Europe

Dutch prime minister says more EU integration ‘not the answer’

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Mark Rutte’s speech was a direct challenge to the ideas of French President Emmanuel Macron MAÏA DE LA BAUME Politico AMSTERDAM — A “federal Europe” and “more integration” is not the answer to the EU’s problems, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a speech Saturday challenging French President Emmanuel Macron’s vision of a more integrated Europe. The Dutch prime minister — who was speaking at the annual congress of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) — ... Read More »

Alternative for Germany: Police and protesters clash over meeting

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Several people have been hurt in clashes between police and anti-fascist demonstrators in the city of Hannover Protesters were trying to blockade the far-right Alternative for Germany’s first conference since it entered parliament after September’s elections. BBC With temperatures near freezing, police used water cannon, batons and pepper spray to clear a path for the 600 delegates. One demonstrator’s leg was broken after he chained himself to a barricade. AfD won 12.6% of the vote in Germany’s federal elections in ... Read More »

Gordon Brown: ‘Independence is impossible in a globalised world’

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Gordon Brown has warned against the rise of political movements demanding to ‘take back control’, claiming that independence is impossible in a globalised world. CHRIS MCCALL The Scotsman The former prime minister told an audience in Madrid they should heed the warning of Brexit – an event he feared would leave the UK “poorer”. His comments were viewed by some sections of the Spanish press as a reference to the hugely controversial Catalan referendum on October 1 organised by the ... Read More »

Come back David Cameron

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We don’t hear much from David Cameron these days. James Kirkup  He’s generally too busy. The Spectator He fills his time in many ways: writing a book; making bundles of cash; playing tennis; not taking the blame for Brexit. But he’s given an interview to the Financial Times about Alzheimer’s disease and the search for a cure. It’s worth a read, and not just because it’s an important subject. It’s also a reminder of what was lost when Cameron fled Parliament last ... Read More »

Noel Whelan: Nightmare scenario for Ireland is a Border fudging game

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Government has gambled a lot on EU solidarity and UK concessions over next seven days Noel Whelan The Irish Times After a wasted week of convulsions during which the politics of stampede brought us precariously close to an early election, our Government and Opposition now have quickly to refocus on the Brexit challenges. The next seven days are arguably the most critical in the politics of this Island since Easter week 1998. The days between now and a European Council ... Read More »

Brexit Creates a Game of Risk for European Banks

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A hard Brexit represents a potential shock to the international financial system and has both direct and indirect consequences for the United Kingdom’s economy Scott B. MacDonald The National Interest While the government of Theresa May seeks to restart negotiations with the European Union on December 5, time is marching on. This is important as risk managers are looking at their watches and are increasingly concerned about London’s inability to come forward with a credible Brexit bill in the eyes of Europeans. The result could be ... Read More »

Turkey squeezed between American hammer, Russian anvil on Syrian stage

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Images can be misleading. Anybody who sees the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Iran in the Russian Black Sea resort town of Sochi might think this impressive trio could actually deliver a settlement to the bloody Syrian conflict that has been ongoing for six years. Cengiz Çandar AlMonitor Astana, Kazakhstan, is another venue being used by the same trio for peacemaking in Syria. Although the Russians were always keen to present Astana as a supplementary peace effort to the United Nations’ Geneva talks, the meetings in ... Read More »

The Unyielding Paranoia of Recep Tayyip Erdogan

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A major sanctions case could further imperil an already fraught relationship between Washington and Ankara, and reveal the Turkish president’s illicit dealings Diego Cupolo The Atlantic A key defendant in an Iranian sanction-busting case has now become its “most important witness.”Following weeks of speculation, Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian businessman, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of helping Iranian entities evade U.S. sanctions through his international network of businesses, possibly with the help of Turkish banks and government officials. Today, Zarrab ... Read More »

France is now the testing ground for Europe’s labor policies

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ROME — In September, French President Emmanuel Macron’s government launched its controversial reform of the French labor market, having won support in the French Parliament to pass these reforms by decree. Matt Browne The Washington Post With these reforms, Macron seeks to boost the competitiveness of the French economy and address unemployment, which has hovered persistently at just around 10 percent for years — almost twice the level of many other major European economies. Many believe that France’s existing labor ... Read More »

Cypriot fighters seek damages over torture under British rule

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The 35 claimants are suing the UK government over alleged human rights abuses that took place in the 1950s Helena Smith The Guardian Greek Cypriots who claim they were tortured by colonial forces when they were members of a guerrilla group in the 1950s are seeking damages from the British government. More than 50 years after the alleged human rights abuses took place, a preliminary high court hearing on Tuesday will consider whether a case brought by 35 former fighters ... Read More »

The hard-won kinship between Britain and Ireland is threatened by Brexit idiocy

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An alliance decades in the making is threatened by an utter lack of progress over the post-separation border Fintan O’Toole The Irish Times When people are screwing up, they tend to take their rage and frustration out on their nearest and dearest. If, as seems increasingly likely, the European Union summit on 15 December does not give the go-ahead for talks on a post-Brexit trade deal, we already know who’s going to get the blame. It will be all Ireland’s ... Read More »

David McWilliams: Land tax needed to end housing crisis

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Ireland needs to follow radical example of Japan’s 19th-century ‘Meiji Restoration’ David McWilliams The Irish Times In June 1858, during the second Opium War, Britain and France, in cahoots with the other major European powers and the United States, forced China to sign the Treaty of Tianjin. Britain waged the Opium War so its merchants could flood China with cheap heroin, cultivated by other British merchants in India. The treaty allowed western trading powers to annex China commercially, emasculate the emperor ... Read More »

Alarm over teaching nursery children in Scotland about consent

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The Scottish Government is to investigate how the concept of “consent” is taught to nursery-aged children, according to a document outlining its strategy to prevent violence against women and girls. TOM PETERKIN The Scotsman Academics and family groups last night expressed alarm at the proposal arguing that it was “ridiculous” to teach children as young as two or three about consent. The row erupted after the Scottish Government published it document “Equally Safe: A deliver plan for Scotland’s strategy to ... Read More »

Australia knocks UK Brexit trade plan

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Australia has criticised the UK’s post-Brexit trade plans to split quotas of food imports from around the world BBC EU rules allow for a certain amount of goods to be brought in from countries outside of the Union without charging full tariffs After Brexit, the UK and EU want to split these quotas, based on where the goods are mostly consumed. But Australian trade minister Steven Ciobo said it would impose unacceptable restrictions on their exports. He told BBC Radio ... Read More »

Mladic is convicted but jury is still out on Yugoslav tribunal

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It is not clear if the war crimes tribunal has been a deterrent to other perpetrators Ray Murphy The Irish Times Gen Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb commander, has been found guilty of war crimes and other serious violations of international law. This was the last trial judgment to be delivered by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia before its closure at the end of this year. It is one of the most important trials conducted by ... Read More »

Trump tells Turkish president U.S. will stop arming Kurds in Syria

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The Trump administration is preparing to stop supplying weapons to ethnic Kurdish fighters in Syria, the White House acknowledged Friday, a move reflecting renewed focus on furthering a political settlement to the civil war there and countering Iranian influence now that the Islamic State caliphate is largely… By Carol Morello and Erin Cunningham The Washington Post Word of the policy change long sought by neighboring Turkey came Friday, not from Washington but from Ankara.Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters ... Read More »