Italy: A Brewing Storm Within the EU

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Over the last couple of years, the main challenge to EU cohesion has been Brexit, with the media sharply focused on the negotiations and all relevant developments. Since the release of the draft withdrawal agreement, largely perceived as a victory for the EU, those who support the European project and believe in a strong leadership from Brussels have projected confidence and optimism for the future. According to these voices, the divisions caused by the rise of nationalism and populism in the past years are healing, the relationship between member states is normalizing, while a future of stability and harmony awaits.

However, such a vision might prove naive, as it discounts a much greater risk to the EU than Brexit ever was: the political and economic powder keg that is Italy. Continue reading

Merkel Protégé Suggests Naval Blockade of Russian Vessels

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(Photo Credit: Sandro Halank via Creative Commons 3.0)

 

G7 foreign ministers release their own statement of condemnation against the Kremlin.

In an interview with Reuters today, German politician Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the Christian Democratic Union leadership front-runner and protege of Chancellor Angela Merkel, said the European Union and U.S. should consider a full blockade of all Russian vessels at their ports in response to the Kerch Strait incident. Continue reading

Cyprus and Greece to create EU spy academy

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Athens: new academy to provide ‘training in intelligence disciplines’ (Photo: Barcex)

 

EU defence and foreign ministers have agreed to create a joint intelligence training school and to develop new hardware, including drones and electronic warfare technology, as part of plans for what could one day be an “EU army”.

The “Joint EU Intelligence School” will “provide education and training in intelligence disciplines and other specific fields to EU member states intelligence personnel”, the EU Council said in a press release after ministers met in Brussels on Monday (19 November).

The project is to be led by Cyprus and Greece – two traditionally Russia-friendly states – at a time of heightened tension over Russian espionage operations in Europe and the Western Balkans, including assassination attempts in the UK and in Montenegro.

The EU foreign service already has a joint intelligence capability called IntCen. Continue reading

European Central Bank In Panic Mode as Economy Stalls

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The eurozone could not borrow from the momentum of the U.S. economy in the third quarter as economic growth slumped to a tepid 0.2% , the slowest rate in more than four years. With the 19-nation currency bloc beginning to stagnate, and the heavyweights failing to post significant gains, Brussels is in panic mode, likely leaning on the European Central Bank (ECB) for further stimulus.

Economists originally anticipated growth of 0.4%. But global trade woes, tumbling business confidence, Italian distress, and the gradual dissipation of an accommodative monetary policy all contributed to the poor numbers in the July-September period. Continue reading

The EU’s ‘Internal Enemies’

BERLIN (Own report) – In view of the conflict between Brussels and Rome over Italy’s national budget, the German establishment is increasing its demands to resolutely fight the “internal enemies” of the EU. The Union must “now be vigorously defended,” wrote a leading German daily. The Italian government coalition is “not worth risking the country’s fate.” The Italian government is being put into question, because it refuses to continue to submit to German austerity dictates. Berlin’s dominance over the EU is also being met with mounting protests in other member countries. Poland and Hungary are not the only countries, where controversies are intensifying. Anger at Berlin is also growing in France. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the founder of “La France insoumise,” who, with almost 20 percent, barely missed making the run-offs in the 2017 presidential elections, has now called for “France to withdraw from all EU treaties.” The German elite’s reaction is becoming more hostile.

Continue reading

Italy Declares War on Merkel and the EU

Italy Declares War on Merkel and the EU

 

If there were ever any doubts that the leaders of the Euroskeptic coalition that now runs Italy has a plan to defy the European Union its proposed budget should quell them. Both Deputy Prime Ministers, Luigi Di Maio of Five Star Movement and Matteo Salvini of The League, were adamant about locking horns with European Union leadership over all issues of sovereignty between now and May’s European Parliamentary elections.

Their budget proposal which included both tax cuts and universal income blew past the EU budget limit of 2.0% of GDP, coming in at 2.4%. It has put their Finance Minister, Giovanni Tria, in a difficult position because Tria doesn’t want to negotiate this budget with Brussels, preferring a less confrontational, read more pro-EU, approach. Continue reading

The ECB on the Verge of Collapse?

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The European Central Bank (ECB) will aid Italy with an EU rescue program if the country or its banks are in financial turmoil because they are taking the view that Italy has become an “occupied” country and that Germany has conquered Europe imposing austerity and its view of inflation upon the whole of Europe without firing a shot. While the spin is that the ECB is making Italy a test case to demonstrate that Europe and its mechanisms work, in reality, it is a realization that the ECB cannot save Italy’s financial institutions because austerity has created the greatest economic depression perhaps in economic history. Continue reading

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

Poll: AfD Now Germany’s Second-Most Popular Party

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(Photo Credit: Alternative for Germany)

 

A little more than one year after becoming the first “far-right” party to win seats in the Bundestag in more than 50 years, the AfD is now officially the opposition to Merkel’s “grand coalition,” which required alliances with not only Bavaria’s Christian Social Union and the Social Democratic Party to hold a majority of seats. A new poll has placed AfD one point ahead of the SDP in terms of generic support. 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

All Euros Gravitate To Germany

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The Euro has been around for almost 20 years. The Russian transfer ruble survived 25 years. As GEFIRA explains, the two currencies have something in common: they were and are not a success story…

The introduction of the transfer ruble was intended to enable free trade between the countries of the Eastern bloc. The creation of the common clearing system led to the exchange rates for the East German mark, zloty, forint, lev, and even the Mongolian tugrik being arbitrarily fixed by the Soviet Union, regardless of the purchasing power of the national currencies. In the 1960s, the Bulgarian lev was 20% undervalued and the Polish zloty about 45% overvalued. Since the transfer ruble was not yet convertible into Western currencies, it remained an illusion and a means by which the Soviet Union could enrich itself and save its budget at the expense of its satellite states: the Russians bought raw materials, goods, food for convertible currencies in the West and sold them to their “socialist friends” for transfer rubels. The international bank for economic cooperation, which sat in Moscow and handled all transactions in the transfer ruble, swept the real trade surpluses and deficits under the carpet. With the political change the common settlement currency came to to an end, and it turned out that the Soviet Union owed huge sums to its “brothers”. Continue reading

In Sweden, Europe’s Drift To The Right Continues

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“Populism” seemed to have suffered a premature death a year ago. Emmanuel Macron had beaten Marine Le Pen in the French presidential elections, Dutch right-winger Geert Wilders had underperformed massively, and the EU had found — or at least thought to have found — new popularity all around Europe. After a turbulent 2016, in which the UK voted to exit the EU, and which saw Donald Trump become US president, everything seemed well again.

Ever since, however, the tide has turned again, and Europe’s drift to the right, coupled with the ongoing demise of center-left parties, has continued. Highlights of the past year included a strong performance by the Alternative für Deutschland in Germany (they are polling second behind Angela Merkel’s CDU right now), a right-wing coalition government in Austria, and the Italian election in March, which saw two “populist” movements come to power together (and since then causing havoc on the European level). Continue reading

Greece’s Bailout May Be Over, but Not Its Economic Woes

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A ripped off Greek national flag flutters in central Athens on July 22, 2015. (Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images)

 

Underlying obstacles to job creation and entrepreneurship remain

After eight years, Greece has finally exited bailout territory, and the European Union is making a strong case that the program was a success.

While Greece may have ended the bailout process, the underlying issues that wrecked its economy in the first place remain largely intact. Continue reading

Did Germany Win the 100-Year War?

Everything that has been mentioned on Global Geopolitics since 2011 regarding Berlin and it’s United States of Europe project is pretty much summarized within this article. The only thing missing is the end game.

Germany has once again conquered Europe and the entire world has missed it. The plan and timeline has changed but the goals once again remain the same. Instead of Nazis you have Germans running the EU through the Troika with key figures in key places, subjugating the entire continent through political sabotage and economic might. It’s been said oft here that if you’re looking for Nazis, you’re over 70 years late. It’s now a multicultural and multinational European superstate once united by a common goal, but now by force, and by Berlin. It even has its own European Army under construction.

The Fourth Reich has landed.

 

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“Periodization” is a trendy academic term for historians’ use of particular (and sometimes arbitrary) chronological terms—often in reference to wars in general, and in particular to when they started and ended.

Were there really “three” Punic Wars rather than just one that continued for well over a century from 264-146 BC, ending only with the Roman absolute destruction of Carthage? Continue reading

Trump on Possible Iran Meeting: ‘No Preconditions; If They Want to Meet, I’ll Meet’

 

President Donald Trump said during a Monday joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte that he would meet with the leaders of Iran with “no preconditions.”

A Reuters reporter asked Trump if he would meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a similar way he met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladamir Putin. Continue reading