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.”