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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
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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Theresa May’s soft Brexit plan continues to fail, as EU now pushing for UK to leave (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 138.

Alex Christoforou

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Theresa May’s soft Brexit strategy has been such a monumental failure that even Brussels negotiators are now pushing for the UK to simply leave the union, in what has becoming a British debacle, and a thorn in the Conservative Party’s side.

Many media pundits and analysts are now asking if the latest impasse in Brexit talks means that we are indeed seeing the last days of Theresa May?

While much of the mess the Conservative Party finds themselves in because of Brexit is squarely Theresa May’s fault, much of the damage done by May’s inability to close the deal on Brexit will not go away, even if she does.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Theresa May’s continued failure to obtain her soft Brexit dream, placing herself (and her Conservative Party) in such an embarrassing position, that European Union negotiators, tired of never ending talks, are eager to see Britain go away, in what will be an inevitable hard Brexit.

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“Are these the last days of Theresa May?”, authored by Stephen Bush via The New Statesman:


Are these the last days of Theresa May? This morning’s papers are full of stories of plots and ultimatums to the Prime Minister unless she changes her Brexit strategy, whether from her Scottish MPs over any extension of the transition period due to concerns over fisheries policy, from her Brexiteer MPs over the backstop or from her Cabinet over practically everything.

All this before the Budget next Monday, when Philip Hammond is going to have to find some way to pay for the extra cash for the NHS and Universal Credit all while keeping to May’s pledge that debt will continue to fall as a share of GDP. So added to all May’s Brexit woes, a row over tax rises could be coming down the track.

Of course, the PM’s position has been perilous for a very long time – in fact, when you remember that her period of hegemony ran from July 2016 to June 2017, she’s actually been under threat for more of her premiership than she hasn’t. But just because you roll heads 36 times in a row doesn’t mean your chances of rolling tails aren’t 50/50 on roll 37, and May’s luck could well be running out.

But while May shares a good size of the blame for the mess that the Conservative Party are in, it’s not all her fault by any means and none of those problems will go away if May is replaced or changes tack to win over her internal opponents in the European Research Group.

Ireland has a veto over the end state and only an indefinite and legally binding backstop for the island of Ireland will do if any deal is to be signed off. It’s true to say that no deal also means a hard border on the island of Ireland, but it’s also true that it will always been in the political interests of whoever is in office in Ireland for a hard border to be imposed as a result of no deal rather than for the Irish government to acquiesce in the creation of one through a EU-UK treaty.

The DUP can bring the Conservative government to an early end so they, too, have a de facto veto over any deal that creates barriers between Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom. But the only UK-wide solution – for the backstop to encompass the whole of the United Kingdom – is nothing doing with pro-Brexit Conservative MPs who don’t want an indefinite backstop. It’s also politically tricky with many EU member states, who don’t want the default outcome of the talks to be a UK-wide backstop, which many regard as a threat to the sanctity of single market. (The only reason why it is acceptable on the Irish border is because Ireland is still a member state and because the Irish border was both the location and the cause of political violence within living memory.)

Added to that, the Conservative parliamentary party seems to be undergoing a similar psychological journey to the one that Steve van Riel described during the 2015 Labour leadership election: that groups of any kind tend to reach a more extreme position the longer an issue is debated. Brexiteers who spent 20 years saying they wanted a Norway style deal now talk of Norway as a betrayal. Leavers who cheerily talked about making Northern Ireland into its own customs area before Brexit now talk of the backstop as a constitutional betrayal. And Conservative Remainers who only reluctantly backed an In vote to avoid the political upheaval of negotiating Brexit, or the loss of David Cameron, now call for a referendum re-run and privately flirt with the idea of a new party.

Some of that is May’s fault, yes. But none of it is going to go away if she does and all of it makes the prospect of reaching a Brexit deal considerably less likely.

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Saudi Crown Prince Spoke To Khashoggi By Phone Moments Before He Was Killed: Report

The shifting Saudi narrative of the killing has been met with scepticism and condemnation from the international community.

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Via Zerohedge


In the latest bombshell report involving the Khashoggi murder, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly spoke on the phone with journalist Jamal Khashoggi moments before he was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish pro-government daily Yeni Safak disclosed the new alleged details of the case in a report on Sunday, contradicting claims by Saudi authorities that Prince Mohammed played no part in Khashoggi’s murder.

“Khashoggi was detained by the Saudi team inside the consulate building. Then Prince Mohammed contacted Khashoggi by phone and tried to convince him to return to Riyadh,” the report said.

“Khashoggi refused Prince Mohammed’s offer out of fear he would be arrested and killed if he returned. The assassination team then killed Khashoggi after the conversation ended,” it added.

While the report is so far unconfirmed, the New Arab reports that so far Turkish pro-government media have been receiving a steady stream of leaks many of which turned out to be accurate, including pictures of the hit team as they entered Turkey and reports of audio recordings of the murder said to be in the possession of Turkish authorities.

Meanwhile, the Saudi version of events has been changing significantly over the past two weeks with authorities conceded Saturday that Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist and a Riyadh critic, was killed inside the kingdom’s Istanbul diplomatic compound following a “brawl”. The admission came after a fortnight of denials with the insistence that the journalist left the consulate alive, starting on October 5, when Crown Prince MBS told Bloomberg that Khashoggi was not inside the consulate and “we are ready to welcome the Turkish government to go and search our premises”.

On Saturday, the kingdom announced it had fired five top officials and arrested 18 others in an investigation into the killing – a move that has widely been viewed as an attempt to cover up the crown prince’s role in the murder.

The shifting Saudi narrative of the killing has been met with scepticism and condemnation from the international community, and has left the U.S. and other allies struggling for a response on Sunday. As Bloomberg reports, France demanded more information, Germany put arms sales to Riyadh on hold and the Trump administration stressed the vital importance of the kingdom and its economy to the U.S.

In Sunday radio and TV interviews, Dominic Raab, the U.K. politician in charge of negotiating Britain’s exit from the European Union, described the latest Saudi account as not credible; French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called for “the truth’’; and Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said his government would approve no arms sales so long as the investigation was ongoing.

Earlier on Sunday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir acknowledged a cover-up attempt. The dramatic reversal, after Saudi officials had previously said the columnist left the building alive, has only complicated the issue for allies.

Saudi Arabia’s al-Jubeir told Fox News on Sunday that the journalist’s death was an “aberration.”

“There obviously was a tremendous mistake made and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to cover up,” he said, promising that “those responsible will be punished for it.”

More importantly, he said that Prince Mohammed had no knowledge of the events, although if the Turkish report is confirmed, it will be yet another major flaw with the official narrative.

Several senior members of US President Donald Trump’s Republican Party said they believed Prince Mohammed was linked to the killing, and one called for a “collective” Western response if a link is proved. In an interview with The Washington Post, President Trump, too, said the Saudi narrative had been marked by “deception and lies.’’ Yet he also defended Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a “strong person,’’ and said there was no proof of his involvement in Khashoggi’s death. Some members of Congress have questioned his willingness to exonerate the prince.

“Obviously there’s been deception and there’s been lies,” Trump said on the shifting accounts offered by Riyadh.

On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to disclose details about the case at a meeting of his AK Party’s parliamentary faction on Tuesday, Haberturk newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, as Western firms and high-ranked officials scramble to avoid any Saudi involvement, Russia is more than happy to step in and fill the power vacuum void left by the US. As a result, Russian businesses are flocking to attend the investment forum in Saudi Arabia, as Western counterparts pull out.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has had considerable success boosting Moscow’s influence in the Middle East at U.S. expense, by standing by regimes that fall afoul of the West, including in Syria and Iran. Last week Putin signed a strategic and partnership agreement with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, backed by $25 billion in loans to build nuclear reactors. Until El-Sisi came to power, Egypt had been closely allied to the U.S.

Meanwhile, all eyes are fixed squarely on the Crown Prince whose position of power is looking increasingly perilous. Congressional leaders on Sunday dismissed the story proffered earlier by the Saudis, with Republican Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bob Corker of Tennessee saying they believed the crown prince was likely involved in Khashoggi’s death.

Lawmakers said they believe the U.S. must impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia or take other action if the crown prince is shown to have been involved. Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the chamber’s No. 2 Democrat, said the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. should be formally expelled until a third-party investigation is done. He said the U.S. should call on its allies to do the same.

“Unless the Saudi kingdom understands that civilized countries around the world are going to reject this conduct and make sure that they pay a price for it, they’ll continue doing it,”’ Durbin said.

The obvious question is what happens and how the Saudi royal family will respond if it is pushed too far, and whether the worst case scenario, a sharp cut in oil exports, could be on the table if MBS feels like he has little to lose from escalating the situation beyond a point of no return.

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The Biggest Winners In The Mediterranean Energy War

Energy companies are flocking to the Mediterranean after oil and gas discoveries in the territorial waters of Israel, Cyprus, and Egypt.

The Duran

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Authored by Vanand Meliksetian via Oilprice.com:


Former Vice-President of the United States Dick Cheney once said: “the good lord didn’t see fit to put oil and gas only where there are democratically elected states… Occasionally we have to operate in places where, all considered, one would not normally choose to go. But we go where the business is.” Europe is surrounded by states with abundant energy resources, but supply from these countries is not always as reliable. Russia, for example, is regularly accused of using energy as a weapon. However, major discoveries of gas in the Eastern Mediterranean could mitigate dependence on Russian gas.

The discovery of a gas field named Tamar near the coast of Israel in 2009 set off a wave of investments in the energy sector. After 9 years, companies are flocking to the region after other discoveries in the territorial waters of Israel, Cyprus, and Egypt. Ever larger finds in the Mediterranean Sea’s Levant Basin such as the Leviathan gas field in 2010 and Zohr in 2015, have the potential to transform the strategic importance of the region.

Turkey’s energy hub ambitions

Few states in the world are geographically so well positioned as Turkey. The country controls Russia’s only warm water port in the Black Sea and serves as a bridge between east and west. Therefore, during the Cold War Ankara was an indispensable member of NATO. More recently, Turkey has the ambition to become an energy hub for Middle Eastern and Caspian energy. Ankara has had mixed successes in attracting investors and maintaining political stability.

After Israel’s significant discoveries, a U.S. backed initiative presented Turkey as an energy hub. Although a land pipeline is the cheapest option to transport gas from the Mediterranean to Europe, political developments have stalled construction. President Erdogan’s escalating public denunciations of Israel have made Jerusalem look for other options. Furthermore, relations with Europe have also been damaged which would be dependent on Turkey as a transit country.

Egypt as the regional gas hub

Egypt’s has the third largest gas reserves in Africa. Therefore, its export-oriented LNG industry came on-stream in 2004 but was shut mid-2013 due to a lack of resources. The growth of the domestic market demanded ever larger volumes, which went at the expense of exports. Instead, Egypt started importing LNG. However, the discovery of the massive Zohr gas field, the largest in the Eastern Mediterranean, has turned around the situation. Egypt imported its last shipment of LNG in September 2018.

Although relations between Egypt and Israel are far from normal, privately held companies have been able to strike a deal. Starting from the first quarter of 2019, in 10 years 64 bcm worth $10 billion will be delivered. The agreement has stirred controversy in Egypt, which until recently was exporting to Israel. However, with this deal, Cairo comes closer in becoming an energy hub.

The recent signing of another agreement, this time with Nicosia to develop a subsea pipeline from Cyprus’ Aphrodite gas field, has been another important step. Cypriot gas will be pumped 400 miles (645 kilometers) to the south to Egypt’s LNG facilities. Difficult relations with Nicosia’s northern neighbors make a pipeline to the north highly unlikely.

Cairo has been able to act pragmatically concerning its relations with its neighbors such as Israel while taking advantage of the limited amount of options for exporting gas. The obvious winner in this context has been Egypt and its LNG industry. Its chances of becoming the regional energy hub instead of Turkey have significantly increased.

Turkey’s hope for luck

All littoral states of the Eastern Mediterranean struck ‘gold’ in the shape of natural gas except for Turkey. Ankara strongly opposes the exploitation of the gas resources in the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of Cyprus without a sharing agreement with Northern Cyprus’ Turkish inhabitants. The Turkish Navy prevented ships from Italy’s Eni from performing exploratory drilling off the coast of the Republic of Cyprus.

In search of its own luck, Ankara has set up a project to start looking for gas in the EEZ of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is only recognized by Turkey. Kudret Özersay, TRNC deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, proclaimed the desire to turn the TRNC into an energy and electricity hub. However, it seems unlikely that investors will be willing to participate due to political and legal reasons.

The legal situation of the TRNC is an impediment to any major decision involving a longtime commitment worth billions. From an international point of view, the region is de jure part of the Republic of Cyprus, despite holding no control over the region. The TRNC holds no seat in the WTO.

Large investments require solid legal and political support for companies to earn back their investments. The current economic situation of Turkey makes it dependent on foreign money. However, stringent due diligence rules could impede some international banks in lending the necessary funds.

The Eastern Mediterranean Sea basin promises great rewards, but the risks are also high. With Turkey potentially being the only country that doesn’t profit from the gas bonanza, Ankara has acted aggressively to get what it regards as its fair share. However, it faces a united front from the other littoral states of the Eastern Mediterranean. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that Turkey will be able to profit in the same way as Cyprus, Egypt or Israel.

By Vanand Meliksetian for Oilprice.com

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