European Union

Has Europe abolished itself?

Angela Merkel is being blamed for the demise of Europe:

A combination of Islamist terror and badly designed migration policy is going to destroy Europe, claims a Swiss member of parliament who said Angela Merkel and Islam are to blame.

The comments by Swiss People’s Party (SVP) member of parliament Roger Köppel are just the latest by a high profile European politician on the demise of the continent. His remarks, which appeared in his own Weltwoche daily newspaper could not have been clearer, when Mr. Köppel remarked on Europe’s growing instability: “The German refugee policy could trigger a new world war”.

Comparing the “megalomaniac, we can do it” mentality  of Angela Merkel and others to Europe on the eve of the First World War, the editorial foresaw a situation where millions of ordinary Europeans would pay dearly for a situation manufactured by their leaders. Those in charge would now, as then, not have to pay for their mistakes at all.

Writing in the newspaper of which he is editor-in-chief, the parliamentarian wrote: “The basic problem today is Islam… The attacks in Paris and Brussels are acute symptoms of an incorrect, sick immigration policy.” Criticising the infiltration of “death-seeking fanatics and madmen”, Mr. Köppel said “Islam endangers the survival of our civilisation”.

Read more »

Pommy bastards seem to be making the right decision on Brexit

The Pommy bastards seem to be making the right decision.

The decision over whether the UK remains inside the European Union could depend on whether young people shake off their apathy and vote in sufficient numbers on 23 June, a revealing opinion poll conducted for the Observer shows.

In a blow to David Cameron and the pro-EU camp, the online survey by Opinium puts the Leave side on 43%, four points ahead of Remain, on 39%. Some 18% of voters said they were undecided, while 1% refused to say.   Read more »

We need a couple of these here

I’d put one on Waiheke, and the other one in the electorate with the highest Green party vote.

Mini nuclear power stations in towns around the UK have moved a step closer after it emerged the Government is assessing suitable sites to push ahead with a build.

The Telegraph understands that a team of experts working for Ministers is looking at possible locations for small modular reactors, which could be built by 2025.

It follows money announced by George Osborne in the Budget earlier this year, giving the green light to develop the so called “mini-nukes”.

The stations, which must be built near water for cooling and need to be close to the towns they serve, form a key part of the Government’s plan to cut carbon emissions and generate clean energy in the UK.

But campaigners are warning the plans could mean communities have new power stations forced on them if suitable sites are identified nearby.

The Sunday Telegraph understands that sites in Wales, including the site of a former reactor at Trawsfynydd, and in the North of England where ex-nuclear or coal-fired power stations were stationed are being looked at as possible options.   Read more »

The demise of Europe’s left

20160402_FBC847

The left-wing is in disarray world-wide.

We are witnessing the demise of the once proud Labour party in New Zealand, and world-wide the left-wing seems in disarray. This is particularly obvious in Europe.

The Economist examines the demise of the left:

Early in this century you could drive from Inverness in Scotland to Vilnius in Lithuania without crossing a country governed by the right; the same would have been true if you had done the trip by ferry through Scandinavia. Social democrats ran the European Commission and vied for primacy in the European Parliament. But recently their share of the vote in domestic (and Europe-wide) elections has fallen by a third to lows not seen for 70 years (see chart 1). In the five European Union (EU) states that held national elections last year, social democrats lost power in Denmark, fell to their worst-ever results in Finland, Poland and Spain and came to within a hair’s-breadth of such a nadir in Britain.

Elsewhere, it is true, the centre left is in power: as an unloved and ideologically vague junior party of government in Germany and the Netherlands and at the helm of wobbly coalitions in Sweden, Portugal and Austria, all countries where it was once a natural party of government. In France, President François Hollande is plumbing new depths of unpopularity and may not make the run-off in next year’s presidential election. Matteo Renzi, Italy’s dynamic prime minister, is in better shape but his party is still losing support (and possibly, in May, Rome’s mayoralty) to the Five Star Movement (M5S), an anti-establishment party founded by a blogger. Former municipal and regional bastions like London and Amsterdam, Catalonia and Scotland have slipped from the traditional centre left’s grasp.

Where are all the votes going? Many have been hoovered up by populists, typically of the anti-market left in southern Europe and the anti-migrant right in the north. But alternative left parties (feminists, pirates and greens, for example), liberals and the centre-right have also benefited. And so has the Stay On The Sofa party.

Read more »

Winston looking for more Free Trade; doesn’t sound like a Green coalition partner to me

Nice to see Winston embracing free trade.

Though it might be problematic for Labour and the Greens to see someone they regard as their putative coalition partner now promoting free trade.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is calling for a free trade agreement among Commonwealth countries, and wants to use New Zealand’s CER agreement with Australia as a template.

He said a British exit from the European Union could offer such an opportunity and could “heal a rift” with New Zealand that occurred when Britain became a member of European Economic Community in 1973.

Mr Peters also believes that New Zealand should take advantage of the troubles Russia is having with Europe and restore a full trading relationship with Russia.

His endorsement of CER as a model for others is a shift in position – at the 2014 election his policy was to review all bilateral free trade agreements, including the Closer Economic Relations agreement with Australia, to ensure they were in New Zealand’s interest.    Read more »

Sledges of the Day

David Cameron is under pressure supporting the campaign to remain in the EU.

His party is divided on the issue though and Boris Johnson has come out in support of Brexit.

Cameron has reacted badly, but put in a veiled attack on Boris Johnson.

David Cameron had come to the Commons to make a statement on the EU referendum. At least, that was his official purpose. His real purpose, quite nakedly, was to treat Boris Johnson to the thrashing of his life.

It was extraordinary. In political journalism we often refer to “thinly veiled attacks”. Here, there wasn’t even a veil. Not even the flimsiest wisp of gauze.

Since the Mayor announced his decision to campaign for Brexit, some commentators have inferred that he doesn’t really want Britain to leave the EU; rather, he thinks a Leave vote would prompt the EU to offer Britain more favourable terms of membership, enabling us to stay after all.

It would appear that the Prime Minister shares this interpretation.    Read more »

TPPA protest not holding this government back: hard at work for an EU Free Trade Agreement

Todd McClay is making waves…moving at initiating a free trade agreement with the EU.

A free trade agreement with the European Union would be of particular benefit to small and medium enterprises, Trade Minister Todd McClay said today from Brussels where he has been holding meetings about future negotiations with the EU.

He also indicated he would place an emphasis on “stakeholder consultation,” known to be of high importance to EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom as she tries to win support for the FTA the EU is negotiating with the United States (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTiP).

Mr McClay had several hours of private discussion with Ms Malmstrom in Nairobi last December at a World Trade Organisation ministerial meeting, including about her consultation with civil society.

Mr McClay met her again in Brussels this week along with EU vice-president Jykri Katainen to progress an in-principle agreement to start talks.

Later he said they all agreed that “an EU-New Zealand FTA would bring mutual benefit to our economies.”    Read more »

Good news, Brexit looks more likely

The Poms have had enough of Europe.

A new poll has suggested more Britons favour leaving the EU over staying in, with 45% supporting “Brexit” compared with 36% against, while a fifth remain undecided.

The YouGov poll for the Times was carried out in the two days after publication of an outline deal that David Cameron negotiated which could change the UK’s relationship with Brussels while keeping it within the European Union.   Read more »

How New Year’s Eve in Cologne Has Changed Germany

Der Spiegel reports:

A lot happened on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, much of it contradictory, much of it real, much of it imagined. Some was happenstance, some was exaggerated and much of it was horrifying. In its entirety, the events of Cologne on New Year’s Eve and in the days that followed adhered to a script that many had feared would come true even before it actually did. The fears of both immigration supporters and virulent xenophobes came true. The fears of Pegida people and refugee helpers; the fears of unknown women and of Chancellor Angela Merkel. Even Donald Trump, the brash Republican presidential candidate in the US, felt it necessary to comment. Germany, he trumpeted, “is going through massive attacks to its people by the migrants allowed to enter the country.”

For some, the events finally bring to light what they have always been saying: that too many foreigners in the country bring too many problems along with them. For the others, that which happened is what they have been afraid of from the very beginning: that ugly images of ugly behavior by migrants would endanger what has been a generally positive mood in Germany with respect to the refugees.

As inexact and unclear as the facts from Cologne may be, they carry a clear message: Difficult days are ahead. And they beg a couple of clear questions: Is Germany really sure that it can handle the influx of refugees? And: Does Germany really have the courage and the desire to become the country in Europe with the greatest number of immigrants?

Read more »

Poms are over it, set to exit EU

It looks like the Brexit is on.

A majority of Britons who have made up their minds would vote to leave the European Union, making Britain by far the most Eurosceptic country in the 28-member bloc, according to a new poll.

As Prime Minister David Cameron pushes for a deal from other EU leaders before a referendum which he could call as early as June this year, the ORB poll showed that opposition to the European Union was growing in Britain.

While 21 percent of voters were still undecided, the poll showed 43 percent of British voters wanted to leave the EU while 36 percent wanted to stay.  Read more »