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The Brief, powered by Burson-Marsteller: 'Flexible solidarity' is Europe a la carte

 
 

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EurActiv | The Brief
 

Today's EU policy & news, 19.09.2016, 5PM

 
 

'Flexible solidarity' is Europe à la carte

By James Crisp

Crack open the champagne. Not to celebrate the first ever edition of The Brief. Instead, salute the birth of ‘flexible solidarity’ – the latest, ghastliest example of EU indecision and doublespeak.

Flexible solidarity – an oxymoron as glaring as ‘military intelligence’ – means countries can pick and choose when to stand together. Another translation? We will bend over backwards to keep migrants out of our country.

Flexible solidarity is the Visegrad countries’ alternative to the mandatory quota for re-homing refugees across the EU that the Commission has championed, at least until now.

While Visegrad leaders vow there can be no Europe à la carte on the free movement of EU citizens, that’s exactly what they want on the movement of migrants.

During last week’s State of the Union speech, Juncker admitted solidarity had to come from the heart, that it had to be voluntary.

Language matters when the EU talks refugees – just ask Angela Merkel and the AFD.

Some migrants are more equal than others.  An 'irregular’ or ‘economic’ migrant can expect harsher treatment than one “asking for international protection”.

At the European Commission, where officials dance around the legalities of its dodgy deal with Turkey, migrants are never ‘deported’, they are only ‘returned’.

The executive today denied flexible solidarity was Europe à la carte, but Juncker’s speech has opened the door to the Visegrad countries.

Now they will do their best to lock it shut behind them.


This Brief is powered by Burson-Marsteller.


 
 

THE ROUND-UP

Günther Oettinger gets bad press. But he’s now receiving unexpected praise for his overhaul of EU telecoms laws. We look beyond the gaffes to tell the story of how the Commissioner's transformation surprised us all.

No PR problems for the much-adored Margrethe Vestager. But could her decision to investigate a French energy company for tax avoidance, announced during her visit to Washington, be designed to head off accusations of anti-US bias ?

Happy first birthday Dieselgate scandal! Did you know that all major diesel cars emit far higher levels of pollution than shamed VW?  Or that the European Investment Bank may have paid for rigged emissions tests?

What will a Trump presidency and an ever-more isolationist Britain mean for Europe and NATO? France, fresh from its Mali success, can take the lead on defence, but it doesn’t want to lead alone.

The Commission today complained it didn’t deserve to be embroiled in a YouTube scandal over alleged censorship of interview questions for Juncker.  It can expect yet more misery after German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel’s 6PM presser on TTIP.

It is the 70th anniversary of Churchill’s United States of Europe speech. The Commission wisely wouldn’t say whether Winston would be a Brexiteer or Remaniac.


 
 

LOOK OUT FOR...

20 Sept: Google absolutely must respond to the Commission accusation it is using mobile devices to strengthen its dominance in internet search. They’ve already had two extensions.

20-22 Sept: UN General Assembly, New York: Donald Tusk will attend a UN meeting on the migration crisis, stressing the need for “global solutions”.


 

 

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