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. …

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Malta PM to step down over slain reporter case: party sources

Yahoo – AFP, Matthew Xuereb, November 30, 2019

Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has faced mounting criticism over his
government's handling of the murder of Caruana Galizia (AFP Photo/Christof STACHE)

Valletta (AFP) - Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat will step down on January 18, party sources told AFP Saturday, following mounting criticism of his response to the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Party insiders said he would step down once those behind the killing had been charged and once his Labour Party has chosen a new leader.

"He always said that he will be leaving soon and he feels that now is the time to go," said one party source.

First however, he wanted to see that the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder was solved on under his watch, as he had promised, sources added.

"After the mastermind or masterminds are arraigned in court, he plans to announce that he will be stepping down and that there will be a leadership election on January 18," a party source told AFP.

The sources did not say when 45-year-old Muscat would announce his decision -- or whether it would be via a televised announcement -- but they stressed that he would not stay beyond January 18.

The news came amid mounting pressure from Caruana Galizia's family and protesters on the streets, who have cried foul over his handling of the affair.

Mounting pressure

The escalating murder investigation has rocked the tiny Mediterranean island and reached the highest rungs of the country's politics, with two ministers and Muscat's chief of staff Keith Schembri stepping down from their posts this week.

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of the capital Valletta Friday evening 
after Muscat refused to give immunity to the main suspect in the 2017 murder to 
disclose what he knows about the case (AFP Photo/STRINGER)

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of the capital Valletta Friday evening after Muscat refused to give immunity to the main suspect in the 2017 murder, tycoon Yorgen Fenech, to disclose what he knows about the case.

It was the sixth such demonstration in two weeks.

Fenech has identified Schembri as the mastermind behind Caruana Galizia's 2017 car bomb killing, according to sources.

Schembri was arrested on Tuesday, but his release on Thursday sparked accusations of a cover-up.

Muscat, who has vowed to resign if links were found between himself and the murder, said Friday he would remain in power, telling reporters he wanted "this case to be closed under my watch".

But Caruana Galizia's family, who have accused the prime minister of protecting his long-time chief of staff have called for him to go.

"We share Malta's shock and anger at the release of Keith Schembri," the family said in a statement.

"At least two witnesses and multiple pieces of physical evidence implicate Schembri in the assassination of our wife and mother."

They accused Muscat of playing "judge, jury, and executioner in an assassination investigation that so far implicates three of his closest colleagues".

'Disgraceful'

Muscat said Friday he had recused himself from the decision on whether to grant immunity to Fenech.

Protesters reacted angrily after Yorgen Fenech, a tycoon whose business interests
span the energy and tourism sectors, was released (AFP Photo/STRINGER)

The prime minister later said he had reported Fenech to the police for attempted blackmail, saying the mogul had threatened to implicate him in the affair if he was not given a pardon.

Fenech, a tycoon whose business interests span the energy and tourism sectors, was arrested on his yacht last week after an alleged middleman in the murder, taxi driver Melvin Theuma, was offered a pardon to identify those involved.

That arrest was followed swiftly by the resignation of Schembri and tourism minister Konrad Mizzi, while economy minister Chris Cardona said he was "suspending himself".

Caruana Galizia, a popular journalist and blogger described as a "one-woman WikiLeaks", exposed cronyism and sleaze within the country's political and business elite.

Before she was killed, she had alleged that Schembri and Mizzi had been involved in corruption. She had named Cardona in a separate case.

Leaked emails revealed in court appeared to show both Schembri and Mizzi stood to receive payments from a Dubai company called 17 Black, owned by Fenech.

The Caruana Galizia family said Schembri and Fenech have the same doctor, who reportedly served as an intermediary, passing secret notes between them.

'Fear for my life'

A Maltese court is expected to rule Monday on a request by Fenech for the chief investigator in the case, Keith Arnaud, to be removed, amid allegations he also had close ties to Schembri and the prime minister.

After his release on bail Fenech told journalists he feared for his life.

"This is happening in the EU, right now. Where is the voice of the European Commission or other EU leaders?" Robert Barrington, former head of Transparency International in the UK, said on Twitter.

The European Parliament is planning to send a mission to Malta, a parliament source told AFP.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

European Space Agency agrees record budget to meet new challenges

Yahoo – AFP, November 28, 2019

European Space Agency members agreed a record five-year budget of 14.4 billion
euros to face up to growing challenges and ensure Europe has a fully active space
presence (AFP Photo/jody amiet)

Seville (Spain) (AFP) - European Space Agency (ESA) members agreed Thursday a record 14.4 billion euros budget, promising to maintain Europe's place at the top table as the United States and China press ahead and industry disruptors such as Elon Musk's Space X present new challenges.

The budget is split, with 12.5 billion euros ($14.1 billion) committed for three years and the full 14.4 billion euros over five, representing an increase of some four billion euros on the previous spending plan.

"Its a surprise, even more than I proposed... this is good," ESA head Jan Woerner told a nwes conference after ministers from the 22 member states met in Seville for two days.

Woerner said the funding pledges meant that ESA could run a full series of programmes plus additional scientific work, citing moves to increase earth observation as part of efforts, among other things, to monitor climate change.

"It is a giant step forward for Europe, fifty years after the moon landing," said Jean-Yves Le Gall, head of the French space agency.

"We have beaten all records in terms of financial contributions," Le Gall added.

Germany made the largest contribution to the budget, at some 3.3 billion euros, followed by France on 2.7 billion euros, Italy 2.3 billion euros and Britain with 1.7 billion euros.

The ESA is not a European Union body and so Britain's position as a member remains unchanged despite Brexit.

To reinforce that message, the UK Space Agency issued a statement recalling that Britain was one of ESA's founding members, and detailing its commitments to a series of programmes including earth observation, 5G telecoms and monitoring space debris.

Moon, Mars, science

Among the projects ESA highlighted were the first gravitational wave detector in space, LISA, and the black hole mission Athena, designed to "enable fundamental advances in our understanding of the basic physics of the Universe."

ESA reiterated its commitment to the International Space Station until 2030 and its participation in the Gateway project, the first space station planned to orbit the Moon.

"European astronauts will fly to the Moon for the first time," it said in a closing statement, and ESA will support a "ground-breaking Mars Sample Return mission in cooperation with NASA."

In telecommunications, ESA aims to help develop flexible satellite systems integrated with 5G networks, "as well as next-generation optical technology for a fibre-like 'network in the sky,', marking a transformation in the satellite communication industry."

Ministers also endorsed the transition to the next generation of launchers, the massive Ariane 6 and the smaller Vega-C, "and have given the green light to Space Rider, ESA’s new reusable spaceship."

Going into the meeting, ESA officials had said the agency was hoping to get increased funding to ensure Europe does not lag behind.

Europe has established itself as a major space player, with the Ariane 6 launcher the latest off the production line and the Galileo GPS system operational.

Critics say however that it has been slow to develop some key innovations -- notably reusable rockets pioneered by the likes of Musk.

This "New Space" evolution has seen Musk develop reusable launchers for dramatically smaller yet more powerful satellites, many designed to create and run the "connected world" of driverless cars and countless other aspects of everyday life on earth.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Thousands in Brussels protest violence against women

Yahoo – AFP, 24 November 2019

Protesters placed red shoes on the ground as a symbol of the victims of
violence against women

Around 10,000 people took part in a protest march in Brussels on Sunday calling for an end to violence against women, police said, a day after similar demonstrations in France and Italy.

The protesters in the Belgian capital paid homage to women killed by partners or ex-partners, then marched to the Palace of Justice where they placed pairs of red shoes as a symbol of femicide victims.

"Belgium is a very complex country with many levels of power; federal, regional and communal and all these levels of powers do little things to tackle violence against women. But the main thing we are demanding is a national plan," said Celine Caudron, one of the organisers of the protest.

"It is important to punish the perpetrators but what we want most is that the violence doesn't happen in the first place."

The marchers held up placards bearing messages such as "That's enough" and "Not one more life".

Also prominent were the names of the 22 women killed by men in Belgium this year.

Outside the law courts building the demonstrators set off alarms and made noise as a "protest against the silence" which surrounds the deaths of battered women.

According to Mirabal, a Belgium umbrella group of organisation opposing violence against women, there have been 98 femicides in the country since 2017, a figure "which, in proportion to the population, is well above the average for European nations".

Tens of thousands marched in France and Italy on Saturday calling for an end to violence against women.

The marches came ahead of the UN-recognised International day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Monday.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Poland govt and opposition both claim win over EU court ruling

Yahoo – AFP, Michel VIATTEAU and Stanislaw WASZAK, November 19, 2019

A pro-EU rally earlier this year in Warsaw, Poland, where the right-wing government
has introduced controversial judicial reforms (AFP Photo/Janek SKARZYNSKI)

Warsaw (AFP) - Poland's right-wing government and the centrist opposition both claimed victory Tuesday over a ruling by Europe's top court on a controversial judicial reform that critics insist undermines the independence of the country's judges.

The European Union's Court of Justice (CJEU) ruled that Polish judges must decide on the validity of a disciplinary chamber imposed on them by the government, in a possible setback for Warsaw's contentious reforms.

As part of an alleged effort to assert greater political control, Poland's right-wing populist Law and Justice (PiS) government has created a disciplinary panel for judges that opponents allege lacks independence.

The CJEU on Tuesday stopped short of declaring the new body illegal, but asserted "the primacy of EU law" and said courts must not refer cases to the panel without ensuring it is "independent and impartial".

After taking office in late 2015, Poland's right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party introduced sweeping reforms it insists are needed to tackle corruption.

It says it wants to overhaul a judicial system still haunted by the communist era.

But Brussels has accused the government of threatening to undermine principles like the rule of law and judicial independence that it signed onto in 2004 when Warsaw joined the EU.

In late 2017, the EU launched unprecedented proceedings against Poland over "systemic threats" posed by the reforms to the rule of law that could see its EU voting rights suspended.

'Legal chaos'

Supreme Court President Malgorzata Gersdorf immediately called on Poland's government and parliament to eliminate the legal problems identified by the CJEU in order to "avoid a situation of uncertainty, even legal chaos".

She said the PiS-dominated parliament had passed the reforms "at night, quickly, without debate, without respect for the democratic system of legislation".

They have resulted in Poland's "judicial system being subject to political power and pilloried by international organisations", she said.

Supreme Court spokesman Justice Michal Laskowski said that until the laws in question are amended, both the current disciplinary procedures and the appointment of judges recommended by the PiS-created KRS National Judicial Council should be suspended.

Polish judges opposed to the reforms also hailed the verdict even though it did not go as far as some would have wished.

Krystian Markiewicz, president of the Iustitia judges' organisation, urged members of the KRS, whose independence is disputed in judicial circles, to "resign", and for the approximately 300 judges appointed on its recommendation to "refrain from making rulings" until the Supreme Court decision.

'Political questions'

For his part, Polish President Andrzej Duda said the ruling demonstrated the CJEU's refusal to directly address the questions that three Supreme Court judges raised in their complaint against the PiS reforms.

"So these questions are political and they should find an internal solution inside our country, and the (European) court will not interfere in matters of Polish domestic policy, especially with regard to the functioning of the judicial system," Duda told reporters in Warsaw.

PiS Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, the principal author of the reforms, said the CJEU ruling met his expectations.

He said it "means that the CJEU is not competent to judge matters related to the organisation of the Polish judicial system and has sent the ball back to Poland's court."

On November 5, the ECJ ruled that Poland was wrong to lower the retirement age of Supreme Court judges, a reform that critics said undermined the independence of the judiciary.

In Tuesday's ruling, the court said that when complaints over early retirement are appealed, Polish courts can only defer the decision to the disciplinary chamber if they judge the panel to be independent.

"The principle of the primacy of EU law thus requires it to disapply the provision of national law which reserves exclusive jurisdiction to the Disciplinary Chamber to hear and rule on cases of the retiring of judges," it said.

Retirement cases must "be examined by a court which meets the requirements of independence and impartiality and which, were it not for that provision, would have jurisdiction in the relevant field".

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Czech PM regrets communist past on Velvet Revolution anniversary

AFP – Bangkok Post, 17 NOV 2019

Babis is facing calls to resign over allegations of graft and that he was once
a communist secret agent. He denies the claims

PRAGUE - Billionaire Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis expressed remorse over his communist past on Sunday at a ceremony in Prague celebrating 30 years since the Velvet Revolution toppled communism in then-Czechoslovakia.

The populist mogul, who was a Czechoslovak Communist Party member in the 1980s, paid tribute to the 1989 peaceful uprising that ushered in democratic reform to the former Soviet satellite.

His comments come after a quarter-million Czechs flooded central Prague on Saturday, in demonstrations to mark the anniversary that saw protesters demand Babis resign over allegations of graft and that he was once a communist secret agent. He has strongly denied the accusations.

"As you surely know, I was a Communist Party member. I'm not proud of that," Babis said at a ceremony attended by the prime ministers of Hungary, Poland and Slovakia and by German parliament speaker Wolfgang Schaeuble.

He said he "wasn't as brave" as Vaclav Havel, the dissident playwright elected the president of Czechoslovakia in 1989, and thanked those behind the Velvet Revolution protests.

"I'm standing here today as the prime minister elected in a free, democratic election, and therefore I want to, at least now, express my gratitude and humility," said Babis, whose minority government now relies on the tacit support of Communist party lawmakers to survive in parliament.

Graft allegations

Babis took office after his ANO (YES) party won the 2017 general election, campaigning on an anti-corruption ticket in the EU and NATO country of 10.6 million.

The fifth wealthiest Czech according to Forbes, Babis himself now faces a string of graft allegations and a conflict-of-interest probe by the European Commission centred on Agrofert, his sprawling farming, media and chemicals holding.

He is also tagged as an agent in secret police files from the 1980s. He has strongly denied knowingly cooperating.

ANO still tops opinion polls with around 30 percent support, but the scandals have stoked a public outcry against Babis.

On Saturday the CTK Czech news agency quoted Interior Minister Jan Hamacek as saying some 250,000 people had rallied at Letna park -- the site of some of the biggest 1989 rallies -- matching a similar protests against Babis in June.

Toppling Soviet rule

Thirty years ago the Velvet Revolution saw unprecedented demonstrations and a general strike end four decades of Soviet-imposed totalitarianism in the former Czechoslovakia, just weeks after the Berlin Wall crumbled.

On November 17, 1989, Communist police brutally crushed a students' march, sparking a student strike and the creation of an opposition movement which then negotiated the Communist Party's departure from politics.

In late December 1989, Havel, then the opposition leader, was elected president of Czechoslovakia, which went on to peacefully split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.

The neighbours joined NATO and the EU, with Bratislava also joining the eurozone in 2009.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Britain's Prince Andrew has 'no recollection' of Epstein sex accuser

Yahoo – AFP, Joe JACKSON, November 16, 2019

Prince Andrew, the eighth in line to the throne, has come in for heavy criticism
over his links to Epstein who died in custody in the US in August (AFP Photo/
Lillian SUWANRUMPHA)

London (AFP) - Britain's Prince Andrew has said he does not remember meeting Virginia Roberts, one of disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein's alleged victims, who claims she was forced to have sex with the royal.

But Andrew admitted in an interview with the BBC due to be broadcast on Saturday that his decision to remain friends with Epstein after he was convicted of soliciting prostitution from a minor was a serious error of judgement.

"I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever," Andrew told BBC interviewer Emily Maitlis, according to extracts from "Prince Andrew and the Epstein Scandal" released ahead of the programme airing.

Andrew, 59, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II and eighth in line to the throne, has been heavily criticised over his links to multimillionaire Epstein, who died in custody in the US in August.

A photograph apparently showing Andrew with his arm around then 17-year-old Roberts, now Giuffre, and with Epstein's friend Ghislaine Maxwell standing in the background, has been widely published. Supporters of Andrew, however, have disputed its authenticity.

Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to procuring a girl under the age of 18 for prostitution and served 13 months in a US prison before being released on probation.

He was arrested in July on new federal charges that he trafficked girls as young as 14 for sex, but was found dead in New York's high-security Metropolitan Correctional Center on August 10 as he awaited trial.

A coroner ruled that he committed suicide by hanging.

'The wrong thing to do'

The BBC interview is the first time Andrew has answered questions on his relationship with Epstein. In 2015, he used a public appearance at Davos in Switzerland to deny the claims.

Pressed over the fact that he remained friends with the disgraced financier after his conviction, even staying at his Manhattan townhouse, Andrew said he regretted the decision.

"It was a convenient place to stay," the prince added.

"I have gone through this in my mind so many times. At the end of the day, with the benefit of all the hindsight one can have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do.

"But at the time I felt it was the honourable and right thing to do."

Andrew went on to concede it was "not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family".

"We try and uphold the highest standards and practices and I let the side down, simple as that," he told Maitlis of the BBC's Newsnight programme.

A coroner ruled that Epstein committed suicide by hanging
(AFP Photo)

'Sex slave' claim

Over the years Epstein, 66, hobnobbed with politicians, socialites and celebrities, including Donald Trump before he was president, and Bill Clinton.

After his death Giuffre, who says she was abused by Epstein for years and farmed out to his wealthy friends including Andrew, said "the reckoning must not end, it must continue".

She has alleged she was forced to have sex with the prince three times, an allegation he has strongly denied.

"He knows exactly what he's done and I hope he comes clean about it," she told reporters after a US hearing on August 27 at which other alleged Epstein victims also described how they were abused.

Giuffre previously testified that she was forced to have sex with Andrew in London in 2001 when she was 17. She said she had sex with him again in New York and on Epstein's private island in the Caribbean.

But the allegations were struck from the record by a US judge in 2015, who said the "lurid details" were not needed to decide a civil case concerning Epstein.

She has filed a lawsuit in the US accusing Epstein of using her as a "sex slave".

'Real gentleman'

Buckingham Palace has strenuously denied the claims, calling them "false and without foundation".

In August, it issued a statement after a video emerged purporting to show Andrew at Epstein's New York home in 2010 waving goodbye to a woman leaving the property.

"His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behaviour is abhorrent," the statement said.

Sarah Ferguson, Andrew's ex-wife and the mother of his two daughters, also defended the embattled royal ahead of Saturday's interview broadcast.

"Andrew is a true (and) real gentleman and is stoically steadfast to not only his duty but also his kindness," she wrote on Twitter.


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

EU changes title for migration commissioner after outcry

Yahoo – AFP, Marc BURLEIGH, November 13, 2019

EU Commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen had dug in over the original title
'Protecting our European Way of Life' before finally ceding (AFP Photo/Tobias SCHWARZ)

Brussels (AFP) - The incoming European Commission chief has changed the title of her migration commissioner from "Protecting our European Way of Life" following criticism it had far-right connotations, an EU official said Wednesday.

Ursula von der Leyen agreed to modify the title to "Promoting the European Way of Life" for the commissioner, her spokesman told AFP. Her commission plans to take charge from next month.

The original name given to the portfolio had brewed up a storm, especially among left-wing MEPs who noted a similarity to rhetoric employed by anti-immigration politicians.

Outgoing Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said in September he believed the title would end up being changed, adding: "I don't like the idea that the European way of life is opposed to migration."

But his successor von der Leyen dug in for a long time, arguing that the title was grounded in the language of tolerance enshrined in the EU treaty.

Greece's Margaritis Schinas, who is set to take on the role, has avoided using the title though he has defended von der Leyen's position.

Delayed changeover

Von der Leyen's hopes of a smooth transition have taken a blow after MEPs blocked three picks for her team, deeming them unsuitable to become commissioners.

That has pushed back the date she hoped her Commission would take over, from November 1 to December 1 at the earliest.

Brexit turmoil and elections in Britain, still an EU member until at least the end of January, have compounded the commission conundrum, with London dodging her demands for the UK to also nominate a commissioner.

Von der Leyen still needs MEPs to confirm her replacement picks for commissioners, especially France's Thierry Breton, a multi-millionaire former minister who barely scraped through the parliament's legal affairs grilling.

The leftist Socialists and Democrats grouping in the European Parliament, which was among the most vocal against the "Protecting our European Way of Life" title, hailed the belated change.

Its leader, Iratxe Garcia, portrayed the modification as von der Leyen bending to pressure from her group.

"We all agree that the European way of life is an achievement we must preserve, but it doesn't have to be defended, rather promoted," Garcia said in a statement.

She added that von der Leyen had also agreed to change other job titles, with the jobs portfolio becoming "jobs and social rights" and the word fisheries being added to the title carried by the commissioner for environment and oceans.

A source in the left-wing bloc of MEPs told AFP the changes "take a bit of pressure off" the hearings for the commissioner candidates.

A spokesman for von der Leyen's commission, Eric Mamer, told reporters at a briefing that he was not yet fully informed on the change of titles for the migration portfolio, but he said it "puts a nuance that is probably a little more positive" than the original one.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

EU court says Israel settlement goods must be labelled

Yahoo – AFP, Damon WAKE, November 12, 2019

France published guidelines in 2016 saying products from Israeli settlements in the
West Bank and Golan Heights must carry labels making their precise origin
clear (AFP Photo/HAZEM BADER)

Brussels (AFP) - The EU's top court ruled Tuesday that food products from occupied Palestinian territories must be labelled as such, drawing an angry response from Israel which slammed a "double standard".

The European Court of Justice said that under EU rules on food labelling, it must be clear where products are from -- particularly if they come from Israeli settlements.

That way, it said, consumers can make choices based on "ethical considerations and considerations relating to the observance of international law".

The ECJ ruling effectively backs the EU guidelines issued in 2015 on labelling goods from Israeli-occupied areas, which also prompted a furious response. At the time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu compared them to the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses.

The Luxembourg-based court ruled after France's top tribunal asked for clarification of rules on labelling goods from the West Bank, including annexed east Jerusalem, which the international community considers occupied Palestinian land, as well as the Golan Heights, which Israel took from Syria in 1967.

"Foodstuffs originating in the territories occupied by the State of Israel must bear the indication of their territory of origin, accompanied, where those foodstuffs come from an Israeli settlement within that territory, by the indication of that provenance," said an ECJ statement announcing its decision.

France published guidelines in 2016 saying products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Golan Heights must carry labels making their precise origin clear.

This was challenged by the Organisation Juive Europeene (European Jewish Organisation) and Psagot, a company that runs vineyards in occupied territories.

Israel's foreign ministry issued a statement Tuesday saying it "strongly rejects" the ruling.

"The ruling's entire objective is to single out and apply a double standard against Israel," it said.

"There are over 200 ongoing territorial disputes across the world, yet the (European Court of Justice) has not rendered a single ruling related to the labelling of products originating from these territories."

But a spokeswoman for the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, insisted the ruling "does not concern products from Israel itself". It would not affect the privileged trading status the Jewish state has under its association agreement with the bloc, she added.

"The EU does not support any form of boycott or sanctions against Israel and the EU rejects attempts by the campaigns of the so-called Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement to isolate Israel," spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said.

Elsewhere, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Saeb Erekat, welcomed the ruling but urged the EU to go further.

"Our demand is not only for the correct labelling reflecting the certificate of origin of products coming from illegal colonial settlements, but for the banning of those products from international markets."

'Ethical considerations'

The court said that labelling products as from the "State of Israel" when in fact they come from "territories... occupied by that State" could mislead consumers.

The court added that EU regulations on labelling the origin of goods were intended to allow consumers to make "informed choices" -- not just on health, economic, environmental and social grounds, "but also to ethical considerations and considerations relating to the observance of international law".

"Such considerations could influence consumers' purchasing decisions," the ECJ said.

On the issue of Israeli settlements, the court said "they give concrete expression to a policy of population transfer conducted by that State outside its territory, in violation of the rules of general international humanitarian law".

Consumers might be misled if it was not made clear that products originated in these settlements, the court added.

But Francois-Henri Briard, the lawyer for Psagot, condemned the ruling, saying it catered to "political prejudices".

"If such labelling is applied to Israeli products, surely it will also need to be applied to scores of other countries around the world who could be argued to be in violation of international law," he said in a statement.

Francois Kalifat of the CRIF umbrella association of French Jewish groups called the ruling "discriminatory and intolerable".

He said it would strengthen the BDS movement, which calls for a broad-ranging boycott of Israel over its treatment of the Palestinians.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Dublin warns UK PM 'no amnesty' for soldiers in N.Ireland

Yahoo – AFP, Joe STENSON,  November 11, 2019

A mural commemorates the victims of the 1972 "Bloody Sunday" killings in the
Bogside area of Londonderry (Derry), Northern Ireland (AFP Photo/PAUL FAITH)

Dublin (AFP) - The Irish government said on Monday there must be "no amnesty" for British soldiers who committed crimes in Northern Ireland, after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson made historic prosecutions an election campaign issue.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said it was "very concerning" that the British Conservative leader had pledged to end moves to bring criminal charges against army veterans who had served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

Campaigning for the December 12 election, Johnson pledged Monday, timed for the anniversary of the World War I armistice, to amend human rights law to shield servicemen from prosecutions for events before 2000.

The pledge stokes the divisive debate over prosecutions for British troops involved in killings during three decades of sectarian bloodshed in Northern Ireland.

More than 3,000 people were killed before the conflict wound down with the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, signed with the accord of London and Dublin.

"This is very concerning. Governments and parties have agreed an approach on legacy and reconciliation in Northern Ireland," Coveney said in a statement.

"There is no statute of limitations, no amnesty, for anyone who committed crimes in NI. The law must apply to all, without exception, to achieve reconciliation."

British troops were despatched to the province to buttress law enforcement in 1969, as Catholics opposed to British rule battled in the streets with Protestants who wanted to remain part of the UK.

Initially welcomed, their deployment transformed into the longest British Army operation in history and was marred by a number of high profile killings.

According to the Ulster University's Sutton Index of deaths, the British Army was responsible for around 300 killings over the course of operations, which officially ended in 2007.

But efforts to bring soldiers to justice have been fraught with acrimony and legal difficulty, and the issue continues to split British and Northern Irish society.

Some feel the prosecution of soldiers equates them with state-designated terrorists, such as those acting for the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Others feel that an amnesty implies wrongdoing among all veterans, most of whom who served honourably.

Johnson's Conservatives have promised to protect ex-soldiers from "vexatious claims", by legislating to ensure laws intended for peace time do not apply to service personnel on military operations.

In his message to the armed forces, Johnson said: "We salute you and we will always support you."

At present there are a number of inquiries and criminal cases under way dealing with British Army killings.

Most prominently, a Parachute Regiment serviceman is currently facing murder charges for the killing of two civilians during "Bloody Sunday".

On January 30, 1972, soldiers opened fire on protesters in a majority Catholic area of the city of Londonderry, killing 14.

The case against the anonymous "Soldier F" -- who also faces four attempted murder charges -- reached court for the first time in September.

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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Balkans leaders discuss common market after EU snub

Yahoo – AFP, November 10, 2019

The three Balkans leaders want to ease trade and travel between their
countries, and others in the region (AFP Photo/Robert ATANASOVSKI)

Ohrid (Republic of North Macedonia) (AFP) - Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia discussed setting up a common market at a summit Sunday, weeks after the European Union snubbed bids by Skopje and Tirana to open membership talks.

The leaders of the three countries met at Lake Ohrid, in North Macedonia, after the EU last month refused to start membership talks with Albania and North Macedonia.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, his North Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who launched the common market initiative in October, attended Sunday's meeting.

"We should not be afraid of our own shadow and to do something for ourselves," Vucic told reporters.

"We did not invent anything better for the past 30 years in the Balkans."

"We all want to be part of EU," but "it depends on them," he added. Serbia opened membership talks with the bloc in 2014.

This new initiative is aimed at establishing the free movement of goods and people by 2021 in the divided region.

Bosnia, Montenegro and Kosovo have also been invited to take part in the project.

But while Bosnia and Montenegro sent representatives to Sunday's meeting, Kosovo was absent.

"The vision of Kosovo is its accession to EU and NATO" which cannot be replaced by "any other regional initiative", Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said in a message posted on social media.

"This initiative makes no sense as long as Serbia and Bosnia do not recognise Kosovo independence."

Serbia's former ethnic Albanian-majority province proclaimed independence in 2008, but Belgrade has still not recognised it. Nor does Bosnia, due to the opposition of Bosnian Serbs.

The issue remains extremely sensitive in the Balkans region, which was torn apart in a series of wars in the 1990s that accompanied the collapse of Yugoslavia.

Rama voiced regret over Pristina's stance over the initiative.

"It is also in the interest of Kosovo, its citizens and market that the border between Kosovo and Serbia be abolished" despite the unresolved dispute between the two countries, he said.

The three leaders present agreed on introducing a common work permit and allowing travel between the three countries with an ID card only.

They also discussed setting up a "mini Schengen" visa-free zone to facilitate free movement of foreign visitors within the three countries.

And they agreed to ease customs procedures and border controls to accelerate the passage of trucks.

Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia have a combined population of nearly 20 million people.

France led last month's opposition to the EU membership talks for Albania and North Macedonia, although Denmark and the Netherlands also expressed reservations.

Albania will host the next meeting of the Balkans initiative on December 21.