Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 13th, 2013 at 02:50:07 PM EST
Ukraine's richest oligarch Rinat Akhmetov weighs in to crisis - FT.com

Ukraine's richest oligarch on Friday weighed in to the country's political crisis, calling for a compromise between thousands of pro-EU protesters and the president to be reached at a "table of peace".

Breaking his silence for the first time since demonstrations erupted in late November, Rinat Akhmetov, a long-time ally of President Viktor Yanukovich, in a carefully worded statement appeared to be voicing solidarity with the anti-government protesters on Kiev's streets.

Hours after Mr Akhmetov's statement, opposition politicians leading the protests announced that they would take part in a first round of talks with Mr Yanukovich later on Friday. The breakthrough came after more than a dozen demonstrators were released from custody, one of their preconditions for negotiations.

Mr Akhmetov, the owner of a diversified business empire valued by Forbes at $15.4bn and with assets spanning Ukraine, Europe and the US, questioned why the government backed out of a historic agreement with the EU in favour of pursuing closer economic ties with Russia.

"Ukraine and the president have been going along the European road for three and a half years and much has been achieved over this time," Mr Akhmetov said. "The agreement was not signed" as scheduled at an EU summit held late last month "in Vilnius. And everybody asked, what happened? Did Ukraine take a pause? Did Ukraine stop? Or did Ukraine take another road? Everyone wants clarity."

Coming two days after Ukraine's second richest man, Victor Pinchuk, backed the protests, Mr Akhmetov's statement added to speculation that the country's influential oligarchs are on the brink of turning against Mr Yanukovich, whom they have backed in the past.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 13th, 2013 at 02:50:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Foreign Affairs / EU and Ukraine drift further apart despite new talks

BRUSSELS - The EU has said it will give Ukraine more money if it signs a trade pact, but its list of political conditions is getting longer.

EU commissioner Stefan Fuele promised the extra funds at a press briefing in Brussels on Thursday (12 December) with Ukraine's deputy PM Serhiy Arbuzov.

He said the EU is ready to "step up" financial aid for implementing EU laws, to "top up" International Monetary Fund loans, and to "help bring on board other international partners," such as the World Bank, if Ukraine says Yes.

He noted that "the ... backdrop for our efforts is the looming financial crisis in Ukraine."

He did not give figures, but he added that EU aid "will only get bigger and bigger" after the treaty is signed.

For his part, Arbuzov said pro-EU protesters in Kiev should not expect good news any time soon.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 13th, 2013 at 02:59:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Ukraine court frees protesters held after Kiev clashes

A Ukrainian court has freed nine people arrested during clashes between pro-EU protesters and riot police, a key demand of the protest movement.

The nine were arrested during a violent crackdown on 30 November to drive protesters away from the presidential administration in the capital Kiev.

The first round of talks between protesters and President Viktor Yanukovych have made little progress.

Demonstrators are arriving in Kiev ahead of a mass rally on Sunday.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 13th, 2013 at 03:03:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ukraine to offer amnesty to protesters - Europe - Al Jazeera English

Viktor Yanukovich, the Ukrainian president, has said that he would propose an amnesty for those detained during recent mass protests against a government decision to reject a free trade agreement with the European Union.

Yanukovich made few concessions in crisis talks he held with the opposition on Friday, his first direct attempt to defuse weeks of unrest over a policy swerve to Russia away from Europe.

He promised an amnesty for those arrested during the protests and said he would consider sacking officials responsible for working on the Association Agreement proposed by the EU - but he made no indication of sacking Mykola Azarov, the Ukrainian prime minister, as demanded by the opposition.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 13th, 2013 at 03:09:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Provocations, EU's financial interests behind Ukraine protests - Lavrov

Russia 'has no doubt' that 'provocateurs with a long-prepared script' lurk behind the mass protests in Ukraine. This position was voiced by Russian RM Sergey Lavrov in a TV interview, in which he criticized the EU's greed and interventionism.

The scale of the ongoing protest is "incomprehensible" the Russian minister said on Saturday on the Rossiya 24 TV channel. Such a reaction would be understandable, for example, if Ukraine's government had declared war on a peaceful foreign nation against the wishes of the people. But merely delaying signing the EU trade deal does not give good cause for it, Lavrov believes.

"There is no doubt that provocateurs are behind it," he said.

Lavrov defended the Ukrainian government's right to take decisions on its national policy and criticized Western officials who have sided with the protesters demanding the government's resignation.



'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Dec 14th, 2013 at 05:39:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Kiev Tug-of-War: Merkel Still Open to Ukraine Cooperation

(Spiegel Online) - Lithuanian President Dalia Grysbauskaite accused the Kremlin of blackmail. "The actions of Russia towards countries like Ukraine, Moldova or Georgia show that this country still employs uncivilized methods," Grysbaukaite told the German newspaper Die Zeit. It is inconceivable "that a country in the 21st century would still blackmail other countries in this way."

'We Underestimated the Drama'

European Parliament President Martin Schulz admitted EU officials made mistakes in their negotiations with Ukraine. "I think we underestimated the drama of the domestic political situation in Ukraine," he told German public radio station Deutschlandfunk. Ukraine, he said, "has been in a deep economic and financial crisis" since the introduction of democracy. "They desperately need money and they desperately need a reliable gas supply," he added.

Schulz said he understood why Ukraine moved towards Russia. "It is not especially popular in Europe to help states which are in a crisis ... and if you look at Moscow's proposals, they would offer Ukraine short-term assistance that we, as Europeans, cannot and do not want to afford."



'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Dec 14th, 2013 at 09:24:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Netherlands vetoes Albania's EU candidate status | EurActiv
-A +APublished 13 December 20139 commentsTags Albania, candidate countries Share on facebook Share on gmail 19

EXCLUSIVE / The Dutch parliament has voted against a government proposal to grant Albania the status of EU candidate, preventing EU leaders from rubberstamping the proposal during a summit in Brussels on 19-20 December.

The Dutch parliament adopted yesterday (12 December) a decision which obliges the government of Prime Minister Mark Rutte to reject the European Commission proposal to give Albania EU candidate status.

The development is likely to inflict a heavy blow to the accession hopes of the Western Balkan nation, which according to the Commission has delivered on EU requirements and so should be granted the status of candidate country.

A spokesperson from the Dutch parliament told EurActiv that Rutte's liberal VVD party (People's Party for Freedom and Democracy) had voted against opening the door to Albania, while its coalition partner PvdA (Labour Party), affiliated to the Party of European Socialists, reportedly voted in favour.

Albania has a socialist prime minister, Edi Rama, who took office last June.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 13th, 2013 at 02:53:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Headline News / Playing at a British EU exit

BRUSSELS - Since the British Conservatives announced they want to hold an in/out EU referendum in 2017, it seems everyone else is giving more thought to what a Brexit could look like than the potential absconders themselves.

So it came to be that OpenEurope this week hosted a mock-up of the event, calling it EUwargames. Various thinking people got round the table to imagine what German/French/Nordic/EU views would be on renegotiation of the treaty or British-EU relations post membership.

The whole exercise appeared far more polite, reasonable and reasoned than the actual event is likely to be.

But it did show, in its simulated way, that extricating the UK from the EU could be as hard as keeping it in on terms more agreeable to (insatiable) British eurosceptics.

And as far as the exercise went, it looked like a case of: 'Can't live with them. But don't particularly want to live without them either.' And that goes for both sides. And is, arguably, as good a negotiating basis as any other.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 13th, 2013 at 03:00:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew:
'Can't live with them. But don't particularly want to live without them either.' And that goes for both sides. And is, arguably, as good a negotiating basis as any other.

talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations!

seriously, this is the best on offer?

sounds like a peevish old couple chained to each other's misery...

new attitude sorely needed methinks.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Dec 13th, 2013 at 10:16:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
EUobserver.com / Justice & Home Affairs / EU data retention law said to breach privacy rights

BRUSSELS - The EU data retention directive breaches the charter of fundamental rights, an EU advocate general has said.

"The directive constitutes a serious interference with the fundamental right of citizens to privacy," said Pedro Cruz Villalon, an advocate general at the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice, in an opinion out on Thursday (12 December).

The 2006 directive has generated considerable controversy over the years because it allows governments and intelligence agencies to track and store data on the movements, meetings, phone and Internet use of every EU citizen.

Operators are required to retain details of emails and telephone calls for up to two years in a database specifically designed for police access.

"The directive treats everyone as a suspect, it monitors everyone, it puts everyone under surveillance," said TJ McIntyre of Digital Rights Ireland, who took the case to the court almost seven years ago.

Villalon's opinion is not binding but is still seen as a major victory by pro-rights advocates because the court's judges often come to the same conclusion.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 13th, 2013 at 03:01:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Family of top Mafia 'godfather' arrested in Sicily

Family members of Italy's most-wanted Sicilian Mafia suspect, Matteo Messina Denaro, have been arrested in a police swoop in western Sicily.

A sister, a nephew and two cousins of the fugitive Cosa Nostra "Super Boss" were picked up in the Trapani area along with 26 other people.

They face charges that include Mafia association and extortion.

Prosecutors describe the arrests as a decisive step in the hunt for Mr Denaro, on the run for 20 years.

There are allegations that members of the group had a criminal stranglehold on the local construction industry, and assets worth nearly 5m euros (£4.2m; $6.9m) were seized.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 13th, 2013 at 03:04:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Cameron narrows Labour lead, ahead on economy | Reuters

(Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives have halved the opposition Labour Party's lead to 4 points and are more trusted by voters to handle the economy, a poll showed on Friday.

With an election 17 months away, the survey suggested that a majority of voters thought they would be worse off or no richer if Labour had held on to power in 2010.

Labour is pinning its 2015 election campaign on the argument that Cameron has allowed living costs to spiral, squeezing voters who are faced with rising bills and flat wages.

But Friday's YouGov poll for the Sun newspaper suggested Labour has yet to convince voters that their policies would have lifted living standards.

It gave Labour a four point lead over the Conservatives compared with an eight point Labour lead in the same poll on December 2, three days before the government issued its twice-yearly budget update.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 13th, 2013 at 03:24:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is going to be difficult to present an appealing alternative if Labour is unwilling to take on and discredit TINA and the whole deficit myth and challenge the legitimacy of the Conservative Party to act in the interests of any but those who own them. And that is hard if you are substantially owned by a slightly different collection of similar wealthy interests.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Dec 13th, 2013 at 10:00:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That is the problem, Labour as a whole are just as captured by neolieralism as the Tories.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 14th, 2013 at 01:30:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ekathimerini.com | One in five Greek households cannot cover needs

Nearly one in five Greek households faced deprivation last year, ranking the country sixth in terms of the worst living conditions in the European Union, the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) said on Friday.

The agency said that, in 2012, as the country's economic crisis gathered pace, 19.5 percent of the population had trouble obtaining a variety of basic goods and services.

"During the last five years [2008-2012] there has been an increase in material deprivation in at least four out of nine categories of basic goods and services," ELSTAT said.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Dec 13th, 2013 at 04:18:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Their present, the UK's future

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Dec 14th, 2013 at 01:34:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'Spiral of Rebellion' Sweeps Italy | Common Dreams

Marking the sixth day of relentless blockades, occupations and mass demonstrations that many warn may set off "a spiral of rebellion" across Europe, protesters--marching under the banner of the 'Pitchfork' movement--gathered Saturday in Rome, Turin and Venice, Italy.

"Activists wearing Italian flag masks and white nooses around their necks rallied outside the European Commission's office in Rome and took down a European flag outside before being chased off by police," AFP reports.

According to the report, police violence against protesters persisted across Italy. In Venice, police fired tear gas at protesters outside the city's train station and in the northern Italy city of Turin--the epicenter of the latest wave of anti-austerity revolt--students paint bombs were met with force.

"There are millions of us and we are growing by the hour," said Danilo Calvani, a farmer who has emerged as one of the protest leaders. "This government has to go."



'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Dec 14th, 2013 at 11:04:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where is that bitch Ashton now to support protesters and to criticize use of force ?  

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sun Dec 15th, 2013 at 06:28:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brutally phrased, but it's a fair point

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Dec 15th, 2013 at 10:08:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Sun Dec 15th, 2013 at 09:23:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Occasional Series