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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • After 4 days of elections in the EU, the dust has now settled. Despite claims to the contrary, populists have won the elections in the UK, France, Italy and Flanders. Don’t believe the EU Commission hype though: uncritical politics is on the way out. The populists will probably win more with rising numbers of voter turnout.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • During this week’s EU ‘presidential’ debate first vice president Timmermans promised to fight violence against women, which is a European problem despite his vice-presidency. Only those under 25 in the Netherlands now seem to trust him. Meanwhile about 50% of Europeans wonder why you would trust the European Parliament in the first place.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • The “brainchild” of the EP, the ‘lead candidate method’ is supposed to make the choice of the European Commission president “more democratic and transparent.” So in good EU-fashion, it is actually not a very democratic, not a very transparent and instead a rather convoluted process. If you decide to want to vote for a candidate, there is only have a fairly small chance you can actually vote for him directly. So you have to figure out what national party is part of his EP-group and vote for them. Even though the Spitzenkandidat-method might give the impression you can vote for this candidate, that’s not actually true.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Facebook’s new rules requiring “all advertisers to register in the country where they wish to purchase political advertising,” were waived for the EU elections this month after EU officials complained about “encroachment upon fundamental EU rights and freedoms.” The rules were installed to prevent ‘foreign influence’ on elections.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • “Finally, a nation also exists by virtue of its limits and borders. I believe very deeply in an open patriotism, in a France that is radiant internationally and conquering, but to be open, we have to have limits. To welcome people in a house, you need to have borders, and it is necessary they are respected, rules are needed. And today, one is forced to conclude that these things are not as they should be. First, on a European level, we have decided to have a common border, the famous Schengen Area, ruled by the Dublin Agreements. That doesn’t work anymore.”
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • The Mission of Brunei Darussalam wrote an aide memoir to present its point of view. It starts by stressing that Islam is Brunei’s official religion and that “strong religious values with rich heritage of tradition and culture, form the very foundation of the unique Bruneian identity (…) which are important to be preserved.” The document continues by Brunei asserting its sovereignty and the right to enforce laws “reflecting our own cultural and religious values.”
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Spanish authorities report that 6.000 unaccompanied youths came into the country in 2018. Spain now has 12.500 under-age illegal migrants on register, the vast majority from Morocco, double the number of the previous year and it is expected to rise further throughout 2019. Thousands of them stray into the rest of Europe, looking for a residence permit: the number of official registered as having gone ‘missing’ is now 5.950.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • The EU did give money to the EHT. But it did so through the European Research Council, not through the ESA as one would assume going on the information given. The EU provided about €34.3 million in funding (€14 million for the BlackHoleCam-project and another €30.3 for the RadioNet-project). A rather long list of other institutions providing funding suggests that the claim that it wouldn’t have happened without the EU is rather facetious.
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • “Unfortunately, the builders used “alternative” materials for some of the restoration giving the restored fortress wall and gate a ‘plastic’ look. Thus, the restoration of the Krakra Fortress has become notorious among Bulgaria’s archaeological restorations, with critics claiming that the EU money was likely embezzled by local politicians and/or construction entrepreneurs who used cheap plastic instead of proper materials.”
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  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • “The Commission’s actions involved a manipulation of the rules governing senior management appointments so as to convey the impression that the appointment procedures, in the case of Mr Selmayr, were applied correctly and that the outcome, in turn, was fair and correct. In fact, this was not the case and the entire affair, starting in January 2018, if not earlier, was arranged to ensure the appointment of Mr Selmayr as Secretary-General.”
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