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EU leaders fail to identify ‘European solution’ to migration crisis at informal meeting

Europeans now agree that a migrant crisis faces Europe, and but can’t agree on what to do about it

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On Sunday, an informal meeting was hosted in Brussels at the request of (for now) German Chancellor Angela Merkel to tackle the issue of migration and to potentially identify a ‘European solution’.

Merkel is between a rock and a hard spot over the migration issue as it threatens to split her governmental coalition, and Merkel’s position as Chancellor.

Italian Prime Minister almost didn’t agree to show up at the meeting over the proposals included a leaded draft, which objection Merkel overcame by assuring Conte was being shelved.

Meanwhile, Macron announced that he would back economic sanctions on EU member states which refuse to admit migrants.

France and Italy have been in some disagreement over the matter of migrants lately, refusing to accept refugee ships loaded with hundreds of migrants.

The four Visegrad countries were entirely absent from the meeting.

Politico reports:

An emergency mini summit Sunday of EU leaders seeking a common solution on migration yielded a breakthrough, of sorts: a general agreement to stop seeking an overall, common solution.

It was not exactly a failure, with leaders hailing new momentum in addressing the bloc’s most divisive political problem, and a commitment to continue their discussion at a regular EU summit later this week.

But the talks did not deliver any immediate prize for Germany’s Angela Merkel, who is under pressure at home, where her Bavarian coalition partners are demanding tougher border enforcement policies.

“Wherever possible we want to find European solutions, where this is not possible we want to bring those who are willing together and develop a common framework for action,” the chancellor said as she left the summit.

Other leaders were more blunt about the lack of any concrete outcome.

“Today we didn’t take decisions,” Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told reporters on his way out.

Still, that did not stop officials in the senior echelon of the European Commission, which hosted the mini summit, from quickly summarizing Sunday’s discussion into a potpourri of policy proposals and firing off an e-mail message at 9:18 p.m, urging the European Council to rewrite its draft conclusions on migration for the formal leaders’ summit later this week — the latest salvo in a running institutional fight over how best to manage the issue.

Merkel had arrived at European Commission headquarters stressing the need for “bilateral or trilateral agreements,” in the absence of a broader consensus among all 28 EU nations, which she plainly declared did not yet exist.

But after roughly four hours of discussions, she didn’t announce any new agreement like the deal she struck last week with President Emmanuel Macron, who agreed to take back any asylum applicants registered in France who cross illegally into Germany.

Merkel seemed intent on addressing Rome’s complaint that she puts her domestic imperatives ahead of Italy’s struggle to deal with a flood of migrants.

“We all agree that we have to stop illegal immigration and that we have to secure our borders, and that we are all responsible for all topics,” Merkel said as she left. “It can’t be that some countries only care about primary migration, and others about secondary migration.”

Nonetheless, the diverging priorities of different EU nations were on clear display at the meeting. Tsipras, lending support to Italy as a fellow frontier country, urged leaders to recognize that secondary movement — in which asylum seekers cross internal EU borders after making their initial application — is not a concern for Greece. “Our northern borders are unilaterally closed,” he said inside the meeting, according to a Greek official.

‘European vision’
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who arrived declaring he would deliver a “completely new proposal,” left without addressing the press. Other leaders said his proposal, which focused on easing the burden of frontier countries, was well-received but would require more study.

“The prime minister presented his plan in the meeting, and there are many things that were included in the conversation, and others he just shared with us his views, his opinion,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said. “And of course we just received that proposal and we are going to study it.”

Sanchez, attending his first major EU meeting, said “everyone agreed on the need to have a European vision.”

But if there was agreement on the need for a European vision, there was also recognition that it was virtually impossible to achieve unanimity, particularly among Central European nations like Hungary and Poland that adamantly refuse to accept refugees as part of an EU relocation system.

EU leaders have been struggling for the better part of three years to resolve seriously divisive disagreements over refugee and migration policy.

The EU mini summit was called at the behest of Merkel, who faces an acute crisis at home over tough new border control policies being pushed by Horst Seehofer, her interior minister and the leader of her coalition partner, the Christian Social Union (CSU).

Merkel bought herself time in the crisis by convincing Seehofer to wait until after the European Council this week so she could pursue a broader, European solution. But her plan for a mini summit caused yet another brouhaha because the Commission initially put forward a draft leaders’ statement that infuriated Italy, and prompted Conte to threaten to boycott the gathering. At Merkel’s urging, the draft text was dropped, and Conte agreed to attend.

Partnerships of the willing
After Sunday’s meeting there appeared to be consensus, at least among most of the 16 leaders who attended, that the challenges would be better tackled with partnerships among willing nations, rather than waiting for unanimity among all 28. That suggested a watershed realization: At times the best way to preserve EU unity may be to forego seeking EU unity.

One senior official who attended Sunday’s meeting said Merkel’s position was remarkably altered from 2015, when she pushed hard for an all-EU solution to the migration crisis.

“This time Merkel was not in the position of coming here with an European solution because she had first to settle the situation at home,” the official said. “It’s something that leaders start to feel.”

Instead, Merkel stressed the need to strengthen partnerships with countries outside the EU, citing the EU agreement with Turkey, which she characterized as a success.

“We want to develop further agreements with countries of origin,” Merkel said. “Member states will divide up the work; some will do the work for all of Europe.” She also called for greater control of external and internal EU borders.

“Smugglers and refugees cannot choose in which of the European member states they turn in their asylum applications,” she said.

But it was Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz who summed up Sunday’s mini summit best. “The issue,” he said, “is still not solved.”

While a European solution was not identified, two points were agreed upon by participants, and they are that there is in fact a migrant crisis facing Europe, and secondly, that EU members can’t agree on what to do about it. The unity in the Union on this matter, therefore, is that the Union is not unified on this highly divisive matter. From this point, it appears that possible solutions to handling the influx of migrants is a matter to be dealt with bi and trilaterally.

Of course, addressing the core problems of why migrants are fleeing their home countries, and how the EU can play a role in influencing the situations for the better both for the migrants and in the EU’s own interests, as well as those of the UN’s charter, appear to be totally off the radar.

 

 

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Tape recorded evidence of Clinton-Ukraine meddling in US election surfaces (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a look at new evidence to surface from Ukraine that exposes a plot by the US Embassy in Kiev and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) to leak Paul Manafort’s corrupt dealings in the country, all for the benefit of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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Via Zerohedge


Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has launched an investigation into the head of the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau for allegedly attempting to help Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump during the 2016 US election by releasing damaging information about a “black ledger” of illegal business dealings by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The Hill’s John Solomon, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko

“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko said last week, according to The Hill

Lutsenko is probing a claim from a member of the Ukrainian parliament that the director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Artem Sytnyk, attempted to the benefit of the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

A State Department spokesman told Hill.TV that officials aware of news reports regarding Sytnyk. –The Hill

“According to the member of parliament of Ukraine, he got the court decision that the NABU official conducted an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” said Lutsenko, speaking with The Hill’s John Solomon about the anti-corruption bureau chief, Artem Sytnyk.

“It means that we think Mr. Sytnyk, the NABU director, officially talked about criminal investigation with Mr. [Paul] Manafort, and at the same time, Mr. Sytnyk stressed that in such a way, he wanted to assist the campaign of Ms. Clinton,” Lutsenko continued.

Solomon asked Lutsenko about reports that a member of Ukraine’s parliament obtained a tape of the current head of the NABU saying that he was attempting to help Clinton win the 2016 presidential election, as well as connections that helped release the black-ledger files that exposed Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort‘s wrongdoing in Ukraine.

“This member of parliament even attached the audio tape where several men, one of which had a voice similar to the voice of Mr. Sytnyk, discussed the matter.” –The Hill

What The Hill doesn’t mention is that Sytnyk released Manafort’s Black Book with Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko – discussed in great length by former Breitbart investigator Lee Stranahan, who has been closely monitoring this case.

Serhiy Leshchenko

T]he main spokesman for these accusations was Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian politician and journalist who works closely with both top Hillary Clinton donors George Soros and Victor Pinchuk, as well as to the US Embassy in Kyiv.

James Comey should be asked about this source that Leshchenko would not identify. Was the source someone connected to US government, either the State Department or the Department of Justice?

The New York Times should also explain why they didn’t mention that Leshchenko had direct connections to two of Hillary Clinton biggest financial backers. Victor Pinchuk, the largest donor to the Clinton Foundation at a staggering $8.6 million also happened to have paid for Leshchenko’s expenses to go to international conferences. George Soros, whose also founded the International Renaissance Foundationthat worked closely with Hillary Clinton’s State Department in Ukraine, also contributed at least $8 million to Hillary affiliated super PACs in the 2016 campaign cycle. –Lee Stranahan via Medium

Meanwhile, according to former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr, Leshchenko was a source for opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the infamous Trump-Russia dossier.

Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for the Washington, D.C.-based Fusion GPS, testified on Oct. 19 that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned Ukrainian lawmaker, was a source for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign.

“I recall … they were mentioning someone named Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian,” Ohr said when asked who Fusion GPS’s sources were, according to portions of Ohr’s testimony confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. –Daily Caller

Also absent from The Hill report is the fact that Leshchenko was convicted in December by a Kiev court of interfering in the 2016 US election.

A Kyiv court said that a Ukrainian lawmaker and a top anticorruption official’s decision in 2016 to publish documents linked to President Donald Trump’s then-campaign chairman amounted to interference in the U.S. presidential election.

The December 11 finding came in response to a complaint filed by another Ukrainian lawmaker, who alleged that Serhiy Leshchenko and Artem Sytnyk illegally released the documents in August 2016, showing payments by a Ukrainian political party to Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The documents, excerpts from a secret ledger of payments by the Party of Regions, led to Manafort being fired by Trump’s election campaign.

The Kyiv court said that the documents published by Leshchenko and Sytnyk were part of an ongoing pretrial investigation in Ukraine into the operations of the pro-Russian Party of Regions. The party’s head had been President Viktor Yanukovych until he fled the country amid mass protests two years earlier.

-RadioFreeEurope/Radio Liberty (funded by the US govt.).

So while Lutsenko – Solomon’s guest and Ukrainian Prosecutor is currently going after Artem Sytnyk, it should be noted that Leshchenko was already found to have meddled in the 2016 US election.

Watch:

Meanwhile, you can also check out Stranahan’s take on Leshchenko being left out of the loop.

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‘I will take over as Brexit Party leader’: Nigel Farage back on the frontline

Nigel Farage says that if the UK takes part in European elections, he will lead his new Brexit Party.

RT

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Via RT


Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has announced that he will lead his new Brexit Party into the European elections if UK MPs decide to delay Brexit beyond May 22.

Farage, who has ostensibly appointed himself leader, told various media, including the BBC and Sky News on Friday morning: “I will take over as leader of the Brexit Party and lead it into the European Elections.”

It comes after the Brexit Party’s leader, Catherine Blaiklock, quit over a series of alleged Islamophobic statements and retweets of far-right figures on social media.

It is not yet thought that Farage has officially been elected as leader, as the party does not, as yet, have a formal infrastructure to conduct such a vote.

The right-wing MEP vowed to put out a whole host of Brexit Party candidates if the UK participates in the upcoming EU elections in May, adding: “If we fight those elections, we will fight them on trust.”

On Thursday night, the EU agreed to PM May’s request for a delaying to Brexit beyond the March 29 deadline. Brussels announced two new exit dates depending on what happens next week in the UK parliament.

The UK will have to leave the bloc on April 12 unless British MPs agree to May’s Brexit deal. If the withdrawal agreement is passed by next week, EU leaders have agreed to grant an extension until May 22.

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Baltics cannot rely on Germany any more

The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it is supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership blunders.

The Duran

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Submitted by Adomas Abromaitis…

On March 29 Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will celebrate 15 years of becoming NATO member states. The way to the alliance membership was not simple for newly born independent countries. They have reached great success in fulfilling many of NATO demands: they have considerably increased their defence expenditures, renewed armaments and increased the number of military personnel.

In turn, they get used to rely on more powerful member states, their advice, help and even decision making. All these 15 years they felt more or less safe because of proclaimed European NATO allies’ capabilities.

Unfortunately, now it is high time to doubt. The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership’s blunders. Every member state does a bit. As for the Baltic states, they are particularly vulnerable, because they fully depend on other NATO member states in their defence. Thus, Germany, Canada and Britain are leading nations of the NATO battle group stationed in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia respectively.

But the state of national armed forces in Germany, for example, raises doubts and makes it impossible not only defend the Baltics against Russia, but Germany itself.

It turned out, that Germany itself remains dissatisfied with its combat readiness and minister of defence’s ability to perform her duties. Things are so bad, that the military’s annual readiness report would be kept classified for the first time for “security reasons.”

“Apparently the readiness of the Bundeswehr is so bad that the public should not be allowed to know about it,” said Tobias Lindner, a Greens member who serves on the budget and defense committees.

Inspector General Eberhard Zorn said (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-arms/germany-not-satisfied-with-readiness-of-submarines-some-aircraft-idUSKBN1QS1G7) the average readiness of the country’s nearly 10,000 weapons systems stood at about 70 percent in 2018, which meant Germany was able to fulfill its military obligations despite increasing responsibilities.

No overall comparison figure was available for 2017, but last year’s report revealed readiness rates of under 50 percent for specific weapons such as the aging CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters and the Tornado fighter jets.

Zorn said this year’s report was more comprehensive and included details on five main weapons systems used by the cyber command, and eight arms critical for NATO’s high readiness task force, which Germany heads this year.

“The overall view allows such concrete conclusions about the current readiness of the Bundeswehr that knowledge by unauthorized individuals would harm the security interests of the Federal Republic of Germany,” he wrote.

Critics are sure of incompetence of the Federal Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen. Though she has occupied the upper echelons of German politics for 14 years now — and shows no sign of success. This mother of seven, gynecologist by profession, by some miracle for a long time has been remaining in power, though has no trust even among German military elites. Despite numerous scandals she tries to manage the Armed Forces as a housewife does and, of course, the results are devastating for German military capabilities. The same statement could be easily apply for the Baltic States, which highly dependent on Germany in military sphere.

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