Friday, July 19, 2024

NEW TROUBLES LOOM FOR PORTUGAL AND THE EU


Portugal and other EU countries are now quietly but increasingly concerned about the prospect of Donald Trump returning as president of the United States and “tearing Europe apart.”

Portugal has always fully endorsed the US and European countries  giving large quantities of weapons to Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s occupation.

Portugal has always fully supported the European Union, and also the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), of which it was a founding member.

Donald Trump says he intends to immediately end the war in Ukraine and give Russia victory by stopping support for Ukraine. He has shown little interest in continuing America’s close bonds with the European Union, or with continuing ties with NATO.

The other main worries for Portugal and the rest of Europe are that the US will side firmly with Israel rather than a two-state solution with Palestine, complicated by billions of dollars/euros in cross-Atlantic trade relations, and ignore efforts to counter the climate crisis.

The good news in recent days has been that representatives from Portugal and 50 other European countries attended a private summit in England in which the newly elected British prime minister vowed to “reset” relations with the EU shattered by Brexit.

Also, the moderate Ursula Von der Leyen has been voted by a substantial majority to serve a second term as president of the EU Commission. The former Portuguese prime minister, Antonio Costa, is now well entrenched as president of the EU Council. And in Portugal, the main opposition centre-left Socialist Party has proposed having negotiations with the new centre-right government “in good faith” about next year’s budget.

However, the Europe being “torn apart” prediction is likely to be of increasing worry for Portugal and the rest of the continent. “This is the moment most of Europe’s leaders hoped they would never see,” reports the much respected American digital news company Politico. “The date is November 7, 2024.”

The Politico report continued: “The former reality TV star’s return to power would not only be the biggest test in transatlantic relations in post-war history, but it could also pose an existential risk to European unity as the tensions over how to work with the world’s most powerful country pull the continent apart”.  



Friday, July 12, 2024


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Friday, July 5, 2024

UK may "soften" EU relationship



Keir Stamer, UK's new prime minister


The United Kingdom’s soured relationship with the European Union since the Brexit referendum eight years ago could improve somewhat with Britain’s new Labour government led by Sir Keir Starmer. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the EU’s current relationship with its closest partner, the United States, in the lead up to its November election. 

 

The EU hardly got a mention from either the centre-left Labour or right-wing Conservative parties during the run-up to the British election, which gave Labour a landslide victory. The Conservatives, who had been in power for 14 years, fully endorsed the outcome of the Brexit referendum, which resulted in just short of 52% of voters choosing “leave”. Many do not regret that result even though it bitterly divided the nation, and has led to a serious economic downturn.

 

Portugal, historically the UK’s oldest ally, is an unequivocal supporter of the EU and was shocked by Brexit. While Britain’s Labour Party opposed Brexit, it agreed to “uphold the wishes of the British people.” 

 

Labour avoided the subject during this year’s election campaign and manifesto for fear of upsetting disaffected Conservative pro-Brexiteers they wanted to swing their way. However, Starmer has said that under his leadership he will not try to fully rejoin the EU, but will seek to soften the unpleasant relationship that has developed. 

 

This is viewed as of special importance to the EU as the bloc is still the UK’s largest trading partner. There are common problems too, such as tackling the high rate of illegal immigration. 

 

The EU may not maintain its close partnership with the United States unless Joe Biden steps down and is replaced by a much more competent Democratic Party presidential candidate for the November election. His age and recent follies make him much less likely to win the presidential race against Donald Trump. A return to the White House by Trump is widely predicted to be disastrous, not only for the EU but much of the whole world due to his attitude to such things as NATO, the war in Ukraine and the existential global warming crisis.