How Trump Will Try to Win the Election

Donald Trump hates to lose. Here’s how he’ll try to steal an electoral victory.

By John Feffer, September 8, 2020. Originally published in Hankyoreh.Print

Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

The party conventions are over. The presidential election is in two months. The polls suggest that Joe Biden, the Democratic Party candidate, will win by a large margin over the incumbent, President Donald Trump.

But this is not an ordinary election. It is the first one in modern memory in which the American public and international observers expect disruption. The election in 2016 featured Russian interference, but no one expected that it would have much impact on the results. Whether it contributed to Trump’s narrow Electoral College victory remains controversial.

Four years later, Russian interference is only one of the disruptive factors in the upcoming election. The much bigger question mark is Donald Trump himself.

Trump does not like to lose. And he has demonstrated on numerous occasions that he will lie and cheat in order to win. Here are the various ways that the president will try to overcome his profound unpopularity to win re-election.

Option 1: Lie

This summer, Trump told his 20,000th lie. To reach the 10,000 mark, Trump told a dozen lies a day. He literally doubled down for the next 10,000, by telling nearly two dozen a day.

Having accustomed the American public and the news media to his non-stop falsehoods, Trump is now taking his lies to a new level. He says the election pits “American vs. Socialist,” as if it were actually Bernie Sanders who won the Democratic Party nomination, not Biden. Trump has repeatedly stated that Biden wants to defund the police when the Democratic candidate has gone out of his way to argue the opposite.

It’s one thing for the president to mischaracterize reality. It’s another when he simply makes things up out of thin air. That’s what happened when he claimed at the end of August that a planeload of thugs wearing dark uniforms had been on its way to Washington, DC to “do big damage.” He had no proof for the claim. And, in fact, the next day, he forgot his original statement and maintained that the plane was heading from DC to an unspecified location.

Trump is entirely untethered from the truth. He will say whatever it takes to win.

Option Two: Incite Violence

Donald Trump has repeatedly encouraged his supporters to get physical. During the 2016 campaign, he praised a pro-Trump politician who body slammed a reporter as “my type.” He told supporters at a rally to “knock the crap out of” protestors and he’d cover their legal fees. He said, after security guards escorted a demonstrator out of the rally, that he’d like “to punch him in the face.”

As president, Trump has defended violent police and neo-Nazis. He has praised the QAnon conspiracy theory, which the FBI considers a terror threat.

But heading into the last 60 days of the election, Trump is taking incitement to the next level. He is telling his supporters not just to focus their wrath on a couple of demonstrators. He is effectively urging his base to start a civil war. He defended Kyle Rittenhouse, a vigilante and Trump supporter who killed two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He has called the caravan of right-wing extremists who are confronting Black Lives Matter demonstrators “GREAT PATRIOTS.” As John Cassidy writes in The New Yorker, Trump has now “crossed a threshold” into the incitement of mob violence characteristic of fascist leaders.

Option 3: Steal the Election

Donald Trump has no regard for the rule of law. He has broken so many laws during his presidency – from the emoluments clause of the constitution to his collusion with foreign leaders to aid his reelection campaign – that he has no compunction about doing so again with an important election on the line.

The Republican Party has engaged in widespread voter suppression activities. It has removed voters from the lists, prevented people from registering, and closed down polling booths. Trump is just as interested in reducing the number of voters in the next election.

To that end, he has called into question the very legitimacy of the voting process by disparaging mail-in ballots. Trump has said, “Mail ballots, they cheat.” However, there is no evidence of significant cheating associated with mail-in ballots.

Out of fear of COVID-19 infection, many voters will stay away from the polls in November and vote by mail, regardless of what the president says about fraud. So, Trump is attempting to game the system by making it more difficult for the U.S. postal service to handle all the additional ballots. He has admitted that he is blocking additional funding so that the postal system won’t be able to keep up with the demand. And his appointee to head the system, Louis DeJoy, is making selective cuts to slow down mail processing.

The result of this vote suppression might be the so-called red mirage in which Trump “wins” on Election Day but loses a day or two later when all the mail-in ballots are counted. Trump might then claim that his election victory has been “stolen.”

Which leads to the fourth option.

Option 4: Don’t Leave Office

If all else fails, Trump could simply refuse to vacate the White House. He could say that the election was rigged, that he actually won, and that his supporters have to come out into the streets to defend his “victory.” In other words, Trump could bundle all the options together – lie, steal, incite violence – to turn democracy into autocracy.

For the last several months, Trump has been seeing exactly what military forces he can count on in an emergency. The U.S. military refused to participate in the administration’s crackdown on protestors. The National Guard, with the exception of Washington, DC, are controlled by governors. That is why Trump sent federal agents from Homeland Security, the Marshalls Service, and Customs and Border Patrol to Portland to suppress the demonstrations there. Trump would call upon these troops, plus the pro-Trump paramilitaries and vigilantes, to support his putsch.

Fortunately, without the support of the U.S. military, Trump doesn’t have enough fire power on his side to suspend the constitution and subvert American democracy. If he isn’t voted out of office in November, then he will be dragged out of office.

And, I hope, thrown into prison where he belongs.

John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy In Focus and as such a very experienced commentator and observer, and the author of Frostlands. FPIF is a progressive-oriented think tank on US foreign policy; this article appeared also in FPIF from 11.9.2020.

Serbia: Roma tortured by police win court case

An incredible behaviour of the Serbian police – not only in the recent protests – has thrown a light on the country’s attempts to join the European Union. It must be clear that police reforms have to be undertaken before any further progress is made in accession negotiations.

 

In July 2020, the Belgrade Higher Court has ruled that the Serbian Ministry of Interior discriminated against a Romani couple who were harassed and tortured in a police cell in 2017 after reporting their car stolen. The couple were detained for 13 hours at a police station in Belgrade where officers tortured the husband, racially abused the wife, and threatened to have their children taken by social services. The Court has awarded €4.675 to the husband and €1.700 to the wife in a first instance judgment for the discriminatory treatment, physical pain, and fear they endured.

European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) President Đorđe Jovanović said: “What the police have been doing to protesters in the last few weeks is actually how Roma in Serbia are treated most of the time – it’s just that no one is filming when it happens to us and in most cases no one ever hears about it. It is not the job of the police to carry out physical punishments on people who they believe have committed a crime. In this case, these people were actually reporting a crime and still they got accused of lying and abused by racist police officers. This is institutional racism in action, plain for everyone to see.”

The incident occurred on 21st April 2017 when the couple, Marko and Sandra reported their car stolen at Mladenovac police station. They were informed they needed to report the case in Belgrade and police officers drove them there in an unmarked car. When they arrived they were made to undergo a polygraph test before being separated for interrogation.

Marko was made to kneel in a room surrounded by eight officers. The officers slapped his face repeatedly and told him to confess to stealing the car himself and to insurance fraud. They racially abused him and kicked him in the stomach. When he still did not confess, an officer began whipping his outstretched hands with a leather whip. One officer put a plastic bag over his head and squeezed the air out, suffocating him. The same policeman also told him if he did not confess they would electrocute him. Another cocked his gun, pointed it at him, and told him he would shoot him in the hand to give him “a memory that would stay with him for a lifetime”.

When Marko asked to call a lawyer, he was told that he had no right. The officers threatened to take his children away to an orphanage and send him and his wife to prison. He heard one of the officers on the phone talking to social services telling them to get a car ready to take his five year-old and two year-old girls away.

While Marko was being interrogated, Sandra was in a nearby room with the door open so she could hear some of what was happening. An officer harassed her with comments about her religion and her husband’s ethnicity. They continued verbally abusing her while drinking heavily. She was not allowed to use the toilet at all at first, and then only accompanied by a male officer. Her request to see a lawyer was refused.

They were finally released at 10pm and allowed to return home. Marko sought medical treatment and was diagnosed with physical injuries to his face and body, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Court found the Ministry of Interior had violated Article 12 of the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination – harassment as a form of discrimination. The ERRC expects the Ministry of Interior will launch an Appeal.

Article in France: About the political parties in Germany

https://cercle-ceci.eu/ is a French-language Internet portal, headed by Emmanuel Morucci, Brest/Bretagne, France, a member of Team Europe France, CECI is a dedicated pro-European publication, just as the people behind it. CECI is a group of interesting People, after all.

In its newest edition EUFAJ chief Hans-Jürgen Zahorka has contributed an article about the German system of political parties and its possible changes. Some basic information for the Francophones. See under „Articles récents“ the contribution about „Partis politiques en Allemagne“.

What does the EU do to help solving the Corona crisis?

25.3.2020, Brussels. We publish here a blog by Niels Jørgen Thøgersen. The European of Danish origin lives in Brussels and is a former Director of the European Commission (DG Communication). This text is taken out of his daily letters from today. See and share his blogs about Europe:  EUROPE AT WORK:   www.europe-at-work.be  (På dansk: EUROPA I ARBEJDSTØJET:   www.europa-i-arbejde.be ) He has also started now a new one, covering life with the Corona Virus and how people cope with difficulties: LIFE WITH CORONA  /  LIVET MED CORONA, https://life-with-corona.blogspot.com 

What does the EU do to help solving the huge Problems in context with the Corona crisis? – The short reply is that the European Union does not have special competences when health issues are concerned.  And it never had so. The founding fathers of the EU chose that these matters are national issues.  So the EU does not have the possibility to adopt regulations or directives about health questions.  And when such possibilities do not exist they are not there either in a major crisis like today, even if there seems to be a general wish that EU should do more.

This being said it is evident that the 27 EU member states can and are using their close cooperation in the EU to coordinate their work and initiatives.  This also happens in the present situation. On February 13, the health ministers from all the member states held an informal meeting. The heads of state and government have done the same.  And they will do that again tomorrow, March 26, in a video conference, where the Corona crisis is main point on the agenda.

The EU has already certain structures in place, which are very active also in the present crisis.  The Cypriot member of the EU Commission, Mrs. Stella Kyriakidis, is responsible for Health and Food Safety.  She has a background as psychologist. And the EU Agency for Disease Prevention and Control in Stockholm is very active in following the development, collect information, analyse it and make recommendations. See more:  https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en    Its leader is Dr. Andrea Ammon. She is German and comes from the well-known Robert Koch Institute in Germany. And finally the European Medicines Agency in Amsterdam. It analyses and approves new medications on behalf of all member states. See more here:  https://www.ema.europa.eu/en    Its leader is the Italian professor Guido Rasi.

In addition to help with the coordination EU can also use many of its instruments to support the work in this crisis. Here are some examples of what is being done:

1.     The Commission has very quickly approved that each member state may break the agreements about their budgets. Each country needs to give massive economic support to citizens, business, etc., to keep society going.  This is giving direct economic subsidies, guarantees, easing of the rules on state aid, etc.  As the Commission has been asked to monitor that the governments stick to the agreements in these areas it is also the Commission which may give temporary permissions not to follow the rules. This has been done to each country very quickly.

2.     On March 17 it was agreed to close EU’s external borders for 30 days. The purpose is to prevent the virus to continue to cross these borders.  So-called Green Corridors are installed to ensure free flow of goods, medicines, etc. despite the closure.   This is also the case on the internal borders, where they are temporarily closed.  Last week a queue of 57 km lorries waited at the German-Polish border.  Such situations have to be avoided.

3.     EU is using some of its research funds ( Horizon 2020 ) to support development of vaccines against the corona.  One case is an 80 mill. € loan to the German company CureVac in Tübingen, which is working on a vaccine.  It seems that president Trump has tried to buy that company to ensure its products only for the American public.  It did not work. And the director of the company left immediately after a meeting in The White House.

4.     The European Central Bank in Frankfurt has created a special fund with 750 billion € to support the European economy and the Euro.  And president Christine Lagarde has emphasized that its support is unlimited.

Tomorrow’s virtual EU summit will discuss and probably further develop these initiatives. And they will also discuss a new proposal from their president, Charles Michel, that EU should create a real European Crisis Centre to handle this crisis and other crisis in the future.

Niels Jørgen Thøgersen

An Appeal for More Europe – At the Occasion of Corona

All citizens are invited to sign this Appeal, which was promoted by philosophers Roberto Castaldi and Daniel Innerarity and signed in 1 day by over 1500 personalities from academia, civil society, business community, institutions from all over the EU, and even from countries still outside it. It can be signed at: http://www.cesue.eu/en/appeal.html#aderiscianchetu

Among the signatories are some of the most prominent European academics of their fields, relevant figures from civil society, many of whom had relevant roles in institutions, including Romano Prodi (former President of the Commission and Italian Prime Minister), Enrico Letta (former Italian Prime Minister), José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (former Prime Minister of Spain), Enrique Baron Crespo (former President of the European Parliament), Pascal Lamy (former Commissioner and Director-general of WTO), Anna Diamantopoulou and Ferdinando Nelli Feroci (former Commissioners), and many other former ministers, members of the European and National Parliaments, etc.

A EUROPEAN ANSWER TO THE CORONAVIRUS THREAT
TO PROVE THAT THE EU IS A TRUE COMMUNITY WITH A SHARED FUTURE

We European citizens understand that Covid-19 is a common threat, that may hurt one country sooner than another, but will eventually hurt us all, and can impact our daily life and economy almost like a war.

We European citizens are worried and scared by this threat; and even more by the cacophony, selfishness and self-destructive short-sightedness of the different, un-coordinated national responses; by the lack of foresight of our national leaders, who pretend not to know that our interdependence requires a single European answer with strict containment measures of the pandemics, and an EU-wide plan to re-start the European economy afterwards.

We European citizens denounce the current EU as an incomplete Res Publica, thus ill-equipped to face this challenge, with little competences and powers to face the pandemics. We welcome the timely decision by the Commission to provide 25 billion euro and financial flexibility to cope with this threat. Maybe it is the most it can do, but it is not enough.

We call upon the European Commission and Parliament to propose, and on the national governments to adopt (starting with the Eurogroup meeting of March 16, and a following extraordinary European Council to be called soon after) the following urgent measures, also using the Lisbon Treaty passerelle clause and simplified Treaty revision provisions:

  1. Make public health and the fight against epidemics a shared competence of the EU, subject to the ordinary legislative procedure, and provide the Commission with extraordinary powers to coordinate the response to the epidemics, as a federal government should do.
  2. Enlarge the scope of the European Stability Mechanism to finance the immediate strengthening of the European and national health systems to cope with the pandemics, which threatens the lives of European citizens, and thus also the economic and financial stability of the EU.
  3. Abolish the compulsory balanced budget provision for the EU and create a EU Safe Asset to be issued to finance an EU-wide plan to promote EU economic recovery and social cohesion during and after the emergency.
  4. Move fiscal issues to the ordinary legislative procedure and provide the EU with fiscal powers to adopt new own resources – such as the carbon tax (and carbon tariffs), the digital tax, the financial transaction tax – to finance the EU budget (or the Euro-area Budgetary Instrument, if the decision could be reached only at the Euro-area level).
  5. Immediately approve the next Multiannual Financial Framework increasing the budget to at least 1,3% of the EU GDP, as requested by the European Parliament, on the basis of the current structure of the budget financing; and with the provision to reach 2% with the new own resources, to ensure the provision of crucial EU-wide public goods.
  6. Turn the planned Conference on the future of Europe into a fully-fledged European Convention to draft a new Constitutional Pact among the EU citizens and Member states.

We European citizens believe this is the defining hour for the EU. Social perception of the EU will be shaped for years by its response to this crisis. This is the time to prove the EU is a community of values with a shared destiny, a life-line for its citizens and member states in the face of a turbulent global world with political, economic and health threats. It is time for bold common steps to overcome fear. It is time for European unity, not for national division.

Available also in:

Open Letter to the EU about Climate of Racism in Hungary

 

Brussels, 18 February 2020: We  the European Roma Rights Centre – would like to express our deep concern at the recent statements made by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán concerning the school segregation case in Gyöngyöspata. We call on the European Parliament to resolutely condemn the rhetoric of the Hungarian government, which exacerbates inter-ethnic tension and anti-Roma racism; delegitimises the work of human rights organisations yet again; and further undermines the rule of law.

In January, Prime Minister Orbán suddenly turned his attention to a four-month-old court decision by the Debrecen Court of Appeal, which awarded criminal damages to Romani families in Gyöngyöspata, whose children were forced to learn in segregated settings for a decade. The Romani children testified that they were educated in separate classes on a separate floor; they were not allowed to take part in celebrations or school trips; and they were denied IT and swimming lessons. The reality of segregation was that many Romani children Gyöngyöspata were unable to graduate, and so poor was the quality of education that many barely learned to read or write.

In a succession of provocative broadcasts to the nation, Orbán stated that the court’s decision “violated the people’s sense of justice”; and stigmatized the local Roma as workshy, their children as violent, unruly and un-educatable. In a radio broadcast, Orbán said,

“I am not from Gyöngyöspata, but if I were to live there, I would be asking how it is that, for some reason, members of an ethnically determined group living in a community with me, in a village, can receive significant sums of money without doing any work, while I toil every day.”

The prime minister described the court’s ruling as deeply unfair and he stated “I don’t yet know exactly what to do now but this cannot remain like this for sure. We need to give justice to the Gyöngyöspata people”.

On February 11th the Prime Minister announced a new ‘national consultation’ on the Gyöngyöspata case, and declared “we take the side of the 80 percent who are decent, working Hungarians.” In a radio broadcast, Orbán dismissed “the whole thing as a provocation”, with Soros organizations everywhere, and stated that “there is a boundary that a Hungarian will never cross, or believes cannot be crossed. That boundary is giving people money for nothing.”

This announcement has prompted widespread protests across Hungary, including nearly 200 psychologists who have signed a declaration that this proposed consultation must not go ahead as it will incite further hatred, reinforce discrimination, and send a message to the nation that segregation is acceptable.

Over the last ten years, the regime has repeatedly resorted to national consultations as part of propaganda campaigns against imagined enemies of the nation, including migrants, refugees and George Soros. These consultations, with their leading and loaded questions, have triggered international criticism for fuelling anti-foreigner hatred; Prime Minister Orbán characterises them as “demonstrating the power of national consensus”.

The leading question on Gyöngyöspata will concern “whether it is helpful if the compensation awarded disturbs the peace of a given community.” The government stated that it already has clear answers to this and other questions that have provoked social debates, “however, it needs a robust social mandate in order to represent them in the international arena as well as within Hungary.”

We maintain that the prime minister’s statements display not only contempt for the rule of law, but amount to a drive to scapegoat Roma for political gain. The proposed consultation is designed to discredit the rule of law, polarise the nation and further stigmatise the Roma community.

We commend the European Parliament and the European Commission for its recent condemnations of antigypsyism in general; we now call on the institutions to condemn this latest manifestation of antigypsyism in particular.

Viktor Orbán has crossed yet another ‘red line’ with seeming impunity. We believe that there should be no room in the European Union for hate speech targeting ethnic minorities; and that the rule of law must prevail within member states. We call for a prompt and proportionate response from the Parliament, and urge the Commission, as guardian of the treaties, to act on this issue in a manner that is consistent with ‘European Values‘.

The European Roma Rights Centre is an international public interest law organisation which monitors the human rights situation of Roma and provides legal defence in cases of human rights abuse. For more information about the European Roma Rights Centre, visit the ERRC on the web at: http://www.errc.org

Iran Protests – and Human Rights

UN Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet calls on Iran to address multiple human rights violations in context of recent protests

GENEVA (6 December 2019) – As more information gradually filters out of Iran in the wake of the recent protests, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on 6th December, 2019, expressed alarm at the continuing lack of transparency about casualties and the treatment of thousands of detainees, as well as continuing arrests reported to be taking place across the country

At least 7,000 people have reportedly been arrested in 28 of Iran’s 31 provinces since mass protests broke out on 15 November, and the High Commissioner said she is “extremely concerned about their physical treatment, violations of their right to due process, and the possibility that a significant number of them may be charged with offences that carry the death penalty, in addition to the conditions under which they are held.”

During the five days of demonstrations, which according to official Government sources involved between 120,000 and 200,000 protestors, the UN Human Rights Office has information suggesting that at least 208 people were killed, including 13 women and 12 children. There are also reports, which the UN Human Rights Office has so far been unable to verify, suggesting more than twice that number killed.

“In such circumstances, with so many reported deaths, it is essential the authorities act with far greater transparency,” Bachelet said. “They must undertake prompt, independent and impartial investigations into all violations that have taken place, including the killing of protesters and reported deaths and ill-treatment in custody. And those responsible must be held accountable. There appear to be multiple violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Iran has ratified and is obliged to uphold.”

Security forces responded to the protests with water cannon, tear gas, batons, and in some cases live ammunition against unarmed demonstrators who posed no imminent threat of death or serious injury. According to reports, members of the Basij militia and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRCG) were involved in shooting protestors.

“Verified video footage indicates severe violence was used against protesters, including armed members of security forces shooting from the roof of a justice department building in one city, and from helicopters in another,” Bachelet said. “We have also received footage which appears to show security forces shooting unarmed demonstrators from behind while they were running away, and shooting others directly in the face and vital organs – in other words shooting to kill. These are clear violations of international norms and standards on the use of force, and serious violations of human rights.”

In what appears to be one of the worst incidents, which took place on 18 November 2019, the High Commissioner said her Office had received information partially corroborating reports that Iranian security forces used machine guns against protesters in Jarahi Square in Mahshahr – including against people fleeing the area and people hiding in nearby reed-beds – resulting in at least 23 people killed, and possibly many more.

As well as protestors, it is reported that bystanders in the street and people watching from their homes were also hit with bullets during the Mahshahr incident. “There are conflicting reports about whether or not there were one or more armed people among the protestors,” Bachelet said.  “But this does not in any way justify such an indiscriminate, horrifying and deadly reaction by the security forces.”

The UN Human Rights Office has received numerous reports of ill-treatment against those arrested, including with the apparent aim of extracting forced confessions, and State television has broadcast the “confessions” of some detainees alleged to be protest leaders and people affiliated with anti-government groups or foreign States. According to the deputy chief of the IRGC, those who have “openly confessed they were doing mercenary work” will face severe punishment.

“Many of the arrested protesters have not had access to a lawyer, meaning due process is not being respected,” Bachelet said. “We also have reports of severe overcrowding and harsh conditions in detention centres, which in some cities include military barracks, sports venues and schools in addition to official detention facilities.  There are also reports that individuals who were wounded or otherwise injured during the crackdown are being denied medical treatment in detention.”

She expressed concern at reports of intimidation of journalists trying to report on the situation both inside and outside the country, with family members of Iranian journalists working for news channels based outside Iran reportedly summoned and threatened with reprisals by intelligence officials.

“All in all, the picture now emerging from Iran is extremely disturbing,” Bachelet said. “I urge the authorities to immediately release from detention all protestors who have been arbitrarily deprived of their liberty, and to ensure their right to due process, including access to a lawyer of their choosing during the investigative stage. In the event of further protests, I urge the Government to respect Iranians’ right to exercise freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association and, in addition to investigating the violations that have already occurred, to restrict the use of force to the greatest extent possible, as provided for under the relevant international norms and standards.”

 

Trade war US vs. China is resulting in higher consumer prices and substantial export losses

 

Tariffs imposed by the United States on China are economicanly hurting both countries, UNCTAD (UN Organisation on Commerce, Trade and Development, based in Geneva) warned in a new paper released on 5th November, 2019. Te study, Trade and trade diversion effects of United States tariffs on China, shows that the ongoing US-China trade war has resulted in a sharp decline in bilateral trade, higher prices for consumers and trade diversion effects (increased imports from countries not directly involved in the trade war).

By analysing recently released trade statistics, the study finds that consumers in the US are bearing the heaviest brunt of the US tariffs on China, as their associated costs have largely been passed down to them and importing firms in the form of higher prices.

However, the study also finds that Chinese firms have recently started absorbing part of the costs of the tariffs by reducing the prices of their exports.

“The results of the study serve as a global warning. A lose-lose trade war is not only harming the main contenders, it also compromises the stability of the global economy and future growth,” cautioned UNCTAD’s director of international trade and commodities, Pamela Coke Hamilton. “We hope a potential trade agreement between the US and China can de-escalate trade tensions.”

The analysis shows that US tariffs caused a 25% export loss, inflicting a US$35 billion blow to Chinese exports in the US market for tariffed goods in the first half of 2019.

This figure also shows the competitiveness of Chinese firms which, despite the substantial tariffs, maintained 75% of their exports to the US.

The office machinery and communication equipment sectors were hit the hardest, suffering a $15 billion reduction of US imports from China as trade in tariffed goods in those sectors fell by an average of 55%.

Trade of tariffed goods in sectors such as chemicals, furniture, and electrical machinery also dropped substantially according to the analysis.

Though the study does not examine the impact of the most recent phase of the trade war, it warns that the escalation in summer of 2019 is likely to have added to the existing losses.

While it does not consider the impact of Chinese tariffs on US imports, the study indicates that qualitative results are most likely to be analogous: higher prices for Chinese consumers, losses for US exporters and trade gains for other countries.

While China loses, other economies gain

US tariffs on China have made other players more competitive in the US market and led to a trade diversion effect.

Of the $35 billion Chinese export losses in the US market, about $21 billion (or 62%) was diverted to other countries, while the remainder of $14 billion was either lost or captured by US producers.

According to the report, US tariffs on China resulted in Taiwan (province of China) gaining $4.2 billion in additional exports to the US in the first half of 2019 by selling more office machinery and communication equipment.

Mexico increased its exports to the US by $3.5 billion, mostly in the agri-food, transport equipment and electrical machinery sectors.

The European Union gained about $2.7 billion due to increased exports, largely in the machineries sectors.

Viet Nam’s exports to the US swelled by $2.6 billion, driven by trade in communication equipment and furniture.

Trade diversion benefits to Korea, Canada and India were smaller but still substantial, ranging from $0.9 billion to $1.5 billion.

The remainder of the benefits were largely to the advantage of other South East Asian countries.

Trade diversion effects favouring African countries have been minimal.

British Exporters Face Brexit Problems

A failure to rollover all existing trade deals plus the prospect of a no-deal Brexit put UK exporters at a significant disadvantage. This is the result of research of UNCTAD, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Develoment who runs a respected and powerful research, based in Geneva. The following was issued on 3 September 2019.

 

Considering its impending departure from the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom (UK) needs to reach its own bilateral agreements with countries that grant preferences to the EU countries in order to maintain preferential market access.

Although roll-over trade deals have been agreed with several countries, about 20 percent of UK non-EU exports are at risk of facing higher tariffs from countries such as Turkey, South Africa, Canada and Mexico.

A new UNCTAD research shows that if these agreements are not concluded by exit day, it would cost the UK economy almost $2 billion in exports. Sectors such as apparel, textiles, motor vehicles and processed food products would face higher tariffs, with losses as high as $750 million in the motor vehicles sector.

This comes at a time when the EU is concluding several agreements with various important partners, like Viet Nam and MERCOSUR countries. These agreements, if not matched by equivalent agreements by the UK, will result in additional losses for UK exporters (Remark: However, the negotiation mpact by one single country, namely UK, is much smaller than by a bloc of 27 countries, especially if one considers that external trade is exclusively a matter of EU legislation and not any more of Member States).

These outcomes pale in comparison to the export losses that the UK will experience in the EU market in the case of a no-deal Brexit. UNCTAD’s research indicates that a no-deal Brexit will result in UK export losses of at least $16 billion, representing an approximate 7 percent loss of overall UK exports to the EU.

Most of the UK losses in the EU market would be concentrated in motor vehicles ($5 billion), animal products ($2 billion) and apparel and textiles (encompassing about $2 billion).

UNCTAD cautions that these losses would be much greater because of non-tariff measures, border controls (Remark: This is exactly the reason why the EU in creating the Single Market abolished border controls – to save approx. 360 mill. EUR between 15 countries only) and consequent disruption of existing UK-EU production Networks (Remark; This will be very likely the case, according to several declarations from Continental industry).

The nearing Brexit deadline, along with increased uncertainty on outcomes, is problematic for UK exporters, and policy solutions are likely needed for at least short-term relief. Ultimately it will require progress on rolling over current deals or finding new relationships with other partners that will be needed for thrive.

(Remarks by EUFAJ)

Salvini’s Italy Sentenced by ECHR to Provide Housing for Evicted Roma

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg has decided to apply an urgent measure in the case P.H. and Others v. Italy (application no. 25838/19) concerning three Bosnian citizens of Roma ethnicity who were evicted with their minor children from a settlement in Ponte Riccio in April 2019. The applicants are three Bosnian citizens of Roma ethnicity who were living with their families in a settlement in Ponte Riccio (Giugliano). Two of them are mothers with 10 children altogether, who are minors aged between two and 16.

The Court has ordered the Italian Government to provide suitable accommodation for Romani families who were forcibly evicted from Giugliano last week. The court recognised the right to family unity and the need to provide adequate housing to Romani families. The emergency case was brought before the court by Associazione 21 luglio and the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC).

Background

On 5 April 2019 the Mayor of Giugliano issued Decree no. 29, ordering that all the settlement’s inhabitants (around 450 Romani People) residing in the Via del Vaticale camp in the Municipality of Giugliano be evicted for reasons of public health and safety. The municipality issued a resolution for alternative housing solutions for Roma, but no proposal was ever made to the families.

On the morning of 10 May 2019, law enforcement arrived and forced the families to leave the settlement on Via del Vaticale. According to numerous testimonies gathered, both before and during the eviction, the Roma had been verbally ordered to leave the Giugliano area and threatened that if they refused, their residence would be cancelled and their children taken into state care (!). The 450 Roma ended up occupying an abandoned area in the Giugliano industrial area, where they remain today.

The new location is totally inadequate

The 73 families currently camped in that area have no shelter, and are forced to sleep inside cars or outdoors, despite the difficult weather conditions. They have no access to electricity and are without clean water or toilets. The 105 children who were attending school were forced to interrupt their school attendance.

Associazione 21 luglio called an immediate press conference at the Chamber’s Press Room and an online appeal to denounce the rights violated by the authorities during the forced eviction, including the rights of these children to an education. They called on the Municipality of Giugliano for an urgent intervention offering adequate solutions and dignified housing for all persons, guaranteeing them access to basic services, and the re-establishment of school attendance for school-age children and, alongside the ERRC, promoted recourse to the European Court of Human Rights.

On 17 May, the decision came from the European Court in Strasbourg which forces the Italian Government to guarantee adequate housing for minors and their families who were evicted from Via del Viaticale.

Organisations‘ comments

Carlo Stasolla from Associazione 21 luglio, who had who had been on hunger strike since 12.5.2019, ended his protest on receiving the court’s decision. He said „This is a victory for marginalised communities all across Italy who, especially in the last year, have had their basic human rights repeatedly attacked. In the situation of Giugliano, Associazione 21 luglio was the first to report the systematic violation of rights and support the families who proposed the appeal to the European Court. For the last 30 years, Roma in Giugliano have been trapped in a vicious cycle of forced evictions, black mail, and fear. Today, Europe has lit a lighthouse that illuminates the whole of Italy and which we all have a duty to keep on: the lighthouse of anti-discrimination and of equal rights guaranteed in articles 2 and 3 of the Italian Constitution that no one, in any capacity, can claim the presumption of extinguishing.“

Jonathan Lee of the European Roma Rights Centre said: „This decision breaks a long-standing cycle of forced evictions which have long plagued this community, and Roma as a whole in Italy. When authorities uproot Romani families, they know it means kids will have to drop out of school, that know that parents will lose work, that the family will be forced to start from scratch, but they do it anyway. The Court has shown today that Italy is not above the law, and cannot indiscriminately make Roma homeless. These people have won a great victory against discrimination, and against the politics of hate, which perpetuates the exclusion of Roma in Italy.“

***

Measures under Rule 39 of the ECHR Rules of Court are decided in connection with proceedings before the Court, without prejudging any subsequent decisions on the admissibility or merits of the case. The Court grants such requests only on an exceptional basis, when the applicants would otherwise face a real risk of irreversible harm. For further information, see the factsheet on interim measures.

Regimechef Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua: Ende mit der Demokratie

Carmen Aguilera García

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Mehr als 500 Menschen ermordet – zahlreiche Menschenrechtsverletzungen und Angriffe auf die Pressefreiheit

Was erwarten die Menschen in Nicaragua von Demokratie und Zukunft für die Dauer der Amtszeit von Präsident Ortega? Wenn Journalisten verfolgt werden, wo in der letzten Zeit mehrere Menschen ermorden werden, wo Fernsehsendungen geschlossen werden, weil die Regierung dagegen ist, dass diese Informationen weiter geleitet werden. In Nicaragua weinen die Menschen, deren Angehörige von dem Regime von Ortega getötet wurden. So sehe ich diese Frage: Kein Recht, keine Zukunft für die Menschen in Nicaragua, solange Ortega an dr Macht ist. In Deutschland, in der Europäischen Union kennen nur sehr wenige Menschen Nicaragua und folgen den Ereignissen dort. Das Land macht weniger Schlagzeilen als Maduros Venezuela, wo auch eine totale Wirtschaftskrise und ideologische Begründungen der Politik gegeben sind. Aber das zentralamerikanische Land mit 6,1 Millionen Einwohnern darf nicht vergessen werden.

Die Verletzungen von Menschenrechten und der Missbrauch durch Paramilitärs im Regime von Ortega brachten eine traurige Summe: von April bis Mitte November 2018 wurden in Nicaragua mehr als 4.533 Menschen verletzt; mehr als 535 wurden ermordet, meist während der „Operation Saubermachen“ (operación limpieza) durch Schusswaffen ermordet oder verletzt. Laut Information der nicaraguanischen Vereinigung für Menschenrechte (ANPDH), wurden mehr als 514 Tote registriert. Das Problem ist, dass seit Ortega das Regime darstellt es nur Zensur und andere Menschenrechtsverletzungen bringt. CENIDH registriert mehr als 602 politische Gefangene in den Gefängnissen von Nicaragua. Die Interamerikanische Menschenrechtskommission (IACHR) hat siebzig Menschen aus Nicaragua sogenannte Vorsichtsmaßnahmen gewährt und gefordert, dass eine Garantie gegeben werden muss in Nicaragua für diesen Menschen. Diese soziopolitische Krise, die typisch für das Regime von Ortega ist, ist das Resultat von systematischer Zensur in den unabhängigen Medien in Nicaragua. Es ist unglaublich, wie die Verfolgung, die Bewachung, Belästigung und die Festnahmen von Journalisten durch die Regierung von der Ortega Teil des Systems sind. Es gibt also keine Presse- und Meinungsfreiheit (sieh auch https://www.infobae.com/america/america-latina/2019/01/14/a-pesar-de-los-mas-de-500-muertos-el-partido-comunista-de-rusia-condecoro-a-daniel-ortega-por-su-aporte-a-la-paz-en-nicaragua/).

Zensur in Nicaragua: Die Hauptstadtzeitung La Prensa meint hierzu , dass „die Diktatur von Ortega La Prensa töten will“. Die einflussreiche Zeitung sagt, dass die Regierung, die Papier, Tinte und andere Rohstoffe einbehält, somit den Druck von Auflage gefährdet. Mindestens 57 nicaraguanische Journalisten sind seit letztem April vor allem aus Sicherheitsgründen ins Exil gegangen, so laut der kürzlich veröffentlichten Mitteilung der „Bewegung von unabhängigen Journalisten und Kommunikatoren in Nicaragua“.

Seit die Krise in Nicaragua begonnen hat, ist Journalismus einer der gefährlichste Berufe in Nicaragua. Damals starb der Journalist Ángel Gahona an einem gezielten Schuss, während er über Manöver der Nationalen Polizei berichtete, und die mutmaßlichen Täter wurden von der Justizbehörde verurteilt, obwohl die Zeugen, Nachbarn und auch Angehörigen des Opfers deren Unschuld bestätigten.

Laut der Daten der Fundation Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (Frau Chamorro war Präsidentin und Nachfolgerin des Sandinisten-Präsidenten Ortega, der ihr dann später wieder nachfolgte und ganz unideologisch sein autoritäres Regime begründete) zeigen an, dass zwischen April und Dezember 2018 mindestens 712 Fälle von Verletzungen der Pressefreiheit erfasst wurden, darunter Übergriffe, Zensur, Drohungen und Ermordungen sowie andere Verstöße (vgl. auch https://www.infobae.com/america/america-latina/2019/01/11/censura-en-nicaragua-el-principal-diario-denuncio-que-la-dictadura-de-ortega-quiere-asesinar-a-la-prensa/).

In ihrem letzten vorläufigen Bericht vom November präsentiert ANPDH mehr als 1.315 Personen, die von Paramilitärs entführt und von der Ortega-Polizei inhaftiert wurden; sie können als politische Gefangene in Betracht gezogen werden.

So hatte auch Kardinal Brenes Angst, die Neujahrsprozession 2019 in Nicaragua durchzuführen. Laut mehreren religiösen Quellen wurde bestätigt, dass Kardinal Brenes in Einzelheiten Informationen erhalten hat, dass während der Prozession „einige Spannungen sein könnten und dann zu vermeiden wären (…) Wir haben diese Informationen bekommen“, und es wurde nicht gesagt, von wem der Kardinal diese erhielt. Er sagte nur, „dass sie eine gewisse Spannung haben könnte, und wir wollten dann Zusammenstöße vermeiden. Wir haben die Priester konsultiert, haben viel gebetet, und wir haben festgestellt was am besten wäre, und nach reiflicher Überlegung haben wir entschieden, dass die Wallfahrt in letzter Minute abgesagt werden sollte“. Man wusste von einem angeblichen Plan, Auseinandersetzungen innerhalb der Pilgern zu verursachen und dann den Bischöfen den Schuld zu geben.

Kardinal Leopoldo Brenes hat darum gebetet, die Angst zu überwinden und an der Neujahrsprozession teilzunehmen (siehe auch: https://www.laprensa.com.ni/2019/01/01/nacionales/2509593-cardenal-leopoldo-brenes-confirma-que-recibieron-informacion-sobre-riesgo-para-feligreses). In Nicaragua hat also auch die Kirche Angst von Ortega und seiner Regierung.

Artikel 19 der Allgemeinen Erklärung der Menschenrechte der UN lautet: „Jeder hat das Recht auf Meinungsfreiheit und freie Meinungsäußerung; dieses Recht schließt die Freiheit ein, Meinungen ungehindert anzuhängen sowie über Medien jeder Art und ohne Rücksicht auf Grenzen Informationen und Gedankengut zu suchen, zu empfangen und zu verbreiten.“

Auf globaler Ebene wie auch in der Zivilgesellschaft muss die Garantie für die Bürger und sowie auch für Journalisten und Pressefreiheit ganz klar sein:

*  die Meinungs- und Informationsfreiheit schützen und die freie Arbeit von Journalisten garantieren,

*  keine Einschränkung der Pressefreiheit akzeptieren,

*Im Notfall und Gefahrensituationen Hilfe leisten, Sicherheit und Versicherungsschutz zu garantieren, insbesondere in Konfliktländern und -regionen (siehe auch: https://www.unesco.de/wissen/wissensgesellschaften/presse-und-meinungsfreiheit).

Die russische Kommunistische Partei und ihr Vizepräsident Dmitry Georgievich Novikov hat im Januar 2019 Ortega zu seinem „Friedensbeitrag“ gratuliert. Meine Frage wäre an Herr Novikov: Glauben Sie, dass es ein Friedensbeitrag ist, wenn mehr als 561 Leute in Nicaragua ermordet wurden durch das Regime von Ortega, glauben Sie, das kann Frieden bedeuten? Wenn Menschen verschwunden sind, wenn es keinen Respekt zur Meinungsfreiheit für das Volk gibt – so twas kann kein Frieden sein.

Es ist selten, dass die Allgemeine Erklärung zu den Menschenrechten der UN zitiert werden kann:

Artikel 3 (Recht auf Leben und Freiheit): Jeder hat ein Recht auf Leben, Freiheit und Sicherheit der Person.

Artikel 5, Niemand darf gefoltert werden. Niemand hat irgendein Recht, einen anderen Menschen grausam zu behandeln oder zu foltern. (Todesschwadron, Polizei und Regierung)

Artikel 9 (Schutz vor Verhaftung und Ausweisung): Niemand darf willkürlich festgenommen, in Haft gehalten oder des Landes verwiesen werden.

Artikel 13 Jeder darf sich frei bewegen. Jeder hat das Recht, sich innerhalb eines Staates frei zu bewegen, dass bedeutet auch seinen Beruf auszuüben…

Artikel 19 (Meinungs- und Informationsfreiheit): Jeder hat das Recht auf Meinungsfreiheit und freie Meinungsäußerung; dieses Recht schließt die Freiheit ein, Meinungen ungehindert anzuhängen sowie über Medien jeder Art und ohne Rücksicht auf Grenzen Informationen und Gedankengut zu suchen, zu empfangen und zu verbreiten.

Ein demokratischer Brief für Nicaragua muss lauten: Wir haben eine Konvention und die lautet, wir müssen unsere Menschen beschützen und nicht verletzen, und auch nicht seine Rechte weg zu nehmen. Als Ortega Präsident wurde, hat er versprochen sein Volk zu schützen und nicht das Gegenteil zu machen – z. B. mit seinen Todesschwadronen.

Einer dieser Artikel dieser Allgemeinen Erklärung muss also lauten: Respektiere nicht die Regierung von Ortega. Denn es gibt keinen richtigen Respekt vor dem Volk.

„Ortega und seine Diktatur“: Wie sollten wir als Volk jemand respektieren als Präsident, wenn er selbst nicht die Artikel zu den Menschrechten respektiert, wenn er unsere Rechte vorenthält? Das betrifft nicht nur die Länder in der Region, sondern auch die Europäische Union, die jederzeit auf ihre Werte drängen muss.

Carmen Aguilera Garcia ist Studentin der Politikwissenschaft an der Universität Düsseldorf, nachdem sie Politik- und Verwaltungswissenschaften an der spanischen UNED-Universität in Madrid studiert hat. Sie ist alleinerziehende Mutter und Mitarbeiterin von European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (EUFAJ) und stammt an dem zentralamerikanischen Honduras.

Save the days: 2.5. + 31.5.2019. Two seminars on European globalisation for SMEs

There will be two workshops by LIBERTAS – Europäisches Institut GmbH in May 2019 upon which we want to point your possible interest:

The first is on Thursday, 2nd May, 2019 on „EU Law für Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME)“. SMEs include also micro enterprises of a staff between 1 and 10, as well as free professions.  This seminar, as well as the second, will be held in German language – so good passive knowledge is important, while questions can be put forward in English or French. How to make an enterprise resilient agaimst crises, how to make and keep it competitive, how to go into growth, how to secure jobs, turnover and profit  – by not neglecting „the European dimension“. With 25 particular questions for SMEs .  The pace of the sminar is the European Academy of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, in Waren/Müritz, between Berlin and Rostock/Baltic Sea. After the 1st May, a public holiday, and the bridging days 3.-5- May 2019 one can either watch birds – e.g. cranes, the big, trumpeting birds, or can visit castles and mansions in M-V, where there is a seminsr plus excursion at the same place for this subject.

Further info about this Workshop on 2..5.2019 (and you do not need to ba a lawyer):  http://www.libertas-institut.com/ewiv-informationszentrum/kmuseminar-eu-recht/, or on  http://www.ewiv.eu. Interesting early-bird- and combination rebates!

The second is on Friday, 31st May, 2019: „The EU potential for Company Consultants and local and regional investment authorities“, also in Waren/Müritz. An ambitious programme deals with how to keep clients competitive, how to profit of the economy of scale and EU innovation, how to make the most of the EU Single Market and therefore profit of more turnover and orofits, as well as jobs. Good for Company Consultants, EEIG managers, tax consultants, lawyers, etc. All this as by non-knowledge about the present business opportunities in the EU lots of money has been thrown out of the chimney, or not earned at all. The programme can be downloaded here: http://www.libertas-institut.com/ewiv-informationszentrum/seminar-berater-wirtschaftsfoerderer/ or under  http://www.ewiv.eu.

„Vox“ in Andalusien: Jetzt auch eine rechtspopulistische Partei in Spanien

Carmen Aguilera García

Carmen Aguilera García ist eine aus Honduras stammende Journalistin und Bloggerin, die neben ihrer Tätigkeit als Studentin der Politikwissenschaft und alleinerziehende Mutter unter anderem für EUFAJ, Deutsche Welle und http://www.criterio.hn, eine zentralamerikanische Internetzeitung schreibt. Sie kommt aus Honduras und lebt seit über 15 Jahren im Rheinland.

Am Sonntag. 2. Dezember 2018. war Andalusien, also Spaniens Süden, das Epizentrum des Erdbebens geworden, das die politische Landkarte Spaniens erschüttert hat. Santiago Abascal, eine Art junger spanischer Gauland. hat von der politischen Krise in Andalusien profitiert und 395.978 Stimmen (10,97% der Wähler) und 12 Abgeordnete für seine rechtspopulistische Partei Vox bekommen. Die Summe der Rechten (Partido Popular = PP, Ciudadanos – eine neue, zentristische, bürgerliche Partei, und Vox) kann die sozialdemokratische PSOE der andalusischen Regierung zum ersten Mal seit vierzig Jahren außer Gefecht setzen.

Das sind die Namen der 12 Abgeordneten, die die rechtsradikale Vox im Parlament von Andalusien vertreten werden. Es fällt dabei auf, dass durchaus honorable Bürger dabei sind, die aber politischen Amok laufen:

Francisco Serrano, Kandidat für die Präsidentschaft der Regionalregierung, 53, in Sevilla. 2014 kam er zu Vox und war der einzige Kandidat, der 2015 bei den Regionalwahlen in Andalusien in den Vorwahlen präsentiert wurde. Serrano wurde 2011 vom Obersten Gerichtshof von Andalusien als „Richter Serrano“ bekannt, ist verurteilt und derzeit Rechtsanwalt in einer auf Familienrecht spezialisierten Anwaltskanzlei (TSJA), weil er die Verschiebung des Sorgerechts eines Minderjährigen geändert hatte , um ihn in einer Bruderschaft der Karwoche in Sevilla zu lassen. Der Oberste Gerichtshof überprüfte die erste Verurteilung und verhärtete das Urteil. Das Verfassungsgericht schützte später die Familie aus Sevilla und hob das Urteil des Obersten Gerichtshofs auf, obwohl es endgültig war. 2017 stellte ihn der Oberste Gerichtshof als Richter wieder ein und er ist nun beurlaubt.

María José Piñero ist die Nummer zwei auf der Liste der Sevillianer, Ärztin, verheiratet und Mutter von 7 Kindern. Derzeit ist sie Präsidentin von Vox Sevilla.

Luz Belinda Rodríguez, 38, wurde für Almería gewählt. Sie gehörte zu den Streitkräften der Luftwaffe und widmete sich nach Beendigung der Militärkarriere der privaten Sicherheit. Sie ist zurzeit Hausfrau, verheiratet mit einem Angehörigen der Streitkräfte  und studiert Jura.

Rodrigo Alonso ist das zweite Mitglied der Kandidatur von Vox Almería und der zweite Abgeordnete, der diese Formation für diese Provinz vertritt. Er ist ebenfalls 38 Jahre alt und verfügt bereits über Erfahrung in der bisherigen lokalen Politik. Er übt dies in seiner Stadt Antas (Almería) aus. , hat einen Abschluss in Betriebswirtschaft und Management und verfügt derzeit über ein KMU im Telekommunikationssektor.

In Malaga sind die gewählten Parlamentarier: Eugenio Moltó, 58-jähriger Tierarzt, war von 1996 bis 2002 Präsident des Veterinärkollegs. Ex-Militanter der Partido Popular bis 2014 mit Positionen in Estepona, ist er Provinzpräsident von Vox Málaga.

Ana Gil Román, pensioniert, nachdem sie als Sekretärin in einer Anwaltskanzlei gearbeitet und 2015 für die Bürgermeister von Estepona kandidiert hat.

Die Cádiz-Liste werden von Manuel Gavira, einem 1969 geborenen Rechtsanwalt, und Ángela Mulas, ebenfalls Anwältin für Wirtschaftsrecht, angeführt.

Der Vertreter von Vox für Huelva ist Rafael Segovia, von Haus aus praktischer Arzt, der seit seiner Gründung mit der Ausbildung verbunden ist. Segovia ist der Neffe von Antonio Segovia, dem ehemaligen Bürgermeister der Stadt Huelva zwischen 1955 und 1960.

Der 47-jährige Francisco Ocaña Castellón ist verheiratet und hat drei Kinder. Er ist der Geschäftsführer einer Firma, die sich dem Einsatz von Drohnen und Berufspiloten der kommerziellen Luftfahrt verschrieben hat. Er hat eine Ausbildung in politischem Coaching und strategischer Planung. Innerhalb der Partei in Granada ist er stellvertretender Sekretär für Kommunikation.

Jaén wird vertreten von Benito Morillo, ehemaliger Militär, und Alejandro Hernández, Rechtsanwalt, verheiratet und mit drei Kindern. der in Córdoba gewählt wurde. (https://www.20minutos.es/noticia/3507227/0/diputados-electos-vox-parlamento-andalucia/#xtor=AD-15&xts=467263)

Die französische Rechtsextremistenführerin Marine Le Pen war eine der ersten, die den Erfolg von Vox feierte. Sie gratulierte dem Führer der Partei, Santiago Abascal, mit einem Tweet: „Ein sehr bedeutendes Ergebnis für eine junge und dynamische Bewegung.“ (https://www.stl.news/madrid-far-right-party-finds-support-shakes-up-spanish-politics/221834/).

Der Wahlerfolg war sicherlich in großem Umfang Protestwahl-Elementen zu verdanken. Ausgerechnet wegen der katalonischen Separatisten kam eine Stimmung zustande, in der jeder wollte, dass man es den Separatisten einmal heimzahlen muss, und zwar mit einer Stimme für Vox, di diese am schärfsten kritisierte. Und weil PSOE-Premierminister Sanchez durch ein Misstrauensvotum mit Hilfe katalanischer Separatisten an die Macht kam, wurde eben seine PSOE in der Provinz Andalusien bestraft. In Deutschland kennt man diesen Effekt von der bayerischen und hessischen Landtagswahl.

Das Wahlprogramm von Vox Andalucía ist in mehrere Rubriken unterteilt: Spanien, Einheit und Souveränität; Wahlrecht und Transparenz; Einwanderung; Verteidigung, Sicherheit und Grenzen; Wirtschaft und Ressourcen; Gesundheit Bildung und Kultur; Leben und Familie; Freiheit und Gerechtigkeit; und Europa und international. Vox erklärte: Illegale Einwanderer sollen in Spanien keine freien Gesundheitsleistungen bekommen. Das Programm von Vox in Andalucía ist in der Liste „100 Maßnahmen für Spanien“ zu lesen. Danach will Vox die Einwanderungspolitik strenger gestalten und das Gesetz gegen geschlechtsspezifische Gewalt beseitigen, das Frauen schützen soll, und Parteien für illegal erklären, die die nationale Einheit gefährden. Darüber hinaus sieht es die Befreiung von der persönlichen Einkommensteuer (IRPF) für beitragsabhängige Renten vor und die Festlegung eines einheitlichen festen Satzes von 20% bis zu 60.000 Euro pro Jahr (https://www.20minutos.es/noticia/3507239/0/programa-electoral-vox-elecciones-andaluzas-2018/#xtor=AD-15&xts=467263). Ferner steht in diesen 100 Maßnahmen:

  1. Die Aufhebung der Quoten „nach Geschlecht oder aus anderen Gründen“ in den Wahllisten, also auch von Frauenquoten.
  2. Rechtskeptizismus: Die „Abschiebung von Einwanderern“, sowohl legal (wenn sie eine Straftat begehen) als auch illegal (in allen Fällen).
  3. Auf jeden Fall die Schließung aller Moscheen, die sie für fundamentalistisch halten, und es sollen alle Imame ausgewiesen werden, die, wie sie verstehen, „den Fundamentalismus verbreiten, Frauen verachten oder den Dschihad vertreten.
  4. Islamischen Religionsunterricht an Schulen verbieten.
  5. Bei Ceuta und Melilla (den spanischn Enklaven in Marokko, die Anziehungspunkt für viele Nordafrikaner sind) „eine unüberwindbare Mauer bauen“. (https://sevilla.abc.es/elecciones/andalucia/sevi-programa-electoral-andalucia-201812031116_noticia.html)

In einer Koalition z. B. mit PP und Ciudadanos wäre Vox wohl in der gleichen Funktion wie die FPÖ in Österreich. Spanien hat leider keine Tradition von Koalitionen. Das ist auch ein Problem für Sanchez. Dieser könnte zu Gunsten der Rechtsradikalen ins Hintertreffen geraten, insbesondere bei Kommunal-, Regional- und Europawahlen in Zusammenhang mit der europapolitischen Krise, die im Jahr 2019 bei Europaparlament- und möglichen Parlamentswahlen, die jederzeit vor 2020 stattfinden könnten.

Die Gefahr eines europafeindlichen Spaniens ist zwar nicht aktuell, aber auch nicht zu unterschätzen.  Die italienische Lega Nord mit Innenminister Salvini hat auch klein angefangen. Die traditionellen Machtkämpfe in der spanischen Politik, die Ablehnung des politischen Kompromisses, können Idealismus zu Fanatismus kanalisieren. Das würde auch Europa einschränken. Wir haben leider in Europa vergessen, was der Preis einer Diktatur ist. Bedeutet das das Ende des Europagedankens, der Integration? Nein –  Europa muss stärker sein!

 

 

 

Jair Bolsonaro un sádico para Brasil y el mundo?

Desde el pasado 29 de septiembre del presente año, en la ciudad de Duesseldorf se esta produciendo demostraciones en contra del candidato Jair Bolsonaro. Que en la actualidad este pasado Domingo gano las elecciones con un 55,1% en Brasil. En la prostesta se pide no votar a favor de Jair Bolsonaro del extremista de derecha en Brasil. Las demostraciones están llegando en todas partes de Alemania, por la lucha de una Brasil libre que lucha contra el fascismo.

Este grupo de protestantes lucha por lo feminista. Jair Bolsonaro ha traido un desconcierto mundial por sus comentarios en referencia a la homosexualidad. Un hombre que está en contra del homosexualismo, que no entiende que cada persona tiene derecho a ser repetado por las decisiones que tome con su vida. Un hombre que es racista, que va encontra de las mujeres y en contra de los refugiados. La pregunta ¿Es esto lo que realmente quiere Brasil? Un presidente sin calidad humana?

Estos son los comentarios desagradables del candidato Jair Bolsonaro que era unos de los candidatos este Domingo a la presidencia de Brasil y ahora actual presidente:

„En una entrevista para el dokuserie Gaycation, Ellen Page nos recordó una declaración anterior de Bolsonaro que uno podría expulsar la homosexualidad de un niño con una azotaina apropiada.

Como también en otra entrevista que le hizo el cómico británico Stephen Fry, Bolsonaro 2013 afirmó que ” a los brasileiros no nos gustan los homosexuales ” (Nós, Brasileiros, não gostei de homossexuais)“.

Sobre la diputada Maria do Rosário (PT), dijo en febrero de 2015: “no merece ser violada porque es muy fea. Ella no es mi tipo. Yo nunca la violaría. (ELA não merece porque ELA é muito RUIM, porque ELA é muito FEIA. Não FAZ MEU Gênero. Jamais un estupraria.) Fue condenado por 10.000 reales, que el Tribunal Supremo confirmó.

El periodista americano Glenn Greenwald describió a Bolsonaro como “el funcionario elegido más hostil, odioso del mundo democrático” (the most misogynistic, hateful elected official in the democratic world).

La plataforma de noticias australiana News.com.au se preguntaba si Bolsonaro era discutible como el “político más atroz del mundo” (el político más repulsivo del mundo). El día-marcador escribió, contra Bolsonaro, el Presidente de los E.E.U.U. Donald Trump aparecido “como la encarnación de la sabiduría, del equilibrio y del alojamiento“.

Estos son los comentarios desagradable de Jair Bolsonaro en relación en contra a la Homosexualidad y al feminismo. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jair_Bolsonaro

Hoy ha escrito el periodico aleman Spiegel online: Elecciones en Brasil, miedo a la dictadura. Así de extremista son los casos de los fan de Bolsonaro, que hasta ya hay caos de homicidios realizados. Como es posible que hasta pastorese evangélicalos estén metidos y que propongan que voten por Bolsonaro?

“Los pastores llaman en el servicio de la iglesia para elegir Bolsonaro”

“Los pastores piden Bolsonaro durante el servicio”, dice Mónica Silva, una joven mujer que, como empleada de la autoridad de salud, visita numerosos hogares todos los días.

Las protestas contra Bolsonaro se han extendido por Alemania en los últimos días

Aproximadamente el 30 por ciento de los brasileños se estima que son las iglesias pentecostales fundamentalistas, y en el Congreso tienen un lobby poderoso. Edir Macedo, un ex comerciante callejero que ha construido un imperio de la iglesia en todo el mundo con su “Igreja universal”, declaró su apoyo a Bolsonaro poco antes de la primera votación. Decenas de miles de pastores de todo el país han estado actuando como trabajadores electorales no oficiales desde entonces.

Esto es lo que causa el Polaritismo: „La polarización en la sociedad ha destruido amistades y familias desgarradas.

Entre los opositores del candidato derechista crece el miedo de una nueva dictadura. En los últimos días, numerosas universidades públicas han sido investigadas e intervenidas por la policía“ (http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/brasilien-das-land-steht-vor-einem-harten-rechtsruck-a-1234847.html).

En otras palabras Bolsonaro se guia en la doctrina de Maquiavelo: donde el poder a la dictadura en sus propios intereses en dirigimiento a la dominacia de Gobernanza y sus institos inhumanos. Como en la acumulación al poder. Si esto es lo que le espera a Brasil si eligen a Jair Bolsonaro.

Me siento feliz de vivir en un país libre, donde se puede respirar como humano y donde puedo ejercer mi libertad, aquí en Alemania. Lastimosamente ayer Brasil eligio a Bolsonaro como presidente

Carmen Aguilera García

(see also in http://criterio.hn, Honduras, under https://t.co/vuza8DmmjV https://t.co/lcQE8DDMIp)

 

Zwei EWIV-Events am 16. und 17.11.2018 – Fachkonferenz und Vertragsgestaltungs-Seminar in Waren/Müritz

Save the day(s): Freitag, den 16.11.2018, für eine Fachkonferenz über aktuelle Fragen in Recht, Steuern und Unternehmensführung einer EWIV*, aber auch über Fehler von EWIV-Lenkern und die Probleme, die das ergibt, an aktuellen Beispielen. Unter den Referenten: die Teilnehmer selbst, Franz Rybaczek (Geschäftsführer der goodworks Innovation Agency EWIV in Niederösterreich, einer Kooperation der Sozialwirtschaft, aber auch privater Unternehmen und öffentlich-rechtlicher Strukturen), Prof. Dr. Petra Sandner vom Fachbereich Wirtschaft der Hochschule Anhalt (einer ausgewiesenen Kennerin der EWIV-Besteuerung) und Hans-Jürgen Zahorka, Leiter des Europäischen EWIV-Informationszentrums. Einladung und Programm auf http://www.ewiv.eu oder direkt über: http://www.libertas-institut.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/10-18Einladg-Progr_EWIV-Fachkonf_Waren-Mür.-1.pdf

Samstag, den 17.11.2018, für ein Seminar zur Vertragsgestaltung bei EWIV – wasserdicht, vorteilhaft, strategisch. Mit wertvollen Informationen zum Handelsregister (wo jetzt herauskam, dass eine große in Deutschland ansässige EWIV mehrere Mitglieder eintragen ließ, obwohl diese nie Mitglieder wurden!). Einladung und Programm auch über http://www.ewiv.eu oder direkt über den Link: http://www.libertas-institut.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/10-18_Progr-Einladg_EWIV-Vertragsgestaltg_181117_Waren-Müritz-1.pdf

Weiteres auch auf dem EWIV-Blog unter http://ewivinfo.wordpress.com.

  • EWIV heißt Europäische wirtschaftliche Interessenvereinigung, geregelt in der EWG-Verordnung 2137/85. Eine Rechtsform der grenzüberschreitenden Kooperation, die in jedem EU- und EWR-(also Norwegen, Island, Liechtenstein)-Mitgliedsland im Handelsregister eingetragen wird, also in derzeit 31 Staaten. Die wohl bekannteste EWIV ist der Fernsehsender ARTE.

DIOS NOS LIBRE DEL MINISTRO DEL INTERIOR ITALIANO

Se veía venir. Más tarde o más temprano sabíamos que sucedería. Conocemos muy bien cómo se las gasta la Liga Norte de Italia. Sus componentes son radicalmente racistas y su ideología es calcada a la del partido nazi de Adolf Hitler que tanto dolor y desesperación trajo a millones de personas que acabaron siendo exterminadas en los campos de exterminio o en las cámaras de gas.

Y decimos que lo sabíamos porque ya hemos sufrido en nuestras propias carnes los zarpazos genocidas del gobierno italiano cuando en época no demasiado lejana, bajo el gobierno de Berlusconi, la Liga Norte, separatista y rabiosamente nacionalista, se hizo con el ministerio del interior del gobierno de coalición que gobernó Italia en el año 2013. La lista de agresiones de estos miserables racistas sería interminable. Por no ir demasiado lejos, hace cinco años, el vicepresidente del Senado italiano, y miembro de la ultraderechista Liga Norte, Roberto Calderoli, comparó a la ministra Cecile Kyenge, por ser negra, con un mono. „Cuando veo las imágenes de Kyenge no puedo dejar de pensar, aunque no digo que lo sea, en las facciones de orangután“.

Hace diez años denuncié que la situación estaba llegando a unos límites insospechados en Italia. El que entonces era alcalde de Treviso, una ciudad de más de 100.000 habitantes, capital de la provincia del mismo nombre y perteneciente a la región del Véneto, al norte de Italia, llamado Giancarlo Gentiilini, dijo en un mitin, ante miles de personas, que „hay que eliminar —¿quiere decir asesinar?— a los niños gitanos“. Este miserable presumía de haber destruido dos campamentos de gitanos y se jactaba pregonando que en su ciudad „¡¡Ya no quedan gitanos!!“ Él mismo se autoproclamó el sheriff de Italia, y como tal se hizo famoso pregonando que contra los gitanos hay que practicar la “tolerancia doble cero”.

Hoy asistimos al bochornoso espectáculo que nos ha ofrecido el actual ministro del interior del gobierno italiano Matteo Salvini que no hace más que seguir las huellas de quien ocupó la misma cartera en el último gobierno de coalición de la Liga Norte con el partido de Berlusconi: Roberto Maroni (2008-2011). Este político racista, que ha sido presidente de la rica región lombarda hasta marzo de este mismo año en que le sucedió otro miembro de la liga norte, Attilio Fontana, se propuso tomar las huellas dactilares de los niños gitanos, tal como se hizo en la alemania nazi en los años de la preguerra mundial. No lo permitimos y yo mismo participé en Bruselas, junto a un nutrido grupo de gitanos italianos, en una manifestación ante el Comisario de Justicia de la Comisión Europea para denunciar esa horrible disposición.

Matteo Salvini es un racista peligroso

Y lo es porque nunca tuvo el más mínimo reparo en ocultarlo y ni siquiera disimularlo. Lamentablemente no he tenido la oportunidad de enfrentarme personalmente con él como lo he hecho en tantas ocasiones contra los diputados racistas del Parlamento Europeo porque cuando Salvini fue elegido miembro de la Cámara de Estrasburgo yo ya había dejado de serlo. No obstante acabo de ver un video grabado en 2009, siendo este sujeto diputado en Estrasburgo, donde él aparece cantando a coro con un grupo de nazis de su misma calaña. Se le ve con un vaso de cerveza en la mano mientras canta: “Siento que huele mal, tanto que hasta los perros salen corriendo. Es porque están llegando los napolitanos que no conocen el jabón porque nunca se han lavado”. Imagínense: si dice eso de sus paisanos italianos, ¿qué dirá de los que no lo son?

Pues dice, y así lo pidió al Presidente de la República aquel mismo año, que se reservaran dos vagones del metro en los que no pudieran entrar ciudadanos que no pertenecieran a la Unión Europea. Idea envenenada que al año siguiente defendieron Erminio Boso y Sergio Divina, dos representantes provinciales de Trento, también de la Liga, dando como motivo oficial de la petición que “los extranjeros huelen mal”. No olvidemos que estos nazis pertenecen al mismo partido de Umberto Bossi, aquel que amenazó con sacar las armas a la calle. “Los fusiles siempre están preparados, –dijo–, nosotros estamos preparados. Si quieren enfrentamientos tengo trescientos mil hombres siempre dispuestos„.

 Como viven los gitanos italianos.

Creo conocer bien como viven los gitanos italianos. He estado muchas veces en ese maravilloso país y he mantenido muchas reuniones con sus líderes y con las organizaciones que les defienden. Y he participado, con las autoridades italianas, en reuniones en las que hemos intentado encontrar vías que hicieran posible la eliminación de los prejuicios y la incorporación de la comunidad gitana al conjunto de la sociedad italiana. No ha sido fácil, de la misma manera que no es fácil el ejercicio de la política en una tierra de la que alguien ha dicho que “podría funcionar perfectamente sin ningún tipo de gobierno”. Siempre he dicho que si tuviera que vivir fuera de España, Italia sería, sin dudarlo, la tierra en la que me gustaría estar.  Lo que no me ciega para dejar de reconocer que los problemas a los que se enfrenta la comunidad gitana en todo el país son mucho más graves que los que reconocemos que sufren todavía una parte de los gitanos españoles.

La primera noticia que demuestra la presencia de gitanos en Italia es de los primeros años de 1400. Veinticinco años después hicieron su aparición en España. Posiblemente llegaron procedentes de Grecia atravesando el Adriático. En Italia no viven muchos gitanos. Las últimas estimaciones sitúan la población en unas 180.000 personas de las cuales unas 26.000 viven en barracas y asentamientos que son los que el ministro Salvani quiere cerrar. Conozco bien los “campo sosta” que hay en Roma y los del norte de Italia, especialmente los de Milán y Florencia. En esta última ciudad colaboré activamente con la fiscal General de la región que se empeñó en mejorar las condiciones de vida de los miles de gitanos que habían llegado a Italia, atravesando el mar Adriático tras las sangrientas guerras fratricidas de la antigua Yugoslavia. Lo cierto es que entre 1960 y 1967 se produjo una gran movilización de gitanos procedentes del Este de Europa. Se calcula que fue una masa de casi 300.000 personas las que se desplazaron, pero fue a raíz de la fractura de la extinta Yugoslavia, tras la muerte del Mariscal Tito cuando unos 40.000 gitanos entraron en Italia y una cantidad similar en Austria.

Algunos estudios demuestran que el 50 por ciento de la población gitana residente en el país son italianos de  origen. El resto son mayoritariamente procedentes de Rumanía y de Bulgaria. A estos son a los que a los que el ministro Salvani les ha dicho: “¡Ea, se acabó la buena vida. Ya pueden ir cogiendo las maletas”. Pero el racista Salvani pretende ignorar que la mayoría de esos gitanos llevan viviendo en Italia casi 50 años y que según dice Carlos Stasolla, Presidente de la Asociación que atiende a estas personas, “estos gitanos son más italianos que muchos de nuestros conciudadanos”.

Salvini, que además de Ministro del Interior es Vicepresidente del Gobierno italiano, fue el principal impulsor de que se negara el desembarco en Italia de los 629 inmigrantes del buque “Aquarius”. Y cuando el barco llegó a Valencia lo celebró diciendo que, por fin, Italia había dejado de ser “el felpudo de Europa”. Luego, ya desde Milán, en un acto con sus fieles, intentando hacerse el gracioso, dijo que esperaba que España acogiera a “66.629” emigrantes más.

Ahora vivimos con el alma en vilo porque la mano dura de Salvani contra la inmigración y contra los gitanos se puede plasmar en el cumplimiento de una de las amenazas que figura en su programa de gobierno firmado con la formación antisistema Cinco Estrellas: Quitar a sus padres los niños cuando así lo disponga la autoridad.

Las asociaciones gitanas europeas están movilizándose para dar la respuesta adecuada a esta incalificable barbarie.

Juan de Dios Ramírez-Heredia

Abogado y periodista

Vicepresidente de la Unión Romani Internacional

 

 

 

 

 

[JdD1]

God save us from the Italian Interior Minister

Predictably. Sooner or later we knew what would happen. We know very well the ways of Northern League of Italy. Its components are radically racist and its ideology is traced to that of the Nazi party of Adolf Hitler. An ideology that brought so much pain and despair to millions of people who ended up being exterminated in the extermination camps or in the gas chambers.

And we say that we knew that because we have already suffered in our own flesh the genocidal blows of the Italian government when, not too long ago, under the Berlusconi government, the separatist and nationalist Northern League took over the interior ministry of the government of coalition that ruled Italy in 2013. The list of aggressions of these miserable racists would be endless. One recent example, five years ago, the vice president of the Italian Senate, and member of the extreme right-wing Northern League, Roberto Calderoli, compared Minister Cecile Kyenge, a black woman, with a monkey. “When I see the images of Kyenge I cannot stop thinking, although I do not say that it is, in the features of an orangutan”.

Ten years ago, I reported that the situation was reaching unsuspected limits in Italy. Who was then Mayor of Treviso – a city of more than 100,000 inhabitants, capital of the province of the same name and belonging to the Veneto region of northern Italy- , Giancarlo Gentilini, said at a rally with thousands of people, that “Roma children must be eliminated – does it mean to kill them?”. This miserable man shows off to have destroyed two camps of Roma people and boasted that in his city “there are no Roma!”. He proclaimed himself the sheriff of Italy, and he became famous proclaiming that against the Roma should practice “double zero tolerance”.

Today we witness the embarrassing spectacle offered by the current interior minister of the Italian government, Matteo Salvini, who is following in the footsteps of the person who held the same department in the last coalition government of the Northern League with Berlusconi’s party: Roberto Maroni (2008-2011). This racist politician, who has been president of the rich Lombard region until March of this year, in which he was succeeded by another member of the Northern League, Attilio Fontana, proposed to take the fingerprints of Roma children, as was done in Nazi Germany in the years of the pre-World War. We did not allow it and I participated in Brussels, together with a large group of Italian Roma people, in a demonstration in front of the Commissioner of Justice of the European Commission to denounce this horrible disposition.

Matteo Salvini is a dangerous racist

And it is because he has never been worried to hiding it and not even concealing it. Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to face him personally as I have on many occasions against the racist members of the European Parliament, because when Salvini was elected to the Strasbourg Chamber I was no longer a member. However, I just saw a video recorded in 2009, when Salvini was member of the European Parlament, where he appears singing in chorus with a group of Nazis. He was holding a glass of beer while he sang: “It smells bad, so much that even the dogs run away. It’s because Neapolitans are coming and they do not know what soap is because they have never washed”.  Imagine: if he says that about his Italian countrymen, what will he say about those who are not?

Well, he says, and so he asked to the President of the Republic that same year, to reserve two subway cars in which citizens who did not belong to the European Union could not enter. Poisoned idea that the following year defended Erminio Boso and Sergio Divina, two provincial representatives of Trento, also of the League, giving as official reason for the request that “foreigners smell bad”. Let’s not forget that these Nazis belong to the same party as Umberto Bossi, the one who threatened to take the weapons to the streets. “The rifles are always ready”, he said, “we are ready. If they want confrontations, I have three hundred thousand men always ready”.

How the Italian Roma people live

I think I know how the Italian Roma people live. I have been many times in this wonderful country and I have had many meetings with its leaders and with the organizations that defend them. And I have participated, with the Italian authorities, in meetings in which we have tried to find ways to make possible the elimination of prejudices and the incorporation of the Roma community to the Italian society. It has not been easy, in the same way that it is not easy to exercise politics in a land that someone has said that “could work perfectly without any kind of government”. I have always said that, if I had to live outside of Spain, Italy would be, without hesitation, the land I would like to live on. What does not blind me to recognize that the problems facing the Roma community throughout the country are much more serious than those we recognize that still suffer a part of the Spanish Roma people.

The first news that shows the presence of Roma in Italy is from the first years of 1400. Twenty-five years later they made their appearance in Spain. Possibly they came from Greece through the Adriatic. Not many Roma live in Italy. The latest estimates put the population at about 180,000 people, of whom some 26,000 live in huts and settlements that Minister Salvini wants to close. I know the “campo sosta” in Rome and in northern Italy, especially in Milan and Florence. In this last city, I actively collaborated with the General Prosecutor of the region who insisted on improving the living conditions of the thousands of gypsies who had arrived in Italy, crossing the Adriatic Sea after the bloody wars of the ex-Yugoslavia. The truth is that between 1960 and 1967 there was a large mobilization of Roma from Eastern Europe. It is estimated that it was a mass of almost 300,000 people who moved, but it was in the wake of the fracture of the ex-Yugoslavia, after the death of Marshal Tito, when some 40,000 Roma entered Italy and a similar amount in Austria.

Some studies show that 50 percent of the Roma population resident in the country are Italians of origin. The rest are mostly from Romania and Bulgaria. These are the ones whom Minister Salvini has told them: “Hey, the good life is over. You can go pick up the bags”. But the racist Salvini pretends to ignore that most of these Roma have been living in Italy for almost 50 years and that according to Carlos Stasolla, president of the association that serves these people, “these gypsies are more Italian than many of our fellow citizens”.

Salvini, who, in addition to being Minister of the Interior, is vice-president of the Italian Government, was the main promoter of the refusal to disembark in Italy of the 629 immigrants of the ship “Aquarius”. And when the ship arrived in Valencia he celebrated it saying that, at last, Italy had ceased to be “the doormat of Europe”. Then, already from Milan, in an act with his faithful, trying to be funny, he said he hoped that Spain would welcome “66,629” more emigrants.

Now we live with the soul in suspense because the hard hand of Salvini against immigration and against the Roma people can be reflected in the fulfilment of one of the threats that appears in his government program signed with the anti-system formation Five Stars: remove his parents children when the authority so provides.

European Roma associations are mobilizing to give an adequate response to this unspeakable barbarism.

Juan de Dios Ramírez-Heredia

Lawyer and Journalist, Vice President of the International Romani Union

Central América: el derecho y el respeto a la vida de un periodista

     Carmen Aguilera García

La vida de un periodista, mi información no es un crimen. Ejercer nuestra profesión es un derecho y no un crimen. Muchos de estos casos son “clandestinos” y muchos de ellos nos puede costar la vida. La pregunta no tengo derecho a vivir? No tengo derecho a ejercer mi profesión que me ha costado años de estudios? Creo que toda persona que estudia una profesión es para darle un mejor futuro a sus hijos, que además tienen el derecho a ejercer su profesión. En ningún momento tienes derecho a quitarme lo que por años me ha costado. Sino quieres que comunique o publique algo malo de ti, según el análisis y las fuentes que tengo, no hagas cosas malas, no seas corrupto y no hagas falta de transparencia, ayuda a tu país y no lo destruyas. Ya que con eso dañas la economia de un país, donde tu salario es de los impuesto que pago para ti. Produce trabajo, has que mi profesión se respete, que el derecho a la libertad de prensa se ha dado. Pero también pido a todos los periodistas que no nos guiemos por derecha o izquierda sino central. Por que de nosotros depende la comunicación de nuestro Estado político bienestar.

Si hacemos un análisis de todos los periodista muertos es una lista larga de años, de cosas que son reales y no fantasias. La pregunta es: como crees que se siente una madre de perder a su hijo o hija por solo haber comunicado algo que no te gusto, crees que le gustaría a tu madre tener el mismo dolor? Te diria que no. Entonces no atentes con mi vida, no me envies a la carcel por una foto; estos son los casos de muchos periodistas y unos de estos casos es en Egipto que fue detenido con su cámara en la mano el 14 de agosto de 2013 el fotoperiodista egipcio Mahmoud Abu Zeid, conocido como Shawkan que lleva más de 1.639 dias , mientras cubría la violenta dispersión de una manifestación en la plaza Rabaa al Adawiya, por parte de la policía, tras el derrocamiento del entonces presidente, Mohamed Morsi. Era colaborador de las agencias Corbis y Demotix de Londres y sus fotografías habían aparecido en medios como The Sun, Time Magazine, Bild o Die Zeit.

Se calcula que hay unos 25 periodistas encarcelados en Egipto cuyas leyes contra el terrorismo permiten encarcelar a informadores, mientras unas 64 páginas web han sido bloqueadas en el país segun algunas ONG. “ Ser periodista no es un crimen” Crimen es el que haces conmigo… https://periodistas-es.com/fotoperiodista-egipcio-shawkan-casi-cuatro-anos-prision-87081

No soy un espía para que entréis a mi apartamento y destruyas mis cosas. Solo doy información este fue el caso de la periodista alemana Mesale Tolu que fue enviada a la cárcel con su hijo que solo tenia apenas dos años de edad y que ahora ella se encuentra en libertad. El otro caso es de Deniz Yücel que lo metieron a la carcel en el Turquia y que el gobierno de turquia diga que eran unos spias. (https://www.focus.de/politik/ausland/journalistin-mesale-tolu-24-frauen-in-der-zelle-sohn-hat-nur-plastikball-deutsche-sitzt-in-tuerken-haft_id_7410291.html) Te dire mi profesión es redactar, y hacer informes de los análisis comunicativos, buscar por horas información. Ya que es mi profesión o se te olvida?  No me pongas una bomba cerca de donde obtengo mi información y tampoco cerca de mi domicilio, este el caso del periodista mexicano de Guanajuato y fotógrafo del periódico El Heraldo de León, Nicanor Garrido, quien desempeña esta actividad en San Francisco del Rincón, denunció haber sido víctima de un ataque con bombas molotov contra su domicilio y su vehículo (http://www.proceso.com.mx/512902/periodista-guanajuato-denuncia-ataque-bombas-molotov-a-casa-vehiculo) y la periodista maltesa Daphne Caruana Galizia, que participó en la investigación que salpicaba al Gobierno del país en los llamados Papeles de Panamá, ha muerto tras explotar su coche. Son dias tristes para nuestra democracia y nuestra libertad de expresión“ . No me quite mi derecho a vivir. No me amenaces a muerte, respeta la libertad de expresion y no me quites el derecho a vivir a sangre fria. (https://elpais.com/internacional/2017/10/16/actualidad/1508171781_570535.html)

México es considerado uno de los países más peligrosos del mundo para ejercer el periodismo, con más de 200 comunicadores asesinados desde 2000 y tras el cargo de Enrique Peña Nieto, han sido asesinados, según con el  acuerdo con la organización Article 19, 36 periodistas han sido asesinados en México en el sexenio del presidente Enrique Peña Nieto.

Al comienzo de este año el 13 de enero del 2018 fue asesinado el primer periodista en México, se trata de Carlos Domínguez Rodríguez, oriundo de Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, ciudad que se ubica en la frontera con Estados Unidos y quien publicaba con regularidad una columna política que difundía en las redes Sociales. Que además trabajó en El Diario de Nuevo Laredo. https://www.univision.com/noticias/asesinatos/asesinan-a-periodista-mexicano-en-frontera-con-eeuu

Periodistas asesinados en México desde el año 2000, por estados: http://www.animalpolitico.com/2017/08/periodistas-mexicanos-asesinados-2017/

*Cándido Ríos se suma a la lista de los comunicadores asesinados este año y cuyos casos no han sido esclarecidos.

*Cecilio Pineda era reportero de la fuente policial en Guerrero, fue asesinado a tiros el 2 de marzo en Pungarabato

* El periodista Ricardo Monlui fue asesinado el 19 de marzo en el municipio de Yanga, Veracruz.

El 23 de marzo Miroslava Breach fue asesinada a tiros dentro de su automóvil fuera de su casa, en Chihuahua. La periodista investigaba temas de crimen organizado y corrupción.

* Maximino Rodríguez, reportero de nota roja en La Paz, Baja California, fue asesinado a balazos el pasado 14 de abril.

*El periodista y fundador del semanario Ríodoce, Javier Valdez, fue asesinado a balazos el pasado 15 de mayo, en Culiacán, Sinaloa.

* Jonathan Rodríguez, periodista de Jalisco, fue asesinado el pasado 15 de mayo, cuando un grupo de hombres armados atacó el automóvil.

* El cuerpo de Salvador Adame fue hallado en “estado de calcinación” el pasado 14 de junio del 2017. El periodista había sido privado de la libertad desde el 18 de mayo del 2017.

* El periodista Luciano Rivera, del medio CNR TV Noticias, fue asesinado el pasado 31 de julio 2017 en Playas de Rosarito, Baja California.

* Filiberto Álvarez, periodista y locutor de Morelos de 65 años, fue asesinado a balazos el pasado 29 de abril, cuando se dirigía a su casa, luego de haber transmitido su programa de radio.

Gumaro Pérez, un reportero mexicano en el estado de Veracruz, fue asesinado este martes cuando se encontraba en la escuela de sus hijos celebrando la Navidad. Con Pérez suman 12 los periodistas asesinados en México en lo que va de 2017.

Según confirmó la Comisión Estatal para la Atención y Protección de los Periodistas. https://www.univision.com/noticias/asesinatos/asesinan-a-un-periodista-en-mexico-y-ya-van-12-este-ano

Protege mis derechos y uno de ellos es la libertad de expresión.

En Honduras desde el 2001 hasta la actualidad se suman más de 72 periodista muertos de una forma violenta entre ellas los asesinatos de los  periodistas del Hable como Habla “Igor Padilla” que fue ultimado el 17 de enero en San Pedro Sula, Cortes. Posteriormente, el 15 de junio  fue ultimado,  en La Ceiba, Atlántida, Víctor Fúnez que dirigía el programa de televisión “Panorama Nocturno”. El 13 de septiembrefue asesinado William Flores, que laboraba para el Canal 22 de Omoa, Cortés y con Osmin España, también conocido como “Payasito Pimpin”, suman cuatro las personas ligadas a los medios de comunicación que pierden la vida en circunstancias violentas en lo que va del 2017 y la número 72 desde que se registró el primer caso  en octubre de 1991, según cifras del Comisionado Nacional de Derechos Humanos.

Muerte violenta de personas ligadas a medios de comunicaciónen Honduras

Casos impunes por departamento

2001/ 2017

No DEPARTAMENTO No. PERIODISTAS MUERTOS Casos con sentencia Casos impunes
1 Francisco Morazán 18 1   17
2 Cortes 15 2   13
3 Olancho 5 0   5
4 Yoro 8 2   6
5 Atlántida 5 0   5
6 Copán 5 0   5
7 El Paraíso 4 0   4
8 Colón 3 0    3
9 Lempira 3 1   2
10 Comayagua 2 0   2
11 Santa Bárbara 1 0   1
12 Choluteca 1 0   1
13 Islas de la Bahía 1 0   1
14 Intibuca 1 0   1
TOTAL 72 6   66

http://www.primiciahonduras.hn/72-periodistas-comunicadores-sociales-asesinados-honduras-cuatro-2017/

http://www.laprensa.hn/sucesos/1080612-410/matan-periodista-la_ceiba-asesinan-candidato-diputado-hondure%C3%B1o-v%C3%ADctor-funez-

En el Artículo 19 de la „Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos“, se lee: „Todo individuo tiene derecho a la libertad de opinión y expresión; este derecho incluye el de no ser molestado a causa de sus opiniones, el de investigar y de recibir informaciones y opiniones, y el de difundirlas, sin limitación de fronteras, por cualquier medio de expresión.“

La „Convención Americana sobre Derechos Humanos „Pacto de San José de Costa Rica“ de 1969, en el Artículo 13. señala:

  1. „Libertad de pensamiento y de expresión”.Toda persona tiene derecho a la libertad de pensamiento y de expresión. Este derecho comprende la libertad de buscar, recibir y difundir informaciones e ideas de toda índole, sin consideraciones de fronteras, ya sea oralmente, por escrito o en forma impresa o artística, o por cualquier otro procedimiento de su elección y gusto.
  2. El ejercicio del derecho previsto en el inciso precedente no puede estar sujeto a previa censura, sino a responsabilidades ulteriores, las que deben estar expresamente fijadas por la ley y ser necesarias para asegurar:

a) El respeto a los derechos o la reputación de los demás.

b) La protección de la seguridad nacional, el orden público o la salud o la moral    públicas.

3. No se puede restringir el derecho de expresión por vías o medios indirectos, tales como el abuso de controles oficiales o particulares de papel para periódicos, de frecuencias radioeléctricas o de enseres y aparatos usados en la difusión de información o por otros medios encaminados a impedir la comunicación y la circulación de ideas y opiniones.

4. Los espectáculos públicos pueden ser sometidos por la ley a censura previa con el exclusivo objeto de regular el acceso a ellos para la protección moral de la infancia y la adolescencia, sin perjuicio de lo establecido en el inciso 2.

5. Estará prohibida por la ley toda propaganda en favor de la guerra y toda apología del odio nacional, racial o religioso que constituyan incitaciones a la violencia o cualquier otra acción ilegal similar contra cualquier persona o grupo de personas, por ningún motivo, inclusive los de raza, color, orientación sexual, religión o origen nacional.“

La prohibición de toda propaganda en favor de la guerra, también está consagrada en el „Pacto Internacional de Derechos Civiles y Políticos“.

Por Ley N° 23.054 el Congreso Nacional aprobó la Convención Americana sobre Derechos Humanos, conocida igualmente como Pacto de San José de Costa Rica, que había sido firmado en  dicha ciudad                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     dicha el 22 de noviembre de 1969. En el Senado habíamos votado por unanimidad su aprobación en la sesión del 1 de marzo de 1984. En el capítulo II de dicho pacto que tiene por subtítulo “Derechos Civiles y Políticos”, en su artículo 4 incluye el “Derecho a la Vida” que dice: “1. Toda persona tiene derecho a que respete su vida. Este derecho está protegido por ley y, en general, a partir del momento de la concepción. Nadie puede ser arbitraje contra tu vida.

https://www.ellitoral.com.ar/nota/2017-5-28-1-0-0-derecho-a-la-vida-desde-la-concepcion

El derecho a la vida está plasmado en el artículo 3.° de la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos: „Todo individuo tiene derecho a la vida, a la libertad y a la seguridad de su persona“.

Un ejemplo es Argentina con el Artículo 21. Libertad de expresión y de opinión y acceso a la información

Ley 25.188 – Ética Pública (1999) El artículo más relevante de esta ley menciona:

„Art. 2º e) Fundar sus actos y mostrar la mayor transparencia en las decisiones adoptadas sin restringir información, a menos que una norma o el interés público claramente lo exijan

Art. 2º f) …Abstenerse de utilizar información adquirida en el cumplimiento de sus funciones para realizar actividades no relacionadas con sus tareas oficiales o de permitir su uso en beneficio de intereses privados“5​

Ley 27.275 – Derecho de Acceso a la Información Pública (2016)

Con esta ley se apunta a garantizar el efectivo ejercicio del derecho de acceso a la información pública, promover la participación ciudadana y la transparencia de la gestión pública. Contempla la posibilidad de buscar, acceder, solicitar, recibir, copiar, analizar, reprocesar, reutilizar y redistribuir libremente la información bajo custodia de los sujetos obligados con las únicas limitaciones y excepciones que se establece en la norma.

No me quites mi derecho. Esta son las vidas de muchos periodistas a nivel mundial que pasan por la cárcel o que son asesinados.. Respeta los derechos de la democracia establecida y los convenios de los derechos humanos.

 

The time has come for Theresa May to tell the [British] nation: Brexit can’t be done

By Alastair Campbell, in The Guardian

Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd; www.theguardian.com

The hard-liners in her party will howl with rage, but most of the country will welcome it if the prime minister is honest about Brexit’s awful consequences

Monday 16 October 2017 17.46 BST / Last modified on Monday 16 October 2017 22.00 BST

As she tries to move the Brexit negotiations forward, how much better would Theresa May and the country feel if the speech she made to her party went as follows.

“Leadership is about confronting the great challenges. But Brexit is the biggest challenge we have faced since the second world war. So I intend to devote my speech, in four parts, to this alone.

“First, I want to explain why I voted remain – because for all its faults, the European Union has been a force for good in Europe and in the UK. I believed that our future prosperity and security, and opportunities for our young people, would be enhanced by staying in. Second, I want to explain why, nonetheless, I was something of a reluctant remainer. The truth is, there is a lot wrong with the EU. So though I voted remain, I was not starry-eyed. I was determined that, had we won, we would also fight for reform.

She would get resignations, and vitriol by the bucket-load from the Brextremist media

“Third, I want to explain why I have been trying so hard to deliver the Brexit the people voted for. It was a close result. But leave won. I felt strongly that it was my duty to deliver the only Brexit that I believed could meet the demands of the majority of leavers – out of the single market and the customs union, out of the European court of justice.

“But precisely because I have a profound sense of duty, I want to tell you the absolute truth as I see it. It cannot be done. Yes, you can shout. You can storm out. But I have looked at it every which way. And, as your leader, I have concluded that it cannot be done without enormous damage to our economy, to your living standards, to our public services, to our standing in the world. This is damage I am not prepared to inflict. The cost is too high.

“I will publish the legal advice that I have the right to unilaterally revoke article 50, and if you look behind me you will see the backdrop has gone and instead there is onscreen the letter I will be sending to Donald Tusk and the EU 27 heads of government later today.

“… I am ready for any challenge, confident that finally I will be able to fight for what I believe is the right course for Britain, and confident that once the public have the proper debate we failed to have during the referendum and the election, that my view can prevail in the country.

“The Labour party will also have to make up its mind. Most Labour MPs support the position I am setting out today, though their leadership may need to be persuaded. We may need a general election to settle this. At some point we may need a referendum to reverse the outcome of the first one. I am aware I am launching something here, the course of which is unpredictable. I am prepared to take all the risks attached to that. For I am no longer willing to pretend. I am no longer willing for the delusions of the few to dictate a strategy for the many, when so much is at stake.

“I will also be publishing the sectoral advice papers we have received on the impact of Brexit on all aspects of our national life, so MPs can debate these fully. I know many of you think I might be ill. I feel a lot better now. Because what has been making me ill is the reality of which I have been certain more each day … that Brexit is a disaster, a potential catastrophe for our country. That my duty now is to steer the country to the only sensible decision I can see – a rethink, a change of course: not hard Brexit or soft Brexit, but no Brexit at all.”

Big and bold, I’m sure you will agree. She would get resignations, and vitriol by the bucket-load from the Brextremist media. She might lose her job. Equally, this might be the way to save it. In her Florence speech, May called for more creativity, as though it needed to come from others. This speech is the kind of creativity she needs. It would be the making of her. And most of the country, I am sure, would breathe an enormous sigh of relief.

  • Alastair Campbell was Tony Blair’s director of communications and is editor-at-large of the New European

We will soon start with more early elements of European Armed Forces

French President Macron has, with his speech in the Sorbonne University on 26.9.2017, mentioned some aspects on Europe which, because of the scope of the subject, have been somehow neglected in other EU countries but merit to be discussed in a broader sense. One of them was European defense policy. There are indeed two axes we have to follow in this respect: one is the permanent attempt of withdrawal of the United States, despite some NATO displays in the Baltic region and Eastern Europe, and another is terrorism in all its facets. It is evident that the EU – and not the Member States – has to fight the financing of terrorism and of terrorist cyber propaganda. Some Member States do not take part in these activities, not because they are close to terrorism – no, they are too nationalistic to cede necessary competences to the EU.

The objective of Macron in the field of defense was and is to create a Europe of defense which is able to act on its own behalf, if necessary, and thus completing NATO. Macron spoke of „progress of historical dimensions“ within the last months; indeed things are developing positively since Great Britain is not taken too serious any more, because of Brexit. UK has of course strong, experienced armed forces, but not the will to enhance a Common Defense Policy of the EU, although any one of its Member States would be too weak to do it alone.  And NATO might be not proactive enough, with a US President who first had denied Art. 5 NATO Agreement (the solidarity clause) and with Turkey permanently moving away from NATO. What remains is the EU alone – one has to see this clearly.

Only in June 2017 the European Defense Fund had been created, for a permanent cooperation, for a financing of defense research. above all – we have more than a dozen different guns in the EU, and a myriad of fighter planes, double capacities in navy vessels etc. A lot of money could be spent in defense policy. With this fund it will be like the Schengen Agreement: This was launched by five Member States only, and a couple of years later it became a part of the Amsterdam Treaty for the whole EU.

Macron has also proposed a „common strategic defense culture“ The EU has not been able to act together in a convincing way. Macron sees traditional differences in cultural, historical, parliamentary and general political issues. Indeed, this won’t be changed from one day to the next, but if you don’t tackle this problem the EU would never have a common defense policy.

Macron also proposed a common defense budget for the EU. This could include all the budgets of the Member states plus the one of the EU (which until now is rather small, of course). At first, this does not need a formal approval power of the EU institutions above Member States‘ defense budgets. But a permanent synopsis will create a permanent discussion about the 2% target, about efficiency or inefficiency, about common purchases etc.

This might be a very realistic point of Macron’s speech. Starting informally with a kind of declaratory new budget part in the EU, which may even lie to ist biggest part outide of the EU institutions, is a first step which may be completed later. In the sense of what Ursula von der Leyen, German Minister of Defense, had said, namely that a European Army cannot come overnight but in very many small steps.

In this context, Macron had also proposed – and promised for the own French armed forces – to include into all the Member States‘ armies people from the other Member States. This should be done not according to citizenship but to the country where Europeans live (and to more than basic lanuage knowledge, evidently). This element of a common defense culture should come to reality at the beginning of the next decade – like then in a EU-wide common attempt of intelligence. To bridge the gap between European vision and reality in this respect, he advocated a European Academy of Intelligence. Of course, this is necessary, if you see how the existing mini-structures are treated by most of the Member States.

We need some courage – like the French President – to propose a nucleus of policies which may then become larger and larger. European defense policy is one of them – for defense policy reasons, but also for spending the necessary money, and not more. And of course for the most noble task of armed forces in Europe: to exist in order to be never deployed for their historical purposes.

Hans-Jürgen ZAHORKA

 

 

There Will Be No Brexit. Probably.

By Hans-Jürgen Zahorka

There will be no Brexit. This is my, as a lawyer I can say this, provisional legal opinion. But not only legal, if you commit a general system analysis. Brexit is an objective impossibility, and all this for the following reasons:

From the beginning, I was astonished with what kind of childish stubbornness Brexit was implemented into the British Government’s activities. I know- also in parallel from my own political history – that this was and is done in context with inner-party power struggles, beginning with a totally wrong estimation of the relation between inner-party Tory wings and the population’s position, by former Prime Minister David Cameron. Cameron, and this is the danger of several years being in power at the same position, has lost a lot of ground contact, like Chirac in France when he decided to hold a Referendum on the EU Constitution a year ahead of when this was held – a year where he easily could lose a lot of approval, when an unholy alliance  brought this Referendum to failure. The same thing two times (!) in the Netherlands, when first Prime Minister Balkenende, the guy who looked like Harry Potter, ordered the second Referendum in NL after the first around 350 years or so ago, also on the EU Constitution, which was lost against an unholy alliance, too. The second (or third) Dutch Referendum was lost, when the Government submitted the Ukraine Association Agreement with the EU to a public vote. Not very many people have seen the text of this Agreement nor discussed it. A Referendum is always, in open, democratic societies, in EU countries above all, an invitation to kick the respective government in their ass, and nothing more. Why then some politicians, most at the fringes of the political spectrum, advocate a Referendum in questions where they expect a popular outcry against any government activities? However, we all live in parliamentary democracies, with parliamentary committees where many questions can be discussed and solved, and public hearings for these committees can be held, etc.  I took (actively!) part in British discussions in 1971/1972, right after school when I was invited for several panel discussions by Young Conservatives (and confronted with arguments against the then EEC, like „at one breakfast with a Rhine Army officer’s relative near Münster/Germany one foul egg was served…“). But I think there was more discussion about joining the EEC then, than before the Brexit Referendum to leave the EU.

Anyway, it was a clear deficit by the Tories and their protagonists in leading the debate before the Brexit vote. And nobody in the Government made any clear plans what to do if Brexit were approved – The UK suffers still of this disease, if you see and hear the leading politicians of this country, like David Davis.

Regarding the „system analysis“ arguments, I cannot imagine that British citizens today and collectively are, excuse me, so stupid to vote for their economic down-spiralling, for their loss of influence within or towards the EU, for not being taken serious anymore in the EU, for their world-wide loss of influence (as proven by Theresa May’s and BoJo’s travel & talk attempts in the last months). Everything said in this respect is a big lie, or perehaps „fake news“. And the gain of „control“ to everybody else in the world, by tougher immigration policy also to the EU, which is expected as a tool of new British nationalism means self-isolation and again loss of influence.

And now the British press is fuller than ever with qualified opinions (Nick Clegg) on how to exit the Brexit. British political culture may manage this U-turn, with a lot of what has lacked since 2016: the typical British pragmatism (which lacks totally in the negotiations with the EU). Forecasting attempts in policies should never be linear – like: 1 x voted for Brexit (and this with 37% of the population only!) – there will be the Brexit. This, by the way, is more immanent to a dictatorship, which is not applicable for Great Britain. Linear moves would permit the extrapolation (or intrapolation) of political circumstances, based on a population which is immune to learning. I hope this is not the case with the British. We have already a lot of UK citizens who changed their citizenship, and they are now Germans, French, Spanish, Portuguese etc. And lots of EU citizens have returned to the EU since the vote, and new ones hesitate to go to Britain. This is not typical for an element of a European open society.

In this situation, it cannot be a miracle that Theresa May seems to commit many mistakes. One of the next ones would be not to publish the legal opinions kept in secret until now about the Brexit and its implications – they seem to be good for a U-turn of the Government. While we are in a situation when senior Brussels personalities tell in private „OMG, let the British go, the sooner the better…“, this is clearly the result of the chaotic, unprepared, and probably unfeedbacked negotiation position of UK. It would take the Brexit negotiations with the EU into a year-long, maybe 5 – 8 years lasting negotiation nightmare. In the time between June 2016 and March 2017 any state of the world could and would have been better prepared than H.M’s Government.

Once more: to keep the advantages for UK in the EU Single Market which is and will be seen as necessary for the country, will require a U-turn towards the Brexit. It will take several generations until the British will be as „European“ as the French, the Italians, the Spanish, the Germans etc., but there may be a new agreement between the EU and Great Britain about the continuation of the EU Membership. Until now, I have thought, this can be achieved only by a change of government (which does not necessary mean a Labour one) and a significant change of public opinion. Now I believe it can be started by a change within the Government  This – or the other solution – seems today more likely than ever. Which leads me to the cautiously optimistic opinion that there will be no Brexit at all. If UK ask the European Council to vote for an extension of the March 2019 deadline, it probably will be granted, as first step. However, if the British would come back to the EU, a (francophone) senior Brussels personality has to be quoted: „Alors, s’ils reviennent, c’est la merde que recommence…

Neues Blog über EWIV / New Blog on EEIG

DE / Es gibt ab sofort ein neues Blog nur zu Fragen rund um die europarechtliche Kooperationsform der Europäischen wirtschaftlichen Interessenvereinigung (EWIV). Die Website dazu, http://www.ewiv.eu, erfährt dadurch eine wertvolle Aktualisierung. Gleichzeitig wird die bisherige „F.A.Q.“-Rubrik auf der Website viel stärker aktualisiert und gleichzeitig der ständigen Mitwirkung der Leser unterworfen. Das Europäische EWIV-Informationszentrum will damit zum Einen die europäische Leserschaft (im Blog wird auf Deutsch, Englisch, Französisch und evtl. in weiteren Sprachen geschrieben) jeweils gleichzeitig und aktuell informieren, und gleichzeitig kann das Zentrum, das sicherlich über eine geballte Kompetenz verfügt, eben diese Kompetenz weitergeben.

Das Blog ist erreichbar unter: http://ewivinfo.wordpress.com

Wenn Sie sich dort ständig anhängen, bleiben Sie aktuell informiert über Bewegung in EWIV-Recht und -Besteuerung.


EN / There is a new blog from now, on questions around the European legal cooperation form of the European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG). The Website http://www.ewiv.eu, will be enriched significantly. At the same time our „F.A.Q.“ column on this Website will be kept on a more topical basis and also subject to readers‘ feedback and participation. The European EEIG Information Centre wants, at the one hand, to inform its European readership (there are German, English, French and possible other languages in the blog) in an equal and topical way. At the same time the Centre which undoubtedly has a lot of competence can pass on just this competence.

The blog can be viewed under: http://ewivinfo.wordpress.com

If you stay attached you’ll remain informed permanantly about movements in EEIG law and taxation.

Adoption du Traité d’interdiction des armes nucléaires à l’ONU

Le 7 juillet 2017, l’ambassadrice du Costa Rica, Elayne Whyte Gómez, présidente de la conférence des Nations Unies pour la négociation d’un instrument juridiquement contraignant visant à interdire les armes nucléaires, a annoncé l’adoption du Traité d’interdiction des armes nucléaires[1]. Ainsi, 72 ans après sa première utilisation, l’arme nucléaire est devenue une arme illégale au regard du droit international, au même titre que les autres armes de destruction massive, biologiques et chimiques, respectivement interdites en 1972 et en 1993.

La première session de cette conférence de négociation s’est déroulée du 27 au 31 mars 2017, suivie d’une seconde du 15 juin au 7 juillet 2017. Conformément à la volonté de l’ambassadrice Elayne Whyte Gómez, un premier projet nommé « Convention d’interdiction des armes nucléaires » avait été publié le 22 mai dernier. Cette première épreuve, soumise aux critiques, a permis, dès le 15 juin, d’entamer une négociation article par article avec une moyenne de 125 États présents chaque jour.

Pour lui donner davantage de force morale, l’ensemble des participants aux négociations souhaitaient une adoption de ce texte par consensus. Objectif impossible, en raison de l’opposition des Pays-Bas, seul pays membre de l’OTAN présent à ces négociations. Mais, en fine stratège, l’ambassadrice Whyte Gómez, poussa les Pays-Bas à déposer une demande de vote. Le résultat du vote fut sans appel, et révélateur du décalage néerlandais : 122 voix pour, 1 contre (Pays-Bas), 1 abstention (Singapour). Tous les États européens présents[2] votèrent en faveur du texte, comme une écrasante majorité des États africains francophones[3] et quasiment l’ensemble des États d’Amérique latine et des Caraïbes (hormis la Barbade, la Dominique et le Nicaragua). Sans surprise, la Nouvelle-Zélande et des États-clés, comme les Philippines, la Malaisie, l’Indonésie, l’Iran, la Thaïlande, le Cambodge et le Vietnam, agirent de même. Remarquons également le vote unanime et positif des 7 États de la péninsule arabique[4], malgré leurs différends dans de nombreux autres domaines de politique étrangère.

Les éléments du préambule

Ce Traité[5] crée une véritable révolution dans les domaines du désarmement et de la non-prolifération. Les armes nucléaires n’étaient jusqu’à présent pas interdites, une anomalie dans la sphère du droit régissant les armes de destruction massive. Le Traité d’interdiction des armes nucléaires est composé d’un préambule fort qui se compose de quatre parties.

Après un rappel de la volonté de contribuer aux objectifs de la Charte des Nations Unies, les paragraphes 2 à 6 forment une première séquence qui porte sur les conséquences humanitaires catastrophiques qui résulteraient de l’emploi de l’arme nucléaire. Nous retrouvons ici les conclusions issues des trois conférences humanitaires[6]. Promu par la Suède, un paragraphe a été ajouté sur la notion de risque d’explosion d’armes nucléaires résultant d’un accident, d’une erreur d’appréciation ou d’un acte intentionnel. Les souffrances des victimes des explosions à Hiroshima et à Nagasaki (les Hibakushas), ainsi que des essais nucléaires, les effets disproportionnés des rayonnements ionisants sur la santé maternelle des femmes et des filles, de même que les conséquences des activités nucléaires sur les peuples autochtones sont aussi mentionnées.

Une seconde séquence (paragraphe 8 à 12) porte sur le droit international humanitaire et les droits de l’homme, et mentionne explicitement que tous les États doivent se « conformer en tout temps » au Traité et que « tout emploi d’armes nucléaires serait contraire aux règles du droit international applicable dans les conflits armés » et « serait également inacceptable[7] au regard des principes de l’humanité ».

Un troisième paquet d’articles (paragraphe 13 à 21) porte sur le processus international du désarmement nucléaire, en énonçant les principales résolutions passées, la lenteur du processus, le besoin – pour le faire avancer – d’un instrument juridiquement contraignant, et l’importance du Traité de non-prolifération (TNP) comme « pierre angulaire du régime de non-prolifération et de désarmement nucléaires ». Des débats ont eu lieu sur l’inclusion ou non du Traité d’interdiction complète des essais nucléaires (TICEN) comme « élément vital de ce régime ». En effet, malgré sa quasi-universalité, le TICEN n’est toujours pas entré en vigueur.

Les paragraphes 22 à 24 constituent la dernière partie de ce préambule et sont consacrés notamment à l’importance de l’éducation en matière de paix et de désarmement et aux rôles des ONG « dans l’avancement des principes de l’humanité ».

Le articles du Traité 

Composé de 20 articles, il ne comporte étonnamment pas – comme c’est pourtant généralement le cas dans l’article premier des traités – de définition de « l’arme nucléaire », et cela malgré une demande de la Suède. Mais il faut constater qu’une telle définition ne figure pas non plus dans le TNP. L’article 1er sur les « Interdictions » précise que « les États s’engagent à ne jamais, en aucune circonstance : mettre au point, mettre à l’essai, produire, fabriquer, acquérir de quelque autre manière, posséder ou stocker, transférer, accepter, autoriser l’installation ou le déploiement d’armes nucléaires ou autres dispositifs explosifs nucléaires ». Après de longs débats et une volonté forte, notamment de l’Équateur, de l’Iran et de l’Égypte, il fut ajouté un alinéa mentionnant l’interdiction « d’employer ni menacer d’employer des armes nucléaires ». La menace découlant de la possession de moyens qui permettraient d’occasionner des dommages inacceptables pour l’adversaire est, en effet, la base de la dissuasion nucléaire. Elle est désormais illégale, puisqu’elle suppose une possibilité de frappes sans discrimination pour les populations civiles, donc contraires au droit international humanitaire. Les notions de transit (qui posaient problème à la Suisse et à l’Autriche), de financement et de préparation militaire ne sont pas inscrites formellement mais, comme ce fut aussi le cas pour les traités sur les armes à sous-munitions et les mines antipersonnel, sont considérées comme implicites.

Les processus d’élimination et de vérification sont inscrits dans les articles 2 à 5, l’article 4 en étant le cœur, avec plus de cohérence et de force que dans le document initial. Les garanties demandées à l’article 3 sont désormais d’un niveau équivalent à celle demandée par l’Agence internationale de l’énergie atomique (AIEA).

L’article 4, alinéa 1, s’adresse aux États qui ont eu des armes nucléaires ou sont dans un processus de démantèlement et décideraient de rejoindre le Traité. C’est, en quelque sorte, un scénario comparable à celui vécu jadis avec l’Afrique du Sud, qui a rejoint le TNP en 1993 après avoir procédé au démantèlement de son arsenal nucléaire. Les alinéas 2 et 3 sont destinés aux États qui ont des armes nucléaires mais souhaitent rejoindre le Traité malgré leurs arsenaux. Il est prévu qu’un État dans cette situation « retire sans délai du service opérationnel » son arsenal nucléaire et le détruise « conformément à un plan juridiquement contraignant et assorti d’échéances » accepté par les États membres du Traité. Il faut noter qu’au début du processus d’écriture, il n’était demandé que l’élimination des armes sans référence aux installations, ce qui offrait une échappatoire aux États prêts à détruire leurs arsenaux, mais désireux de conserver leur technologie militaire.

L’alinéa 4 de l’article 4 vise directement les États membres de l’OTAN qui abritent des armes nucléaires sur leur sol, dont la Belgique. Si la Belgique décidait d’adhérer au Traité – mais faut-il rappeler qu’elle n’a même pas participé aux discussions ? – elle ne pourrait le faire qu’en s’engageant au retrait des armes nucléaires tactiques américaines stationnées à Kleine-Brogel et en adressant au Secrétaire général de l’ONU une déclaration indiquant que son territoire est désormais exempt d’armes nucléaires.

Les articles 6 et 7 concernent des obligations positives, largement renforcées par rapport au premier projet, et qui servent désormais les objectifs humanitaires du Traité. Les obligations d’assistance aux victimes et de réhabilitation de l’environnement sont clairement énoncées. Pour la première fois – il est important de le souligner – un traité mentionne expressément que les États parties qui ont réalisé des essais nucléaires doivent « fournir une assistance suffisante aux États parties touchés aux fins d’assistance aux victimes et de remise en état de l’environnement ». Ces dispositions – qui ne sont rien d’autre qu’une application originale du principe du pollueur/payeur – sont le résultat d’une volonté très ferme d’États tels que l’Algérie, l’Équateur ou le Vietnam, de contraindre les États responsables de ces dégâts sanitaires et environnementaux à assumer leurs responsabilités.

Le Traité sera ouvert à la signature le 20 septembre 2017 et entrera en vigueur 90 jours après le dépôt du cinquantième instrument de ratification, d’acceptation ou d’adhésion.

Conclusion

Pour la première fois depuis 20 ans, un instrument multilatéral juridiquement contraignant a été négocié pour le désarmement nucléaire. Ce Traité, dont on peut espérer l’entrée en vigueur d’ici une année, vient compléter d’autres processus internationaux pour renforcer la sécurité internationale et la non-prolifération nucléaire.

Contrairement à leur « coup médiatique » lors du premier cycle de négociations en mars 2017[8], les diplomaties américaines britanniques et françaises sont restées muettes tout au long de ce second cycle. La réaction de la France ne s’est cependant pas faite attendre, estimant, par la voie du ministère des Affaires étrangères, que  ce texte était « inadapté au contexte sécuritaire international ». Le P3 (États-Unis, Royaume-Uni, France) a également publié un communiqué conjoint avec des arguments similaires.

Faut-il voir dans cette précipitation à réagir un malaise des États dotés de l’arme nucléaire, et donc un premier effet positif du Traité ? La faiblesse de l’argument de la France selon lequel ce Traité « va affecter la sécurité de la région euro-Atlantique et la stabilité internationale » laisse pantois… Lier la sécurité d’une région à sa détention de l’arme nucléaire n’est rien d’autre qu’un encouragement à la prolifération nucléaire qui défie le bon sens politique, militaire et intellectuel. Mais il est certain que même les pays qui n’ont pas soutenu ce Traité ne pourront plus échapper à un débat de fond : les Gouvernements devront expliquer à leurs Parlements et opinions publiques pourquoi ils s’opposent à une évolution du droit international qui renforce notre sécurité collective.


__________________________________________________________________

[1]. Texte du Traité : http://data.grip.org/20170706_TIAN.pdf.

[2]. Autriche, Irlande, Saint Marin, Malte, Chypre, Liechtenstein, Saint-Siège, Suède, Moldavie.

[3]. Algérie, Bénin, Burkina-Faso, Maroc, Tchad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Égypte, Gabon, Mauritanie, Tunisie, Togo, Sénégal, Seychelles, Madagascar, R.D. Congo, Maurice.

[4]. Oman, Qatar, Arabie saoudite, les Émirats arabes unis, Bahreïn, Koweït, Yémen.

[5]. Le mot « Traité » a remplacé celui de « Convention » pour éviter toute confusion avec le projet de Convention des armes nucléaires qui est un document de travail de l’ONU publié en 2008 et réalisé par le Costa Rica et la Malaisie.

[6]. Vienne en décembre 2014, Nayarit en février 2014 et Oslo en mars 2013. Plusieurs notes de l’auteur au sujet de ces conférences sont disponibles sur le site du GRIP, à la rubrique « Désarmement nucléaire ».

[7]. Il faut signaler que, dans la version anglaise, il est employé le mot « abhorrent » qui est un terme beaucoup plus fort que « inacceptable » et qui peut se traduire par « odieux » ou « répugnant ».

[8]. J-M. COLLIN, « La convention d’interdiction des armes nucléaires : de la négociation au premier „draft“ », note d’analyse du GRIP, 12 juin 2017.

Jean-Marie COLLIN

Source : GRIP

Reblogged from: http://reseau-multipol.blogspot.de/2017/07/note-adoption-du-traite-dinterdiction.html, with the kind permission of MULTIPOL

 

New EUFAJ 2 / 2017: China, Africa, Latin America, Eastern Partnership, Turkey, Montenegro

The new number 2 / 2017 of „European Union Foreign Affairs Journal“ (EUFAJ), an eQuarterly published by LIBERTAS – European Institute GmbH, working pro-European Integration, can be downloaded directly under: http://www.libertas-institut.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/EUFAJ-2-2017.pdf, or via the Website under http://www.libertas-institut.com/eufaj/eufaj-2-2017.  .

EUFAJ is a non-profit project and free of charge. All older issues can be downloaded on our website  www.eufaj.eu where you find other information about EUFAJ.

In 2/2017, you find in EUFAJ the following articles, among others:

  • Hard Times for Soft Power: Germany’s China Challenge (Angela Stanzel)
  • The Turkish Economy Today
  • The „Marshall Plan with Africa“: Africa and Europe – A New Partnership for Development and Peace
  • Women in Power – The Example of Latin America (Carmen Aguilera Garcia), Statistics on Women in National Parliaments
  • Security Threats Caused by Climate Change – Case Study on the Republic of Moldova (Gheorghe Racovita)
  • Regional Geopolitical Changes and the Russian-Armenian Relations (Lilit Vardanian)
  • The Prospects of the EU–Armenia Partnership within the ENP Review: Is a Eurasian Economic Union – EU balance feasible? (Aram Terzyan)
  • Vive la France or what does the victory of Emmanuel Macron mean for Europe and Eastern Partnership Countries? (Grisha Aghajanyan)
  • The Consolidation of Inter-Institutional Cooperation and Communication Mechanism on CSDP-related Matters – Study on the Republic of Georgia (George Niculescu, Grazvydas Jasutis, Kakha Gogolashvili)
  • Public Administration Reform at the Local and Regional Level in the Eastern Partnership Countries – Developments since 2012 in the Field of Decentralisation (Vyacheslav Tolkovanov, Juraj Nemec et al.)
  • Salina Ulcinj: European natural treasure still threatened in Montenegro

We welcome contributions from the personal and professional environment of our readers – scientific ones or policy-focused, on international, comparative subjects, or on  EU /  third country relations, inner-country developments, or international jpolicy etc.). All articles are published in English. We do not raise any fees for publishing articles.

 

Pro-Russian Separatists Run Prisoner Camps in Donbass With Slave Labour

The Ukraine conflict is sometimes on the way of being forgotten, unfortunately. Except when the separatists proclaim a state „Little Russia“ in Donezk and Luhansk, what even the Moscow paper Kommersant brings to a smile and to say that „[this] proclamation … will not bring any big consequences“ (Kommersant, 19.7.2017). Indeed, if the Kremlin would support this „state“, then all Western negiotation partners would have to consider this as withdrawal from the Minsk Agreements. This would kill the Moscow expectation for a certain working relationship to the USA and above all to the EU and its Member States. But this is not even worth a substantial reporting in European media.

But what is worthwhile and should be repeated again and again is the strange way of „rule of law“ followed by the Donezk and Luhansk separatist administrations. This includes, besides everything else, also slave work in the form of forced labour for prisoners of these two „Peoples Republics“.They have to work, if they do not want to be thrown into a kind of dungeon, and they are not paid at all. They just get some tea and cigarettes. With their unvoluntary „assistance“ their wood chucking, welding, quarrying and other very hard work, they make money for the budget of the two „Peoples Republics“ (or of „Little Russia“, as now they call themselves) – amounting to approx. 500.000 EUR  per month. There are, following the investigations of the up to 10.000 prison inmates now many illegally in prison. They have done their time, or they should have been in freedom due to a 2014 amnesty by the Ukrainian President. But this latter seems not to concern the separatists, as they do not accept decisions by the Ukrainian Government or state institutions.

Karte Straflager "Luhansker Volksrepublik" (Ostukrainische Menschenrechtsgruppe)

(Map pf prison camps in The „Peoples‘ Republic of Luhansk, by the East Ukraine Human Rights Group, which helped to reveal These practices)

It is clear that these „gulags“ in nowadays‘ Europe, in an otherwise modernizing state of Ukraine, are not made without – at least – the toleration by the Russian authorities. Like in e.g. Transnistria, another „frozen conflict“ area, the Kremlin pays for most of the budget of the „Peoples republics“ – big Russia pays for „Little Russia“.

The prison camps have been revealed by Sabine Adler, one of the most experienced journalists of public radio Deutschlandfunk in Germany. (see her report, with interviews and photos, under http://www.deutschlandfunk.de/zwangsarbeit-in-ostukrainischen-separatistengebieten-gulags.724.de.html?dram:article_id=390676; there are also PDF links on that page in English and Russian language) She knows Ukraine since many years – as well as the whole system as she studied in Leipzig during GDR times. She had various leading posts in Deutschlandfunk and had worked also for a while as press & communication director for the German Parliament (Bundestag). Several times rewarded prestigious journalism prices, she is high on a list of self-proclaimed media critics from German nationalist or Russian troll orientation. If someone stands not for fake news, it is her. BBC from London raised the same issue.

It is indeed not easy to fight for the rights of the prison inmates in Donezk and Luhansk. While the Ombudswoman of Ukraine manages transports of prison inmates to normal correction centers in Ukraine from Donezk, she did not yet from Luhansk. But to stand for the rule of law which includes human treatment for prisoners, above for those who have served their time, is a permanent request to every responsible lawyer, journalist and pf course politician. In this context, the problem should be seized e.g. by the European Parliament, the EEAS – EU Diplomatic Service and all other EU politicians who from time to time are on their pilgrimages to Moscow.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka

European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (EUFAJ), http://www.eufaj.eu

Neuer Minister für Brexit-Fragen in May’s Regierung wollte Europäische Union „vollends zerstören“

Steve Baker MP ist seit 17. Juni 2017 neues britisches Regierungsmitglied (als Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union, also Staatssekretär im Brexit-Ministerium) und seit 2010 Mitglied des britischen Parlaments. Der studierte Flugzeugingenieur, der zehn Jahre lang für die Royal Air Force arbeitete (seine Vita ist beschrieben auf der Regierungs-Website https://www.gov.uk/government/people/steve-baker – Zugriff vom 7.7.2017), wird in der britischen Presse auch schon einmal als „fanatischer Pro-Brexit-Konservativer“ bezeichnet (vgl. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-4459342/Business-tycoons-make-toast-Brexit-Tory-MP-Steve-Baker.html aus Daily Mail Online, 30.4.2017 – Zugriff vom 7.7.2017, im Artikel „Business tycoons make toast of fanatical Brexit Tory MP Steve Baker“), als er sich von Kontra-Brexit-Geschäftsleuten mit Eiern bewerfen ließ.

Das alles wäre nicht weiter der Rede wert und könnte als übliche Profilierungsversuche britischer Abgeordneter gelten – wenn nicht der Herr Unterstaatssekretär vor einigen Jahren einige Bemerkungen gemacht hätte, die vollkommen in sein Engagement vor dem Brexit-Referendum passen. Diesbezüglich muss sich Frau May fragen lassen, warum sie dieses Regierungsmitglied ernannt hat, während sie mit Engelszungen Freizügigkeit für EU-Staatsbürger nach dem Brexit zusichert, freilich wie von der EU-Kommission festgestellt, in nicht sehr präziser Weise.

Steve Baker MP machte vor einer Konferenz der „Libertarian Alliance“ im Jahr 2010, wie vor einigen Tagen die renommierte britische Tageszeitung „The Independent“ nachwies, Bemerkungen, die für eine Zerstörung der Europäischen Union plädierten (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-european-union-eu-steve-baker-theresa-may-wholly-torn-down-libertarian-alliance-a7820721.html, Zugriff: 7.7.2017, mit Video; The Independent 3.7.2017, Tom Embury-Dennis, Joe Watts: „Brexit: Minister appointed to negotiate Britain’s withdrawal wants European Union ‚wholly torn down'“).

In seiner Rede bei dieser rechtsgerichteten Einrichtung (die auf dem Kontinent als „ga-ga“ bezeichnet würde, so bizarr ist sie), hatte der jetzige Minister Steve Baker gesagt, die EU sollte „wholly torn down“, also vollständig zerstört werden.  Sie sei ein Hindernis für den Weltfrieden und unvereinbar mit einer freien Gesellschaft („[…he said…] the EU should be “wholly torn down”, before branding it an “obstacle” to world peace and “incompatible” with a free society).

Baker sagt den applaudierenden Zuhörern wörtlich: „I think Ukip and the Better Off Out campaign lack ambition. I think the European Union needs to be wholly torn down.” – Ich glaube UKIP [die zwischenzeitlich fast erloschene Anti-EU- und rechtspopulistische Partei] und die Better Off Out-Kampagne [eine Bewegung aus dieser Zeit, die für einen EU-Austritt warb und das mit der Behauptung, dass dann UK besser dastehen würde] haben nicht genug Ehrgeiz. Ich glaube, die Europäische Union muss völlig zerstört werden“.

Der neue Minister fügte hinzu: Die EU … war dazu gedacht, wirtschaftlichen Nationalismus zu besiegen. Daher ist sie ein Fehlschlag nach ihrer eigenen Definition (“It was meant to defeat economic nationalism, it is therefore a failure in its own terms.“). Und weiter  sagte der Abgeordnete für Wycombe, dr später eine sehr führende Rolle in der Pro-Brexit-Kampagne spielen sollte: „If we wish to devolve power to the lowest possible level, make it accountable and move on into a free society, then it’s clearly incompatible.“ – Wenn wir Befugnisse auf die niedrigstmögliche Ebene herunterdelegieren und diese Ebene verantwortlich machen wollen, und uns in Richtung einer freien Gesellschaft bewegen wollen, dass ist sie […, die EU,…] klar unvereinbar damit.

Diese libertäre Ansicht, ganz im Sinne der Zuhörerschaft, wurde dann noch ergänzt wie folgt: „What I want is free trade and peace among all the nations of Europe as well as the world and in my view the European Union is an obstacle to that.” – Was ich will, ist freier Handel und Frieden zwischen allen europäischen Nationen sowie auf der Welt, und nach meiner Ansicht ist die Europäische Union hiergegen ein Hindernis“. Der Herr Minister sagt also, dass die EU ein Hindernis für den Frieden sei, in Europa und der Welt. .. Spätestens hier wird klar, dass diese Person eine Lachnummer ist.

Da fühlt man sich erinnert an die Worte eines ehemaligen konservativen Ministers, der vor einigen Wochen davon sprach, dass Gibraltar vor den Spaniern ähnlich wie die Falklands zu Zeiten Maggie Thatchers vor den (damals diktatorisch regierten) Argentiniern verteidigt werden müsste. Dies erregte nicht nur in Spanien Kopfschütteln. Beide Äußerungen  indizieren eine gewaltige Realitätsferne.

Jetzt aber ist derjenige, der mit abenteuerlichen Argumenten die EU zerstören wollte, Minister Seiner Majestät. Er hat zwar einige Parlamentskollegen, die davor warnten, dass diese Ernennung die Fähigkeit, gute Verhandlungsresultate zu erzielen gefährden kann – und dies zu einer Zeit, als es die ersten Meinungsumfragen gibt, die als Ergebnis wiedergeben, dass „Remain“ für einen Verbleib in der EU eine Mehrheit bekommen könnte, wenn morgen eine solche Abstimmung stattfände.

Man kann sich keine kontinentaleuropäische Regierung vorstellen, die derartig besetzt würde. Aber vielleicht bedarf es erst eines irrationalen Brexit-Votums (von insgesamt 37% der wahlberechtigten Bevölkerung!), dass so etwas geschieht. Wenn Theresa May mit so etwas kommt und die EU-Unterhändler diesen Mann ernst nehmen, dann dürften sie verdammt gute Schauspieler sein.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka

 

 

 

Erfolgreiches österreichisches Modell: „EU-GemeinderätInnen“

Seit 2010 gibt es eine Initiative in Österreich, die ich für bemerkens- und nachahmenswert halte im Sinne des Eintretens für die europäische Integration und das Schließen der Lücke zwischen Kommunal- und Europapolitik: Europa-GemeinderätInnen, die unter dem Motto „Europa fängt in der Gemeinde an“ Ansprechpartner für besondere Bildungsmaßnahmen sowie von Fragen der Bürger sind. In Österreich sind es derzeit fast 1.000 derartige Gemeinderäte – von einem bis mehreren pro Kommune. Natürlich gibt es auch Gemeinden, die aus unterschiedlichen Gründen sich nicht beteiligen. In Österreich wurden alle Bürgermeister vom Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres (BMEIA) angeschrieben, die dann einen oder mehrere Gemeinderäte benennen, je nach Willen des Rates. Für diese Gemeinderäte stehen Dienstleistungen zur Verfügung (z. B. Seminare über Europa-Kommunikation ca. 3-4 x pro Jahr, 1-2 pro Jahr Brüssel-Studienreisen, gelegentlich interne Briefings, Workshops zu bestimmten Themen, an denen es ja zur Zeit nicht mangelt, usw.) bzw. die betreffenden Gemeinderäte stehen als Ansprechpartner auch Bürgern zur Verfügung. Österreich hat auch erfolgreich diese informelle Struktur in die italienische Autonome Provinz Bozen-Südtirol „exportiert“.

Das österreichische Bundesministerium für Europa, Integration und Äußeres (BMEIA) steht einer Ausweitung dieses Projekts in andere EU-Mitgliedstaaten überhaut nicht entgegen – im Gegenteil. Man ist auch sehr gerne bereit, konkrete Initiativen zu beraten: Frau Mag. Brigitte Trinkl, BMEIA Wien, e-mail brigitte.trinkl@bmeia.gv.at

Hier die entsprechende Website der EU-Kommission/Vertretung in Österreich: http://ec.europa.eu/austria/news/eu-gemeinder%C3%A4te-br%C3%BCssel-mittlerweile-%C3%BCber-900-teilnehmer-ganz-%C3%B6sterreich_de

Und hier die des österreichischen Bundesministeriums für Europa, Integration ud Äußeres: https://www.bmeia.gv.at/europa-aussenpolitik/europapolitik/oesterreich-in-der-eu/eu-gemeinderaete/

Die Anmeldeformulare für EU-GemeinderätInnen an das BMEIA sind einfache Adressen- und Funktionsbeschreibungen; hierüber wird dann eine Adressdatei gehalten.

Für Deutschland beispielsweise dürfte eine zentralisierte Behandlung dieser Frage durch z. B. das Auswärtige Amt nicht in Frage kommen, sondern eher auf Länderebene bearbeitet durch die jeweiligen Europaministerien der Bundesländer, auf deren Ebene auch die Kommunalaufsicht liegt, oder delegiert an die Städte- und Gemeindeverbände. Auch die Landkreise in Deutschland setzen viel EU-Recht um (z. B. Abfallrecht, Umweltrecht usw.) und sollten hierzulande nicht vergessen werden. Daher ist der Name „EU-GemeinderätInnen“ wahrscheinlich nicht automatisch übertragbar.

Auch dürfte dieses Modell nicht automatisch anwendbar sein, wenn z. B. in größeren Kommunen bzw. Landkreisen Europabeauftragte bzw. -referenten o.ä. vorhanden sind (also professionelle Kräfte der Verwaltung). Andererseits sind diese vielleicht auch daran interessiert, eine Verbreiterung ihrer Tätigkeit im Gemeinderat bzw. Kreistag zu sehen bzw. dort informationsmäßig privilegierte Ansprechpartner zu haben. Wenn die kommunale Ebene stärker europa-durchdrungen ist, ist dies auf jeden Fall kein Nachteil (zumal es eine Fülle von für Kommunen relevanter Projekte und Themen gibt, wo man „good practices“ entnehmen kann). In jedem Fall eignet es sich für kleinere Kommunen und Landkreise ohne eigenen Europareferenten.

Theoretisch wäre es auch möglich, dass die Europe Direct-Informationszentren (EDIC) Koordinationsfunktionen übernehmen, bzw. Seminare für EU-GemeinderätInnen abhalten (wie in Österreich). In Österreich arbeitet die Vertretung der EU-Kommission erfolgreich, z. B. das eine oder andere Seminar fördernd, mit den EU-GemeinderätInnen bzw. dem BMEIA zusammen; auf der Basis eines einfachen MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) aus dem Jahr 2010.  So etwas sollte auch in Deutschland möglich sein, auch in Kooperation mit den relevanten Landesministerien. Dann wären es eben statt einem MoU in Deutschland maximal 16.

Damit wären auch für alle, die sich mit der Kommunikation zum Thema Europa befassen, auf einen Schlag wichtige Ansprechpartner in den Kommunen gegeben, auch für die Europa-Union-Landes- bzw. Kreisverbände oder für die vielen Einrichtungen für politische Bildung (Landeszentralen, Stiftungen usw.). Europa hat es verdient, konstruktiv überall vertreten zu werden, auch auf Gemeindeebene, wo es eben zahlreiche Anknüpfungspunkte zu Europa gibt – von Umwelt-  über Abfall-, Veterinär-, Verbraucher- zu Verkehrs-, Digitalisierungs- und Freizügigkeitsnormen, aber auch die Integration unserer neuen ausländischen Mitbürger u.v.a.m. Etwa 70 – 85% allen EU-Rechts (je nach Sichtweise) wird auf kommunaler Ebene (in Deutschland also Gemeinden und Landkreise) umgesetzt. Nur wenige wissen dies, und wir hätten mit Sicherheit eine noch stärker regulierende Wirkung auf nationaler Ebene ohne EU-rechtlichen Beitrag der (supra-)nationalen Ebene.

Für die gesamten Aktivitäten in Österreich gibt es übrigens keine eigene Budgetlinie der dortigen Bundesregierung; etwaige Ausgaben sind dort Teil des Kommunikationsbudgets. Fahrten nach Brüssel bezuschussen das Europäische Parlament, die EU-Kommission bzw. der Ausschuss der Regionen.

Ein gelungenes Experiment, das also auch in andere Länder „importiert“ werden sollte. Ohne schwere Strukturen, leicht zu bedienen durch einen (Ministerial-)Referenten, der gelegentlich Hilfe braucht. Nicht die Lösung aller Probleme dieser Welt, aber ein kleiner Beitrag, Europa zu kommunizieren. Es lohnt sich, wie wir in den letzten Monaten in der Europäischen Union gesehen haben.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka

 

The Result of Nationalism – Great Britain Might Have to Fear Dissolution

After Tito’s death, Yugoslavia was for a while headed by Milosevic, who was a staunch nationalist. He started with mild and ended with wild attacks against his own peoples. The result: Yugoslavia had been dismantled by themselves, and the historical core is now Serbia. Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina split off as independent states, and so did Kosovo, after a particularly bloody and cruel war against them. Still today Serbia claims that Kosovo is a part of its state territory, a more hypothetical claim. Yugoslavia, a country with approx. 25 mill. inhabitants, ended up in seven independent countries, of which Serbia, the ex-Yugoslavian core, has around 8 millions.

There are also many historical examples of secessions, also in Europe, or of intended secessions, at least by a part of the population – like Catalonia or the Basques from Spain, where the will to go for one’s own is already anchored in the center of the political spectrum. This was and is triggered by the impression of lacking dialogue and what is called nationalism by the central state. In turn, it triggered nationaism in the periphery of the country. While Madrid can have hope, as there is a constructive discussion about the role of the state and in the direction of a de-facto-federalism, Yugoslavia ended in wars and armed conflicts and therefore broke in pieces. Now the perspective of the European Union is a kind of federalist vision for the citizens of the Balkan states, identified with peace, freedom, human rights, the rule of law, and a functioning economy.

How Great Britain will develop? For London, there is the big danger that if the British Government stresses national issues too much, then parts of the UK like Scotland or Northern Ireland may be lost. This would have also repercussions on Wales. Why? It became evident with the Brexit referendum that from England there was exercised too much pressure (or power) for the whole country, e.g. by the simplified form of the referendum question. At the same time, this discussion is held, or tolerated, by the Government, in a nationalist mode. Let us remember only the sounds of Lord Howard, a leading Tory, when threatening Spain wit a British Armada comparable to the one to the Falklands many years ago under Mararet Thatcher. Incredibly, he forgot to mention that the latter wa the case as Argentinian dictatorship troops occupied the Falklands, and Gibraltar was never occupied by the Spanish. The Spanish only wanted, with full justification, a clear position of the UK in the Brexit talks, on the issue „Gibraltar and Single Market“, which is for evident reasons of high interest for Spain. Should they re-start with border controls? Gibraltar has voted with more than 95% against Brexit, and it was for decades not part of the EU, as the UK Government determined so, and became a member of the EU (as part of the UK) only after a European Court of Justice decision initiated by ist own government.

History shows us that enlightened, democratic Europeans are well able to replace their home capital by a regional capital (until now) and the European fabric above – a fabric which is neither imperialist nor violent nor nationalist. This fits excellently to the case of Scotland and Northern Ireland, which might break away from Great Britain in the vears after the Brexit. However, it might occur that Brexit won’t happen, as there may be grave economic distortions to the detriment of the UK. I am still full of hope of a kind of peaceful revolution by the people who should know it: scientists, university people, youth, company owners – and if you look at the Brexit results, altogether the open and more intelligent people.

The result of the equation „the more nationalist, the more states at the end“ might be followed at a significant change in the European map, like in Yugoslavia. This is undoubtedly the long-term tendency. If you listen to some Brexiteers, you can express your pity that due to the bloody EU they were not any more able to go tiger-hunting for the weekend to Eshnapur.

On the long term, the overall trend is against the national states in the EU – which all come from a certain period in the past. They will continue to serve as administrative levels – no problem with this. Because who is in an overall love to his respective administrative levels, e.g. the Regierungspräsidium Tübingen (which is one of my administrative levels) …  So in order to prevent the breakup of other countries, we need sound regional competences, a European federalism (with the subsidiarity principle!), and, why not, constitutional and cultural patriotism. But no nationalism at all. In four day, the French people will have defeated these ghosts from the past, after the Austrians, the Dutch, and the next ones will be the Germans in September 2017.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka (European Union Foreign Affairs Journal)

http://www.eufaj.eu

 

 

 

 

Women in Power – The Case of Latin America

By Carmen Aguilera Garcia, a freelance journalist from Honduras, living in Germany, studying at UNED in Madrid/Spain.

Women Power in international politics and economy is a relatively new subject. Discussions are held only since several years about this subject. As of January 2017, the global participation rate of women in national-level parliaments is 23.3%. A number of countries are exploring measures that may increase women’s participation in government at all levels, from the local to the national. It is, too, necessary for gender parity in our legislation, at least an interim quota for women (as e.g. in boards of big companies). This notion of women’s empowerment is rooted in the human capabilities approach in female representatives, not only to advance women’s rights, but also to advance in national legislatures.

These are the latest figures of women in national parliaments (only single or lower chambers) of the Americas – as per 1.1.2017, and out of 193 countries:

     2 (global rank) Bolivia – 53, % (99 out of 130 seats)

  1. Cuba – 48,9% (299/612)
  2. Nicaragua – 45,7& (42/02)
  3. Mexico – 42,6% (213/500)
  4. Ecuador – 41,6% (57/137)
  5. Argentina – 38,9% (100/257)

[then comes as 23. Germany, for comparison, with 37%, and 233/630; six other EU Member States come before]

  1. Costa Rica – 35,1% (29/57)
  2. Grenada – 33,3% (5/15)
  3. El Salvador – 32,1% (37/94)
  4. Guyana – 31,9% (22/68)
  5. Trinidad & Tobago – 31,0% (13/42)
  6. Peru – 27,6% (36/130)
  7. Dominican Republic – 26,8% (51/190)

[then comes as 62. Canada, with 26,3%, and 33/128)

  1. Honduras – 25,8% (32/128)
  2. Suriname – 25,5 (12/51)
  3. Dominica – 25,0% (8/32)
  4. Venezuela – 22,2% (39/167)
  5. Uruguay – 20,2% (20/99)

[… and as no. 104. come the USA: with 19,1% and 83/436 in the House of Representatives, and in the Senate with 21%, and 21/100]

  1. Colombia – 18,7% (30/166)
  2. Panama – 18,3% (13/71)
  3. Jamaica – 17,5% (11/63)

… (then some small Caribbean island states)

  1. Chile – 15,8% (19/120)
  2. Paraguay – 13,8% (11/80)
  3. Guatemala – 12,7% (20/158)
  4. Brazil – 10,7% (55/513)

… and at the very end: 183. Belize – 3,2% (1/32)

  1. Haiti – 2,6% (3/117)

This is an extract from the tables of the Interparliamentary Union; http://www.ipu.org/wmn-e/arc/classif010117.htm. From the same source one can learn that, in the regional distribution, the Americas have quite a hig score of 28,3% women in parliamentary assemblies (but the top are the Nordic countries, with 41,7%), still a bit ahead of Europe-OSCE countries, with 26,4%. However, the EU alone is a bit better.

And in the regional parliamentary assemblies there are 21,6% in the Central American Parliament (led by Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras with 7, 6 and 5 M.P’s); in the European Parliament however the comparable figure is 35,2%, with 259 out of 736 seats held by women.

Women’s work not always recognized

One example of Central American countries is Honduras – my home country. With a quarter of woman Members of Parliament, we have at the moment neither equality of payment nor an exciting share of women in parliamentary power. But Honduran women ask each day more to require their part of living in the political space. With a share of more than 50% of the entire population, they want to have more than 26% of the participation quote in the parliament. In Latin American politics, you can see that women’s work is not always recognized.

In Honduras, the law on equal opportunities for women had set a quota of 40%, which cannot be reached. According to Suyapa Martinez of the NGO Education Centre for Women this is a radicalizing problem in political participation. It’s just that feminism is not equal everywhere. On 25 January 1955, the Decree of recognition of rights for women in the general election in Honduras to vote was issued during the administration of Julio Lozano.

A year later in 1956 for the first time a woman was elected as a member of the Congress of Guatemala. In the year 1999 by the 960 candidates only 133 women with 11.3% were elected in Guatemala, in Costa Rica 19.3% and El Salvador 16.7%. Today the percentage in the parliaments of Costa Rica is 35% and of El Salvador 32% – a certain progress indeed, but not enough.

Peru, has a single chamber of 130 congress members, of which 36 are women. This represents 27.7%, which places Peru on post 54 in the global list of women’s participation in politics.

The IPU (UIP )documents on women’s participation in parliaments of 193 countries indicate that, globally, about 23.4 percent of lawmakers are women. In other words, less than a quarter. Election law experts say in this context that mechanisms in the electoral law are not the simple solution.

Women presidents in Latin America

In the executive, the governments, it is interesting; there were some women even in Latin America. For instance a woman who was the first spouse of an Argentine President. At that time, in the 1950s/1960s women had not really political rights. Women like Alicia Moreau de Justo, Julieta Lanteri, Dellepiane Elvira Rawson, had unsuccessfully claimed the recognition of political rights for women. In general, the dominant male culture considered a lack of femininity which a woman comment policy. María Estela Martínez de Perón, was the first woman to reach the Presidency of the nation of Argentina, and assumed the position of President after the death of her spouse, President Juan Domingo Perón. So did Kristina Kirchner of Argentina. Alone these two women would have never been presidents.

Laura Chinchilla is the first President in the history of Costa Rica, Michelle Bachelet Jeria was President of the Republic of Chile from 2006 to 2010, Mireya Elisa Moscoso Rodríguez, in 1999 won the presidential elections in Panama. Janet Jagan Rosemberg became first woman President in the history of Guyana. Rosalía Arteaga Serrano was the first woman in the history of Ecuador in the positions of President and Vice President. Violeta Barrios Chamorra was President of Nicaragua and Lidia Gueiler Tejada was interim President of Bolivia. And not to forget Dilma Roussef who was the first female president of Brazil, and who was forced to resign amid a lot of machismo arguments. (see detailed CVs of these women, in Spanish, under http://www.adnpolitico.com/2012/2012/02/06/las-presidentas-de-america-latina)

Finally, Rigoberta Menchú Tum should not be forgotten. She has become a figure in indigenous political parties and ran for President of Guatemala in 2007 and 2011 and has dedicated her life to publicizing the rights of Guatemala’s indigenous feminists during and after the Guatemalan Civil War (1960–1996), and to promoting indigenous rights in the country.

Economic Power

Women are even less present in positions of economic power. They represent 9 per cent of members of the boards of central banks, 15 per cent of members of the governing bodies of trade-unions and 10 per cent of members of the governing bodies of employers’ organisations. Women in the boards of companies registered on the stock exchange are less than 15 per cent. Ukraine, however, stands out again as the only Eastern Partnership country with two women Presidents and two women Vice-Presidents in two of its organisations representing workers.

In a legislation, executive political institutions, political parties, public administration we need not violence and harassment against women remains insufficient. Women in power roles in leadership is very important for Action for Equality Development and Peace.

Our object is a better the change developments and measures in women’s and men’s participation in power structures, in the single, lower houses of the national, federal Parliaments; promote a balanced participation in political elections (policy). As well as in the local assemblies. There is also a need to change women’s representation in Central Banks, economic ministries, employers’ confederations, labor unions (see as an example for other regions of the world: Women in power and decision-making n Eastern Partnership countries, on page 64 of European Unon Foreign Affairs Journal 2/2016: http://www.libertas-institut.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/EUFAJ-2-2016.pdf).

Carmen Aguilera García

 

Frankreich: Wie das Fahrradfahren gefördert wird

In diesem Blog wurde vor einigen Jahren das Thema „EU-Fußgängerpolitik“ behandelt – in der Tat für die Städte ein wichtiges Element kommunaler Verkehrspolitik (siehe . https://libertasblogs.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/pro-pedestrian-is-there-a-european-walking-policy/). Heute lohnt ein Blick nach Frankreich, wo nicht nur das Hochgeschwindigkeitsnetz der Eisenbahn, sondern auch die Fahrradinfrastruktur wie Radwege, öffentliche Leihsysteme usw. ausgebaut werden. Das Loi de Transition énergétique von 2015 (Gesetz zur Energiewende) lohnt einen näheren Blick. Darin fördert der Gesetzgeber mit Prämien den Ein- bzw. Umstieg aufs Zweirad. Im Einzelnen:

Wegekosten zur Arbeit

Seit dem 13. Februar 2016 können private Arbeitgeber in Frankreich über Betriebsvereinbarungen oder auch als Arbeitgeberleistung die Wegekosten von Arbeitnehmern, die per Fahrrad zurückgelegt werden, finanziell mit 0,25 Cent pro gefahrenen Kilometer unterstützen. Der Arbeitgeber braucht für die ersten 200 € pro Fahrradfahrer keine Sozialabgaben zu entrichten und die ersten 200 € sind für den Arbeitnehmer steuerfrei. Auch in einigen Bereichen des öffentlichen Dienstes läuft bis Ende August 2018 eine Testphase.

Haben die Unternehmen einen eigenen Fuhrpark mit Rädern bzw. Elektro-Fahrrädern, die sie der Belegschaft zur Verfügung stellen, können Sie Anschaffung und Betrieb in Höhe von 25 % der Kosten von der Körperschaftssteuer absetzen.

Die neuen Regelungen sind ein Schritt hin zur Gleichberechtigung der Verkehrsmittel. Autofahrer können ihre Wegekosten von der Steuer absetzen und Arbeitgeber sind per Gesetz dazu verpflichtet, 50 % der Kosten einer Monatskarte eines Angestellten für den öffentlichen Nahverkehr zu übernehmen.

Fahrrad-Parkplätze

Beim Neubau von Gewerbebauten, Fabriken, Einkaufscentern, Kinos usw. besteht seit Anfang 2017 die Pflicht, Fahrrad-Parkplätze mit einem gewissen Sicherheitsstandard zur Verfügung zu stellen. Ein Unternehmen muss für 15 % der Angestellten einen Fahrradplatz vorhalten und bei einem Einkaufscenter etc. müssen 10 % der Parkplätze für Fahrräder zur Verfügung stehen.

Fahrrad-Mitnahme in öffentlichen Verkehrsmitteln

Hier gibt es gewisse Fortschritte in den meisten EU-Mitgliedsstaaten. Zum Vergleich Frankreich: In den Regional-/Nahverkehrszügen TER ist die Mitnahme von Fahrrädern kostenlos. Auch viele Hochgeschwindigkeitszüge (TGV) nehmen Fahrräder gegen eine Reservierungsgebühr von 10 € mit Diese Züge sind mit dem deutschen ICE vergleichbar und das europaweite Erstmodell für Trains à grande vtiesse..

In den letzten Jahren erlauben die Verkehrsverbünde außerhalb der Hauptverkehrszeiten vermehrt auch die kostenfreie Mitnahme des Fahrrads im öffentlichen Nahverkehr. So ist in der Pariser RER das Fahrrad ebenso willkommen wie in den Straßenbahnen vieler Städte (Bordeaux, Brest, Clermont-Ferrand, Le Mans, Montpellier, Mulhouse, Orléans, Straßburg, Toulouse).

Anschaffung eines Pedelecs

Interessant ist die Förderung von Elektro-Fahrrädern in Frankreich: Seit dem 19. Februar 2017 unterstützt der französische Staat die Anschaffung eines Pedelecs (E-Bike) durch Privatpersonen, Unternehmen und öffentliche Verwaltungen. Auf 20 % des Anschaffungspreises wird eine Prämie gewährt, die allerdings bei 200 € gedeckelt ist. Bedingung ist zudem, dass die Batterie des Elektroantriebs des Fahrrads kein Blei enthält.

Plan vélo 2020 – Paris für das Fahrrad – Fahrradexpresswege

Paris investiert mit seinem Plan vélo 2015-2020 150 Mio. € in den Ausbau der Fahrradinfrastruktur. Dabei wird die Länge der Fahrradwege von 700 km auf 1400 km verdoppelt und in den Richtungen Nord-Süd und Ost-West werden Fahrradexpresswege in beide Richtungen mit einer Länge von 80 km entstehen. Ziel ist es, dass der Anteil des Fahrrades am Verkehr sich von 5% auf 15% verdreifacht. Zum Konzept gehört auch die flächendeckende Einführung von Tempo 30-Zonen, 10.000 neue Fahrradstellplätze, die Einführung von 7000 Vorrang-Fahrradzonen an Kreuzungen und Überführungen sowie Vorrangschaltungen für Fahrradfahrer an Ampeln.

Insgesamt: Respekt vor dieser verkehrspolitischen Leistung in Frankreich, Chapeau! Nicht nur, dass einige TGV-Zugverbindungen, die dieses Jahr eingeweiht werden, schneller als geplant und billiger als budgetiert (!) gebaut wurden …

New EUFAJ 1/2017: Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood, Belarus, Balkan, Albanian rivers, Faroes, Nagorno-Karabakh Referendum, Azerbaijan arrest warrants, Armenian NGO chief deported from Russia, warfare by private companies …

The new issue 1/2017 of European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (EUFAJ) is out. See articles on:

  • EU and Egypt Revolution after 2012,
  • Muslim Brotherhood should be declared terrorist,
  • private enterpreneurs running wars,
  • EU Fund for Sustainable Development – a new instrument,
  • Belarus crisis and Europe,
  • Russian Deportation of an Armenian NGO chief,
  • the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) referendum from 20.2.2017,
  • Azerbaijan arrest warrants against European parliamentarians,
  • Faroe Islands will hold referendum – with far reaching possible consequences,
  • Western Balkans and the EU Annual Reports about possible membership,
  • Balkan rivers and environment: Sava in Serbia, Mavrovo Park in Macedonia, Vjosa valley in Albania: national park vs. hydropower plants,
  • EU for Multilateral Investment Courts,
  • Let’s go to Bornholm Island – with a new European initiative.

See this issue of EUFAJ under: http://www.libertas-institut.com/eufaj/eufaj-1-2017/

 

 

Azerbaijan’s Government Attacks European Principles of Parliamentarism

Illustrated with a charismatic picture of an Azerbaijani civil servant, the Azerbaijan press agency APA reported on 22.2.2017 on a new case for them. Plese see the original text of this press agency release here:

———————————————————————

Prosecutor General’s Office: „A criminal case was launched against members of the European Parliament“

Azerbaijan has announced an international arrest warrant for European Parliament members (EP) Frank Engel (Luxembourg), Eleni Teoharus (Cyprus) and Jaromir Stetin (Czech Republic) for the monitoring of the „referendum“ in Nagorno Karabakh, spokesperson of the Prosecutor General’s Office Eldar Sultanov told APA.

Azerbaijani General Prosecutor’s Office instituted criminal proceedings against the foreigners who have committed an illegal visit the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, also sent a corresponding request to Interpol for their announcement on the international wanted list, said on Wednesday the press service of the Prosecutor General.

“A criminal case has been launched against the members of the European Parliament under the relevant articles of the Criminal Code for repeated illegal visit to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, in particular, on suspicion of illegal visit to Nagorno Karabakh to participate in the so-called “referendum” as the “observers” on February 20,” Prosecutor General’s Office said in a statement.

In addition, the accused European parliamentarians charged for conducting propaganda of seperatist entity called „Nagorno Karabakh Republic“, illegal participation in the activities organized in those territories, and presenting illegal entity in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan as an independent republic.

“The court decided to arrest F.Engel, E.Teoharus and J. Stetin and they have been declared internationally wanted through Interpol,” the report says.


This constitutes an incredible attack on European parliamentarism. Three Members of European Parliament went as observers to a referendum. There were around 100 international observers at the constitutional referendum in Nagtrono-Karabakh from 20.2.2017, according to the result of the referendum now called Artsakh, which should regulate the circumstances how the people there live in the future. Artsakh is not recognised by any other country, but it works together with institutions all over the world (like e.g. Kosovo  in a phase of its history) and, in a strong contrast to Azerbaijan itself, it can be considered to be, in grosso modo, a democratic community, which in the region maight be topped only by Georgia. This is a positive sign, but for the Azerbaijan government it seems to be a bad sign: They do not let their people live in a freedom like it is the case in the disputed territory of Artsakh. There no state harrassment is known to bloggers, critical journalists, opposition members etc., as it is the case in Azerbaijan, who even has managed institutions in the EU to have compiled a list of their political prisoners. Azerbaijan, after all, is not only the most corrupt regime among the Council of Europe Member States, but it is also the most repressive, where it seems to have doubled now Belarus. Only their brother state Turkey has has imprsoned more journalists at present, but it has also more than 10 x the population.

What can the EU do?

The three arrtest warrants are, of course, ridiculous. They also include that the accused European parliamentarians [are] charged for conducting propaganda of seperatist entity called „Nagorno Karabakh Republic“. This is a propaganda notion like e.g. in Turkey  „terrorism“ is used for opposition members, or as it was used in Soviet times, but definitely not in an open society. And it should be reminded that OSCE was compelled to cancel their own observer mission for the Azeri parliamentary elections in autumn 2015 (see also  http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/azerbaijan/181611).

The warrants might be enforced by states who „just want to do a favour“ towards Azerbaijan. Belarus did so some weeks ago in the case of the Russian-Israeli blogger Lapchin who was extradited to Azerbaijan (…just to have some conversations with the police…“). This would be an incredible violation of free parliamentarism. Any European parliamentarian, and not only in the EU parliament, has the right to observe whatever  election or vote may be held anywhere in the world, if he was invited (which was the case). I have to add, also if not. To observe an election or a general vote like a referendum is a good tradition among democracies or not-so-advanced democracies, anyway it is a good sign for popular vote and people’s power. That this is attacked under the pretexts used by the Azeri government is an incredible attack on free parliamentarism. This should be solved under political auspices only, by discussions, debates, parliamentary actions. The fact that Azerbaijan reduced their actions to criminal procedures shows only the nervousness of a regime who cold not do anything – due to their commitment to gas and oil extracrtion only and a lack of economic diversification – against an economic and monetary downturn, and who did not really manage to overcome the disparities between the capital and rural  areas. Instead of this, it buys arms by the billions (euros) from Russia and exercises regularly a belligerous language aganist their neighbour. It is the European country with the worst state branding policy, with a too transparant „caviar diplomacy“ and corruption towards third countries as well – see the present investigation in the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly member Volonté who is under suspicion to have got 2,4 mill. euro from Azerbaijan sources.

The EU could – and should – after all, besides a clear resolution by the European Parliament, first suspend all talks with the Azeri government until the arrest warrants would be withdrawn formally.

If necessary, it can approach all third country governments and ask them whether they will follow to implement this international arrest warrant by Azerbaijan. This should be confirmed by any other government, as it is not clear if legal procedures will be correct in some of these states – see the extradition of Lapchin from Belarus. This should be launched in an official diplomatic note. It is a chance to enhance EU common foreign policy – and also European parliamentarism, which cannot be forced to meet the level of what is consicdered as parliamentarism by Azerbaijan.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka

Chief Editor, European Union Foreign Affairs Journal

 

 

Finally: The EU Reacted Strongly. United we Stand, Divided we Fall.

Finally, the EU has reacted in a rather strong way. Today, 31st Jan., 2017, in the afternoon the EU Council President, the former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, wrote an open letter to his 27 colleagues, as a Jingle for the forthcoming EU Summit Meeting in Malta next weekend. I wish this letter a world-wide distribution, and it goes exctly in the direction of two articles of John Feffer, Foreign Policy in Focus from Washington D.C., and myself in the next EUFAJ which will appear in some days. What is Donald Tusk’s letter about? Here is the full text:

„Dear colleagues,

In order to best prepare our discussion in Malta about the future of the European Union of 27 member states, and in light of the conversations I have had with some of you, let me put forward a few reflections that I believe most of us share.

The challenges currently facing the European Union are more dangerous than ever before in the time since the signature of the Treaty of Rome. Today we are dealing with three threats, which have previously not occurred, at least not on such a scale.

The first threat, an external one, is related to the new geopolitical situation in the world and around Europe. An increasingly, let us call it, assertive China, especially on the seas, Russia’s aggressive policy towards Ukraine and its neighbours, wars, terror and anarchy in the Middle East and in Africa, with radical Islam playing a major role, as well as worrying declarations by the new American administration all make our future highly unpredictable. For the first time in our history, in an increasingly multipolar external world, so many are becoming openly anti-European, or Eurosceptic at best. Particularly the change in Washington puts the European Union in a difficult situation; with the new administration seeming to put into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy.

The second threat, an internal one, is connected with the rise in anti-EU, nationalist, increasingly xenophobic sentiment in the EU itself. National egoism is also becoming an attractive alternative to integration. In addition, centrifugal tendencies feed on mistakes made by those, for whom ideology and institutions have become more important than the interests and emotions of the people.

The third threat is the state of mind of the pro-European elites. A decline of faith in political integration, submission to populist arguments as well as doubt in the fundamental values of liberal democracy are all increasingly visible.

In a world full of tension and confrontation, what is needed is courage, determination and political solidarity of Europeans. Without them we will not survive. If we do not believe in ourselves, in the deeper purpose of integration, why should anyone else? In Rome we should renew this declaration of faith. In today’s world of states-continents with hundreds of millions of inhabitants, European countries taken separately have little weight. But the EU has demographic and economic potential, which makes it a partner equal to the largest powers. For this reason, the most important signal that should come out of Rome is that of readiness of the 27 to be united. A signal that we not only must, but we want to be united.

Let us show our European pride. If we pretend we cannot hear the words and we do not notice the decisions aimed against the EU and our future, people will stop treating Europe as their wider homeland. Equally dangerously, global partners will cease to respect us. Objectively speaking, there is no reason why Europe and its leaders should pander to external powers and their rulers. I know that in politics, the argument of dignity must not be overused, as it often leads to conflict and negative emotions. But today we must stand up very clearly for our dignity, the dignity of a united Europe – regardless of whether we are talking to Russia, China, the US or Turkey. Therefore, let us have the courage to be proud of our own achievements, which have made our continent the best place on Earth. Let us have the courage to oppose the rhetoric of demagogues, who claim that European integration is beneficial only to the elites, that ordinary people have only suffered as its result, and that countries will cope better on their own, rather than together.

We must look to the future – this was your most frequent request in our consultations over the past months. And there is no doubt about it. But we should never, under any circumstances, forget about the most important reasons why 60 years ago we decided to unite Europe. We often hear the argument that the memory of the past tragedies of a divided Europe is no longer an argument, that new generations do not remember the sources of our inspiration. But amnesia does not invalidate these inspirations, nor does it relieve us of our duty to continuously recall the tragic lessons of a divided Europe. In Rome, we should strongly reiterate these two basic, yet forgotten, truths: firstly, we have united in order to avoid another historic catastrophe, and secondly, that the times of European unity have been the best times in all of Europe’s centuries-long history. It must be made crystal clear that the disintegration of the European Union will not lead to the restoration of some mythical, full sovereignty of its member states, but to their real and factual dependence on the great superpowers: the United States, Russia and China. Only together can we be fully independent.

We must therefore take assertive and spectacular steps that would change the collective emotions and revive the aspiration to raise European integration to the next level. In order to do this, we must restore the sense of external and internal security as well as socio-economic welfare for European citizens. This requires a definitive reinforcement of the EU external borders; improved cooperation of services responsible for combating terrorism and protecting order and peace within the border-free area; an increase in defence spending; strengthening the foreign policy of the EU as a whole as well as better coordinating individual member states‘ foreign policies; and last but not least fostering investment, social inclusion, growth, employment, reaping the benefits of technological change and convergence in both the euro area and the whole of Europe.

We should use the change in the trade strategy of the US to the EU’s advantage by intensifying our talks with interested partners, while defending our interests at the same time. The European Union should not abandon its role as a trade superpower which is open to others, while protecting its own citizens and businesses, and remembering that free trade means fair trade. We should also firmly defend the international order based on the rule of law. We cannot surrender to those who want to weaken or invalidate the Transatlantic bond, without which global order and peace cannot survive. We should remind our American friends of their own motto: United we stand, divided we fall“.

I really like this Open Letter – finally the EU gets a spine of steel. Donald Tusk Shows that he is a leader, and I hope he remains still a while in his present Job in the future, too.

It is not by chance that Donald Trump is mentioned in one line with questionable presidents like the ones in Turkey or Russia. This is really a shame for an American president. We all in Europe should not be passive in the attempts of the conscient Americans to stand and finally overcome this Person. He has so Little political and civic education, that his advisors seem to have free way, much to the pleasure of the president who thinks he can run a complicated state like a billionaire’s shop.

What is worst: The US have always been at the side of European integration, and of course we had some small difficulties, but this is normal in families. In families who share the same values, also internationally. In the last years of the Soviet Union, in the 1980s, there was a big discussion in Europe about so-called „equidistance“ of Europe, towards the USSR and the USA. In Europe, it was clear that we may be geographically closer to the first ine, but value-wise closer connected to the US. Now we know: We stand alone – and we will not give up, now more than ever, to tell the world that it is worth while to have an open society, of immigration and emigration (many famous US companies would not exist if today’s travel bans would have existed!), a social market economy, and a clear concept of the togetherness in the world. What the Republicans do at present, is adventurous, and it shows that the political coordinates cannot be considered parallel at all, between Europe and the USA. This not yet a cultural fight, but serious cultural differences – and it is indeed a matter of education, of being open to other cultures and countries. Let us work in the suitable way in keeping contact with „enlightened“ Americans, who think apriund the Corner, and let us prepare the day, when Trump is „shot down the tube“ by the voters, or by an impeachment before, what I do not exclude, if you see the exhaust of his companies.
Hans-Jürgen Zahorka
Chief Editor, European Union Foreign Affairs Journal
http://www.eufaj.eu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ertragssteuern und Europäische wirtschaftliche Interessenvereinigung (EWIV)

Dieser Blog-Post wurde geschrieben, als wir noch kein paralleles, eigenes EWIV-Blog hatten. Sie finden ihn unter http://ewivinfo.wordpress.com, Dort gibt es eine ständig steigende Anzahl interessanter Beiträge zum Thema Europäische wirtschaftliche Interessenvereinigung (EWIV) und ihre rechtlichen, steuerlichen und betriebswirtschaftlichen Aspekte, alles unter der Ägide des Europäischen EWIV-Informationszentrums.

29.8.2018

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Unser Blog verzeichnete in den letzten Wochen immer wieder Aufgriffe auf einige ältere Hinweise auf Workshops des Europäischen EWIV-Informationszentrums, einen  losen Zusammenschluss von EWIV-Experten aus Recht, Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Steuerlehre und dies aus mehreren EU-Ländern. Die Europäische wirtschaftliche Interessenvereinigung (EWIV – auf Deutsch, in den anderen 24 EU-Amtssprachen entsprechend) ist eine EU-weite Kooperations-Rechtsform aufgrund EU-Recht und wird in der EU-Verordnung 2137/85 geregelt (dieser Text und viele andere Informationen können auf http://www.ewiv.eu abgerufen werden). Um unseren Blog-Lesern Anrufe zu ersparen, hier einige grundlegende Informationen:

  1. Wie erwähnt, ist eine EWIV eine Kooperations-Rechtsform zur transnationalen Zusammenarbeit, also mindestens zwischen zwei Mitgliedern aus zwei verschiedenen EU-Staaten (+ die drei EFTA-Staaten des EWR: Liechtenstein, Island und Norwegen). Das heisst: Wer keinerlei leicht, etwa mit Dokumenten nachweisbare europäische Kooperation nachweisen kann, sollte auch keine EWIV gründen bzw  betreiben. Die Gefahr ist sonst groß, dass die Finanzämter (die in der EU ständig besser grenzüberschreitend zusammenarbeiten) feststellen, dass einer der Mitglieder eine „leere Hülse“ darstellt (Zitat aus einer baden-württembergischen Außenprüfung, wo eine deutsche GmbH mit ihrem spanischen Partner, einer Comunidad de bienes auf Mallorca, keinerlei Zusammenarbeit pflegte). Die Folge kann sein, dass bis zur Verjährungsgrenze (also mindestens 10 Jahre retrospektiv) die EWIV rückabgewickelt werden kann. Dies also zum sog. Transnationalitätserfordernis, das allerdings bei den wenigsten Finanzämtern bekannt und bewusst ist – allerdings von den Finanzgerichten aufgegriffen werden könnte. Es kann damit gerechnet werden, dass dies in den nächsten Jahren allgemein bewusst werden könnte und dann entsprechend zurück geprüft wird.
  2. Eine EWIV hat immer Unternehmereigenschaft (vgl. auch das Schreiben des Bundesministeriums der Finanzen von 1988 zur EWIV, ebenfalls auf http://www.ewiv.eu). Das bedeutet, dass eine EIWV, die ja auch in  den Handelsregistern Abt. A in Deutschland eingetragen wird (und somit als Personengesellschaft gilt, die im Übrigen keine Publizitätspflicht kennt), z.B. den Grundsätzen ordnungsgemäßer Buchführung (GoB) des HGB unterliegt. In der Praxis – durchaus sanktioniert von Finanzämtern in Deutschland – genügt eine einfache Einnahme-Überschuss-Rechnung, bei Umsätzen bis 500.000 EUR jährlich, oder bei einfachen Buchungsvorgängen. Erst ab diesem Limit muss man eine (Handels-)Bilanz anfertigen.
  3. Eine EWIV darf keinen Gewinn aufweisen – dies steht in den meisten Gründungsverträgen und ergibt sich auch aus Art. 40 der EU-VO (die eigentlich EWG-Verordnung heisst, da sie im ersten Entwuf 1970 angefangen wurde, aber der Einfachheit halber hier EU-VO genannt wird). Dieser Art. 40 besagt, dass eventuelle Überschüsse der EWIV nicht bei dieser zu versteuern sind, wenn sie an die Mitglieder aufbezahlt werden. Diese Mitglieder müssen dann diese Einnahmen (aus Beteiligung z. B.) versteuern, wo auch immer sie sitzen. Dabei können diese Auszahlungen über das Jahr verteilt oder auf einmal erfolgen, und sie können nach Köpfen oder „asymmetrisch“ erfolgen (also entsprechend Projektanteilen, nach Messgrössen wie z. B. Umsatz, Mitarbeiter o. ä.).
  4. Eine Möglichkeit aber ist auch die Bildung von Rücklagen, die bei der EWIV als „Reservefonds“ bezeichnet werden. Diese sollten in einem Rücklagenbeschluss genauer bezeichnet werden, z. B. …. EUR für ein Seminarzentrum am Lago di Garda etc. Aber auch zukünftige Kosten wie z. B. die Anschaffung von Pkw, die Webseite, allgemeine Bürokosten usw. können Gegenstand von derartigen Rücklagen sein. Derartige Rücklagen sind selbstverständlich von den Finanzämtern zu akzeptieren – dies geschieht auch. Wenn allerdings eine EWIV stets Jahresumsätze von 150.000 EUR generiert und dann plötzlich eine Million auf dem Rücklagenkonto aufweist, ist dies erklärungsbedürftig bzw. muss schlüssig erklärt werden können. ACHTUNG: Die deutschen Steuerbehörden akzeptieren derzeit mehr und mehr Investitionsrücklagen. So ist seit 2016 beim Investitionsabzugsbetrag (IAB) nicht mehr obligatorisch (und dieser endet bei 200.000 EUR), einzelne Wirtschaftsgüter einzeln zu benennen. Voraussetzung ist eine Steuererklärung per Datenübertragung.
  5. So gesehen, bezahlt eine EWIV also – bei korrekter Buchhaltung – weder Körperschafts- noch Gewerbesteuer. Voraussetzung hierfür ist aber, wie erwähnt, dass der Jahresabschluss der EWIV „null auf null“ ausgeht. Wo im Übrigen EWIV Gewinne ausweisen (manchmal geschieht dies, weil unwissende Steuerberater oder Buchhaltungsbüros dies so ausweisen, zum Teil auch aufgrund veralteter IT-Programme), müssen sie diese versteuern. Gleichzeitig machen sie sich auch automatisch zum IHK-Mitglied (mit allen Beiträgen) und bei der Kommune gewerberegisterpflichtg, wovon sie ansonsten befreit bleiben.
  6. Ansonsten bleibt eine EWIV natürlich steuerpflichtig bei allen anderen Steuern, z. B. Lohnsteuer, Kfz-Steuer, Grundsteuer, Grunderwerbssteuer, aber auch Umsatzsteuer. Sie ist in diesem Zusammenhang als ganz normales Unternehmen anzusehen.
  7. Wir machen sicherlich auch in 2017 einen oder mehrere Workshops zu diesem Thema und werden hierauf hinweisen. Wir werden auch in den nächsten Tagen ein Blog nur für EWIV-Fragen eröffnen, wo in qualifizierter Weise auf Fragen eingegangen wird – und nicht, wie seltsame Unternehmensberater implizieren, auf „Null-Steuern mit EWIV“ oder ähnlichen Unsinn.

Zwischenzeitlich stehen wir gerne zur Verfügung, falls es für präzise Fragen nötig sein sollte. Unsere E-Mail: ewiv@libertas-institut.com. Und wir können auf 25 Jahre Erfahrung und mehr als 330 gegründete EWIV zurückschauen.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka, Assessor jur.

Leiter des Europäischen EWIV-Informationszentrum, http://www.ewiv.eu

 

 

 

EU trade agreements: Away with the unanimous vote in the EU Council

For mainly internal policy reasons (state savings, the possible heritage of the present Belgian Prime Minister by a Walloon politician…, etc.) the internal Belgian conditions have not been met – at least for Friday, 21.10.2016, 12.21 h) – that Belgium can sign the Canadian-EU trade agreement CETA. So, a small part of the EU population, namely less than one percent, has until now blocked successfully a breaking EU trade agreement. This goes in one hand with the rising number of protectionist measures, as counted by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), in all parts of the world, and Plays in favour of those populists in the whole EU who are against Integration and the EU and in favour of an exaggerated subsidiarity principle, by means of regional votes for upper competences, by referendum etc. How to avoid the possible consequence – and one of those  m u s t  be seized – on future trade and other agreements in the external field of the European Union?

The EU makes itself ridiculous, and from now on (and this is a very nice view) the EU has to calculate with the fact that one region or a country can indeed block, or blackmail?, the rest of the EU. This in a time when the Canadian-EU trade agreement CETA will be needed urgently, also as an example for other bilateral agreements. And this with Canada, which is the most similar partner to the EU overseas, sharing fully European values, always understanding the EU, and not with e.g. Pakistan, China or other countries who are also likely one day for a trade agreement, but do not share European values, like democracy, human rights, our parliamentary system etc.

Belgium should and must remain a federal state; this has to be underlined. Federalism is an excellent means to defuse many tensions immanent in a state. But federalism can also be exaggerated (and the Germans have a certain experience with that).  An exaggeration is that Belgium which has normally the sole competence in external relations negotiations needs an approval by each of the four regional parliaments. This even in the case when the EU, to which the external trade competence had been delegated has negotiated for seven years a complicated trade agreement.

It can clearly be doubted that every Walloon who now thunders against CETA has even read the text. It can be estimated that the Walloons profit now of a system which has foreseen all situations but this one – a clear „beautiful-weather system“. But sometimes it rains also, and then the EU and the Member States need umbrellas.

So the changes for a likewise situation have to be inserted at a place where a certain balance is necessary. This means clearly: The EU Council should change as fast as possible its unanimous vote in this kind of trade agreements into a qualified majority vote, at least.

A qualified majority would mean that in most of the cases the criteria for any vote would remain. But it would ease the possible pressure on any Member State „from below“ (and the EU has also a lot of experience herewith). As the EU has mended its potholes often after similar „incidents“, the time is now good for this.

The EU is in a very crucial phase for its common foreign and security policy: The refugee quotas, the Brexit, the Dutch referendum on the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, the EU-USA trade agreement TTIP, the discussion about the Russia sanctions (which however is not yet dividing the EU decisively), etc., but now also CETA – these are all open issues, among many others, where the EU reached in very short time a clear division and not the necessary unity. It is easy: If the EU wants to have a common foreign, in particularly foreign trade policy (and experience shows that this was up to now an excellent way which never had to be discussed), a transition into a qualified majority vote will be indispensable. Otherwise, the tradition phrase about the EU „Economically a giant, politically a dwarf“ must be changed into „Politically a dwarf, economically a dwarf“. Nobody in the EU can accept this, not even the staunchest Walloon. For the Single Market, the European Single Act from 1986 has brought a qualified majority which was good, now it is the external dimension of this Single Market which is overdue.

Hans-Jürgen Zahorka

Chief Editor, European Union Foreign Affairs Journal – . http://www.eufaj.eu

 

CoE Venice Commission criticizes intended changes to Azeri constitution in referendum on 26.9.2016

A preliminary opinion by the Council of Europe’s constitutional law experts, (the Venice Commission) criticizes draft modifications to the constitution of Azerbaijan, which will be put to a national referendum on Monday 26 September. Many proposed amendments would severely upset the balance of power by giving “unprecedented” powers to the President (in this case Ilham Aliev), according to the Venice Commission opinion.

For example, the extension of the presidential mandate from five to seven years “cannot be justified” given the already very strong position of the President, who since 2009 can be re-elected without term limits.

Another reform gives the President power to dissolve parliament, which does not only make political dissent in parliament “largely ineffective”, according to the opinion, but also affects the independence of the judiciary, since parliament’s role in the approval of judges will be reduced.

The Venice Commission experts were “particularly worried” by the introduction of the figure of unelected Vice-Presidents, who may at some moment govern the country, and the President’s prerogative to declare early presidential elections at his convenience. There are many rumours in Baku that Ilham Aliev will install his wife as Vice President.

The opinion also criticizes the procedure of the referendum as having lacked proper debate in parliament and having been carried out too quickly and without real public discussion beforehand.

Indeed, due to time constraints, the Council of Europe opinion rapporteurs themselves were unable to visit Azerbaijan and did not benefit from direct consultations with the authorities, experts and other stakeholders. In this context, the Venice Commission regrets that the authorities of Azerbaijan did not consult it prior to submitting the draft to the referendum.

The experts praised proposed amendments in the human rights chapter of the Azeri constitution, such as the introduction of the concept of „human dignity“ and of the right to “conscientious treatment excluding arbitrariness” by state bodies and of certain procedural rights. They also praised the proposal to elevate the “principle of proportionality” to the constitutional level, which means that every restriction to human rights should be proportionate to the aim the state seeks to achieve.

However, the experts expressed reservations with other proposed changes in the human rights chapter, in particular one which provides for limitations to public gatherings for the sake of „public order“ and “morality”, since this provision risks to be too broadly interpreted. The opinion also is concerned about a proposed provision on withdrawing citizenship that “reduces the scope of the current guarantee” that prevents withdrawal of citizenship in absolute terms.

 

New Book in November 2016 by EUFAJ Author Sourajit Aiyer: Capital Market Integration in South Asia – Realizing the SAARC Opportunity

Lee Kuan Yew, credited for converting Singapore into an economic success, once described ASEAN as “Unpromising Start, Promising Future”. This phrase can also describe SAARC, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation of countries around India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, which has seen few successes as geopolitics slowed progress. Institutional investors use acronyms for groups of developing countries, but all is not rosy with these groups either. At such times, SAARC doesn’t look too bad. SAARC is a combination of sizable Emerging and Frontier markets with low correlation. While India is the largest in size, the other SAARC markets have seen decisive improvement in their metrics relative to India. Return on Equity and Profit Margins of top companies in Pakistan and Bangladesh has improved relative to India; while Sri Lankan companies have seen buoyant topline growth. The combined package should help counter volatility of single-market exposure. Investors may argue why they should look at SAARC asset class, and it is better to look at India or Frontier markets (FM) separately. But India benefits from the returns and low-correlation of SAARC’s FMs, while the FMs benefit from India’s size. A SAARC portfolio can increase the upside from multiple growth enablers, while minimizing the downside due to low-correlation constituents. A SAARC asset class may hasten country-specific funds for South Asian FMs, as current FM funds have only a small allocation to them.

Economic projections show the opportunity of SAARC vs other prominent regional groups like ASEAN, BRICS, Next-11, etc. The incremental economic size SAARC will add from 2014-2020 is next only to BRICS and Next-11. SAARC ranks high in savings growth, savings rate, and aggregate savings as of 2020. Capital market penetration is low, so depth has headroom to expand. Income is more evenly distributed, so investor breadth has headroom to expand. SAARC has the youngest demographics with a near absence of social benefits. Incremental capital formation is amongst the highest in SAARC. Not only is SAARC a large consumer base, it is building production capabilities across sectors.

As this economic story unfolds, it should translate into a financial story. This book discusses possible capital market Products/activities which regional stakeholders could explore to help realize the economic opportunity in this region. Some ideas may be implementable now; while some may be implementable as markets mature further. This book includes extensive data analysis of SAARC’s economic projections, and corporate performance and market indicators.

The purpose is to mobilize investment flows into regional markets, by providing scope for diversification, yield and risk mitigation; building product depth of smaller markets; and reducing information opacity for pricing efficiencies. Ideas are both conventional and unconventional. Unconventional ones convert SAARC’s unique challenges into ideas for capital markets. Specific rationale for institutions and retail investors is written with each idea. Products have to be viable. Hence, a focus is on how to deepen awareness of new products and markets so that asset flows increase.

Any integrated product has to take into consideration ground-realities. Bringing in an anchor partner might help counter implementation challenges in a geopolitically-sensitive SAARC, i.e. from a country that has bilateral interests with SAARC members individually and is looking for returns from overseas investments. Such an anchor may hold sway with SAARC members, which may enable faster agreements. Even if one or member remains disagreeable, the structure of these product ideas has been kept flexible to allow implementation with only few agreeable members.

In a region which is unexplored as an asset class, performance will be the kingmaker. This book includes the author’s CDCF Portfolio basket for the SAARC asset class, which selects the best fundamental-performers on a rolling basis. While this may not give equal representation to all countries, it selects the best performers. Relative comparison of this basket highlights its outperformance on risk-return parameters vs prominent indices of other regions.

It is an opportune time to look at SAARC. Recent years have seen new governments in member countries stressing their commitment towards economic development and regional relations. It makes it a hot iron to strike now. Above all, it is reasonable that SAARC as one of the world’s regional integrations – by the way always supported by the European Union – discusses about itself as a financial market, and this in view also of China. A comparison with Europe shows that it is good to have competing markets.

Sourajit Aiyeis a senior manager in investor relations and corporate planning with Motilal Oswal Financial Services, Mumbai, a leading Indian capital markets company. Previously he worked in equity trading operations with UBS Investment Bank, London; in financial analysis with Reliance Broadcast, Mumbai; and in financial research with Evalueserve, Gurgaon. He has done internships with Tata Motor Finance, Delhi and Grameen Bank, Bangladesh. He has written on over 60 unique topics in over 30 publications across 13 countries, including besides this Blog also European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (EUFAJ). He is also the author of a LIBERTAS Paper „Flying with the Winged Elephant – Niche Opportunities for Global Businesses that May Emerge in India“, see more: http://www.libertas-institut.com/de/PDF/Flyer_Sourajit.pdf

See the new book: http://store.elsevier.com/Capital-Market-Integration-in-South-Asia/Sourajit-Aiyer/isbn-9780081019061/ 

 

India’s multi-aligned approach in an increasingly tri-polar world

By Sourajit Aiyer

The author is a seasoned writer for many Major Asian and European papers and news portals. Sourajit Aiyer from India is expert on economy, also being a professional in a Mumbai financial company. Originally published in Society for Policy Studies‘ South Asia Monitor, India.

India wants constructive engagement with multiple nations. But will it succeed in an increasingly Tri-Polar world? In fact, the challenge is not how much India wants to be part of any one group. Rather, it seems to be how much they want India to be part of them, and the extent of co-operation, reconciliation (and arm-twisting) they might just do.

Tri-Polar Troika: USA was the sole superpower after the bipolar Cold-War ended with Soviet Union’s demise. Then, China started flexing its geopolitical muscle using its manufacturing boom-led foreign exchange corpus to woo developing nations. It is fast expanding its military presence in its neighborhood. Russia has also become assertive now in expanding its influence in Eurasian and Middle East regions, backed by the might of its defense establishment. It is quite a coincidence that the superpowers are often the biggest producers and exporters of defense arms. This troika may represent how the world’s polarity will shape in coming years. USA continues to be backed by key allies in Europe and Asia-Pacific, though its ties with a Sunni Muslim ally is in doldrums. Russia is aligning with Shia Muslim nations, and reining together CIS nations as a Eurasian block. Its military adventures in Ukraine made the West skeptical; who placed economic sanctions to sort-of control its ambitions. China is a game-changer and making the US establishment most insecure. It has substantial economic partnerships with Asian and African nations, where it is building ambitious transport and energy infrastructure through engineering-cum-funding deals. This is also creating long-term consumer markets in those nations for China’s vast production output. Its military excursions in regions like South China Sea and South Asia are causing concern amongst the incumbent powers, even as they maintain friendliness on the surface.

India’s Approach: India’s Modi has rightly maintained a multi-aligned stance, and has spent effort to win partners in each group. In fact, the challenge is not how much India wants to be part of any one group. Rather, it seems to be how much they want India to be part of them, and the extent of reconciliation, co-operation (and arm-twisting) they do!

USA has been working to recognize India as a partner of equal status, despite being pro-Pakistan during the Cold War. This about-turn in US approach to India is in contrast to how Nixon-Kissinger viewed India, and shows the extent of reconciliation the USA is willing to do to adapt to changing times when its ties with Pakistan hit a low due to issues relating to Pakistan’s handling of terrorists. USA is trying to step up its defense partnership with India including arms exports and technology transfers, possibly as it is the only country in this region that can balance China. Given its size, India remains lucrative for US businesses, although offshoring remains contentious. Partnering with a secular India is a good bet to combat a rise of radical Islamization. However, the US condemnation of India for testing a submarine missile shows a higher-hand attitude. India has to be watchful that this reconciliatory approach from USA does not cost India its own interests. Bringing India to its side can help US break the unison of a sizable economic bloc like BRICS, which India cannot allow. Keeping a multi-nation approach can help India eke the best terms for partnerships.

Russia was dominant in India’s defense supplies, and its co-operation is extending to transfer of critical technologies. Even the US has hesitated on this with Korea, its close ally. USA is insisting on end-user agreements with India, but Russia is becoming agreeable to partner without such agreements. With India keen on defense manufacturing, such technology-transfers may augur well in the long term, but India needs to watch it does not compromise on the terms. Also, Russia’s exports are of latest technologies. Given the leeway it is willing to give, it can help India negotiate with other countries. Keeping a multi-nation approach can help India eke the best terms for procurements!

Modi has made efforts to create inroads with China. While it has opened doors to Chinese companies, China wants deeper access into India. It has been vying for the BCIM Corridor and extending Nepal railway link into India. Given China’s links with Pakistan, India has been cautious not to compromise on national security in any manner. But given the slowness from India’s side, there seems to be some arm-twisting, possibly with the objective to make India agree. Both nations know China’s influence over Pakistan is the best bet to control militancy from Pakistani soil to India, given Pakistan is disproportionately dependent on China today. This seems a pawn China is indirectly playing. While several countries and UN branded Pakistan-based elements as terrorists, China seems to be selective. China blocked India’s appeals against Maulana Azhar and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, citing UN provisions. These tactics seem to suggest that if India comes on China’s side, it may use its influence over Pakistan to rein in such elements. It is also opposing India’s entry to the UNSC and NSG, despite the world agreeing. One cannot say if these are true or just a fancy, but China’s expanding assertiveness across Asia raises questions, since India forms a critical component of the continent. India fears if it agrees to China, it may compromise its internal set-up to security threats from Pakistan, or a lifetime of paying Chinese debt, or a free-flow of cheap Chinese imports which can cannibalize India’s own production. Keeping a multi-nation approach can ensure India does not pay a price by disproportionately engaging with only one group.

In conclusion, this multi-aligned approach may show India as a “swing-state”. But in a world seeing such polarity, India needs to create adequate supplies at best-prices for the investments, technologies and critical imports it needs.

Tbilisi/Georgia, EaP Civil Society Forum: Is Donald Trump enemy no. 1 for Europe’s freedom?

Donald Trump is Europe’s enemy no. 1 – because he wants to violate art. 5 NATO Treaty on the mutual defense clause and wants the US‘ intervention to be dependent „if the bill has been paid“. A real problem for European NATO states, and no miracle that Putin praised Trump to be a „wise man“. This was no. 1 out of 10 policy theses set up by Hans-Jürgen Zahorka, Chief Editor of European Union Foreign Affairs Journal (www.eufaj.eu), during an Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum in Tblisi/Georgia end of July 2016, when speaking on „Security Challenges of the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood“. This event was organised jointly by the EaP Civil Society Forum, Brussels (www.eap-csf.eu), represented by its Co-Chair Krzysztof Bobinski, and the Liberal Academy Tbilisi, whose director Lasha Tughashi is also National Coordinator of the EaP CSF National Platform in Georgia. It was opened furthermore by Kakha Gogolashvili, Director of EU Studies at Rondeli Foundation (GFSIS), and Ambassador Janos Herman, head of the EU Delegation in Georgia. Here is what Hans-Jürgen Zahorka expressed:

Challenge no. 2: Erdogan. While it was legitimate to do everything necessary against a military putsch against a democratically elected government, the behaviour of the Turkish president after the putsch attempt shakes the whole region: not only in most of the EaP Caucasus countries there is now uncertainty, incalculability what Turkey wants really. He breaks democracy and human rights in a big NATO state, and his attempts to flirt with Putin are neither credible nor acceptable for NATO. There is a lack of consistency in Turkish NATO membership attitude, and the alliance has somehow to react, as there is a rule that NATO means also democracy, human rights and openness. This is also the fundament of the EU-NATO joint declaration from 8.7.2016.

Challenge no. 3 is nationalism, populism, lack of solidarity between European states- as there are populist and nationalist parties now in every country, and solidarity e.g. in the refugee question is often just not existing. Had the EU Member States found a solution for a proportional (including economic strength) distribution of asylum seekers, there would have been no need for a shaky Turkish refugee agreement. This new egoism is also expressed by the rising number of protectionist acts in the WTO member states, at present 22 per month, and of course by the Brexit of the UK from the EU, which brings a high economic damage – and this mainly to the UK. So the danger comes from within – also in the form of xenophobe, racist, glorifying the own country populist parties (partly financed by Russian institutions!), which are anti-Western, anti-liberal, anti-European integration oriented. In short: who want to turn back the wheel, which requires a vivid, attentive civil society in all the EU and EaP member states.

Challenge no. 4: CSDP (EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy) will gain momentum within the EU – in particular if Trump ever would win and the Brexit approaches. Then the Europeans really have to do something. The German Federal Armed Forces White Book from July 2016 is a signal for the right way, in stressing a European integrated defense, but of course also the EU Strategy Paper from a week before.

Challenge no 5: We will get an EU army – but (unfortunately) not today or tomorrow, but after tomorrow. The development will go step by step, taking also in account possible external threats which may accelerate it. Maybe this army will be much more „electronic“ than a traditional army, but there will be EU structures. It can be taken for sure that unlike in former conflicts a „levée en masse“ won’t be neither necessary nor possible, but due to the modern ways of tomorrow’s warfare, electronic warfare, unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) etc. will play a more pivotal role then anytime before – also in preventing such conflicts. We have already pooled monetary policy, when national competences don’t do it anymore. We can also pool our armed forces.

Challenge no. 6: hybrid threats. This is now a clear part of the reaction potential under the CSDP, and the EU reaction (and the EU is more able than NATO to respond to hybrid threats!) was started with a Joint Declaration from 6.4.2016. It should be directed against all ‚divide et impera‘ and attempts to destabilize a country. In the EaP, this can be done with a better know-how about the potential of small enterprises. So social unrest can be prevented – and the economy can be brought to thriving mode. In this context, I see an urgent need for informing SMEs about the chapters of the free trade agreements, where signed, to be de facto implemented – and they should be much better known to the economy. Hybrid threats shall also – see proposal no. 18 of the Joint Declaration – be treated together between EaP countries and the EU. There will be common risk assessments, and analyses and action plans of common activities. The EU, however, is asymmetrically concerned by hybrid threats, which imposes the chance for EaP countries to tell their own experiences in some countries of the EU. To meet civil society there should be a new task for the EaP civil society.

Callenge no. 7: Terrorism.. EaP countries are affected differently, but this can change very fast. In this context, a full role of the INTCEN EU Intelligence Centre must be advocated, with compulsory exchange of information. EaP countries can and should take part in this exchange – to the benefit of all.

Challenge no. 8: The EU was not able to prevent frozen conflicts and conflicts in its Neighbourhood. No miracle, as no instruments were available. But for the future, the EU must have a close look on its geographic environment. It is advocated, n this context, to explore the possible deplacement of EU peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh, together with simultaneous EU-monitored negotiations which might last for many years. Azerbaijan and Armenia as well as the directly concerned Karabakhis should and could agree to this – and they would, in view of the alternatives which are not possible for various reasons (Russia, USA, OSCE, NATO).

Challenge no. 9: The EU and the EaP countries should endorse the strengthening of the OSCE – with a binding mediation mechanism, with armed peacekeepers etc. Countries or regional insurgents etc. who do not recognise the legitimacy of the OSCE must be isolated as far as possible, and modern communication can also contribute to keep a distance between these de-facto governments and the populations.

Challenge no. 10: The whole EU and the EaP countries, if possible, should endorse a value-oriented legislation and state-building. Security is more than the absence of war. In this context, the principle of being firm on principles and values of the EU while dialoguing with Russia is right. Borders cannot be changed by force. And the rules as in art. 2 Treaty of the EU can be accepted also by every EaP state, as they represent the common denominator of European civilisation: human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law, human rights, minority protection, and this in a society of pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, ustice, solidarity and gender equality.

***

See also the three illustrated posts on EUFAJ’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/eufaj

 

Honduras – Femicide Country no. 1?

The following  text is also on a blog of Deutsche Welle, under: http://blogs.dw.com/womentalkonline/2016/07/20/my-country-and-its-femicides/; its author is the Honduras-born freelance journalist Carmen Aguilera Garcia, living in Nordrhein-Westfalen/Germany.

Honduras has the highest incidence of femicides and in ninety percent of these cases, there is no police investigation. This is a country with the highest level of femicide in Central America. In the last 10 years about 4,500 women have been murdered in Honduras.

The number of femicides is Honduras between January and December 2015 was more than 471. Most of the victims were girls under 15. Sixty percent of the killings happened in Tegucigalpa, the capital, and Comayagüela, and the others in San Pedro Sula.

The most prominent cases of femicide in Honduras are the murder of Maria José Alvarado in 2014 and of Berta Cáceres in March 2016. Alvarado, who was 19 when she was murdered, was Miss Honduras. And Cáceres was an environment and human rights activist. Police and the authorities knew about the danger facing Cáceres since she had received many death threats. Cáceres was killed on March 3, 2016 in La Esperanza. Her murderer has not even been identified. There seems to be no institution monitoring the cases of femicide in Honduras. And that is not the only problem that women are facing. In some companies women are paid less than men and they still have to face sexual harassment. If they lose their job, they do not get any compensation at all. Women are – generally speaking – victims of discrimination in Honduras.

What will happen next? There is nothing left to be discussed. But something has to be done for women’s safety. I really do not know why the government and the police are doing nothing. Berta Cáceres fought for human rights and for a better environment. She only wanted a better life for everyone. What causes machismo? And how can femicides continue to occur with such impunity?

Every 16 hours a woman is murdered in Honduras. According to The Geneva Center for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) between 113 and 200 million women disappeared 2013 in its 61 member countries. That means between 1,5 and three million women are victims of violence in every country in 2013.

The killing of women in Ciudad Juarez (Mexico) and Guatemala City is a recurring occurrence, but the local justice departments do not investigate these crimes. Most of the women were raped. Some of them were tortured and even mutilated.

According to the Criminal Code of Honduras, Article 118-A, “Femicide is a crime in which women are killed because of their gender.” Any person who is accused of committing femicide can be punished with 30 to 40 years in prison.

The third article in the Declaration of Human Rights of the UN states: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.” How is it possible that 97% crimes against women in Honduras are not punished or not even investigated? Where are the rights, justice, law – and safety for women? 98% of femicides in Latin America go unpunished.

The truth lies behind this state of affairs is the attitude of the men, who are mostly machos. They have never known the consequences of their actions – in ending a woman’s life. In what kind of world are we living? The truth is that there is no right in some countries. That is the sad reality in which we live. Sometimes the police do not listen when you go to them with complaints. Many police officers are also corrupt. It happens often that police files disappear in Honduras.

How many women still have to die because of femicide? Why is violence allowed? Is it because the law is not being implemented? The right to live is holy and has to be respected. But machismo exists and femicide happens, sadly.

Edited for Deutsche Welle by Marjory Linardy, Arun Chowdhury. Also on the author’s blog: http://mariaaguiler.wordpress.com

 

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Berlin, 19.9.2016: Seminar on Eurasian Economic Union

What is the „Eurasian Economic Union“ (EEU)? Five states around Russia (Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan) belong to this body which tries to be an economic integration east of the EU. An intensive seminar will be held on Monday, 19th September, 2016, the whole afternoon, in Berlin/Germany.

Subjects in this seminar will be the present economic situation in the EEU member states, their not very easy Relations with Russia, the institutions, the structure of the Agreement, the policies, but also the external relations including those to the EU. The seminar covers also the so-called „eurasianism“, an Imperialist theory being highly estimated in the political class, too.

The seminar turns to company representatives with interests in the East, business associations, chambers, company advisors for strategic, export or inverstment subjects, but also university teachers and researchers, lawyers and  advisors for frade and Investment. Objective is to make the EEU more known, on an objective amd critical basis.

It will be organised by LIBERTAS – Europäisches Institut GmbH, itsaurasian Economic Union Observatory and European Union Foreign Affairs Journal. See the Programme under unter http://www.libertas-institut.com/eufaj/programm-eurasianunion/.

 

Eurasische Wirtschaftsunion – Seminar in Berlin am 19.9.2016

Was bedeutet „Eurasische Wirtschaftsunion“, wer gehört ihr warum an, ist sie wirksam, wird sie den Weg von GUAM gehen – einer Kooperation von GUS-Staaten, die zwischenzeitlich verstorben ist, welches sind ihre Institutionen, wie soll und wird die EU damit umgehen? Alle diese Fragen werden behandelt in einem hochkarätigem Seminar am Montag, dem 19. September 2016, in Berlin (ab 13.30 h) im Hotel Ramada Plaza Berlin City Centre. Mitgliedsländer der Eurasischen Wirtschaftsunion sind Russland, Belarus, Kasachstan, Armenien und Kirgistan.

Das Seminar behandelt die EAWU-Mitgliedsländer und ihre gegenwärtige wirtschaftliche Situation, den Druck der Zentralmacht Russland, die Institutionen und Vertragsstruktur, aber auch die auswärtigen Beziehungen, mit einem Akzent auf der EU.

Dabei wird auch das Phänomen des „Eurasianismus“ behandelt, einer Art Imperialismus-Lehre, vor der die russische politische Klasse leider nicht ganz gefeit ist. Das Seminar wendet sich an Unternehmensvertreter, Wirtschaftsverbände, Kammern, Unternehmensberater, Rechtsanwälte und Steuerberater, deren Klienten in den EAWU-Ländern aktiv sind oder werden wollen – sei es als Exporteure, Importeure, Investoren oder mit einer Niederlassung. Die EAWU ist in der EU unbekannt – hier ist die Möglichkeit, ein solides Grundlagen-Know-how zu bekommen.

Veranstaltet wird dieses Seminar von LIBERTAS – Europäisches Institut GmbH, dem Eurasian Economic Union Observatory (EAWU-Beobachtungsstelle) und European Union Foreign Affairs Journal. Das gesamte Programm mit allen weiteren Bedingungen kann heruntergeladen werden unter http://www.libertas-institut.com/eufaj/programm-eurasianunion/.

Das Seminar wendet sich an Diplomaten, hohe Beamte, Unternehmen mit Interessen im Osten, Bildungsanbieter (auch NGOs), Vereine mit Interesse an Osteuropa, an Universitäten oder sonstigen Einrichtungen Lehrende und Forschende, internationale und Handels- sowie Strategieberater, Kammermitarbeiter, Wirtschaftsverbände, Rechtsanwälte, Steuer- und Investitionsberater, Studenten.

 

Economic Security Policy of Russia

At LIBERTAS – Europäisches Institut we may have our own opinions about Russian foreign and domestic policy, but we follow consequently a course of exchanges of views in scientific research. In this context we appreciate the constructive relations with Russian Economic University of Omsk/Siberia. Due to this scientific exchange, the book „Economic Security Policy of the Russian Federation“ was just published – in English. Based on the cooperation of three professors, Sergei Metelev, Rector of the Russian Economic University after Plekhanov in Omsk, Economist, Miroslav Murat, author of many articles and monographs in social sciences, and Vladimir V. Lizanov, who is a professor and researcher in economics and natural sciences, also from Omsk.

This book is dedicated to the theoretical and methodological fundamentals and to practical issues of economic security in Russia and its regions. The authors review threats to economic security, but also measure to ensure it, as well as criteria to detect corruption in regulation and administrative decisions. Indicators for the economic security of the state are named, but also a conception for this kind of security in the regions. The book also deals with external and internal threats to economic security of the regions; it describes the matter as comprehensive evaluation of socio-economic development of the region. Particular attention is paid to identification of the ways ensuring economic security, not only on federal but also on regional level. This book is helpful for all those who want to undertake comparative studies,  in the fields of national, regional, economic and other types of security. For state-owned enterprises, management of corporations, local, regional and state government, economists. And partly this is also the „reverse side“ of what is called in the West „hybrid threats“.

The book has 76 pages and appeared in May 2016. It appeared as print version (university paper) for 15 EUR under ISBN 978-3-946119-82-1 (via Amazon or directly verlag@libertas-institut.com), and with Amazon and most other eBook shops (worldwide) for 4,99 EUR as eBook (in Kindle Format, ePub, MobiPocket or PDF). More Details with the exact ISBNs on the Flyer under http://www.libertas-institut.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Flyer-Economic-Security.pdf.

 

 

 

OSCE Peacekeepers for Eastern Ukraine?

The Chief Editor of European Union Foreign Affairs Journal, Hans-Jürgen Zahorka, will publish in a few days, in the next issue of EUFAJ (2/2016) this short comment on the question of OSCE peacekeepers in eastern Ukraine. They are – and will be – discussed in OSCE circles, in particular regarding the Minsk II Agreement on Ukraine, and the local elections in Eastern Ukraine. See the whole artcle (and others) in the week after the 9.5.2016 under http://www.eufaj.eu. The author had also contributed to a booklet: Ofelya Sargsyan/Hans-Jürgen Zahorka,  OSCE – Idea, Histoty, Challenges (with documents), with a short overview about the possible future of OSCE (see also http://www.libertas-institut.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/flyer-OSCE.pdf)

Should there be peacekeepers stationed in eastern Ukraine? With what kind of mandate, and how long? This question is examined also now in the framework of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), although not (yet?) officially. Russian peacekeepers alone are excluded, EU peacekeepers probably as well, and NATO peacekeepers too. Peacekeepers should be accepted by all the parties of a conflict. Whether this would be the case of OSCE armed personnel might be written in the clouds, but it is good that this possibility has been and will be discussed.

This led to a statement by a spokesperson of Germany’s Federal Foreign Office on alleged plans for armed OSCE mission to eastern Ukraine, on 27 April 2016. Germany is holder of the 2016 OSCE Chairmanship, and issued the following statement in Berlin in response to reports on alleged plans for an armed OSCE mission to eastern Ukraine: „The OSCE monitoring mission currently in place in eastern Ukraine is a civilian, unarmed mission. This was decided by the 57 participating States of the OSCE, and neither Germany nor France are involved in any agreement about changing the civilian nature of the mission – neither within the OSCE nor in the Normandy Format („N4“ – France, Ukraine, Russia, Germany).

It is true that we have, in our capacity as Chair of the OSCE and following consultations within the Normandy format, asked the Secretariat to develop options for improving security at the planned local elections. It is too early to say what the findings will be.

Without wishing to pre‑empt any decision, we can say that we find it difficult at this time to imagine what an armed OSCE mission might look like, that had the objective of effectively ensuring the security of the elections in the separatist areas and enhancing the security of OSCE observers. The OSCE currently has no precedent for an armed mission. On the contrary, being civilian in nature is a particularly important feature of OSCE monitoring missions, which require the consent of conflict parties to operate. When you take the idea of an armed mission to its logical conclusion, it raises a whole range of difficult legal, political, practical and military issues. We plan to arrange another meeting in the Normandy format in the foreseeable future, which will include the foreign ministers. A meeting of this kind would be the right opportunity to raise all the issues relating to the OCSE monitoring missions for discussion among the Normandy partners.“

In the background was a condemnation of threats against OSCE monitors in Ukraine: OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also on 27 April 2016 had expressed concern following the recent increase in ceasefire violations in Eastern Ukraine and the growing number of incidents involving OSCE monitors. Referring to recent threats against the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine, Steinmeier had declared: “The SMM is a civilian, unarmed mission. It is instrumental for supporting the implementation of the ceasefire. The safety and security of SMM monitors must be assured by the sides. Those responsible for threatening or using force against the monitors must be held accountable.”

Maybe the „loud thinking“ about an armed OSCE mission should deter those who are against the OSCE as such („… they want to intervene in our internal affairs“, as declared often by the eastern Ukraine separatists). Indeed OSCE should think about their first armed peacekeepers, and this if only for the duration of local elections. Then OSCE would have found another, additional role – a role which would make sense if peacekeepers in Europe are needed. As mentioned, Russian peacekeepers alone are unthinkable, NATO ones as well, and the EU is not yet so far to deploy an armed force to keep the peace, if they would not be rejected as well, although Ukraine is an Eastern Partnership member state. So rests the OSCE, and in a peacekeeping mission lies a sensible and adequate task. At least it should be demanded, and who is against, this will speak for itself.

It can now be expected that at the next meeting in the Normandy format, with foreign ministers and/or presidents or prime ministers from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, on the 11 May 2016 in Berlin also the issue will be discussed if and if yes, how the security of the local elections should be guaranteed. The date of the elections is not determined yet, but the issues around these elections have to be solved under the Minsk II Agreement. So Ukraine will be on the agenda, including the preparation and security of the elections. As SMM is not armed and a civilian force, and an upgrade of SMM is not likely at all, there may be only a solution in deploying an armed OSCE force to eastern Ukraine. After 11. May we may know more. For if there is a common position within the Normandy format, this will be also the case in the OSCE.

Armenia: Internal Reforms as Response to Global Challenges

By Viktor Yengibaryan

The author of this blog lives in Yerevan/Armenia. He is President of the European Movement in Armenia. This blog reflects his personal opinion. Viktor Yengibaryan is also member of the Editorial Advisory Board of „European Union Foreign Affairs Journal“ (EUFAJ).

Tense relations between Russia and Turkey, the rising hardcore diplomacy between west and the east and the threatening information flow in the international media on terrorism, immigration in Europe and the destabilization of, and negative expectations for macro-economic situation globally has fatal meaning for Armenia. Armenia, a country, which is landlocked and has two closed borders out of four, namely the border of Turkey and Azerbaijan are blocked since the country’s independence. The other two countries neighboring Armenia are Georgia and Iran. Yerevan’s economic and political partners in its direct neighborhood region are Tbilisi and Tehran, the country tries to profit from the improvement of the relations between Iran and the west now. On the other hand the disagreements between Georgia and Russia, and the differences between Iran and the west, leave the country no other chance than to be creative in its foreign policy. Being a member of Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union, the country is close to come to a new and more ambitious economic cooperation agenda with the European Union. Closer cooperation with Europe and European Integration of the country was and still is the main foreign and domestic policy vector for many young people and academics.

Yerevan is also the political and military supporter of the de-facto independent Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, disputed by oil-rich Azerbaijan, which is no way to be described as an “easy-going” country, especially for journalists and democracy activists.

The recent atrocities and violation of ceasefire by Azerbaijanare a proof, that Armenia needs a strong internal and foreign policy development.

In 2015, the 100th commemoration year of the Armenian Genocide, organized in Ottoman Empire and still refused by its legal successor Turkey, Armenia’s authorities initiated a constitution change, which is to reform the country’s political system in a revolutionary way. On December 6th, 2015, the people of Armenia voted in favour of the constitution draft, applauded by the Venice Commission (a Council of Europe commission specialized on constitutional affairs). (Link: http://www.parliament.am/library/sahmanadrakan%20barepoxumner/venetik.ezrakacutyunangl.pdf).

The newly voted constitution turns the country’s political system from a semi-presidential to a parliament-based democracy, with more power for political parties. The head of the state and the government is to be elected by the Parliament; the next President of Armenia is going to have a more representative role, similar to European parliamentary systems. The new constitution is guaranteeing more freedom of speech and more power for judicial system. Surely, the new constitution provides more space for pro-European activists to participate in parliamentary elections next year. A good representation of young professionals in the next parliament is broadly seen as a precondition for a well functioning parliamentary democracy and the ability for more cooperativeness with European structures and countries.

Armenia’s President Serj Sargsyan (Republican Party – EPP) in his speech on 12th February, 2916, announced the beginning of a new era of development. “We don’t expect rapprochement between Armenia and Turkey and an improvement of Armenian-Azeri relations for the near future”, he said, “the only thing we can rely on to improve our economy and democratic structures is the people”. Speaking about current challenges in the region, he stressed the importance of human rights and democracy. Same day, he appointed his former aide, Georgi Kutoyan, a 34 year old lawyer as director of National Security Service of the country. The civil society largely welcomes that appointment, and perceives it as a clear sign of change of generation. Well, as the American writer Denis Waitley said: “The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence”.

Obviously, to regional and global geopolitical challenges, Armenia responds with political elite circulation, change of generation and reforms.

Eurasian Economic Union Observer – a new e-quarterly by LIBERTAS – European Institute GmbH

Since some months, there exists a new publication as electronic quarterly with LIBERTAS – European Institute GmbH. Besides the successful format of European Union Foreign Affairs Journal there is now also „Eurasian Economic Union Observer“. With this, the competences on the CIS area should obtain a wider echo, as this paper covers the EEU – which has been launched by Russian president Putin himself, which for the outside follows (the question is how much) demands of the imperial ideology of eurasianism, approved by wide parts of the population. This paper represents the media and press echo of the EEU in Russia and elsewhere, and it is entirely held in English, partly with translations from Russian articles.In the European Union and e.g. America or South East Asia there is not much knowledge about the EEU which is a bit thrifty with its public affairs efforts. However, at some day the EU will have to decide if and how to cooperate somehow with the EEU.

The EEU has been founded by Putin, with the central seat in Moscow, to be a counterppart to the European Union. However, there is no comparison, as the EEU member states (Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan) are all either aurtoritarian or semi-autoritarian regimes and do not all form a necessary open society or economy. So an attempt to introduce a common currency (see in this blog from March 2015 under https://libertasblogs.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/the-eurasian-economic-unions-plans-for-a-common-currency-altyn-or-euraz/) has been already buried. Another problem are the economic discrepancies between the EEU member states, and this in view of the lack of regional balancing mechanisms, like the EU Regional Policy and cohersian funds. So, at present, while in the EU without doubt other regional integrations are welcome, any attempt to compae both is misplaced. But the EEU should be observed, and also ist positive outcomes should be welcomed. If there are no outcomes or bad outcomes, also due to national economic policies in the EEU, this should also be expressed.

Already in April 2015, LIBERTAS – European Institute GmbH has launched its EEU Observatory; see the blog from 7.4.2015 (in English) https://libertasblogs.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/new-observatory-on-the-eurasian-economic-union-eeu/, or in German from https://libertasblogs.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/neues-observatorium-fur-eurasische-wirtschaftsunion/.

The editor of this paper is Ofelya Sargsyan M.A., M.A., a fluently Russian speaking editor of the European Union Foreign Affairs Journal, who together with colleagues compiles and eits on a quarterly bsis the EEU Observer. Have a look on EEU Observer no. 1/2016 under http://www.libertas-institut.com/eufaj/eurasianobserver1_2016, and on EEU Observer 1/2015 (4th quarter) under http://www.libertas-institut.com/eufaj/eurasian-economic-union-observer-1-2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

„… mit Europa Steuern sparen“ – Seminar am 20.5.2016 in Köln zur günstigen Rechtsform der EWIV

EWIV heißt Europäische wirtschaftliche Interessenvereinigung, geregelt in der EU-Verordnung 2137/85 und innerhalb der EU in Kraft seit 1.7.1989. Trotz des über 25jährigen Bestehens dieser Rechtsform scheint die EWIV immer noch recht unbekannt zu sein. Das ist ungerecht, sagt das Europäische EWIV-Informationszentrum bei LIBERTAS – Europäisches Institut GmbH. Aber obwohl es sich um EU-Recht handelt, obwohl man mindestens einen Partner im EU-Ausland benötigt, obwohl es vielleicht manchmal Sprachprobleme geben mag: Es gibt trotz allem bald 3.000 EWIV in der EU, mit etwa 16.000 Mitgliedern. Diese können, auch in einer EWIV, Freiberufler, Selbständige, Handwerker, Kapitalgesellschaften, ja sogar Städte, Universitäten oder Industrie- und Handelskammern sein. Man kann sogar als deutscher Gewerbetreibender eine EWIV mit einer selbst gehaltenen ausländischen GmbH haben. Der Zweck ist immer Kooperation, wobei die EU dies sehr weit sieht.

Für eine EWIV ist ein schriftlicher Vertrag nötig. Wer seine Ecken und Kanten kennt, kann von einer Kooperation nur profitieren – Einkaufsvorteile im Verbund, die Erweiterung der Verkaufspalette, das gemeinsame Outsourcing, Austausch von Personal usw. winken. Dazu kommt: eine EWIV zahlt weder Gewerbe- noch Körperschaftssteuer. Dafür darf sie keine Gewinne machen; diese müssen an die Mitglieder abgeführt werden, die das dann wieder bei sich versteuern . allerdings kann sie Rücklagen bilden.

Alles über die EWIV lassen die wohl am besten informierten Kenner dieser Rechtsform in der EU, Deutschland und Italien (auf Deutsch) am Freitag, dem 10. Mai 2016, auf einem intensiven Seminar des Europäischen EWIV-Informationszentrums wissen. Das Seminar findet in Köln statt. Die Einladung und das Programm finden Sie unter http://www.libertas-institut.com/ewiv-informationszentrum/ewivseminar20_5_16/. Die gesamte Website des EWIV-Infozentrums findet man unter http://www.ewiv.eu.

 

 

Tourism Development in Siberia

A new book,as print version and eBook, has been published: Compiled and edited by the Rector of Russian Economic University, Osmk Branch, prof. Sergey Metelev, and assoc. prof. Svetlana Efimova, its chapters, all written by university scientists, focus on tourism development in Siberia and, in particular, the Omsk Region.

Scientifically exact and well-founded, the authors paint a “real vision” of tourism development of Siberia and Omsk region. This book contains a vision – but a realistic one – which could be reached by some steps. Based on an internal brainstorming at this university and on a conference in April 2013, the tasks are described. The objective is the development of tourism – a job machine, and this in a region which offers more than one thinks.

The contributors of the book offer to surf in the nature which is beautiful in its own way. The variety of landscapes and climatic conditions provides the possibility to develop different types of tourisms, depending on the purpose of the travel. As such, the book covers such fields as rural, business, event, cultural, educational, religious, recreational, active, medical-health and ecological tourisms.

The book hs been published in a difficult Russian-European time, but authors and the publisher think, there will be a time „after the sanctions“, there will also be guaranteed investment, and Russia can regain a place among the tourism destinations – in particular the relevant part of Siberia with a good infrastructure and a very interesting nature. The book pleads, altogether, for a sustainable tourism. After all, this might be one of the very first books in favor of a regional tourism development in Russia.

Bibliographical data: Sergej Metelev / Svetlana Efimova (Eds.), The Development of Tourism: The Case of Siberia and the Omsk Region

LIBERTAS – Europäisches Institut GmbH, Rangendingen (Germany), March 2016, 96 p.; ISBN 978-3-946119-77-7 (Print), 15,00 EUR; ISBN 978-3-946119-78-4 (pdf), 4,99 EUR; ISBN 978-3-946119-79-1 (epub), 4,99 EUR; ISBN 978-3-946119-80-7 (MobiPocket), 4,99 EUR.

Orders via all bookshops or verlag@libertas-institut.com. Internet: www.libertas-institut.eu (Shop). eBook also available in all ebook shops.

Have a look at the exact table of contents on the book flyer: http://www.libertas-institut.com/shop/bookshop/flyer_metelev_sibiria/

Russian Law on Constitutional Court incompatible with international obligations, says CoE Venice Commission

 An opinion adopted on 11.3.2016 by the Council of Europe’s constitutional law experts (the Venice Commission) determines that empowering the Russian Constitutional Court to declare international decisions, including judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, as “unenforceable” is incompatible with Russia’s international legal obligations.

Because such empowerment may result in preventing the execution of international decisions in any manner in the Russian Federation, the Russian Law on the Constitutional Court must be amended, according to the interim opinion (*)

Indeed, the inability of the Constitutional Court to remove contradictions between the Constitution and international decisions does not absolve the state from its obligation to enforce international decisions, according to the experts. It is a duty of all state bodies to reconcile provisions of the international treaties in force in Russia with the Constitution, for instance through interpretation or even modifying the Constitution.

“The Russian Federation should have recourse to dialogue, instead of resorting to unilateral measures,” the Venice Commission stressed, adding that dialogue has been an effective tool in several Council of Europe states for removing possible tensions between the European Court’s rulings and national systems.

The Venice Commission calls on the Russian Federation to do the following:

  • “Enforceability” should be replaced with “compatibility with the Russian Constitution of a measure of enforcement of an international decision”;
  • Delete articles according to which no measures will be taken to enforce an international decision declared by the Constitutional Court not to be in conformity with the Constitution;
  • The law should spell out the duty of the Russian authorities to find alternative measures for executing the international decision;
  • The Law should make clear that individual measures contained in the European Court’s judgments, such as payment of just satisfaction, may not be the object of an assessment of constitutionality;
  • Any proceedings involving the compatibility assessment should necessarily involve the individual who acted as applicant before the relevant international court or body.

(*) This opinion is an interim one, as the Russian authorities were not able to host meetings with the rapporteurs from December 2015 until March 2016. Should such meetings be organised, and should the Russian authorities present their arguments after March 2016, a final opinion reflecting these will be prepared at a later stage.

The full text of the adopted opinion will be published on the website of the Venice Commission on Tuesday 15 March 2016.

Remark: This EUFAJ blog has written already on 21.12.2015 about the mentioned Russian law; see  https://libertasblogs.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/is-russia-withdrawing-from-rule-of-law-principles/

The View from India: Four Trends that could Change the Way Businesses Work

By Sourajit Aiyer (Mumbai, India)

Gartner, the IT consulting major, said at a recent conference that a digital disruption to business is occurring approximately every three years. Current discussions at the World Economic Forum on the 4th Industrial Revolution also speak on similar lines. However, this article is not about digitisation, per se. Rather, it is on how I believe these factors may change the way we look at, and measure, our businesses, whether as an owner or as an employee.

Profitability maintenance vs. profitability growth

Businesses may eventually measure profitability maintenance, rather than profitability growth. Frequent disruptions to business models means that the average life of a product in the market is shorter. The time a product has to hit the market, grab the buyer’s attention, notch market share, and make enough sales over-time to increase its profitability from it, is reducing. As such, many products may not even reach break-even before technology evolutions necessitate moving on to the next big idea, throwing the earlier product’s feasibility studies out of the window. In short, few will make profits from their investments and many will simply lose capital.

It does not help that markets are open today, competition is high and business models are getting unbundled, thus increasing the scope for potential disruptors. The competition-induced price war is making most businesses a volume-game, rather than a value-game. Consumers‘ desire today for instant-gratification may be a choice, but business-owners are facing a compulsion to realise instant-gratification from their investments as product/technology shelf-lives shorten, time to realise returns from earlier investments reduces and there exists a constant need to infuse new capital into the next new idea. Add an intensely competitive environment to that, and expecting a sustained growth in profitability may soon be a thing of the past for corporate boardrooms.

Rather than waiting to see if they grow their profits or not, businesses may think of it as an achievement if they can just maintain their profitability, rather than see it decline in comparison to their competitors. Thus, at the rate events are moving in today’s business world, the yardstick to measure profitability may soon shift.

Taxation may move away from wages and profits towards wealth

Recent news tells us the economic inequality in the world is only set to intensify. Few will become wealthier, while many may move lower in prosperity. The access to capital and technology to pursue high-end innovations is available with very few. Those who do not have access to technology may buy it or develop it, but that comes at a high cost and at a lag which may anyway nullify the benefit. Building a competitive edge for those who are short of capital is a thing of the past. At such times when the scope to garner profitability is getting skewed towards those companies who have capital, corporate taxes may move towards those who make moolah through easy access to capital, as only they can create wealth.

The remaining companies will also not be in a position to give sustained increments to workers‘ wages. Hence, income taxes on stagnant wages will only make the public more furious. In democratic nations where vote-bank matters, income tax may even move towards wealth, rather than wages.

On the other side, taxing innovations is also not correct, as it creates a disincentive to innovate. Hence, one may look at a version of an inheritance tax, like that in Britain. This taxes those who gained wealth by inheritance, and not by their own effort. This does not disincentivise the urge to innovate, but rather takes the sheen off the proverbial silver spoon. Inheritance tax does not exist in most countries, but it may replace any shortfall in income tax or corporate tax in quantum, due to the sheer volume of wealth that the few rich, and especially their future generations, may enjoy.

Innovative, non-monetary incentive structures

Today, there is nothing called employee loyalty. Employees know very well that they have leverage if they have specialised skills that can help companies innovate and gain competitive edge. However, the lifetime of a relevant skill and the time to monetise one’s existing skills are getting shorter — just like the life-time of a new product/technology. Attrition for specialised talent will be high as long as the skill is relevant, supply is less, and there is demand for that skill from someone willing to pay more. Companies obsessed with maintaining their profits at the cost of wage growth will bear a fiercer brunt of this attrition, since skilled employees view company-owners as making money on the back of their skills while they are left twiddling their thumbs.

Whether companies are paying too much for talent vis-a-vis the returns generated by them or time-frame till when their skills are relevant is another challenge to measure. Creating a win-win incentive structure is the only way, but its life can also be limited since other companies may be willing to bear a loss in the short term to ensure a talented employee comes on board. Balancing fixed and variable components remains a struggle.

Ownership stakes may work, as long as there is a passion to participate in the company’s growth. Incentives that include training costs to learn new skills may actually have a real relevance for employees, as it prolongs the relevance of their skills. It is surprising to see that very few companies sponsor training and development programmes for their employees, despite it being a non-monetary incentive that people value the most today. Another non-monetary incentive is flexibility in working-hours. A strict 9am-6pm attendance may be difficult for those in tricky family set-ups, but who may still be able to devote the adequate hours to get the job done if they have the flexibility to manage their time. Of course, it works better in singular rather than team-based tasks, but a categorisation of work-needs for employee groups may be needed now more than ever.

Battle for market share rather than market size

Zero customer loyalty in a discount-marketing world means a battle for market-share, not market-size. As customers in a highly competitive and disruptive business world, it is gratifying to see all the discounts being offered to grab one’s attention. The way wage growth and corporate profitability are headed in a high-tax and high-inflation environment, many consumers may eventually not even have the disposable income to pay these discounted prices, but that is a different story.

Coming back to the topic, discount-marketing means customer loyalty is zero and he will switch to the next lowest-priced product once his current brand cannot afford discounts any more. What it means is that most businesses are ending up playing mainly for market share, till the time the competitor has no more capital left to afford the accumulated losses in their balance sheet. While they may claim they are deepening the market-size in untapped segments, the attention to measure market share is becoming all the more crucial, given the short-lives of each product and the desire to derive profits from further discounted prices.

Ignoring market share may throw the company out of the market altogether, despite its efforts to deepen the market itself. In layman terms, a company selling at a price lower than cost is incurring a loss, and regular capital infusion would keep that company solvent. When this tap dries, its future is doomed. All companies in discount-marketing are vying for this

Originally published in Huffington Post, India. The author, Sourajit Aiyer, works with a leading capital markets company in Mumbai/India. Previously, he worked with financial companies in Delhi, London and Dhaka. As a personal interest, he writes for business publications and runs his comics page. He has written on over 60 topics in 30 publications across 13 countries. His news/satire comics page is now on Facebook, “Sourajit Aiyer Comics” LIBERTAS – European Institute GmbH has published his book „FLYING WITH THE WINGED ELEPHANT – Niche Opportunities for Global Businesses that May Emerge in India “ (see more information under http://www.libertas-institut.com/de/PDF/Flyer_Sourajit.pdf)