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Merkel and Conte clash as migration issue threatens to split the EU

Europe is finding its points of contention at a time when it needs unity

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Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, butt heads as the migration issue exposes a growing divide between the EU’s member constituents.

Merkel has proposed a draft declaration to address the matter which contains a provision that could lead to the repatriation of migrants back to the EU nations in which migrants originally filed for asylum, which often means Italy or Greece, leaving them to disproportionately field the issue, a provision which Italy rejects.

Merkel’s motivation appears to be to get some sort of agreement pressed through as quickly as possible in order to placate her party’s leader, also the German Interior Minister, in order to preserve her threatened governmental coalition.

Merkel’s political need to establish a migration policy of some kind was pointed to by Italy’s Prime Minister as an additional reason why he rejects the draft document and why he threatened that he would not be in attendance at a small EU summit held to address the migration matter.

The leaders of the four Visegrad nations of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland have each declared that they will not attend the summit.

Following Conte’s statement about his attendance, Merkel suddenly discovered that there was a misunderstanding about the intent of the document, announcing that it was being ‘shelved’, which established enough common ground between the two leaders to incentivize Conte to move forward with his participation in Sunday’s summit in Brussels.

Reuters reports:

BRUSSELS/ROME (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday a draft EU accord on migration had been withdrawn after he clashed with Chancellor Angela Merkel over an issue that is splitting Europe.

The leaders of four central European states, meanwhile, confirmed they would boycott an EU mini-summit on migration, taking a veiled swipe at Merkel by accusing countries of pushing the issue for domestic political reasons.

The withdrawn declaration had been drafted ahead of an emergency meeting of 10 EU leaders set for Sunday in Brussels, with Germany and France hoping for a swift deal that could be approved at a full EU summit at the end of next week.

It contained key elements Merkel needs to placate her rebellious coalition partner, the Bavaria-based Christian Social Union (CSU) and its head, Horst Seehofer, who is also Germany’s interior minister.

But Rome objected to provisions that said asylum seekers would have to be returned to the EU country they had first logged their claim in, which often means Italy.

Rome has taken in some 650,000 boat migrants over the past five years, stoking anti-immigration sentiment in Italy and fueling the rise of the far-right League, which forged a coalition government this month.

Conte, who had threatened not to go to Brussels on Sunday unless the draft was amended, spoke to Merkel on Thursday.

‘MISUNDERSTANDING’
“The chancellor clarified that there had been a ‘misunderstanding’. The draft text released yesterday will be shelved,” Conte wrote on Facebook, adding that he would now go to Brussels at the weekend.

Berlin played down the dispute. “We are in constructive talks with Italy. The meeting on Sunday has only preparatory character,” a German government source said.

Italian authorities appeared to relent on Thursday after at first refusing to accept 226 migrants on board a German rescue ship, saying later in the day they would take them in but impound the vessel.

Anti-immigrant interior minister Matteo Salvini initially said the Dutch-flagged Lifeline should take the people it had plucked from the Mediterranean to the Netherlands, not Italy.

But transport minister Danilo Toninelli, who oversees the coastguard, later said it was unsafe for the 32-metre vessel to travel so far with so many people on board.

EU states have been at loggerheads over migration since arrivals spiked in 2015, when more than one million migrants reached its shores across the Mediterranean. There have been 41,000 sea arrivals so far this year, data shows.

Most are in coastal states of arrival like Italy and Greece, or rich destination states like Germany and Sweden, where governments have felt heat from voters over the new arrivals.

EU states to the east are refusing to take migrants in. Hungary’s nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Thursday hosted a meeting of the “Visegrad 4” former Communist countries, with the leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The four confirmed they would not attend the Sunday talks.

“We understand there are domestic political difficulties in some countries but that cannot lead to pan-European haste,” Orban said.

“We understand that there will … be a mini-summit on Sunday but we would like to state clearly that the prime ministers of V4 agreed that they will not go to that.”

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the four states spoke “with one voice” on the migrant issue. “Let’s just say we don’t belong to this migrant-loving group of friends, and neither do we want to partake,” he said.

“NO GUANTANAMO”
Unless all EU states agree at their looming June 28-29 summit to share out asylum seekers more evenly, Seehofer has threatened to introduce an entry ban on the German border for all those who have already registered for asylum elsewhere.

Merkel opposes that idea as it would require rigid checks on the EU’s mostly open internal borders. Many would see such checks as reversing a key success story of European integration.

Hence, she asked other EU states to hold extra talks this Sunday and agree to do more on migration in the hope that would be enough to convince Seehofer not to go it alone.

With an eye on further curbing arrivals, the bloc’s top migration official, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said separately on Thursday EU states should make asylum assistance uniform to discourage refugees from moving between member states.

He said the EU should also work more with Africa, tighten borders further and explore setting up bases outside its territory where it would decide on asylum requests before claimants make it to EU soil, and hold them there if they were rejected.

Critics have long said such a plan could violate international humanitarian law. But Avramopoulos said such bases would not be “Guantanamo Bay for migrants”, in a reference to the widely-condemned U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, set up to hold terrorism suspects.

The migration issue is a matter which is posing a growing threat to the unity of the EU, and to some of its most important accomplishments, which is the fundamental right of passage between EU member states. With a border check system in place between them, this provision could be seriously undermined. Between the political issues surrounding how to handle incoming migrants versus those already in Europe, Britain’s pending exit from the Union, austerity measures, energy concerns, and Trump’s threats of secondary sanctions and trade tariffs, Europe is experiencing a situation where it is finding its points of contention at a time when it needs unity.

 

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Putin, Trump meet in Helsinki for first bilateral summit

The Helsinki summit is the first ever full-fledged meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Their previous encounters were brief talks on the sidelines of the G20 and APEC summits in 2017.

Vladimir Rodzianko

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump are meeting in the Finnish capital of Helsinki for their first bilateral one-on-one meeting.

Trump arrived in the Finland capital a day early, while the jet of Putin, who wrapped up his nation’s hosting of the World Cup Sunday, touched down around 1 p.m. local time and the Russian president’s motorcade whisked him straight to the palace where the two world leaders are meeting.

Trump signed an August 2017 law imposing additional sanctions on Russia. The law bars Trump from easing many sanctions without Congress’ approval, but he can offer some relief without a nod from Congress.

Almost 700 Russian people and companies are under U.S. sanctions. Individuals face limits on their travel and freezes on at least some of their assets, while some top Russian state banks and companies, including oil and gas giants, are effectively barred from getting financing through U.S. banks and markets.

The agenda of the summit hasn’t been officially announced yet, though, the presidents are expected to discuss global crises, such as the Syrian conflict and Ukraine, as well as bilateral relations.

Stay tuned for updates…

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“Foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails (Video)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx): Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails was hacked by foreign actor, and it was not Russia.

Alex Christoforou

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A stunning revelation that hardly anyone in the mainstream media is covering.

Fox News gave Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) the opportunity to explain what was going on during his questioning of Peter Strzok, when the the Texas Congressman stated that a “foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Aside from this segment on Fox News, this story is not getting any coverage, and we know why. It destroys the entire ‘Russia hacked Hillary’ narrative.

Gohmert states that this evidence is irrefutable and shows that a foreign actor, not connected to Russia in any way, intercepted and distributed Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails.

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Via Zerohedge

As we sift through the ashes of Thursday’s dumpster-fire Congressional hearing with still employed FBI agent Peter Strzok, Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller plucked out a key exchange between Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) and Strzok which revealed a yet-unknown bombshell about the Clinton email case.

Nearly all of Hillary Clinton’s emails on her homebrew server went to a foreign entity that isn’t Russia. When this was discovered by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), IG Chuck McCullough sent his investigator Frank Ruckner and an attorney to notify Strzok along with three other people about the “anomaly.”

Four separate attempts were also made to notify DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to brief him on the massive security breach, however Horowitz “never returned the call.” Recall that Horowitz concluded last month that despite Strzok’s extreme bias towards Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump – none of it translated to Strzok’s work at the FBI.

In other words; Strzok, while investigating Clinton’s email server, completely ignored the fact that most of Clinton’s emails were sent to a foreign entity – while IG Horowitz simply didn’t want to know about it.

Daily Caller reports…

The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found an “anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list,” Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said during a hearing with FBI official Peter Strzok.

Gohmert continued..

“It was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia.”

Strzok admitted to meeting with Ruckner but said he couldn’t remember the “specific” content of their discussion.

“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, “but you were given that information and you did nothing with it.”

According to Zerohedge “Mr. Horowitz got a call four times from someone wanting to brief him about this, and he never returned the call,” Gohmert said – and Horowitz wouldn’t return the call.

And while Peter Strzok couldn’t remember the specifics of his meeting with the IG about the giant “foreign entity” bombshell, he texted this to his mistress Lisa Page when the IG discovered the “(C)” classification on several of Clinton’s emails – something the FBI overlooked:

“Holy cow … if the FBI missed this, what else was missed? … Remind me to tell you to flag for Andy [redacted] emails we (actually ICIG) found that have portion marks (C) on a couple of paras. DoJ was Very Concerned about this.”

Via Zerohedge

In November of 2017, IG McCullough – an Obama appointee – revealed to Fox News that he received pushback when he tried to tell former DNI James Clapper about the foreign entity which had Clinton’s emails and other anomalies.

Instead of being embraced for trying to expose an illegal act, seven senators including Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) wrote a letter accusing him of politicizing the issue.

“It’s absolutely irrelevant whether something is marked classified, it is the character of the information,” he said. Fox News reports…

McCullough said that from that point forward, he received only criticism and an “adversarial posture” from Congress when he tried to rectify the situation.

“I expected to be embraced and protected,” he said, adding that a Hill staffer “chided” him for failing to consider the “political consequences” of the information he was blowing the whistle on.

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Donald Trump plays good cop and bad cop with a weak Theresa May (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 55.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK was momentous, not for its substance, but rather for its sheer entertainment value.

Trump started his trip to the United Kingdom blasting Theresa May for her inability to negotiate a proper Brexit deal with the EU.  Trump ended his visit holding hands with the UK Prime Minister during a press conference where the most ‘special relationship’ between the two allies was once again reaffirmed.

Protests saw giant Trump “baby balloons” fly over London’s city center, as Trump played was his own good cop and bad cop to the UK PM, outside London at the Chequers…often times leaving May’s head spinning.

Even as Trump has left London, he remains front and center in the mind of Theresa May, who has now stated that Trump advised her to “sue” the European Union to resolve the tense negotiations over Brexit.

Trump had mentioned to reporters on Friday at a joint press conference with Theresa May that he had given the British leader a suggestion that she found too “brutal.”

Asked Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show what that suggestion was, May: “He told me I should sue the EU. Not go into negotiation, sue them.” May added…

“What the president also said at that press conference was `Don’t walk away. Don’t walk away from the negotiations. Then you’re stuck.”‘

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris summarize what was a state visit like no other, as Trump trolled the UK PM from beginning to end, and left London knowing that he got the better of a weakened British Prime Minister, who may not survive in office past next week.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via CNBC

It wasn’t exactly clear what Trump meant. The revelation came after explosive and undiplomatic remarks Trump made this week about May’s leadership — especially her handling of the Brexit negotiations — as he made his first official visit to Britain.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper published Thursday — just as May was hosting Trump at a lavish black-tie dinner — Trump said the British leader’s approach likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States. He said he had told May how to conduct Brexit negotiations, “but she didn’t listen to me.”

He also praised May’s rival, Boris Johnson, who quit last week as foreign secretary to protest May’s Brexit plans. Trump claimed Johnson would make a “great prime minister.”

The comments shocked many in Britain — even May’s opponents — and threatened to undermine May’s already fragile hold on power. Her Conservative government is deeply split between supporters of a clean break with the EU and those who want to keep close ties with the bloc, Britain’s biggest trading partner.

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