Push to clinch farm deal with EU applicants

first_imgDisputes over farm issues have caused serious friction between the Union and Poland, which has two million farmers compared to the seven million in the entire EU.Warsaw has attacked the Union’s system of subsidising farm exports, arguing that it depresses prices for their farmers, and the Commission has criticised Warsaw for increasing import duties on agricultural products last year, accusing it of “inappropriate behaviour for an applicant country”.Although the free-trade agreement will apply to all six leading candidate countries, the Commission needs to strike a specific deal with Poland because of the size of its farm sector and the political sensitivity of its trade with the EU.Hopes of a deal were raised this week after Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler said farmers in the applicant countries should receive support payments as compensation for limiting production, as the candidates have insisted. Commission officials say they are optimistic about the chances of agreeing a deal under which all import duties and export subsidies on farm products would be phased out over the next few years, starting from 1 July this year. “The mood has definitely got better,” said one.But diplomats from the candidate countries warned that hard bargaining would be needed over a range of sensitive goods including cereals, dairy products and beef before an agreement could be reached.Striking a deal to liberalise farm trade between the EU and the six front-runner candidate countries would remove a major source of tension ahead of difficult enlargement negotiations on agriculture due to start in June.last_img read more

Young people back ‘chamber of EU citizens’

first_imgDane Asbjorn Lyby, chairman of Youth 2002, said: “It was a great event and our hope is that more young people – and, indeed, other European citizens – will be given the same opportunity to take such an active role.” Meanwhile, a group of Eurosceptic MEPs, including Dane Jens-Peter Bonde, and UK Conservative David Heathcoat-Amory, this week unveiled an alternative to the skeleton constitution unveiled by Giscard last week. Branding Giscard’s treaty as the first step to an EU “superstate”, the so-called Democracy Forum called for simplified decision-making, more transparency and national parliamentary control.Bonde said: “The constitution presented by Giscard will create a United States of Europe. We need an alternative vision to stop parliaments from being stripped of their powers by a future superstate.”The Convention is due to finish its work in June 2003. This is one of the recommendations contained in a draft treaty drawn up by 1,000 young people from 33 European countries who took part in a ‘Youth 2002’ event in Denmark this summer.The draft supports the overall aim of the Convention on Europe’s future in attempting to “reconnect” the EU with its citizens. It also envisages the establishment of a ‘Chamber of Citizens’ which would represent the interests of ordinary people.The document calls for the Charter of Fundamental Rights to be incorporated into any future treaty. The draft has been sent to Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the chairman of the Convention, and will also be distributed to heads of state and government leaders at the Copenhagen summit next month.last_img read more

‘Don’t panic in wake of cuts’ says electric chief

first_imgSpeaking in Brussels yesterday (15 October), Hans Haider said Europe has a “more intelligent” and “more interconnected” grid than the US.“In Italy there was a blackout, but not in Switzerland, Slovenia or France,” he added, referring to the massive 28 September power failure triggered by a tree falling on a power line in the Alps. Other countries were not affected because the grid’s “remote control system” worked, he claimed. EU electricity consumption has been increasing at a steady 1% to 2% annually in recent years, but an extremely cold winter followed by an early, hot summer saw demand jump across Europe.“Governments are not reacting fast,” he said. “Maybe the blackouts will push things along a little bit.”last_img read more

A long, bloody, tragic struggle

first_imgBut equally real is the wary acquiescence, even support, that the regime of Bashar Assad still enjoys among many – perhaps most – Syrians, notably the country’s numerous religious minorities. Starr, who has spent five years in Syria, adds nuance that is often missing from foreign reporting on Syria, which makes the events narrated here even more terrifying. “Revolt in Syria” is an account of how a society worn down by decades of brutal dictatorship has been torn apart within a matter of months. Under threat Starr’s main constraint was the pervasive fear that the authorities would expel him. He was legally resident in Syria and had to worry about things that did not bother reporters who were smuggled in by the opposition or who came on government-sponsored, three-day reporting trips. Starr, who lived near Damascus, had to be transparent but inconspicuous at the same time. He never made it to Homs or Deraa, hotbeds of the uprising. As a consequence, Starr’s book shows little of the savagery with which the Assad regime – a “cabal of gangsters”, in his words – has responded to the uprising. Instead, Starr lets ordinary Syrians speak, especially the country’s “silent majority”, those who may or may not have supported the regime but were terrified of what might come after. Such fears are not to be taken lightly: Syrians well remember what happened in neighbouring Iraq after its ‘liberation’ by a US-led coalition, or the sectarian civil war that raged in Lebanon in 1975-90. “Revolt in Syria” is unpolished and on occasion baffling: after travelling around Damascus by mini-bus for most of the book, all of a sudden Starr pulls up at a checkpoint driving a car. But it is as clear-headed and important as anything about the events in Syria currently available in English. His prediction for this country is grim. “Those who took to the streets in the spring of 2011 did not do so championing democracy,” he writes. “They did so because their fathers, brothers and sons disappeared, were beaten or were killed. They had no links to America, Israel or other enemies of Syria. They were not members of the political opposition.” This, Starr says in his depressing conclusion, suggests that the conflict will drag on. “If the regime or the opposition could win over such individuals, they would surely have enough support to bring down the other. But neither side has, nor do they appear likely to do so.” Revolt in Syria: eye-witness to the uprising In reporting the bloody uprising in Syria that is now in its 19th month, many foreign broadcasters have relied on ‘citizens’ journalism’ – unverified, and often unverifiable, footage of protests and their suppression by security forces, uploaded to YouTube. As the uprising took its course, it became clear that – although the broad outlines of the picture provided by ‘activists’ inside Syria were generally accurate – the specifics often were not.  Some viewers in the West began doubting what they were seeing on their screens, and international media began focusing on the unsavoury aspects of the uprising, such as the involvement of Islamic extremists. Initially seen as a struggle between non-violent protesters and brutish security forces, the uprising increasingly appeared to be a civil war along sectarian lines in which all sides were committing crimes. To some extent, this did reflect the changing reality on the ground. But it also served as an excuse for cutting short any debate about outside intervention. Stephen Starr’s “Revolt in Syria” is a corrective to the simplistic narratives that have emerged about the Syrian uprising. The rage of the demonstrators and the courage of the opposition are real, he writes, not an artefact of reporting by ‘mainstream media’ with a neo-imperialist agenda, as some left-wingers in the West have claimed. By Stephen Starr (226 pages) Hurst & Company, €19last_img read more

Iran’s supreme leader: Foreigners can’t interview our scientists

first_imgThe United Nations’ nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency, for example, has not had access to Iran’s Parchin nuclear complex in a decade — long a point of contention between Iran and the international community. A mysterious alleged explosion at the complex last October only fueled suspicion. The U.S. has alleged that weaponization research occurred at that facility, and access to it has been a point of contention in the nuclear talks.The supreme leader’s comments Wednesday are the latest in a series of declarations on nuclear inspections. Last month, Khamenei declared that all sanctions against the regime must end if negotiators reach a deal. His office also tweeted that the country would not continue negotiations if “US officials” threaten Iran with military action.Iran and the P5+1 countries reached an agreement on April 2 to allow United Nations inspectors to conduct more intensive inspections, though the parties have differed on how much access the inspectors should have. A little more than a month remains until the June 30 deadline for a final deal.Khamenei followed up his comments with several tweets from his official account, saying that he would not allow investigators to “interrogate scientists who are the dear & distinguished children of #Iran.”I will not let foreigners talk to & interrogate scientists who are the dear & distinguished children of #Iran. pic.twitter.com/NL56D8DFZ1— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) May 20, 2015 Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday that he would not tolerate “unreasonable demands” from world powers during nuclear negotiations, making clear that he would not allow inspectors to interview the country’s scientists.“I will not permit aliens [foreigners] to come and interview with scientists who have gotten the domestic nuclear knowledge to this level,” Khamenei was quoted as saying by Iran’s IRNA state news agency during a meeting at Imam Hossein University. “They should realize that Iran’s response to any evil move will be very harsh,” Khamenei added.He also said Iran “won’t allow foreigners to carry out any inspections on military sites.” Officials should know that only way to counter the brazen enemy is will power &avoiding inaction;they should show Iran’s grandeur in talks.— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) May 20, 2015last_img read more

The 8 must-read Hillary Clinton emails

first_img8. Unbelievable BibiIn a heavily redacted chain from November 2010, Mills passed along to Clinton a series of messages between her and aide Anne-Marie Slaughter while the secretary of state conducted a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.The conversation began with a note from Slaughter carrying the subject line “I assume u r running 9:30 call,” followed by a series of messages that were largely redacted upon release.“I can be reached through ops to discuss this so we can serve the larger objectives here,” Mills wrote Slaughter in one message.“So you know what is coming your way – read from bottom up,” Mills told Clinton, in forwarding the chain.“Unbelievable–I am still on [with] Bibi which is equally so,” the secretary of state responded. Also On POLITICO Foreign policy Hillary Clinton’s North Korea problem By Michael Hirsh “All Obama needs to do is turn up, surrounded by commanders, on the Gulf Coast, post-hurricane, on Saturday,” Blumenthal replied. “The hurricane is the counter-convention. It provides the counter message without ever having to debate it: Obama is effective, gets things done, government is essential, etc. The event is the message. Plus, on the anniversary of Katrina, the contrast is naturally made, and Bush pops up.”7. ‘Best info yet’Earlier that month, Blumenthal sent Clinton two memos on Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, citing “sources with access to the highest levels of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, and Western Intelligence and security services.”Those sources informed him that Morsi, who would be deposed by a military coup less than a year later, “appears to be a sophisticated strategist” who recognized the public’s desire for a period of peace after the 2011 revolution that sacked longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.“According to a particularly sensitive source with access to the leadership of the MB, Morsi will now focus on dealing with the chaotic state of the Egyptian economy, reassuring foreign businessmen, governments, and investors that the revolutionary period is over, and life is returning to normal,” Blumenthal’s memo read. “For this reason he decided to end his early, problematic statements on Islamist policy, criticizing both the United States and Israel.”Blumenthal’s intelligence also referred to a source within SCAF who relayed that Morsi “went out of his way to build a working relationship with General Abdel Fatah al-Sissi,” who would become the country’s president in 2014, receiving 93 percent of the public vote in an election that the Brotherhood and most other political parties boycotted.“Best info yet. Let’s discuss before you forward this morning,” Clinton instructed Sullivan, apparently on her iPad, according to the email signature. “Will keep texts coming. Keep shades on,” Blumenthal wrote, referring to the famous image of Clinton on her BlackBerry, sporting a pair of dark sunglasses.“Can you believe I’ve become a ‘meme’?” Clinton responded. Three minutes later, Blumenthal wrote, “Better than a candidate.”“That’s for sure,” Clinton wrote.Blumenthal then offered more advice on how she should frame her accomplishments in preparation for potential political forays in the future.“Good not to campaign, good not to go to convention, good on revelations on Bin Laden raid, but should use speeches like VMI, Naval Academy to establish new pivot, new redefinition of U.S. strength in new era that also redefines the relative position of others,” he wrote.3. ‘Who does he work for now?’Despite her own exclusive use of a personal server to conduct official business at the State Department, Clinton expressed surprise at the notion that a staffer was using his own email address for similar purposes. The conversation is partially redacted, so further context is unclear based on the emails themselves, including whether the talking points themselves included any classified information. Top adviser Jake Sullivan passed along an email chain in late February 2011 in which State employee John Godfrey provided a detailed summary of information regarding Libya and its leader, Muammar Qadhafi.“Worth a read. This guy is very thoughtful,” Sullivan wrote to Clinton, who then asked where he worked.After Sullivan informed her that Godfrey worked at State, Clinton had even more questions.“Is he in [the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs] currently? Or was he in Embassy?” she asked. “I was surprised that he used personal email account if he is at State.”4. Ebola humorAs Clinton and her staff traveled through Africa in August 2012, top adviser Philippe Reines sent some helpful words — or something to that effect — about the threat of Ebola in Uganda, the next stop on their tour.“The symptoms of EVD/EHF are VERY subtle and easy to miss. So it’s vitally important that we all closely monitor each other and keep our eyes peeled so as not to miss any of the following tipoffs or confuse them with other ailments. What’s working in our favor is that those infected.will experience ALL of the following near simultaneously,” he wrote, before rattling off a list of more than three dozen symptoms, including “Fever with chills,” “Maculopapular rash,” “coma” and “Disseminated intravascular coagulation.” Mills then forwarded the message to Clinton. There did not appear to be a response from Clinton included.6. Hurricane politicsAs Hurricane Isaac bore down on the Gulf Coast in late August 2012, Blumenthal passed along a memo to Clinton that he wanted the White House to see, despite the fact that he remained an unwelcome figure in the administration.Remarking that George W. Bush’s presidency collapsed when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, Blumenthal averred that President Barack Obama should make an appearance on the scene of the hurricane’s landfall after the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, but before the Democrats convened for their own event in Charlotte, North Carolina, the following week.The theme of the Republican convention, he wrote, would be to portray Obama’s presidency as an inefficient failure. In order to prepare for that, he said, an outfront effort by FEMA before the hurricane would serve as an implicit contrast to Bush and show that the president could use the federal government to respond efficiently to a natural disaster.“Once the FEMA effort begins, while the Republican convention is meeting, Democrats across the board should point out that the Romney-Ryan budget plans would slash FEMA,” Blumenthal advised. “Even if not specified, as little is specified in their plans, drastic FEMA cuts would be inevitable. Put out numbers, a range of numbers. Romney-Ryan would at once be forced on the defensive, make statements defending their plans, calling attention to the real consequences of their ideology, and by filling their message space with the hurricane and the administration’s effective management the GOP convention message against Obama as ineffectual and for Romney as the crisis manager/proven-executive/fixer would be overwhelmed.”Clinton’s response: “I passed this on to the White House. We’ll see what happens.”center_img “And there’s one huge misconception about Ebola. The mortaility [sic] rate is not 100% as commonly believed. It is only 90%,” he wrote. The best way to avoid contact, he offered, would be to “not travel to Uganda.” For those who are, he wrote, “do not/not come within the minimum safe distance of 101 miles to the affected region. (For context, that’s not much farther than the distance between Washington DC and Baltimore.)” Failing that, he said, avoid any medical facility outside of that safe zone.“If all else fails,” he wrote, an accompanying doctor “is carrying forsythia,” a plant whose fruit is used in medicine to reduce inflammation.Chief of staff Cheryl Mills followed up in an attempt to calm nerves, remarking that she had spoken with an official with the Centers for Disease Control, who said there is “little to no risk” in traveling to the capital of Kampala. There is a greater risk, she added, of contracting typhoid or salmonella from water or improperly washed food than the likely fatal hemorrhagic disease.5. ‘I would take a bullet for her’Pamela White, then the U.S. ambassador to Haiti, did not mince words when discussing how far she would go for the secretary of state in an email from February 2011.In commenting on a recent Clinton profile in Harper’s Bazaar, White wrote to Mills, “Makes my heart sing. I would take a bullet for her any day. She is simply amazing.” Sullivan wrote Clinton to inform her that she would receive the documents later on the evening of June 16. The following morning, Clinton followed up to say that she had not yet received them.“?!!! Checking,” Sullivan responded.Minutes later, he wrote, “They say they’ve had issues sending secure fax. They’re working on it.”“If they can’t, turn into nonpaper w no identifying heading and send nonsecure,” Clinton wrote.2. Better a meme than a candidate?In an April 2012 email exchange in which he passed along intelligence about the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, longtime confidant Sid Blumenthal also made sure to note the secretary of state’s newfound status as an Internet meme with the “Texts from Hillary” Tumblr, which stopped publishing new posts around that time. The State Department’s releases of Hillary Clinton’s emails are winding down but are still offering up colorful glimpses into the former secretary of state’s four years at Foggy Bottom. The latest batch of roughly 3,000 pages of emails — which State posted in the wee hours of Friday morning after missing a court-ordered deadline to keep up its schedule — showed the lavish praise heaped on Clinton, her aides’ gallows humor, and struggles with technology that had Clinton turning to unsecure forms of communication. It also showed how Sidney Blumenthal flooded the secretary’s inbox with intelligence and advice, some of which made its way to the White House.Here are some of the most revealing looks of the State Department’s inner workings in the latest release:1. ‘send nonsecure’Clinton directed staffers to send talking points via nonsecure email, according to a June 2011 email chain, in which her top adviser Jake Sullivan said that staffers were experiencing difficulty sending secure fax messages.last_img read more

White House: Iran wanted more prisoners released in deal

first_imgThe Justice Department Sunday formally announced the names of the four recipients of pardons and three individuals receiving commutations in connection with the Iran deal. The announcement tracked with details reported by POLITICO Saturday based on comments from a U.S. official, Iranian media reports and court records.Absent from the list were the defendants in most the notorious case of Iran-linked terrorism prosecuted in the U.S. in recent years—a plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. by bombing a popular Washington restaurant. One Iranian-American defendant, Manssor Arbabsiar, pled guilty in the case and was sentenced in 2013 to 25 years in prison. Also charged in the case was Gholam Shakuri, a commander in Iran’s elite Quds force, who was accused of paying thousands of dollars to facilitate the operation. A warrant for Shakuri’s arrest remains outstanding.The Obama Administration also appears to have shied away from granting clemency or dropping charges involving sanctions violations linked to violence against Americans, such as several cases relating to parts allegedly found in improvised explosive devices used against U.S. forces in Iraq.However, the move to grant clemency to seven individuals and to drop charges against 14 others still at large and wanted in sanctions and export-related cases does challenge the credibility of the administration’s announcement Saturday that it was imposing new sanctions on 11 people and companies involved in Iran’s ballistic missile efforts. If the administration is letting people off the hook for violating existing sanctions, some may doubt its seriousness about enforcing new ones.Administration officials sought to pre-empt such arguments Sunday, by insisting that the clemency grants and dropped prosecutions were extraordinary, one-off events.“We are making clear that this is a one-time, unprecedented situation with the release of prisoners, and we are going to enforce our sanctions as necessary going forward with respect to issues like ballistic missiles and terrorism,” the senior U.S. official said. Ali Saboonchi – District of Maryland (Commutation)Offenses: One count of conspiracy to violate the Iranian embargo and seven counts of violating the Iranian embargo. Also On POLITICO Forum Is Iran really so evil? By Stephen Kinzer Obama grants clemency to seven in Iran deal By Josh Gerstein Iran: Now the hard part begins By Michael Crowley Khosrow Afghahi – Southern District of Texas (Pardon)Offenses: One count of conspiracy to violate the Iranian embargo and the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), one count of violating the Iranian embargo, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of money laundering.Tooraj Faridi – Southern District of Texas (Pardon)Offenses: One count of conspiracy to violate the Iranian embargo and the EAR, two counts of violating the Iranian embargo and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.Bahram Mechanic – Southern District of Texas (Pardon)Offenses: One count of conspiracy to violate the Iranian embargo and the EAR, six counts of violating the Iranian embargo and the EAR, five counts of violating the Iranian embargo, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, eight counts money laundering and one count of failure to file Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBARs).Nima Golestaneh – District of Vermont (Pardon)Offenses: Four counts of wire fraud, one count each of conspiracy to access a computer without authorization and accessing a computer without authorization.Nader Modanlo, aka Modanlu and Modanlou – District of Maryland (Commutation)Offenses: One count of conspiracy to violate the Iranian embargo, two counts of violating the Iranian embargo, one count each of money laundering and obstruction of bankruptcy proceedings.Arash Ghahreman – Southern District of California (Commutation)Offenses: One count of conspiracy to violate the Iranian embargo, one count of conspiracy to smuggle goods from the United States, one count of attempting to violate the Iranian embargo, one count of smuggling, one count of conspiracy to money launder and two counts of money laundering. During high-level Iran-U.S. diplomatic talks, Iran sought release of a broader set of prisoners than the seven to whom President Barack Obama ultimately granted clemency, a senior Obama Administration official said Sunday.The official suggested, but did not say outright, that some of those Iran wanted released had engaged in or were accused of crimes of violence. However, the seven individuals Obama granted pardons or commutations to in connection with the multi-faceted deal were all charged with or convicted of export control or sanctions-related violations.“We … did not have to release any Iranians involved in terrorism or convicted of violent crimes. Iran had a significantly higher number of individuals, of course, at the beginning of this negotiation that they would have liked to have seen released. But we were able to winnow that down to these seven individuals, six of whom are Iranian Americans,” said the U.S. official, who spoke to reporters Sunday on condition of anonymity. The official also said prisoner swaps like the one carried out with Iran are “nothing new,” alluding to a long history of U.S. spy exchanges with Russia and the Soviet Union. However, the official quickly noted one difference with many of those cases: in this instance, the U.S. is insisting that Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and the others released over the weekend were not engaged in any intelligence mission.“This did not relate to intelligence assets,” the official stressed. “These were releases that were undertaken by each side on a humanitarian basis.”The administration has not yet released a list of the 14 individuals who had prosecutions against them dropped, but many of them have been identified from court records. At least one of those individuals, Alireza Goudarzi, appears to have won his freedom as a result of the deal. He was being held in Malaysia for potential extradition to the U.S.Other cases could have some international fallout or complications. last year, Turkey extradited Iranian hacker Nima Golestaneh to face federal computer crime charges in Vermont. Jail records show he was released Sunday as part of the deal with Iran.Media reports said Turkey turned over Golestaneh in order to persuade the U.S. to extradite activist and cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives In Pennsylvania and is wanted in Turkey on charges of trying to overthrow the government. So, far the U.S. hasn’t turned Gulen over.Here’s the list of pardons and commutations Obama granted as part of the Iran deal:last_img read more

Barack Obama condemns ‘apparent terrorist attack’ in Munich

first_imgWASHINGTON — The White House on Friday acknowledged the shooting massacre at a mall in Germany as an “apparent terrorist attack.”The U.S. “condemns in the strongest terms the apparent terrorist attack that has claimed innocent lives in Munich, Germany,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement. “We still do not know all of the facts, but we do know that this heinous act has killed and injured multiple individuals in the heart of one of Europe’s most vibrant cities.”According to police, one or more shooters attacked the largest shopping mall in Munich, killing at least nine people and wounding others.National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said President Barack Obama’s homeland security and counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco briefed Obama on the developing situation in Munich and will continue to keep him updated.Addressing law enforcement officers at a previously scheduled meeting with them at the White House, Obama said the federal government will “pledge all the support” Germany may need.“I was a little bit delayed,” Obama said at the outset of his remarks. “Some of you are aware there were shootings in Germany and we don’t yet know exactly what’s happening there, but obviously our hearts go out to those who may have been injured.”“It’s still an active situation,” he added, “and Germany’s one of our closest allies so we are gonna pledge all the support that they may need in dealing with these circumstances.”Earnest offered his thoughts and prayers to those affected by the attack and reassured the U.S.’s commitment to assist its ally.“In the midst of this tragedy, the United States will work closely with our German partners to whom we will make available any resources that would assist their investigation, as the president pledged,” he said. “The resolve of Germany, the United States and the broader international community will remain unshaken in the face of acts of despicable violence such as this.”Obama called whatever transpired in Munich a reminder of how important law enforcement is in the lives of everyday citizens.“Our way of life, our freedoms, our ability to go about our business every day, raising our kids and seeing them grow up and graduate from high school and now about to leave their dad — I’m sorry, getting a little too personal,” Obama, whose elder daughter, Malia, graduated high school earlier this summer, said to laughter. “Getting a little too personal there.”“That depends on law enforcement,” he continued. “It depends on the men and women in uniform every single day who are under some of the most adverse circumstances imaginable at times, making sure to keep us safe. And, obviously, we have gone through a really tough time these last couple of weeks.”The U.S. has suffered a series of officer-involved shootings in recent weeks — white officers killing black men and black men retaliating by targeting police officers — and a driver mowed through dozens of people in Nice, France, last week on the nation’s Bastille Day.last_img read more

Cecilia Malmström has ‘the sexiest job on earth’

first_imgWhile others wonder if populist anger will derail the EU’s trade agreements, Malmström said the mood has an upside because it makes it easier to argue for trade that is “more value-based, transparent and inclusive.”More than a dozen trade ministers will meet in Davos Friday for informal talks, and some, including Malmström, with meet over dinner Thursday night. The group is unlikely to develop a Trump strategy. “The whole world is in a waiting mood,” she said about the incoming U.S. administration.“We don’t know who will be confirmed and what will be the division of roles. We have reason to believe burying TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) and renegotiating NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) are their priorities,” Malmström said.From a trade-heavy Davos program, Malmström praised the speeches of both Chinese president Xi Jinping and Britain’s Theresa May.Xi delivered “an impressive speech,” with a calm view of globalization, Malmström said. May’s speech was “good” because it “captured a lot of the concerns of the responsible globalization that we all talk about.”The praise for May came with a clear warning: Trade discussions are “perfectly normal” but trade negotiations before Brexit are definitely not allowed. Like everyone at the World Economic Forum, Cecilia Malmström is unsure what the Trump presidency and Brexit will mean for Europe’s trade agenda. But one thing’s for sure: she’s in the thick of the action.“I get two signals when I say hello to people and tell them I am the EU trade commissioner: Half give condolences like someone died, and the other half say ‘wow, it’s the sexiest job on earth,’” Malmström said.The Swedish commissioner is plowing on regardless of uncertainty caused by Trump and Brexit. “Even if our friend and ally (Trump) seems to temporarily log off from the international system, we are trying to show we can do good … value-based efficient agreements,” she said. While Malmström declined to officially predict when the EU-Canada trade agreement would enter into force, she heaped praise on her Canadian partners, and hinted at provisional implementation of the deal from March.last_img read more

Macron, Le Pen to attend ceremony for slain police officer

first_imgEmmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, the two front-runners in the French presidential election, will pay tribute to a police officer killed last Thursday in a terrorist attack on the Champs-Élysées, Le Parisien reported Tuesday.Xavier Jugelé, a member of the 32nd Public Order and Traffic Department of the Paris Police Prefecture, was killed when a gunman opened fire, wounding two other police officers and a foreign tourist, near a Marks & Spencer on Paris’ prestigious Champs Élysées days before the first round of voting in the French presidential elections.The section of the prosecutor’s office dedicated to the fight against terrorism opened a formal probe, and Islamic State, which has been responsible for a string of terror attacks in France since early 2015, later claimed responsibility. In the aftermath of the attack, centrist candidate Macron vowed to be “inflexible” in his response to terrorism, while far-right National Front leader Le Pen called for an immediate shutdown of national borders and the expulsion of any foreigners suspected of links to terrorist groups.Days earlier, police had thwarted a major terror attack planned by two radicalized French nationals.Tuesday’s ceremony, led by outgoing French President François Hollande, will take place in the courtyard of the Paris police prefecture. Also On POLITICO Belgian man has no link to Paris attack: security officials By Giulia Paravicini Terror strikes Paris at close of election campaign By Pierre Briançonlast_img read more