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‘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

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(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.

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EU leaders dictate Brexit terms to Theresa May (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 115.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how EU leaders have agreed on a plan to delay the the Article 50 process which effectively postpones Brexit beyond the 29 March deadline.

The UK will now be offered a delay until the 22nd of May, only if MPs approve Theresa May’s withdrawal deal next week. If MPs do not approve May’s negotiated deal, then the EU will support a short delay until the 12th of April, allowing the UK extra time to get the deal passed or to “indicate a way forward”.

UK PM Theresa May said there was now a “clear choice” facing MPs, who could vote for a third time on her deal next week.

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Theresa May outlines four Brexit options, via Politico

In a letter to MPs, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May set out the four options she believes the country has in light of Thursday’s decision by EU leaders to extend the Brexit deadline beyond next Friday.

The U.K. is faced with a four-way choice, May wrote late Friday.

The government could revoke Article 50 — which May called a betrayal of the Brexit vote; leave without a deal on April 12; pass her deal in a vote next week; or, “if it appears that there is not sufficient support” for a vote on her deal in parliament next week or if it is rejected for a third time, she could ask for an extension beyond April 12.

But this would require for the U.K. taking part in European elections in May, which the prime minister said “would be wrong.”

May wrote that she’s hoping for the deal to pass, allowing the U.K. to leave the EU “in an orderly way,” adding “I still believe there is a majority in the House for that course of action.”

“I hope we can all agree that we are now at the moment of decision,” she wrote.

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US media suffers panic attack after Mueller fails to deliver on much-anticipated Trump indictment

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

RT

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Via RT


Important pundits and news networks have served up an impressive display of denials, evasions and on-air strokes after learning that Robert Mueller has ended his probe without issuing a single collusion-related indictment.

The Special Counsel delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review on Friday, with the Justice Department confirming that there will be no further indictments related to the probe. The news dealt a devastating blow to the sensational prophesies of journalists, analysts and entire news networks, who for nearly two years reported ad nauseam that President Donald Trump and his inner circle were just days away from being carted off to prison for conspiring with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Showing true integrity, journalists and television anchors took to Twitter and the airwaves on Friday night to acknowledge that the media severely misreported Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, as well as what Mueller’s probe was likely to find. They are, after all, true professionals.

“How could they let Trump off the hook?” an inconsolable Chris Matthews asked NBC reporter Ken Dilanian during a segment on CNN’s ‘Hardball’.

Dilanian tried to comfort the CNN host with some of his signature NBC punditry.

“My only conclusion is that the president transmitted to Mueller that he would take the Fifth. He would never talk to him and therefore, Mueller decided it wasn’t worth the subpoena fight,” he expertly mused.

Actually, there were several Serious Journalists who used their unsurpassed analytical abilities to conjure up a reason why Mueller didn’t throw the book at Trump, even though the president is clearly a Putin puppet.

“It’s certainly possible that Trump may emerge from this better than many anticipated. However! Consensus has been that Mueller would follow DOJ rules and not indict a sitting president. I.e. it’s also possible his report could be very bad for Trump, despite ‘no more indictments,'” concluded Mark Follman, national affairs editor at Mother Jones, who presumably, and very sadly, was not being facetious.

Revered news organs were quick to artfully modify their expectations regarding Mueller’s findings.

“What is collusion and why is Robert Mueller unlikely to mention it in his report on Trump and Russia?” a Newsweek headline asked following Friday’s tragic announcement.

Three months earlier, Newsweek had meticulously documented all the terrible “collusion” committed by Donald Trump and his inner circle.

But perhaps the most sobering reactions to the no-indictment news came from those who seemed completely unfazed by the fact that Mueller’s investigation, aimed at uncovering a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, ended without digging up a single case of “collusion.”

The denials, evasions and bizarre hot takes are made even more poignant by the fact that just days ago, there was still serious talk about Trump’s entire family being hauled off to prison.

“You can’t blame MSNBC viewers for being confused. They largely kept dissenters from their Trump/Russia spy tale off the air for 2 years. As recently as 2 weeks ago, they had @JohnBrennan strongly suggesting Mueller would indict Trump family members on collusion as his last act,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

While the Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, the lack of indictments makes it clear that whatever was found, nothing came close to the vast criminal conspiracy alleged by virtually the entire American media establishment.

“You have been lied to for 2 years by the MSM. No Russian collusion by Trump or anyone else. Who lied? Head of the CIA, NSA,FBI,DOJ, every pundit every anchor. All lies,” wrote conservative activist Chuck Woolery.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom was more blunt, but said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

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Canadian Lawmaker Accuses Trudeau Of Being A “Fake Feminist” (Video)

Rempel segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career

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Via Zerohedge

Canada’s feminist-in-chief Justin Trudeau wants to support and empower women…but his support stops at the point where said women start creating problems for his political agenda.

That was the criticism levied against the prime minister on Friday by a conservative lawmaker, who took the PM to task for “muzzling strong, principled women” during a debate in the House of Commons.

“He asked for strong women, and this is what they look like!” said conservative MP Michelle Rempel, referring to the former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has accused Trudeau and his cronies of pushing her out of the cabinet after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to a Quebec-based engineering firm.

She then accused Trudeau of being a “fake feminist”.

“That’s not what a feminist looks like…Every day that he refuses to allow the attorney general to testify and tell her story is another day he’s a fake feminist!”

Trudeau was so taken aback by Rempel’s tirade, that he apparently forgot which language he should respond in.

But Rempel wasn’t finished. She then segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career. This from a man who once objected to the continued use of the word “mankind” (suggesting we use “peoplekind” instead).

The conservative opposition then tried to summon Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Commons for another hearing (during her last appearance, she shared her account of how the PM and employees in the PM’s office and privy council barraged her with demands that she quash the government’s pursuit of SNC-Lavalin over charges that the firm bribed Libyan government officials). Wilson-Raybould left the Trudeau cabinet after she was abruptly moved to a different ministerial post – a move that was widely seen as a demotion.

Trudeau has acknowledged that he put in a good word on the firm’s behalf with Wilson-Raybould, but insists that he always maintained the final decision on the case was hers and hers alone.

Fortunately for Canadians who agree with Rempel, it’s very possible that Trudeau – who has so far resisted calls to resign – won’t be in power much longer, as the scandal has cost Trudeau’s liberals the lead in the polls for the October election.

 

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