Tag Archives: Europe

Emmanuel Macron and Pope talk poverty, migration and Europe in unusually long meeting 

Emmanuel Macron and Pope talk poverty, migration and Europe in unusually long meeting French President Emmanuel Macron, accused at home of straining France's secular foundations by seeking to mend ties with the Catholic Church, discussed Europe, migration and poverty in an unusually long meeting with Pope Francis on Tuesday. The two talked together for nearly an hour in the official papal library in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, about twice as long as Francis usually spends with heads of state or government. They discussed "protection of the environment, migration, and multilateral commitment to conflict prevention and resolution, especially in relation to disarmament," a Vatican statement said. They also spoke about prospects for resolving conflicts in the Middle East and Africa and the future of Europe, it said. At the end of the private part of the audience, Macron gave Francis a rare copy of Georges Bernanos 1936 book "Diary of a Country Priest". "I've read this book many times and it has done me good. It is a book that I have always loved very much," the pope told Macron, 40, who was accompanied in the public parts of the meeting by his wife Brigitte. Pope Francis insisted on the importance of tending to the poor amid claims by rivals of Emmanuel Macron that he is "the president of the rich". Credit: ALESSANDRA TARANTINO/AFP Francis gave Macron a medallion depicting Martin of Tours, a 4th century saint who is depicted cutting his cloak in half to give it to a beggar in winter. "This means the vocation of those who govern is to help the poor. We are all poor," Francis told Macron as he was giving him the medallion. Macron earned himself the nickname "president of the rich" in France after scrapping a wealth tax and cutting a popular housing allowance in the first year of his mandate, hurting his popularity with the working class. As Macron left the library, he and Francis exchanged a two-cheek kiss, another very unusual gesture between a pope and a visiting head of state. The Vatican was expected to issue a statement later on the themes discussed during the private talks. Two months ago, Macron called for stronger ties between the state and the Catholic Church, a move critics said blurred a line that has kept French government free of religious intervention for generations. Emmanuel Macron is at the Vatican at a time of tension between France and Italy over migrants Credit:  ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP The issue is particularly sensitive in historically Catholic France, where matters of faith and state were separated by law in 1905 and which is now home to Europe’s largest Muslim and Jewish communities. France’s guiding principles also hold that religious observance is a private matter, for all faiths. Macron was raised in a non-religious family and was baptized a Roman Catholic at his own request when he was 12. After leaving the Vatican he was installed as the "First and Only Honorary Canon" of the Rome Basilica of St John's in Lateran, which is the pope’s cathedral in his capacity as bishop of Rome. Under a tradition that began in the 15th century when France was a monarchy, French leaders are automatically given the title. Macron took his seat of honour in basilica's elaborately carved wooden choir stall to the applause of those in attendance, including members of the local French ex patriot community. 



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Trump July Europe trip to include Putin meeting: Bloomberg

Trump July Europe trip to include Putin meeting: BloombergRachel Maddow shares news from Bloomberg that Donald Trump will meet with Vladimir Putin next month around the time that he is schedule to travel to Europe.



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Defiant Merkel backs Europe migrant policy as Bavaria row simmers

Defiant Merkel backs Europe migrant policy as Bavaria row simmersBy Madeline Chambers BERLIN (Reuters) – Migrant policy requires a European solution, German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted on Saturday, ceding no ground in a showdown with her Bavarian allies that threatens her three-month-old coalition government. The row is over Merkel’s rejection of plans by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, from Bavaria, for Germany unilaterally to send back migrants who have registered in other European Union countries. In her weekly podcast, three days before talks between Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, the chancellor hammered home her stance: “This is a European challenge that also needs a European solution.



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Angela Merkel facing battle to save her coalition as immigration row splits Europe 

Angela Merkel facing battle to save her coalition as immigration row splits Europe Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is to hold last-ditch talks to save her coalition government this weekend amid a major European rift over migrant policy. The German chancellor is facing open rebellion from her interior minister, Horst Seehofer, over his plans to turn away migrants at the German border. Mrs Merkel has blocked the measure but Mr Seehofer is threatening to impose it unilaterally if he doesn’t win agreement by Monday – essentially daring the chancellor to sack him. As leader of her Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), Mr Seehofer could pull it out of Mrs Merkel’s coalition if he is fired, depriving her of a majority in parliament.  With both sides refusing to back down, German political commentators on Friday warned that the stand-off could potentially bring down the government, and even mean the end of Mrs Merkel’s term as chancellor.  On Friday, French president Emmanuel Macron came out in support of Mrs Merkel. "Countries are committed to the paths taken by their heads of state or government," the French president said, speaking at a press conference in Paris alongside Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.  Mr Macron also spoke out against the proposed hardline "axis" on migration formed this week by the interior ministers of Italy, Germany and Austria. France and Italy rowed this week over the fate of a ship carrying more than 600 migrants that was turned away from Italian ports Credit: Reuters “I don't trust these catchphrases which did not bring us luck in the course of history," he said. But the French president was at also pains to put on a united front with the leader of Italy's new populist government, after a week in which he had clashed over their hardline on immigration Mr Macron and Mr Conte called for the European Union to set up asylum processing centres in African nations which have seen an exodus towards Europe in recent years.  The Aquarius, the ship carrying more then 600 migrants that sparked the row between the two after Italy refused it permission to dock, is now on its way to the Spanish port of Valencia. In Germany, Wolfgang Schäuble, the speaker of parliament and Mrs Merkel’s former finance minister, is to mediate at talks this weekend in an attempt to find a compromise. “The end of Merkel’s chancellorship has never been so close,” Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper said in an editorial. Mrs Merkel’s 2015 decision to throw open Germany’s borders to migrants has suddenly and dramatically come back to haunt her.  At the heart of the dispute are Mr Seehofer’s plans to turn away migrants who have already registered in another European Union country at Germany’s borders. Under the EU’s Dublin rules, Germany can return migrants to the first EU member state they enter, but only after they apply for asylum in Germany, a time-consuming and expensive process. Mrs Merkel has so far blocked the proposals, arguing it could fatally undermine her efforts to agree a new EU-wide migrant policy at the next European summit in two weeks. German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has declared an "axis of the willing" with his hardline counterparts in Italy and Austria  Credit: Getty But her opponents say she is more concerned at being seen to close the borders now after keeping them open during the influx of 2015. Mr Seehofer says Germany needs a solution to the migrant issue now and cannot wait.  But his critics say he is more concerned with grandstanding ahead of Bavarian elections in October, and fending off a challenge from the nationalist Alternative for Germany party (AfD), which has campaigned on an anti-migrant platform. The issue is complicated by the German political system. Individual ministers have considerable autonomy in their own departments, which means Mrs Merkel can only block Mr Seehofer from introducing the plans by sacking him. That has left the two sides facing off in a dangerous game of brinkmanship in which both have plenty to lose.  In a development that could prove decisive, Mrs Merkel reportedly won the backing of her party’s MPs at a meeting behind closed doors on Thursday. Mrs Merkel has also won the backing of her main coalition partner, the Social Democrats (SPD), who have denounced Mr Seehofer’s plan. Carsten Schneider, the SPD chief whip, warned that the proposals to turn away migrants at the border could lead to the “end of the European Union”, while Anke Rehlinger, another SPD politician, said it would mean the return of heavily armed border troops and “the end of free Europe as we know it”. But the CSU has rallied as strongly behind Mr Seehofer. “We don’t want to risk losing credibility,” Markus Söder, the regional prime  minister of Bavaria and Mr Seehofer’s chief rival within the party said. And sources within the party told the German press on Friday they were ready to go with the “nuclear option” if Mrs Merkel doesn’t back down.



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Netanyahu heads to Europe with Iran on his mind

Netanyahu heads to Europe with Iran on his mindJERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads to Europe this week in a bid to rally support from key allies for amending the international nuclear deal with Iran and for pushing Iranian forces out of neighboring Syria.



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Europe will try to keep the Iran deal alive. It can't.

Europe will try to keep the Iran deal alive. It can't.President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran deal doesn’t technically doom the agreement, but in practice, it will probably be impossible for the European countries to keep it going. Iran may then feel free to resume its weapons program.



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Iran leader keen to boost ties with world, 'not merely' US and Europe

Iran leader keen to boost ties with world, 'not merely' US and EuropeSupreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday that Iran is keen to develop ties with the rest of the world, which is “not merely” the United States and European countries. The all-powerful leader’s remarks, published on the khamenei.ir website, come with the United States threatening to quit a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with the Islamic republic. “I don’t believe in cutting ties with the world but relying on the outside of the borders is a mistake within a mistake,” Khamenei was quoted as saying.



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New U.S. sanctions will hurt Washington and Europe more than Russia: lawmaker

New U.S. sanctions will hurt Washington and Europe more than Russia: lawmakerNew U.S. sanctions against Moscow will be hard for Russia but do more damage to the United States and Europe, RIA news agency cited a senior Russian lawmaker as saying on Sunday. U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said earlier on Sunday that Washington was preparing new sanctions against Russia over its support for Syrian President Bashar-al Assad.



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Factbox: Deadly attacks in Western Europe

Factbox: Deadly attacks in Western Europe(Reuters) – Following are some of the deadly attacks in Western Europe in recent years: April 7, 2018 – A man drives a van into a group of people sitting outside a restaurant in the old city center of Muenster in Germany, killing several of them before taking his own life, police say, a year to the day after the Stockholm truck attack. Aug. 17, 2017 – A van ploughs into crowds in the heart of Barcelona, killing at least 13 people, a regional official says, in what police said they were treating as a terrorist attack. June 3, 2017 – Three attackers ram a van into pedestrians on London Bridge then stab revelers in nearby bars, killing eight people and injuring at least 48.



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Turkey's Erdogan seeks to mend strained ties with Europe

Turkey's Erdogan seeks to mend strained ties with EuropeANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he wants to mend strained ties with several European nations, saying Turkey is forced to "decrease the number of enemies and increase friends."



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