Eastern Europe: weapons for mercenaries in Syria, no to refugees

The attitude of the Eastern European countries on the refugee issue can be a new study, qualified as morally questionable. The arms trade is booming. Many weapons end up with mercenaries selling the Syrians. But the reception of refugees reject the Eastern Europeans – from religious and cultural reasons.

A study by the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) According since 2012 were weapons from Croatia, Czech Republic, Serbia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Bosnia Herzegovina and Montenegro totaling $ 1.2 billion exported via various Gulf States to Syria. The Force flights have all gone in the direction of the US Air Force bases in the Middle East. The weapons receiver should have been the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which al-Nusra Front and other Western-backed mercenary troops.
The terrorist militia ISIS allegedly received weapons from Eastern Europe. When the arms are not just about Kalashnikovs, machine guns and rocket launchers, but also tanks, anti-aircraft guns and missile systems. Robert Stephen Ford, US ambassador to Syria 2011-2014, BIRN and OCCRP said that trade is coordinated by the CIA. Reported Balkan Insight. The arms transfer from Eastern Europe to the Middle East is legally illegal. “The evidence points towards systematic diversion of weapons to armed groups who are accused of committing serious human rights violations. If this is the case, the transfers from the perspective of the UN Arms Trade Treaty and in accordance with international law are illegal and should therefore be stopped immediately, “says Patrick Wilcken, an arms control researcher from Amnesty International, who has reviewed the evidence of BIRN and OCCRP ,
Weapons from Central and Eastern Europe came with cargo flights and ships. By identifying the aircraft and ships reporters were able to track the flow of weapons in real time. A detailed analysis of airport plans, cargo aviation history, flight tracking data and air traffic control could identify in the past 13 months 68 arms flights, which were intended for the Syria conflict.
The arms shipments from Eastern European countries to mercenaries in Syria conflict have contributed a significant share to the fact that were killed in Syria conflict hundreds of thousands of people and had to flee millions more in neighboring countries of Syria and to Europe. The refugee crisis could not have reached the current extent without these supplies. Although very many weapons were provided by the Czech Republic for the Syria conflict, would not absorb Syrian refugees the government in Prague. Even two-thirds of the Czech population are opposed to the admission of refugees, reports the Heinrich Boell Foundation.
Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek does not see the weapons flights One country as one of the causes of the refugee crisis, but Russia. “The Russians are actively going to send via the northern route and by air to us refugees,” citing the Prague Daily Monitor Zaoralek.
Czech President Milos Zeman refuses admitting refugees on the grounds that it was Muslims and thus to an “organized Muslim invasion” is among the Syrians, from, the Guardian reports. Instead, the refugees should stay in their countries, to fight against ISIS.
Also Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico says his country will not record “Muslim refugees” from Syria, reports the Independent.
Czech Republic has so far delivered weapons worth of 302 million dollars and Slovakia weapons worth 192 million dollars for the Syria conflict, which ended up in the hands of Islamist mercenaries and ISIS.

German Economic News | Published: 30/07/16 23:01

†ranslated by Alfons
Advertisements

The 1 Percent’s Useful Idiots

By Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Chris Hedges

PHILADELPHIA—The parade of useful idiots, the bankrupt liberal class that long ago sold its soul to corporate power, is now led by Sen. Bernie Sanders. His final capitulation, symbolized by his pathetic motion to suspend the roll call, giving Hillary Clinton the Democratic nomination by acclamation, is an abject betrayal of millions of his supporters and his call for a political revolution.

No doubt the Democrats will continue to let Sanders be a member of the Democratic Caucus. No doubt the Democrats will continue to agree not to run a serious candidate against him in Vermont. No doubt Sanders will be given an ample platform and media opportunities to shill for Clinton and the corporate machine. No doubt he will remain a member of the political establishment.

Sanders squandered his most important historical moment. He had a chance, one chance, to take the energy, anger and momentum, walk out the doors of the Wells Fargo Center and into the streets to help build a third-party movement. His call to his delegates to face “reality” and support Clinton was an insulting repudiation of the reality his supporters, mostly young men and young women, had overcome by lifting him from an obscure candidate polling at 12 percent into a serious contender for the nomination. Sanders not only sold out his base, he mocked it. This was a spiritual wound, not a political one. For this he must ask forgiveness.

 

Whatever resistance happens will happen without him. Whatever political revolution happens will happen without him. Whatever hope we have for a sustainable future will happen without him. Sanders, who once lifted up the yearnings of millions, has become an impediment to change. He took his 30 pieces of silver and joined with a bankrupt liberal establishment on behalf of a candidate who is a tool of Wall Street, a proponent of endless war and an enemy of the working class.

Sanders, like all of the self-identified liberals who are whoring themselves out for the Democrats, will use fear as the primary reason to remain enslaved by the neoliberal assault. And, in return, the corporate state will allow him and the other useful idiots among the 1 percent to have their careers and construct pathetic monuments to themselves.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be pushed through whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. The fracking industry, fossil fuel industry and animal agriculture industry will ravage the ecosystem whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. The predatory financial institutions on Wall Street will trash the economy and loot the U.S. Treasury on the way to another economic collapse whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. Poor, unarmed people of color will be gunned down in the streets of our cities whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. The system of neoslavery in our prisons, where we keep poor men and poor women of color in cages because we have taken from them the possibility of employment, education and dignity, will be maintained whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. Millions of undocumented people will be deported whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. Austerity programs will cut or abolish public services, further decay the infrastructure and curtail social programs whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. Money will replace the vote whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is president. And half the country, which now lives in poverty, will remain in misery whether Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton becomes president.

This is not speculation. We know this because there has been total continuity on every issue, from trade agreements to war to mass deportations, between the Bush administration and the administration of Barack Obama. The problem is not Donald Trump. The problem is capitalism. And this is the beast we are called to fight and slay. Until that is done, nothing of substance will change.

To reduce the political debate, as Sanders and others are doing, to political personalities is political infantilism. We have undergone a corporate coup. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will not reverse this coup. They, like Barack Obama, know where the centers of power lie. They serve these centers of power.

Change will come when we have the tenacity, as many Sanders delegates did, to refuse to cooperate, to say no, to no longer participate in the political charade. Change will come when we begin acts of sustained mass civil disobedience. Change will come when the fear the corporate state uses to paralyze us is used by us to paralyze the corporate state.

The Russian writer Alexander Herzen, speaking a century ago to a group of anarchists about how to overthrow the czar, reminded his listeners that it was not their job to save a dying system but to replace it: “We think we are the doctors. We are the disease.”

We are here not to reform the system. We are here to overthrow it. And that is the only possibility left to restore our democracy and save our planet. If we fail in this task, if this system of corporate capitalism and globalization is not dismantled, we are doomed. And this is the reality no one wants to speak about.

We will have to be in the political wilderness, perhaps for a decade. But a decade ago Syriza, the party now ruling Greece, was polling at only 4 percent. This is what the Green Party is polling today. We will not bring about systematic change in one or two election cycles. But we can begin to build a counterweight to the corporate state. We can begin to push back.

We must find the courage not to be afraid. We must find the courage to follow our conscience. We must find the courage to defy the corporate forces of death in order to affirm the forces of life.

This will not be easy. The corporate state—once its vast systems of indoctrination and propaganda do not work to keep us passive, once we are no longer afraid, once we make our own reality rather than accommodating ourselves to the reality imposed upon us—will employ more direct and coercive forms of control. The reign of terror, the revocation of civil liberties, the indiscriminant violence by the state will no longer be exercised only against poor people of color. The reality endured by our poor sisters and brothers of color, a reality we did not do enough to fight against, will become our own.

To allow the ideological forces of neoliberalism to crush our ideals and our values is to fall into a deadly cynicism and despair. To allow the consumer culture and the cult of the self, which lies at the heart of capitalism, to seduce us is to kill our souls. Happiness does not come with the accumulation of wealth. Happiness does not come from possessions or power. These are narcotics. They numb and kill all that is noble and good within us. Happiness comes when you reach out in solidarity to your neighbor, when you lend your hand to the stranger or the outcast, when you are willing to lose your life to save it. Happiness comes when you have the capacity to love.

Our span of life, in the vastness of the universe, is insignificant. I will be 60 soon. The arch of my own life is beginning to draw to a close. We all will die. How do we use the miracle of this flash of light that is called life?

Albert Camus wrote, “One of the only coherent philosophical positions is revolt. It is a constant confrontation between [human beings] and [their] obscurity. It is not aspiration, for it is devoid of hope. That revolt is the certainty of a crushing fate, without the resignation that ought to accompany it.”

He said further, “A living [person] can be enslaved and reduced to the historic condition of an object. But if he [or she] dies in refusing to be enslaved, he [or she] reaffirms the existence of another kind of human nature which refuses to be classified as an object.”

There is only one way to rebel. You fight for all of the oppressed or none of the oppressed. You understand that there is no country. Our country is the earth. We are citizens of the world. Nationalism is a disease. It is a disease we must purge. As long as a Muslim family suffers in a refugee camp in Syria or an LGBT person suffers from the bigotry imposed by the Christian heretics in the Christian right, we all suffer.

There are desperate single mothers struggling to raise children on less than $10,000 a year in some Philadelphia neighborhoods. Many of these children go to bed hungry. There are unemployed workers desperate to find a job and restore their dignity. There are mentally ill and homeless we have abandoned to the streets. There are Iraqi and Afghan families living in terror, a terror we have inflicted on them, in the futile and endless wars waged to enrich the arms industry. There are men and women being tortured in our worldwide archipelago of secret detention centers. There are undocumented workers whose families we have ripped apart, separating children from parents, or imprisoned.

This is reality. It is the only reality that matters. It is a reality we must and will change. Because, as the great socialist Eugene V. Debs, who upon being sentenced in 1918 for violating the Sedition Act by defying the madness of World War I, said, “I recognized my kinship with all living beings. I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”

Augustine wrote that hope has two beautiful daughters, anger and courage—anger at the way things are and the courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.

The fight before us will be hard and difficult. It will require love and self-sacrifice. It will require anger and courage. This struggle is the greatest moral imperative before us. Those who do not defy this evil become its accomplice. We may not succeed. But we must be among those of whom future generations will say: They tried. They dared to dream. They dared to care. They dared to struggle. They dared to love. They enabled those who came after them to take up the fight.

President Hollande is under pressure

After an interview with the French President Francois Hollande, where he was defending his proposal on changes to the labor laws, occurred on Thursday evening in Paris, serious riots, reports the AFP news agency. After Hollande defended his controversial labor market reforms on television, demonstrated about 300 young people in the French capital, according to police data. Around 20 people were arrested. Movement “Nuit Debout” had gathered and protested all night, to protest against the proposed amendment to the Labour Law.

For nearly two weeks, hundreds of people came to the Place de la République, in the evening under the motto “Nuit Debout” together. Some of those interviewed by French television. The protesters believe that the French president is pursuing a policy that impair workers’ conditions.

After the demonstration, hundreds of protesters left the square together, and marched, according to a journalist from AFP, the Elysee Palace, the seat of the French President. Police cordoned off the road, after which the demonstrators marched in a different direction, and proceeded to the northern and eastern parts of Paris.

Protesters smashed shop windows, looted shops and damaged cars. Police put up large forces. After a time, the demonstration was dissolved, and continued to demonstrate in smaller groups. On Thursday afternoon, the police announced that the 1700 activists gathered at the Place de la République. This led to clashes, when masked protesters threw chairs, tables and bottles at police. Police used tear gas. According to police injured four protesters and seven police officers. Six protesters were arrested.

In the evening, infant also protesters near the TV building, where there was an interview with the president. In two weeks, hundreds of demonstrators protested it every night on the Place de la République, to protest against the planned relaxation of labor law as the means at the same time greater social injustice. In the whole of France has already attracted hundreds of thousands of people on the streets. President Holding defended the plan on Thursday night in the television channel France 2

Hollande says he has modernized the country over the past four years, and at the same time preserved the French social model. He will work until his last day as president to reform. The president says that: “It has improved, the growth is higher, the French finansielle deficit is smaller, taxes are lower, margins for the companies is higher, workers have greater purchasing power, said the president.” Therefore, I will continue to pursue these reforms to the end . ”

Since President Hollande took office in 2012, the number of unemployed has increased by almost 650,000 and reached a historic peak of almost 3.6 million. Hollande has presented a new budget against unemployment again for next year, to be with success combating unemployment. In the interview, he announced at the end of this year to decide whether he will return to stand in the presidential election in 2017, for a second term. The socialist president is so unpopular that no other president before him in France’s recent history, with the weak economic growth and record unemployment. It remains about a year before the presidential election, and in a very negative opinions survey, is the president’s chances mighty low for a re-election. Three-quarters of French people want to Hollande renounced his candidacy in the spring of 2017. A daily Le Parisien on Thursday published a poll that showed very low numbers. In another survey of the TV channel BFMTV, voted 87 percent of respondents, the Hollande’s chances were minimal.

Alfons

France is at a distance to al-Nusra in Syria

France distances itself now from the Al-Nusra Front. President Francois Hollande fears that after the withdrawal of ISIS the radical Al-Nusra Front could use the resulting power vacuum. He calls on US to crack down on the Islamists troupe.

French President Francois Hollande called on Russia and the US, although the terrorist militia ISIS to fight, but to the same time prevent terrorist groups fill the vacuum created by the withdrawal of ISIS. Hollande fears that after the withdrawal of ISIS from Rakka and Deir al-Zor, the al-Nusra Front, the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda, which could fill the power vacuum, cited i24 News Hollande.

France was attacked in the past by both ISIS and al Qaeda. The call by French President is primarily aimed at the US, which secretly supports the de facto ally of Al Qaeda. This strategy goes back to the CIA. The CIA had armed the Islamists in Syria for years.

In the fight against the terrorist militia ISIS France sends again its aircraft carrier “Charles de Gaulle”. The warship should be used again in the autumn, President Francois Hollande said on Wednesday the Ministry of Defense in Paris. “For those who have attacked us in January and November 2015, we need to make and destroy”, quoted L’Obs Hollande. In addition, more French military advisors should be deployed in support of the Iraqi army. France wants to help the Iraqi army in retaking the city of Mosul.

Even the Pentagon sharp criticism of the US intelligence is now practiced. Because the Russian air raids concentrate anyway largely on the al-Nusra Front in the west of Syria. Hollande calls on US, decided to take action against the al-Nusra Front, reported L’Expression. However, Syrian President Bashar Assad had said last year in an interview with France 2 television that “France spearheading in supporting terrorism” in Syria fancy. “The spearhead against Syria, the spearhead, which supports terrorism in Syria, is first, France, secondly, the United Kingdom and this time the United States. Obama acknowledged that the moderate opposition is illusory (..) He said this is a fantasy, “said Assad.

A Liberation offensive Islamist mercenaries in Aleppo has failed. The mercenaries suffering huge losses. In addition, heavy equipment of mercenaries …

Alfons

 

 

 

The inquiry on the Iraq war

The British commission of inquiry on the Iraq war, has criticized the decision of the government at that time to participate in the US-led invasion in 2003 to be premature. The marching orders had been given before all “peaceful options” had been exhausted.

The British decision for the Iraq war was premature. This is the conclusion a commission of inquiry of the country, which has seven years interviewed participants and evaluated secret documents. The marching orders to the US-led invasion in 2003 had given the former government of Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The political decision was made before all the “peaceful options for disarmament” of Iraq leader Saddam Hussein had been exhausted, the committee chairman John Chilcot said at the launch of the final report in London. The preparation of the war had been completely inadequate, as the plans for the post-war period, criticized the former diplomat.

Another criticism of the Commission: The thesis that leader Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, had been presented with an unjustified security. As early as 2004 a British report came to the conclusion that Blair had hyping the “evidence” of secret for alleged weapons of mass destruction in Parliament.

Despite the sharp criticism, the Commission does not specify in its report, however, whether the invasion was legal or illegal at the time.

Hundreds of thousands of war dead

The then US President George W. Bush had attacked Iraq under Saddam Hussein in power for alleged weapons of mass destruction and suspected linkages with the terrorist network Al Qaeda and Saddam toppled. British Prime Minister Blair supported the US military. The invasion of Iraq was highly controversial because it was not covered by a clear UN Security Council mandate. There were ultimately found any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Until the withdrawal of British troops quota 2009 179 British soldiers lost their lives. The Americans complain 4500 deaths. On the Iraqi side were to trigger more than 100,000 deaths. The country sank then in grave fighting between Shiites and Sunnis, who also favored the rise of terrorist militia “Islamic State”.

Alfons

 

A strong Europe in a world of uncertainties

by Jean-Marc Ayrault and Frank-Walter Steinmeier

The decision of the British people marks a watershed moment in the history of Europe. The European Union is losing not only a member state, but a host of history, tradition and experience, with which we shared our journey throughout the past decades. France and Germany therefore take note of this decision with regret. This creates a new situation and will entail consequences both for the United Kingdom and for the EU. The Treaty of Lisbon sets out the procedures for the orderly departure of a Member State (article 50). Once the British Government has activated these procedures, we will stand ready to assist the institutions in the negotiations clarifying the future relationship between the EU and the UK.

The British case is unique. But we must also acknowledge that support and passion for our common project has faded over the last decade in parts of our societies. Neither a simple call for more Europe nor a phase of mere reflection can be an adequate answer. To prevent the silent creeping erosion of our European project we have to be more focused on essentials and on meeting the concrete expectations of our citizens. We are convinced that it is not the existence of the Union that they object to but the way it functions. Our task is twofold: we have to strictly focus our joints efforts on those challenges that can only be addressed by common European answers, while leaving others to national or regional decision making and variation. And we must deliver better on those issues we have chosen to focus on.

France and Germany remain most firmly of the belief that the European Union provides a unique and indispensable framework for the pursuit of freedom, prosperity and security in Europe, for shaping peaceful and mutually beneficial relationships amongst its people and for contributing to peace and stability in the world. Our two countries share a common destiny and a common set of values that provide the foundation for an ever closer union between our peoples. We will therefore move further towards political union in Europe and invite the other Europeans to join us in this endeavour.

France and Germany recognise their responsibility to reinforce solidarity and cohesion within the European Union. To that end, we need to recognise that member states differ in their levels of ambition member state when it comes to the project of European integration. While not stepping back from what we have achieved, we have to find better ways of dealing with different levels of ambition so as to ensure that Europe delivers better on the expectations of all European citizens.

We believe the EU can and needs to develop common answers to today’s challenges abroad and at home. In a context of rising global challenges and opportunities, we see the European Union as more necessary than ever and as the only framework capable of providing appropriate collective answers to the changing international environment. France and Germany will therefore promote a more coherent and a more assertive Europe on the world stage. To deliver better, Europe must focus on today’s main challenges – ensure the security of our citizens confronted with growing external and internal threats; establish a stable cooperative framework for dealing with migration and refugee flows; boost the European economy by promoting convergence and sustainable and job-creating growth and advancing towards the completion of the Economic and Monetary Union.

We are seeing the European Union being severely put to the test. It is challenged by a series of crises in its southern and eastern environment. It is recovering slowly on the path of economic growth. Looking back at the history of the European edifice, we strongly believe in the strength of the EU and its ability to overcome these situations. But something is new in these critical times, namely the perception that these crises jeopardise the very fabric of our societies, our values, our way of life. We see terrorists attempting to spread fear and division in our societies. We have to face increasingly interwoven internal and external challenges. We see the need to preserve the combination of growth, competitiveness and social cohesion which lies at the heart of our European model, while preserving our common values both internally and vis-à- vis the outside world.

We know there are no quick solutions to these very demanding problems. But we are determined to address them, working to deal with current challenges while remaining focused on important long-term issues. In this spirit, we have agreed on the following proposals:

 

 

A European Security Compact

The EU has to face a deteriorating security environment and an unprecedented level of threat. External crises have become more numerous, closer to Europe – both east and south of its borders – and more likely to have immediate consequences for European territory and the security of EU citizens. Power politics are back on the world stage and conflict is being imported into our continent. The terrorist threat is growing, feeding on complex networks in and outside Europe and stemming from crisis zones and unstable, war-torn regions all over the world. Europe’s role as a credible force for peace is more important than ever.

The security of EU member states is deeply interconnected, as these threats now affect the continent as a whole: any threat to one-member state is also a threat to others. We therefore regard our security as one and indivisible. We consider the European Union and the European security order to be part of our core interests and will safeguard them in any circumstances.

In this context, France and Germany recommit to a shared vision of Europe as a security union, based on solidarity and mutual assistance between member states in support of common security and defence policy. Providing security for Europe as well as contributing to peace and stability globally is at the heart of the European project.

We see the EU as a key power in its neighbourhood but also as an actor for peace and stability with global reach. An actor able to make a decisive contribution to tackling global challenges and to support a rules-based international order underpinned by strategic stability, based on a peaceful balance of interests. We have considerable achievements that deserve recognition and can provide inspiration. The historic agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme was only possible because of the EU’s determined and persistent commitment. European engagement in the Minsk process has helped to contain a military confrontation in eastern Ukraine that could have easily spiralled out of control. Our diplomatic efforts have paved the way for a political settlement to the conflict which we will continue to pursue. In Libya, we support the emerging government of national accord endeavouring to address the risks posed by state fragility and instability in the Southern Mediterranean. Beyond the crises, we are convinced that Africa needs also a continuous commitment, being a continent of great challenges and opportunities.

One of the main features of today’s security environment is the interdependence between internal and external security, since the most dangerous and destabilising risks emanate from the interaction between external threats and internal weaknesses. To respond to this challenge, Germany and France propose a European Security Compact which encompasses all aspects of security and defence dealt with at the European level and thus delivers on the EU’s promise to strengthen security for its citizens.

A first step is to share a common analysis of our strategic environment and common understanding of our interests. France and Germany propose that the EU conduct regular reviews of its strategic environment, to be submitted and discussed at the Foreign Affairs Council and at the European Council. These reviews will be supported by an independent situation assessment capability, based on the EU intelligence and situation centre and expertise from outside European institutions, with production of strategic and intelligence analysis approved at European level.

 On the basis of this common understanding, the European Union should establish agreed strategic priorities for its foreign and security policy, in accordance with European interests.

The European Union Global Strategy is a first step in that direction. But we need to push further: on a more contested and competitive international scene, France and Germany will promote the EU as an independent and global actor able to leverage its unique array of expertise and tools, civilian and military, in order to defend and promote the interests of its citizens. France and Germany will promote integrated EU foreign and security policy bringing together all EU policy instruments.

The EU will need to take action more often in order to manage crises that directly affect its own security. We therefore need stronger and more flexible crisis prevention and crisis management capabilities. The EU should be able to plan and conduct civil and military operations more effectively, with the support of a permanent civil-military chain of command. The EU should be able to rely on employable high-readiness forces and provide common financing for its operations. Within the framework of the EU, member states willing to establish permanent structured cooperation in the field of defence or to push ahead to launch operations should be able to do so in a flexible manner. If needed, EU member states should consider establishing standing maritime forces or acquiring EU-owned capabilities in other key areas.

In order to live up to the growing security challenges, Europeans need to step up their defence efforts. European member states should reaffirm and abide by the commitments made collectively on defence budgets and the portion of spending dedicated to the procurement of equipment and to research and technology (R&T). Within the EU, France and Germany propose the establishment of a European semester on defence capabilities. Through this process, the EU will support efforts by member states by ensuring the coherence of defence and capability-building processes and encourage member states to discuss the priorities of their respective military spending plans. The establishment of a European defence research programme will support an innovative European industry.

The European Union must invest more in preventing conflict, in promoting human security and in stabilising its neighbourhood and regions affected by crisis all over the world. The EU should help its partners and neighbours develop their capacity and governance structures, to strengthen their crisis resilience and their ability to prevent and control emerging crisis as well as terrorist threats. France and Germany will conduct joint initiatives in stabilisation, development and reconstruction in Syria and Iraq when the situation allows. Together, France and Germany will strengthen their civilian crisis management tools and reaffirm their commitment to support and sustain political processes of conflict resolution.

In order to ensure our internal security, the immediate challenges are primarily operational. The objectives are to implement and monitor EU decisions and make the best use of existing frameworks: PNR; Europol and its counterterrorism centre; the fight against terrorist financing; and EU action plans against trafficking of weapons and explosives. A special emphasis should be put on strengthening transport safety. We want also to increase our dialogue and cooperation with third countries in North Africa, the Sahel strip, the Lake Chad Basin, West Africa, the horn of Africa and the Middle East, as well as regional and sub-regional organisations (African Union, G5).

In order to address the root causes of terrorism, France and Germany will develop a European platform to share experience and best practice in preventing and counteracting radicalisation.

In the medium term, we should work towards a more integrated approach for EU internal security, based on the following measures: creation of a European platform for intelligence cooperation, fully respecting national prerogatives and using the current frameworks (e.g. CTG); improvement of data exchange; European contingency planning for major crisis scenarios affecting several member states; creation of a European response capability; establishment of a European civil protection corps.

In the longer term, it would make sense to enlarge the scope of the European public prosecutor’s office in future (currently limited to prosecuting offenses concerning the EU’s financial interests) to include fighting terrorism and organised crime. This would require harmonisation of criminal law among the member states.

In order to drive this effort, France and Germany propose that the European Council should meet once a year as a European Security Council, in order to address internal and external security and defence issues facing the EU. This European Security Council should be prepared by a meeting of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Interior Ministers.

 

Common European asylum and migration policy

Large-scale migration towards Europe will be the key challenge for Europe’s future.

There shall be no unilateral national answers to the migration challenge, which is a truly European challenge of the 21th century. Our citizens expect that we firmly regain control on our external borders while preserving our European values. We have to act jointly to live up to this expectation. Germany and France are convinced that it is high time to work towards establishing truly integrated European asylum, refugee and migration policy. Given the urgency of the matter, we should not rule out the possibility of a group of member states that share a sense of common responsibility making progress on common policies.

Securing our external border is no longer exclusively a national task but also a common responsibility. We are determined that the EU should establish the world’s first multinational border and coast guard. In the short term, FRONTEX will be manned by mean of secondments from member states. France and Germany should propose a joint contribution to that end. Over the medium term FRONTEX should be scaled up not only in terms of having its own permanent staff but also with adequate technical equipment to fulfil this task.

We also propose the creation of a European ESTA for visa-exempt third country nationals as a useful instrument to reinforce our borders and security.

It is our common duty to protect those fleeing from war or political persecution. In our efforts we strive to allow refugees to find shelter as close to the as possible.

Asylum seekers reaching Europe have a right to be treated according to the Geneva Convention no matter where they reach our shores. To this end we must further harmonise and simplify our standards and procedures in specific areas. We shall stand ready to grant EU support for the establishment of efficient asylum systems where needed. Over the medium term the European Asylum Office should be transformed into a European Asylum Agency to support this process of standardisation and host joint databases to prevent the misuse of differences in standards as well as multiple registrations and discourage secondary movements. This European Asylum Agency would help reinforce convergence in the way applications for international protection are assessed, with due regard to the Dublin basic principles such as the responsibility of the member state of first entry to deal with an asylum application.

Solidarity remains a cornerstone of our European project. Citizens expect that the benefits and burdens of EU membership be evenly shared among member states. A situation in which the burden of migration is unevenly carried by a limited number of member states is unsustainable. As a first step, the Dublin system has to be improved to deal with exceptional circumstances by means of a permanent and binding mechanism which foresees burden sharing among all member states. If necessary, Germany and France stand ready to proceed on this matter with a group of like-minded partners.

The EU must find a common answer to the rising number of migrants seeking to enter the EU for economic reasons. The asylum system is a misleading entry point for them to use. Europe should stay open to what migration and mobility can contribute to our societies in the fields of the economy, culture and diversity. We need to work towards a European Immigration Act that clearly states what the legal options are when it comes to working in Europe, taking into account the different states of national labour markets in the EU. At the same time, we have to improve EU tools and support in the field of return policy, underpinned by EU funds to finance the deportation of those who entered the EU illegally.

In our relations with key countries of origin and transit, we will work to reduce push factors for irregular migration, for example by generating economic and social opportunities, particularly for young people. We expect constructive cooperation in crucial fields such as return and readmission, border management and control and the fight against migrant smuggling. Germany and France have already held high-level migration dialogues with a number of African states on behalf of the EU and will extend this dialogue to other countries. Root causes of migration, such as poverty, lack of security and political instability should also be addressed by the EU.

Finally, hosting and, in some cases, integrating refugees and migrants poses a challenge to all European societies that must be dealt with in a spirit of responsibility and solidarity. Germany and France do not share the same historical experience of immigration and integration but are committed to learning from each other. Through dialogue, exchange and cooperation, we intend to foster a more objective debate about the challenges and opportunities of immigration and integration for our societies. We hope thus to use the lessons we have learned to benefit other European states that are confronted with similar challenges.

 

Fostering growth and completing the Economic and Monetary Union

To this day, our common currency constitutes the most visible and ambitious undertaking of European unification. The euro has helped protect its member states fro international speculation and contributed to building a common economic area. The euro reflects our commitment to the irreversibility of European integration.

However, we must admit that the crisis and its aftermath have shown up deficiencies that make citizens question whether the common currency delivers on its promises and even casts doubt on the sustainability of the project itself. We therefore intend to proceed on three fronts simultaneously: strengthening economic convergence, enhancing social justice and democratic accountability and improving shock resistance to safeguard the irreversibility of the euro. France and Germany have always seen it as their major responsibility to build a robust Eurozone able to assert its model in a more and more competitive world.

We believe we urgently need to revive this spirit to carry the debate forward. And it is the responsibility of our two countries to bilaterally proceed beyond that. We have to acknowledge that the requirements of membership and the fiscal implications stemming from the common currency have been higher than one could have expect when the euro was founded. We must therefore respect the wish of others to decide on their own when to join the euro.

To overcome the crisis, the euro area has to enter into a renewed phase of economic convergence. To this end, France and Germany will shoulder the main responsibility of organising a process of economic convergence and political governance which balances obligations and solidarity to accompany the process. Surplus and deficit countries will have to move, as a one-sided alignment is politically unfeasible.

Growth potential has been severely hampered by the crisis. Europe urgently needs to unlock the untapped potential inherent in the completion of the single market in specific sectors of strategic interest. France and Germany remain committed to bilateral initiatives to rapidly harmonise regulation and oversight as well as corporate tax schemes. To unlock growth and to increase the productivity of the European economy, a renewed effort for more investment, both private and public, is necessary. France and Germany reiterate their commitment to structural reforms to attract international investment and to further enhance the competiveness of their economies.

In that respect, specific initiatives should be taken in order to foster growth and convergence between member states in strategic sectors such as energy, the digital sector, research and innovation or professional training. In the short term, common targets could be set, linked to regulatory objectives and investment means based on the amplification of the European Fund for Strategic Investment. Over the medium term, those strategic sectors should evolve towards a common regulatory framework and even a shared supervisory authority, and benefit from a structured European investment capability to foster convergence through cross-border investment. Bilateral initiatives by Germany and France should be undertaken within the framework.

The current architecture of the euro is not sufficiently resilient to external shocks or internal imbalances. Leaving the EMU incomplete jeopardises the survival of our common currency in the long term. Completing the EMU will involve the continuous intensification of political governance as well as fiscal burden sharing. In light of existing imbalances, a deepening of the EMU will not come as a big bang but as the result of a pragmatic and gradual evolution taking into account the necessary results in terms of growth and employment. These results are indispensable to reinforce confidence in the European Union among member states and citizens and create the appropriate political conditions for new steps of integration towards completing the EMU.

We should acknowledge that EMU member states share different traditions of economic policy making, which have to be balanced out for the euro to function properly. A future architecture of the euro will neither be solely rules based nor prone to mere political decision making nor will it be steered exclusively by mar- et forces. Every step in deepening the EMU will encompass all of these aspects.

Since economic policy-making in the EMU is increasingly a domain of shared decisions, citizens rightly expect to regain control via supranational institutions accountable to them. In the short term a full time president of the Euro group should be accountable to a Eurozone subcommittee in the European Parliament. In the longer term, the Euro group and its president should be accountable to a parliamentary body comprising members of the European Parliament with the participation of members of national parliaments. This chamber should have full authority on any matters regarding fiscal and macroeconomic oversight.

In this context we should develop the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) into a fully-fledged European Monetary Fund subject to parliamentary control.

A fiscal capacity – a common feature of any successful monetary union around the globe – remains a missing keystone in the EMU architecture. In the long run it should provide macroeconomic stabilisation at the Eurozone level while avoiding permanent unidirectional transfers. Whereas these capabilities should be built up over time and in line with progress on common decision making regarding fiscal and economic policy, it should start by 2018 at the latest to support investment in the member states most severely hit by the crisis. Germany and France should form a group prepared to lead on this matter.

Public support for the euro is undermined by a lack of progress on its social dimension and fair taxation among its member states. Hence, as a general principle, any step to further deepen the EMU should be accompanied by progress in the field of common taxation, in particular with regard to transnational corporations, as well as the development of a social union underpinned by common social minimum standards.

TRANSLATE:  ALFONS

 

 

NATO SUMMIT IN POLAND

On July 8, the NATO summit begins in Warsaw. For the Polish defence minister Antoni Macierewicz and his national-conservative cabinet colleagues, however, the peak in the former home of the Warsaw Pact is a symbolic confirmation of the Polish membership in the Western alliance. Not only Poland, but also its Baltic neighbours expected summit decisions that reaffirm mutual solidarity and strengthen the eastern flank of NATO.

In Warsaw should be decided that units of NATO states are present in Rotationsrhytmus in Poland and the Baltic states. When it comes to Macierewicz and his colleagues in Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn, the principle is: the more soldiers, the better.

The national security adviser of Poland, Pawel Soloch, sees there is scope. “The volume can be enlarged when the Russian position does not change. This is an open question, and one has to look to the decisions of the distribution of alliance troops. ”

Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, especially Poland and the three Baltic states are pushing for a strengthening of the eastern flank. Although the fighting in eastern Ukraine in the media of other current events have been pushed into the background: The conflict in the neighbourhood is always present in Poland. In the centre of Warsaw, a support and counselling centre for Ukrainians was established. The Polish Foreign Ministry will make from 4 July to 2 August, the border with Kaliningrad and Ukraine closely, reports ABC News.

Warsaw had announced the end of May to establish in cooperation with the US, a paramilitary force of 35,000 men to secure the border with Ukraine.

The number of international military exercises in the region has been strengthened – last defence against an aggression was inspected during the manoeuvre anaconda ten days practiced (video at the beginning of the article). The fact that there were critical voices in the West and about German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke of “loud saber-rattling”, met in Warsaw with incomprehension.

The government in Warsaw holds Brussels for weak and will prefer to attach to the US and NATO. In Washington, the development is seen with pleasure. The Polish PiS government has set euro sceptical towards Germany and Russia critical.

Polish President Andrzej Duda said some weeks ago that he less EU and more wish to NATO. The government has added Russia in turmoil as she thought aloud about to deploy nuclear missiles NATO on Polish territory. Today Poland is the most important bridgehead of NATO against Russia.

The interests of the PiS coincide in this respect with those of the US defence industry and the NATO. And they follow an old idea, which already go back to the legendary Polish leader Jozef Pilsudski from the period after the First World War: It is the so-called “Intermarried” concept, which was originally aimed at an alliance between Germany and Russia to prevented by a strong alliance belt is pulled through Eastern Europe. In this case, part of the envisaged belt Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.

According to information of the private US intelligence Stratfor Poland is the vanguard of the US and NATO against Russia in Central and Eastern Europe. But from an energy policy perspective the country is important. The government in Warsaw is a staunch opponent of the pipeline Nord Stream II which should transfer Russian gas to Germany.

by Alfons