Tag Archives: European Commission

Germany backs EU proposals for Russian oil ban

The Times, May 3, 2022

Event

The European Union is moving towards a ban on Russian oil by the end of the year amid divisions over the speed of phasing out imports and the impact of the embargo on the cost of living in the West. EU energy ministers held emergency talks in Brussels yesterday before European Commission proposals on new sanctions that are expected over the next 48 hours. In a significant U-turn, Germany is backing the planned oil ban, but there are still difficulties, particularly for small, landlocked central European countries dependent on crude oil supplies from Russia. The German energy ministry hopes to achieve “total” independence from Russian oil within weeks, chiefly by importing more through Rostock in northeast Germany and the Polish port of Gdansk.

Comment

Europe is switching off Russian oil and gas as soon as it possibly can. When this happens it will be an enormous blow to Putin as 37% of its total trade comes from the EU. 40% of Russia’s total revenue comes from oil and gas. Without the flow of this money Russia would quickly go bankrupt. One country the EU is looking to to replace oil and gas is Israel! There is already a pipeline planned from Israel to the EU. Putin will see this as Israel taking his lost income and decide to take it back – hence coming to Israel to take a spoil. Germany (lead nation in the EU) is heavily dependent on Russian oil and gas. It is planning to stop all oil trade with Russia by the end of the year. Germany has also just begun building its first terminal for importing liquefied natural gas from the US and the Middle East. Germany is not part of the Gogian invasion of Israel. Germany invades Israel after Christ has returned and the saints have been judged…

And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.  These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.  These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: (Revelation 17:12-14)

Andy Walton,

Weekly World Watch > Download this week’s WWW

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Preceding

Ukraine war is veering fast towards a big power conflict

Sanctions are crippling the economy of ‘Fortress Russia’

EU to snatch Kremlin’s oil and gas profits to rebuild Ukraine

As Europe Sends $300 Million per day to Russia for Oil and NatGas, TotalEnergies Looks After Customers in Tricky Decision

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Additional reading

  1. A useless but very dangerous challenge game
  2. Russia invades Ukraine: A dark day for Europe
  3. The first week of February 2022
  4. Screws turned on Vladimir Putin & Russian oil and gas industry
  5. Northern Hemisphere time of Spring & War in Ukraine
  6. The Guardian’s view on Ukraine for the second half of April 2022
  7. The Telegraph’s Weekly view 2022 April 30 – May 6
  8. The Week from 01-07 May 2022 according to The Week
  9. G7 agreed to ban or phase out Russian oil and gas imports
  10. Stories to read in the week of 2022 May 05-11
  11. Signs of the Times – “Distress of nations …”
  12. Will the Russian War in Ukraine reset World diplomacy?
  13. Ukraine war is veering fast towards a big power conflict
  14. Ukraine Crisis Reading List
  15. EU must fight in the diplomatic and economic frontline
  16. President of Ukraine met with the Speakers of the Parliaments of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia who arrived in Kyiv
  17. Can turning down our radiators turn up the heat on Putin?
  18. Trade surpluses vs Most sweeping set of sanctions ever aimed at a country since World War 2

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Related

  1. Ukraine Situation Report: 1300 10 March 22
  2. The Russian invasion: what happened, and what happens next?
  3. Russia, The US, and Crude Data
  4. Russia is cutting off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria
  5. Russia’s retaliation on gas raises stakes for U.S.
  6. Europe announces ban on Russian oil imports
  7. A problematic oil embargo against Russia
  8. Biden to ban Russian oil imports over Ukraine war
  9. 01/31/22 Antiwar: NATO ‘Concerned’ About Europe’s Reliance on Russian Gas
  10. Cutting off Russian gas is going to cost the EU, here’s why
  11. Gas shortages expected in Europe as Russia imposes sanctions, Ukraine halts flow
  12. Banning Russia oil would hit US prices hard
  13. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says efforts to isolate Russia ‘are doomed’
  14. Are sanctions on Russia failing?
  15. The Russia-Ukraine War and the fate of Financial & Foreign Assets!
  16. US and EU officially begins to sanction the Russian Federation after invading Ukraine
  17. Treasury Secretary Yellen says the U.S. is ‘unlikely’ to let Moscow continue making debt payments, forcing Russia into default
  18. U.S. Eyeing Russian Energy Sanctions Over Ukraine War, Officials Say
  19. U.S. may take a hugely controversial step to stop Russian oil exports funding the war in Ukraine
  20. Energy watchdog prescribes a miserable return to the 1970s to solve the oil crisis: car-free Sundays and crawling speed limits
  21. Russian Gas – Illegal Drugs
  22. Vladimir Putin demands Russian gas be paid for in roubles
  23. 04/06/22 Antiwar: Breaking With EU, Hungary’s Orban Says He Would Pay for Russian Gas in Rubles
  24. Putin’s Ruble Standoff With Europe Risks De Facto Gas Embargo
  25. New Sanctions on Russia Could Trigger a Default That Will Be Felt Across the Global Economy
  26. Cost of living crisis exacerbates Europe’s quest for consensus over Russian oil embargo
  27. EU: VI Russia sanctions package blocked
  28. Oil price up as EU gets set to ban Russian crude
  29. Shell is already backtracking on its boycott of Russian oil
  30. Ukraine’s Zelensky says EU should ban Russian oil
  31. WTI regains $111.00 on surprise API inventory draw, fears of EU’s Russian oil embargo
  32. U.S. reaches out to Venezuela amid possible Russia oil embargo
  33. NC elected officials support oil-import ban against Russia
  34. EU proposes Russian oil ban as Ukraine loses contact with soldiers in Azovstal steelworks
  35. Floating liabilities: Western authorities grapple with the cost of seizing oligarchs’ superyachts
  36. Most Americans are willing to pay more at the pump for Ukraine

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EU to snatch Kremlin’s oil and gas profits to rebuild Ukraine

Event 6 April

The European Union is planning to seize a share of Russian energy revenues from gas and oil imports to Europe to pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine. Under the plan a chunk of revenues, which have totalled €19 billion since Russia invaded Ukraine, will be diverted from Russian energy companies to an “escrow” bank account before being used for aid to Kyiv. Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, signalled the escalation in sanctions when EU ambassadors met to discuss a ban on Russian coal imports and a possible timetable for an oil embargo.

“These sanctions will not be our last sanctions. Yes, we have now banned coal. Now we have to look into oil and the revenues that Russia gets from these fossil fuels,”

she told the European parliament.

“We really have to make an effort, for example to take a share to an escrow account, so that we will really limit the source of revenues of Russia from fossil fuels. This has to end, and this is the next step we will have to take together.”

Comment

Russia relies on selling gas to pay its bills. Russia will earn nearly $321 billion from energy exports this year, an increase of more than a third from 2021. However this calculation changes completely in case of an embargo on energy sales. The invasion of Ukraine has shocked Germany and its European Union allies into a radical shift in energy policy, and the bloc is rushing to cut its dependence on Russia. The war in Ukraine is therefore driving a wedge between the East (Russia) and the West (EU). This division is what we expect to happen.

Revelation 16 makes clear that the dragon (Russia) and the beast (the EU) are separate entities when Armageddon happens. There is no mention of the dragon in Revelation 17 only the beast. This is because the dragon does not exist (is not part of the beast) when it makes war against Christ /saints.

And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.  These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast [not Russia]. These shall make war with the Lamb, (Revelation 17:12)

Andy Walton

> Find the Weekly World Watch to download.

 

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Boris Johnson warns Putin against Ukraine invasion

Boris Johnson has told President Putin that any invasion of Ukraine would have “significant consequences” as Russia warned conflict was inevitable if Nato continued its expansion toward its borders. In a phone call Johnson told Putin that the UK was committed to Ukraine’s “territorial integrity and sovereignty” and that any “destabilising action” by Russia would be met with a united response from the West.

In Moscow Russia’s deputy foreign minister gave the Kremlin’s first explicit warning of military action, amplifying tensions with Ukraine.

“A lack of progress towards a political-diplomatic solution would mean that our response will be military and military-technical,”

Sergei Ryabkov told the state news agency RIA Novosti.

“There will be confrontation. There’s no trust in Nato as an alliance. We’re no longer playing these kinds of games and don’t believe in Nato’s assurances.”

Last week it was president Biden warning Putin of severe sanctions if he decided to invade Ukraine. This week it is the turn of the UK prime minister Boris Johnson to phone Putin. He has given the same warnings. Boris Johnson said there would be an “extremely tough package” of sanctions and that NATO forces would build in the “periphery” of Ukraine if needed before saying such a decision would be “catastrophic” for everyone involved. The European Union is ready to scale up its sanctions and take “unprecedented measures” against Russia if it shows further aggression towards Ukraine, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday.

Daniel 11 says that the king of the south (US/UK) will push (militarily provoke) Gog – the king of verse 36-39 of the same chapter. Ukraine could be where the push comes.

Thus shall he [Gog] do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he [Gog] shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he [Gog] shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.  And at the time of the end shall the king of the south [US/UK] push at him [Gog]: (Daniel 11:39-40)

Andy Walton

> Weekly World Watch: for this week

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Europe’s catastrophic flooding was forecast well in advance – what went so wrong?

Almost 200 people dead and many others still missing. Billions of euros’ worth of damage. Communities devastated. Thousands of homes destroyed and their occupants traumatised.

Hannah Cloke  advises the Environment Agency, the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, the Copernicus Emergency Management Service, local and national governments and humanitarian agencies on the forecasting and warning of natural hazards. She is a Council member of the UKRI Natural Environment Research Council, a fellow of the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, a fellow of the Centre for Natural Hazards & Disaster Science in Sweden and is also affiliated to Uppsala University in Sweden. Her research is funded by the UKRI Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council, the UKRI Natural Environment Research Council and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

I am a flood forecaster who helped to set up the forecasting system that was used to predict the recent floods in Germany and surrounding countries. I saw days in advance that they were coming. I read reports of rainfall and river levels rising. And then I watched with growing horror as the death toll surged.

The European Flood Awareness System (EFAS), which I helped to set up, is part of the EU’s Copernicus Emergency Management Service. It provides early information on flooding to national and local authorities across Europe. I work closely with people there in my role as an independent flood scientist at the University of Reading to improve and analyse EFAS data. I don’t work in the team that issues early flood information to authorities, but looking at the data with colleagues, I could see early on just how serious the floods looked.

Forecasts on Friday July 9 and Saturday 10 for the Rhine catchment, covering Germany and Switzerland, had shown a high probability of flooding that would begin on Tuesday July 13. Subsequent forecasts also showed the Meuse in Belgium would be affected. The forecasts in the following days showed that there was little doubt that a major flood was coming.

EFAS sends out bulletins of early information which are designed to be read, understood and acted on by experts. They are not directly available to the public. Public flood warnings come from the national and regional weather, environment and civil protection agencies, and EFAS information needs to be used by these authorities alongside their own forecasts.

The first EFAS bulletin was sent to the relevant national authorities on Saturday July 10. More updates continued over the following days as more precise predictions became available. Formal flood notifications were issued to authorities in Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Luxembourg, as well as the Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) of the European Commission throughout Monday and Tuesday. As the event neared and uncertainty in the forecast shrank, the predicted start of the flooding was pushed to Wednesday for smaller rivers and Thursday for the larger downstream rivers. Around 25 individual warnings were sent out to parts of the Rhine and Meuse.

The German weather service, DWD, had independently forecast extremely high rainfall too and issued warnings for more than 200 mm of rain in the same areas several days ahead of time, saying that flooding was possible. Regional warnings were also issued, for example by the Environment Agency in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, one of the areas hit particularly hard by flooding.

The floods that did happen matched the scale and distribution of those that were forecast several days before. I was very surprised, therefore, that so many people died, given that authorities knew about the event and had sufficient warnings to get people to safety before the floods began.

Where flood warnings fail

Clearly, tragically, the whole system designed to save lives by ensuring people act on warnings before floods arrive, did not work as it should have done. It may be that individual parts of the system worked exactly as they were designed, and it is certainly true that forecasts were accurate, and there were some warnings issued through official channels. In some areas, many authorities did act in time, to evacuate people, erect temporary flood defences, and move vehicles to higher ground. But this clearly did not happen everywhere.

In the middle of an election campaign, some German leaders in national and regional government still seemed to defend the locally-devolved nature of disaster management in Germany, insisting that the warnings were adequate and agencies did their work well. It is like claiming that the maiden voyage of the Titanic was a success because 99% of its engineering worked perfectly throughout. While their arguments may be true on an individual scale, unless those in power admit that the system ultimately failed, they risk failing to learn lessons and put others at risk in the future.

Science, in large part, is about helping people see the invisible. What is the use of a perfect forecast if the people it is supposed to warn cannot see the danger they are in? Effective flood warnings require people to be able to see into the future and imagine their house full of water, to assess the likelihood of that happening, and to see the multiple paths they could take to keep them, their family, and their property safe.


Read more: Report from Europe’s flood zone: researcher calls out early warning system gridlock amid shocking loss of life


I recently took part in an exercise encouraging scientists, from senior professors to school pupils, to trace the path of water in a river through time using just their imagination. Weeks later, we are seeing what happens when people cannot visualise the threat of a river ripping down their street, or a lake appearing in their house. These are the elements of flood warnings that must improve.

As climate change increases risks from heatwaves, fires and floods, we need to not only slash emissions but prepare ourselves for the problems we already have in store. Even with sufficient decarbonisation measures – which we are still yet to see from any major government – there is no avoiding the consequences of a hotter, more turbulent environment.

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Suggested further reading

McEwan, L., Garde-Hansen, J., Holmes, A., Jones, O. & Krause, R. (2016). Sustainable flood memories, lay knowledges and the development of community resilience to future flood risk. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 42, 14 – 28. https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12149.

Alexander, M., Priest, S. & Penning-Roswell, E. (2017). The risk of ill-informed reform: The future for English flood risk management. Area, 50, 426 – 429. https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12393.

Forrest, S., Trell, E. & Woltjer, J. (2018). Civil society contributions to local level flood resilience: Before, during and after the 2015 Boxing Day floods in the Upper Calder Valley. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 44, 422 – 436. https://doi.org/10.1111/tran.12279.

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A genuine European Union to ensure welfare, security and democracy

We European citizens are worried and scared. The economic and financial crisis has impoverished many of us. Youth unemployment risks creating a lost generation. Inequality grows and social cohesion is in peril. The EU is surrounded by war and instability from Ukraine to Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa. The flux of refugees and migrants has become a structural feature we must address together, in a human and forward-looking manner. In many Member states we witness authoritarian tendencies and the rise of nationalist and xenophobic forces. Democracy and the core values of the European modern civilisation are under attack. The EU itself is questioned, although it ensured peace, democracy and welfare for decades.

We European citizens don’t want our national politicians to care only about their next local or national election. They ask for European solutions to European problems but then they act to render those solutions impossible or ineffective. They disregard sensible Commission proposals or fail to implement decisions already taken , including when agreed by all. They claim, one day, for Europe to do something and protest, the following day, Europe’s proposed actions.

As the anniversary of the signature of the EU’s founding treaties is approaching, a group of over 300 European academics and personalities are endorsing this appeal to relaunch European integration and inviting civil society, academia, young people and citizens to participate to the March for Europe in Rome on March 25.

Alberto Alemanno for VoxEurop

Signing of the Treaty of Rome, March 25, 1957.

Signing of the Treaty of Rome, March 25, 1957. – AP Images – Treaty of Rome, originally (1957–93) Treaty Establishing the European Economic Community, succeeded by (1993–2009) Treaty Establishing the European Community and (2009– ) Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union; also called, together with the Treaty Establishing the European Atomic Energy Community,

25 March 2017 is the day of the 60th anniversary of the Rome Treaties which have made the EU project the most successful experiment of peace and integration ever.

This date may go down history as yet another self-praising, boring, closed-door party of 27 EU leaders or as the germ of a first conscious, popular and patriotic European manifestation. A March for Europe – mimicking the one that took place in London in the aftermath of the Brexit vote – has been announced by the Union of European Federalists. Unfortunately, only the usual suspects – a few pro-European organisations – are behind this one-in-a-generation opportunity to show how many citizens of Europe support and share its ideals, values and lifestyles. Despite its high-potential in prompting a genuine, pan-European manifestation calling for a renewal of the EU project through an inclusive, constituent process, the risk that it may reveal a flop is dangerously high.

The appeal below intends to pierce the typical Brussels bubble currently surrounding the March for Europe, by broadening its audience to a much wider public. There has never been a better opportunity to federate – in a critical moment of its existence – the multitude of associations, movements and grassroots actors who believe in the European project. There has never been a better opportunity to make your voice heard and contribute to the emergent European public space. There has been never been a better opportunity to shape your history and that of the generations to come.

See you in Rome on 25 March. Help us spread the call below through the hashtag #MarchForEurope2017!

A genuine European Union to ensure welfare, security and democracy

We European citizens are worried and scared. The economic and financial crisis has impoverished many of us. Youth unemployment risks creating a lost generation. Inequality grows and social cohesion is in peril. The EU is surrounded by war and instability from Ukraine to Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa. The flux of refugees and migrants has become a structural feature we must address together, in a human and forward-looking manner. In many Member states we witness authoritarian tendencies and the rise of nationalist and xenophobic forces. Democracy and the core values of the European modern civilisation are under attack. The EU itself is questioned, although it ensured peace, democracy and welfare for decades.

We European citizens don’t want our national politicians to care only about their next local or national election. They ask for European solutions to European problems but then they act to render those solutions impossible or ineffective. They disregard sensible Commission proposals or fail to implement decisions already taken , including when agreed by all. They claim, one day, for Europe to do something and protest, the following day, Europe’s proposed actions.

We ask national politicians and the media to stop depicting integration as a zero-sum game, thus pitting nations against one another. In an interdependent world no nation can satisfy all of its citizens’ basic needs and appeals for social justice. In this context, integration and supranational government is a positive-sum game. Our European social model based on liberal democracy and a social market economy can only survive in a multi-level framework of government, on the basis of the subsidiarity principle.

Dutch passportEstonian passportWe European citizens are aware that globalisation is transforming the world. We need a European government to foster our common values and contribute to the solution of the global problems threatening humanity. The world needs an outward-looking cosmopolitan Europe to help build a more effective and democratic global governance to cope with climate change, peace, global poverty, and the transition to an environmentally and socially sustainable economy.

Seat

The European Central Bank (ECB; French: Banque centrale européenne) = central bank for the euro and administers monetary policy of the eurozone, which consists of 19 EU member states and is one of the largest currency areas in the world.

Phrygian cap on pole.svgWe European citizens recognise the EU as an incomplete Res Publica. It has a ridiculous budget (0.9 percent of GDP) and no financial autonomy from Member states, while its current competences are out of date for what is necessary to successfully answer the challenges of the current crises. It has a federal like legislative, judiciary and central bank. But democracy is the possibility for citizens to choose the government and make it accountable. For the Union to work and be democratic its decisions, including budget, foreign and defence policy, and the reform of the Treaties, should primarily be taken by a qualified majority representing the majority will of European citizens and states. The Commission should evolve into a fully-fledged government, setting and promoting a political agenda legitimated through elections. European parties should present their candidates to the Presidency at the European election.

The alternative is a directly elected President of the EU merging the Presidencies of the Commission and the European Council.

On 14 February 1984 the European Parliament adopted the Draft Treaty establishing the European Union, the so-called Spinelli Project, pointing towards a political union, which Member states disregarded. On 14 February 2017 we call upon the European Parliament, the only directly elected body of the EU, to take a new initiative to kick-start the EU on strengthened democratic basis. Talking about banking, fiscal, economic, energy, security, defence and political unions makes sense only within a genuine democratic European Union, with all those policies under a European government.

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Signing of the Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community, in the Jerónimos Monastery of Lisbon, Portugal, 13 December 2007, which entered into force on 1 December 2009

On 25 March 2017 the Heads of state and government will celebrate the Treaties of Rome establishing the European Economic Community and Euratom in 1957. We call upon them to match the vision of the Founders. They should open the way to the re-foundation of the EU on the basis of the European Parliament proposal, and immediately exploit all the Lisbon Treaties’ instruments to strengthen EU institutions and policies, especially on foreign and security, economic and social policies.

We call upon the Europe’s youth, its civil society, workers, entrepreneurs, academia, local governments and European citizens to participate in the March for Europe in Rome on 25 March. Together we shall give the political leaders the strength and courage to push forward the EU to a new beginning. European unity is key to solve our common problems, safeguard our values and ensure our welfare, security and democracy.

This Appeal was drafted by Roberto Castaldi with Giuliano Amato, Yves Bertoncini, Stefan Collignon, Anthony Giddens, Ulrike Guérot, and Miguel Maduro. It is available in various languages for further adhesions at March for Europe with the list of signatures and the info on the March.

Marcus Ampe

March for Europe: in Rome on March 25

Flag of the European Union

English: Constituency for the European Parliam...

English: Constituency for the European Parliament election in 2009 Español: Mapa por el Elecciones al Parlamento Europeo de 2009 Français : Circonscriptions aux élections européennes en 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Preceding articles:

Human tragedy need to be addressed at source

60 years after creation of European Economic Community, Europeans skeptical about one of their biggest achievements this century

F: Une véritable Union européenne pour garantir le bien-être, la sécurité et la démocratie

D.: Eine echte Europäische Union die Gemeinwohl, Sicherheit und Demokratie gewährleistet

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60 years after creation of European Economic Community, Europeans skeptical about one of their biggest achievements this century

Anti-European movements seem to be enjoying a fair wind, not only in Great Britain but also here on our side of the Channel. This demonstrates how Euroskepticism has become a threat to the fundamental values of the common European life.

Although the EU considers itself a unity, it is unable to introduce a united policy. In the absence of such policy, it is impossible to overcome the growing economical and social inequalities between the citizens of the Member States.

The European Economic Community, founded 60 years ago, was meant to maintain and guarantee peace. More than ever nowadays, in an unsafe world where hundreds of thousands are fleeing the horrors of war, we should embrace and take care of this precious gift of peace. Though many people today are willing to step out of the union, this is not the moment. It would be reckless to put all of it on the line.

People may not forget that we have already so many years of no war experience. In our regions the EU also managed to protect democracy: the freedom of press, freedom of speech and a free choice of religion (those being just a fraction of the inviolable rights Europeans enjoy).

All Member States of the EU have to ensure democratic guidelines, and countries aiming to join the EU cannot hinder reform processes. This contributes to the broadening of democratic values.

Two essential aspects of the European Union are the free movement of persons and a single currency. Admittedly, they Euro Series Banknotes.pngare not perfectly elaborated; the Euro being the most commonly criticised aspect. However, in the Euro Zone, currency exchange disappeared along with the attached fees. We can cross the borders of all EU countries without passport control or visa requirements. It is really a pity that the last few months we saw the Schengen Agreement undermined. That agreement is the seal of proof for our ‘Union’, which assured a free movement concept within the internal borders, not only contributing to the economical dynamism but also to an inter-cultural exchange and thus to peace and understanding between different cultures.

No border control: Border crossing between two Schengen Agreement states, view from Germany to the Netherlands. The Netherlands begins at the red line added to the photo.

The ex-communist countries by putting up walls are forgetting what it meant to be inclosed and are taking on a very selfish attitude. Free movement across our internal border-states is necessary, but also an allowance for people and goods entering our community.

Map of Europe indicating the four member countries of the Visegrád Group

Visegrad Group, also called the Visegrad Four, or V4 is a cultural and political alliance of four Central European states – Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – for the purposes of furthering their European integration, as well as for advancing military, economic and energy cooperation with one another.[

All the Visegrád countries now have leaders who could be fairly described as national-populists. In Western Europe, their rhetoric would often put them at the far-right of the political spectrum: they typically reject migrants and Islam, and do not wish to reproduce the Westerners’ experiment in multiculturalism in their own countries. This has led to clashes with Western Europe, notably Angela Merkel’s Germany, and the European Commission, who have advocated the welcoming of millions of refugees and the distribution of thousands across Central Europe.

Furthermore, all these nations – with the exception of Poland – have made various pro-Russian statements, and implied that they would ideally want a reconciliation and reinforcement of economic ties with Moscow. This bodes ill for the maintenance of the EU’s sanctions against Russia, in retaliation for the annexation of Crimea, and which can only be maintained by unanimity. More generally, Trump’s traumatic surprise electoral win in the United States is likely to embolden Central European conservatives in challenging Brussels and Berlin’s leadership of the EU.

Central Europe according to The World Factbook (2009),[17] Encyclopædia Britannica, and Brockhaus Enzyklopädie (1998)

The area in which this is most apparent is perhaps demographics. Central Europe faces severe medium-term decline in the face of ongoing emigration – while wages have risen, they remain much higher in the West – and extremely low fertility, which goes from 1.3 children per woman in Poland to 1.5 in the Czech Republic.

As a result, the European Commission projects that all these nations, with the exception of the Czech Republic, will see a drastic decline in population between now and 2080, falling by as much as 25 percent. In Poland, this would mean almost 10 million less people. This will inevitably mean a weaker Central Europe in the world, with a rapidly-shrinking labour force obligated to commit an ever-greater share of resources to an exploding population of pensioners.

The case of demographics shows the weaknesses of Visegrád’s alternative vision for Europe. Borders and national sovereignty are indeed means of slowing change, including undesirable change. But in themselves, they would do little to halt Europe’s decline to an elderly collection of statelets on the western Eurasian periphery. No doubt more creative and forward-looking measures are needed to prevent such a scenario and secure a sovereign Europe’s place among this century’s leading powers.

Everywhere in Europe we have to face the problem of the older getting population. Europe shall need young men and women to strengthen our workforce. When we can help rescuing people fleeing for the horrors of war we should open our borders.

Therefore, we can only shake our heads when we hear that others plan on building walls. Europe is familiar with such division. We must not let it come to that point anymore. To question the free movement of persons, on anyone’s behalf, would be a major setback for this free and diverse community.

The EU is not perfect but it assures peace and safety in Europe. To criticise it, is legitimate. To destroy it, is not.

We cannot deny that reforms and innovations are needed to make the EU fit for the future. However, these reforms can only be completed through unity and cohesion and not through antipathy and inner conflict.

A strengthening of the European Union is very overdue.

Isn’t it a privilege to be able to call our neighbours our friends? To move freely without passport control? Not to have to exchange currency? And moreover: to live in peace?

For us Europeans, these privileges have become self-evident, just like so many other things in the EU. And yet so many are beginning to question it all.

With thanks to Vox Europe

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Preceding articles

Still Hope though Power generating long train of abuses

Challenges and impact on freedom of movement within the EU

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Additional reading

  1. Migrants to the West #1
  2. Migrants to the West #2
  3. Migrants to the West #3
  4. Migrants to the West #6
  5. Migrants to the West #8 Welbeing
  6. Europe and much-vaunted bastions of multiculturalism becoming No God Zones
  7. 2015 Human rights
  8. Religion, fundamentalism and murder
  9. Religious Freedom in a Multicultural World
  10. The New gulf of migration and seed for far right parties
  11. Problems by losing the borders
  12. Brexit: The mother of all uncertainties
  13. Walls,colours, multiculturalism, money to flow, Carson, Trump and consorts

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  10. Pros and cons of multi-speed EU
  11. Poland ‘alone’ in the EU after Tusk re-election snub — Anti-European Union storm clouds — “The EU is in Germany’s sphere of influence.”
  12. Ordanoski: There is only one direction for Balkan countries – west
  13. As ECB Charts Economic Course, Politics Complicate the Picture
  14. EPRS circular economy infographic
  15. Berlin calls for dialogue to mitigate risks in Balic Sea region
  16. Reactions to the ECJ decision on asylum law in EU
  17. Europe: Poland fails to stop Donald Tusk EU re-election
  18. Donald Tusk re-elected as European council president
  19. Much to Poland’s Chagrin, Donald Tusk Wins Second Term as European Council President
  20. The European pass or how to expel more

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