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European Union Insists APC Won In 2015 Election |The Republican News

European-Union

European Union and Flags

From AIDOGHIE PAULINUS, Abuja

The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) for the 2015 Nigerian Election, has insisted that no centralised systemic fraud was observed in the conduct of the March 28, and April 11 2015 elections.

The EU said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), made commendable attempts to strengthen electoral arrangements, noting that systemic weakness left the process vulnerable to abuse by political contenders.

Presenting its final report on the 2015 elections in Abuja, Member of European Parliament and the Chief Observer of the EU EOM for the 2015 General Elections, Mr Santiago Ayxela Fisas, said in spite of the commendable efforts, procedural shortcomings abound.

“Procedural shortcomings were evident, in particular, during collation and from analysis of polling unit results. However, no centralised systemic fraud was observed,” the EU EOM said in its Executive Summary of the report.

“On 28 March election day, voters displayed commendable commitment. Overall in sites visited, polling passed peacefully with appropriate performance by security forces, although over 19 killings were reported.

“Generally, the process may be characterised as disordered and prolonged. Although polling procedures were insufficiently followed, EU EOM observers saw no evidence of systematic manipulations.

“On 11 April election day, there were increased security incidents, with at least 30 people killed, predominantly from inter-party clashes and attacks on election sites, with problems being most pronounced in Rivers and Akwa Ibom states. Again, EU EOM observers saw no evidence of centralised systematic fraud,” the EU insisted.

The report further said INEC gained credibility since the appointment of its former chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, in 2010.

The EU however said it was not clear to what extent INEC had been reformed, even as it said that during the 2015 elections, INEC appeared to have performed impartially in challenging circumstances.

“However, given the insufficient requirements for transparency and full public accountability, as well as a lack of full institutional independence, the election administration remains vulnerable to partisan operations and/or weak delivery that risks exploitation by parties,” It added.

The report took a swipe at the government-owned National Television Authority (NTA) and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), saying that the two leading media networks with the widest coverage provided extensive exposure to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its officials.

In its recommendations, the EU EOM called for the establishment of a more inclusive parliamentary mechanism for cross-party involvement in the selection and approval of the INEC chairperson and national commissioners.

It also said INEC’s independence should be further developed through direct power to appoint and remove Resident Electoral Commissioners.

The EU also said after a thorough review of the 2010/2014 registration processes, there should be an elaborate plan for developing and maintaining the voter register to include improving biometric functionality, removal of the deceased, and extended enrolment of new registrants.

Such processes, the EU EOM added, should be subjected to stronger INEC supervisory checks with greater scrutiny from agents, observers and the media.   (The Sun)

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Brexit: Britain Gets ‘No Deal’ As Punishment For Leaving And Not The Reward |RN

jedwards@businessinsider.com (Jim Edwards)
    © Getty Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

* Many pro-Leave people believe “no deal is better than a bad deal.”

* They’re wrong: “No deal” is the worst-possible deal Britain could get.

* Article 50 is structured like a trap in order to deliver a “no deal” scenario to any country that dares to leave the EU.

* Theresa May and Philip Hammond seem to be belatedly waking up to the fact that threatening to walk away without a deal is a really bad idea.

LONDON — This week, Peter J. North, the editor of the Leave Alliance blog, outlined how fantastic he thinks post-Brexit Britain will be, once the UK finally gets out of the EU in 2019:

“We can the expect to see a major rationalisation of the NHS and what functions it will perform. It will be more of a skeleton service than ever. I expect they will have trouble staffing it. Economic conditions more than any immigration control will bring numbers down to a trickle.

“In every area of policy a lot of zombie projects will be culled and the things that survive on very slender justifications will fall. We can also expect banks to pull the plug in under-performing businesses. Unemployment will be back to where it was in the 80’s.

“… Anyone who considers themselves ‘Just about managing’ right now will look upon this time as carefree prosperity. There are going to be a lot of very p***** off people.

“… Effectively we are looking at a ten-year recession. Nothing ever experienced by those under 50.”

“Admittedly this is not the Brexit I was gunning for.”

Theresa May                © Provided by Business Insider UK Theresa May

He is still in favour of Brexit, he adds. “Admittedly this is not the Brexit I was gunning for. I wanted a negotiated settlement to maintain the single market so that we did not have to be substantially poorer.”

The problem is that, like a lot of Leavers, North wasn’t banking on the government choosing “no deal” — and thus no access to the Single Market — as its main strategy. In fact, until recently, “no deal” was regarded as the worst possible outcome for precisely the fears that North describes.

Yet in the last few months, “no deal” seems to be the government’s target policy.

Back in May, Theresa May fought the general election with a Conservative manifesto that said: “no deal is better than a bad deal” for the UK in the Brexit negotiations with the EU.

The idea behind that phrase is that during the Article 50 negotiations Britain’s chief weapon would be the prime minister’s ability to get up from the table and walk away as if this were the thing that Europe fears most.

What if all the planes stopped flying?

But as her chancellor, Philip Hammond, said yesterday, “no deal” is an empty threat: The uncertainty of Brexit is already dragging down the British economy, and “it is theoretically conceivable that in a ‘no deal’ scenario there will be no air traffic moving between the UK and the European Union on March 29th, 2019.”

He called that a “realistic worst-case scenario.”

Philip Hammond                  © Provided by Business Insider UK Philip Hammond

There are millions of hardcore Leavers out there who actually want this. They think “hard Brexit” is the best Brexit, and they are actively urging the government to leave with no deal. They think “no deal” is some sort of threat that the EU is trying to avoid.

Wrong.

“No deal” is not our backup threat to the EU. It’s the worst possible outcome for the UK.

No deal involves no access to the Single Market, tariffs and taxes on UK exports, restrictions on British people travelling and working in Europe, and major cross-national employers leaving Britain in order to maintain their ties to the much larger European market. There are almost no economic advantages to “no deal,” only the political advantage of not being bound by European law. (And even then, if we want to trade with Europe after Brexit, our exports will have to obey their laws.) It will shave several points off GDP growth, which right now is so weak that would mean a recession.

No deal is the bad deal.

It is the punishment Brexit. It is the deterrent to leaving, not the reward. “No deal” is what the EU wants “pour encourager les autres.”

“I think we should be aiming a tad higher than avoiding death”

May again referenced “no deal is better than a bad deal” in her Florence speech, in which she talked about “our preparations for our life outside the European Union – with or without what I hope will be a successful deal.” (Emphasis added.) But she went on to say, “Let us open our minds to the possibility. To a new era of cooperation and partnership between the United Kingdom and the European Union. And to a stronger, fairer, more prosperous future for us all. For that is the prize if we get this negotiation right.”

May was possibly hinting that she understands that “no deal is better than a bad deal” is like putting a gun to your head and shouting “stop or I’ll shoot!” The tactic is especially dumb when you understand that the Article 50 negotiation process is essentially structured like a trap, precisely in order to deliver a “no deal” scenario to any country that dares to leave the EU.

It will take several more months, and perhaps some grim job losses in Leave-voting constituencies, and among farmers, before Brexiteers realise just how wrong “no deal” can go.

Charlie Mullins, the extravagantly coiffed plumbing empire boss, said it best this week:

“The simple fact is that half a loaf is always better than starving to death, although personally, I think we should be aiming a tad higher than avoiding death.”

NOW SEE: Brexit blunder – how May walked straight into the EU’s Article 50 trap

                              © Business Insider

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EU Condemns, Cautions Nigerian Military, Rejects Declaration Of IPOB As Terrorist Organisation

Jean-claude-Junker-on-Nigerian-military

By Okolie
Following the brutal and inhuman video of the Nigerian army against the invasion, terrorism, and killings of IPOB members, which has been going viral over the internet. The president of the EU commission Mr Jean-Claude Junker has openly made a serious touching statement as well as warning the Nigerian security personnel against their ill-hearted and unprofessionalism in handling democratic issues and the rights of the people… Junker directed a serious caution towards the Nigerian Military chiefs stating that they must employ every democratic tenet in handling issues that concerns disgruntle and agitations.

“It is the people’s right to agitate and make a request from their government, self-determination is a right enshrined in the United Nations Charter. The people of BIAFRA have every right to request for a referendum, they have been in this struggle for a while now they have never killed or shot a bullet instead they are the victims of attacks and murder. The entire EU hereby condemn the brutal attack on IPOB members and leadership under the pretentious disguise of a military exercise (Operation Python Dance) Nigerian military is warned to adopt democratic tenets in handling citizens. The EU will not sit and watch things go undemocratic in the largest economy of the West African region

Furthermore, Mr Junker has promised to raise the issues concerning the people’s request for a REFERENDUM among the caucus of the EU. He further stated that the Biafra request for a referendum is no different from that of the Catalonians and the Britain. Nigeria government must rise above insubordination and handle issues with every tenet of maturity and democracy.

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Net Migration To UK Falls To lowest For Three Years As EU Citizens Leave |RN

By PA Reporters
(Steve Parsons/PA)               © Provided by The Press Association (Steve Parsons/PA)  

Net migration to the UK has fallen to the lowest level for three years after a surge in the number of EU nationals leaving the country.

Official estimates show the overall measure – the difference between arrivals and departures – was at 246,000 in the year to the end of March, a fall of 81,000 compared with the previous 12 months.

The Office for National Statistics said more than half of the change can be accounted for by a 51,000 decrease in net migration of EU citizens.

Emigration of EU citizens increased by 33,000 year on year to 122,000 – the highest outflow for nearly a decade.

There was a particularly sharp rise, of 17,000, in departures of citizens from the so-called EU8 countries which joined the union in 2004 – Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

At the same time, there was a 19,000 decrease in immigration from the EU, although this was not “statistically significant”.

Nicola White, head of international migration statistics at the ONS, said: “We have seen a fall in net migration driven by an increase in emigration, mainly for EU citizens and in particular EU8 citizens, and a decrease in immigration across all groups.

“International migration for work remains the most common reason for migration with people becoming increasingly likely to move to the UK or overseas only with a definite job than to move looking for work.

“These results are similar to 2016 estimates and indicate that the EU referendum result may be influencing people’s decision to migrate into and out of the UK, particularly EU and EU8 citizens.

“It is too early to tell if this is an indication of a long-term trend.”

Net long-term migration estimates reflect the balance between the numbers coming to the UK or leaving for at least 12 months.

The overall figure of 246,000, which includes migration from outside the EU, is the lowest since the year ending March 2014.

EU net migration was estimated at 127,000 in the year to March, a dip of 51,000 in the previous 12 months.

The figure for the rest of the world was also down, by 14,000, to 179,000.

Separate population figures for 2016 revealed that the number of Polish nationals living in the UK has passed the one million mark for the first time.

Last year around one in seven residents were born abroad, and one in 11 had a non-British nationality.

Another dataset released on Thursday showed that more than a quarter (28.2%) of births in England and Wales were to women born outside the UK, the highest level on record.

Statisticians said that despite an overall decline in the number of births between 2015 and 2016, births to mothers born overseas increased by 2.1% as foreign-born women make up an increasing share of the female population of childbearing age.

Brent in north-west London was the local authority area with the highest percentage of births to non-UK-born women, at more than three quarters (76.0%).   (Press Association)

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Free Movement Of People To End In March 2019, PM’s Spokesman Says |RN

UK Border control             © Reuters UK Border control  

Free movement of EU citizens to Britain will end when the country leaves the EU in March 2019, Downing Street has said, moving to contain a Cabinet row over immigration after Brexit.

As senior ministers appeared to contradict each other for days over the issue, Theresa May’s spokesman insisted there is “broad agreement” on the Government to make Brexit as smooth as possible.

The spokesman said that proposals for a new immigration system after Brexit will be brought forward “in due course” and added: “It would be wrong to speculate on what these might look like or suggest that free movement will continue as it is now.”

With Mrs May away on a three-week holiday break, tensions have heightened among the Conservatives.

Divisions burst into the open after Chancellor Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd said they backed transitional arrangements after the UK leaves the bloc, suggesting EU migration could continue.

Mr Hammond said last week that there should be no immediate change to immigration rules when Britain leaves the bloc, adding that there would be a registration system in place for people coming to work in the UK during the transitional period.

But in an interview with The Sunday Times, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said that any such move would “not keep the faith” with the referendum result.

He said the Cabinet had not agreed on a stance on immigration.

And a spokesman for Boris Johnson was forced to dismiss a suggestion that the Foreign Secretary was considering quitting the Government in protest at the way Brexit was being handled.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said the Foreign Secretary was “doing an excellent job”.

He said details of a post-Brexit implementation period were a matter for negotiations, he added, but Britain is not seeking an “off-the-shelf” solution.

According to the Financial Times, Mr Hammond told business leaders that he hoped for an “off-the-shelf” transition deal with Brussels to maintain current trading relations with Europe for at least two years after Brexit.

Number 10’s comments came as Cabinet ministers Jeremy Hunt and Sir Michael Fallon sought to play down reports of a Cabinet split.

Mr Fallon, taking part in Passchendaele memorial events in Ypres, said the issue of immigration policy during a transitional deal would be “one of the details” for the Brexit negotiations.

He told Sky News: “All of us, whichever way we vote back in the referendum, we are determined to make a success of us leaving the European Union,” adding that “you mustn’t believe everything you read in the newspapers.”

Mr Hunt, the Health Secretary, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the Cabinet was “completely united”.   (Sky News)

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Man Who Ran The Leave Campaign Admits Brexit Could ‘Be An Error’

Dan Dominic Cummings said: "In some possible branches of the future leaving will be an error"<br />© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Dominic Cummings said: “In some possible branches of the future leaving will be an error”
 

The man behind the Vote Leave campaign has admitted Brexit could “be an error” and holding the referendum in the first place was a “dumb idea.”

Dominic Cummings, the brains behind the infamous pledge of £350million a week for the NHS, said some possible outcomes of leaving the EU would leave Britain worse off.

Writing on Twitter, he said there were “more possible branches” of the future which made it a good idea.

But he said “other things should have been tried first” before launching a referendum on leaving the EU.

Asked if anything could happen that would make him wish Leave hadn’t won, he replied: “Lots! I said before REF was a dumb idea, other things have been tried 1st. In some possible branches of the future leaving will be an error.”

Vote Leave was behind oversimplified "lies" during the Brexit campaign... (Photo: REUTERS)<br /><br />© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Vote Leave was behind oversimplified “lies” during the Brexit campaign… (Photo…

 

Lib Dem leader Tim Farron declared: “Dominic Cummings has let the cat out of the bag.

“This is the man who slapped the £350million NHS lie on the side of the bus who is now saying leaving the EU could be a mistake.”

James McGrory, executive director of the pro-EU Open Britain campaign, added: “He could have plastered ‘it’s a dumb idea and there will be less money for the NHS’ on the side of a big red bus.

“It would have inserted some reality into the Leave campaign.

“Leading Leave campaigners now seek to blame everyone else for the Brexit mess, but they are as guilty as a puppy sitting next to a pile of poo.”

... but he complained his argument was being over-simplified (Photo: Getty)<br />© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc … but he complained his argument was being over-simplified (Photo: Getty)

 

Mr Cummings rarely appeared publicly but was the campaign director of Vote Leave, the official Brexit campaign which spent around £7million in the EU referendum.

Vote Leave’s now-infamous battle bus said: “We send the EU £350million a week – let’s fund our NHS instead.”

One poster promoted by Boris Johnson went even further, saying: “Let’s give our NHS the £350million the EU takes every week.”

The claim emerged as a sham when analysis for Chancellor Philip Hammond estimated extra borrowing due to Brexit would cost £58.7bn over five years – £226million a week.

Despite his tweet, Mr Cummings has insisted “I did not say ‘ Brexit bad'”.

After he was accused of saying Brexit was a mistake, the man behind such slogans as “Turkey (population 76million) is joining the EU” complained his argument was being oversimplified.

He then tried to explain it using quantum mechanics instead. (The Mirror)

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Brexit: Minister Appointed To Negotiate Britain’s Withdrawal Wants EU ‘Wholly Torn Down’

Joe Watts, Tom Embury-Dennis

         © Provided by Independent Print Limited

The newest member of Theresa May’sBrexit negotiating team has been filmed calling for the destruction of the European Union, The Independent can reveal.

In a speech to a right-wing think tank, minister Steve Baker said the EU should be “wholly torn down”, before branding it an “obstacle” to world peace and “incompatible” with a free society.

Tory MPs warned Mr Baker’s appointment could now risk the UK’s ability to secure good Brexit terms, while Labour said it was “extraordinary” and raised a major question about the Prime Minister’s judgement.

The comments are likely to prove embarrassing for Ms May as she heads into meetings with European leaders this week, including Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron.

In the video, Mr Baker tells a cheering audience: “I think Ukip and the Better Off Out campaign lack ambition. I think the European Union needs to be wholly torn down.”

Filmed at an event by The Libertarian Alliance in 2010, he goes on to argue that the EU has “succeeded in raising economic nationalism to a continental scale”.

The Wycombe MP, who played a lead role in the Leave campaign, adds: “It was meant to defeat economic nationalism, it is therefore a failure in its own terms.

“If we wish to devolve power to the lowest possible level, make it accountable and move on into a free society, then it’s clearly incompatible.

“What I want is free trade and peace among all the nations of Europe as well as the world and in my view the European Union is an obstacle to that.”

The cabinet and wider Tory party is split over the EU, with many MPs pushing a weakened Prime Minister for a more jobs-focussed approach to withdrawal, while Brexiteers are said to have threatened resignations if she changes tack.

Backbench Tories have also said they are working with other parties to try and soften the hardline approach to Brexit Ms May took into the election.

After seeing the video, one Conservative MP told The Independent: “It just reveals what the extreme Brexiteers have been about all along.

“It’s not enough to take the UK out of the EU. They want the entire thing to fall apart.

“How is it possible to negotiate a ‘deep and special relationship’ with the EU, when you have ministers who want the institutions they are negotiating with to disintegrate?”

Another MP said: “This is only going to further embitter relations. It doesn’t help our chances of getting a deal.”

Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer, who has called for a more co-operative approach to Brexit, said: “there should be no place” for Mr Baker’s views at the Department for Exiting the European Union.

He added: “It is extraordinary that Theresa May has put such an extreme Brexiteer at the heart of the Government.

“This poses real questions about her judgement and the Government’s desire to build the collaborative, cooperative future partnership we need with the EU.”

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake attacked Ms May for appointing a Brexit minister “dedicated to destroying the EU”.

The issue will hang over the Prime Minister as she meets German Chancellor Ms Merkel and French President Mr Macron at the G20 in Hamburg on Friday, whom she has both assured the UK wants a “deep and special relationship” with the EU.

On the same day Brexit Secretary David Davis is inviting jittery business leaders to Chevening in a bid to convince them discussions are in good hands and EU withdrawal will not damage their hope of future trade with the bloc.

A spokesman for Mr Baker said he now “supports the Government’s position and that is why he was happy to take up a ministerial position.”

He was taken on in the post-election reshuffle as Ms May desperately attempted to shore up her position with MPs livid that she had botched the election campaign and lost her party’s majority.

He brought with him the backing of a large swathe of the Tory backbenches – he was chair of Conservatives for Britain, a 50-strong group of Tories who fought Leave, and then went on to run the European Research Group, a pro-Brexit backbench organisation.

The reshuffle which brought him in saw half the ministerial team at Dexeu replaced, with one sacked and another, George Bridges, walking out after it was claimed he became “convinced Brexit couldn’t work”.

Earlier this year, Mr Baker compiled a list of 27 Tory colleagues he claimed were considering voting for changes to Ms May’s Brexit plans, accusing them of seeking to overturn the referendum.

At the time, Mr Baker said: “This is a time to unite behind a democratic result, not plot to repudiate it. Any vote to amend this simple bill is a vote against implementation of the referendum result.”

Mr Baker is also under pressure to reveal his links to a group that donated £435,000 to the DUP to campaign for Brexit during last year’s referendum.

The MP was handed £6,500 by the obscure Constitutional Research Council, the body which used a legal loophole to channel the money to the DUP. (The Independent)

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Six European Countries Deport 34 Nigerians For Violating Immigration Laws

Nigeria-immigration-service

By Louis Ibah  

Thirty-four Nigerians arrived in the country yesterday after they were deported from six European countries for violating their immigration laws.

The Nigerians were deported from Switzerland, Germany, Iceland, Austria, Belgium and Hungary.

The deportees arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMlA) Lagos, at about 6.30am on board a chartered Airblue Panorama aircraft.

 They were received by officers of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the Police. The deportees comprised 32 males and two females. 

Spokesman of the Lagos Airport Police Command, DSP Joseph Alabi, confirmed the deportation to Aviation Correspondents. 

The deportees allegedly committed immigration-related offences in their host countries, such as over staying their entry visas. Proper profiling of the deportees was first done by officials of the Nigerian Immigration Services to ascertain their identities as Nigerians before they were subsequently freed to enter the country. Some of the deportees even had their relations at the airport waiting to pick them up.  (The Sun)   

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Following Trump’s Trip, Merkel Says Europe Can’t Rely On The United States

 

Michael Birnbaum, Rick Noack
German Chancellor Angela Merkel flanked by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Trump.© Jonathan Ernst/Reuters German Chancellor Angela Merkel flanked by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Trump.  

LONDON — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday declared a new chapter in U.S.-European relations after contentious meetings with President Trump last week, saying that Europe “really must take our fate into our own hands.”

It was the toughest review yet of Trump’s trip to Europe, which inflamed tensions rather than healed them after the U.S. president sparred with the leaders of Washington’s closest and oldest allies on trade, defense and climate change.

Merkel, Europe’s de facto leader, told a packed beer hall rally in Munich that the days when her continent could rely on others was “over to a certain extent. This is what I have experienced in the last few days.”

The comments came as Europe watches Britain preparing to leave the European Union and faces antagonism from Washington.

Merkel said that Europe’s move toward self-reliance should be carried out “of course in friendship with the United States of America, in friendship with Great Britain and as good neighbors wherever that works.”

It was an unusually stark declaration from the normally cautious head of Europe’s most powerful economy, and a grim take on the transatlantic ties that have underpinned Western security in the generations since World War II. Although relations between Washington and Europe have been strained at times since 1945, before Trump there has rarely been such a strong feeling from European leaders that they must turn away from Washington and prepare to face the world alone.

The German leader received a minute-long ovation for her comments, which came as she seeks to whip up voter support ahead of September elections. Although her message was partly aimed at her electorate, it was a measure of how badly relations have deteriorated with Trump’s United States that hitting Washington might win votes, while working with it could be perilous.

The remarks were a clear repudiation of Trump’s troubled few days with European leaders, even as Merkel held back from mentioning the U.S. president by name. On Thursday, Trump had harsh words for German trade behind closed doors. Hours later, he blasted European leaders at NATO for failing to spend enough on defense, while holding back from offering an unconditional guarantee for European security. Then, at the Group of Seven summit of leaders of major world economies on Friday and Saturday, he refused to endorse the Paris agreement on combating climate change, punting a decision until this week.

Merkel’s comments were similar to some she made shortly before Trump’s inauguration in January. But they carry extra heft now that Trump is in office — and after Trump had a days-long opportunity to reset relations. Instead, by most European accounts, he strained them even more.

“The belief in shared values has been shattered by the Trump administration,” said Stephan Bierling, an expert on transatlantic relations at Germany’s University of Regensburg. “After the inauguration, everyone in Europe was hopeful that Trump would become more moderate and take into account the positions of the G-7 and of NATO. But the opposite has happened. It’s as if he is still trying to win a campaign.”

Trump, who returned from his nine-day international trip Saturday, had a different take.

“Just returned from Europe. Trip was a great success for America. Hard work but big results!” Trump wrote on Sunday, reviving a prolific Twitter habit that had slackened during his days on the road.

But many European leaders emerged from their meetings with Trump filled with fresh worry. Trump was far more solicitous toward the autocratic king of Saudi Arabia earlier in the week, telling him and other leaders of Muslim-majority countries — many of them not democratically elected — that he was not “here to lecture.” Days later in Brussels he offered a scathing assessment of Washington’s closest allies, saying they were being “unfair” to American taxpayers.

The practical consequences of the rift remain uncertain. The United States remains the largest economy in the world, and its military is indispensable for European security, putting a clear limit on Europe’s ability to declare independence. American consumers also form an important market for European products — including the German BMWs that Trump complained about in closed-door meetings in Brussels, according to German press accounts.

Nor is Europe united in its approach to Trump: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has cracked down on critics at home, has embraced the U.S. leader. British Prime Minister Theresa May also has tried to maintain ties, though that’s in part because she needs partners as she leads her country out of the European Union.

Yet even as Merkel positions herself ahead of the election, the message could be the signal of a shift away from the United States, perhaps even one that could outlast Trump’s time in office, and that would weaken U.S. global power over the long term. European leaders are developing plans to deepen military cooperation independently of the United States. They are also reaching out to economic partners in Asia that Trump has spurned. All of those shifts will have consequences that extend years, analysts say.

Cliff Kupchan, chairman of the Eurasia Group of analysts, said Trump’s performance in Europe left wounds that could come back to haunt the United States.

“Trump is creating the biggest transatlantic rift since the Iraq War, perhaps even since WWII,” he said in an email. “This leaves the U.S. exposed. If the Iran nuclear accord flounders, for example, Europe may well not end up on Trump’s side of a dangerous crisis.”

Conservative Trump critic William Kristol, who edits the Weekly Standard magazine, wrote on Twitter: “Merkel’s comments today are a reminder that Trump’s failures are, while he’s president, also America’s failure, and damage America.”

The landslide election in France of President Emmanuel Macron this month has revived hopes for Franco-German cooperation on efforts to bolster European defense initiatives. European leaders want to coordinate defense purchasing and do more to have standing military capabilities that are deployable outside NATO command structures, where the United States is the dominant force.

Germany raised its military spending by $2.2 billion this year, to $41 billion, though it remains far from being able to stand on its own militarily.

Merkel and Macron have vowed to work together to further the pro-globalization agenda that Trump stands against.

Merkel’s comments were not the only sign Sunday of a Europe determined to hit back. Macron acknowledged that he came prepared for his handshake with Trump, who likes to throw others off balance with a firm yank of the arm. Macron appeared to force Trump to keep shaking hands even after the U.S. leader tried to disengage.

“We must show that we will not make small concessions, even symbolic ones,” Macron told France’s Journal du Dimanche in remarks published Sunday. He called it “a moment of truth.”  (The Washington Post)

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Trump To Meet Macron In Brussels On 25 May |The Republican News

“President Trump has made his wish known to work extensively with the elected president Macron to meet shared challenges. He also emphasized the long and strong tradition of cooperation between the US and its oldest ally, France,”.

Trump had  congratulated Macron on Sunday in a tweet for his “big victory”.

According to his spokesman Sean Spicer, Trump on Monday also called the French president-elect to congratulate him.               (BELGA)

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