With Trump’s departure, the cracks in Europe widen again

BRUSSELS – Donald Trump’s presidency was marked by exceptional disregard for European allies and the NATO alliance.

But it also forced European nations to consider whether they had become too dependent on the United States for leadership and their own security, and to ponder how far they were willing to go to defend themselves.

But Trump is leaving. And the prospect of his departure has reopened old fissures among major European allies on their defense relations with the United States, with considerable doubts about what a few months ago seemed like a decided shift toward greater European ambition and integration.

President-elect Joe Biden speaks in Wilmington, Del. Photo Ruth Fremson / The New York Times.

The most immediate consequence has been a bitter dispute between France and Germany on the future of European defense and strategic autonomy, showing the different anxieties of two countries central to the functioning of the European Union.

The dispute has included an unusual personal attack by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, to the German defense minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

He even suggested that she, one of the Chancellor’s favorites Angela Merkel, was out of step with the chancellor, which German officials and analysts flatly deny.

The dispute is a measure of the raw sentiments aroused by the Trump presidency, which raised questions about the long-term commitment of the United States to world leadership and European security that a presidency of Joe Biden not likely to erase.

Those attitudes helped Macron push forward the idea of ​​”strategic autonomy“of Europe versus a changed America, one that believes it is no longer willing to bear the burdens of world leadership, no matter who the president is.

Macron’s concern, French officials and analysts say, is that a friendly Biden presidency will put Europe – and more importantly Germany, its largest and richest nation – back to sleep, content to take refuge under the American umbrella. Y reluctant to compromise with a more energetic European voice in the world.

Yet it is Kramp-Karrenbauer, commonly known as AKK, who is the German official who is most vocal about the need for Germany and Europe to take military and security matters more seriously, said Claudia Major, senior analyst at defense of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

“Having this counterproductive and toxic debate doesn’t help us at all,” Major said.

“Macron is focusing on the wrong issue. The question in Germany is not whether we are Atlanticists or Europeanists, but whether we take more responsibility in defense or not, and the AKK wants to do more.”

The debate is important, said François Heisbourg, a French security analyst, “because it nakedly shows the discrepancies between French and German perceptions, as referents of a broader European divide.”

The two countries have very different starting points, he said, with different views on the centrality of transatlantic dependency.

“But deep down – the need to do more – there is not that much difference.”

Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador to Washington who leads the Munich Security Conference, said: “This is the most unnecessary fight that I have witnessed between Germany and France in a decade. “

A moment’s reflection, he said, “I’d tell you that AKK is Macron’s closest ally in Germany in strengthening European capabilities, and whether you call it autonomy or a better US partner in NATO, it’s just a dispute over the words, not the meaning. “

The plot was more or less the same as they had to handle Charles de Gaulle Y Konrad Adenauer after World War II, Ischinger said.

“The French defy the need to have America here a little bit, and the Germans say, ‘I can’t live without the safety of the Americans, so strengthen Europe to be a better partner.’

Germany also believes that the American security umbrella is crucial for the European balance, for keep to Central and Eastern Europeans committed to NATO and to the European Union itself, said Daniela Schwarzer, director of the German Council on Foreign Relations.

“The Germans want to frame the increase in European military efforts as part of transatlantic cooperation, as a message to the United States, but also to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe” that only rely on the security guarantees of the United States against Russia , said.

“Germany wants to be the most inclusive possible in Europe, while the French are much more willing to move forward with fewer countries, “said Schwarzer.

“This is seen with the defense but also with the coronavirus recovery fund.”

Jana Puglierin, director of the Berlin office of the European Council on Foreign Relations, points out that NATO and the European Union are critical to Germany in a way that they are not critical to France, which maintains its own nuclear arsenal.

“If you take NATO or the EU from France, the French could make coalitions of volunteers. If you take them away from Germany, we feel naked,” said Puglierin.

“The idea of ​​NATO collapsing scares us.” The problem, he said, arose when Macron insisted that he wanted to stay in NATO, but wanted strategic autonomy as well as good relations with the United States.

“The Germans are not sure how that would work and no one has explained it,” he said. “So we really don’t believe it.”

Macron, criticized for his handling of the pandemic, feels unsupported by his allies, Heisbourg suggested. Macron sees France as at war with radical Islamists, both at home and in North Africa, and has come under fire for his responses by Muslim nations, especially the president. Recep Tayyip Erdogan from Turkey.

Erdogan has insulted Macron, claiming that he speaks in the name of Islam, and is exercising military power in the eastern Mediterranean at the expense of Greece and Cyprus, and in Libya and Azerbaijan, against French allies.

However, Germany has tried to mediate between Turkey and EU members Greece and Cyprus, “as if they were the same,” Heisbourg said, infuriating Macron.

Partners or opponents?

France and Germany are also fighting over the future of a joint military project, a new fighter plane, which is not going well, according to Major and Christian Mölling, writing in The world.

The project aims to show “that European sovereignty is possible, and that Paris and Berlin are carriers of this ambition,” they write.

“This also means that if this flagship project fails, the greatest damage will be political, not economic.”

The great divide began when Kramp-Karrenbauer provoked Macron’s ire in a speech, which followed with an opinion piece in Politico, in which he bluntly stated: “Europe still needs America”.

“The illusions of European strategic autonomy must come to an end: Europeans will not be able to replace America’s crucial role as a provider of security,” he wrote.

Macron clearly took it as a direct rebuttal of its own arguments in favor of strategic autonomy, and therefore of its efforts to position itself at the center of European leadership in the last days of Merkel’s mandate.

He responded in a lengthy interview 10 days later.

“The question, if we are direct, is this: Will the change in the American administration see that Europeans are relaxing?” said.

He then pointed to Kramp-Karrenbauer for a special criticism, saying he “deeply” disagreed with his op-ed.

“I think it’s a historical misinterpretation“Macron said.

“Fortunately, if I understood things correctly, the chancellor does not share this point of view.”

The United States, Macron continued, never mentioning Biden’s name, “will only respect us as allies if we are sincere, and if we are sovereign with respect to our defense.”

A new administration, he added, would be an opportunity for Europe “to continue building our independence.”

Kramp-Karrenbauer gave another speech last week to students at the German military academy in which he again argued that the best way to maintain America’s security commitment to Europe was to “do more for our own security.”

“The French President has recently made that same observation – and I agree,” he said. But he did not back down, adding that “trust exclusively in the EU it would create a division in Europe. “

On Tuesday, when asked directly whether Merkel and Macron agreed, Kramp-Karrenbauer bluntly said: “I did not hear the chancellor say that NATO was superfluous “.

Puglierin said it was time to forget about “this stupid debate.”

“Americans hope we come up with something,” he said, “and that we don’t wait like children.”

c.2020 The New York Times Company


“Brexit causes companies to leave the City”

The coordinator of Internationalization of the Council of Economists of Spain, Salvador Marín, explained that Brexit is causing companies to leave the City of London, which until now has been the great financial center of the EU. Marín indicated that these companies are helping to create in Spain “a culture of funds.” He also advanced that the European Union is going to a fund to help the recovery of companies, which will be channeled through specialized managers that choose to enter. Also the Spanish Society of Industrial Participations (SEPI) has created a fund.


ITP Aero and the unions agree to reduce the outputs of its factory in Zamudio to 163 | Companies

The company in the aeronautical sector ITP Aero, filial de Rolls-Royce, and the unions Comisiones Obreras and UGT have reached a preliminary agreement for the labor adjustment that includes the departure of 121 employees from the Biscayan factory of Zamudio with eventual contract, plus 42 early retirements, union sources reported this Saturday.

These early retirement They will be mandatory for those over 58 years of age, with a supplement of 85% for salaries below 50,000 euros gross, and 75% for those who exceed that figure.

In total, 163 employees will leave the Biscayan factory, the main of the group, compared to the initial plans of the management to do without 194.

The third agreed measure is that a temporary employment regulation file (ERTE) will be applied that will affect the entire workforce for 14 months, until December 31, 2021, with a maximum of 45 days of unemployment for each employee. This ERTE will be applied from November 2, provided that the staff ratifies the preliminary agreement in a vote that will take place next Tuesday, reports Efe.

The ELA union, which has a majority in the Zamudio plant committee, has rejected this preliminary agreement because it considers that the company has achieved “more than it wanted at the beginning of the negotiation: it has managed to lighten the workforce and have obtained a hidden time pocket with ERTE, which will make staff hours more flexible “.

For this union, after announcing the largest shareholder, Rolls Royce, its intention to sell ITP SAU, the company seeks to reduce the workforce and reduce labor costs to facilitate its sale.

Madrid, more departures

ITP Aero has pending the departure of another 125 operators at its Ajalvir and Alcobendas plants in Madrid. The company had announced a 15% reorganization for its 4,000-strong workforce in various countries.


London and Brussels must find a way out that helps the recovery | Opinion

The EU heads of government yesterday supported the extension of the round of talks that Brussels has with London in order to regulate trade relations between both parties before the end of the year, the date on which Brexit enters fully into force. Despite the Council’s pleasure and the determined European will to do everything possible to close a friendly exit of the United Kingdom from the EU, it seems increasingly difficult to achieve that goal. The Council itself yesterday urged the Commission to design possible unilateral contingency measures of a limited duration if Brexit finally ends without an agreement, and there are already several voices that consider the negative outcome of the negotiations as probable. Both the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the Italian President, Giuseppe Conte, have warned that the pact with London cannot be reached at any price, while French President Emmanuel Macron openly acknowledged the possibility that the divorce could take place at the bravas.

The EU guidelines for the negotiation have correct and clearly marked red lines: those established in the withdrawal agreement and in the protocols signed by London and Brussels, which remain fully in force and must be respected. The unusual decision of the British Government to promote a law that breaks with some points of the agreement, mainly those related to commercial activity on the border with Northern Ireland, has become a bone of contention with enough potential to burst the long negotiating path traveled so far in London and Brussels.

Europe must stand firm in defending an agreement that has been widely discussed and negotiated with the United Kingdom and that contains the roadmap on which the commercial relationship between the EU and the British must be built. However, and without departing from that framework, which is fully legitimate, Brussels must also do everything possible to avoid a rupture that could seriously damage the European economy, mired in a crisis of historic dimensions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Both the EU and the United Kingdom are enduring the scourge of an unprecedented recession not only because of its intensity, but also because of the extraordinary uncertainty it has sown in all European economies. Faced with a scenario like this, it is necessary more never to call for responsibility and cooperation to design trade rules of the game that will help the recovery of the whole of Europe instead of hindering it.


Luis Suárez latest news: the Uruguayan spoke of his departure from Barcelona | Spanish League

After defeating the Chilean National Team 2-1 in the first round of Qualifying, Luis Suárez, who scored the first goal for the celeste in the Centennial, in the middle of the concentration with Uruguay, held a dialogue with ESPN, in which he spoke about his departure from Barcelona and his subsequent arrival at Atlético de Madrid.

The gunman, who lasted six seasons dressed as a Barça player, threw a dart at the directives of the culé team, after ensuring that it was not the correct way to announce his departure, as he affirmed that he learned of the decision through the press and of the new coach:

The moment they told me, it confirmed what I saw in the press, what people told you … no one from the club had told me anything until the coach’s call. The remaining feeling is to change the chip, find the best solution for me, that the club reach an agreement with my lawyer. ”

“I was uncertain about whether to go to train because I am a professional, but I was aware of what happened, that I was going to go, they were going to try to harm and make me see things to make me angry. I already know what there is, that they would send me to train to another field … Then I would return home sad, head down and I don’t like being half apart, but I understand the situation. ”

“What bothers are the forms, that a coach comes saying that he does not count on me, when the board had already said that there would be changes, it generates doubts as to whether it is really the coach who does not love you. The coach called me, although I already knew what was going to happen. Then my lawyer spoke with the people of the club, I did my part, I did not want to be a hindrance and the people of the club know that I took the step to step aside, “he said.

Likewise, the Uruguayan forward referred to the moment of his arrival at Atlético de Madrid, highlighting the great work that Diego Simeone does with the mattress team:

“Atlético did not surprise me at all. I am a very strict player, I work a lot on tactical discipline, I only had one week and it is difficult to draw conclusions, but I have found a very good human group, with desire, ambition, young people who want to grow and win things. I come to contribute as one more partner and try to achieve important things “.

Finally, Suárez was asked if he would contemplate playing for Real Madrid and how he would celebrate if one day he scores against Barcelona, ​​to which the gunner replied: “No, no, I wouldn’t go crazy to Madrid. And if I scored Barcelona I wouldn’t shout it out or crazy, but surely it would point somewhere”, he concluded.