Boris Johnson, Britain’s former foreign secretary, built his career on a foundation of anti-European Union rhetoric and propaganda, and was one of the leaders of the successful 2016 referendum campaign that persuaded a slim majority of United Kingdom voters to approve the country’s exit from the 28-member political and trade bloc. Now he’s on course to become the next prime minister of the U.K.’s Conservative government (despite a controversy that blew up over the weekend after neighbors called police on Friday night to investigate a loud argument coming from the apartment he shares with his girlfriend Carrie Symonds, a Tory party press officer). And as premier, it could soon be Johnson’s job to wrangle with Brussels to find a way to deliver the country’s withdrawal from the EU — the process called Brexit — ahead of the departure deadline of Oct. 31. To say that the leaders of the other 27 EU member states aren’t thrilled with the prospect of his taking over from Theresa May is an understatement. May is stepping down as premier in the wake of her failure to get Parliament to approve the Brexit deal she spent nearly two years negotiating. “I don’t think the credibility of Boris Johnson is very high in the EU,” says Christian Lequesne, a professor of European politics at the French university Sciences Po. “He’s someone who says one thing and says the opposite the next day.” But as much as Johnson is distrusted and disliked in Brussels, there is a
The number of people seeking political asylum in the European Union is rising again, driven up by Latin American refugees, but flows are expected to remain well below the high levels seen during Europe’s 2015 migration crisis, a report said on Monday. In the first five months of this year, states of the European Free Trade Area (EFTA), which includes all the 28 EU countries, plus Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein, registered more than 290,000 asylum applications, an increase by 11% compared to the same period in 2018, the EU agency for refugees, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), said. The rise was partly caused by a surge of Venezuelans and other Latin American asylum seekers who are fleeing political and economic crises in their countries, EASO said. Venezuelans lodged some 18,400 asylum applications from January through May, roughly twice as many as during the same period in 2018, making them the nationality with the second highest number of applications in Europe after Syrians. Venezuela is experiencing an economic collapse, triggered by a prolonged political crisis, which has unleashed the biggest migratory crisis in recent South American history with some 3 million Venezuelans estimated to have fled the country in recent years. Most of them go to Venuezuela’s neighbouring countries. European countries recorded also a surge in the arrivals of Colombians, and more asylum applications from nationals of El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru, EASO said. This has caused a nearly 50% increase of applications in Spain last year when
NATO aims to recognize space as a domain of warfare this year, four senior diplomats said, partly to show U.S. President Donald Trump that the alliance is relevant and adapting to new threats after he signed off on the creation of a U.S. Space Force. The decision, set to be taken at a Dec. 3-4 leaders summit in London that Trump is due to attend, would formally acknowledge that battles can be waged not only on land, in the air, at sea and on computer networks, but also in space. “There’s agreement that we should make space a domain and the London summit is the best place to make it official,” said one senior NATO diplomat involved in the discussions, although cautioning that technical policy work was still under way. NATO diplomats deny the alliance would be on a war footing in space, but say declaring it a domain would begin a debate over whether NATO should eventually use space weapons that can shut down enemy missiles and air defenses or destroy satellites. The decision to declare space a new frontier for defense may help convince Trump that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization can be a useful ally in deterring China’s rise as a rival military power, the diplomats said. While NATO countries today own 65 percent of satellites in space, China envisions massive constellations of commercial satellites that can offer services ranging from high-speed internet for aircraft to tracking missiles and armed forces on the ground. China is developing
Major European nations are considering imposing sanctions on Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro and several top officials for their recent crackdown on political opponents, although divisions remain over the timing of any action for fear of derailing a negotiated exit to the country’s crisis, The Associated Press has learned. The financial and travel restrictions are being mulled by a core group of five nations — U.K., France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands — before being proposed to the European Council, said diplomats and members of the Venezuelan opposition with knowledge of the plan. A total of five sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the deliberations publicly. While Maduro is among a dozen officials who could be hit with sanctions, no final decision has been made, two people said. The group still needs to breach internal divisions before making a formal proposal to the EU’s executive branch. Greater consensus exists for punishing top members of the armed forces and judiciary who have been instrumental in the arrest of allies of opposition leader Juan Guaidó, including Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, whose family is believed to live in Spain. Also on the list is Communications Minister Jorge Rodríguez, a top Maduro aide and envoy to talks with the opposition sponsored by Norway, and Jorge Márquez, who is head of the powerful communications regulator which was responsible for pulling the plug on Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 and Britain’s BBC earlier this year. Steady progress is being made on building
As voters in all 28 European Union countries elect a new shared parliament , here are some key races to watch in the battle to fill the 751 seats in the European Parliament: ITALY: Italy’s anti-migrant, anti-Islam interior minister, Matteo Salvini, has been campaigning hard to boost his right-wing League party to become the No. 1 party in Italy and possibly Europe. Salvini has been using his hard-line credentials to expand a parliamentary group of European populists that already includes far-right politicians in France, Germany and Austria. Salvini is promising to restore sovereignty over key issues like immigration to national capitals, thwarting the EU’s drive toward closer integration of its members. In Europe, the populists will find it difficult to deliver on their transformation promises. But Salvini is also looking to capitalize on the outcome of the European elections to boost his power at home in the League’s uneasy populist ruling coalition with the left-wing 5-Star Movement. Salvini could use European electoral gains to leverage his position in the government and pass policies important to his base of northern Italian entrepreneurs, like a flat tax or the high-speed train connecting Lyon, France, with Turin. Most analysts believe that Salvini is unlikely to seek an early election in Italy even with a big victory on the European stage. The 5-Star Movement, on the other hand, could decide to pull the plug on the coalition government. FRANCE: France is looking at an epic battle between pro-EU centrist President Emmanuel Macron and anti-immigration,
Attempting to change people’s views of Brexit solely with a more evidence-based description won’t land, because it misses a large part of the point: our allegiances affect our view of reality as much as the other way round. Our misperceptions are, in the end, an incredibly direct measure of how divided the country is: that groups of fellow citizens can see the same realities so differently shows the monumental task we face in finding any common ground.
Military forces from 31 countries began NATO’s largest exercise in decades, stretching from the Baltic Sea to Icelandy, practicing military maneuvers close to Russia, which itself held a huge military drill last month.
“Forces are in position, they are integrating and starting combat enhancement training for major battlefield operations over the next two weeks,” Colonel Eystein Kvarving at Norway’s Joint Headquarters told Reuters.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan conceded little ground on issues dividing their countries after meeting Friday, but both leaders stressed the importance of the two NATO allies working together as they sought to improve acrimonious relations.
“With the mutual trust we have for each other, I believe the handing over of (suspects) would make our work easier,” Erdogan said, adding that their return “is important from a security point of view for the peace and welfare of our countries.”
Mohammed Javad Zarif told Germany’s Der Spiegel news magazine that Iran could “reduce its implementation” of the agreement and possibly increase uranium enrichment activities if the nuclear agreement was jeopardised by “the actions of the Americans and the passivity of the Europeans.”
“The Europeans and other signatories must act to offset the consequences of the U.S. sanctions,” Zarif told the magazine, calling a package of measures drafted by Europe an important step that should now be implemented. What is paramount: Europe should do so not for Iran, but for its own sovereign and long-term economic interests.”