Tag Archives: Europe

Migration Hangs Over German Elections

BERLIN — Germans in three states are voting on Sunday in regional elections widely viewed as a test of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s welcoming policy toward refugees, amid growing discontent that has helped strengthen an upstart far-right party campaigning on an anti-immigrant platform.

 Winfried Kretschmann, the incumbent governor of the German state of Baden-Württemberg, spoke to the media outside a polling station in Sigmaringen on Sunday. Credit Michaela Rehle/Reuters

Winfried Kretschmann, the incumbent governor of the German state of Baden-Württemberg, spoke to the media outside a polling station in Sigmaringen on Sunday. Credit Michaela Rehle/Reuters

Ms. Merkel, in power since 2005 and for years considered the European Union’s de facto leader, spent much of the past few weeks in town halls and community centers across the states — Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate in the west, and Saxony-Anhalt in the east — backing local candidates for her conservative Christian Democratic Union.

Polls heading into the vote have indicated that the chancellor’s conservatives could struggle to maintain their control of the government in Saxony-Anhalt, and have difficulty ousting the governors of the two western states.

The biggest threat to Ms. Merkel’s party in Saxony-Anhalt is the Alternative for Germany, a protest party founded in 2013 in response to disillusionment with traditional parties’ handling of the sovereign debt crisis. The Alternative for Germany has since transformed into an anti-immigrant party, whose leader has said border guards might turn guns on anyone entering the country illegally.

Although all of the traditional parties have refused to even consider forming a government with the Alternative for Germany, the party was polling as high as 19 percent in Saxony-Anhalt and is expected to upset the traditional balance of coalition-building partners.

The Alternative for Germany is also poised to enter into the legislatures of both of the western states, a development that would raise its presence at the regional level to representation in half of the country’s 16 states.

In Baden-Württemberg, controlled for decades by Ms. Merkel’s center-right party, polls have indicated that voters are likely to seek consistency by supporting the left-leaning Greens, whose incumbent governor, Winfried Kretschmann, was swept into power five years ago over worries about nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

In Rhineland-Palatinate, the chancellor’s party is in a neck-and-neck race with its partners in the national government, the center-left Social Democrats, who appear poised for significant losses in the other two states

Such splintering of loyalties in a political system steeped in longstanding party alliances reflects the level of uncertainty many Germans feel as their country adjusts to accommodating and integrating several hundred thousand of the more than one million migrants who arrived last year seeking refuge from wars, or simply a better life.

Ms. Merkel’s open-door statements have also created rifts within Europe, where many traditional allies felt overrun by what they viewed as a one-sided decision. She struggled at a summit meeting in Brussels last week to galvanize support for a deal with Turkey aimed at preventing migrants from reaching the European Union’s outer borders.

That deal is to be sealed at an upcoming meeting on Thursday and Friday, and a poor showing in the elections at home risks leaving Ms. Merkel weakened heading into those negotiations.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/14/world/europe/germany-elections.html?_r=0

Sun Begins to Set on Merkel’s Powerful Reign Over Europe

Sun Begins to Set on Merkel’s Powerful Reign Over Europe

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is becoming increasingly isolated within Europe as well as within her own party as the EU struggles to cope with the refugee crisis and limps from panic to panic within the Eurozone. © Flickr/ Mattys Flicks … read more

ISIS new video showing ‘new Jihadi John’ killing five ‘British spies’

ISIS new video showing 'new Jihadi John' killing five 'British spies'

ISIS releases execution video showing ‘new Jihadi John’ killing five ‘British spies’ accompanied by young boy with UK accent promising new wave of terror attacks WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT Propaganda video shows ISIS thugs shooting five men at point blank range … read more

2 people were arrested in Brussels over suspected New Year’s Eve attack plot

Heavily armed forces patrolled key intersections and subways were closed in Belgium's capital

Two people were arrested in Belgium on Sunday and Monday, both suspected of plotting an attack in Brussels on New Year’s Eve, federal prosecutors said. Police found military clothing and Islamic State propaganda material but no weapons or explosives, prosecutors … read more

ISIS leader AL-Baghdadi taunts US, Saudi-led coalition

ISIS leader  AL-Baghdadi taunts US, Saudi-led coalition

President Obama suggests media coverage fueling ISIS fears The Islamic State released a new audio message Saturday purportedly of its leader taunting the U.S. for not sending troops to fight the so-called “caliphate” in the Middle East. In the 24-minute … read more

Turkish officers on the Syrian border have communicated with ISIS

Turkish officers on the Syrian border have communicated with ISIS

Wiretapped calls reveal communication between Turkish officers and ISIS – report Turkish officers on the Syrian border have communicated with Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, Turkey’s Cumhuriyet daily reported, citing an investigation by the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s office … read more

A Million Migrants, a Million Lives, Still no Solution in Europe‏

A Million Migrants, a Million Lives, Still no Solution in Europe‏

Deflated dinghies, discarded life-jackets and a dead toddler washed up on a beach. The reality of the refugee crisis in Europe has been captured from every angle. The tragic stories of death, desperation and survival and the response to refugees … read more

Geneva remains on alert – Two arrested.

Geneva remains on alert - Two arrested.

Swiss police have arrested two people with Syrian passports and found traces of potential bomb-making chemicals in a car as security remains high around Geneva amid a terrorism alert and a hunt for suspects, authorities said Saturday. Authorities have been … read more

What to do against ISIS? Congress largely agrees, Obama doesn’t

What to do against ISIS? Congress largely agrees, Obama doesn't

Put aside the rhetoric, and Republicans and Democrats in Congress have a broadly similar worldview about how to take on ISIS. But rhetoric matters. And so does President Obama. Since the Paris terrorist attacks and now the San Bernardino shootings, … read more

Majority of World is on Putin’s Side Because US Abandoned Europe

Majority of World is on Putin’s Side Because US Abandoned Europe

Obama’s promise not to send any boots on the ground goes against the actions that the US government wants to take. Scott Bennett – former US Army officer and counterterrorism analyst spoke in an exclusive interview with Sputnik regarding this … read more