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Europe - page 14

Eu, immigration crisis: more funding to Triton operation

Defence/Europe di

European Council decided to triple Triton operation funding. But Northern countries, like Great Britain, have denied to accept asylum seekers.

€120m to support Triton and Poseidon operations. European Council have decided to increase funds to Mare Nostrum level on 23rd April. A choice which satisfied in half Italy because James Cameron, Angela Merkel and Francoise Hollande, in the previous summit, will render army assistance but will not receive asylum seekers. The Northern Europe leader have asserted that there is no common immigrant policy.

About a possible military operation in Libya, Merkel said it could based only on international law and United Nations resolutions. While European Council President Donald Tusk said leaders had asked EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini “to propose actions in order to capture and destroy the smugglers’ vessels before they can be used”.

After more than 800 died last Sunday ad several migrants who arrived to Italy from Libya, Europe lost the opportunity of a common immigration policy. Northern and Southern nations have different point of views.

Even about Mare Nostrum operation, ended last October, received different opinions. For some Eu members it was too expensive and stimulated more immigration. But Human Rights groups and Italian point of view are not in agreement because new Triton plan is “contributing to a dramatic increase in migrant and refugee deaths”.


Giacomo Pratali


Libya, immigration emergency: waiting for Eu solution

Defence/Europe/Middle East - Africa di

More than 21000 migrants could reach Italy in 2015, after more 1700 died this year. So Eu leaders will have a summit today to hold this humanitarian emergency. As Eu Foreign Ministers have already discussed last Monday, it’s necessary an european way to create “a possible security and defence policy operation to this effect, in accordance with international law”, Eu foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said.




Today European Council is working on 10 points plan. More financial resources and extension from Frontex to Triton’s operation area. Fingerprinting of all migrants and immediately deportation for all irregulars. Checking and peace keeping operation in countries bordering on Libyan. Deploying teams for processing of asylum applications. People allocation between European countries.


Furthermore, it’ll be told about a military operation in Tripoli’s harbours, where migrant boats depart to reach Italy. But Tripoli government, “irregular” on International Community point of view, has not accepted this armied solution. The “probably next agreement between two Libyan governments”, how Special Representative of Un Support Mission in Libya Bernardino Leon reported few days ago, could stop if Eu bombed Libyan coasts.



Giacomo Pratali



European Commission: 31 March 2015, end of milk quotas

Europe di

Eu announced the imminent dairy quotas change because of global growing demand. This is “both a challenge and an opportunity for the Union”, EU Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development Phil Hogan said

After 21 years, the milk quotas will end on 31st March 2015. It was introduce in 1984 when Eu needed to stop the structural surplus cause by the overproduction compared with demand. Dairy quotas have been already reduced in 2008.

But today the global market has changed. And Europe wants to respond to global growing demand, like explained by EU Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development Phil Hogan: “It is a challenge because an entire generation of dairy farmers will have to live under completely new circumstances and volatility will surely accompany them along the road. But it certainly is an opportunity in terms of growth and jobs. Through increased focus on valued added products as well as on ingredients for “functional” food, the dairy sector has the potential of being an economic driver for the EU”.

Giacomo Pratali


European Commission: approved joint venture between Archelor e Cln

Europe di

The European Commission approved the new joint venture between ArcelorMittal’s subsidary, Amds Italy, and the Italian Cln on 23rd March. ArcelorMittal is the world’s largest steel produces. Cln makes automotive components. Bruxelles notified that  the proposed transaction would not significantly reduce competition

Giacomo Pratali


The realistic lesson about Ukrainian crisis

Europe di

Minsk negotiations on February 12th, welcomed by European and Us diplomacies as a necessary first step towards the solution to the crisis in Ukraine, have exposed the fragile agreement upon which the fate of future East-West relations should stand. The long line of “fault” that crosses Europe and divides Ukraine into two opposing fronts, Western and Ortodox, is very obvious because it keeps on claiming many victims and because all the history of the country speaks about discords and clashes. Following independence from the Soviet Union, a century-old complicated integration between Western culture and Slavic culture represented an insurmountable obstacle to forming a nation. Also Ukraine does not have a state anymore.

In the light of prospective for Ukraine and relations between US, EU and Russia, a correct interpretation of Minsk Protocol has to consider the nation failure and the present difficulties of the Ukrainian leadership to maintain the State integrity. Arising from an agreement already signed in September, the outcome of the lengthy negotiations consisted in temporarily limiting the violence and not eliminating it, as confirmed by the latest news from the eastern front of Donetsk and Mariupol. Despite the agreements that were supposed to lead to the cease-fire, the release of prisoners, the withdrawal of heavy weapons and all foreign troops and mercenaries from the Ukrainian soil, at this time the Osce, that according to the second part of the document should have supervised the withdrawal of heavy weapons with the support of the parties involved, has not yet had access to the airport of Donetsk area, controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

On a strategic level, the most significant gaps or ambiguities especially concern paragraphs 9 and 11 of the Protocol that talks about: “restoring the control of the Ukrainian government on the whole conflict zone”, “and the coming into effect, by the end of 2015, of a new constitution whose key element is decentralisation” and also “the approval of a permanent legislation on the future status of particular districts of Donetsk and Lugansk”.

At the moment, the full restoration of state borders by the Ukrainian government is at least uncertain: as is known, the deal is tactfully silent on the previous annexation of Crimea by Putin. West and Russia will have to reshape the new geopolitical Europe map starting from this silence. In front of the threat of democratic Ukraine pro-Eu and pro-Nato, Moscow has played an effective preventive action safeguarding its strategic interests in the area and maintaining control of the military bases located in the Black Sea. As Angelo Panebianco rightly pointed out on Il Corriere della Sera, the weak Western answer not only is dangerous in terms of stabilizing this field, but it may even facilitate all pro-Russian claims from Baltic States to Belarus.

A prior agreement between Brussels, Washington and Moscow on the strategic location of Ukraine will be essential for getting to territorial and political divisions of the country. If Ukraine were divided into two parts, pro-Western and pro-Russian both parts could go their own way, although this would represent a terrible defeat for Kiev. Therefore, it’s clear that the given hint for a federal solution in Minsk requires further efforts to be really practicable. Overlooking Crimea, what would Ukraine international position be? If it were really democratic, could it join Eu and Nato? Will it be able to manage its economic and energy dependence from Moscow?

These questions are essential to prevent to further alienate US and EU from Russia. Putin is still perceiving this separation considering constant warnings against the NATO enlargement and the Western support to Ukrainian democratic movements (e.g. The Orange Revolution). The 21st century paradox, referring to John Mearsheimer, is that the Western elite believes that the realistic logic can be replaced with the liberal principles of the rule of law, economic interdependence and democracy to bring freedom and security in Europe. However, the realistic logic does not necessarily imply the use of force. In reverse, it always needs a suitable balancing of interests and resources to avoid it. Just what has been missing so far.

Barbara Pisciotta is Associate Professor of Political Science at the Department of Political Sciences of Roma Tre University , where she teaches International Relations and International Politics. She wrote three books and numerous essays on the internal and international aspects of democratization of the Eastern Europe countries.

Ukraine, Minsk pact is creaking

Europe di

Merkel, Hollande, Poroshenko and Putin has condemned violation of cease of fire in East Ukraine, after capture of Debalteseve from separatists. Meanwhile, it’s arm wrestling between Moscow and Nato, after Stoltenberg’s recent choice to increase defences in Baltic States.

“Smacks of genocide”. This Russian President Vladimir Putin said on 25th February after Ukrainian institutions gas reduction to Donbass region. “Furthermore, international observers spoke about humanitarian catastrophe in Donetsk and Lugansk regions”, he continued.

Meanwhile, there hasn’t been fights and casualties in 24 hours: it’s the first time after beginning of the year. The respect of cease fire should be also respected by Ukranians troops and rebels retirement from buffer zone of at least 30 miles, under Minsk agreement.

But the level of anxiety is becoming higher. First of all, the Belarusian pacts are inconsistents. Ukrainian and separatists armies continued to fight from 15th to 24th February. Particularly, Pro-Russians defeated Debaltseve, the most important road and railway intersection in Donbass. And they’re thinking to take possession of Mariupol, the most essential port of the Sea of Azov.

Moreover, a psycological war is in progress between Russia and Nato. Despite continuos call conference among Merkel, Hollande, Putin and Poroshenko, who disapproved violation of Minsk agreement especially from separatists, the real argument is between Moscow and members of Atlantic Alliance.

The Stoltenberg’s recent choice to increase defences in Baltic States originated the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russia in last days, which spoke of “threat to national security”. Besides Lithuanian President Grybauskaite announced to reintroduce conscription over concerns about “the current geopolitical environment”. And British Prime Minister Cameron and his government told about “hot war” after Uk jets intercepted two russian aircraft above on Cornwall on 19th February.

While Us and Ue are thinking about new economical sanctions, France and Germany must bear down on Ukraine and Russia to respect the cease on fire so to allow to Osce to intervene in Donbass region. Un actually speaks of over 5665 killed and at least 13961 wounded from the beginning of crisis in Ukraine.

Giacomo Pratali


Ukraine, Msf report: it’s a humanitarian emergency

Europe/Miscellaneous di

Ukraine is one of the topics on the international board. Over 15000 injured patients, 1600 pregnant women followed by hospitals, about 4000 people with chronic diseases. These numbers are reported by Gabriele Eminente, Msf Italy Director-General, in our interview.

 Where does Msf work in Ukraine? Which are its activities?

Msf planned its humanitarian intervention in a different way because of the kind of conflict which developed in Ukraine in the last year. We usually work with our facilities and fields after an emergency. However, we chose an operational strategy base on five teams which could move with greater perception and portability on territory. The area that i mean is the front line and the band immediately behind. Some groups are located in Donetsk and Lugansk, but we have mobile units for two reasons. The first one, watching Kramatorsk bombing, it’s because we are supporting local hospital and health care facilities: unfortunately, civilian targets have not enough protected. The second one concerns the lack of water, food, power and above all drugs in Donbass region, which we are equipping where they’re missing.

Then we give a psychological assistance to an exhausted population. We’ve already started a hundred talks with individuals and about two thousand with group of people.

But Msf was already in Ukraine before the civil war because there is a high percentage of people affected with Hiv and multidrug-resistant tubercolosis.


Hospitals and health centers are constantly under attack from the beginning of the year: after the second Minsk agreement, does the humanitarian corridor eventuality exist?

First of all I want to note the two requests from Msf to Ukrainians and separatists: the instant cease fire; population’s releasing from bombed areas. About the humanitarian corridor, Debaltseve context is one of the most critical as it’s halfway between Donetsk and Lugansk and it’s an important road and railway intersection: so, it’s an essential military target for the warring parties. At the beginning of February, it’s announced the opening of a corridor to exit remaining civilians, but it’s been very difficult to enforce it. It’ll be crucial to verify how the troops will transpose institutional directives.


How did war progress in the last year?

This crisis have lived many steps. Last summer was particularly bloody, as Malaysian shot down. The cease fire on September 2014 was a breakdown. And it started a new violent spell between 2014 and 2015. There’s two changes from last year to now. First one we are in the middle of winter. Second one this permanently war has been increasing other effects: Kiev has stopped payment of salaries and financial flows to public servants who live in the eastern regions. This has played up lack of cash, food, and drugs. Msf has collected testimonies from civilians, particularly women and children, who has been forced to refuge in a homeless half-finished center.


How are Ukrainian and Pro-Russian populations, especially children, wounded after so many wartime trauma? How will this factor influence peace process?

 As in other similar contexts, there are deep psychological wounds to heal. Our current work is explicitly focusing on the immediate mental assistance. Citizens have shared in two different languages and cultures parts. But now we need end war and save them.


The Un have reported more than 5000 victims since Ukrainian crisis.

 I think we have gone over. Ourselves we are observing in Ukraine. Msf’s intervention in Donetsk and Lugansk regions clearly speaks: over 15000 injured patients, 1600 pregnant women followed by our hospitals, about 4000 people with chronic diseases. These alarming informations are showing us a real war near our countries. Perhaps Europe and Italy have not exact feeling about Ukrainian situation yet.


Is Ukrainian war underestimated by Western and European countries?

This crisis has not interested the opinion like other conflicts yet. The media have showed the search for a diplomatic solution in recent days. But this event could due to an high and low evolution of Ukrainian war. However, we are speaking about an European fight: it’s hard to understand why there’s not a steady attention about it.

Ukraine, “yes” to new Minsk deals

Europe di

After 15 hours of negotiation, Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande, Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko disclosed that the ceasefire would start on 15th February. A long summit, which also decided the withdrawal of heavy weapons and foreign troops and armaments, the resumption of a normal life in Eastern regions, a federalist constitutional reform and a control of the borders with Russia by the end of 2015.

After Kramatorsk bombing yesterday and several dies on January and February, the new Minsk pact should be more efficient than on last September. So German and French presidents will ask their Eu partners to substain the deal at summit on the next Thursday.

Now, they are afraid of violent escalation in Ukraine could be caused by Putin and Poroshenko’s annoyance. Furthermore, like Hollande said, the pact will improve in the next meetings.

Giacomo Pratali

Ukraine, waiting for Minsk

Europe di

Germany and France try to dialogue with Russia. In opposive direction to Minsk meeting scheduled for 11st February, Putin remains in his position while Nato has announced to strengthen its defences.

Looking forward Minsk meeting between Merkel, Hollande, Poroshenko and Putin scheduled for 11st February, three geopolitical players’ group is playing on Ukrainian table. The first one puts together Usa (Nato) and Eastern Europe countries as Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The second one includes Russia. The last one consists of Germany, France, Italy and Great Britain.

The civil war between Ukrainian army and pro-Russian has produced several killed every day from January, when the situation has started to get worse. While Putin is still accused of helping separatists with armaments, troops and financial support, Usa and Ue are thinking to increase economical sanctions and to widen russian oligarchs black list.

But some European countries and Nato are also devising two different solutions to conflict resolution. Merkel and Hollande, on behalf of majority of Ue, are convinced that the dialogue with Putin is the true way. Instead, Nato has announced to establish six command and control units in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania and to strengthen its defences on 5th February: “The enhanced NATO Response Force will count up to around 30,000 troops”, said Secretary General Stoltenberg.

The next meeting on 11st February will be a critical moment for the destiny of Ukrainian civil war. Three different point of views on the table. Franco-German initiative is based on Minsk Pact: separatists must immediately call back troops, Moscow must immediately recall its armaments, the immediate creation of a humanitarian corridor, openness to Donbass region partial autonomy.

Conversely, Putin and Poroshenko have different sights. The first one wants to respect Crimea, Donetsk and Lugansk republics complete independence. The second one wants to protect Ukrainian national unity and has often asked Obama a military support to fight separatists, but President of United States is hesitating about it.

However, we have to remind that Ukranian crisis is still a continuation of Cold War. So Washington and Moscow must return to talk about a common geopolitical strategy together. Obama’s “Atlantic” interest and Putin Eastern Europe gain must necessarily meet.

Giacomo Pratali

Andrew Spannaus: “Greece’s challenge to the Euro”

Europe di

After Alexis Tsipras triumph in the Greek elections e and the birth of new government, a new political match is in operation between Athens, which would delete its economical debt, and Bruxelles, which demands the observance of austherity. European Affairs asked Andrew Spannaus, journalist and editor-in-chief of, his opinion about this new circumstance.

“The victory of the Syriza party in the recent Greek elections has brought Europe to a crossroads: it is clear that the politics of austerity must be abandoned, but the institutions of the European Union cannot allow themselves to admit that their model is a failure. The result is a tension between appearances – which the EU aims to save at all costs – and the actual needs of the economy and the population.

During the election campaign, Alexis Tsipras laid out a clear position regarding the renegotiation of Greece’s debt, which essentially leaves only two alternatives: either he will hold the line and force Europe to accept a partial default, or he will give in to the pressure from the supranational institutions and be considered a failure by those who elected him.

The new Prime Minister worked hard to reassure everyone that he has no intention of abandoning the Euro, partially in response to fears around Europe of a market crash in reaction to his party’s victory. Yet the message sent by Greek voters is clear: no to the memorandum, no to the austerity policy that has caused so much suffering.

Tsipras’s debt proposal directly challenges the fundamentals of EU economics, calling for ignoring the restrictive budget parameters until the economy has returned to sustained growth. And some members of the new government have supported establishing a firewall between ordinary finance and speculation on the international markets, along the lines of the Glass-Steagall law in force in the United States until the 1990s.

This is diametrically opposed to the policy implemented over the past twenty-five years, from Maastricht, to the Stability Pact, to the Fiscal Compact.
Thus, the scenario before us calls into question the very existence of the Euro as we have known it.

It is clear that an attempt will be made to find a solution that salvages the image of the EU, by devising a compromise applicable only to the “special case” of Greece, and insisting that no broader changes are necessary.
The first requirement for such a solution would be that Greece accept something less than what it is asking. Europe will demand an act of submission, to make sure that other countries don’t seek to take advantage of the opening.

Indeed what the other countries do will be crucial. If the facade of the austerity policy dissolves, what will the Italians say? And the Spanish? And the Portuguese?

Will they continue to defend the impoverishment of the population because the recovery is “just around the corner,” or will they seize the chance to stand up and demand a more profound change?

Will they settle for throwing even more money at the financial markets through Quantitative Easing, and for the shell game of the Juncker Plan, or will they restore badly needed public investment?

Recent battles over European economic policy have led to only modest changes; some leaders promised to raise their voice, and others swore they would oppose the rules on deficit spending. But the basic framework has remained the same since the beginning of the 1990s, since the erosion of national sovereignty began, accompanied by policies increasingly favorable to international financial interests.

As we have all seen since 2008, such a policy cannot survive for long: it will have to change, either in an orderly way, or by the more messy route of social and political upheaval.

The Greek elections offer an opportunity to begin a process of rational change, but this will require courage on the part of numerous governments, a quality which does not seem to be in great abundance nowadays”.

Giacomo Pratali


Giacomo Pratali
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