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by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:12:21 PM EST
German, French leaders question Turkish EU membership | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 10.05.2009
German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Berlin on Sunday in a mutual show of support ahead of European elections next month.  

Sarkozy's visit was the first time that a French president had campaigned in Germany in the run-up to an election. Merkel is scheduled to make a reciprocal trip to Paris at the end of this month, a diplomat said.

"We carry weight when we are united and when we know what to decide," Sarkozy said in Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper, adding that his relationship with Merkel was "efficient."

"She knows that she can rely on me like I know I can rely on her," he said.

However, Sarkozy also said his comments were not intended as an endorsement of support for Merkel in her bid to win re-election as chancellor in September. The French president insisted that was "for the Germans to decide."

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:16:23 PM EST
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EUobserver / Ankara's closer ties with Muslim countries 'EU compatible'

EUOBSERVER / ANKARA - EU accession remains Turkey's main priority after a cabinet reshuffle, with the country's new policy of forging stronger ties with Muslim neighbours seen as EU compatible despite concerns from the secularist oppposition.

"In my term the first priority of our foreign policy will continue to be the EU," Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu told a group of EU journalists in Ankara on Friday.

National guard in Ankara: Istanbul is emphasising the multiple dimensions of its foreign policy

Only ten days in office, after a cabinet reshuffle which saw his predecessor, Ali Babacan, take over the position of minister of economy, he dwelled on the "multidimensional" identity of Turkey - European but majority Muslim, neighbouring the Middle East, the Caucasus, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea - and said no Turkish leader could ignore any of these parts.

In the eyes of the opposition, this shift marks a departure from the traditional secularist view that Turkey is a different culture, but part of the same Western civilisation as Europe. Common military exercises with Syria, for instance, have risen concerns in Israel, a long-time ally of Ankara.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:18:23 PM EST
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Luxembourg Premier Jean-Claude Juncker: 'We Have Been Occupied Before' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The tone between Germany and Luxembourg has been anything but friendly in recent weeks. SPIEGEL spoke with Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker about German humor, European tax havens and his own future in the EU.

SPIEGEL: For years, you were Europe's darling. But now, people in Brussels, Paris and Berlin see you as the leader of a tax haven. What happened?

Juncker: What happened is that some of my counterparts say one thing today and something else tomorrow, and do not stick to agreements. And some adopt a tone that we find unpleasant.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:19:10 PM EST
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In 1997 Minister Vincenzo Visco put San Marino under seige. The Treasury police were on permanent duty controlling traffic in and out of the republic.

These past two weeks sees a major money laundering operation uncovered in San Marino- or rather in Italy, with San Marino as the culprit.

I do not recall when, but De Gaulle pulled off a similar demonstration of force with Montecarlo. Luxembourg has been occupied before? Measures can be taken... but the real problem is more likely in London rather than Luxembourg.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 03:40:28 PM EST
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Germany agrees to accelerate Afghan security training | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 10.05.2009
Chancellor Angela Merkel assured Afghan President Hamid Karzai during talks in Berlin on Sunday that Germany will boost its efforts to provide training to police and security forces in Afghanistan.  

At a joint press conference after the meeting, Merkel said Germany took the issue "very seriously" and had agreed to accelerate the pace of training for both soldiers and police.

Germany has already pledged to increase the number of its troops in Afghanistan by 600, to 4,400, in the months leading up to the country's presidential election in August, in which Karzai hopes to win another term in office.

Karzai thanked Germany for its efforts to date in training Afghan security forces, although Merkel said only 10 percent of the required personnel had been trained so far. "We have a long way to go," she said.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:19:36 PM EST
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EUobserver / Lisbon Treaty strengthens role of religion says EU

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Securing a stronger consultative role for European religions in EU policy making is another good reason to support the Lisbon Treaty, say two of the EU's most senior officials.

Speaking after a meeting with European religious leaders on Monday (11 May), European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering said such discussions in the future could not be guaranteed without the full ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.

A number of religious and pro-life groups in Ireland are concerned that the Lisbon Treaty could allow abortion in "through the backdoor"

Mr Pottering said the annual inter-religious dialogue between European religious leaders and the EU institutions - formalised in 2005 - were carried out on the "basis of good will" rather than because of a legal obligation.

"If the Lisbon Treaty is not ratified, with the new leaderships in the commission and the parliament, they could abolish this dialogue because legally it's not binding," he said.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:20:41 PM EST
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Remember Pottering is a Christian Democrat - part of the EPP group that attempted to have "Europe is a Christian Land" inserted into the Lisbon Treaty.


The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 03:57:02 PM EST
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A number of religious and pro-life groups in Ireland are concerned that the Lisbon Treaty could allow abortion in "through the backdoor"

Yes, obviously it's preferable to let a bunch of religious fanatics hijack the legislative agenda and tell everyone how they ought to lead their lives.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Tue May 12th, 2009 at 04:22:32 AM EST
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Switzerland considers limiting EU labor migration | Europe | Deutsche Welle | 11.05.2009
Switzerland may impose temporary limits on immigration for EU jobseekers, amid rising unemployment there. 

Swiss newspapers report that the country could make use of temporary measures to cut back on foreign jobseekers in the Alpine nation.

"Backed by the latest job market and migration statistics, the government will soon make a decision on the possible activation of the protection clause," justice department spokesman Philippe Piatti told Swiss media on Sunday.

Government discussions on the issue are set to take place on Wednesday.

Switzerland has an agreement with the EU which allows European workers to take jobs in Switzerland without being subject to the country's strict work permit quota system.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:24:31 PM EST
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Georgia in Turmoil: Saakashvili Talks with Opposition End in 'No Result' - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Protests by thousands of people calling for Georgia's president to resign over the weekend forced Saakashvili to agree to meet with opposition leaders Monday. However, the talks failed to produce any solution to the ongong political turmoil.

Following a weekend that saw thousands of protesters gather on the streets of Tbilisi, embattled Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili agreed to meet with opposition leaders on Monday, who are calling for his immediate resignation. Yet the meeting failed to put an end to the political turmoil in the country, opposition leaders said. Levan Gachechiladze, one of the four who met with Saakashvili for two hours, said afterwards that the meeting had ended with "no result," adding: "Our visions are completely different."

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:26:33 PM EST
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France 24 | New gov't to push for vote on EU membership | France 24
Icelandic Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir has announced her coalition will press parliament to vote on whether the country - shaken by the financial crisis - should apply for EU membership. Voters will have the last word, via a referendum.

AFP - Iceland's new government announced Sunday it would soon press parliament to vote on whether the country -- badly shaken by the global financial crisis -- should apply for European Union membership.
  
Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir said her left-wing coalition would introduce a resolution shortly after the newly elected parliament meets for the first time on Friday.
  
"It will be in the first days after the inaugural session," the Social Democrat told a news conference. "We insist that a membership application be sent to the EU before July."
  

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:29:46 PM EST
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French workers 'face sack or two pounds a day' at company's Indian factory - Telegraph
French workers have been given the choice by their boss of either being sacked or earning two pounds per day at the company's Indian factory.

Nine employees at the Carreman textiles plant in Castres, southwestern France, were told they could continue working for the firm on condition they relocated to Bangalore and accepted a monthly salary of as little as 53 euros (£48).

Under the proposal that unions blasted as "scandalous", the workers would also be required to work eight-hour days, six days a week - instead of the current five.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:33:03 PM EST
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I thought you couldn't offer relocation outside of the EU

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 04:56:33 PM EST
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Italy does not want to become 'multi-ethnic' says Silvio Berlusconi - Telegraph
Italy does not want to become a "multi-ethnic" country and will continue its newly adopted policy of sending boatloads of immigrants and asylum seekers back to North Africa, the prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, said.

Previous Left-wing governments had "opened the doors to clandestine migrants coming from other countries, with an idea of a multi-ethnic Italy," Mr Berlusconi said.

But that kind of society was "not our idea", he added, as he sought to reassure Italians who were alarmed at the number of immigrants pouring into the country, particularly from eastern Europe and Africa.

by Fran on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 02:33:34 PM EST
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The Minister of Interior, the racist Marino, announced today that over 500 boatpeople have now been accompanied back to Libya. Today an incident occured when the Italians forced a group of boatpeople into Maltese territory.

Berlusconi and the Lega are tripping over each other to win the racist vote in the upcoming provincial, administrative and European elections.

Today the unofficial leader of the opposition, Gianfranco Fini, attacked the government's current strategy calling for the identification of the refugees on high seas to determine their political status.

The Church as well as most of the Left opposition has harshly criticized Berlusconi's present policy as well as his anti-multi-ethnic declarations.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 03:48:34 PM EST
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Wait, Fini is now the leader of the opposition?

The brainless should not be in banking. — Willem Buitler
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 03:55:01 PM EST
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Tongue in cheek.

Fini attacks the government and its policies as often as Franceschini. It is now a well-known joke in Italy that Fini is the leader of the opposition to the point it is found in commentaries and op-eds. I use the word "unofficial" to distinguish, well, the two realities.

Fini, to say the least, takes his institutional role as president of the House of Deputies seriously.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Mon May 11th, 2009 at 05:02:59 PM EST
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