And we're back!
Started by Tamas, April 16, 2021, 08:10:41 AM
QuoteThe government wants this new chapter to be based on "cultivating and developing" relations on the basis of the existing bilateral agreements, and it has proposed to launch a political dialogue with Brussels to pursue common priorities for the future.
QuoteA review of Swiss legislation will also be done, to examine the current discrepancies between EU and Swiss law and to see if alignment is possible. This review will be done "autonomously", with changes only made "where it makes sense", Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter clarified.
QuoteThe government has also pledged to press the parliament to give the ok for the release of Switzerland's CHF1 billion ($1.1 billion) contribution to the EU cohesion fund – a key demand of Brussels – "as soon as possible".
Quote from: Zanza on May 26, 2021, 11:08:52 AMOh well, the EU is not an imperial power, so if they don't want deeper cooperation, that's of course their sovereign decision. It's an ambivalent thing for the EU. On the one hand, it needs to stay true to its own principles and implement the level playing field in the Single Market as well as possible. On the other, most of its neighbours are currently increasing distance to the EU - be it UK, Switzerland, most of the Western Balkans, Morocco, Turkey. They need to review their approach towards neighbouring countries. Does not seem particularly successful.
QuoteMaybe it is time to just do the most basic administrative alignments on these foreign relations and concentrate on freezing out Hungarian, Polish (and Slovak/Czech?) authoritarian tendencies, Bulgarian corruption, generate some will to reform in Germany and Italy and support deeper European integration a la Macron first. This outreach to partners seems a waste of time and effort. Make a clear offer and then they can decide to take it or leave it.
Quote from: Sheilbh on May 26, 2021, 12:51:15 PMI think that's right. The EU is between basically intergovernmental and acting like a quasi-state.
Quote"This is a Russian warship. I propose you lay down arms and surrender to avoid bloodshed & unnecessary victims. Otherwise, you'll be bombed."Zmiinyi defenders: "Russian warship, go fuck yourself."
Quote from: Sheilbh on May 26, 2021, 11:35:53 AMI think this is right but I also think part of it is because of a sort of imperial approach (a bit Middle Kingdom) of only really being able to set up a good structural relationship with neighbours in the context of some form of accession.
Quote from: Iormlund on May 26, 2021, 01:36:17 PMQuote from: Sheilbh on May 26, 2021, 11:35:53 AMI think this is right but I also think part of it is because of a sort of imperial approach (a bit Middle Kingdom) of only really being able to set up a good structural relationship with neighbours in the context of some form of accession. The EU is a trade bloc. Of course it sees relationships as matters of trade and accession. It's the only way it can do so by design.Real foreign policy is a national matter and I can't see that changing anytime soon.
QuoteUS sanctions top Bulgarians for graft. EU does zilch.Washington's move is the biggest one-day action under the Magnitsky Act.By Boryana Dzhambazova and Lili Bayer June 2, 2021 10:50 pmThe United States on Wednesday rolled out sweeping anti-graft sanctions against high-profile Bulgarian power brokers and more than 60 entities, while the EU fails to confront the Balkan country's spiraling rule of law crisis.America's unusually wide-reaching step is an embarrassment for the EU as it exposes the bloc's inability to police its own backyard over a welter of corruption scandals often tied to EU funds that end up in the hands of Bulgaria's mafia and powerful oligarchs. The move constitutes America's biggest-ever action in one day under the country's Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which targets perpetrators of corruption and human rights abuses around the globe. "The United States stands with all Bulgarians who strive to root out corruption by promoting accountability for corrupt officials who undermine the economic functions and democratic institutions of Bulgaria," Office of Foreign Assets Control Director Andrea M. Gacki said. By contrast, the EU has conspicuously chosen not to stand with Bulgarians fighting corruption.European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have turned a blind eye to a rule-of-law meltdown in the EU's poorest state in recent years. Former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, who dominated the country's politics for the best part of a decade, was their close ally on the EU political stage in the center-right European People's Party and was never challenged over his country's judicial failings. Although the former firefighter and karate champion lost power in an indecisive election in April, his GERB party is still ahead in polls ahead of another election on July 11.While corruption has long been identified as a problem in Bulgaria, the scale of unfolding graft scandals over the past year has laid bare how an oligarchic mafia has effectively captured the state by exercising control through institutions such as the judiciary, security services and media.The most high-profile tycoon to be sanctioned is Delyan Peevski, a controversial media mogul and former member of parliament. Peevski "regularly engaged in corruption, using influence peddling and bribes to protect himself from public scrutiny and exert control over key institutions and sectors in Bulgarian society," the U.S. Department of the Treasury wrote in its sanctions decision.Peevski, who is affiliated with the Movement for Rights and Freedom, a member of the liberal Renew Europe grouping, has emerged as one of the symbols of the country's corruption woes. The U.S. said he "worked to negatively influence the Bulgarian political process" in elections in 2019.The department has also sanctioned fugitive casino baron Vasil "the skull" Bozhkov, one of Bulgaria's wealthiest citizens, and Ilko Zhelyazkov, who currently serves on the National Bureau for Control on Special Intelligence-Gathering Devices— as well as 64 entities connected to the men, cutting off their access to the American financial system. In parallel, the U.S. Department of State announced entry bans on an even broader list of Bulgarian public figures and their families, including a former deputy minister. "The big question is, who did they corrupt?" said Elena Yoncheva, a member of the European Parliament, who is a leading critic of Borissov and a member of the Bulgarian Socialist Party. Tip of the icebergIn explaining its decision, the Treasury said that Bozhkov — who is currently a fugitive in Dubai but nonetheless registered a political party that won almost 3 percent of the votes in the April election — had "bribed government officials on several occasions," including "a current political leader."It also said that the businessman "planned to provide a sum of money to a former Bulgarian official and a Bulgarian politician earlier this year" in order to help him "create a channel for Russian political leaders to influence Bulgarian government officials." The Treasury Department also accused Zhelyazkov of acting as a frontman for Peevski in corrupt dealings. "Peevski used Zhelyazkov to conduct a bribery scheme involving Bulgarian residency documents for foreign persons, as well as to bribe government officials through various means in exchange for their information and loyalty," according to the U.S. government. Hristo Ivanov, head of the anti-corruption Yes Bulgaria party, welcomed the sanctions."Peevski and Bozhkov are participants in a grand corruption scheme which needs to come undone, while Borissov needs to leave the political scene," he told reporters in Sofia. Maya Manolova, a former ombudswoman and one of the leaders of Rise Up! Out With the Crooks!, an opposition party inspired by a wave of anti-corruption protests last year, said the sanctions highlighted a dire need for reforms. "Bulgarians would like to see their institutions finally stepping up their fight against corruption," she told online news platform Dnevnik.bg. The "Bulgarian state is the only one which has not realized the need for decisive anti-graft measures. "In a statement late Wednesday, the Bulgarian foreign ministry did not address any specific cases but said the country is committed to the fight against corruption and that it remained ready for dialogue with Washington. Bozhkov's party declined to comment at the time of publication. Peevski, meanwhile, rejected the U.S. move and vowed to challenge it. In an open letter sent to Bulgarian media, he slammed the sanctions as "absolutely unacceptable, biased and violating the letter and the spirit" of the Magnitsky Act. "I haven't done anything to violate internationally recognized human rights, I'm not a state official, and I haven't participated in acts of corruption," he said. Washington's reasoning for imposing the sanctions "does not include a single true fact," he added.
QuoteEuropean Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have turned a blind eye to a rule-of-law meltdown in the EU's poorest state in recent years. Former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, who dominated the country's politics for the best part of a decade, was their close ally on the EU political stage in the center-right European People's Party and was never challenged over his country's judicial failings.
Quote from: The Larch on June 03, 2021, 05:34:14 AMQuoteEuropean Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have turned a blind eye to a rule-of-law meltdown in the EU's poorest state in recent years. Former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, who dominated the country's politics for the best part of a decade, was their close ally on the EU political stage in the center-right European People's Party and was never challenged over his country's judicial failings.So, Orban 2.0. It seems that the best recipe for entrenching your corrupt network in your often overlooked country is to be part of the EPP.
QuoteU.S. and EU resolve 17-year Boeing-Airbus disputeThe two sides agreed to suspend for five years tariffs that stem from the dispute.CNBC reported last week that the EU was pressing the White House to reach a deal to end trade tariffs imposed during the Trump administration.Boeing and Airbus shares rose on the news.LONDON — The United States and European Union said Tuesday they have resolved a 17-year-long fight over aircraft subsidies, agreeing to suspend tariffs for five years stemming from the Boeing-Airbus dispute."This meeting has started with a breakthrough on aircraft," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who met with President Joe Biden at a U.S.-EU summit in Brussels. "This really opens a new chapter in our relationship because we move from litigation to cooperation on aircraft — after 17 years of dispute."U.S. trade representative Katherine Tai said during a videocall Tuesday that: "Today's announcement resolves a longstanding trade irritant in the U.S.-Europe relationship.""Instead of fighting with one of our closest allies, we are finally coming together against a common threat," she added, mentioning China.She added in a joint statement with the EU that both sides "now have time and space to find a lasting solution through our new Working Group on Aircraft, while saving billions of euros in duties for importers on both sides of the Atlantic."CNBC reported last week that the EU was pressing the White House to reach a deal to end trade tariffs imposed during the Trump administration, in relation to the Airbus and Boeing dispute that emerged in 2004.As part of the deal, the EU and the U.S. agreed to provide research and development funding through an open and transparent process as well as to not give specific support, such as tax breaks, to their own producers that would harm the other side.The idea is also to collaborate in addressing non-market practices conducted by other countries, including China.Tuesday's big announcement marked Biden's first trip to the EU's headquarters and the first EU-U.S. summit since 2014."This shows the new spirit of cooperation between the EU and the U.S. and that we can solve the other issues to our mutual benefit. Together we can deliver for our citizens and businesses," Valdis Dombrovskis, the EU's trade chief, said in a statement Tuesday.WTO rulingsThe EU-U.S. relationship hit a low during the previous White House administration with then-President Donald Trump accusing the EU of being worse than China with its trade practices.Trump imposed duties worth $7.5 billion on European products after the World Trade Organization ruled that the EU had given unfair subsidies to Airbus.Shortly afterward the EU imposed tariffs worth $4 billion on U.S. products off the back of another WTO ruling that said the U.S. had granted illegal aid to Boeing.Boeing shares were up 0.5% in the premarket on Tuesday morning, while Paris-listed Airbus shares were trading higher by 0.5%.Separately, the United Kingdom also said Tuesday it was hoping for a similar deal with the United States within coming days.The U.K. was a member of the EU when the dispute emerged and was hit by the trade tensions that developed during the Trump presidency.
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