Germany tackles benefit abuse as migration soars from eastern EU | Reuters

(Reuters) – Germany expects the number of Romanians and Bulgarians moving to the country to double this year, now that they are free to work anywhere in the European Union, and will defend its welfare system from potential abuse, the government said on Wednesday.

Economic growth and low unemployment in Germany are luring EU citizens taking advantage of free labor movement in the bloc, and industry is short of workers. But EU expansion to the east has fuelled fears of an influx of people fleeing poverty.

“It’s good news when migrants come here to work, train or study and contribute to Germany’s welfare and development,” said Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere. “But we shouldn’t be blind to the fact that this immigration sometimes brings problems.”


Video: Mahmoud Abbas & Friends Rationalize Massacre of Rabbis At Prayer

Do you really want to know why there is no peace in the Middle East?

The video shows you why.

Even the so-called condemnation was hardly one, equating the massacre of innocents with Jews visiting the holiest site in Judaism.

I bet not many of you are surprised Hamas and PFLP representatives would be expressing such sentiments. But Abbas (and his Fatah party)?

He wears a tie with his suits, that’s the difference.


This time next year, we could be governed by a coalition of losers

Three years ago, all main Westminster parties believed that they’d be in power after the next election. It was not entirely delusional: the opinion polls were tight and any sort of coalition seemed possible. Now, that optimism has been supplanted by fear and Parliament feels like death’s waiting room. The parties now all think they are about to lose – and this time, they’re probably right.

The Conservatives are today mourning the loss of a second constituency to Ukip. There are no mitigating factors in their defeat. Unlike Clacton, which Tory strategists gave up on apparently on account of its having too many old and poor people, David Cameron did his utmost to keep Rochester and Strood. “We are coming for you,” the Prime Minister told Ukip, in an interview with this newspaper, “and we are going to throw everything we can at you.” He did, yet Mark Reckless still easily won the seat for Ukip taking four in every ten votes cast yesterday. What does this say about the Tory election-winning machine?


European recognition of ‘Palestine’ will advance the peace process


European recognition of ‘Palestine’ will advance the peace process.


The Palestinians have tried to win statehood by doing everything but making concessions in face-to-face negotiations with Israelis that would give the Palestinians independence and grant peace and security to Israel.

From 1948 until the 1967 War, the Palestinians hoped that the Arab states would drive the Jews into the sea. They seriously miscalculated, however, and the outcomes of both wars left them in worse shape than if they had accepted the UN partition decision. The Palestinians’ delusions were fed by the statements of Arab leaders that created the misperception (which persists to this day) that the Arab states care about their fate. In fact, the Palestinians have always been despised by most of their fellow Arabs and viewed as pawns in the larger geopolitical struggle involving Arabs, Muslims, Jews, Israelis, Christians and the West.


Morning Briefing – The Telegraph

Good morning. Grant Shapps and Lord Feldman were up in Rochester before first light for the party’s dawn raid in Rochester & Strood. Back in Westminster, the Conservatives are bracing themselves for defeat to Ukip and Mark Reckless, but the bigger question today is: are there more to come?

Mr Reckless says that two Tory MPs are waiting for the results before deciding to make the leap or not. As one senior Liberal MP mused: “It’s like the SDP. They’ll be asking themselves: can I pay the mortgage? Can I keep my seat?”

As James Kirkup points out, if Ukip can win in Rochester they will fancy their chances almost anywhere, but a by-election – as the SDP themselves learnt – is very different from a general. It may well be that those wavering defectors will wait and see what happens to Mr Reckless in May rather than switching now. On the Ukip side, there is a feeling that any would-be defectors aren’t quite ready to be brought from the oven – yet, although if today brings a bigger margin of victory than the expected 10 to 15 points, who knows?

The hope in CCHQ and Downing Street is that today proves, if not the hoped-for firewall against Ukip then at the least, a line in the sand, at least once the PM’s big speech on immigration is out of the way.

The challenge of winning back Ukippers without losing the country is laid bare by Sam Coates’ analysis in the Times. Supporters of Nigel Farage’s party are far angrier about the state of modern Britain than everyone else, with 68% wanting to turn the clock back by 30 years – just 38% of all voters agree. It may be that the PM can win even if Ukip remain a power in the land. A Survation poll for the trade union Unite shows Labour failing to make the breakthrough in their seventh target seat, Stockton South (the numbers are Conservatives 39%, Labour 37% Ukip 18%, Liberal Democrats 3%). It’s a reminder that a second term for David Cameron remains within reach, even if Ukip’s “very durable bubble” in Patrick Wintour’s phrase remains unpopped.


“EU must change or we quit” is our splash. An opt-out from ever-closer union is a must in order to support staying in the EU as far as Oliver Letwin is concerned, as exit would be better than being “absorbed into a United States of Europe”. Mr Letwin, whose preference is that Britain remain within the “outer rim” of the EU, made the remarks at University College London – Ned Simons at the Huffington Post has a full account of Mr Letwin’s remarks. David Lidington, the Europe minister, has warned that Britain will never be free from “the EU’s influence or rules”, even if the UK does vote to leave.


The PM’s hopes of a cap or a temporary pause in European migration to the UK have taken a further blow, Lucy Fisher and Michael Savage report in the Times. A delegation of German MPs has warned that such changes are non-negotiable. Gunther Krichbaum, chairman of the Bundestag’s European affairs committee, says that Germany is “not in favour of all brakes, moratoria or anything else”. Detlef Seif, another MP from Angel Merkel’s ruling coalition, helpfully describes David Cameron as “like a butterfly in the wind” looking for “the most support in my party and the most support in Great Britain”. But the UK “does not need a butterfly, it needs a lion in the wind,” Herr Seif says.


Former Gove SpAd and Number 1 David Cameron fan Dominic Cummings spoke to the IPPR about Whitehall, Westminster and how to fix it – the full recording is here. Among the headlines: Sir Jeremy Heywood has the PM “completely by the balls”. Ed Llewellyn and Craig Oliver, are Mr Cameron’s “most important advisers” and they are “totally and utterly useless”. As for the PM himself, he cannot “manage his way out of a paper bag” and has “never been part of an organisation run well”.


Nicola Sturgeon’s ascent to the top of the SNP comes to a conclusion today as she is sworn in at the Court of Session and takes questions from the SNP as First Minister. In the battle to replace her, Neil Findlay is believed to be gaining on Jim Murphy in the race to become Scottish Labour leader. It’s causing consternation among some members of Mr Miliband’s circle according to James Cusick in the Indy. One adviser close to Mr Miliband tells James “Findlay represents pain and isn’t the solution”.


George Osborne has gone on the offensive against his Liberal Democrat deputy, Danny Alexander, after Mr Alexander claimed that the Chancellor kept the fridge locked. The key is in fact kept on the top of the fridge.”If I had been Chief Secretary and after all this time I hadn’t found the key to the fridge, I wouldn’t tell people,” Mr Osborne chuckled.

Turkey’s Rules for Safety

“Death is in the nature of mining.” — Turkey’s then-Prime Minister, now President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Why is death not in the nature of French, British or Spanish mining but only in Turkish mining?” — Kemal Kilicdaroglu, opposition leader, Social Democrat Party.

“Whenever we attempt to close a mine the employer brings 50 well-connected people to lobby against the closure.” — Faruk Celik, Labor Minister.


Palestinians’ “Car Intifada” and Obama’s Peace Process

It is hard to see how Abbas can return to the negotiating table while many Palestinians, at his behest, are busy thinking about how to kill Israelis.

It is not enough for Kerry to listen to what Abbas or Erekat are telling him in English. Instead, Kerry and Obama should listen to what Palestinian leaders and activists are telling their people in Arabic. Perhaps they will understand that as long as the incitement against Israel continues, there is no chance — zero — for the success of any peace process.