Previously in Europe Salvini’s girlfriend. This week we discuss the annual questionable displays at Poland’s independence celebrations and the Nord Stream 2, Russia’s favorite geopolitical legitimate business venture.

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Show Notes:

Nonsense Section

EPP Picks Spitzenkanditat

Centre-right sets rules to pick EU lead candidate

Politicians frome the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) who want to run for lead candidate for next year’s European elections will have to declare themselves between 6 September and 17 October, the party’s political assembly decided on Monday. The candidate, who will be the candidate for president of the European Commission, will be chosen at the EPP congress in Helsinki on 8 November.

EPP votes for Weber to be its Spitzenkandidat

Germany’s Manfred Weber was chosen by delegates to be the lead candidate for the European People’s Party (EPP) for May 2019’s European elections, at the party’s congress in Helsinki on Thursday. Weber, the EPP group leader in the European Parliament, beat Finland’s former prime minister Alexander Stubb by 492 votes to 127. Weber will now seek to clinch the presidency of the European Commission, if the EPP win the elections.

Zalan’s horny for this one:

“They looked like twins from a boy band. White shirts, no ties, deep and lighter blue jackets, white handkerchiefs above the heart, wide smiles. They also sang the same tunes.”


Polls: EPP to retain top spot at May 2019 election

A poll analysis by Reuters news agency predicts that the centre-right EPP will remain the biggest group in the European Parliament following the European elections in May. The analysis is based on polls in the 27 EU states. The analysis suggests Manfred Weber, the EPP’s lead candidate to replace Jean-Claude Juncker, could become the next president of the European Commission.

Macron being a silly boy

Macron’s plan to pay tribute to Nazi collaborator Pétain stirs anger

The French president has said it is “legitimate” to pay tribute to Marshal Philippe Pétain. He took part in the Battle of Verdun and is a WW1 hero

Two decades later, Pétain was appointed prime minister of France. His administration, based in the unoccupied part of the country known as Vichy France, collaborated with the Nazis and their deportation and extermination of the Jews.

After the war, Pétain was sentenced to death for treason, though President Charles de Gaulle, a longtime fanboy of Pétain, reduced the punishment to life in prison.

Melenchon dragged Macron on Twitter “Marshal Joffre was the military victor of the 1914-18 war. Pétain was a traitor and an antisemite. His crimes and his betrayal cannot be erased from history. Macron, this time, you’ve gone too far.”

Matteo Salvini’s Romance Section

Salvini says he doesn’t put his personal life online… his ex disagrees

There were sort of Serbian-Kosovo talks on Thursday

So there were announced surprise talks between Kosovo and Serbia on Nov 8, seemingly brokered by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini…

Seemingly largely because Kosovo are planning on forming an army to be deployed in the north and they’ve announced tariffs on Serbian agricultural imports…

The talks didn’t really take place - breaking down because the president Vucic says the Serbians want the tariffs lifted first before normalization talks.

This picture - says it all

Topic 1: Poland being scary

Polish leaders hold joint march with nationalists on 100th anniversary of Independence Day

Around 200,000 people, including Poland’s leaders and nationalist groups, marched through Warsaw on Sunday 11th for the 100th anniversary of Polish independence.

The march is a focus of debate about whether the ruling PiS tacitly encourages fascist and anti-Semitic movements.

Participants held banners saying “God, Honour, Homeland,” and launched red flares. Some chanted: “Pride, pride, national pride” and “Poland should be national, not red or rainbow-coloured” Far-right groups and neo-fascist activists from Italy also joined the procession.

“Thank you for coming here, for Poland, and for bringing the white and red flag which saw our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers spill their blood,” President Andrzej Duda, a PiS ally, said at the start of the march.

Warsaw’s mayor last Wednesday announced a ban on the far-right march, but a Polish court overturned it, citing constitutional rights of freedom of assembly. Security fears were amplified by a mass walk-out of police officers over pay in the days leading up to the centenary.

Last year, the annual far-right march was dotted with racist banners such as “Pure blood, clear mind” and “Europe will be white or uninhabited”.

Topic 2: Nord Stream 2

Some links from April:

What is Nord Stream?

A gas pipeline stupid. It connects Russia and Germany. Its’ owned and operated by the Nord Stream AG group, but Gazprom owns 51%.. so it’s effectively a method of supplying Russian gas to Germany.

So what?

Well a few things…

The baltic states and Ukraine hate it

They’re worried it would remove their role as “transit countries” so Russia can threaten to cut their gas supplies without affecting the Western countries’ supply… meaning Nato countries could ignore Ukraine… sure… unlike now

  • Interview with deputy foreign minister of Ukraine -
  • Quotes from academics in Lithuania - “Nord Stream threatens our security. It also imports corruption and shadow dealing in the EU,” Dovile Sukyte, of the Eastern Europe Study Center in Vilnius, said. “Lithuania invests heavily in energy projects that reduce reliance on Russia ( )

The Ukranians kind of have a point

  • The Donbas region is just plain old occupied and they’re now holding elections (… )as a repeat of the 2014 elections - just a reminder that this is still going on ( )

  • There’s been chatter on Russian state television that sanctions on fuel exports to Ukraine could be on the cards ( )ahead of the 2019 elections ( )- to you know make it seem like pro EU parties are weak and can’t do anything

Wait - 2? What happened to Nord Stream 1?

  • So it’s there.. apparently running at half capacity in 2011…
  • But according to them it’s now at 93% ( )
  • Various lawsuits and what not between the Polish state gas company and Ukraine with the EU have become less effective or been defeated, increasing the usage of Nord Stream quite a bit ( )
  • According to a FT editorial the Ukranian pipeline is now at only 50%… so we don’t need another one, it’s pretty transparently avoiding countries Russia doesn’t get along with ( )

Does this not sound like something the EU would hate?

  • Denmark may try and veto the route.. which would only move it out of Danish waters (, )it wouldn’t stop anything
  • In 2015 there were delays due to Gasprom sanctions and “politics” ( )but that kind of went away
  • America hates it, a bunch of MEPs hate it, Poland really hate it… but it does keep gas prices in Germany low ( )
  • Vestenger thinks it’s anti-trust - euobserver.comThe commission in April 2018 produced a report detailing their strong arming of cross border fuel sales between Baltic and transit countries.