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Southern liberals on edge

...The confirmation this week that three Ciudadanos MEPs, Adrián Vázquez Lázara, Eva Poptcheva, and Susana Solís, jumped ship and joined right-wing Partido Popular's EU election lists has certified the death of the liberals in Spain, favouring the right-wing. The death of Ciudadanos, currently the second biggest delegation in the European Parliament's liberal Renew Europe group, is a tragedy for the liberals' presence in Europe's south. Aside from Spain, Croatia, Malta, and Greece do not even have politically relevant factions.....
French far-right party unveils long list of EU election candidates
...Bardella is counting on two types of running mate for the European elections: players from civil society and outgoing MEPs. The list features the retention of 10 of the 23 outgoing MEPs—only eight of whom are actually in eligible positions, including Le Pen's close associates Philippe Olivier (11th position) and Catherine Griset (14th position)....
OpEd | Imagine there's no enlargement
...2004 was the year of the EU enlargement with Poland, Hungary, Czechia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, and Cyprus. But in the same year, NATO also saw its biggest expansion, with Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia joining together on 29 March 2004. (Czechia, Hungary, and Poland had already joined in 1999.)

The two processes are largely related.

Without EU and NATO membership, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, the three former Soviet republics, would have been taken over by puppet governments, which would have then requested reunification with Russia. < wipes tears > A "de-Nazification" would have followed, masses of populations would have been moved, essentially amounting to ethnic cleansing, and nothing could have been done to stop it....

archive "Washington Treaty" in My Critical Elements v Your Chips
by Cat on Thu May 2nd, 2024 at 04:31:34 PM EST
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euractiv | Slovaks believe EU institutions main foreign interference risk in European Parliament elections, 10 May FARA fright
The survey commissioned by the Central European Digital Media Observatory (CEDMO) and also carried out in Czechia, Hungary, and Poland shows that 39% of Slovaks believe the European institutions are the most significant risk, ahead of < wipes tears > the United States (38%) and Russia (36%). By comparison, in each of the other three countries surveyed, Russia is seen as the most likely meddler (Hungary 54%, Czech Republic 44%, Poland 63%).
"representative sample in the V4 countries" 28 Mar-3 Apr 2024
n = 1006 CZ, 1006 SK, 1002 HU, 1087 PL adults
[...]
If the survey's turnout levels reflect reality in June, the 39% of Slovaks who said they would "definitely" go to the polls would already represent a significant increase in turnout compared to 2019, when less than 23% of voters cast their vote.
[...]

by Cat on Fri May 10th, 2024 at 10:18:31 PM EST
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indiatvnews | Moment after Slovak PM Robert Fico shot in assassination attempt, 15 May
lovakia's populist Prime Minister Robert Fico was wounded in a shooting Wednesday afternoon and taken to hospital. Reports on TA3, a Slovakian TV station, said that Fico, 59, was hit in the stomach after four shots were fired outside the House of Culture in the town of Handlova, some 150 kilometres northeast of the capital, where the leader was meeting with supporters. A suspect has been detained, it said. Police sealed off the scene. ...
tabloid Sun.ie | GUNNED DOWN Slovakia Prime Minister SHOT: Pro-Putin leader Robert Fico hit in stomach in assassination attempt

archive Slovakia it accused of enabling Russia, NATO chief hold-outs, Draft Dodgers Run...to Slovakia, Fico Leaders' Conference, EU Leaders Silent On Fico Victory in UA Laboratory NATO, EU27 ELECTION 2023

by Cat on Wed May 15th, 2024 at 02:34:01 PM EST
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ChatGPT | Barbarians at the gate: Von der Leyen makes foreign influence a key campaign topic, 14 May
Less than a month before the European election, von der Leyen used a speech in Denmark Tuesday to call for more forceful action to counter foreign meddling—including online disinformation —and to protect European democracy. The German center-right [EPP] politician is now set to discuss the issue with other commissioners during their weekly college meeting Wednesday, according to two Commission officials. ...
georgiatoday.ge | Parliament adopts the Law "On Transparency of Foreign Influence"
The draft law "On the transparency of foreign influence" has been approved. The parliament passed the draft in the third reading with 84 votes. 30 deputies voted against. With this, the process of parliamentary consideration of the draft law has ended. The project will be submitted to the President for signature. President plans to veto,  however, "Georgian Dream" has enough mandates in the parliament to overcome the veto....
foreign influence in Georgia

strana | "If democracy is undermined." The US State Department called the condition for the introduction of sanctions against the Georgian authorities, 14 May
Jim O'Brien, no relation to Chris, Patricia, or Trump COVID Trade War consigliere, Robert

..."If the law on foreign agents moves forward without coordination with EU norms
euractiv | EU foreign agents law risks breaking bloc's own law, civic groups warn (28.11.23)

eur-lex.europa.eu | Requirements in the internal market on transparency of interest representation carried out on behalf of third countries and amending Directive (12.12.23)
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The main aim of this proposal, which complements existing measures at Union level, would be to introduce common transparency and accountability standards in the internal market for interest representation activities carried out on behalf of third countries.
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The proposal does not cover eNtITiEs which receive financial support from other Member States, or from third country entities for purposes unrelated to < wipes tears > interest representation

This approach differs radically from those observed in certain other jurisdictions (characterised as 'foreign agent' laws) 10. Such laws often include measures that unduly restrict civic space by stigmatising, intimidating, and curtailing the activities of certain civil society organisations (CSOs), journalists or human rights defenders. The label of 'foreign agent' under such laws frequently seeks to undermine both the financial stability and credibility of the organisations targeted.
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10 The Union consistently condemns any undue limitation on fundamental freedoms and restrictions on civic and political space in violation of international human rights law, including so-called 'foreign agent laws'. See, for example, "Russia: Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the Law on Foreign Agents", "Georgia: Statement by the High Representative on the adoption of the Georgian 'foreign influence law," and "EU in BiH on recent developments in the RS".

and there is a disruption of democracy, violence against peaceful protesters, restrictions will follow from the United States. These will include financial and travel restrictions on those responsible and their families, " O'Brien said....
georgiatoday.ge | PM: We explained to Mr. O'Brien all the details related to this "transparency of foreign influence" law

archive SIDEBAR Georgia ELECTION 2024 interference, May 18th 2020 in Sacrificing Lives to Save Capital, Mar 11th 2020 in Europe and America Next

by Cat on Wed May 15th, 2024 at 12:18:54 AM EST
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by Cat on Fri May 17th, 2024 at 11:05:47 PM EST
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ChatGPT | US could sanction Georgia politicians to `defend democracy' , 20 May
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As part of an effort at "protecting and securing democracy," the draft law would mandate sanctions against government officials and others who "have material responsibility for undermining or injuring democracy, human rights, or security in Georgia." It would introduce visa bans for politicians and the families of politicians who are responsible for the passage of "the recent Russia-style foreign agent legislation" targeting NGOs and media outlets that receive more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad.
[...]
Zelesnk*s last "democratically elected" day in office? No!
yahoo! nv.ua | U.S. plans sanctions on Georgian officials over 'Foreign agents' law
"The Georgian government's decision to pass this legislation represents a step in the wrong direction," stated NATO spokesperson Farah Dakhlallah.

Dakhlallah also emphasized the importance of democratic freedoms, urging Georgia to "change course and to respect the right to peaceful protest."

< wipes tears>
[...]
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze stated on April 18 that the bill aims to prevent the "Ukrainization" of the country. In response, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry countered that the real threat to Georgia is Russification, not "mystical Ukrainization," and emphasized that derogatory references to Ukraine damage Ukrainian-Georgian relations.
by Cat on Mon May 20th, 2024 at 02:36:27 PM EST
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euronews | OpEd | 'The new Ursula': How von der Leyen learned to stop worrying and love Meloni, 20 May
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Von der Leyen found a new friend in Meloni, and she cannot hide her excitement. And why would she? Political survival seems to be her sole mantra, regardless of the cost. They also have a lot in common.

Von der Leyen appears ready to gamble away her already contentious legacy, whilst her track record over the past five years reveals not just thin ideological positions but a landscape rife with scandals, corruption, pro-Israeli government lobbying, and relentless efforts to dismantle crucial EU human rights. And one can hardly expect her to stop there.
[...]

archive L'Italia Cambia L'Europa
by Cat on Mon May 20th, 2024 at 06:56:31 PM EST
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lefigaro | France's Assemblée passes bill against foreign interference, 27 Mar 2024
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Algorithm-based online surveillance has existed in France since 2015, but has only so far been used to hunt down potential "terrorists." This new law would expand the practice to pinpoint potential perpetrators of foreign interference during a four-year test period.
ibid.  "interest representation" on behalf of third countries
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The law would also require people lobbying for foreign interests to sign up to a registry, with sanctions for those who did not. These foreign EnTItiEs would include non-EU foreign powers, firms of which half or more are foreign-owned or -funded, and foreign political parties. The bill also lays out the possibility of freezing the financial assets of people, firms or entities found to have engaged in foreign interference.
[...]
ibid. Regarding the eNTiTy organisational setup
publicsenat.fr | Senate votes for more oversight (23.05.24)
Le premier article du texte propose la création d'un répertoire où devront se déclarer les représentants d'intérêts étrangers en France, en dehors des ressortissants des pays de l'Union européenne. Une mesure phare du texte, décrite par le ministre délégué chargé de l'Europe Jean-Noël Barrot comme un « bouclier de transparence ». Au Sénat, la commission des lois a modifié le texte pour préciser le périmètre des personnes soumises à cette obligation de déclaration. Un périmètre large, qui englobe notamment les avocats et les journalistes, qu'un amendement porté par le groupe communiste souhaitait exclure. « Nous avons auditionné de nombreux services de renseignements, qui nous ont confirmé qu'ils avaient rencontré plusieurs cas d'ingérences qui avaient utilisé la voie du conseil juridique ou du journalisme », a justifié Agnès Canayer, avant le rejet de cet amendement. Une commission mixte paritaire doit désormais se réunir, pour s'accorder sur un texte commun entre la version votée à l'Assemblée et celle adoptée au Sénat.
by Cat on Sat May 25th, 2024 at 01:36:54 AM EST
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