WHAT I THINK...
STOP TALKING - DO SOMETHING FOR REAL ABOUT IT !
The end is near! That's what Frank Sinatra sings in the famous song MY WAY. That is also what we hear and read almost every day about Europe. But as Mark Twain once said: The
rumours about my death are strongly exaggerated! This is certainly also true when Europe is concerned.
Many problems discussed by the politicians and in the media are perceived problems
- not real problems. Take the number of refugees and migrants coming to Europe. For 2018 we are talking about 44.000 for the whole of Europe. In 2017 the figure was 172.000, in 2016 363.000, in 2015 1.000.000 and in 2014 216.000.
Let us try to see things in perspective. We are after all more than 500 million inhabitants in the EU. And all agree that we are in need of people from outside. Why all this moaning and shouting then ! In other words: let
us train our politicians in dealing with the real problems and not with invented ones!
But there are, of course, lots of very important tasks for us to address here
and now. Let us mention a few:
1) The now seven year long war in Syria must come to an end. The Syrian people deserve it. The country deserves it. The Syrian refugees deserve to get a functioning
and peaceful country to come back to. And we deserve it - giving us the possibility to help the Syrians at home and not a panic-like help to millions of Syrian refugees, who of course have the right to all the help we can give them,
as long as it is needed.
What is Europe in concreto doing to get peace in Syria? What can we do? Isn't it upon time to push Putin very hard to make him behave well in Syria - perhaps leave?
And how do we use our support for the Iranian deal to get the Iranians to change their behaviour also in Syria? Real peace in Syria will make a huge and positive difference for all of us.
2) A Marshall
Plan for Africa: great idea. That continent needs help. Many, also in the EU, say so. But where are the concrete plans? Who is doing what? Europe should take the lead in this task too. And get others on board. But first we have
to prepare and present a realistic and efficient plan.
3) Europe will more and more need people from outside to ensure that we can continue our welfare states. Most people agree to that. Where
are the in-depth short-term and long-term analysis and recommendations? And what concrete measures will be taken by whom to ensure that all this happens in a coordinated and for all proper way?
We have to strengthen Europe's external borders. Yes, all agree. The new Austrian EU presidency wants to make this a priority. EU's Border and Coast Guard agency FRONTEX is working and getting strengthened step by step. But most of the work is
done by national border guards. But what are the concrete plans for a further strengthening? EU has about 80.000 km sea borders and ca. 8.000 km land borders to third countries. How do we organise a stronger, efficient and high-tech control
at these borders, so that all cries for starting permanent controls at internal borders between EU countries stop?
These are just a few of the very concrete huge tasks in front of us. Stop TALKING.
Niels Jørgen Thøgersen
PEOPLE LIKE MACRON NEEDED IN MANY COUNTRIES !
I have just listened to president Macron's very impressive speech to the houses of Parliament this afternoon. Lots of important things on the move. And in my view on the move in the good direction. New thinking.
New drive. We need Macrons in many of our countries !
TRUMP WRONG AGAIN - THIS TIME ABOUT GERMAN CARS
“The Germans are bad, very bad. Look at the millions of cars that they sell in the U.S.
Terrible. We’re going to stop that.” – President Donald Trump
This is Trump at his worst. A statement repeated several times during the last week. But totally ignoring the following hard core facts:
Through the first
four months of 2017, Germany-based automakers and their respective subsidiary brands have sold 413.000 new vehicles in the United States.
Of these 413.000 altogether 114.000 ( 28 % ) were produced in the US on plants in Alabama, Tennessee
and South Carolina.
In addition the US based German owned car factories during the same four months produced 167.000 cars for export from the US.
As a matter of fact the value of these US produced
German cars is higher than the export value of American cars.
Imagine how many Americans are employed in producing these 281.000 German cars.
Will president Trump ever get his facts right?!
by the way, why do so many Americans want to buy German cars? Probably because they are so good! Again, reason for some reflection in the American car industry.
Source: The US website: thetruthaboutcars.com
DEFENSE COSTS ARE MANY THINGS...
President Trump is also showing his one-track-minded perception of many things in his campaign around defense spending. His amazing speech at the NATO summit was no exception. He seems to think that the more money you spend on defense
hardware, the better it is. More missiles, more jet fighters, more frigates, more tanks - the more peaceful the world will be. And those NATO countries, which pay less than 2 % of the GNP for defense, are to be blamed.
is one point of view. I believe that we Europeans have - as in many other cases - a more sophisticated and realistic view on how things are.
First of all, the US has decided to be pro-actively present in most parts of the world
with their defense forces. I am not saying that this is wrong. I am saying that this costs money. Therefore, it is not reasonable to compare US costs with those of most other countries.
Secondly, there is much more to an efficient
defense than military hardware. Solid trade agreements with other countries are part of defense. Development aid can be seen also as part of it. Humanitarian assistance too. Education of people in and from potentially dangerous countries is also a defense
investment. And last , but not least all the efforts all our countries are doing these days to fight external (such as Russian) electronic interference into our societies are definitely also an increasing part of our smart defense efforts and costs.
So, Mr. Trump - also in this area I believe you have more important home work to do!
DEMOCRACY A PROTECTION AGAINST STRONGMEN
Last night we saw two very interesting programmes on French TV. They dealt with the immediate aftermath for citizens in 1945-48 of the second world war. And with the nazi leaders and their many followers - and their incredible crimes towards
humanity. This story cannot be told often enough. And this time with shocking films from that time.
We often think: this could never happen today. That is wrong. Do not be mistaken. There are at all times and in all
our countries many people, who are willing to do similar crimes, if they get the chance. Therefore, it is of immense importance that we have solid democratic systems, also at European level, which make this de facto impossible. These systems so to speak
protects man against himself!
We should constantly have this fact in mind, also when we see nationalistic and populist forces with their lies and alternative facts trying to dominate the political scene.
GREAT NEWS FROM FRANCE !
Great news from France! A new European spring has begun. So much to do. So much will now be possible! En Marche!
ORBAN AND HIS DIRTY TRICKS...
It is great news that the EU now also formally asks Hungary to follow EU values, which it has signed and therefore has to obey to. The Commission will start an legal case against the country. And the Belgian
member of the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, made an excellent speech yesterday in front of Mr. Orban. See more here: https://www.facebook.com/GuyVerhofstadt/?fref=ts
WHY IS THE UK DOWNGRADING PARLIAMENT ?
My British friends have always been very proud of the fact that Britain all the way since Magna Carta in 1215 has been the first Parliament in the world. And that
it has been so ever since. There are all reasons to be proud of that. Therefore, I find it amazing - to say the least - when the present UK government now goes out of its way to keep Parliament out of one of the most important decisions in Britain in
modern times: the question of leaving or not leaving the EU - and on what conditions. Parliament is sovereign. Or is that suddenly no longer the case? It will be very interesting indeed to see, how this discussion continues in the months and years
WIKILEAKS, DEMOCRACIES AND RUSSIA
It is always interesting to follow, how Wikileaks always concentrates its efforts on attacking democracies, especially the US. Why are they never hacking the Russians? Wouldn't it be interesting to know
more about the Kremlin's support to right-wing parties in the West - like their new agreement with Beppe Grillo's 5 star Movement in Italy and their recent negotiations with the German Alternative für Deutschland?
THE VALUE OF THE EU SINGLE MARKET
It is a simple fact beyond all modern alternative facts that Europe's open single market with more than 500 million people makes us all richer. Every day. Every year. It is logic for beginners. Border controls cost money. Paper work costs money.
Delays cost money. The need to have products and services agreed in each country instead of once and for all for all countries costs money. Actually, it's amazing that some people waste their time saying the opposite!
A new report from the Danish
ministry for Business says that in the case of Denmark the EU single market increases the GNP with 5 % every year, and that it gives each family in avarage 65.000 D.kr ( 8.700 € ) more income per year. The situation is probably the same in most
But this does not mean that all is good. There is still a lot to do - and to gain - from more improvements in the European single market. Take digital service. Take financial services. Take energy services.
So, dear politicians
- get going. Move on. Do not get disturbed by noicy uninformed and populist forces. Move ahead, so we all can enjoy many more of the low-hanging fruits in working closely together in Europe!
WARNING TO POLAND AND HUNGARY !
European Union is based on a number of very clear values. It is said clearly in the Treaties. Press freedom. Democratic institutions. All member states, also Poland and Hungary, have signed these treaties. This means that they, of course, are
obliged to follow what they have signed. Still Poland is playing around with the media. The independent watchdog, Reporters Without Borders, have just put Poland 29 steps down in their index on free press.
Hungary is also
breaking EU basic rules in several areas - such as making life very difficult for free civil society organisations.
This is not acceptable in the European Union. And their governments say that they are free to do what they want to do.
No, no, no. They have to follow, what they have signed.
Both countries, esp. Orban in Hungary, have made it clear that they primarily are in the EU for the sake of the money!
Perhaps they should be more
careful. This year the negotiations on the future of EU's funds will start. It is written nowhere, that member states which brake fundamental rules, will continue to get billions of € from the funds. The Italian government has already made
So watch out! You are on a very wrong track, which at the end might cost you a lot!
Great news for Europe from the Netherlands !
Ukraine with its 45 mill. inhabitants is a direct neighbour and a close partner of the EU. Therefore, 27 member states of the EU have already ratified the association agreement with the country. Only the Netherlands still has to ratify. Yesterday
the Dutch Lower House of Parliament agreed to ratification by 89 votes out of 150 members. The Upper House, the Senate, will vote very soon and it expected to agree too.
This means that the agreement can come into force very soon. This is of great
importance politically, economically and in many other ways. For everybody. Perhaps except for Russia, which has been fighting against the agreement. This is one more reason to get into force quickly. And to develop the close cooperation
between the EU and Ukraine in the months and years to come.
HURRAH! The silent majority finally speaks up!
Great to see that the silent majority finally speaks up. Demonstrations in Romania and France
against corruption. Huge rally in Barcelona for refugees. And the initiative Pulse of Europe in many great cities every Sunday at 1400 to fight for a better Europe (http://pulseofeurope.eu/?lang=en). All this is part of a positive way ahead in Europe!
I think that....
Make America think again! I think it's a great motto. Furthermore, because Mr. Trump actually only got support from 28 % of the people with the right to vote!