Following our discussion of Europe’s angry response to Trump’s unilateral Iran sanctions, in which European Union budget commissioner, Guenther Oettinger made it clear that Europe will not be viewed as a vassal state of the US, stating that “Trump despises weaklings. If we back down step by step, if we acquiesce, if we become a kind of junior partner of the US then we are lost”, moments ago Reuters reported that the European Commission is set to launch tomorrow the process of activating a law that bans European companies from complying with U.S. sanctions against Iran and does not recognise any court rulings that enforce American penalties.
“As the European Commission we have the duty to protect European companies. We now need to act and this is why we are launching the process of to activate the ‘blocking statute’ from 1996. We will do that tomorrow morning at 1030,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said.
The European Union (EU) is considering switching to euros instead of U.S. dollars in the oil trade with Iran, Sputnik reported on Wednesday, quoting a diplomatic source.
Iran, for its part, said as early as in mid-April that it would be switching to euros from U.S. dollars in reporting foreign currency amounts, to reduce the reliance on the dollar as it was expected that President Trump would not waive the sanctions this time around.
The EU vowed on Tuesday to seek ways to work and trade with Iran. Continue reading
BERLIN/TEHRAN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – In talks with Iranian government officials on Tuesday, the German government will seek a solution in the dispute over the nuclear deal with Tehran. While trying to defend the interests of German industry, it is aiming for an independent Middle East policy. Because of its close alliance with Washington in the power struggle with Moscow and Beijing, this would be very important, as legitimization of Berlin’s claims to playing a leading role in global policy. While commentators are encouraging the government, the minister of the economy and business circles are warning against exacerbating the conflict with Washington. It is very risky for the German elite’s prosperity, because the United States is the largest market for German companies and, by far, their most important investment site. On the other hand, in Iran, the EU countries’ industry risks irrevocably losing out to China, due to the US sanctions.
The US, Swedish, and Finnish defense ministers signed a trilateral Statement of Intent (SOI) to expand defense cooperation on all fronts. The signing ceremony took place in Washington on May 8. In 2016, the two Scandinavian nations finalized separate defense SOIs with America. Now they have signed a joint document to unify those previous agreements and enhance their interoperability.
The Scandinavian visitors claimed this was just a starting point for a more mature relationship. The agreement emphasizes the countries’ combined joint exercises and streamlines the procedures that have been established to manage them.
Other issues covered by the SOI include regular trilateral meetings at all levels, the exchange of information (including about weapons systems), increased practical interaction, cooperation in multinational operations, improved communications, and the promotion of the EU-NATO strategic partnership. The latter issue will transform the Scandinavians into a connecting link that will eliminate the chance of any European deterrent that could operate with any real independence from its North American “big brother.” Washington wants to make sure that the PESCO agreement will not protect Europe’s defense industry from US companies. Continue reading
As mentioned many times throughout the years, a United States of Europe is Under Construction. All roads lead to Germany’s Fourth Reich centered in Berlin, which is laying the groundwork for a European Army to complete the realization of the world’s next superpower.
The German chancellor’s comments came after contentious meetings with US President Donald Trump at NATO and G7 summit meetings. Trump clashed with America’s allies over global warming, mutual defense and trade.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday that Europe has to forge its own path forward, as the United States and Britain were no longer reliable partners.
“The times when we could fully rely on others have passed us by a little bit, that’s what I’ve experienced in recent days,” she said while speaking at a campaign rally in Munich. Continue reading
Exclusive: Tehran will challenge the US by restarting nuclear fuel enrichment and ramp up its military confrontation with Israel. The Iranian leadership reached these decisions on Thursday, May 10, after Israeli warplanes smashed its military assets in the Damascus area that morning, DEBKAfile’s exclusive intelligence sources report. These steps follow the strategic plans Tehran had drawn up for the eventuality of the US quitting the 2015 nuclear pact. In the coming weeks, therefore, Tehran will choose its moment to abandon the nuclear deal and restart high level uranium enrichment, in the face of President Donald Trump’s warning that this action would meet with “very severe consequences.” In light of Iran’s strategy, the US, after quitting the nuclear deal, Thursday asked the nuclear watchdog IAEA to continue inspections of the Iranian nuclear program. Washington intends to keep independent monitors accessing Iran’s nuclear activities for as long as they are permitted. Continue reading
For years there has been a struggle in the Eurozone between those that want to transform it into a transfer union and those that who want a Europe of independent and cooperating countries. The latter including Austria, Finland, the Netherlands and Germany want strict limits for deficits and debt brakes as envisioned in the Fiscal Stability Treaty. Some, such as the European Constitutional Group, even demand a mechanism for an orderly break-up of the Eurozone. The former including Mediterranean member states led by France, do not openly call their objective a fiscal union or the creation of a “European Super State” but prefer to talk about a “deepening of the European project.” The reason for this division is straightforward: The central and northern European countries would be the contributors to a transfer union while the club Med would be on the receiving side. Continue reading
Brussels has issued some thinly veiled threats to countries that essentially asks them to forego their national, legal sovereignty if they want to keep receiving EU funds…it sounds a bit like a ransom note.
The editor in chief of Europe’s largest newsmagazine has written America’s obituary—quite literally. The title of Klaus Brinkbäumer’s new book is An Obituary for America: The End of a Friendship and the Future of the West.
In it, the Der Spiegel editor in chief reaches two surprising conclusions: America is dead, and Germany should be happy about it.
Spiegel Online published an article adapted from Brinkbäumer’s book under the title “Thank You, Donald! What Trump Means for Germany’s Future.”
The U.S., writes Brinkbäumer, is no longer a reliable partner. Therefore “we must emancipate ourselves.” Continue reading
Germany has started to pour concrete on a Russian gas pipeline that risks dividing the EU and harming its energy security.
The construction began in Lubmin, on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast, on Thursday (3 May), with the laying of foundations for a terminal that will receive 55bn cubic metres (bcm) a year of Russian gas via the Nord Stream 2 pipeline when it goes online in 2020. Continue reading
The Cologne Institute of German Business sees in the planned European deposit insurance is simply incapable of proving protection against a bank crash in Europe. The EU deposit guarantee is simply not practical under any concept of austerity. The Eurozone still has inherent significant risks in the balance sheets of European financial institutions. This is primarily because where the USA took the bad loans from the banks and stuffed them into Freddie and Fanny, in Europe, the bad loans are still on the books of the banks. Systemically, this has been the leading problem why Europe has been unable to recover and Quantitative Easing merely robber savers of their income and it failed completely to stimulate the economy. Banks were still reluctant to lend and people would not borrow if they did not have confidence in the future. Continue reading
PARIS/BERLIN (Own report) – Berlin is forging ahead with the German-French military cooperation by intensifying collaboration in air transport. In addition to ambitious armament projects, the defense ministries of Germany and France have reached an agreement last week regulating the operation of a joint air transport squadron based in Évreux (France) as well as the training of the necessary personnel. The squadron will be available to both countries’ tactical air transport and supplement the large A400 transport aircraft, which will also be procured jointly by the German and French armed forces. Experts view the current cooperation – for example in the framework of the Franco-German Brigade – to be insufficient, because, so far, diverging strategic goals complicate its deployment. For his “vision of a new Europe,” Emmanuel Macron, under whose presidency the cooperation is to be expanded and improved, will be awarded Aachen’s International Charlemagne Prize next week.
Beijing sent the first messaging salvo ahead of the Steven Mnuchin-led delegation to China (which will engage in trade talks over May 3-4) overnight when the PBOC fixed the yuan sharply lower than many expected. The signal was clear: push us hard enough, and we may just launch another devaluation. Or worse.
A little while later, Beijing did its best attempt at managing expectations, when it said that it’s “unrealistic” to expect to solve all issues between the U.S. and China at a single meeting, given the economic sizes of the two countries and their complex economic and trade relationship, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying says at daily briefing.
While Hua tried his best to pay the diplomatic “good cop”, saying it was in the mutual interest of both countries to solve trade issues through consultation, just a few hours later, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi was the bad cop, who warned that whereas China would welcome a successful outcome from upcoming trade talks with the United States, it is “fully prepared for all outcomes and will not negotiate on core interests.”
It would appear that the US is seriously worried about China’s technological advancements. Fearing the loss of the last comparative advantage over the Asian superpower has caused a genuine concern over national defense and competitiveness among America’s ruling elite.
The US using every possible means to curb Asia’s technological rise, including the banning of sales of essential chips to ZTE for seven years, invoking Section 301 of the Trade Act to investigate China’s “unfair trade practices” and barring investment in the information-technology sector. The Donald Trump administration’s target might be the Asian power’s “Made in China 2025”, a strategy meant to make China self-sufficient in an array of technologies.
The 301 investigation was meant to slow down China’s technological advancements by imposing stiff tariffs on a host of Chinese imports and barring the sales of US technology to Chinese firms. In addition, the anti-China faction of the US Congress and the Trump administration have barred Chinese investment in technology sectors. Continue reading
BERLIN/DAMASCUS (Own report) – Berlin and the EU are seeking to use Syria’s hardships for leverage to gain influence on that country’s political development. Berlin will provide humanitarian aid for the Syrian population, German Foreign Minster Heiko Maas announced at yesterday’s Syria conference in Brussels – aid that is also seen as helpful in preventing a new wave of mass migration to the EU. However, aid for the country’s reconstruction will only be granted, if Damascus makes political concessions, Maas declared. Berlin considers reconstruction aid a promising lever, because Syria, most likely, will not be able to raise the more than €200 billion necessary, and its closest partners, Russia and Iran are low on funds due to the western economic sanctions. Experts warn that, for example, in Raqqa, under the control of Syrian opposition forces and the USA, another insurgency could develop should reconstruction continue to be delayed. A US journalist calls Raqqa’s level of destruction the worst he has ever seen in the Middle East.