ECB Hands Italy An Ultimatum: ‘Obey EU Budget Rules Or We Won’t Save You’

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With the Washington Post stepping up to put a floor under US stocks Thursday afternoon by reporting that President Trump would meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at next month’s G-20 summit (while the headline soothed the market, it doesn’t change the fact that, as with everything involving the Trump administration, this too remains subject to change), investors have apparently overlooked the latest ominous headlines out of Italy. To wit, Reuters reported that the ECB won’t come to Italy’s rescue if its government or banks run out of cash unless the Italian government first secures a bailout from the European Union. Of course, this would almost certainly require that the populist coalition end its ongoing game of fiscal chicken with Brussels and abandon its  dreams of lowering the retirement age and extending a basic income to the Italian people – policies that would effectively secure a political future for M5S and the League. 

In effect, the ECB’s latest trial balloon is tantamount to blackmail: Either the Italians agree to fall back in line and obey European budgetary guidelines, or the central bank will sit back and watch as bond yields surge, providing the ratings agencies even more ammunition to cut Italian debt to junk – effectively guaranteeing a Greece-style banking crisis as the liquidity taps are turned off. Continue reading

EU Takes Another Step Toward a Unified Army

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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker leaves after his State of the Union speech at the European Parliament. (FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/Getty Images)

 

New plans to strengthen Europe’s border force

Europe must dramatically expand its European Border and Coast Guard force, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker stated during his State of the Union address on September 12.

He aims to spend €1.3 billion to add an additional 10,000 border guards by 2020. Continue reading

Europe Launches War On Italy’s Fiscal Plans: Warns Of Debt “Explosion”, Threatens Savers

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In the aftermath of Italy’s defiant announcement that it would expand its 2019 budget deficit to 2.4% of GDP, above both the initial proposal from finmin Tria which was 1.6%, and also higher than the European “redline” of 2.0%, the question was how would Europe respond to this open mutiny by Italy.

The answers started to emerge on Friday, when European Parliament head Antonio Tajani said that fiscal targets set by Italy’s eurosceptic government were “against the people” and could hit savers without creating jobs.

“I am very concerned for what is happening in Italy,” said Tajani, who is a center-right opposition politician in Italy and close ally to former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The budgetary plans “will not raise employment but will cause trouble to the savings of the Italians,” Tajani said. Continue reading

Iran Sanctions Are Damaging The Dollar

Iran

 

Painful sanctions on Iran have demonstrated the long reach of the U.S. Treasury, forcing much of the globe to fall in line and cut oil imports from Iran despite widespread disagreement over the policy. Yet, we are only in the first few chapters of what may ultimately be a long story that ends with the erosion of the power of the U.S. dollar.

The role of the greenback in the international financial system is the reason why the U.S. can prevent much of the world from buying oil from Iran. Oil is traded in dollars, and so much of international commerce is based in dollars. In fact, as much as 88 percent of all foreign exchange trades involve the greenback. Continue reading

EU wants continental free-trade deal with Africa

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‘There is a huge potential in Africa,’ said EU policy chief Mogherini as she announced a new continent-to-continent trade deal plan (Photo: © European Union , 2018 / Photo: Lukasz Kobus)

 

The European Commission wants a continent-to-continent free trade deal with Africa, shifting relations away from development towards trade.

The proposal is a long-term goal for what it describes as a “new alliance” with the continent amid promises to create up to 10 million Africa-based jobs in the next five years.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels on Friday (14 September), the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the latest plan is different from all the past announcements on Africa. Continue reading

State of the Union

A German-dominated United States of Europe with its respective European Army is on the rise — out in the open.

The Fourth Reich has landed.

 

BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) – The EU must develop the capacity “to shape global affairs” and act as “architect of tomorrow’s world,” declared Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission during his “State of the Union” speech yesterday. The speech is modeled on the famous annual “State of the Union Address” presented by the US President to a joint session of Congress. Juncker particularly wants to accelerate the EU’s militarization and the fortification of its external borders. While the German-dominated Union is striving to become a global power, at all costs, tensions within the EU are growing significantly. The disciplinary action adopted yesterday by the European Parliament against Hungary, which has been undermining democratic rights for years, exacerbates the conflict between the West European centers of power and the EU’s eastern members. The blatant prosperity gap between the EU’s center and the impoverished periphery continues unabated. Serious violations of human rights, particularly against refugees, accompany the internally disunited Union’s striving for a global role.

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Winning: Juncker Agrees on Trump Trade Deal

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(Photo Credit: The White House)

 

The goal, according to both men, will be tariff-free trade.

Following their meeting Wednesday, President Donald Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced they had agreed to a trade deal that will eventually result in tariff-free trade between the U.S. and the European Union.

Juncker said he came to Washington, D.C., with one goal in mind: to “make a deal,” and the goal was met. He called his discussions with the president a “good, constructive meeting.” Continue reading

Coalition of Those Willing to Go to War

PARIS/BERLIN (Own report) – Germany is participating in a new European military formation that was launched yesterday. Originally a French proposal, the European Intervention Initiative (EII) will be open to EU and Non-EU member countries to join. Expanding the existing EU military cooperation (“PESCO”) with a new operational component, the EII should facilitate rapid decisions on joint military interventions. A first meeting of military commanders from the hitherto nine participant states is set for September. The EII includes Great Britain, which plans to continue its military cooperation with the continent, even after Brexit, as well as Denmark. Since the coordination of military interventions is now officially set outside of the EU framework, Denmark can sidestep the opt-out from EU military policy, it had once granted its population. Referred to by experts as a European “coalition of the willing,” it goes hand in hand with the EU Commission’s militarization plans worth billions and the high-cost German-French arms projects.

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Your Friend and Neighbor

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VIENNA/BERLIN (Own report) – The United Nations is protesting against the surveillance of its Vienna-based institutions conducted for years by the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND). The Vienna International Center (“UNO City”) “expects” that member states “respect the organization’s independence as well as the inviolability of its premises.” According to recent reports, from 1999 to 2006, the BND had monitored at least 2000 communication lines in Austria including those of the Vienna Chancellery and 128 telecommunication lines of the United Nations. The BND’s espionage in Austria has been known since 2015, but never clarified, because the competent German authorities, including the German Chancellery, refused to render Vienna the necessary assistance. The BND is accused of repeatedly refusing to tell the intelligence service monitors their reasons for spying, for example, on a “public body” of an EU member state. At the time of the large-scale spying in Austria, the current German President bore the highest responsibility for BND activities.

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Merkel Supports European Military Consolidation

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Infantry soldiers of the Bundeswehr, the German armed forces, take part in a reconassaince mission during Thunder Storm 2018 multinational NATO military exercises on June 7, 2018 near Pabrade, Lithuania. (Getty Images)

 

German chancellor voices approval for French president’s military integration proposal.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared on Sunday, June 3, that she held a “positive view” of French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal for further European military integration.

Macron outlined his plan for a reformed eurozone in a September 2017 speech. He called for a European Union military intervention force with a budget agreed upon by the year 2020. He has been pushing for Germany to come on board with such a plan for a European military unity, stating, “Our ambitions cannot be realized alone. I have said it already several times, they need to be accompanied by Germany’s ambitions.” Continue reading

EU says tit-for-tat tariffs against US ready in July

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The European Commission, which handles trade matters for the 28-country EU, “expects to conclude the relevant procedure in coordination with member states before the end of June,” said European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic (AFP Photo/John MACDOUGALL)

 

Brussels (AFP) – The EU on Wednesday said a raft of retaliatory tariffs, including on whiskey and motorcycles, against painful metals duties imposed by the US would be ready as early as July.

The European Commission, which handles trade matters for the 28-country bloc, “expects to conclude the relevant procedure in coordination with member states before the end of June,” said European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic at a news briefing. Continue reading

Russia Just Won Big In The European Gas War

LNG carrier

 

There’s been a lot of talk on both sides of the Atlantic about the U.S. pivot and efforts at locking in natural as market share in Europe. Much of this comes amid President Donald Trump’s so-called American energy independence push as well as both U.S. and several EU members thrust to wean Europe off of geopolitically charged Russian gas.

In fact, Trump has pushed for U.S.-sourced LNG to become so much of the EU’s energy security that several European states, particularly Germany, have accused the president of playing energy geopolitics, cloaking American concern for European energy security under the guise and to the benefit of U.S. LNG producers.

Now, however, Trump and U.S. LNG exporters will have an even harder time convincing key EU members to offset overreliance on Russian piped gas with U.S. LNG. Continue reading

‘Killer robot’ projects eligible for EU defence fund

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Lethal autonomous weapons are already in use, depending on the definition. The Phalanx CIWS is a radar-guided cannon. (Photo: U.S. Pacific Fleet)

 

The EU will allow companies developing so-called ‘lethal autonomous weapons’ to apply for EU funding, negotiators from the EU’s three institutions decided on Tuesday (22 May) evening.

The European Parliament, the European Commission, and the Council of the EU – representing national governments – struck a deal on the specifics of a €500m defence investment programme.

The parliament had originally wanted to bar controversial new weapon types from receiving EU subsidies, but gave up on that in Tuesday’s talks in order to strike a compromise, according to two sources who were in the room. Continue reading

EU Launches Rebellion Against Trump’s Iran Sanctions, Bans European Companies From Complying

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.

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EU holding nations to ransom, ‘do as we say or lose funding’

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(Shutterstock)

 

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.

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