Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Time to wield the big stick

by Frank Schnittger Wed May 18th, 2022 at 10:43:24 AM EST

The Boris Johnson government has once again signalled its intention to break international law and its treaty obligations to the EU by introducing domestic legislation to over-ride parts of the protocol and to annul the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice over protocol related matters. This is in addition to its current unilateral and illegal extension of grace periods on protocol implementation and its failure to honour agreements on data sharing and building facilities for goods inspections.

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There Ain't Nothing Boris Can't Fix

by Oui Mon May 16th, 2022 at 11:31:21 AM EST

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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N. Ireland Protocol receives democratic mandate

by Frank Schnittger Mon May 9th, 2022 at 12:03:50 PM EST


DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson and his party are ignoring the democratic mandate of voters in the North.

The Irish independent has published my letter pointing out that the Protocol now has a democratic mandate in N. Ireland. Democracy needs to precede tribal bias against protocol

[Update] The Irish Times has now published the letter as well - and their sub-editor didn't mess with the text, so it reads better. (Fourth letter down).

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Expelling Russia

by Frank Schnittger Sat May 7th, 2022 at 11:20:41 AM EST


A Russian TV station this week broadcast video simulating the effect of nuclear weapons being detonated off the coast of Ireland, in a report introduced by Dmitry Kiselyov (pictured)

What more provocation do we need before we break off diplomatic relations with Russia?

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Northern Ireland Assembly Elections

by Frank Schnittger Tue May 3rd, 2022 at 08:19:33 PM EST

Voters in N. Ireland go to the polls on Thursday 5th. of May to elect a new Legislative Assembly. The election takes place on the same day as local elections in Britain which could prove disastrous for the Tories, as it represents the voters first chance to vent their disapproval of "Partygate", high inflation, and endemic Tory cronyism and corruption.

In N. Ireland the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and their allies in the Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) party and loyalist paramilitaries have tried to make the Protocol to the UK/EU Withdrawal Treaty the main issue. They even collapsed the last Executive (aka N. Ireland devolved government) over the issue and have threatened not to allow a new Executive to be formed unless the Protocol is scrapped or radically reformed.

They claim the Protocol creates a sea border between Britain and N. Ireland, and thereby diminishes their "Britishness". The fact that it also gives  N. Ireland preferential access to the Single Market many in Britain would die for gets lost in the waves of emotion they have created around the issue.

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It Could Happen Here: Chronicle of a (not so) Foretold Election

by Bernard Tue Apr 19th, 2022 at 08:20:31 PM EST

It was pretty much written in advance. All pundits agreed. Emmanuel Macron was leading the polls, far ahead of his challengers. Politicians from the French Social-Democrat party, the Parti Socialiste (PS), moved to support Macron, leaving the official candidate, Anne Hidalgo, in the dust. So did other politicians from the mainstream right-wing, the former Gaullist party of Chirac & Sarkozy, Les Républicains, this time, to the detriment of the Les Républicains candidate, Valérie Pécresse.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine even boosted Macron's lead in the polls, leaving his main challenger, Marine Le Pen, several percentage points behind, with the only left-wing candidate,  Jean-Luc Mélenchon (France Unbowed) far behind, and fascist firebrand Eric Zemmour numbers sinking fast.

For the second round, coming up next Sunday, 24 April, every polls showed Macron leading by a wide margin, regardless of his opponent. All pundits agreed: Macron was all but sailing to re-election.

Not so fast.

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Hungary and the EU

by Frank Schnittger Wed Apr 6th, 2022 at 11:38:39 PM EST

The Irish Times: Hungary and the EU

A chara, - Hungary and Serbia have just elected Putin allies into government. That is their democratic right, even if the elections weren't conducted by fully democratic means. However, there is no reason why the EU should tolerate a state of affairs whereby EU money is funnelled to the cronies of oligarchic leaders who give aid and comfort to our enemies. Any discussions about Serbia joining the EU should now end.


The EU should also invite Viktor Orban to trigger Article 50 and leave the EU. Failing that, the EU should trigger the enhanced cooperation mechanisms for fully supportive and democratic EU member states. A bit like the Euro Group, which only includes euro zone members, these mechanisms enable further cooperation between willing states over and beyond what countries like Hungary are willing to support.

Any incremental EU spend should only be directed through this "new enhanced cooperation" EU. Gradually, as the "new" EU develops, it can shed the "old" EU, Hungary included, as so much dead skin. The current EU budget could be the last, with all new shared funding being directed through the new EU. The new EU should also have greater enforcement powers for European Court of Justice decisions, and more use of weighted majority voting, to prevent one or two members holding the rest to ransom.

It's time we stopped faffing around with would-be dictators who undermine the democratic freedoms of EU citizens. When it comes to an existential crisis like Ukraine, we need to be clear on who is for and against the development of a greater and more democratic EU. It is clear that Putin (who supported Brexit) and his supporters are now our enemies. It's time the whole structure and membership of the EU reflected that. - Is mise,

Discuss...

Comments >> (12 comments)

Russian war aims in Ukraine

by Frank Schnittger Mon Apr 4th, 2022 at 06:23:45 PM EST

As the Ukraine war progresses there has been much confusion over what Russia's real war aims are especially as these appear to have changed as the realities of fierce fighting on the ground have caused them to re-group. Yesterday RIA Novosti, a Russian state media outlet, published a lengthy piece by Timofey Sergeytsev entitled What should Russia do with Ukraine outlining their war aims. (h/t - Andy Thornton). What follows below  are some of the highlights in an English translation of the full article.

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Hungarian elections: Putin's man in Europe survives

by IdiotSavant Mon Apr 4th, 2022 at 04:53:45 AM EST

Hungary went to the polls today in parliamentary elections, in which would-be dictator Viktor Orbán - Putin's man in Europe - was facing a unified opposition for the first time since taking power in 2010. Unfortunately, it didn't go well:

Frontpaged - Bernard

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Chronicle of a Foretold Election

by Bernard Sat Apr 2nd, 2022 at 08:47:16 PM EST

The title of this diary is, of course, totally stolen from a well known Colombian novelist, Nobel prize in literature.

This April, there will be elections in several European countries, starting Sunday, April 3, with general elections in both Serbia and Hungary. Also, parliamentary elections in Slovenia will take place on April 24 - Polls often take place on Sundays on the European continent.

Since I don't know much about the Hungarian, Serbian or Slovenian politics, I will focus on the upcoming French presidential elections instead:

  • First round is scheduled for Sunday April 10: there are twelve candidates, including the incumbent, Emmanuel Macron.
  • Second round is scheduled for Sunday April 24: the two candidates with the most votes at the end of the first round, will enter a run-off second round.

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A new phase in the Ukraine war?

by eurogreen Tue Mar 29th, 2022 at 04:26:30 PM EST

Over the past few days, the positions of the belligerants seem to have become largely fixed : the Russians are no longer advancing; the many simultaneous sieges of Ukrainian cities seem to make little progress; the Ukrainian army even seems to be advancing in certain regions. Movement of Russian troops indicate consolidation or even retreat.

Serious negotiations are in progress in Turkey, and this afternoon :

Russia's deputy defence minister, Alexander Fomin, said Moscow had decided to "radically reduce military activity in the direction of Kyiv and Chernihiv" in order to "increase mutual trust" and create the right conditions to sign a peace deal with Ukraine.

Add your news, interpretations, predictions, opinions. Is there finally an end in sight? And what will the post_war world look like?

Frontpaged - Bernard

Comments >> (49 comments)

The determinants of N. Ireland's political future

by Frank Schnittger Tue Mar 22nd, 2022 at 05:12:15 PM EST

Debate about the constitutional future of N. Ireland tends to revolve around internal factors like demographic trends, relative economic advantage, and the dysfunctional state of current political arrangements. But N. Ireland doesn't exist in a vacuum and may also be subject to the influence of trends in global, European, British and Irish politics and economics more generally. In this discussion I want to focus on these external factors, and their influence on N. Ireland, rather than on the economic, social and political changes that are taking place within N. Ireland itself.

These external factors may be broadly summarised as follows:

1.    Economic and political globalisation
2.    The growing heft and influence of Ireland and the Irish diaspora.
3.    Economic integration and "Ever closer union" within the EU
4.    The rise of English, Scottish and Welsh nationalism
5.    A return to "the sick man of Europe" for the post Brexit UK economy?

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NUCLEAR THREAT M.A.D.

by Oui Mon Mar 14th, 2022 at 11:57:39 AM EST

So we are now reading more articles how the West can survive a limited nuclear war in Ukraine. Human Kind cannot stoop any lower. The paid jobs in so-called "Think-Tanks" apparently are just for war hawks and fascist element in society today. Have been warning for such a development for over a decade now. It's a tragedy to see the worst case scenarios evolve into reality.

Research by RIVM for health effects of a nuclear bomb exploding over the Ukraine ☹

Detonation of a Nuclear Bomb on Ukraine, The Netherlands Will Hardly Notice Any Effect

Has it come to this? - Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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A "Cleary Defensive" Deployment

by Frank Schnittger Tue Mar 1st, 2022 at 01:00:59 AM EST

War in Europe - Russia's assault on Ukraine (Seventh letter down)

A chara, - We are indebted to our MEPs Mick Wallace, Clare Daly, Luke "Ming" Flanagan, and Sinn Féin's Chris MacManus for voting against a European Parliament motion condemning the Russian build-up of troops on the Ukrainian border, a vote which was passed by 548 to 69. Mick Wallace and Clare Daly justified their vote on the basis that the Russian troop deployment was "clearly defensive". Perhaps Mick Wallace and Clare Daly could treat us to another one of their famous taxpayer-funded "fact-finding" missions to Kiev to see how Russia's self-defence deployment there is going. No doubt Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky will greet them with open arms and show them at first-hand what a Russian defensive deployment looks like. - Is mise,

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Russia attacks Ukraine - Open thread

by fjallstrom Thu Feb 24th, 2022 at 08:47:47 AM EST

After months of US claiming that Russia was going to invade Ukraine, it appears to have happened tonight. There are reports of explosions and troops landing in many parts of Ukraine, including the capital.

This is an open thread, add your news and views.

Frontpaged - Bernard

Comments >> (209 comments)

The Benefits of Brexit

by Frank Schnittger Sun Feb 6th, 2022 at 03:09:53 PM EST

The `benefits' of Brexit

On the same day that Boris Johnson was dismissing multiple calls on him to resign after Sue Gray's "Partygate" synopsis, the UK's cabinet office quietly slipped out a 105 page document called "The Benefits of Brexit". It was almost as if it didn't want anyone to read how exactly Britain was "capitalising" on its exit from the EU. So which dividends was it trumpeting?

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Clever devices

by Frank Schnittger Fri Feb 4th, 2022 at 01:46:14 PM EST

Published in the Irish News as its lead letter:

‘Clever devices' may not be the sole preserve of Donaldson's DUP

Writing in the Irish Times, Newton Emerson notes that Jeffrey Donaldson has brought in [former DUP leader] Peter Robinson as an adviser, as he is allegedly good at coming up with "clever devices". (When will the DUP level with the public? Opinion & Analysis, 27th. January). The new strategy apparently involves the DUP collapsing the institutions after the May assembly election if they don't get their way on the Protocol. However, clever devices may not be the sole preserve of the DUP. /cont.

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My Bloody Sunday

by Frank Schnittger Sun Jan 30th, 2022 at 03:31:09 PM EST

I'm republishing this diary, first published in 2010, on the 50th. anniversary of Bloody Sunday, one of the worst atrocities which kick started the war in N.Ireland.

(Now also available on Booman and in Orange where a member of the family of one of those killed has commented).

Bloody Sunday was for me one of those life defining events, to be remembered a bit like the day JFK was assassinated, Nelson Mandela was freed, and I first heard Neil Young's "Harvest" and "After the Gold Rush" holed up in some Lexington, Virginia attic after some kind students had offered me a lift and a place to stay for the night as I was hitch-hiking my way down the east coast of America in 1973.

I was a student in Trinity College Dublin at the time of Bloody Sunday in 1972, not very happy with myself, my course, or the world into which I had been born. The world seemed to be a place where the powerful did more or less as they pleased, and the little people always got squashed. Paratroopers firing dum-dum bullets at unarmed civil rights marchers seemed to capture that feeling perfectly. I was enraged, and could do absolutely nothing about it.

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My Bloody Sunday 1972

by Frank Schnittger Sun Jan 30th, 2022 at 03:28:26 PM EST

I'm republishing this diary, first published in 2010, on the 50th. anniversary of Bloody Sunday, one of the worst atrocities which kick started the war in N.Ireland. (Now also available on Booman and in Orange where a member of the family of one of those killed has commented).

Bloody Sunday was for me one of those life defining events, to be remembered a bit like the day JFK was assassinated, Nelson Mandela was freed, and I first heard Neil Young's "Harvest" and "After the Gold Rush" holed up in some Lexington, Virginia attic after some kind students had offered me a lift and a place to stay for the night as I was hitch-hiking my way down the east coast of America in 1973.

I was a student in Trinity College Dublin at the time of Bloody Sunday in 1972, not very happy with myself, my course, or the world into which I had been born. The world seemed to be a place where the powerful did more or less as they pleased, and the little people always got squashed. Paratroopers firing dum-dum bullets at unarmed civil rights marchers seemed to capture that feeling perfectly. I was enraged, and could do absolutely nothing about it.

Read more... (25 comments, 2129 words in story)

US Ups Tension with Russia

by Oui Thu Jan 27th, 2022 at 06:38:20 AM EST

Update below with preliminary reaction from FM Lavrov … ultimate decision to President Putin after evaluation by his National Security team. ⤵️

A first thought as very little is known how the US answered the security questions of Russia put forward in mid-December.

  • Refuses to engage with points of national security concerns of Russia
  • Defers the military engagement to the NATO Command in Brussels
  • Puts the US fleet in the Mediterranean under NATO Command
  • In words offers a diplomatic way forward -- JCPOA Model perhaps a next President can refute
  • Increases lethal weapons delivery to non NATO member
  • Will impose sanctions on Germany to cut off Gazprom delivery of gas
  • Will engage to have US LNG delivery to Europe in the future

Offers Russia no off ramp as Washington gives military action a chance

No good options open to the Kremlin. The White House has handed Moscow building blocks for a new "Berlin Wall", further isolation, harsher sanctions and putting Russia in the corner of a pariah state. This would not have happened under a Trump presidency as the Ukraine was not a priority.

Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger

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News and Views

 May 2022

by Bernard - May 2, 134 comments

Your take on this month's news

 April 2022

by Bernard - Apr 2, 229 comments

Your take on this month's news

 May-June 2022

by Bernard - May 2, 1 comment

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