Kryon Berlin Tour & Seminar - Berlin, Germany, Sept 17-22 2019 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll)

Kryon Berlin Tour & Seminar - Berlin, Germany, Sept 17-22 2019 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll)
30th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Council of Europe (CoE) - European Human Rights Court - founding fathers (1949)

Council of Europe (CoE) - European Human Rights Court - founding fathers (1949)
French National Assembly head Edouard Herriot and British Foreign minister Ernest Bevin surrounded by Italian, Luxembourg and other delegates at the first meeting of Council of Europe's Consultative Assembly in Strasbourg, August 1949 (AFP Photo)

EU founding fathers signed 'blank' Treaty of Rome (1957)

EU founding fathers signed 'blank' Treaty of Rome (1957)
The Treaty of Rome was signed in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, one of the Renaissance palaces that line the Michelangelo-designed Capitoline Square in the Italian capital

Shuttered: EU ditches summit 'family photo'

Shuttered: EU ditches summit 'family photo'
EU leaders pose for a family photo during the European Summit at the EU headquarters in Brussels on June 28, 2016 (AFP Photo/JOHN THYS)

Merkel says fall of Wall proves 'dreams can come true'

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013. They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Friday, September 28, 2018

Andorra, one of Europe's last abortion holdouts

Yahoo – AFP, Charlotte DURAND, 28 September 2018

In Andorra, having an abortion is punishable by up to six months in prison

Andorra is best known as a ski destination and tax haven -- but it's the tiny principality's status as one of Europe's last countries with an abortion ban that activists want to highlight on International Safe Abortion Day.

Even in cases of rape or when their lives are in danger, women in the country of 85,500 people nestled in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain, have no right to an abortion.

Only Malta, the Vatican and San Marino, another micro-state surrounded by Italy, have the same rules, putting them in a group of outliers which lost a key member this year when Ireland voted to overturn its near-total abortion ban.

In Andorra, having an abortion is punishable by up to six months in prison.

"I had a baby that was at risk of dying in my stomach, but I didn't have the right to have it removed," said Sonia, who learned in the fifth month that her foetus had an incurable disease and would likely not survive the pregnancy.

Sonia -- her name has been changed -- had already announced the pregnancy to her friends and family, but ultimately decided to make the "difficult" decision to abort.

"I would have had to wait for him to die, keep him inside me for several days before realising, and then give birth to a dead baby," said Sonia, who is in her thirties.

Like some 120 other women who head across the border each year to Spain to terminate pregnancies, she travelled to Catalonia -- Catalan is the official language of Andorra -- to have the procedure.

"You come to our country to buy cigarettes -- we come to your country to buy our rights," reads a slogan on a pro-legalisation poster shared on social media.

"It's a form of torture," said Vanessa Mendoza Cortes from the Stop Violencies (Stop Violence) group which is campaigning for the legalisation of terminations.

On Saturday, the group is organising Andorra's first ever street protest in favour of decriminalising abortion.

"We should have the right to have an abortion in our hospitals, and not have to go to Barcelona with guilt and shame," said Mendoza Cortes, who wants to make it an issue in next year's legislative elections.

She decried the local system as "hypocritical", with the authorities turning a blind eye to women heading abroad for the procedure.

It's an option that's only open to women who can pay between 600 and 1000 euros ($700-$1,160), usually handed to the Spanish doctor in an envelope.

Maria, who had an abortion at 18, said she was "lucky" her family were able to scrape the cash together, but she is well aware that for many women "this is far from the case".

Today, aged 27, she recalls her shock at her Andorran gynaecologist forcing her to listen to her foetus' heartbeat, trying to dissuade her from ending the pregnancy.

The journey back from the abortion clinic in Spain took three hours by road, during which she was doubled over with abdominal pain.

She returned deeply distressed, but "there was no psychological or medical support afterwards", she added.

Doctors risk jail

Andorran doctors risk up to three years in prison and a five-year ban from practising if they are caught performing abortions.

Even giving patients information or the address of a clinic abroad is against the law, doctor Eric Sylvestre Dolsa told AFP.

"In cases where the mother's life is in danger, it would clearly pose a huge ethical problem for me as a doctor if you were to apply the law strictly," said the general practitioner.

He is one of few Andorran doctors openly backing legalisation, "no matter the motivation" for ending the pregnancy.

Many doctors are reluctant to debate abortion frankly due to fear of the instability that could arise from the issue blowing up in a principality with a unique political set-up, he said.

Although it is a parliamentary democracy, Andorra has two "co-princes" as head of state: French President Emmanuel Macron, and Joan-Enric Vives, a Catholic bishop staunchly opposed to abortion.

Vives has threatened to abdicate if abortion is legalised, noted Elisa Muxella, head of Andorra's Human Rights Institute.

"The government is hiding behind this excuse and saying that if we had abortion it would put our institutions in peril," said Muxella.

Sonia said she'd like to see Macron take a public stance on the issue.

"Do something for Andorran women," she implored him. "I don't want to see my daughters go through the same thing as me."

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Romania's constitutional court backs rights for gay couples

Yahoo – AFP, 27 September 2018

Romania's constitutional court said gay couples (pictured June 2018) have the same
rights to a private life and a family life as heterosexuals and thus should benefit
from legal "recognition of their rights and obligations"

Romania's constitutional court ruled Thursday that gay couples should have the same family rights as heterosexuals, a judgment that runs counter to a referendum next month seeking to interdict gay marriage.

The court said gay couples had the same rights to a private life and a family life as heterosexuals and thus should "benefit, in the long term, from legal... recognition of their rights and obligations".

The landmark ruling comes before a referendum planned for October 6 and 7, seeking to restrict the constitutional definition of "family" to heterosexual, married couples.

The vote was called by a group called "Coalition for the Family" and others close to the Orthodox Church.

The proposal is to change the constitution to stipulate that marriage is between a man and a woman, and not simply "spouses", as it currently states.

The plebiscite has already been criticised by Amnesty International, which says it would breach international human rights standards and amount to homophobic discrimination.

Thursday's ruling was in a case brought by a US-Romanian couple who had asked the authorities to recognise their marriage, registered in Belgium, so the American could move with his husband to Romania.

The constitutional court based its judgment on a ruling issued in June by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Romania is a very conservative country where most people are members of the Orthodox Church, and only legalised homosexuality at the beginning of the 2000s.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

EU announces legal entity to maintain business with Iran

Yahoo – AFP, Shaun TANDON, September 25, 2018

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (r), speaking alongside Iranian Foreign
Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (l), said a new payment system would be set up to allow
oil companies and businesses to continue trading with Iran (AFP Photo/Stéphanie LECOCQ)

United Nations (United States) (AFP) - The European Union said Monday its members would set up a payment system to allow oil companies and businesses to continue trading with Iran in a bid to evade sanctions after the US withdrew from a nuclear agreement.

Iran and the European Union announced their defiance towards US President Donald Trump's administration after high-level talks at the United Nations among the remaining members of the accord.

The countries said in a statement that they were determined "to protect the freedom of their economic operators to pursue legitimate business with Iran."

With the United States and the dollar dominating so much of global trade, the statement said the new mechanism would "facilitate payments related to Iran's exports (including oil) and imports, which will assist and reassure economic operators pursuing legitimate business with Iran."

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, speaking at the United Nations alongside Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, said the countries were still working out the technical details.

"In practical terms, this will mean that EU member states will set up a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran and this will allow European companies to continue to trade with Iran in accordance with European Union law and could be open to other partners in the world," she told reporters.

She said that the remaining members of the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action -- Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia -- would also maintain their commitments to support Iran on civilian nuclear energy.

"The participants recalled that these initiatives are aimed at preserving the JCPOA, which is in the international interest," she said.

Pressure on Iranian economy

In line with findings of UN inspectors, Mogherini reiterated that Iran has been in compliance with the nuclear agreement -- under which Tehran drastically scaled back its nuclear program in exchange for relief from sanctions.

The agreement was sealed in 2015 in a signature achievement for then US president Barack Obama.

Trump pulled out of the agreement in May, describing it as a "disaster" and quickly moving to reimpose sanctions on Iran.

Despite the protests of the European Union, a number of business including French energy giant Total and carmakers Peugeot and Renault as well as Germany's Siemens and Daimler have already suspended operations in Iran for fear of triggering US sanctions.

With Iran's economy already feeling the pinch, US national security adviser John Bolton earlier Monday vowed to impose "maximum pressure" on Tehran, while insisting that Washington was not pushing for regime change.

US Arab allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well as Israel have long sought for Washington to work to curtail non-Arab and predominantly Shiite Muslim Iran's influence in the Middle East, including in war-torn Syria.

The EU move comes a day before Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani separately address the UN General Assembly, with the US leader expected to take a hard line on Iran.

MEPs can keep their expenses secret, European Court of Justice rules

DutchNews, September 25, 2018

MEPs do not have to publish details of how they spend their monthly expenses allowance of €4,300 a month because it would be in breach of their privacy, the European Court of Justice said on Tuesday. 

Journalists from all 28 EU member countries, including Dutch public broadcaster NOS, had gone to court in an effort to have MEPs’ expenses made public. MEPs are given the money, which is supposed to fund a home office, every month in addition to their salary of €8,848. 

The European court upheld several earlier votes by the European parliament not to open expenses to public scrutiny, citing privacy rules. In addition, redacting bills and invoices to remove personal information would, the court said, be an ‘excessive administrative burden’ given the volume of documents. 

Dutch Socialist MEP Dennis de Jong said the court’s decision is ‘a slap in the face’ for all Europeans. ‘MEPs are representatives of the people and they should show what they spend the money on,’ he said. 

Lobby group Transparency International said it is ‘enormously disappointed’ in the court’s decision. 

In 2017,  journalists also made a public appeal for MEPs to volunteer information about their expenses to the public. In the Netherlands, the VVD, the fundamentalist Christian SGP and the anti-EU PVV refused to comply. 

In addition to their salary and standard expenses package, MEPs have their travel expenses between Brussels and Strasbourg paid, they get a car allowance of 50 cents a kilometre and an extra €306 for every day they attend official meetings – totalling some 168 meetings a year.

Monday, September 24, 2018

EU takes Poland to top court over judicial reform

Yahoo –AFP, 24 September 2018

People demonstrate in support of Poland's Supreme Court judges in Warsaw in July 2018

The European Union announced Monday it will take Poland to the bloc's top court to stop alleged breaches of the independence of the country's supreme court.

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, said Poland's decision to lower the age at which Supreme Court judges must retire from 70 to 65 would undermine judicial independence and breach Poland's obligations under EU law.

"The European Commission decided to refer Poland to the Court of Justice of the EU due to the violations of the principle of judicial independence created by the new Polish law on the Supreme Court," the commission said.

The Commission statement said it has asked the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice to take "interim measures" pending a ruling in the case.

"The European Commission maintains that the Polish law on the Supreme Court is incompatible with EU law as it undermines the principle of judicial independence," it added.

It said the action violates Poland's obligations under the EU treaty, which it signed onto when it joined the European Union.

The commission has for more than two years been in talks with Warsaw about a number of judicial reforms that the EU says threaten the rule of law in Poland.

But it has called for swift action on the Supreme Court issue.

The new retirement age, introduced by Poland's Law and Justice (PiS) government, cames into force in July and would require more than a third of current Supreme Court judges to step down.

The PiS government insists the changes are needed to tackle corruption and overhaul a judicial system still haunted by the communist era.

The EU and the Warsaw government's Polish critics argue these measure undermine the division of powers and therefore threaten democracy and the rule of law.

In December, Brussels triggered unprecedented proceedings against Poland under Article 7 of the EU treaty over "systemic threats" to the rule of law, which could eventually see Warsaw's EU voting rights suspended.

Pope promotes national unity in Protestant Latvia

Yahoo – AFP, Catherine MARCIANO, Michel VIATTEAU, September 24, 2018

Worshippers greeted Pope Francis at the Shrine of the Mother of God in
Aglona (AFP Photo/Vincenzo PINTO)

Aglona (Latvia) (AFP) - Tens of thousands of people on Monday swarmed Pope Francis in largely Protestant Latvia on a visit many hope will put the small Baltic country on the map and bring its people closer together.

The pontiff was visibly tired but smiling as he arrived by helicopter to the southern village of Aglona where around 40,000 people -- including some Poles, Russians and Ukrainians -- greeted him at the country's most important Catholic church.

"We came as a family to see the pope," said Ivan Petrov, a Catholic who made the journey from the western Russian city of Pskov.

"It's unlikely that Francis will be invited to Russia, at least in the immediate future," he told AFP while carrying a Russian flag.

Latvian Laura Pushmucane said she was "positively surprised" to hear the rosary recited in Latgalian, a dialect whose use was restricted under Latvia's former Nazi and communist regimes.

The pope notably quoted Boleslavs Sloskans, a Catholic bishop from the Latgale region who was exiled during the Cold War.

"Do not let hatred ignite in our hearts, not even against our oppressors, because hatred would turn us from faithful believers into fanatics," he quoted.

Pope Francis said Latvia had built unity between the different Christian 
churches (AFP Photo/Vincenzo PINTO)

The Latvian government had declared Monday a public holiday for the papal visit.

Many were grateful to the pope for visiting Latvia in a year when it along with two other Baltic countries celebrates 100 years of independence.

Occupied by Nazi Germany and then by the Soviets for nearly half a century, Latvia is now tied to the west as an EU and NATO member.

But the country of 1.9 million people is still in the process of building a national identity.

Faith unites

Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis told Francis that "faith brings countries together beyond their national differences."

Protestants make up 25 percent of the Latvian population, followed by Catholics at 21 percent and Orthodox 11 percent.

Earlier Monday, Francis met Christian leaders -- Lutheran, Russian Orthodox, Baptist, Methodist, Episcopalian -- at Riga's Lutheran cathedral.

The immense red-brick building is the largest medieval cathedral in the Baltic states and houses one of the world's largest organs.

Pope Francis was welcomed by Latvia's President Raimonds Vejonis (second left) 
and children at the airport in Riga (AFP Photo/Handout, Handout)

Shuttered by Soviet authorities in 1959, the cathedral became a concert hall before the Lutherans got it back in 1989.

Francis lauded what he said was a country marked by "friendship between the different Christian churches, which have succeeded in building unity while preserving the unique and rich identity of each."

The pope also visited the freedom monument in downtown Riga, a huge statue of a woman with arms raised towards the sky.

"I'm happy he's here. I recognise him even though I'm Lutheran," said lawyer Ketija Strazda, who was among the couple hundred people who turned up to see the pontiff.

"He's the head of a major religion... He'll make my country known abroad."

Tabita and Helga, two young Catholic volunteers, were also there handing out little flags in the Vatican colours.

"Thanks to the pope's visit, perhaps more people will find the way to God," Tabita said.

Before arriving in Latvia, Francis spent the weekend in Lithuania -- the only Catholic-majority country of the three Baltic states. He was due to end his tour in Estonia on Tuesday.

Friday, September 21, 2018

UK crime agency probes Danske Bank money laundering

Yahoo – AFP, September 21, 2018

Danske's money laundering scandal is widening (AFP Photo/Jens Noergaard Larsen)

London (AFP) - Britain's National Crime Agency is probing the activities of UK-based companies with alleged links to a money laundering scandal at Denmark's Danske Bank, it said Friday.

"The NCA is aware of the use of UK registered companies in this case and has related on-going operational activity," a spokeswoman said.

"The threat posed by the use of UK company structures as a route for money laundering is widely recognised and the NCA is working with partners across government to restrict the ability of criminals to use them in this way."

Friday's news came one day after Denmark's financial watchdog relaunched its money laundering investigation into Danske, after the nation's largest lender said "a large part" of transactions totalling 200 billion euros ($235 billion) at its Estonian branch were "suspicious".

The Financial Times reported Friday, citing people with knowledge of the UK probe, that the NCA's interest was on a UK-registered limited liability partnership or LLP.

UK corporate entities were the second biggest group, after Russians, among the about 15,000 non-resident customers at the Estonian branch, it added.

Of the accounts under investigation -- which Danske closed in 2015 -- 6,200 are considered suspicious and most of them have been brought to the attention of authorities.

The scandal engulfing Danske cost the lender's chief executive his job this week as investigators struggled to determine just how much dirty money transited through its Estonian subsidiary.

Danske itself said it could not be certain of the size of illegal sums involved.

More than 1.5 trillion Danish kroner (201 billion euros, $235 billion) transited through the Estonian subsidiary between 2007 and 2015, according to an outside law firm that carried out a probe for the bank.

Related Article:

Date set for Irish blasphemy referendum

Yahoo – AFP, September 21, 2018

Blasphemy involves acting or speaking in an offensive way about God or things
held to be sacred (AFP Photo/FRAN CAFFREY)

Dublin (AFP) - Ireland will hold a referendum on October 26 to repeal its constitutional law forbidding blasphemy, Dublin announced on Friday.

The constitution of the Irish state currently states: "The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent matter is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law."

But the legislation is generally held to be ineffectual and outdated in contemporary Ireland.

In May, citizens voted to overturn an abortion ban by a landslide 66 percent, demonstrating the waning grip of the Catholic church on the once-devout nation.

Last year, Health Minister Simon Harris called the law "silly" and "a little embarrassing", according to The Irish Times.

Former justice minister Dermot Ahern reportedly wanted such a referendum in 2009, but was unable to hold one in the midst of the economic downturn.

The vote required to repeal the law -- a proposed 37th amendment to the constitution -- will now be held on the same day as Ireland's presidential election, in an apparent bid to reduce costs.

"Whatever your views are on the proposals in the referendum, can I take this opportunity to encourage voters to go to their polling station," said Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy in a statement.

There had also been speculation in the Irish press that a referendum would be held this autumn to remove wording in the constitution referring to a woman's place as "in the home".

But it was postponed earlier in September, as politicians continue mulling how to reword it.

Speaking to AFP, a government spokesman said there were no plans for such a vote "at this time".

British PM hits back at EU over Brexit plan

Yahoo – AFP, Alice RITCHIE, Joe JACKSON, September 21, 2018

British Prime Minister Theresa May insisted her plan for a UK-EU free trade area
just for goods was "the only proposal on the table" (AFP Photo/Christof STACHE)

London (AFP) - Prime Minister Theresa May hit back Friday at the European Union after it roundly rejected her Brexit plan, saying its refusal to compromise was "not acceptable" and warning she was still prepared to walk away from the talks.

In a defiant statement from Downing Street, May blamed Brussels for the "impasse" just weeks ahead of a deadline to seal a deal -- and six months before Britain leaves the EU in March.

"Throughout this process, I have treated the EU with nothing but respect. The UK expects the same," the prime minister said.

May was speaking after returning from an EU summit in Salzburg Thursday, where her fellow leaders lined up to condemn her proposals for post-Brexit trading ties and the Irish border.

It was a setback characterised by the British media as a "humiliation", just days before a meeting of May's Conservative party, where eurosceptics are ramping up the pressure on their leader to be tough.

Standing at a podium with two British flags behind her, May said: "At this late stage in the negotiations, it is not acceptable to simply reject the other side's proposals without a detailed explanation and counter proposals.

"So we now need to hear from the EU what the real issues are and what their alternative is so that we can discuss them. Until we do, we cannot make progress."

She said she wanted an agreement, but "I have always said no deal is better than a bad deal".

The pound slipped against the euro after she spoke, reflecting fears that Britain could crash out of the EU with no agreement.

Tough talk

EU Council President Donald Tusk hit back late Friday at May's criticism of the EU's negotiating position: "The results of our analysis have been known to the British side in every detail for many weeks."

"The UK stance presented just before and during the Salzburg meeting was surprisingly tough and in fact uncompromising," he said in a statement.

Tusk added he remains "convinced that a compromise, good for all, is still possible" in Brexit negotiations and that he is "a close friend of the UK and a true admirer of PM May".

EU leaders had previously criticised May's proposal for a free trade area in goods after Brexit, but the tough tone at the Salzburg summit surprised many commentators, with some describing it as an "ambush".

Tusk and French President Emmanuel Macron said it would fragment the bloc's single market and "not work", and demanded she come back with an alternative by an EU summit in mid-October.

The bloc also raised the stakes by putting on ice a special summit planned for November to seal a deal, saying it would only happen if there is progress next month.

On Friday, May said the EU's plan for Britain to stay in the European Economic Area, effectively the single market without any say in the rules, would "make a mockery" of the 2016 vote for Brexit.

Meanwhile the alternative offer of a free trade agreement was contingent on a "backstop" keeping British-ruled Northern Ireland aligned with EU rules, which she warned risked the integrity of the UK.

This was "something no British prime minister would ever agree to" she said, adding: "If the EU believe I will, they are making a fundamental mistake."

She repeated that she would bring forward alternative proposals to the backstop, which would come into effect until a new trade deal is struck.

The Irish border is a key sticking point in negotiations (AFP Photo/Laurence 

'Rocky patch'

Reports suggested a tetchy meeting between May and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on the sidelines of the summit in Salzburg had helped harden views.

Varadkar said Friday the two sides were "entering into a rocky patch" but said he was determined to secure a deal.

EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said the two sides were "moving closer" but were like "hedgehogs who love each other".

"When two hedgehogs embrace, they have to watch out that they don't get scratched," he told the Austrian daily Die Presse.

Simon Usherwood, politics professor at the University of Surrey, said the EU's previous strategy of giving May some breathing room at summits had "collapsed".

Salzburg was "about irritation and bad tempers that the UK really hasn't got the measure of this properly", Usherwood added.

But he noted that May was "super-constrained by the party. She can't really be seen to be making concessions".

The House of Commons must approve any Brexit deal, and May's small majority would be undermined if her hardline Brexiteer lawmakers go through with a threat to oppose it.

Eurosceptic Tories welcomed May's tough tone on Friday but reiterated their own opposition to her trade plan, which they think will undermine Britain's independence.

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the prime minister's negotiating strategy had been a "disaster".

"The political games from both the EU and our government need to end because no deal is not an option," he said.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

EU raises pressure as UK promises new Brexit plans

Yahoo – AFP, Alice Ritchie and Jastinder Khera, September 20, 2018

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May hopes her Brexit plan could form the basis
of a political agreement on trade (AFP Photo/Christof STACHE)

Salzburg (Austria) (AFP) - EU leaders refused to give ground to Britain's Theresa May on Thursday, warning that her Brexit plan is unacceptable, even as she offered to come up with new proposals for the Irish border.

After this week offering to extend the deadline for a deal to a special summit in mid-November, European Union leaders warned after talks in Salzburg that it would not happen without more progress.

EU Council President Donald Tusk and French President Emmanuel Macron tore into May's plan for economic ties with the EU after Brexit, saying it simply "will not work" and was "not acceptable".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said there was "a lot of work to do" before the bloc could agree a political declaration on trade, which Britain wants as part of the final Brexit divorce.

They were speaking after meeting without May at a summit in the Alpine city to discuss their approach to the final stretch of negotiations ahead of Britain's withdrawal from the EU in March.

"We are today at the hour of truth," Macron said, saying the bloc's remaining 27 leaders expected "new British proposals in October."

London and Brussels had originally said they wanted an agreement by October's EU summit, but after months of stalled progress, Tusk suggested holding another one in November to clinch the agreement.

But he warned on Thursday that this would only work if progress can be made in the next four weeks.

"If we feel that we are able to finalise and formalise our deal in November, I will call this extraordinary meeting, but not as an emergency but as a punchline of effective negotiations before October and during our October EU council meeting," he said.

New Irish proposals

After receiving what she described as a "frank" briefing on the Brexit talks from Tusk, May gave a defiant press conference in which she insisted her plan was "the only proposal on the table".

Her plan for Britain to follow EU rules on trade in goods after Brexit, despite leaving the bloc's single market and customs union, has already sparked a backlash among eurosceptics at home.

She insisted it is the only way to provide the "frictionless" movement of goods on the frontier between British-ruled Northern Ireland and the Irish republic, which both sides have pledged to keep open.

Both sides had been aiming for an October EU summit as the deadline to reach
an agreement (AFP Photo/Gillian HANDYSIDE)

However, May signalled that Britain may be willing to compromise on another sticking point in the talks, on a fall-back plan to avoid frontier checks until it can be resolved through a wider trade deal.

Tusk repeated that the EU needs "tough, clear and precise guarantees" on Ireland.

May said she would "shortly" bring forward new proposals on the so-called backstop on how to carry out regulatory checks on goods going in and out of Northern Ireland.

The EU has proposed that Northern Ireland continue to follow many EU trade rules and regulations, which London has strongly rejected.

May says she cannot accept having customs checks within the United Kingdom. However, she refused to deny the new plans would involve regulatory checks in the same way.

New Brexit vote

Merkel and other leaders praised the progress that had been made in the negotiations, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said: "I'm still optimistic we can come to a joint position later this year."

Asked if the EU's criticism of her plans increased the prospect that the two sides would fail to reach a deal, May said: "We are continuing to work for a good deal.

"I think you will have heard both President Tusk and a number of the EU leaders saying that they are looking and hoping and working to that good deal, but there's a lot of work to be done."

May is under intense pressure at home from eurosceptic members of her Conservative party not to give away too much in the Brexit talks.

There are fears that whatever deal she secures with the EU, she will not be able to get it through the House of Commons, where she has only a slim majority.

Calls are now growing for a re-run of the 2016 Brexit vote -- calls endorsed in Salzburg by both the Maltese and Czech leaders.

However, May warned it would not happen under her leadership, saying: "The UK will leave on March 29 next year."

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Danske Bank CEO resigns over money laundering scandal

Yahoo – AFP, September 19, 2018

Danske's shares plunged as the bank's CEO resigned (AFP Photo/Jens
Noergaard Larsen)

Copenhagen (AFP) - The chief executive of Denmark's largest lender Danske Bank announced his resignation Wednesday as the institution said it was unable to determine how much money was laundered through its Estonian branch.

The announcements came days after the Wall Street Journal reported that Danish investigators were probing transactions of up to $150 billion "from companies with ties to Russia and the former Soviet Union" that transited Danske Bank's Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015.

In early August, the state prosecutor's office for serious economic and international crime said the bank was being investigated and prosecutors would decide whether to press charges.

"It is clear that Danske Bank has failed to live up to its responsibility in the case of possible money laundering in Estonia," chief executive Thomas Borgen said in a statement following the conclusion of the bank's internal probe.

"Even though the investigation conducted by the external law firm concludes that I have lived up to my legal obligations, I believe that it is best for all parties that I resign," Borgen said.

The bank said it was "not able to provide an accurate estimate of the amount of suspicious transactions made by non-resident customers in Estonia during the period."

Danske Bank said it would "donate the gross income from the customers in the period from 2007 to 2015, which is estimated at 1.5 billion kroner (201 million euros, $235 million), to an independent foundation which will be set up to support initiatives aimed at combating international financial crime, including money laundering, also in Denmark and Estonia."

That sum will be booked in the third quarter. As a result, the bank revised downwards its earnings outlook for 2018, forecasting a net profit of 16-17 billion kroner instead of the previously anticipated 18 to 20 billion.

Shares in Danske Bank fell by more 3.75 percent in early trading on the Copenhagen stock exchange, in a flat market.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Dutch MEP’s report leads to possible sanctions against Hungary

DutchNews, September 12, 2018

Photo: EC Audiovisual service

Dutch MEP Judith Sargentini was give a standing ovation in the European parliament on Wednesday after MEPs agreed to take disciplinary action against Hungary on the basis of a report she compiled. 

Parliament voted to take steps against Hungary over breaches of the EU’s core values, including attacks on the media, minorities and the judiciary. 

More than two-thirds of MEPs backed the censure motion – the first such vote against a member state under EU rules. If national leaders also support the motion, Hungary could face sanctions and be stripped of voting rights. 

Sargentini said later the decision sent out an important message about citizens’ rights. ‘It is up to the European leaders to take their responsibility and stop watching from the sidelines as the rule of law is destroyed in Hungary,’ she is quoted as saying by the BBC

‘This is unacceptable for a union that is built on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights.’ 

Prime minister Viktor Orban said Sargentini’s report was ‘abuse of power and included ‘serious factual misrepresentations’. 

Dutch anti-Islam campaigner and MP Geert Wilders described the vote on Twitter as ‘a bloody shame’. ‘Orban is a hero and deserves the Nobel Prize,’ he said.