The unification of experienced democracies has been the key international political trend of the last one hundred years, persisting despite rapid changes in international affairs. Understanding this trend and enabling it to continue is the key to world political development.
Streit Council Advisory Board Member Brendan Simms on the Post-Brexit European Order
The challenges facing the United Kingdom over the next two years are numerous and increasing by the day. All of these issues are hugely important and they are closely interconnected. At root, however, they are a question of order, not so much of the “rules-based” global international community, significant though that is, but of the European order around which the world system was originally constructed and that remains – for the UK, at least – the primary pivot. (Read More)
The European Union in 2017: Fragmentation or Integration?
As the European Union (EU) approaches the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, its leaders and institutions face a rising tide of political risk. Long-held and growing doubts about the EU’s ability to reduce unemployment, stem migration, and counter terrorism have set the stage for electoral gains by euroskeptic parties in the Netherlands, France, Germany, and – if an early election is called – in Italy. These risks are compounded by Russia’s support for euroskeptic parties; the uncertain fate of the EU-Turkey refugee deal; Brexit negotiations; and an increasingly likely economic downturn. What can be done to strengthen the Union? (Read More)
Streit Council Advisory Board Member Brendan Simms co-authors a new book: Donald Trump: The Making of a World View
On November 8, 2016, Donald Trump won the American presidential election, to the joy of some and the shock of many across the globe. Now that Trump is Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful country on Earth, Americans and non-Americans alike have been left wondering what that means for the world. It has been widely claimed that Trump's foreign policy views are impulsive, inconsistent and that they were improvised on the campaign trail. Drawing on interviews from as far back as 1980, historians Brendan Simms and Charlie Laderman show that this assumption is dangerously false in this new book. (Read More)
New Book edition by Streit Council Advisory Board Member Stanley R. Sloan
The latest edition of Stanley R. Sloan's book on transatlantic security relations - Defense of the West: NATO, the European Union and the Transatlantic Bargain (Manchester University Press, 2016) - surveys the history of NATO, analyzes interactions between contemporary internal and external threats facing the Alliance, and offers a net assessment of its future. Click here for his summary of the book, and here for peer reviews.
The Streit Council's statment on the Brexit referendum outcome
On June 23rd, the British people voted to leave the European Union in a close 52%-48% referendum outcome that few predicted. As an organization committed to deepening integration among the world’s established liberal democracies as a means to expanding individual freedom, the Streit Council views this development as a step backward. Since joining the European Community in 1973, the United Kingdom has shaped European integration in a direction consistent with its liberal values and interests, making all Europeans freer. This has been experienced in many forms, including the freedom to live in peace, greater financial freedom, and freer movement across borders. While these benefits have not accrued evenly across the Union, they nonetheless accrued. (Read More)
Streit Council Advisory Board Member Stanley R. Sloan on "Rebuilding Washington's Transatlantic Alliance"
In an article for the National Interest, Stanley R. Sloan argues that the next president of the United States will need to rebuild the transatlantic relationship to address threats to Western security and fundamental values. In Ukraine, NATO and the EU need to support the reform of the country's political and economic system while holding off on the provision of lethal arms. To ensure a lasting defeat of ISIS, Western allies should engage Middle Eastern states and the broader international community to stabilize and govern retaken territory. While the next president must remember that the Russian agenda often runs contrary to that of the U.S., cooperation on managing strategic arms, promoting a peaceful end to the Syria conflict, counterterrorism and other issues is in America's interest. (Read More)
Transatlantic Relations and Global Governance News
Attacker kills 3, injures 20 in vehicle and knife assault near British Parliament, according to officials
22 March 2017 – The Washington Post
An attacker fatally stabbed a police officer and killed three pedestrians after driving a vehicle along the Westminster Bridge near the British Parliament before being shot and killed by police. London's Metropolitan Police stated that it was "treating this as a terrorist incident" until it concludes otherwise. The attack came during a visit by UK Prime Minister Theresa May for a weekly questions session with Parliament.
U.S. reverses course and offers new dates for NATO talks
21 March 2017 – Reuters
"Alternative dates" have been proposed by the U.S. Department of State for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in April, following reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would miss the meeting for a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to the U.S. NATO reportedly offered to change the dates of the meeting but the State Department rejected the proposal.
Brexit: EU will take UK to International Court if it refuses to pay £50bn divorce bill, “leaked document” says
21 March 2017 – The Independent
The EU’s draft plan for negotiations has been leaked and states that the Union will take the UK to the International Court of Justice if it walks away without paying its large “divorce bill.” The document threatens a long legal battle to obtain what the EU considers the UK’s liabilities that it committed to as a member. This threat expressed in the leaked draft comes in the midst of pressure on UK PM May to refuse to negotiate if the EU demands the large exit fee.
Tillerson to skip April NATO meeting
21 March 2017 – Politico
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will not attend a meeting of NATO foreign ministers next month, instead attending a meeting of U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Mar-a-Lago. According to the State Department, Tillerson is also due to visit Russia and Italy, and will still attend Wednesday's meeting of NATO foreign ministers participating in the Coalition to Defeat ISIS in Washington.
Britain’s May to launch EU divorce proceedings on March 29th
20 March 2017 – Reuters
UK PM Theresa May plans to trigger the country’s exit from the EU on March 29th, which will begin the two-year timeline for negotiations. May stated that she will negotiate for “everyone across the United Kingdom and all parts of the UK.” She hopes to deliver the closest possible deal with regard to financial and political relations while satisfying those who want a complete break with the Union.
Merkel hopes to address trade issues with Trump at G7 in May
20 March 2017 – Reuters
On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel asserted that the G7 summit in May will be a good opportunity to discuss differences with U.S. President Donald Trump on ensuring fair but free trade. She stated that the differences between the U.S. administration and the other G7 countries may not be solved in one meeting. G7 leaders will meet in Italy and trade is expected to be one of the controversial issues.
Catalonia again Calls for Scottish-Style Independence Referendum
20 March 2017 - EurActiv
As calls for a second Scottish independence referendum return, the Catalan government of Spain is making another appeal to Madrid to accept its own independence aspirations. Catalan officials submitted a letter to the federal government urging them to agree to allow the region to hold an independence referendum in a way not dissimilar from the UK model. The letter added: “We would like to recall that we have proposed it on various occasions. Today, despite the bad omens and outright rejection of the Spanish government, we once again insist on it.” Catalonia, a wealthy region home to over seven million who share their own language, made similar appeals for independence dating back to 2010, though Madrid has refused to recognize the region’s right to hold a legally binding referendum on the issue.
Merkel disputes Trump's tweet saying Germany owes “vast sums of money” to NATO
20 March 2017 – The Chicago Tribune
German Chancellor Angela Merkel rebuked a claim by U.S. President Donald Trump that "Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO" made following their meeting in Washington last week. Merkel stated that no NATO member "pays its entire defense budget into NATO" and that defense spending cannot "be uncoupled from historical developments."
Brexit: UK and Germany to sign new defense pact after Article 50 is triggered
20 March 2017 – The Independent
Germany and the UK have reportedly agreed to increase cooperation in cybersecurity, training, and maritime patrols after Britain triggers Article 50 to exit the European Union. Germany's defense ministry confirmed it was working on joint projects, stating that the UK "remains a strong partner and ally in NATO and also bilaterally" despite Brexit.
Tillerson signaled U.S. policy of patience on North Korea is over: White House
20 March 2017 – Reuters
The White House said that a recent visit by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to China was intended to send "a very clear signal that our policy of strategic patience is over" with regard to North Korea, according to spokesman Sean Spicer. Tillerson made his first visit to Asia last week, discussing North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.
Merkel, Abe call for EU-Japan deal to stem trade barriers
20 March 2017 – Reuters
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for a concerted effort to defend free trade, saying global markets can be both open and fair. Two days after U.S. President Donald Trump and Merkel held inconclusive talks at the White House, the German and Japanese leaders met at Hanover, Germany, and advocated a trade accord between Japan and the European Union as a way to underscore the benefits of an interconnected global economy.
PM May starts UK tour before pulling Brexit trigger
19 March 2017 – U.S. News & World Report
UK PM Theresa May is planning to travel to Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland to engage with all of the nations within Britain before she officially launches the Brexit process. The referendum vote of last June has illuminated tensions that could hinder the UK’s unity, with Scotland and Northern Ireland voting with pro-EU majorities. Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has also demanded a second Scottish independence referendum, citing a lack of consideration in the departure process from the UK government.
Trump affirms support for NATO but says member nations “must pay what they owe”
17 March 2017 – Washington Post
In a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump reiterated his view that fellow NATO members must contribute their “fair share” to the Alliance. He also stated that he seeks “fair trade” and that immigration is “a privilege, not a right.” Merkel acknowledged the need for increasing border security and integrating immigrants, but emphasized that there is a moral dimension to granting refugees “the opportunity to shape their lives.”
Eight in ten Germans think the EU needs to be reformed
16 March 2017 - The Local Germany
With euroskeptic forces beginning to alter the political environment in Europe, starting with Britain’s decision to leave the EU and continuing onward into election season, it appears that Germans are beginning to reimagine the EU. A recent poll conducted by YouGov earlier this month revealed that only 7% of Germans felt the EU did not need to make any significant changes. The survey was published following EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s “multi-speed Europe” address, which suggested that European integration will be achieved more quickly by certain states and particular regions. Only 16% of Germans supported non-uniform integration, while the most popular option was comprehensive continental integration at nearly 30%.
Netherlands: Moderate parties hold onto power
16 March 2017 – Stratfor
The Netherlands’ general election has led to a fragmented parliament, which will require a coalition of many parties to form a government. These results demonstrate that while voters expressed anger with establishment parties, they mostly rejected far-right extremism. PM Mark Rutte’s center-right party, the People’s Party of Freedom and Democracy, won the majority of seats. The Euroskeptic Party for Freedom performed less well than expected, only obtaining 19 seats. There was a strong performance of the Green Left Party, which obtained more than three times more seats than in 2012.
Scotland leaving EU no matter what – PM
15 March 2017 – BBC News
British PM Theresa May insists that Scotland will leave the EU regardless of the result of a second independence referendum. These statements came after Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s demand for another independence vote. PM May referred to the comments from the European Commission on Monday, which stated that an independent Scotland would have to apply for membership akin to other candidate countries rather than automatically joining.
Single market exit: UK construction “could lose 175,000 EU workers”
15 March 2017 – Guardian
The UK construction industry could lose more than 175,000 EU workers – or 8% of the sector’s workforce – if the country does not retain access to the European Single Market after Brexit, the government has been told. Such an outcome could put key infrastructure and construction projects at risk at a time when the sector was also facing other pressures, including the tax changes in the recent budget.
Russian agents were behind Yahoo hack, U.S. says
15 March 2017 – The New York Times
The U.S. Department of Justice charged two Russian intelligence officers with directing a cyberattack against 500 million Yahoo accounts in 2014. The attacks targeted financial executives, foreign officials, and journalists, according to federal prosecutors. The indictment contains 47 criminal charges against two members of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) and two hackers who participated in the data theft.
EU security forces struggling to keep track of border crossings, report warns
14 March 2017 - Newsweek
A recent report conducted by the European Commission security task force claims that the perpetrators behind major terror attacks in Paris, Brussels and Berlin were able to slip through the Schengen Zone undetected due to inadequate security measures. The current systems in place, relying heavily on biometric data contained in fingerprints, make it impossible for suspected terrorists, criminals, or persons of interest to be located on security databases. The task force also cited poor intelligence cooperation and lack of uniformity in usage of databases and information among EU member states as vulnerabilities.
Netherlands: Election will put euroskepticism to the test
14 March 2017 – Stratfor
On March 15th, the Netherlands will hold general elections to appoint 150 members of its House of Representatives. This is the first test of euroskepticism in 2017 and will be followed by elections in France and Germany. The strength of euroskeptics will be demonstrated by the success, or lack thereof, of the Party for Freedom led by Geert Wilders. It is anti-Muslim and in favor of leaving the EU. Wilders has attracted voters who feel that they have not benefited from the Netherlands’ prosperity of recent years. However, due to the country’s proportional electoral system, one party cannot rule alone and must form coalitions to achieve power.
Populists seize the moment as Dutch fall out of love with EU
14 March 2017 – Financial Times
For decades, the Dutch have been considered one of the most solid members of the EU. However, in recent months fears about immigration and anger about Greek bailouts have propelled Dutch voters to support more euroskeptic parties, which will be demonstrated in Wednesday’s election. The possibility of a Nexit is limited, but it is expected that the Dutch will be more hesitant to support further EU integration.
Moscow moves to absorb rebel Georgian region's military
14 March 2017 – Reuters
Russian President Vladimir Putin approved an agreement to de facto incorporate forces in the separatist region of South Ossetia in Georgia into Russia's military command structure. The agreement reportedly states that South Ossetian forces are eligible to serve as Russian soldiers on a regional Russian military base, and that separatists will adopt operating procedures, force structure, and objectives in agreement with Russia.
Defense spending by European NATO allies inches up in 2016
14 March 2017 – Reuters
NATO defense spending grew for the first time in seven years in 2016, according to the alliance, with overall expenditures growing from 2.40 percent GDP in 2015 to 2.43 last year. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the figures represented progress, but that there is still "no fair burden-sharing" within the alliance and that a 2 percent spending goal for members is realistic.
Sadiq Khan: lack of interim EU trade deal could cause “colossal damage”
14 March 2017 – Guardian
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s insistence that a Brexit trade deal with the EU must be reached within two years is already causing unnecessary damage to the economy by compounding uncertainty for businesses, the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, warned. The mayor on Monday called on the prime minister to prioritize striking an interim deal with the EU that would secure access to the single market and avoid a “cliff-edge” for British businesses.
Parliament clears way for “Brexit” talks as Scottish vow independence
13 March 2017 – The New York Times
On Monday, British Prime Minister Theresa May won her battle with Parliament to officially begin Brexit talks with the EU, while securing the government unrestricted authority over withdrawal negotiations. Brexit secretary David Davis stated that Parliament voted this way to move the process along and create a new positive partnership with the EU 27. Both proposed amendments to the Brexit bill by the House of Lords were overturned to approve the bill.
Brexit: Early financial settlement won’t be “forced on UK”
13 March 2017 - BBC News
While rumors have circulated in recent weeks suggesting that Britain’s divorce bill could cost between €30bn - €60bn, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator proposed that if the UK agrees in principle on making its final EU contributions, then offers rights protections for EU citizens living and working in the UK, no hard sum would need to be determined and the remaining two years could be spent on negotiating the future of UK-EU relations - including the establishment of a new trade deal. Barnier is essentially requiring the UK to carry out its legal commitments established while it was a member of the EU in exchange for parallel discussions on a trade deal which Britain wants.
Sinn Fein leader urges Northern Ireland referendum on UK exit
13 March 2017 - Deutsche Welle
Sinn Fein leader Michelle O’Neill, just hours after Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made calls for a second independence bid, claimed that the Brexit will prove disastrous for Northern Ireland’s economy and its people - and called for an independence referendum “as soon as possible.” Like Scotland, Northern Ireland voted predominantly to remain in the EU during last year’s Brexit referendum. While Sinn Fein has made calls in the past for Irish reunification, its actualization is seemingly becoming ever more viable. Under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, the British government can hold a referendum on Northern Irish independence if it appears a majority exists to support it, though polls immediately following the Brexit suggested over 60% of voters wanted to remain in the UK. However, last week Sinn Fein enjoyed massive support during assembly elections, where it finished second only to the Democratic Unionist Party.
EU says independent Scotland would not have automatic right to become new member
13 March 2017 – The Independent
The EU stated that an independent Scotland would have to wait in the line for membership along with other candidate nations. A spokesman for the European Commission insisted that Scotland would not have preferential treatment for EU membership access if it leaves the UK. NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also said that Scotland’s admission to the alliance would not be automatic.
UK looks to supercharge EU trade deals post-Brexit
13 March 2017 – Telegraph
Britain is looking for ways to carry over the EU’s free trade deals with countries around the world after Brexit - then cut taxes and regulatory barriers to trade, boosting the impact of the deals. Ministers are touring the scores of countries which have trade agreements with the EU to accomplish this.
Turkey referendum: Clashes as Dutch expel minister
12 March 2017 - BBC News
Mounted riot police were forced to use water cannons to disperse protesters on Sunday after escorting Turkish Family Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya out of the Netherlands. The minister was attempting to speak on behalf of the Turkish government and urge eligible voters to assist in passing an upcoming referendum aimed at securing greater powers for President Erdogan. The Dutch government claimed that allowing for Turkish rallies would promote violence ahead of their own elections, however Erdogan warned that there will be “a price” for sacrificing Turkish-Dutch relations for the sake of political convenience.
European Parliament says EDA should be a fully-fledged agency funded by EU
12 March 2017 – IHS Jane’s
Members of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs and Constitutional committees called for the EU to directly fund the European Defense Agency (EDA) and arrangements for permanent defense cooperation. The EDA is currently funded by national defense ministries of the bloc's members.
EU’s antagonistic stance does not bode well for Brexit talks
12 March 2017 – Financial Times
Before the upcoming Brexit negotiations, the EU has decided on contentious legal positions, including the 60 billion pound it says the UK owes Brussels; the interpretation of Article 50 that does not include settling a trade relationship for the future; and last, the inability of the UK to settle trade deals with third parties while it is still technically a member of the EU. These legal positions create an antagonistic direction for the future negotiations.
New rifts surface as EU mulls future without Britain
10 March 2017 – NBC News
On Friday, EU officials attempted to reassure the smaller member states that they would not be left behind and repeated calls for strengthening the “trust and unity within the 27.” The summit was called to prepare for the EU summit in Italy on March 25th to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. However, the main topic was the prospect of a multispeed Europe after Britain’s exit. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker tried to assuage the EU’s easternmost members by stating that a multispeed Europe would not focus on exclusion but on allowing those who want to do more to do so.
Second Scottish independence vote “looking inevitable”
10 March 2017 – Financial Times
The Financial Times reports that a second Scottish independence vote appears inevitable to UK ministers. Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister, stated that another referendum could be held in the fall of 2018, right before the UK plans to leave the EU. FT reported that the UK would fight to push back the vote until after it has already left the Union.
German budget shows military spending still below NATO target
10 March 2017 – The Wall Street Journal
Germany's draft 2018 budget, which was released on Friday, includes a 3.9 percent increase in defense spending but falls short of NATO's 2 percent of GDP threshold at 1.23 percent. A finance ministry official stated in a news conference that Germany seeks "to raise spending in this area sensibly," and cannot do so by spending all additional funds annually.
Britain told 15-year talks on EU trade can't be ruled out
10 March 2017 – Bloomberg
The UK’s post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union could take more than a decade to conclude, Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said. “You have to find a solution and we will find a solution,” Samuelsen said in an interview in Brussels. “The question is, can we do it in two years or will we take 15 years? We don’t know.”
Russia denies violating nuclear arms pact with U.S.
9 March 2017 – Defense News
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected U.S. claims that Russia violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty by deploying a land-based cruise missile in order to threaten U.S. and NATO facilities in Europe. Peskov stated that "Russia has adhered to and will adhere to all its international obligations," including the agreement.
Boris Johnson: UK should reject “Brexit cash bill”
9 March 2017 – BBC News
British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson insisted that his country should reject any EU demands for paying a 50 billion pound exit bill. Johnson said it is “not reasonable” for the UK to continue paying into the EU budget after it has left the Union. He referenced Thatcher’s actions at the 1984 Fontainebleau Summit where she threatened to pause payments to the bloc. EU negotiator Michel Barnier argued that the UK will continue to pay money into the EU budget until 2020.
Late 2018 could be best time for new Scottish referendum, says Sturgeon
9 March 2017 – The Guardian
According to Nicola Sturgeon, the most sensible time for another Scottish independence referendum would be in the autumn of 2018, if it is necessary to have one. This response confirms that Sturgeon’s strategy for the referendum is to hold it while Britain is still a member of the EU, thereby making Scotland’s case for remaining in the Union stronger.
Donald Tusk gets 2nd term as president of European Council
9 March 2017 – The New York Times
Donald Tusk has been re-appointed as the president of the European Council for a second term, with 27 EU members overruling a Polish objection during a summit meeting. Tusk faced sharp criticism from Poland's right-wing government, which took power in 2015.
As North Korea missile threat grows, Japan lawmakers argue for first strike options
8 March 2017 – Reuters
Japanese lawmakers suggested that Japan acquire preemptive strike capability targeting North Korea missile facilities following North Korea's recent missile test launches. Japan has reportedly "already done the groundwork" on acquiring such a strike capability, according to a source with knowledge of Japan's military planning.
Multi-speed Europe is a warning, EU official says
8 March 2017 – EU Observer
On Tuesday, a senior EU official argued that a multi-speed Europe should not be a primary objective, but rather a warning to all of the member states. This statement comes in advance of the meeting of the EU 27 on March 10th to discuss the future of the bloc after Brexit. Core EU members such as Germany, France, Italy, and Spain have endorsed the multi-speed approach, which would allow some countries to pursue deeper integration in some policy areas. However, many Nordic and Eastern European member states are hesitant to support a multi-speed Europe, as it might diminish their weight in the Union.
Leaders of Eurozone's biggest economies back multi-speed Europe
8 March 2017 – Reuters
The leaders of the Eurozone’s four biggest economies threw their weight behind a multi-speed Europe on Monday as the EU ponders a future without Britain. The leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Spain met at the palace of Versailles to prepare for a March 25th EU summit in Rome marking the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which paved the way for today’s Union.
U.S. businesses warn the UK over loss of access to EU single market
8 March 2017 – Guardian
A report warned Theresa May ahead of Article 50 negotiations that American investment in the UK, worth £487bn in 2015, has been largely based on the country’s EU membership and access to the Single Market. The study commissioned by the American Chamber of Commerce to the EU (AmCham EU) called for Britain to recognize the limitations of any free trade deal with the U.S. alone, and warned of the dangers posed by building barriers to trade between the UK and the wider continent.
NATO, U.S. warn Kosovo against move to form army
8 March 2017 – ABC News
NATO and the U.S. warned Kosovo that the alliance will have to review its capacity-building commitments to the country if it goes ahead with plans to transform its light security force into an army without an "inclusive and representative political process." Kosovo President Hashim Thaci proposed the creation of a regular army earlier this week, citing the threat of Russian forces in Serbia.
U.S. general says Russia deploys cruise missile, threatens NATO
8 March 2017 – Reuters
Russia has deployed a land-based cruise missile to "pose a threat to NATO" and the alliance's area of responsibility, according to the Vice Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Paul Selva. Selva echoed wider U.S. complaints that the move violates the "spirit and intent" of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.
Brexit: Government faces second defeat in Lords
7 March 2017 – BBC News
The British government faced a second defeat on the Brexit bill in the House of Lords, in which peers backed an amendment for a “meaningful” vote from Parliament on the final withdrawal terms. The amendment, which would require the final terms of the UK’s exit from the EU to be put in separate votes in the Commons and the Lords, was carried by a majority of 98. The bill will now return to the Commons for reconsideration by MPs, who have already rejected calls for the clause to be included - equating it to a possible veto over the Brexit process.
Moscow “ready” to sign pact with Italy’s Grillo
7 March 2017 – EU Observer
After signing cooperation agreements with both the Austrian People’s Party and Italy’s Northern League, Russia’s ruling party is preparing to sign a similar deal with the Italian populist Five Star Movement. Sergei Zheleznyak, deputy leader for United Russia, stated that his party is “ready to sign agreements with all Italian parties” and is currently in discussions with the Five Star representatives. Beppe Grillo’s euroskeptic Five Star Movement has garnered significant support ahead of elections, and advocates for Italy’s departure from the Eurozone. Grillo has also supported the development of more cordial and productive relations between Washington and Moscow, and believes President Trump’s willingness to work with Vladimir Putin should serve as an example for European leaders.
Schengen borders code: Council adopts regulation to reinforce checks at external borders
7 March 2017 – Council of the European Union
Today, the European Council adopted a regulation that amends the Schengen agreement in order to further reinforce border checks at the EU’s external borders. This amendment requires member states to “carry out systematic checks against relevant databases on all persons, including those enjoying the right of free movement under EU law,” and applies to all external border entry and exit points. The Council and the European Parliament still need to sign the adopted regulation, which will enter into force 20 days later.
EU wants trade dialogue but stands ready to rebuff Trump
7 March 2017 – Bloomberg
European trade ministers agreed to a dual approach toward the Trump Administration, engaging in dialogue for free trade and preparing to react strongly against protectionism, such as his proposed border adjustment tax. The atmosphere for trade policy is challenging, with anti-trade protesters in the EU and growing protectionism in the rest of the world, according to Christian Cardona, the chairman of the meeting.
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