Tag Archives: Ursula von der Leyen

Members of Parliament condemned Pakistan’s role in the Pulwama attack urged the European Union to investigate its hand in the recent terror attacks -ANI | Instant News

Brussels [Belgium], 5 November (ANI): Members of the European Parliament (MEP) condemned the “blatant and brazen” disclosure by a Pakistani minister in his National Assembly of the country’s involvement in the Pulwama terror attack in India.
Four lawmakers – Thierry Mariani, Julie Lechanteux, Virginie Joron and France Jamet – in a letter addressed to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, have urged to immediately consider sanctions against Pakistan and seek an investigation into its involvement in other similar matters. . terrorism attacks in Europe.
“We call on the European Commission and the European External Action Service to immediately condemn the leadership and government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan for participating in the Pulwama attack and ask the European Union to consider sanctions against those responsible,” the European Parliament said in a letter dated November 4.
The cowardly terror attack on the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in the Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on 14 February 2019 claimed the lives of 40 personnel. The terrorist crashed into the explosive-loaded vehicle inside the bus.
Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) has claimed responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack. Pakistan has repeatedly denied responsibility for the attacks.
“However, on 29 October 2020, the Federal Minister for Science and Technology of Pakistan, Fawad Chaudhry, stood at the National Assembly of Pakistan and hailed the Pulwama terror attack as a ‘success’ under Imran Khan’s administration. Chaudhry praised the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan and the Tehreek Party -e-Insaf (PTI) for its extraordinary achievements, “said the letter from the European Parliament.
The European Parliament says that Pakistan, under the control of successive regimes and political leaders, has been well documented as a country of “State Sponsored Terrorism”.
“The latest admission from within the Pakistani parliament, by a minister serving, comes less than six months after Imran Khan himself gave a speech to Osama bin Laden in the National Assembly calling him a ‘martyr’,” they said.
The European Parliament pointed out that at a time of increasing public insecurity from the global health pandemic, Europe and France in particular are now facing an increasing threat of terrorism.
“In the face of such threats and dire violent aggression against innocent people, it is important that the European Union does not remain silent. Any admission of acts of terrorism, wherever it occurs in the world, must meet criticism and immediate action by the European leaders, “they said. (ANI)

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Covid-19 and European Union: ‘When Italy screams for help, there is silence’ – podcast | News | Instant News

On 26 February, in the midst of a growing coronavirus health emergency, the Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, asked for help from fellow EU member states. However, far from the quick response and solidarity from other member countries, the emergency call was silent.

That was a moment attached to the Guardian Daniel Boffey. He telling you Anushka Asthana how the pandemic opened gaps and competition across continents. Because those in the “economical” north don’t like paying for recovery efforts in the hardest hit south. And how some national leaders use the crisis to advance other agendas.

However, after a fierce EU summit, there was finally good news this week: an important agreement was signed to approve a new budget for emergency response. But how much damage has been done to European institutions along the way?

Photo: Reuters

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‘For climate protesters, we are like rubbish’: German villages where coal is still king World News | Instant News

Landscapes make you think about the surface of the moon. As far as the eye could see, deep wounds pierced the earth. At the place where the giant machines were standing, ancient layers of exposed coal were seen to the bottom of the pit.

Georg Ortmann walked along the bridge 40 meters above the mine to check that sand and gravel taken from the top layer of the earth did not stick to the conveyor belt, removing it from the valuable lignite below.

“My job is to make sure dirt is moved from one side of the hole to the other,” he joked.

This is Reichwalde, one of two open lignite mines that supply the Boxberg coal-fired power plant. Boxberg is the largest powerhouse in East Germany and the climate campaigner now ranks high among the others “30 dirty” one of the most polluted in Europe.

Reichwalde operates 365 days a year, in all weather. This is a physically demanding job and Ortmann has spent his entire working life in these craters.

The 62-year-old man is one of about 6,000 coal miners left in the Lusatia region of eastern Germany, which was once the industrial and mining center of the German Democratic Republic. “In East Germany, people who go through the school system have a chance at better indoor work. I quit school early, “he said.

Before the fall of East Germany and reunification, the brown coal industry in the region directly employed 100,000 people.

Left: Boxberg’s lignite power plant dominates the horizon of the city of Hoyerswerda in eastern Germany. Right: Coal miner Georg Ortmann at the Reichwalde mine, which supplies Boxberg lignite
Photo: Stephanie Loos

Coal is not only the main company in Lusatia. Miners enjoy a special status as a proud contributor to energy independence in a socialist country. Ich bin Bergmann, am I? (I am a miner, who is more?) Is a phrase that is commonly heard during the cold war.

Germany promised last year to end all coal mining in 2038 in accordance with the EU and its global climate obligations. This has deepened political tensions in coal-dependent areas.

In Lusatia, it was placed climate activist on a collision course with local politicians, coal companies and communities whose income depends on coal.

“Coal is a very emotional topic here,” said Adrian Rinnert of the local NGO Structure of Jetzt, who has opposed the expansion of the mine for almost a decade.

The biggest lignite mine in Europe – map

The big problem, he argues, is the lack of alternative economic opportunities. Although tens of thousands of mining jobs have been cut since the 1990s, most of the jobs available in this region are still tied to coal.

Mainstream German parties are still fighting for this industry, and as in other parts of Europe, the impact of green policies on traditional or disadvantaged communities has become a convenient agenda for populists and right-wing politicians to follow suit.

“When people here discuss whether protecting the environment or work is more important, it is always a winning job,” Rinnert said.

Coronavirus stopped the coal factory and the conflict was temporarily stopped in March, but fighting continued when Germany returned to business.

Brown coal, or lignite, of the type mined in Lusatia is the most polluted fuel in the world, and still drives 14% of Germany’s energy, which is a higher dependency than other EU countries. The global climate movement has repeatedly demanded that Germany be decoded faster.

Use of German lignite – graph
Climate activist Wiebke Witt
Climate activist Wiebke Witt
Photo: Stefanie Loos

For Wiebke Witt, a brown coal expert for the NGO Klima Allianz Deutschland, the closing time line of 2038 Germany failed to honor Paris climate agreement 2015 to end coal energy production.

“When the end date for coal is negotiated, the conversation revolves around the amount of energy produced from coal and not for example its impact on climate,” Witt said.

Belgium, Austria and Sweden are coal free. England, Ireland, France, Portugal, Italy and Slovakia will all come out of coal before 2025. Spain produces 70% less coal-powered energy in 2019 and predicted to reach full closure in 2027. But Germany wants to keep production going well into the 2030s and several mines are developing. Quoting quotes new Datteln IV coal plant that Germany will add to the grid this summer, calls protesters “Climate policy madness”.

The coal lobby, and many politicians, argue that Germany still needs lignite because it has committed to shutting down nuclear power plants by 2022. And renewable energy is being built in a step that is too slow to meet the country’s current energy needs.

The energy to maintain a minimum level in the electricity network needs to come from somewhere, and that is coal for now Georg Ortmann

“The energy to maintain a minimum level in the electricity network needs to come from somewhere, and that is coal for now,” said Ortmann, a miner.

He pointed to the dark layer at the bottom of the hole. Here, plants and trees that grew here 17m years ago were exposed to machinery, now mostly in the form of black coal. Some of the wood is still visible, but once stretched, the wood will decompose quickly in the fresh air.

The logic of a coal company is that due to environmental damage, existing mines must be fully exploited. But that could mean expanding the brown coal field by digging out from underneath it existing village.

Bulldoze the village

One such village is Mühlrose. LEAG, the Czech-owned coal company that manages Boxberg, wants to add lignite-rich land under the village to its current mine. So Mühlrose will be destroyed and locals will move to the nearby town of Schleife. Even graves in graves will be moved.

Of the 600 native inhabitants of the village, only 200 remain. But people’s lives don’t have to be rooted out for a dying industry, Rinnert said.

But some in Mühlrose say they are tired of living next to a coal mine and are ready to move. “We have suffered here for years,” said Reinhild Martin. The 69-year-old man owns a restaurant in the village, a building that was opened by his grandfather.

Reinhild Martin, owner of the Zur Erholung restaurant in Mühlrose, a village threatened with excavation
Reinhild Martin, owner of the Zur Erholung restaurant in Mühlrose, a village threatened with excavation
Photo: Stefanie Loos

Most villagers have mixed feelings about their closeness to the mine. Almost everyone is employed by a coal company. Men in mines, women in cafeterias. At the same time, noise and pollution are almost unbearable.

A thick layer of brown or gray coal dust will be carried by the wind, stay in the window and stick to the laundry on the phone, Martin remembers. For years, he said, the Mühlrose people died of lung cancer, but this problem was never officially investigated.

Although it hurts for him to leave, Martin looks forward to a fresh start with compensation.

“Once they started to demolish houses, I did not want to go back to the village. Those who left before and who returned to see the destruction never really recovered from sight,” he said.

In communist East Germany, forced displacement is a part of daily life in the mining area. It is estimated that 30,000 people in the Lusatia region were moved and more than 130 villages were destroyed.

In addition to human costs, environmental impacts are also enduring. German lignite mines have destroyed 175,000 hectares country landscape. The soil here is considered dead because nothing grew in it after that. And once the mine is closed and the pump that regulates the water level is turned off, the ground becomes flooded.

Rinnert said, rebuilding the former holes for tourism and other uses has been successful with a variety and not planned in a sustainable manner. “Coal companies are making efforts now, but who will pay once their operations stop and their money runs out?”

Some old mine has been flooded for artificial lakes, but managing water quality is a long-term project. “At present there is no guarantee that the company will continue to treat the lake. “I don’t think that plans to turn it into a holiday destination and a new employment sector will work,” Rinnert said.

An aerial view of the Lusatia-made lake district developed from a former open lignite mine
An aerial view of the Lusatia-made lake district developed from a former open lignite mine.
Photo: Alamy

Residents hijack local emotions

Away from the coal fields of eastern Germany, the climate crisis has mobilized public awareness throughout Europe, uniting anti-coal campaigners with Friday’s for Future school movement, Greta Thunberg.

In Brussels, the president of the European commission, Ursula von der Leyen, former German defense minister and ally Angela Merkel, pushed for the so-called EU green agreement where the 27-nation block will become carbon neutral by 2050.

Poland is the only European Union country that refuses to register for that purpose, and its refusal is driven by coal. Lusatia stretches along the German / Polish border. It is difficult to find anyone on both sides who does not reject the need for a quick exit from fossil fuels.

Miners feel they are being scapegoated unfairly. “For our climate protesters it is like garbage and must be blamed for climate change. It’s not fair, “Ortmann said. “If we can, we will get our money another way. But moral lectures don’t really help when people’s livelihoods are at stake. “

Alternative Party für Deutschland (AfD) far right refute climate science, but in Lusatia has campaigned for this campaign with the sentiments of people like Ortmann, who focus (with strong echoes from the demands of “gilets jaunes” in France) on individual rights to drive their own cars and fuel tax injustice.

Toni Schneider, an AfD politician in the city of Hoyerswerda Lusatian, claimed the coal protest movement was not organized by local activists, but by people from “big cities”. “I have seen how they arrived here by train. From how they acted, it seems like the protesters came on a pleasant weekend trip and not a serious demonstration. “

Climate activists from Friday for the Future and Ende Gelaende protested at the Jänschwalde power plant in Lusatia in 2019. The banner read:
Climate activists from Friday for the Future and Ende Gelaende protested at the Jänschwalde power plant in Lusatia in 2019. The banner read: “Love for Lausitz. Not for coal. “
Photo: Christian Mang / Reuters
Climate activists block the railroad tracks leading to the Jänschwalde power plant
Climate activists block the railroad tracks leading to the Jänschwalde power plant
Photo: Christian Mang / Reuters
Activists from Greenpeace, Friday for the Future and Extinction Uprising in one of the first post-lockout protests against the Datteln 4 coal-fired power plant on May 20
Activists from Greenpeace, Friday for the Future and Extinction Uprising in one of the first post-lockout protests against the Datteln 4 coal-fired power plant on May 20
Photo: Friedemann Vogel / EPA

This cultural warfare framework – rusty people who are being taught by outsiders and metropolitan – helps AfD to manipulate local emotions and discredit local protesters, according to Rinnert. “Populists know how to deal with people’s feelings, which is why the AfD has such a large support base here in the Lusatia region.”

This coal region includes the states of Germany, Brandenburg and Saxony. Last year AfD jumped in popularity to win 27% of the votes in Election of the state of Saxony and 23.5% in Brandenburg, becoming the second largest political party in both countries.

The party is campaigning on a delay platform deadline to close the Lusatia mine.

“We need more infrastructure for new industries, and for example fast internet access for all households before stopping using coal can even be considered,” Schneider said.

A parallel surge in support for the Greens nationally means the party can make sense government after the next election.

After the explosives were placed in our mailbox, I filed a police complaint. Nothing came from him
Adrian Rinnert

Activists in Lusatia feel the personal consequences of this political polarization. Rinnert, like the Ortmann miners, lived in the city of Weisswasser, where he was on the receiving end of hatred and physical attacks. He even considered leaving when the threat began to involve his family.

“After the explosives were placed in our mailbox, I filed a complaint with the local police.” Said Rinnert. “Nothing ever comes out of him.”

Clean coal extraction in Germany – graph

What appears after coronavirus?

Laws supporting German exit from coal are planned for May or June, but the Covid-19 pandemic has delaying the introduction to parliament.

The likely winner of the law is the coal company, which has been promised a large compensation. Der Spiegel reports in January LEAG will be appropriate for € 1.75 billion (£ 1.55 billion) from the country.

Germany has promised € 40 billion to help the coal region restructure. But the losers are people who live next to the hole and who will continue to suffer from pollution for almost a decade longer than predicted by the Paris agreement.

“When you compare the draft law with other European measures, Germany remains the only country that compensates companies for the release of coal,” Witt said.

With such a large meeting impossible for now, activists in Germany have been forced to bring down anti-coal protests.

However, both sides of this political struggle will use the pandemic to advance the vision of their opponents energy in the future post-shutdown.

Some expert believe that lockdown has accelerated the long-term global shift from coal. England has been gone for more than a month without burning coal to produce electricity, the longest stretch recorded since the Industrial Revolution. Public attacks on air pollution can also strengthen the determination of European governments to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels.

But the back-to-business decarbonization reaction is also a risk depending on the depth of the recession.

“We have now been told that we are part of an important service for the country,” Ortmann laughed.

Throughout the locking, production continued uninterrupted, Ortmann and his colleagues worked on their busy shifts in Reichwalde tending to giant machines.

Ortmann can retire in two years. “I’m counting down the moon,” he said. Fatigue and other side effects start to harm them. “Working in turns makes it difficult to sleep. The strong vibrations from the bridge gave me pain in the bones and muscles that I could still feel when I got home. ”

The coal miner retirement is still one of the best available East German average pension benefits € 1,252 per month. Ortmann knows he is one of the lucky few. With stable jobs in limited supply and political battles over coal closure still raging, his young colleagues did not have such certainty.

Display of cooling tower


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Spain says Germany needs to fund post-virus recovery throughout Europe | Instant News

German need to understand it must fund post-pandemic recovery across Europe, the Spanish economy minister told CNBC on Monday, just days before another important meeting for the European Union (EU).

The 27 European countries that formed the EU remained at odds over how to reduce economic shocks from Covid-19, even though they were united a half trillion euro package for faster shopping needs earlier this month. Their main concern now is to present a second plan that will be dealt with a lot of debt related to the virus which is expected to creep throughout the region.

Nadia Calvino, Spain’s minister of economic affairs and deputy prime minister, told CNBC Monday that Germany has a budget surplus that is “sufficiently determined” to be used.

“Now, what we need is for them to understand that we also need to fund the recovery of other (EU) countries, that we need to fund the recovery of all of Europe,” he added.

That corona virus pandemic reappeared old divisions among the countries that make up the EU. Countries that are more fiscal conservative, such as Germany and the Netherlands, are reluctant to take unprecedented steps and issue mutual debt – a financial instrument often dubbed “corona bonds” – to face the economic consequences of the crisis. These countries argue that it is unfair for their taxpayers.

On the other hand, countries that are deeply indebted, such as Italy and Spain, say this is the only way to overcome the “symmetrical shock” of the virus. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte repeated last weekend that it was time for “corona bonds.”

The next European budget must be Europe’s answer to coronavirus.

Ursula von der Leyen

President of the European Commission

However, Calvino said he had noted some openness from Berlin to design the so-called Recovery Fund.

“What I am seeing is a far more constructive approach on the part of Germany and I hope from now until Thursday, other countries, who may be more reluctant, understand that we need to find ways to fund joint recovery too, if we want to be effective and start our economy as fast as possible, “he told CNBC’s Squawk Box Europe.

The 27 EU heads of state held a video call Thursday to discuss more alternatives to dealing with the financial crisis.

MADRID, SPAIN – FEBRUARY 26: Minister of Economic and Digital Transformation Affairs Nadia Calvino attended the ‘Reino de España a la Trayectoria Empresarial’ award, in honor of Placido Arango ‘In Memoriam’ at the El Prado Museum on 26 February 2020 in Madrid, Spain.

Carlos Alvarez

To resolve disputes about mutual debt, the European Commission, the European Union’s executive body, has proposed to set aside a portion of funds from the next European budget to support various post-pandemic economies.

European leaders must come up with a new budget as soon as possible to fund European projects between 2021 and 2027 – regular but politically toxic exercises are carried out every seven years.

“The next European budget must be Europe’s answer to the corona virus,” Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, said last week.

However, by doing that, European heads of state will add another layer of complexity to the issue that has been debated.

The new budget involves transfers from each country to a joint European Union basket which is then redistributed throughout the region for various purposes. The main obstacle is deciding what should get funding, because governments often do not have the same political priorities.

“Hopefully EU leaders will face challenges on Thursday and agree on policy responses,” Florian Hense, economist at the Berenberg bank, said in a note Monday morning.

“Good or bad, the way in which the eurozone countries work together in the acute phase of the pandemic can shape perceptions about European integration for a long time in the future. It is better to immediately get it.”


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