Mike Peacock

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After dozens of world leaders including Muslim and Jewish statesmen linked arms and led more than a million French citizens on a march through Paris, Europe has both security and social problems to face following last week’s Islamist attacks.

One of the top concerns of security services in Europe is that disaffected citizens return from places like Syria, Iraq or Yemen having been taught how to fight and kill.

Both brothers who carried out the attack against satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo travelled to Yemen via Oman in 2011 and had weapons training in an al Qaeda stronghold, Yemeni sources said.

Politically, this is huge for European governments as they try to balance freedom of movement and speech with security against a growing backdrop of disenchantment with immigration which could spill over into anti-Muslim sentiment.…  Seguir leyendo »

Euro zone finance ministers meet in Brussels to discuss member states’ 2015 budget plans. We know the European Commission thinks France, Italy and Belgium are breaking EU deficit rules but will defer decisions on any action until March. At that point, France could face a multi-billion euro fine and Italy and Belgium be put on a disciplinary programme.

In an interview with German daily Die Welt, Germany’s Angela Merkel called on Italy and France to take steps to rectify their budgets ahead of the March deadline.
Sandro Gozi, Italian undersecretary for EU affairs, said Merkel should focus on German domestic demand, its lack of investment and its giant current account surplus.…  Seguir leyendo »

Greece’s government will resume stalled talks with EU/IMF lenders in Paris today as Athens pushes to make an early exit from an unpopular bailout programme.

Greece has set a Dec. 8 deadline to complete the review but talks hit an impasse a projected budget gap for next year, putting a question mark over the coalition government’s timetable.

Athens has so far resisted changes demanded by the inspectors, submitting its 2015 budget to parliament last week without the approval of lenders. But Prime Minister Antonis Samaras needs a deal.

He must push through his candidate in a presidential vote in February to avoid being forced to call early elections and is hoping exiting the bailout will help win him enough support to survive the vote.…  Seguir leyendo »

As predicted, Britain’s surging anti-EU party UKIP snatched a second parliamentary seat from the ruling Conservatives overnight.

The defeat is a nasty blow for Prime Minister David Cameron who paid a number of trips to the southern England constituency of Rochester and Strood to campaign personally.

UKIP’s first by-election win was in a seat almost tailor-made for it to thrive but this one would in the normal course of events have been viewed as a relatively safe Conservative seat. Of the 650 parliamentary constituencies in Britain, UKIP listed it as only 271 on its hit list.

As the victorious Mark Reckless – who defected to UKIP from the Conservatives – said after taking 42 percent of the vote to the Conservatives’ 35: “If we can win here, we can win across the country.”…  Seguir leyendo »