Catalan Former VP on Trial for Rebellion, and God Emperor Trump

European News Roundup 15/02/19

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EU, Britain, France, Italy, Poland

Italy

EU Leader calls Italian PM “Puppet”

Belgian MEP and European Parliament stalwart Guy Verhofstadt infuriated the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte after he accused him of being a puppet of his Five Star Movement deputies in government. In a heated exchange, Conte hit back, saying that he and his country had been insulted.

Conte, an independent, leads a coalition government with the nationalist Five Star Movement, the big hitters being Matteo Salvini and Luigi De Maio, who irked France by meeting with Yellow Vest Movement leaders in Frace. They are presiding over a Euroskeptic government, greatly irritating pro-EU leaders across Europe.

This is not the first time in the past few days that Verhofstadt has been incendiary. On the 12th, he warned that Brexiteers could end up on the guillotine like the leaders of the French Revolution. These outrageous attacks come as the European Elections approach. Let’s hope that the voters of Europe reject politicians who resent independence and self-government.

God Emperor Trump float unveiled at a festival in Tuscany

United States President Donald Trump has had a satirical float made of his likeness, inspired by the Warhammer 40,000 games, and paraded on the streets of Viareggio in the annual Carnavale. Creator Fabrizio Galli made it in order to protest Trump’s economic policy and the infamous “Space Force.”

Switzerland

Hackers rewarded for finding faults in the e-voting system

The Swiss government are trialing e-voting on a nationwide scale, and have offered up to 44,000 Euros to anyone who can hack into the system. During a dummy run of a Federal election period, hackers will be encouraged to discover the faults in the system in anticipation of real-life application. E-voting is already being used in a local capacity, but there still remains security concerns.

UK

Amendments put forward for Brexit delay, but the government refuses to rule out No Deal

Today a number of further amendments are being put to the House of Commons, many of them specifying that there will be an extension to Article 50, meaning Brexit will be delayed by up to 3 months. Theresa May is still trying to get her negotiated withdrawal bill through parliament. So far, no luck, but she has been back to the EU for talks, clarifications, and reassurances. The government still believe any further vote on the deal will be scuppered by ‘Tory rebels’, who want a more robust Brexit than is being offered.

In the House of Commons today though, Brexit Secretary Steve Barclay refused to rule out leaving the EU without a deal. As it stands, that is what will happen on the 29th March according to British law.

Islamic State schoolgirl wants to return to the UK because she’s pregnant

A pregnant schoolgirl who fled the UK with two friends to Syria wants to come back to the UK for the safety of her unborn child, who is to be born any day now. Four weeks after arriving in Syria, she married Dutch IS fighter Yago Riedijk. Although she claims to have lived a fairly normal life there, she fears for her safety. She has already lost two children to sickness.

It’s said there are many options for her return, provided that no evidence of a crime is found.

Spain

Catalan former Vice President on trial for “Rebellious” independence referendum

The former Vice Presiden of the Catalan government is on trial in Madrid for rebellion against the Spanish government in being one of the key figures in arranging the Catalonian independence referendum of October 2017. Oriol Junqueras says it’s a purely political attack, and that there is no evidence for implying that the referendum was a violent act. The Spanish government believes, in any case, that it is illegal.

The fact is, they’re a totalitarian government forcibly preventing peaceful secession. The Catalonians have a strong independent tradition with a definable culture, but Spain does not want them to secede for economic reasons. There is no moral justification for denying it. Junqueras and others involved in the referendum may face up to 25 years in prison for the crime of seeking independence.

Macedonia

Macedonia Finally Changes Name to North Macedonia

After a diplomatic battle ever since Macedonia’s declaration of independence after the collapse of Yugoslavia, the country’s name has finally been changed to North Macedonia. Greece has always had a problem with the name since the country has its own region called Macedonia. This deal will likely pave the way for more closely aligned relations between the two countries.

You can read more from James Smith on Think Liberty here.

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