left alliances will have a majority in the European Parliament as has been the case since direct elections began 40 years ago.

According to the first official EU projection based on the exit polls, the two big alliances will make up 43% of the seats, down from 56% in 2014. Populist parties look set to win 29% of the Europe-wide vote, slightly down from 30% in the current Parliament, according to official EU projections. The pro-business Liberals and the Greens look like the big winners with 14% and 9% respectively.

That would mean that the EU is likely to broadly continue current policies: distancing itself from U.S. President Donald Trump’s protectionist trade strategy, gradually integrating the euro area, seeking a way to share the burden of non-EU migrants and holding firm against any U.K. attempt to reopen the Brexit deal.

While Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc is a clear winner in Germany, with 28% of the vote, according to exit polls, that’s less than the 35% recorded in 2014. The Social Democrats, Merkel’s junior coalition partner, slumped to 15.5% from 27%, while the Greens surged to second place. The nationalist AfD is set to record 10.5%, according to the indication, lower than forecast but up on 2014’s 7%.

Projected Results
European Parliament projections

“This election result is not a result that meets the ambitions that we’ve set for ourselves as a mass party,” Merkel’s chosen successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, told party members in Berlin.

Across Europe, it’s a similar picture of euroskeptic parties failing to make breakthroughs:

  • In Denmark, exit polls show the nationalist Danish People’s Party will get less than 12% of the vote, after getting 21% in the last national election
  • In Slovakia, the far-right party is set to finish third
  • In Finland, with 21% of the vote counted, the far-right Finns party is getting 13% — more or less in line with its 2014 showing
  • In Greece, the opposition center-right New Democracy is on course to beat Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza

Turnout across the 28 countries is the highest in 20 years, according to official EU estimates, and has risen for the first time ever.

Results from the U.K. are due to be published from 10 p.m. local time. The U.K. was obliged to participate in the election because it didn’t leave the EU on March 29 as scheduled.