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Macron advocates sanctions for EU members refusing to accept migrants

What business do sanctions have in a politico economic bloc like the EU?

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Just before an informal meeting convened to discuss Europe’s approach to the ongoing migrant crisis, French President Emmanuel Macron advocated economic sanctions against EU member nations which refuse to admit migrants into their country in comments which drew the ire of Italian government ministers.

Macron advocates setting up closed centers to accommodate migrants at locations where they most often appear while they await for their asylum applications to be processed.

Meanwhile, a drafted document which advocates that migrants be restricted to the nations in which they initially applied for asylum has been floated about, but which Angela Merkel has assured the Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, was being shelved.

Merkel is presently in a very tight spot politically as her government coalition is rapidly falling apart, threatening her post as the German Chancellor, hence her haste to at least verbally placate Conte on the issue in order to assure his participation in this weekend’s informal migration summit in Brussels.

But France’s hypocrisy on the matter was highlighted by Italian officials who pointed out that France often turns migrants back to Italy rather than assuming responsibility for admitting them.

The informal summit is being boycotted by the four Visegrad nations of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

The Associated French Press reports:

French President Emmanuel Macron came out Saturday in support of financial sanctions against EU countries which refuse to accept migrants.

“We can not have countries that benefit hugely from EU solidarity and claim national self-interest when it comes to the issue of migrants,” he said at a press conference in Paris alongside Spain’s new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

“I am in favour of sanctions being imposed in the event of no cooperation,” he said.

Reacting to Macron’s comments, Italy’s co-deputy prime minister and head of the populist M5S party, Luigi Di Maio accused the French leader of being totally oblivious to the scale of the problem.

“Macron’s statements on the fact that there is no migration crisis in Italy show that he is completely out of touch with reality. Evidently, the previous Italian governments told him that the problem did not exist…,” he said on Facebook.

“In Italy, the immigration emergency… is also fuelled by France with its constant rejections at the border. Macron is making his country a candidate to become Italy’s number one enemy on this,” he said.

Far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini also reacted furiously in remarks reported by Italian media.

“Six-hundred-and-fifty thousand landings in four years, 430,000 applications…, 170,000 apparent refugees currently housed in hotels, buildings and apartments at a cost exceeding five billion euros.

“If for the arrogant President Macron this is not a problem, we invite him to stop the insults and to demonstrate generosity by opening the many French ports and ceasing to push back women, children and men to Ventimiglia.”

On the eve of a mini-summit about the divisive migration issue, Macron and Sanchez also declared support for the creation of closed reception centres where migrants would be held while their asylum claims are considered.

The centres would be set up near to where migrants often arrive first in Europe.

“Once on European soil, we are in favour of setting up closed centres in accordance with the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees)… so that each country takes people who are entitled to asylum in an organised way,” Macron said.

There are currently no closed migrant centres where applications are processed, with the exception of a few cases in Greece and Italy managed by the UNHCR.

For migrants not entitled to asylum, they should be returned directly to their country of origin and not via other countries, Macron added.

Numerous areas of the EU’s core achievements appear to be under threat, at least verbally, as EU member nations squabble amongst themselves about how to handle the migration issue, which has become a sort of political dodge ball issue in Europe. Elections have been won and lost over the matter as the European public reacts to the issue of foreign migrants popping up in their neighborhoods, altering the demographics and presenting novel economic and political concerns not just on a nation level, but on the ground level in many European states.

As long as the battle continues, and the lack of agreement persists, the likelihood of a solution coming to light in a timely manner casts a shadow over Merkel’s political prospects as her time is running out to present a solution before the hot water that she finds herself in reaches the boiling point.

For the EU, this matter presents a growing challenge to the right of unhindered passage between member states, and, with the prospect of sanctions, the economic benefit of belonging to the Union. Macron’s position, could hypothetically renew Italy’s interest in exiting the Euro, further threatening its stability. The German question also presents a growing concern as to how its relationship with the rest of the Union will appear if an amiable solution to the migrant matter is not decided, as right wing nationalist sympathies gain ground on the German political landscape.

What seems to be eluding many of these states is the root causes of the migration, in the first place. The issue would seem to be that of political instability, war, and poor economic conditions in their home countries, many of which face these issues due to crises initiated by NATO members meddling in their politics and economies for their own political gain, at the expense of the stability of the nations so affected.

The EU, presently taking the brunt of the outcome of this meddling, which includes America’s regime change wars and political meddling, has been, and continues to be, actively involved in such activities, for which reason the migration issue persists and will do so for the foreseeable future. That EU nations should stop bombing, invading, and exploiting African and Middle Eastern nations for political and economic gains, in an undemocratic fashion, I might add, appears to go over their heads like a distant cloud.

But the question is, what business do sanctions have in a politico economic bloc like the EU? What business does France have lecturing other nations on taking migrants from countries which France is presently bombing? And, will the migration issue lead to more Trump-like thinking in Europe, as walls become more popular, inter-bloc travel more regulated, and talk of sanctions thrown about in willy-nilly fashion? What are to be the short term and long term effects of migration from war torn Middle Eastern and African nations, not just domestically, but geopolitically?

 

 

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John Masontibetan cowboymikhasGio ConAkit Recent comment authors
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John Mason
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John Mason

OK, proof is in the pudding, another pea brain President.

tibetan cowboy
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tibetan cowboy

Macron is now Trump’s mouthpiece and puppet in Europe and the beginning of the EU collapse. This is and was directed and caused by the USA’s invasions in the NE and the migration of massive numbers of refugees fleeing those countries, with France and UK also helping create their own destruction. Germany will do much better on their own, as will Italy and Spain. EU is breaking up visibly with this Macron b.s., like Trump dropping out of G-7 by making insults.

mikhas
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mikhas

Wolfgang Schäubler, President of the Bundestag said in an interview in Die Zeitung 2016 that if “we didn’t have migrants, Europe would descend into incest” (he used that word). Similarly, German President Joachim Gauck said that “We need migrants to get rid of the idea that being German means being white and Christian”. What this shows is that the reason for importing and injecting young angry muslim males and families is ideological, a cult-like Eurofag ideology based on one of the the founding fathers of the European integrationist movement, Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi, who in 1925 called for “European races to… Read more »

Gio Con
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Gio Con

One of the very few — maybe the only article on this crisis that actually mentions the wars and economic policies that have precipitated it. The Europeans have no one to blame but themselves. For decades they meekly went along with every US president’s regime change wars and unfair trade policies, and now they are feeling the heat. Every European leader who persists in these murderous politics ought to be thrown out. And just FYI, those “closed reception centres” are actually the beginning of the Gazification of Europe. Macron should ask the Palestinians how it feels to be locked up… Read more »

Gio Con
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Gio Con

It’s so much easier to divert attention by screaming “open borders” and labeling anyone who disagrees “racist” and “xenophobic,” than it is to deal with the economic and war policies that actually create massive legal and illegal immigration. “Open borders” is an oxymoron — if they’re open, they aren’t borders. Liberals had better come up with a better sound byte. Or, better yet, they could come up with a rational plan to stop the wars, repatriate refugees, rebuild war-torn states, and institute fair trade policies. Nah — much easier to scream and accuse.

Akit
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Akit

Haha……a man who thinks he is the reincarnation of the mythical God, Jupiter and spends 26,000 euros a month on cosmetics, is bound to be out of touch with ” reality,” but joking aside, perhaps RT could do their homework and look up the Barcelona Declaration along with the Nazi roots of the EU in collusion with the NWO in order to cease speculating as to why Europe ( including Britain) is being flooded with young male invaders. The EU forcing financial blackmail upon it’s unfortunate members is nothing new – it is becoming well known for being an anti… Read more »

Guy
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Guy

Kind of a sign of a sick world political atmosphere IMHO.Let all the nations of the world all sanction each other ? Scheech what a crock.

DenLilleAbe
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DenLilleAbe

Le Garcon Terrible hits again. Mini Napoleon is steadily alienating himself in the EU, is he preparing a Frexit?
Or is he preparing a new French Republic, sorry, Caliphate to dominate the EU? Of couse he can call for sanctions, this teenager, last time Franch got a bloody nose, was the boycott of French produce because of Nuclear tests back in the day.
Let the Bellboy air his antics, he is irrelevant, as is France.

Le Ruse
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Le Ruse

France, need this man back !…comment image

Linda Wren
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Linda Wren

You, the EU will lose the Hungry 4 plus more. EU will definitely collapse then

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US Blunders Have Made Russia The Global Trade Pivot

Even if Europe is somehow taken out of the trade equation, greater synergy between the RIC (Russia, India and China) nations may be enough to pull their nations through anticipated global volatilities ahead

The Duran

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Authored by Mathew Maavak via ActivistPost.com:


The year 2019 had barely begun before news emerged that six Russian sailors were kidnapped by pirates off the coast of Benin. It was perhaps a foretaste of risks to come. As nations reel from deteriorating economic conditions, instances of piracy and other forms of supply chain disruptions are bound to increase.

According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), 107 cases of piracy were noted during the first half of 2018 vis-à-vis 87 throughout 2017.  The 2018 tally included 32 cases in Southeast Asian waters and 48 along African shores – representing 75% of the total. To put this figure into perspective, Asian behemoths India and China – despite their vast shorelines – recorded only 2 cases of piracy each during the study period. Russia had none. In terms of hostages taken, the IMB tally read 102 in H1 2018 vs 63 in H1 2017.

Piracy adds to shipping and retail costs worldwide as security, insurance and salaries are hiked to match associated risks in maritime transport. Merchant vessels will also take longer and costlier routes to avoid piracy hotspots.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report in 2016 sums up the perils ahead:

As over 90% of global trade is carried out by sea, the economic effects of maritime crime can be crippling. Maritime crime includes not only criminal activity directed at vessels or maritime structures, but also the use of the high seas to perpetrate transnational organized crimes such as smuggling of persons or illicit substances.  These forms of maritime crime can have devastating human consequences.

Indeed, cases of human trafficking, organ harvesting, and the smuggling of illicit substances and counterfeit goods are proliferating worldwide in tandem with rising systemic debt and suspect international agendas.

Australia offers a case in point. While it fantasizes over a Quad of allies in the Indo-Pacific – to “save Asians from China” – criminal elements from Hong Kong, Malaysia to squeaky-clean Singapore have been routinely trafficking drugs, tobacco and people right into Sydney harbour for years,  swelling the local organised crime economy to as much as $47.4 billion (Australian dollars presumably) between 2016 and 2017.

With criminal elements expected to thrive during a severe recession, they will likely enjoy a degree of prosecutorial shielding from state actors and local politicians. But this is not a Southeast Asian problem alone; any superpower wishing to disrupt Asia-Europe trade arteries – the main engine of global growth – will have targets of opportunity across oceans and lands.  The US-led war against Syria had not only cratered one potential trans-Eurasia energy and trade node, it served as a boon for child traffickingorgan harvesting and slavery as well. Yet, it is President Bashar al-Assad who is repeatedly labelled a “butcher” by the Anglo-American media.

Ultimately, industries in Asia and Europe will seek safer transit routes for their products. The inference here is inevitable: the greatest logistical undertaking in history – China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – will be highly dependent on Russian security umbrella, particularly in Central Asia. Russia also offers an alternative transit option via the Northern Sea Route, thereby avoiding any potential pan-Turkic ructions in Central Asia in the future.

Russo- and Sinophobia explained?

In retrospect, Washington’s reckless policies post-Sept 11 2001 seem aimed at disrupting growing synergies between Asia and Europe. This hypothesis helps explain the relentless US-led agitprops against Russia, China and Iran.

When the gilet jaunes (yellow vest) protests rocked France weeks ago, it was only a matter of time before some pundits blamed it on Russia. US President Donald J. Trump cheered on; just as “billionaire activist” George Soros celebrated the refugee invasion of Europe and the Arab Spring earlier.  If the yellow vest contagion spreads to the Western half of Europe, its economies will flounder. Cui bono? A Russia that can reap benefits from the two-way BRI or Arctic trade routes or a moribund United States that can no longer rule roost in an increasingly multipolar world?

Trump’s diplomatic downgrade of the European Union and his opposition to the Nord Stream 2gas pipeline matches this trade-disruption hypothesis, as do pressures applied on India and China to drop energy and trade ties with Iran.  Washington’s trade war with Beijing and recent charges against Huawei – arguably Asia’s most valuable company – seem to fit this grand strategy.

If China concedes to importing more US products, Europe will bear the consequences. Asians love European products ranging from German cars to Italian shoes and Europe remains the favourite vacation destination for its growing middle class. Eastern European products and institutions are also beginning to gain traction in Asia. However, these emerging economies will suffer if their leaders cave in to Washington’s bogeyman fetish.

Even if Europe is somehow taken out of the trade equation, greater synergy between the RIC (Russia, India and China) nations may be enough – at least theoretically – to pull their nations through anticipated global volatilities ahead.

In the meantime, as the US-led world crumbles, it looks like Russia is patiently biding its time to become the security guarantor and kingmaker of Asia-Europe trade.  A possible state of affairs wrought more by American inanity rather than Russian ingenuity…

Dr Mathew Maavak is a regular commentator on risk-related geostrategic issues.

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Historic Eastern Christianity: An Uncertain Future

The survival of historic Eastern Christianity, particularly in Syria, is critical for several reasons.

Strategic Culture Foundation

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Authored by Elias Samo via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The survival of historic Eastern Christianity has never been as urgent as it is today. Christianity saw its beginning in Greater Syria which was subdivided by France and Britain after WWI into modern day Syria, Lebanon, Palestian/Israel and Jordan. The land that housed, nurtured and spread the teachings of Jesus Christ for over two millenniums, now threatens children of that faith. The survival of historic Eastern Christianity, particularly in Syria, is critical for several reasons:

  1. Greater Syria is the homeland of Jesus and Christianity. Abraham was from modern day Iraq, Moses from Egypt, and Muhammad from Mecca; Jesus was from Syria.
  1. Paul converted to Christianity and saw the light while walking through ‘The Street Called Straight’ in Damascus.
  1. Jesus’ followers were called Christians for the first time in Antioch, formerly part of Syria.
  1. One of the earliest churches, perhaps the earliest, is in Syria.

The potential demise of historic Eastern Christianity is reflected in the key question Christians ask: should we stay or emigrate? The urgent question – in the face of the ongoing regional turmoil – precipitated with the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 and escalated since the Arab uprisings in 2011. Historic Eastern Christians’ fears were further magnified when Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim of the Syriac Orthodox Church and Archbishop Paul Yazigi of the Greek Orthodox Church, both of metropolitan Aleppo, were kidnapped on April, 22, 2013; with no traces of their whereabouts, dead or alive, since. For many years, I was deputy, friend, and advisor to the Archbishop Ibrahim, which provided me an opportunity to meet many Christians. I have, over time, noticed the change in their sentiment, with more considering emigration after the uprising and the kidnapping of the two Archbishops. Historic Eastern Christians survived the Ottoman Genocide in 1915 and thereafter; they multiplied and thrived in the Fertile Crescent despite some atrocities until the start of the misnamed “Arab Spring” in early 2011. Prior to the “Arab Spring”, historic Eastern Christians were victims of violence on several occasions. In the mid-1930s, the historic Assyrian community in Iraq suffered violent onslaughts and were driven to Syria. In the 1970s and 1980s, during the Lebanese Civil War, Christians were victims of sectarian violence. During the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, Christians were victims of widespread sectarian violence which led to mass migration. The “Arab Spring” began with great hope for the right of the people to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. However, it was swiftly hijacked by Islamists and Salafists and turned into an “Islamic Spring, an Arab Fall and a Christian Winter”; bringing along with it a new massacre of Christians. Presently, Eastern Christianity is at the mercy of clear and identifiable domestic, regional, and international, historic and contemporary conflicts in the Fertile Crescent, namely:

  1. Jihad vs. Ijtihad: A long standing conflict amongst Muslims between the sword vs. the pen.
  2. Sunni vs. Shiite: A conflict which began following the death of the Prophet Muhammad.
  3. Arabism vs. Islamism: The former has territorial limitations, the later has no territorial limitations.
  4. Syria vs. Israel: It is an essential component of the Palestinian problem, not the presumed Arab- Israeli conflict.
  5. West vs. East: A throwback to the Cold War, or its revival.
  6. Historic Persian, Ottoman and Arab Empires animosities: Each seeking regional hegemony.

One is reminded of the proverbial saying, “When the elephants fight, the grass suffers.” Certainly, Eastern Christianity is suffering and threatened with extinction.

Syria was a model of religious tolerance, common living and peaceful interaction amongst its religious, sectarian, cultural and ethnic components. Seven years of turmoil, in which various international and regional powers manipulated segments of Syrian society by supplying them with an abundance of weapons, money and sectarian ideologies, has heightened Eastern Christians’ fears. During the seven-year turmoil in Syria, the entire society has suffered; Sunnis, Shiites, Alawites, Yazidis, Kurds, Christians and others. Christians, being a weak and peaceful component of the society, have suffered immensely. Ma’aloula; a religious treasure for Christians globally, and the only city in the world where Aramaic – the language of Jesus Christ – is spoken, was attacked and besieged by ISIS. Numerous historic Churches were damaged, and many destroyed. Christians in Raqqa were forced by ISIS into one of three options: 1. Pay a penalty in pure gold – known as a ‘Jizya’ to keep their life and practice their faith – albeit in secret only; 2. Convert into Islam; or 3. Face immediate death. To top their pain, the kidnap of the two prominent Archbishops meant no Eastern Christian believer was safe.

Amidst all the doom and gloom, however, there remains hope. The survival of Christianity depends on the actions and reactions of three parties:

Eastern Christians: During the last hundred years, 1915-2015, since the Ottoman Genocide, Eastern Christians have been victims of a history of massacres, which meant that every Eastern Christian was a martyr, a potential martyr or a witness of martyrdom; if you fool me once, shame on you, if you fool me twice, shame on me. The ongoing regional turmoil has heightened their sense of insecurity. The answer to an age-old question Eastern Christians had on their mind: To flee Westwards or remain in their land, in the face of death, is increasingly becoming the former.

Eastern Muslims: There is a difference in perceptions between Eastern Christians and mainstream Muslims regarding the massacres committed against Christians. When certain violent groups or individuals kill Christians, while shouting a traditional Islamic profession: “No God but one God and Muhammad is God’s messenger”, it is reasonable for Christians to assume the killers are Muslims. However, for mainstream Muslims, the killers do not represent Islam; they are extremists, violating basic Islamic norms such as Muhammad’s sayings, “Whoever hurts a Thummy – Christian or Jew – has hurt me”, “no compulsion in religion” and other Islamic norms regarding just treatment of people of the Book; Christians and Jews. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the Muslim elites to impress upon their fellow Muslims that:

a. The three monotheistic religions believe in one God and all ‘faithfuls’ are equal in citizenship, rights and duties.

b. Christians participated in the rise of Arab Islamic civilization. They were pioneers in the modern Arab renaissance and they joined their Muslim brethren in resisting the Crusades, the Ottomans and Western colonialism.

c. Christians are natives of the land and they provide cultural, religious, educational, and economic, diversity.

d. Christians are a positive link between the Muslims and the Christian West, particularly in view of the rise of Islamophobia. Massacres of Christians and their migration provide a pretext for the further precipitation of Islamophobia.

e. Civilization is measured by the way it treats its minorities.

The Christian West: The Crusades, Western colonialism, creation and continued support of Israel, support of authoritarian Arab political systems, military interventions, regime change, and the destabilization of Arab states made Muslims view Eastern Christians ‘guilty by association’. The Christian West helped Jews come to Palestine to establish Israel. Shouldn’t the same Christian West also help Eastern Christians remain in their homeland, rather than facilitate their emigration? Western Christians, particularly Christian Zionists, believe that the existence of Israel is necessary for the return of Jesus to his homeland. However, it would be a great disappointment for Jesus to return to his homeland, Syria and not find any of his followers.

Prior to 2011, Eastern Christian religious leaders were encouraging Syrian Christians in the diaspora to return to Syria, their homeland, where life was safe and secure with great potential. Now, the same leaders are desperately trying to slow down Christian emigration. Eastern Christians’ loud cries for help to remain are blowing in the wind.

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Protests erupt in Athens, as ‘North Macedonia’ vote fast approaches (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 62.

Alex Christoforou

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NATO and the EU are full of joy with the Prespes agreement, which is sure to pass the Greek Parliament and fast rack the newly minted Republic of North Macedonia into NATO and the EU.

Meanwhile in Athens and Skopje, anger is reaching dangerous levels, as each side debates the pros and cons of the deal inked by Tsipras and Zaev.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at yesterday’s protests in Athens, Greece, where things got very ugly as radical left Prime Minster Alexis Tsipras used tear gas and a heavy police hand to put down protests, that reached upwards of 60,000 people in the Syntagma downtown square.

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Via Ekathimerini

As Greece gets ready for a political showdown this week over the Prespes agreement, we are witnessing a relentless, often cynical, maneuvering between parties, their leaders and even individual deputies.

What is at stake is not only the ratification of the deal between Athens and Skopje, but also the potential redrawing of the domestic political map.

Greek society and the country’s political world are deeply divided. The public is clearly against the deal, with up to 70% opposed to it.

The tens of thousands that demonstrated in Sunday’s rally in Athens, showed once more that sentiments run high.

The violence, which the Prime Minister blamed on extremists, while the opposition leader criticized the extended use of tear gas and called for an investigation to find out who was responsible, is indicative of the slippery slope the country is facing in the months leading to the national elections.

Despite the voices of reason calling for a minimum of cooperation and looking for common ground, Alexis Tsipras and Kyriakos Mitsotakis are in an all out war.

The leftist Prime Minister is attempting to use the Prespes agreement to create a broad “progressive” coalition that extends well beyond SYRIZA, while the conservative opposition leader, who is leading in the polls, is trying to keep his party united (on the name issue there are differing approaches) and win the next elections with an absolute majority.

With respect to the Prespes deal itself, the rare confluence of shrewd political considerations with deeply held feelings about one’s history, makes for an explosive mix and ensures a heated debate in parliament.

As for the raw numbers, despite the public opposition, the passage of the Prespes agreement in the 300 member Greek Parliament should be considered a done deal. In the most plausible senario 153 deputies will support the deal in the vote expected later in the week.

The governing SYRIZA has 145 deputies, and one should add to those the positive votes of Tourism Minister Elena Kountoura, centrist To Potami deputies Stavros Theodorakis, Spyros Lykoudis and Giorgos Mavrotas, former To Potami MP Spiros Danellis, and ANEL MP Thanasis Papachristopoulos.

This leads to a majority of 151. Last night one more positive vote was announced, that of Thanasis Theocharopoulos, leader of Democratic Left which untill now was part of the Movement for Change coalition, from which he was ejected as a result of his decision to support the deal.

Finally, Citizens Security Deputy Minister Katerina Papacosta, a former member of New Democracy, is expected to also vote for the agreement, but has not officially said so. Thus, for all practical purposes, the Prespes agreement is expected to pass, with 152 or 153 votes.

Former Prime Minister George Papandreou, who is not a member of parliament and who has worked tiressly on the issue, both as foreign minister and PM, has gone public in support of the deal.

Despite the discomfort this move created in the leadership of the Movement for Change, doing otherwise would have made him look inconsistent. As he is not voting, the damage is seen as limited, although the symbolism does not help the Movement for Change approach.

To the extent that Greece’s transatlantic partners and allies want to see the agreement implemented, they should feel relief. Of course, nothing is done until the “fat lady sings”, but one can clearly hear her whispering the notes in the corridors of the Greek Parliament.

Still, for the astute observer of Greek politics and the foreign officials and analysts who value the crucial role of Greece as an anchor of stability in the Balkans – being by far the strongest country in this region, both militarily and economically, despite the crisis of the last eight years – the deep divisions the issue has created in the society and the political world, are a cause for concern and could spell trouble in the future.

Dealing with such a volatile landscape calls for delicate moves by all.

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