Europe: Let’s Self-destruct!

Roughly 30,000 foreign and European Islamic State fighters from around 100 different countries, who have gone to Syria, Iraq and Libya, could spread across the continent once the terror group is crushed in its Iraqi stronghold, warned Karin von Hippel, director-general of the UK military think tank, Royal United Services Institute, speaking to the Express on October 26:

“I think once they lose territory in Iraq and Syria and probably Libya… they will likely go back to a more insurgent style operation versus a terrorist group that wants to try and hold onto territory… There has been about 30,000 foreign fighters that have gone in from about 100 countries to join. Not all of them have joined ISIS, some have joined al-Qaeda, Kurds, and other groups, but the vast majority have gone to join ISIS. These people will disperse. Some of them have already been captured or killed but many will disperse and they’ll go to European countries…They may not go back to where they came from and that is definitely keeping security forces up at night in many, many countries”.

Perhaps these scenarios are really keeping security forces up at night in many countries. Judging by the continued influx of predominantly young, male migrants of fighting age into Europe, however, one might be excused for thinking that European politicians themselves are not losing any sleep over potential new terrorist attacks.

According to a report by Radio Sweden, for example:

“Around 140 Swedes have so far returned after having joined the violent groups in Syria and Iraq. Now several municipalities are preparing to work with those who want to defect. This could include offering practical support to defectors.”

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Donald Trump and the Return of European Anti-Americanism

European anti-Americanism — which was on the wane during the presidency of Barack Obama, who steered the United States on a course of globalism rather than nationalism — is back with a vengeance.

Europe’s media establishment has greeted Donald Trump’s election victory with a vitriol not seen since the George W. Bush presidency, when anti-Americanism in Europe was at fever pitch.

Since the American election on November 9, European television, radio and print media have produced an avalanche of negative stories, editorials and commentary that seethe with rage over the outcome of the vote.

European criticism of Trump goes far beyond a simple displeasure with the man who will be the next president. The condemnation reveals a deep-seated contempt for the United States, and for American voters who democratically elected a candidate committed to restoring American economic and military strength.

If the past is any indication of the future, European anti-Americanism will be a pervasive feature of transatlantic relations during the Trump presidency.

Although European opinion-shapers have focused much of their indignation on the threat Trump allegedly poses to global order, the president-elect will inherit a world that is significantly more chaotic and insecure than it was when Obama became president in January 2009.

The primary cause of the global disorder is the lack of American leadership — leading from behind — at home and abroad.

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Morning Briefing – The Telegraph

Good morning.

The drama in Italy caused by Matteo Renzi’s failure to win a referendum over his proposed constitutional changes has given Europe pause for thought. German business bosses are worried that the ensuing instability will threaten the survival of the euro, as it raises further questions about Italy’s long-term viability as part of the currency union. Mark Carney voiced his own concerns last night, warning that the euro is “unfinished business” and that members have to bring in a “variety of measures” in order to ensure its survival.

Eurosceptics will feel vindicated given the increasing number of questions about the euro’s survival cropping up, especially William Hague – who warned that it would become a “burning building with no exits”. He writes in today’s paper that it has become a “burning building you are never meant to leave”, adding that “those who have trapped entire countries in a vast, failed experiment have a responsibility to help them get out.”

Leaving the EU may end up being easier than leaving the Euro, as there is a way out – Article 50 – members can take. The Supreme Court still has to decide how it is best used though, and will continue to hear the arguments today. We’ll be liveblogging it so you can stay up to date throughout.

In the meantime, the political battles continue for the Government over Brexit. Europhile Tories have signalled that they could rebel against the Government tomorrow by backing a move by Labour to force them to publish its plan for leaving the European Union. Britain may not have stepped into the burning building of the eurozone, but that doesn’t mean its exit will be much easier.

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Hungary to Amend Constitution to Block EU Migrant Plan

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has proposed amending the Constitution to prevent the European Union from settling migrants in Hungary without the approval of Parliament.

In a speech on October 4, Orbán said the amendment would be presented to Parliament on October 10, and, if approved, it would come into effect on November 8.

Hungarian voters overwhelmingly rejected the European Union’s mandatory migrant relocation plan in a referendum on October 2, but failed to turn out in sufficient numbers to make the referendum legally binding.

More than 97% of those who voted in the referendum answered ‘no’ to the question: “Do you want the European Union to be entitled to prescribe the mandatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary without the consent of the National Assembly?”

Voter turnout was only 40%, however, far short of the 50% participation required to make the referendum valid under Hungarian law.

Orbán has been a vocal opponent of the EU’s plan to relocate 160,000 “asylum seekers” from Greece and Italy. Under the scheme, 1,294 migrants would be moved to Hungary. The Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia, all former Communist countries, are also opposed to the EU plan, which they say is an “EU diktat” that infringes on national sovereignty.

Although the referendum has been invalidated, Orbán — whose eurosceptic Fidesz party has more support than all opposition parties combined — said he would not be deterred. Speaking to supporters after the polls closed, he said:

“The European Union’s proposal is to let the migrants in and distribute them in mandatory fashion among the member states and for Brussels to decide about this distribution. Hungarians today considered this proposal and they rejected it. Hungarians decided that only we Hungarians can decide with whom we want to live. The question was ‘Brussels or Budapest’ and we decided this issue is exclusively the competence of Budapest.”

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Europe’s “Good Terrorists”: Because They Might Destroy Israel?

Once again, the Europeans seem to be in Alice’s Wonderland when they consider Palestinian affairs in particular and the Middle East in general. The renewed attempt by the European Union to remove the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas from its terrorism list is a case in point.

Recently, an advisor to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) recommended that Hamas be removed from the EU’s terrorism blacklist. In 2014, the EU’s second-highest court ruled that Hamas should be taken off the list on “technical” grounds. It argued that Hamas’s listing was not based on evidence, but on “factual imputations derived from the press and the internet.”

However, the European Council then appealed this judgement, arguing that Hamas should remain on the terrorism blacklist, citing a 2001 decision by the UK and the US that designated both Hamas and the Tamil Tigers as terrorist groups. But the recent opinion by the ECJ advisor dismisses this argument. “The council cannot rely on facts and evidence found in press articles and information from the internet,” Advocate General Eleanor Sharpton said. She explained that the council could not rely on terrorist listings by countries (the UK and US) outside the EU.

This latest highly dangerous European attempt to strike Hamas from the terrorism blacklist will, as the EU knows perfectly well, only serve further to embolden the Islamist movement to replace Israel with an Islamic empire.

Removing Hamas from the terrorism list would obviously be seen as a severe blow to Hamas’s rivals in the Western-backed and funded Palestinian Authority (PA), and to the efforts to revive any peace process between the Palestinians and Israel.

As this is not the EU’s first attempt to do this, it is hard not to conclude what many Palestinians have suspected all along: that the EU and its affiliates do not care if the Palestinians and others in the area are overrun by Hamas terrorists and are forced to live under the rule of despotic Islamist militants.

The recent opinion by the European court advisor lightheartedly ignores Hamas’s own statements concerning its true intentions and continued preparations for war against Israel. It is hard not to conclude that this is what the EU secretly wants — perhaps for Muslim voters, who brought to power France’s President François Hollande, perhaps in the hope of buying off terrorists so that they avoid further attacks in Europe, perhaps to continue good business deals with Arab and Muslim countries, and, of course, perhaps all of the above.

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Morning Briefing – The Telegraph

Good morning.

Theresa May used her first international trip as Prime Minister to meet with Angela Merkel, and declared that “we two daughters of vicars [will find] a mutual understanding” over Brexit. “Certainly”, Merkel responded. That charm offensive seems to have paid off as Britain and its European partners start to wrangle over the detail in preparation for Brexit, as the German chancellor has broken from her long-standing refusal to compromise on the issue of free movement by suggesting it is something the EU needs to “discuss further”. This is an important concession as Mrs May has pledged to make it her “red line” in talks in order to secure full control of Britain’s borders.

British ministers will be quietly pleased by Merkel’s remarks, as EU leaders including Jean-Claude Juncker had previously refused to budge over the rules around free movement. Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, threatened on Twitter to read Article 3 of the Treaty of Rome at Boris Johnson in order to make this clear, while Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem insisted to Newsnight that Brexit could only be a “lose-lose situation”. The Foreign Secretary had suggested yesterday in an interview with the Czech daily Hospodářské noviny that it was “bollocks” to claim that free movement was a fundamental EU freedom, and now Whitehall sources have told the Telegraph that Merkel’s remarks are the “first crack in the armour”. Brexit-backing MPs had in turn hailed Merkel’s stance as “the beginning of a new realism in the EU”.

The German Chancellor said more than just that free movement would have to be discussed, and the rest of her remarks are significant. “Were we to make an exception for the free movement of people with Britain,” she warned in Berlin, “this would mean we would endanger principles of the whole internal market in the European Union, because everyone else will then want these exceptions”. In effect, she has admitted that no EU leader wants free movement anymore. Might that be why Juncker and his allies have been so reluctant to give ground on it?

Putin: “A society that can’t defend its children has no tomorrow”

Vladimir Putin has waded into the migrant crisis condemning Europe’s handling of asylum seekers and saying a case of child rape in Austria ‘dilutes national values’….

The Russian president has largely kept quiet over the refugee crisis in Europe but has now spoken out of his disbelief over its handling claiming that a continent that ‘can’t protect its children’ has no future.

His comments come off the back of a case in Austria last week, which saw an Iraqi migrant have his conviction of raping a 10-year-old boy at a swimming pool in Vienna overturned.

He was originally convicted of the crime but it was overturned because a court didn’t prove he realised the boy was saying no.

It came after the migrant, identified as 20-year-old Amir A., claimed that it was a ‘sexual emergency’ because he had not had sex for four months.

A second trial for the rape is expected to take place next year, but the attacker is likely to remain in custody until then.

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