EU asylum system came close to collapsing in 2015 as a million refugees and migrants arrived by boat to Europe 0SHARES Share Tweet Email PHOTO COURTESY: FORT RUSS KUALA LUMPUR: After decades of spending on infrastructure to develop poorer parts of Europe, the European Union must invest in migrants to avert a “nuclear bomb” of civil unrest, a top EU official said. Armed with a war chest of 350 billion euros ($428 billion) to spend by 2020 on its so-called cohesion policy, the European Union is aiming to reduce inequality across the bloc – mainly by pumping money into countries in eastern and southern Europe. “Social integration will be crucial in the years to come,” European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu told the Thomson Reuters Foundation this week at the World Urban Forum, the world’s largest conference dedicated to cities. 90 migrants, mostly Pakistanis, believed dead in … [Read more...] about Invest in migrants to avert ‘nuclear bomb’ of unrest in Europe, says EU official
There's nothing easier than ignoring the elephant in the room. You can run around it, climb up a ladder to get over it, or peek underneath it, if you refuse to acknowledge its existence. But then it came to pass, that a certain Nigel F. suddenly announced: "There's an elephant in the room!" So unfortunately, it now has to be addressed. Had you been in Britain, it would have felt like an earthquake when Farage quite unexpectedly declared: "Maybe, just maybe, I'm reaching the point of thinking that we should have a second referendum on EU membership." If only, of course, to finish off the paralyzing Brexit argument for a generation. His friends were confused. Why would Nigel, the proud chief propagandist of the EU haters, stab them in the back this way? There are two possible explanations. Nigel is either desperately seeking media attention, after his last appearance in Brussels fell flat. Or, he just has an instinct about making sure he's on the winning side for posterity's sake. … [Read more...] about Brexit Diaries 24: An elephant in the room
The White House said Trump had 'underscored that Iran must stop its destabilizing activity in the region' 0SHARES Share Tweet Email US President Donald Trump PHOTO: AFP WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump was set Friday to decide whether to jeopardize the 2015 Iran nuclear deal by re-imposing American sanctions on an agreement European leaders say is working just fine. Washington agreed to sanctions relief under the terms of the landmark agreement reached between Tehran and six world powers — an accord Trump has denounced as one of the worst of all time. US officials expect Trump to grudgingly sign the sanction waivers once again before they start to expire this weekend — though he is also likely to impose new sanctions on Tehran over non-nuclear issues. Trump’s vendetta against Pakistan But the angst in Berlin, Brussels, London and Paris underlined what is at stake: the mercurial US president is quite capable of sabotaging the … [Read more...] about Trump decision looms over Iran deal as Europe watches
"I respect Mrs. Merkel very much. For the last five, six years, she has been the only real leader in Europe," said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to German reporters in his hometown of Antalya. Wait. Didn't Germany and Turkey actually spent most of last year immensely disliking each other? President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeatedly accused the German government of behaving like "Nazis." At the same time, Germany openly criticized Turkey's increasingly autocratic government, human rights violations and arrests of journalists. 'Maintain the dialogue' When a German government with Angela Merkel at the helm is finally formed, Erdogan would like to invite the chancellor to Turkey, or Erdogan could also visit Germany, said the Turkish foreign minister, adding that Erdogan has spoken to Merkel and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier several times recently. "We should maintain the dialogue now," said Cavusoglu. Just over year ago, Merkel visited Turkey before the referendum … [Read more...] about Are there signs of a thaw in icy Germany-Turkey relations?
Journalists should be "liquidated"; vegetarians and teetotalers deserve death; Islam is conducting a "super-Holocaust" against Europe; and the world should accept Russia's annexation of Crimea. Such rhetoric was absent from a recent presidential debate at Dox, a modern art gallery in Prague, because Milos Zeman refuses to engage his rivals. That left many in the audience feeling a Christmas carol singalong was the high point. Read more: Opinion: Czech voters more than simply right-wingers The incumbent may be crude and calculating, but he's rarely dull. His competitors, meanwhile, struggle to offer inspiration; the seven middle-aged men on the stage appear to think not being Milos Zeman is enough. "The challengers are very bland; it's hard to find any political substance," notes Sean Hanley, of the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies. "The candidate that poses the biggest risk to Zeman is Zeman." Jiri Drahos, an independent, academic and political novice leads … [Read more...] about Czech presidential race boils down to Milos Zeman or not
It is not often that the trigger for a government crisis is as obvious as it has been in Belgium in recent weeks. The story begins in Brussels' Parc Maximilien, where migrants have been camping out since 2015. At any given time there are usually a few hundred people waiting there in limbo until their paperwork has been processed, or taking a break on their journey to Great Britain. For many Belgians, Parc Maximilien is a symbol of the Belgian state's failure to get a grip on the refugee crisis. The current debate may develop into real government crisis and even cost Charles Michel's job as prime minister. Now the center-right government under Prime Minister Michel faces allegations that Belgium has repatriated people seeking protection to the regime of President Omar al-Bashir, thus exposing them to persecution and torture. The opposition has reacted with disbelief, especially since Michel's nationalist coalition partner, the nationalist New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), … [Read more...] about Belgian government embroiled in deportation scandal
DW: Mr. Juncker, how confident are you that Bulgaria will be able to "handle" the EU Council presidency? Jean-Claude Juncker: Bulgaria is extremely well equipped; the government has even created a special ministry for the EU Council Presidency. Its minister, Lilyana Pavlova, is well prepared, as is Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. I am convinced that Bulgaria will deliver considerable results, together with Mariya Gabriel, who is already doing an exceptional job in my commission. Bulgaria is fully committed to Europe's agenda and has focused on the issues that are especially important to Europeans, like migration, the digital agenda, a European defense union and the future of the Western Balkans. Read more: Bulgaria takes over EU presidency in turbulent times And besides, "B" does not only stand for Bulgaria, but also the Bulgarian word for future, "budeshte." The Bulgarian presidency will oversee the important debate on the future of Europe — and 2018 is the … [Read more...] about EU’s Jean-Claude Juncker: Bulgaria will deliver results for Europe
Many moons ago, the UK's National Health Service (NHS) was held up as a shining example of a publicly-funded system providing universal and affordable health care. How things have changed. Successive governments have failed to tackle spiraling costs, dwindling investments and resources, and staff shortages. Current Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday again apologized to patients who had operations canceled or been forced to wait in ambulances. In the run-up to the UK's 2016 EU referendum, the NHS was misused as a campaign platform by Leave proponents, who claimed that the 350 million pounds ($470 million, €395 million) the UK sends to Brussels each week would be recouped to fund the NHS instead. That turned out to be a blatant lie and served merely to swing the vote in favor of Leave. So what impact will Brexit have on an already dysfunctional NHS in crucial areas such as recruitment, financing and research? Recruitment/Retention of EU nationals: The NHS has always relied … [Read more...] about The NHS and Brexit: Don’t get sick in the UK
It was the first and the largest cabinet reshuffle in Poland since the country's national-conservative government came to power the fall of 2015. "We don't want to be dogmatic or a government of extremes ... we want to form a government that connects the economy to society and the European perspective to our local, Polish perspective," new Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Tuesday at the swearing-in ceremony for the new ministers in Warsaw. Earlier, President Andrzej Duda had dismissed eight ministers. Undoubtedly, this is a political victory for Duda. Absent from the affairs Tuesday was Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of the Law and Justice party (PIS) and the man regarded as Poland's true ruler. No longer sacrosanct The dismissal of Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz came as a surprise, as he was long thought to be Poland's second most powerful politician after Kaczynski. His pursuit of Communist old-boy networks, his bias toward conspiracy theories and his close ties to … [Read more...] about Is Poland’s new government a PR stunt or an actual change?
Authorities in Germany and Italy busted a 'Ndrangheta mafia clan on Tuesday, detaining scores of suspects and seizing millions of euros in property. In Germany, 11 men between the ages of 36 and 41 were detained in the states of Bavaria, Hesse, North-Rhine Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg, Germany's Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) said in a statement. Read more: German authorities struggle to curb Russian mafia care home exploitation International crackdown German authorities said the men were suspected of blackmail and money laundering, and that the detentions were carried out at the request of Italian authorities. The BKA added that anti-mafia police in Italy detained another 160 people in the joint operation. Italian authorities said they also seized some €50 million ($60 million) worth of property. The list of charges facing the suspects in Italy ranges from attempted murder to illegal possession of firearms to illegal waste transportation. Read … [Read more...] about Mafia raids in Germany, Italy: Police make over 170 arrests