GEOPOLITICA DEL MONDO MODERNO

Tag archive

European Union - page 4

Russian Foreign minister Lavrov pushes to ensure compliance with the Minsk Accords

BreakingNews @en di

Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minitser, during a press conference following talks with his Cypriot counterpart Ionannis Kasoulidis in Moscow, affirmed that the Council of Europe must ensure strict compliance with the Minsk Accords’ originally approved version. Lavrov said that Russia believes it is important to prevent Council of Europe from sliding towards double standards and he described the Council of Europe as an important humanitarian pillar of European architecture. On the 23rd of November, Cyprus will take over the Council of Europe presidency, according to Ioannis Kasoulidis, the Council of Europe is ready to cooperate with Russia which is very important for this agency.

Growing digitisation in the EU

Innovation di

 

On 25th February, the European Commission published the result of the 2016 Edition of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). Good news. Data show a general growth; however, we are still far away from the full development of our digital capabilities.

[subscriptionform]
[level-european-affairs]

What is the DESI?

The DESI is an online tool to measure the progress of EU Member States towards a digital economy and society. More than 30 indicators define the DESI and are grouped into five policy areas: connectivity (25 % of the total score), human capital/digital skills (25 %), Internet use (15 %), integration of digital technology (20 %) and digital public service (15 %). Indeed, this index is used to identify which sectors needs more investment in order to improve the country’s performance.

The index not only shows the general status of the European Union -still far from the level of digitalization of countries such as the US or Japan-, but also points out the considerable differences among Member States. Denmark, Sweden and Finland take the lead in Europe but they are also top countries in world rankings. At the very bottom are Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia: not only their DESI score is well below the EU average, but data show also a slower growth rate, which will increase the distance from the rest of EU members. The DESI, indeed, also shows the growth rate of the nation in the field of digital technologies. And here, once again, we can see a multi-speed Europe.

Some countries have a DESI score higher than the EU average, but also record a faster growth in the last year. We are talking about Austria, Estonia, Malta, Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands. Good growth rates also in Italy, Croatia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia and Spain, although their DESI score currently remains below average. However, according to analysts, there are good hopes for these countries to reduce the distances from the most digitally advanced countries. By contrast, a drop has been recorded in the growth of Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Belgium, Lithuania and Ireland, though they DESI scores are still high.

What should we do to improve the situation? Last year, the EU approved the Digital Single Market strategy, a set of initiatives that countries have to deliver by the end of 2016 in order to coordinate and standardize digitization processes in EU countries. This strategy is built on three pillars: improving access to goods and digital services for consumers and industries across Europe; create a favorable environment and equal opportunities for the development of digital networks; maximise the growth potential in the sector.

Apparently, the implemented strategy is paying off. 71% of European households now have broadband access at high speed (in 2014 only 62%), while the number of subscribers to mobile broadband has increased up to 75 contracts every 100 inhabitants (compared to 64 last year). It is true, however, that there is still a lot of work to do, especially in some sectors. As the DISE report points out, for example, almost 45% of Europeans do not have basic digital skills, e.g. the use of email or the main editing tools. The e-commerce is still far from being a reality for small and medium enterprises: only 16% of them sell their products online and only 7.5% across the border. Promoting online shopping is not enough: it is essential to encourage electronic commerce, by approving a better legislation to protect consumers, especially in cross-border shopping. Finally, the data on public services are not satisfactory at all. Despite a greater variety of services made available online by Public Administrations, it seems that only 32% of users actually use these platforms.

On one hand, therefore, it is important that the EU provides a coherent and effective legislation that protects both citizens and entrepreneurs; on the other, Member States must support the creation of the digital single market, investing in the most underdeveloped sectors and promoting the digitalization of civil society. Achieving this goal will revitalize the European economy in general and make our market more competitive, but it will also allow EU members to make the most of the untapped potential, creating new opportunities (especially across the border) for enterprises, but also for individuals.

 

Paola Fratantoni

[/level-european-affairs]

Europe: new coast guard protecting borders

Defence di

The European Commission has decided to establish a European border and coast guard to ensure a strong and shared management of external borders. Regarding the principle of free movement of people, the new control body will protect the Schengen area and control migratory flows, through systematic inspections, based on the comparison with relevant databases.

[subscriptionform]
[level-european-affairs]

“The european coast guard and border – said Frans Timmermans, first Vice President of the European Commission – will identify any weaknesses in real time, thanks to the collective capacity to effectively manage crisis situations, in which a section of the external borders is subjected to pressure”. The new body will have a reserve team fast coastguard and a park of technical equipment made available by the Member States: the Agency will be able to count on at least 1.500 experts, whose intervention can be deployed within three days, obviating the need for workers or equipment for operations.

It will set up a monitoring and risk analysis centre to control migration flows in the EU and to analyze risk and vulnerability assessments of weaknesses. Europe also enshrines a right to intervene: the Member States can apply for joint operations and rapid border interventions.

In case of significant migration that threatens the Schengen area, the Commission will establish the urgent collective. Coastguards will be part of the national coast guard and border European insofar as border control operations take place. Finally, the responsibility with respect to the internal security is fundamental, in terms of control of cross-border crime and terrorism, in terms of combating cross-border crime and terrorism along with other EU agencies and international organizations.

Viviana Passalacqua

[/level-european-affairs]

Libya: doubts about initial agreement

Middle East - Africa di

Almost a month after the end of Bernardino Leon’s role, GNC announced that it reached an initial agreement with Tobruk to lead a national unity government and elections. The draft, signed in Tunis on November 6, includes the creation of a committee of ten, equally shared between Tripoli and Tobruk, which will elect the new prime minister and two vice presidents.

[subscriptionform]
[level-european-affairs]
A deal which, although out of the UN draft of last October, was positively received by the UN envoy Martin Kobler and Italy. Indeed, Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said that his country “is ready to do its part.”

Since the first international conference on Libya in Rome on December 13, Italy will try to have a leading role in this crucial context, supported by the United States, but also by Russia, which, through its Foreign Minister Lavrov, said that Moscow “is ready to help Italy in Libya.”

As in Vienna after Paris attacks and raid on Raqqa, even this summit in Rome is very important. In addition to terror threat in Europe, an Iranian news agency reported that caliph al Baghdadi moved from Turkey to Libya last October. So, after French military reaction in Syria, now Italy and EU have to define what to do in Libya. Daesh is located almost 300 kilometres from Italian coast.
Giacomo Pratali

[/level-european-affairs]

Ukraine: failure of Minsk 2 is around the corner

Europe di

Clashes between army and separatists returned to the same level in February. On the domestic front, agreement is distant. On the international side, Nato and Russia continue to flex their muscles.

[subscriptionform]
[level-european-affairs]
With the help of summer, civil war in Eastern Ukraine has again become bloody. The approach of winter, with the gas issue, contribute to intensify violence. On August 3, three soldiers have died following clashes with separatists. At the same time, it’s been the failure of negotiations to establish a buffer zone between the contact groups of Minsk Protocol 2.

There are many signs of this escalation. Domestic, between the Ukrainians, calling for the deposition of the weapons to pro-Russian in exchange for concessions of autonomy in the Constitution, and separatists, determined not to give in and will participate in the legislative process.

International. As a resurgence of the Cold War, Ukrainian civil war is an International showdown. With NATO, which wants to intensify even more the contribution of Force Integrations Units in Eastern Europe. With the United State and European Union, which intends to further increase sanctions against Moscow. With Russia, determined to exit from isolation from the Western partners.

This economical sanctions could push the Kremlin to not back down. The growth of separatists’ military training in Donbass is a clear indicator. Finally, the privileged relations with Syria and Iran, the new economic and commercial channels established with China and India, may tempt Washington to soften. The degeneration of the Ukrainian war and the chaos of the country are around the corner.
Giacomo Pratali

[/level-european-affairs]

Greece, Spannaus: “Why does the EU insist on a policy that doesn’t work?”

Europe/Miscellaneous di

Greece’s debt crisis is one of the hottest geopolitical issues at the moment. Germany imposed a rescue package last week. The United States played a role of political deterrence towards the EU, to avoid the possibility that Athens could go into Moscow’s sphere of influence. To talk about these issues, European Affairs interviewed Andrew Spannaus, journalist and Director of Transatlantico.info.

[subscriptionform]
[level-european-affairs]
With Tsipras’s full-scale surrender, has Greece essentially become a protectorate of Brussels, or better, of Berlin?

“Europe wasted a great opportunity. After talking about the need to shift from austerity to growth, in essence nothing has changed. The European establishment – led by Germany, but don’t let the others off the hook – doubled down, using every weapon possible rather than admit to the failure of its economic policy over the last twenty years.
This is a defeat not only for Greece, but for Europe itself, which has shown 1. that it is unwilling to recognize its own mistakes, and refuses to question the fanatical adherence to budget parameters; and 2. that in this form Europe is not compatible with democracy.
The biggest question is: who’s giving the orders in Brussels and Berlin? Why does the EU insist on a policy that doesn’t work? It’s one thing to have to clean up problems and inefficiencies from the past, but the decision to make the situation worse through a policy of budget cuts and new taxes shows that something else is afoot. Europe has abandoned the best parts of its own history and now answers to other interests.”

 

“Despite the mistakes made in the past five months, I am proud that I have defended our people.” This is what Tsipras said to the Greek Parliament, at the time of the vote on the measures imposed by Europe. In your view, Did Syriza betray its electoral mandate and the result of the referendum?

“Over the past few months the Greek government alternated between a hardline position and a softer one. The goal was always to influence the negotiations and obtain some concessions. At a certain point it looked like Tsipras had decided to get serious: first with the opening towards Russia, and then the referendum. In the end though, he gave in to the blackmail and demonstrated that he wasn’t willing to risk the consequences of a full break-up.
The Greek people clearly rejected austerity; the problem is that in theory they wanted to remain in Europe as well. So while Tsipras certainly deserves some criticism, the fact remains that the two goals were incompatible: Europe = austerity, so there was no solution.
It’s not over yet. If the plan that Greece has accepted is actually implemented then the situation will get even worse; things could flair up again soon. Moreover, the political debate has changed: it’s impossible now to hide the contradictions and weaknesses of the current economic policy. Sooner or later there will be political leaders, and maybe entire countries, who will refuse to continue in this direction.”

 

The International Monetary Fund has said that Greece’s debt is unsustainable. Will the EU plan go forward anyway?

“The plan will go forward, but it won’t work. The first “rescue” packages for Greece – in which public money was used to save the private banks, in particular those in Germany and France – were supposed to create the conditions for economic recovery. The same was said for Italy. In reality the result was a drop in GDP, at catastrophic levels in Greece (-30%).
The notion that this type of debt can be repaid through spending cuts is simply absurd. The solution is to restructure and cancel part of the debt, and above all to implement a policy of investment to spur growth. This means ignoring certain dogmas, for example by increasing productive public spending. The part of the debt which is real, and not just due to speculative maneuvers, can be repaid only if the economy is actually growing; the current policy prohibits this, and thus can only fail.”

 

How big a role did the United States play in facilitating the negotiations between the EU and Greece? Was there, and is there, a real possibility that Athens could get closer to Moscow?

“A myth exists in Europe, about how the United States is against the Euro and afraid of the European Union. However, even if we were to grant the premise that the U.S. sees Europe only as a competitor, there is nothing to be afraid of as long as the current economic policy remains in place.
In the name of political union the strength and cohesion of the nations of Europe is being destroyed. The foundation of the EU was quite different, but starting in the 1990s a shift was made to the so-called “free market” policy that allowed large financial interests to dominate the economy. This is good for a few, not for the many.
Secondly, this myth has been debunked by the American position in this crisis: the U.S. didn’t want to see Europe break up, precisely due to the risk of a geopolitical shock. Tsipras showed that he understood the stakes when in St. Petersburg he said that a “new economic world is being formed,” while “the center of gravity of economic development is shifting.”
The West decided to close ranks, to avoid giving an opening to our “enemy” Putin. However the reality is that Europe’s policy of continuous austerity risks making the alternative of the BRICS even more attractive: numerous countries are already breaking away from the Western financial institutions precisely in order to avoid being controlled by a system dominated by large financial interests.”
Giacomo Pratali

[/level-european-affairs]

Iran nuclear deal: pros and cons

After 16 days of negotiations, yesterday the US, EU, Russia, Great Britain and China, and Iran reached historical deal on the nuclear program in Vienna. A pact that works for reduction of he production of uranium in Teheran for the next 10 years. And, at the same time, it stops sanctions and trade sanctions.

[subscriptionform]
[level-european-affairs]
Although this is the formal end to decades of conflict with the West, especially during the Presidency of George W. Bush, the Israel’s contrary reaction and the contemporart and inconsistent alliance between Washington and Sunni’s countries, like Saudi Arabia, could be a warning for the International Community.

Inspired by the cartel the previous April 3, the agreement includes four key points. The cut of 98% of the stocks of enriched uranium. The use of centrifuges reduced to two-thirds. The possibility, not automatic,of Alea inspections on Iran’s nuclear facilities, after approval of the court arbitrary composed by the same countries that have signed the agreement. The gradual reduction of the arms embargo within the next five years. The UN resolution is expected next week, when it meets the Security Council.

The heart of the matter between the US and Iran is mainly the use of enriched uranium for civilian and not military. But also there’s the will to create a diplomat axiswith the biggest Shiite state in the Middle East, able to support the Assad regime in Syria or Hezbollah in Lebanon and decisive in the reconquest of the north-western territories in Iraq, now under the Caliphate.

Additionally, beyond this agreement, there’s the oil question. Iran is the fourth largest producer in the world and, with the end of the embargo, will increase its production. The effect could be the oil drum’s fall in price on the International Markets. Moreover, until the seventies, Europe was the first foreign market for Teheran.

US President Obama said: “No deal means a greater chance of more war in the Middle East. America negotiated from a position of strength and principle and stopped the spread of nuclear weapons. The comprehensive, long-term deal, demonstrated that American diplomacy can bring meaningful change”. And warned Congress he would veto any legislation that prevented its successful implementation.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani talks about “historic deal which opened a new chapter in Iran’s relations with the world”. Eu High Representative Mogherini thinks that the deal is ‘a sign of hope for the entire world’. While is a “sigh of relief for the entire world” in Russian President Putin’s opinion.
The chorus, however, was not unanimous at all the International Community. Predictably, Israel’s response was not long in coming: “The agreement is a historical mistake. “The world is a much more dangerous place today than it was yesterday. The leading international powers have bet our collective future on a deal with the foremost sponsor of international terrorism. “In the coming decade, the deal will reward Iran, the terrorist regime in Tehran, with hundreds of billions of dollars. This cash bonanza will fuel Iran’s terrorism worldwide, its aggression in the region and its efforts to destroy Israel, which are ongoing”. Whereas an official of the government of Saudi Arabia denounced the possibility that Iran could “devastate the Middle East”.

The contradictions within the deal, as the contemporary US alliance with Saudi coalition in Yemen against Houtii (Shiite’s faction supported by Tehran), could bring a long-term strategy. The chance given by the United States and its allies to Iran is directed to the Iranian civil society. The opening to the outside could bring the Shiites and the Sunnis to talks again. This could be an effective weapon against the expansionism of the Islamic State.

Not only abroad. Much of the criticism have come from the United States’s press. Bret Stephen (Wall Street Journal) said that “the agreement will be disastrous” and “unlikely Iran’s foreign policy will change”. Indeed, the deal could backfire on Washington.

 

Giacomo Pratali

[/level-european-affairs]

Libya: is Algiers one’s last hope?

Middle East - Africa di

Peace talks between two governments are ongoing to Algiers. National unity is necessary to stop the Isis advance and the humanitarian emergency in the Mediterranean Sea.

[subscriptionform]
[level-european-affairs]
“Neither side is strong enough to win”. So Bernardino Leon has opened the two days of peace talks (3 and 4 June) in Algiers. This summit between the Tobruk government, supported by the international community, and to the Tripoli, supported by Qatar and Turkey could be the last one “to find a political solution”, Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya said.

Leon’s thought is echoed by Abdelkader Messahel, Minister for Maghreb and African Affairs of Algeria: “We have to join efforts and make them converge to capitalize on the results achieved so far in an attempt to reach a national unity government to fight terrorism and to create conditions to ensure a peaceful transition towards the establishment of democratic institutions and stable”.

Meanwhile, terrorist attacks are going on the internal front. Last Sunday, 5 Fajr Libya militants were killed after a kamikaze detonated a car bomb near Misrata. The Islamic State claimed the responsibility on Tweeter. This cruent action was due to Fajr Libya affinity to Tripoli government e to oil wells’ control in the province of Jaffa. Indeed, Daesh is aiming for Libya central territory’s conquest as it wants to isolate Daesh to Sebha.

The international front is uncertain too. After opening of the Tripoli government, concerning an EU mission against the smugglers, Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya’s Ambassador to the UN, has rejected this hypothesis: “As long as the European Union and its partners will do not discuss with the legitimate government, the only one representative of the Libyan people, there will be no approval on our part”.

These words make more important the Leon’s work. The push toward national unity government maintains a dual purpose: stopping the advance of the Isis and reaching an agreement between Libya and the International Community to fight human trafficking in the Mediterranean.
Giacomo Pratali

[/level-european-affairs]

Immigration: waiting for Un Security Council

Defence/Europe di

A new military plan seems in Mediterranean context after Eu choice to triple Triton funding.

[subscriptionform]
[level-european-affairs]
United Nations will call a straordinary Security Council on 18th May, following 1500 migrants died since the beginning of 2015 in the last two months. After the latest European Council, wherein “Triton” are been tripled, Eu is waiting for this assembly to enact a military action against pontoom coming from Libya. Summit will be opened by Federica Mogherini, Eu High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Meanwhile, the number of landings is increasing day by day. Italy and Malta have received 300 and 98 migrants in the last two days. Moreover, Catania Public Prosecutor’s Office is inquiring into supposed shipwreck of 40 people, reported by some witness on board ship and Save The Children, happened on the night of Tuesday 5 May 2015.

Giacomo Pratali

[/level-european-affairs]

Eu: “No military mission in Ukraine”

Defence/Europe/Policy di

Setting Ukraine entry in European Union in Kiev summit beteween Donald Tusk and Petro Poroshenko.

[subscriptionform]
[level-european-affairs]
“We are only thinking about civilian mission, not military”. As European Council President Donald Tusk replied to Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko, after he asked European Union an army operation to fight pro-Russians rebels in Donbass. In Kiev summit, Poroshenko said also that Ukraine could reach “necessary requirement to access to Eu in five years”.

About the Eu entry, Ukraine Prime Minister Arsenij Yatseniuk told on La Repubblica in 21st April that “it caused Putin and rebels attack in Donbass. Our civil war costed 1800 soldiers and 6000 civilians killed from 2014. Moreover, the ceasefire is not respected by separatist, who are following to use weapons and fire”, he ended. On the other hand, three pro-Russian journalists are killed in Kiev last week: Oles Buzina, Sergej Sukhobok and Oleg Kalashnikov. While Vladimir Putin told of “political assassination”, several Ukrainian big names unbelievably celebrated them.

Giacomo Pratali

[/level-european-affairs]

Giacomo Pratali
Vai a Inizio
× Contattaci!