Previously in Europe, French Traffic Safety. This week we discuss the either occurring right now or never occurring Russian invasion or Ukraine and the Yellow Vests Movement in France.

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Nonsense Section

Attempted no confidence in Babis

They surrived by just 9 votes… (www.politico.eu )This was sparked by claims from his son that he was kidnapped to prevent him from speaking to investigators over the EU funds scandal Babis is embroiled in (www.theguardian.com )His comments to the parliment included: “My son … agreed to leave the Czech Republic so that his health would not deteriorate” “I don’t know everywhere they went. Sometimes I got a photo.” President Zeman in his classy style said he would have just asked Babis to form another government anyway…

Analysis from Czech media is basically that the cooalition partners really don’t want an election soon so this was unlikely to pass just to get rid of a controvertial PM

www.eurotopics.net

Kosovo has gotten messier again

In the wake of a failed bid to join Interpol they’ve put 100% tarrifs on Serbian goods… yay (www.rferl.org )This is up from a previous rate of 10%. They say they’re going to announce “additional actions soon” - deputy PM.

Serbia think’s it’d be real cool to just invade - euobserver.com

Georgian presidential election

en.wikipedia.org

A second round involving Salome Zurabishvili and Grigol Vashadze was held on 28 November 2018 because no candidate was able to secure at least 50% of the vote in the first round. Salome Zurabishvili won with around 60% of the vote and will be taking office on 16 December 2018.

Andalusian State Election

en.wikipedia.org

The PSOE–A remained the most voted party but suffered an unforeseen setback, dropping from 47 to 33 seats. A far-right party, Vox, gained parliamentary representation in a regional parliament in Spain for the first time since the country’s return to democracy, benefiting from a collapse in the People’s Party (PP) vote which saw it nearly tied in votes with Cs. For the first time in the electoral history of Andalusia, right-of-centre parties commanded an absolute majority of seats in the Parliament of Andalusia, which would allow a non-Socialist government to take power in the region after 36 years of uninterrupted PSOE rule.

Luxembourg is cool now

www.theguardian.com

Luxembourg is set to become the first country in the world to make all its public transport free. Fares on trains, trams and buses will be lifted next summer under the plans of the re-elected coalition government led by Xavier Bettel. Bettel, whose Democratic party will form a government with the left-wing Socialist Workers’ party and the Greens, had vowed to prioritise the environment during the recent election campaign.

On top of the transport pledge, the new government is also considering legalising cannabis and introducing two new public holidays.

Luxembourg City has a population of 110,000 but a further 400,000 commute in to work. Luxembourg has a population of 600,000 but about 200,000 come in from Germany, France and Belgium to work. A study suggested that drivers in the capital spent an average of 33 hours in traffic jams in 2016.


Topic 1

Ukraine might totally get invaded…

So this nonsense has escelated (www.eurotopics.net )and Germany has already specifically they won’t impose more sanctions… in an apeasementy sort of way.

So the whole Kerch Strait incident

Russia has decided to put the Ukranian navy members, “arrested” in the Kerch strait, on trial instead of treating them like POWs (www.theguardian.com )

This is a notable change since this is Russians in their official uniform taking control of Ukranian ships… not mystery soldiers claiming to not be from Russia… so I guess they’re now admitting it, cool (www.politico.eu )

Ukraine imposing martial law

Planned for 30 days in all regions bordering Russia (www.rferl.org. )Saying they’re putting Donetsk under martial law is kind of unnecessary since there’s not exactly normal function there anyway due to the separatists…

Any change from Europe?

Merkel’s successor is more anti Nord Stream 2, which is good for Ukraine… but her opponents were “more” www.kyivpost.com

The US and the rest of NATO?

The US is apparently planning to put a ship in the Black Sea… (edition.cnn.com. )Russia claims that Ukraine are using the martial law as cover to starting a big Eastern offensive. Ukraine and others claim Russia is massing tanks big enough to be visible on google maps

President Petro Poroshenko warns that Russia is masssing troops on the border, possibly for an invasion or full control of the Eastern parts of the country. He didn’t give details for a timeline but claimed tank presence had trippled (www.theguardian.com )


Topic 2

Jiley Joons

Polling:

harris-interactive.fr

72% of people support the movement (92% of FI voters, 85% of PS voters, 26% of LREM voters, 54% of LR voters and 90% of FN voters)

DEMANDS

The demands can be found here: www.opendemocracy.net

State of Emergency has meant that Macron has been a big meanie

www.amnesty.org

According to Amnesty International, the state of emergency that has been in place since the November 2015 Paris attacks has been used to clampdown on protests with authorities using emergency powers to stop protests related to the Labor law reforms 574 times.

Protests have been ongoing

SNCF and other transport union protests www.aljazeera.com

Carrefour (France’s biggest employer) was also on strike www.connexionfrance.com

The Socialists are going to table a no confidence vote on Monday

They realistically can’t win due to en Marche having a big majority in the parliament… but it’s notable they’re trying

Wealthy Tax break

Don’t forget when Macron cut student money and taxes to the wealthy at the same time? https://www.ft.com/content/3d907582-b893-11e7-9bfb-4a9c83ffa852