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Politics in Germany in the Post-Merkel Era

The Story: Elections took place in Germany on September 26. Angela Merkel, the incumbent Chancellor, is retiring, so this election was especially important as the...

Raw Politics in full: Salvini flop, ‘Great Debate’ results and violence in Libya

Aa Aa Populist flop? Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini has launched his movement to unite populist leaders across Europe. The kick-starting event held in Milan was noticeably missing some of the biggest faces of Europe’s far-right, including Marine Le Pen of France’s National Rally and Hungarian President Viktor Orban of the Fidesz party. Last-minute sell Prime Minister Theresa May will travel to Berlin and Paris on Tuesday for talks with European leaders Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron ahead of the Wednesday’s EU summit. UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told his counterparts in Luxembourg that the UK still hasn’t given up on finding a Brexit solution. The UK is set to exit the EU on April 12 unless another extension is given this week. 'Great Debate' The results of French President Emmanuel Macron’s “Great Debate” were released on Monday after 10,000 hours of town hall discussions and 1.5 million online contributions were gathered in response to the yellow-vest protests. The French government had set out on a nationwide listening tour earlier this year, with hopes of quelling protests that evolved into anger over the cost of living and wages, which have rattled the country for months. Libya lawlessness Civil unrest in Libya escalated over the weekend as forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar — a former general under then-leader Muammar Gaddafi — continued a violent push to take the nation’s capital city of Tripoli. The UN-backed government led by Fayez al-Sarra has reported that 25 people were killed and 80 others injured in the fighting.

May to ask Merkel and Macron for short article 50 extension

The PM set out a clear ask in terms of an extension and it is important that she set out the rationale for that.” The prime minister has requested an extension to article 50 until 30 June but this has previously been turned down and some EU leaders have suggested they would rather grant a longer extension of about a year, potentially with a break clause if the UK ratifies a deal during that time. If no extension is granted, the UK is set to leave the EU without a deal on Friday. During the weekend, Conservative ministers talked up the chances of a compromise with Labour, with Downing Street making clear the government could be open to making changes to the political declaration in order to sign up to a form of customs union. And that’s what these conversations are about.” However, the shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, said Labour was waiting for the government to move on issues such as the customs union. “There aren’t any scheduled talks yet but I’ve no doubt things will develop today,” he told ITV News. “At the moment we haven’t seen a change of position from the government. “All they’ve done so far is to indicate various things, but not to change the political declaration. Where next for Brexit? MPs vote to establish favoured option - May said she would back this Yes 10 April EU considers UK proposal, including extension, at summit EU disagrees EU agrees No deal on 12 April UK revokes article 50 Can Commons pass deal before 22 May? “To agree to be non-voting members of the EU, under the surrender proposed by Jeremy Corbyn – it cannot, must not and will not happen.” Brexit may destroy parties.

Merkel throws May a lifeline over UK’s Brexit departure date

In the face of moves from elsewhere in the EU to insist on a longer delay to Britain’s departure, Merkel is keeping all options on the table ahead of this week’s EU summit and is said to be willing to back 30 June as an exit date. The thinking in Berlin will be a boon to the prime minister, who on Friday proposed the 30 June extension, with the promise that the UK would hold European elections if it had not ratified the withdrawal agreement by 22 May. Tusk, as president of the European council, suggested on the same day that his “flextension” would put the onus on the British government to decide its own fate while freeing Brussels from repeatedly revisiting the issue. But Merkel is said to understand May’s anxiety that this idea would lift pressure on the Commons to ratify the withdrawal agreement. Diplomats from other EU capitals have suggested that, given the divisions between leaders, a compromise position could be a summer-end date, with a commitment to hold European elections. During a meeting of EU27 ambassadors, the French ambassador suggested that, without a clear plan on how an extension would be used by the time a crunch summit of leaders is held on Wednesday this week, the bloc might offer only a two-week extension beyond 12 April to prepare the markets ahead of a no-deal exit. “I understand EU colleagues are somewhat fed up that the process has taken as long as it has. We’re also fed up that we haven’t been able to complete this earlier, but I’m very confident we will get it done.” “I am optimistic that we will reach some form of agreement with Labour later,” Hammond had added of the ongoing cross-party talks. They were continuing last night, we are expected to exchange more text with the Labour party today.” Asked whether a second referendum could be agreed with Labour, the chancellor said the government had approached the talks without any “red lines”. I am not sure that is where my government is at this stage.” The German ambassador is said to have counselled the other EU diplomats not to make a “hasty decision that we rue afterwards”, and to have pointed to the ongoing talks with Labour as a hopeful sign.

May-Corbyn Brexit talks ‘will fail’ if he insists on referendum

Talks between Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May will break down if Labour insists on putting any compromise deal to a confirmatory referendum, government sources have said. As part of the compromise, legislation will be proposed to lock in the bulk of the proposals on workers’ rights and environmental standards. A swashbuckling global Britain free to do its own trade deals? Senior cabinet ministers appear to be willing to accept a customs union as the price of a deal. It is seen as a red line that the government is not asked as part of the deal to tell its MPs to back a confirmatory referendum in the Commons. On the other hand, a deal in the next few days will preclude the need for Britain to hold European parliamentary elections – something both parties wish to avoid due to the unpredictable results, and charges of betrayal over Brexit. The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, is determined to prevent the economic damage of a no-deal Brexit. Watson insisted Labour had entered the talks with an open mind. But speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: “We went into the discussions with the idea that there would be a confirmatory ballot. We are genuinely in good faith trying to find a solution to this.” He also confirmed Labour had begun selecting candidates for European elections in May, which the UK would have to hold if an extension was agreed.

Raw Politics in full: Brexit pressure from EU and far-right unity

Aa Aa Brexit prerequisite European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's request for a short Brexit delay on Wednesday. May had asked the European Union for an additional extension for her Brexit plan on Monday night. With the UK scheduled to leave the European Union on April 12, this dismissal from Juncker places additional pressure on the UK prime minister. 'Unwavering ally' Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met in Dublin on Thursday to discuss the potential of a no-deal Brexit. The two were scheduled to discuss the latest developments between the UK and the European Union. Varadkar has described Merkel as "a strong and unwavering ally of Ireland", and said he looks forward to continuing to maintain a strong relationship with the EU member in light of Brexit pressure. Uniting the right Marine Le Pen, leader of France's far-right Rassemblement National party, is attempting to establish an alliance between nationalist parties in the European Parliament. In an interview with Euronews, Le Pen said she hopes that nationalist parties will work to protect their nations, stop unfair international competition and eliminate free trade agreements. Election projects from the EU have predicted that far-right, populist parties will gain seats in May's European elections.

Germany Demands Apology After Trump Claims Father Was Born There

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—German Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded that Donald Trump issue a “complete and sincere apology” to the German people, after Trump claimed incorrectly, on Tuesday, that his father was born in Germany. “Of the many insulting things that Donald Trump could say to the German people, alleging that his father was born here is by far the most hurtful,” she said. “He must take it back at once.” Merkel said that Germany would consider breaking off diplomatic relations with the U.S. immediately if Trump did not acknowledge “that his father was born somewhere else.” Despite widely available evidence that Trump’s father, Fred Trump, was born in the Bronx, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, stuck by Trump’s story on Tuesday afternoon. “The President is proud that his father was born in a great foreign country like Germany, and not in a bad foreign country like Puerto Rico,” she said.

EU leaders urged to refuse May appeal for further Brexit delay

A key ally of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has called for EU leaders to reject Theresa May’s appeal for a further short delay to Brexit, in a sign of the dangers of the prime minister’s strategy. Theresa May calls for talks with Jeremy Corbyn in attempt to save Brexit Read more The EU’s heads of state and government had agreed at their last summit that the UK could stay in the bloc until 22 May but only on the basis that the withdrawal agreement was ratified by 29 March. An unconditional extension to that date was firmly rejected during the leaders’ discussions in Brussels due to the danger that it risked a full-blown crisis before the elections, offering up ammunition for Eurosceptic parties. EU should insist on long extension with participation in EU elections.” The EU could not impose a long extension on the British government as any decision would need to be endorsed by all 28 member states. It could, however, present a long extension on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, leaving the British government with the option of leaving on 12 April without a deal – or signing up to a delay to Brexit of at least nine months and, more likely, a year or longer. Denmark’s prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, tweeted: “Since we could agree to postpone Brexit to right before EP [European parliament] election given the approval of May’s agreement, we should also be patient if there suddenly is a cross-party way forward in UK. There is a risk by being ambiguous you create a crisis on the UK side.” EU diplomats were quick to point to the legal text in last month’s decision on extension agreed by May and the 27 leaders. It states that the UK would be “under obligation” to hold elections if still a member state on 23 May. One EU diplomat said the prime minister had created “a darkest hour moment” that could help her agree the withdrawal agreement and a revised political declaration by 22 May. But it could also end in no deal, the diplomat said.

Why Some Politicians Think Russia Is Behind Today’s Student Strikes

For three months, students have been ditching class every Friday to protest. And while some European politicians have welcomed the students’ enthusiasm, others have been suspicious about what forces are causing this sudden mass mobilisation. “Hybrid warfare from Russia can be felt every day in every European country,” she added. But why would both Angela Merkel and Joke Schauvliege make the exact same accusation and then walk it back? But the accusations of Russian manipulation have continued. Climate change protests: definitely yes. “To shift, to reshuffle climate change movements is one of the key Russian priorities, to explain that ‘more gas is fine, coal is bad, but Russian gas is good, Russian gas is reliable”. If that’s the case, they should share specifically what they know that is causing them to make these accusations. Russia has shown itself happy to amplify the views of dissenters from Western governments, whether they are from the right or the left. There are no large climate change protests planned in Russia today.