Connect with us

Latest

News

‘Visegrad Four’ group of central European countries stand united against Brussels

The nations of Hungary, Poland, Czechia, and Slovakia remain steadfast in opposition to many core EU policies

The Duran

Published

on

4,283 Views

(bne IntelliNews) – The leaders of the Visegrad Group (V4) were on common ground rejecting the compulsory relocation of refugees and the two-tier Europe concept, while stressing the need for a stronger Europe during their summit in Budapest on January 26.

Europe “needs to go back to the drawing board” because it has failed to achieve its goals, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said at a panel discussion with his Visegrad Group counterparts, Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico, and Polish PM Mateusz Morawieck and Czech Republic’s Prime Minister Andrej Babis (both attending their first V4 summits). Orban stressed the need for a clause for the creation of a labour-based society and said Europe must return to the top in terms of technological development.

The Hungarian PM, who has been in a constant spat with Brussels over its policies on migration has been a key advocate of closer integration between V4 countries. Orban wants Central Europe to become stronger to counterbalance the German-French led EU.

He has repeatedly referred to V4 countries as the fastest growing region within the EU and as the engine of future growth for Europe. Orban also needs allies as he has become increasingly isolated in Western capitals due to Hungary’s widening democratic deficit.

V4 leaders stood firm in their concept rejecting united states of Europe concept, saying decisions taken by country leaders cannot be ignored. EU institutions should treat all member states equally and act strictly within the remits of their respective competencies. The right of member states to carry out domestic reforms within their competences should be respected,” the V4’s joint declaration read.

The view of a strong Europe based on the cooperation of integrated sovereign states was echoed by Mateusz Morawiecki, who also called for the creation of Europe’s own defence force  to be used against terrorism, the migration crisis and “Eastern aggression”, referring to Russia.

Hungary and Poland, allies for centuries, are at loggerheads with Brussels over many issues, with the populist governments of the “illiberal axis” Central European states seeking to push back EU power to retain national sovereignty.

Hungary’s has received sharp warnings for its controversial NGO law and attacks on civil society, while Poland has come under scrutiny since the rightwing Law and Justice (PiS) party won the election in late 2015 and swiftly acted to tighten control over publicly-owned media, as well as the judiciary.

The European Commission has triggered the “nuclear option” against Warsaw in December, which may lead to stripping Poland of its voting rights in the EU. Budapest has already made it clear that it would veto such decisions and the Polish government has done the same after the European Parliament adopted a resolution to trigger Article 7 against Hungary in May after the government approved controversial legislation on asylum seekers and NGOs and the Central European University.

Migration remains a divise issue

A major division between old and new member states has been the question of migration, as eastern states have been rejecting the EU’s migration quotas. The commission stepped up infringement procedures  in July against the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland for refusing to take part in the programme to redistribute 160,000 refugees from Italy and Greece.

On migration issues, the heads of Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary restated their focus on “effective, responsible and enforceable (EU) external border protection to avoid obligatory quotas (being) applied, There was a consensus that key goal was not to “relocate but to prevent the pressure of immigration in Europe.”

The Hungarian PM called UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ proposals about a global agreement on migration “dangerous”. “We insist on our tolerant, Christian way of life and refuse to give up the feeling of being at home,” he added.

The Visegrad countries rejected any plans for slashing development funds to countries that have differing views within the EU, especially on migration. The issue of punishing Poland and Hungary has resurfaced from time to time seen as a way of putting pressure on two renegade countries to respect democratic values.

At the summit, Orban also pushed for the EU enlargement to the Western Balkan region. The integration of Montenegro and Serbia would strengthen Central Europe and would stabilise the Balkan region, he said.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Latest

4 resignations and counting: May’s government ‘falling apart before our eyes’ over Brexit deal

The beginning of the end for Theresa May’s government.

The Duran

Published

on

Via RT


Four high profile resignations have followed on the heels of Theresa May’s announcement that her cabinet has settled on a Brexit deal, with Labour claiming that the Conservative government is at risk of completely dissolving.

Shailesh Vara, the Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office was the first top official to resign after the prime minister announced that her cabinet had reached a draft EU withdrawal agreement.

An hour after his announcement, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab – the man charged with negotiating and finalizing the deal – said he was stepping down, stating that the Brexit deal in its current form suffers from deep flaws. Esther McVey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, submitted her letter of resignation shortly afterwards. More resignations have followed.

Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister, Jon Trickett, predicted that this is the beginning of the end for May’s government.

The government is falling apart before our eyes as for a second time the Brexit secretary has refused to back the prime minister’s Brexit plan. This so-called deal has unraveled before our eyes

Shailesh Vara: UK to be stuck in ‘a half-way house with no time limit’

Kicking off Thursday’s string of resignations, Vara didn’t mince words when describing his reservations about the cabinet-stamped Brexit deal.

Theresa May’s EU withdrawal agreement leaves the UK in a “halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally become a sovereign nation,” his letter of resignation states. Vara went on to warn that the draft agreement leaves a number of critical issues undecided, predicting that it “will take years to conclude” a trade deal with the bloc.

“We will be locked in a customs arrangement indefinitely, bound by rules determined by the EU over which we have no say,” he added.

Dominic Raab: Deal can’t be ‘reconciled’ with promises made to public

Announcing his resignation on Thursday morning, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted: “I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU.”

Raab claimed that the deal in its current form gives the EU veto power over the UK’s ability to annul the deal.

No democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime.

Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith said that Raab’s resignation as Brexit secretary is “devastating” for May.

“It sounds like he has been ignored,” he told the BBC.

Raab’s departure will undoubtedly encourage other Brexit supporters to question the deal, political commentators have observed.

Esther McVey: Deal ‘does not honor’ Brexit referendum

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey didn’t hold back when issuing her own letter of resignation. According to McVey, the deal “does not honour” the result of the Brexit referendum, in which a majority of Brits voted to leave the European Union.

Suella Braverman: ‘Unable to sincerely support’ deal

Suella Braverman, a junior minister in Britain’s Brexit ministry, issued her resignation on Thursday, saying that she couldn’t stomach the deal.

“I now find myself unable to sincerely support the deal agreed yesterday by cabinet,” she said in a letter posted on Twitter.

Suella Braverman, MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Exiting the EU © Global Look Press / Joel Goodman
Braverman said that the deal is not what the British people voted for, and threatened to tear the country apart.

“It prevents an unequivocal exit from a customs union with the EU,” she said.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

Five Saudis Face Death Penalty Over Khashoggi Killing; Crown Prince Cleared

According to the Saudi prosecutor, five people charged are believed to have been involved in “ordering and executing the crime.”

Published

on

Via Zerohedge


Saudi Arabia public prosecutor Sheikh Shaalan al-Shaalan said on Thursday that the kingdom will seek the death penalty for five suspects among the 11 charged in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, confirming suspicions that members of the murder squad purportedly sent to “interrogate” Khashoggi will now themselves face beheadings as the Saudi Royal Family closes ranks around the Crown Prince, per the FT.

As for Mohammed bin Salman who runs the day to day affairs of the world’s top oil exporter and is the de facto head of OPEC, the prosecutor said had “no knowledge” of the mission, effectively absolving him of any domestic suspicion, if not international.

The charges were handed down after the kingdom dismissed five senior intelligence officers and arrested 18 Saudi nationals in connection with Khashoggi’s disappearance. The Saudi insider-turned-dissident journalist disappeared on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul to pick up documents that would have allowed him to marry his fiance. Khashoggi was a legal resident of Virginia.

According to the Saudi prosecutor, five people charged are believed to have been involved in “ordering and executing the crime,” according to CNN.

The prosecutor said that the former Saudi deputy intelligence chief, Ahmed al-Assiri, ordered a mission to force Khashoggi to go back to Saudi Arabia and formed a team of 15 people.

They were divided into three groups, the Saudi Public Prosecutor said: a negotiation team, an intelligence team and a logistical team.

It was the head of the negotiating team who ordered the killing of Khashoggi, the prosecutor said.

The Saudis stuck by latest (ever changing) narrative that the Washington Post columnist was killed after a mission to abduct him went awry. The deputy chief of intelligence ordered that Khashoggi be brought back to the kingdom, Shaalan said. The team killed him after the talks failed and his body was handed to a “collaborator” in Turkey, he said.

Asked whether Saud al-Qahtanti, an aide to Prince Mohammed, had any role in the case, Shaalan said that a royal adviser had a coordinating role and had provided information. The former adviser was now under investigation, the prosecutor said, declining to reveal the names of any of those facing charges.

Al-Shaalan did reveal that a total of 21 suspects are now being held in connection with the case. Notably, the decision to charge the 5 comes after National Security Advisor John Bolton repudiated reports that a recording of Khashoggi’s murder made by Turkish authorities suggested that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was behind the murder plot.

But as long as OPEC+ is planning to do “whatever it takes” to boost oil prices, the US’s willingness to give the Saudis a pass could always be tested if crude prices again turn sharply higher.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

U.S. May Impose Sanctions Against Turkey Over S-400 “Threat” To F-35

The United States continues to consider the S-400 air defense system a threat to its F-35 fifth generation stealth fighter platform.

The Duran

Published

on

Authored by Al Masdar News:


Turkish officials have repeatedly insisted that Ankara’s purchase of the advanced Russian air defense system poses no threat whatsoever to the NATO alliance. Last month, the Turkish defense ministry announced that delivery of S-400s to Turkey would begin in October 2019.

The United States continues to consider the S-400 air defense system a threat to its F-35 fifth generation stealth fighter platform, and may impose sanctions against Ankara, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency has reported, citing a high-ranking source in Washington.

“I can’t say for certain whether sanctions will be imposed on Ankara over the S-400 contract, but the possibility is there. The US administration is not optimistic about this issue,” the source said.

While admitting that Turkey was a sovereign state and therefore had the right to make decisions on whom it buys its weapons from, the source stressed that from the perspective of these weapons’ integration with NATO systems, the S-400 was “problematic.”

The source also characterized the deployment of S-400s in areas where US F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighters are set to fly as “a threat,” without elaborating.

Emphasizing that negotiations between Washington and Ankara on the issue were “continuing,” the source said that there were also “positive tendencies” in negotiations between the two countries on the procurement of the Patriot system, Washington’s closest analogue to the S-400 in terms of capabilities.

Designed to stop enemy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles at ranges of up to 400 km and altitudes of up to 30 km, the S-400 is currently the most advanced mobile air defense system in Russia’s arsenal. Russia and India signed a ruble-denominated contract on the delivery of five regiments of S-400s worth $5 billion late last month.

Last week, the Saudi Ambassador to Russia said that talks on the sale of the system to his country were ongoing. In addition to Russia, S-400s are presently operated by Belarus and China, with Beijing expecting another delivery of S-400s by 2020.

Washington has already slapped China with sanctions over its purchase of S-400s and Su-35 combat aircraft in September. India, however, has voiced confidence that it would not be hit with similar restrictions, which the US Treasury has pursued under the 2017 Counter America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Advertisement

Advertisement

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement
Advertisement

Advertisement

The Duran Newsletter

Trending