Libyan Foreign Minister escapes to London

“I don’t want to work any longer for Gadaffi”

The Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa (61) resigned from the government of Gadaffi and fled on his free will  to London Wednesday evening. There he was questioned by British authorities. He stated that he didn’t want to work for Gadaffi anymore.

Wednesday evening  the Libyan Foreign Affairs Minister Mr. Moussa Koussa  unexpectedly arrived at  the airport of Farnborough. The BBC is almost sure that he travelled with a British military plane. What is completely sure is that he fled via Tunisia. He deceived Gadaffi by saying that he was going on a private visit in Tunisia.

“I don’t want to work any longer for Gaddafi”

Nevertheless, in Libya they still believe that he is just on a diplomatic mission to Tunisia. This is not what Koussa told us, according to a statement made by the spokesmen of the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“He told us that he resigns from his post. Moussa Koussa is one of the most experienced members of Gadhafi’s government and his role was to represent the regime in the international arena. At the moment he is no longer willing to do that “, according to the BBC.

“Isolate Gadaffi”

Mr. Hague, the British Minister of Foreign Affairs, told the reporters: “”His resignation shows that Gaddafi’s regime, which has already seen significant defections to the opposition, is fragmented, under pressure and crumbling from within”. He also says that: “Gaddafi must be asking himself who will be the next to abandon him.”

The British government will discuss his dismissal with Koussa and will later release more details. Meanwhile, the British government asks at Gaddafi’s entourage to abandon him, consequently contributing to a better future for Libya.

According to the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent Humphrey Hawksley British Intelligence hopes that Koussa can provide an exclusive insight into the Libyan political and military structure. Maybe due to his information they will be able to quickly overthrow the Gadaffi’s  regime.

“No immunity for criminal prosecution”

The British Foreign Minister William Hague said Moussa Koussa will not get any immunity for criminal prosecution. Hague stressed that in recent weeks Moussa Koussa was one his closest partners in Lybia.

Portuguese Prime Minister resigns after facing with parliamentarian defeat to his adjustment plan

Portugal has entered into a labyrinth. Since a few months ago Lisbon demands a quick politic answer from her European partners that ends up with the doubts of the markets.

The Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates Carvalho, after presenting his fourth Economic Stability Program (PEC) 2011-2014, which was based in major budget cuts, suffered a massive rejection from most of the Parliament representatives.

This response triggered the demission of the socialist Sócrates to the President of the Republic Aníbal Cavaco Silva, leaving a deep political economic injury in the country, which is getting closer to the rescue edge. Aníbal Cavaco will call anticipated elections in a maxim period of 55 days.

The Prime Minister ratified that he doesn’t give up trying and he will be present in the following elections.  This politic crisis has happened just before the European Council’s decision was announced, which has to approve the new mechanisms of financial stability in the euro zone.

José Sócrates affirmed that «I have been fighting against an aim that I consider absolutely fundamental: to protect the country from its need to an external aid program for Portugal not to reduce as the Greece and Ireland».

The Finance Minister Fernando Teixeira dos Santos, after the PEC’s rejection has advertised about the risk of receiving help from overseas, though the Recovering Fund of the European Union and the WMF.

The conservative Partido Social Demócrata (PSD) which is the main opposition party that has supported the socialist Government.

Portugal’s national debt stands at 83% of GDP. The budget deficit hit 9.3% of GDP in 2009, but was lowered to 7.3% in 2010 and Sócrates had wanted it to remain at 4.6% by the end of this year.

Even before Wednesday’s events, Portugal’s economy had been expected to shrink by 1.3% this year.

By the way, the Brazilian president Dilma Roussef has said that her country could come to the financial aid of the old metropolis, acquiring part of his debt and rebuying Brazilian Treasury bonds currently in Lisbon’s hands. Portugal could follow Ireland and Greece in the demand of international help to avoid bankruptcy.

This could be a great gesture between two very historically-linked countries.

“Forming a government” for dummies

Today, we are close to form a government in Belgium. Maybe close isn’t the right word, but we are heading the right direction. So what is the problem then?

From now on, the Belgian political leaders are talking about going into the ‘final round’ of forming a government. It took them almost a full year to get this far.

The next step in the process is finding someone who wants to lead the formation and a prime minister. The Dutch Nationalist side wants the French socialist side to take responsibility but they don’t really want to. This makes the Dutch side quite annoyed. So not taking responsibility or trying to ignore it makes Standard & Poor think about declining the rating about Belgium. They set the deadline at mid-2011. S&P think a financial crisis is not that far away.

So far the political parties only spoke about the reformation of the state. In other words, changing some fundamental things. Next step is forming the actual government. Is it going to be national minded government with a liberal or more social partner. In the French part the socialist party will have to choose a partner as well. They have the same choice as the national party in Flanders. The most important thing are the subject that are going to be handled. Financial laws for the regions, job market, healthcare, all very critical subjects that need to be controlled in a good way.

When the formation is complete and the parties agree on all the subjects, Belgium has a new government. Hopefully they try to find a compromise instead of blowing up the government and organise new elections. Belgium has fundamental problems that need to be solved. The two options are clear. We could reunite with the French part or we could split up even more. For the moment, both choices seem quite impossible.

What doesn’t seem impossible right is the fact that we could have a new government who manage our country again. On short term that sounds a plan, but on long term there is much work to be done.

Moody’s rating concerning Greece declines

The chaos was gone for a while, but Moody’s rating is going to change that. In Moody’s opinion the Greek government has made progress but is too ambitious and is facing new and more severe problems.

Moody’s dropped Greece’s rating to B1. This means that long-term debts are expected to not be paid. They calculated that the financial bill must be reformed in 2013. This will have its effect on the their stock market and probably on Europe as well. Last time, Europe handled the pressure quite well. They got Greece out of trouble, for the moment. The dangerous situation will be monitored by the International Monetary funds. If the situation gets worse, IMF and Europe will give new economic help, but Greece will have to accept the conditions.

The current situation in Greece is bad. Debts are rising and people have to give up a lot. Taxes are rising, and will continue to rise in the future. The people of Greece have protested against the new rules that were temporarily implied a few months ago but the government has made some progress. Eventually Europe will not let Greece go bankrupt, because that would lead to a chain reaction that involves a lot of countries in Europe.

On the other hand, the Greek government considered the move as “completely unjustified”. In their opinion, Greece is doing well and needs some credit to conquer a better position. Further on, Greece refers to the bailouts of Spain, Portugal and Ireland. They think the decisions to downgrade the rating is ‘uncomprehensible’ and it will affect the progress the country has to make to not get in trouble again.

The European Union will meet to imply the necessary measures to ‘rescue’ Greece from a new bankruptcy further on this week. The European Union already admitted that they expected this situation, but they look at it on the long run.

The situation in Lybia affects Europe

The revolts that took place in Libya one week ago also have their repercussions in Europe and on the relations between the different countries in Europe. Not every country has the same relationship with Lybia so this leads to other point of views. Obviously, those points of views were clear after consulting our European sources.

All our sources tell a similar story. This means that there is no discussion about the pure facts. Every media in Europe agrees on the fact that the actions taken by Gaddafi to suppress the revolt are absolutely unjustified and a violation of international humanitarian law. Furthermore, they agree on the fact that the power of Gaddafi is diminishing and that he will not be able to maintain his power for a long time.

After consulting all our sources we can summarize the news of the day as following:

Yesterday, there were some rumors that Muammar al-Gaddafi fled to Venezuela. But to counter these rumors he gave an interview where he tried to convince everyone that he was still staying in Tripoli. This interview was broadcasted by a state-run station. All media report that the video is quite strange, because the interview was given in an odd situation. He was sitting in a car and holding an umbrella. Despite the fact that he still “controls” the biggest part of the country he is losing power and authority. At the moment only Benghazi is controlled by the opposition, mainly youth people. Gaddafi tries to maintain his control by bombing and using a mercenary army. At the moment he is still looking for some allies to suppress the revolution.

We can also conclude that all our sources are worried about the citizens of their country. They recommend leaving the country as soon as possible and going to Lybia is discouraged.

We also noticed some major differences in the report of the Lybia case.

The “Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung” informed us about the point of view of the German government. The German Minister of Foreign Affairs is thinking about some heavy-handed measures, if the situation doesn’t change in the near future. A lot his colleagues share this opinion, but the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs disagrees with this possible measure. This is the reason why the council of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs (read as: The European Union) couldn’t make an official statement and an agreement on possible measures.

In another German newspaper, namely “Der Spiegel”, we found the reason of the Italian veto. This newspaper describes the band between Italy and Lybia very precisely. Where most of the European leaders condemn the situation in Lybia Berlusconi remains silent. Apparently Italy has a lot of interests in Lybia. Lybia is one of the biggest trading partners of Italy: weapons, telecom,… Furthermore Lybia is the biggest energy supplier of Italy. Italy really needs Libyan gas and oil. Another import point is the immigration of Libyan citizens. Gaddafi and Berlusconi signed an agreement in which they agree to try to limit the number of immigrants. Therefore Gaddafi may use Italian boats to survey the coast. Berlusconi said that this can be a problem for whole Europe, because those immigrants will travel on to other countries. With this argument he tries to convince the EU to wait with hard-handed measures.

Only in the German media we saw anything about the relation between Italy and Lybia. The others didn’t mention it. “Le Figaro” published as her main article a text about the oil industry. Because of the harassment a lot of oil companies are about to leave Lybia. This means less production and off course higher prices. So “Le Figaro” was really focused on the economic consequences of the situation of Lybia.

In the UK (The Guardian) we only read a detailed story of the facts. The paper doesn’t mention anything about the meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs or about any possible future problems of the European Union. This is really typical for the UK and its island mentality. Actually they don’t care that much about the other European states.

To conclude we can say that all our sources report the same facts, but that we definitely see the different point of views of our sources. This point of view is very close to the attitude of the country.

Japanese nuclear fiasco eye-opener for Europe?

Angela Merkel, prime minister of Germany, has ordered the immediate shutdown of seven nuclear power plants. This decision is a direct consequence of the nuclear disaster in Japan. Europe is divided once again, whether or not to use nuclear energy in the future.

Merkel wants to close and inspect all the nuclear power plants build before 1980. The power plants will be closed for the next 3 months. The Belgian minister of Internal Affairs Turtelboom has stated in a reaction to the shutdowns, that if the power plants remain closed permanently, Belgium will get into serious trouble. In France, president Sarkozy has also respond in a negative way. France will not shut down their power plants, but the Prime Minister Francois Fillon said that all of the 58 power plants would be checked and controlled. On the other hand, he rules out that nuclear energy should be condemned. Something that was expected, knowing that France is the most dependant country when talking about nuclear energy. For France it is essential to maintain its energy autonomy position. Europe has a new issue that needs a quick resolve.

Germany and Switzerland already put a hold on their nuclear programs. The European ministers of energy discussed the situation on Tuesday and decided that they will implement a stress test. Unfortunately it is not an obligation. We all know the stress test that Europe used two years ago during the economic crisis. A negative point about the stress test was its reliability. Hopefully the European ministers will take this more serious. If some nuclear plants fail the stress test, the debate about nuclear plants will arise again. Chances are high that the European ministers not make the stress test an obligation, because they do not want to feed panic and enormous costs of shutting down or repair some power plants.

Off course this disaster is a shock for Japan, but it is also a shock for the propagandists of nuclear power all over Europe. They put a lot of effort in selling nuclear power as the sustainable technology for the future. Before this disaster the public opinion was almost convinced that nuclear power was the solution for our environmental problem. At the moment they are back doubting. The accident in Japan could lead to a major rethink in Europe. In Germany opinion polls revealed that almost 70% of the Germans oppose nuclear power. Near the nuclear plant in Neckarwestheim, near Stuttgart 40,000 people turned out Saturday to form a human chain near the nuclear plant to protest the governmental policy concerning nuclear power. Also in other countries there are small demonstrations. Is this the beginning of the end for nuclear energy or will the proponents be able to resist the pressure of the public opinion.

Paul Ekins from the University of London Energy Institutes thinks that nuclear energy is a very difficult matter to handle. If we can live without it, the choice will be made very fast. Unfortunately we still rely too much on this type of energy. On the other hand, the nuclear industry is pretty safe. The last incident was in 1986 at Tsjernobyl. Since then security has skyrocketed. But people may not forget that nuclear energy is very dangerous. And the fact that the Japanese government build the nuclear plant in a seismic active area is something to think about.

In the meanwhile the stock markets are collapsing under the Japanese tsunami. Not only the tsunami caused a lot of damage, the Fukushima power plants damage the shares of European energy suppliers. The German stock market is the one that is most influenced by Japan. The DAX got hit and so did the Japanese index NIKKEX, with a plummet of 10,5% on Tuesday. By Wednesday hunters already gave the market a boost. It is forecasted that the Pacific stock market will keep on fluctuating. and eventually go down. Further on Foreign investors are selling their shares, just to get rid of them. It seems that the big crisis in 1987 will repeat itself in Japan, which is still the Third most powerful economy in the world.

Whether or not the leaders of Europe want to talk about it, nuclear energy is a tricky subject that is once again a main issue.

The UN Security Council is composed by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia and China. Something which is remarkable, is that a country like Germany, a country that has overpassed powers such as the United Kingdom and France, with a better and faster growth than any other of these permanent members, is not a member of the Security Council. Of course there is a historical reason for this. The United Nations was founded by the ones who had won World War II.

Since the end of the Cold War the reformation of the Security Council has been a hot topic in the United Nations. But until now nothing really changed, because the permanent members have a veto against every amendment of the United Nations Charter. So if there really want to reform the Security Council every permanent member must agree with the adaption. This of course is not likely to happen in the near future, we think.

But if we had carte blanche we would like to redistribute and reorganize the world powers. Because the contemporary power division in the Security Council is outdated.

We think that the Security Council should include more members from other geographic areas, because there are some continents, that are underrepresented like Africa and Asia. They represent more than 50 % of the members, but only China is a permanent member. At the contrary you can say that Europe has to many permanent members. They are represented by 3 members and only represent 33% of the total members. A lot of new powers are knocking on the door of the Security Council.

You have different groups who have their own propositions. You have the group of 4: Germany, Brazil, Japan and India also the Coffee Club: Italy, Spain, Canada, Argentina, Mexico, Pakistan and South Korea and the small five: Suisse, Singapore, Jordania, Liechtenstein and Costa Rica.  

The G4 wants the addition of 6 permanents seats in the Security Council, without the power of veto, which would go to Germany, Japan, India and Brazil plus two other unspecified African countries. They also asked for 4 more non-permanent seats. This is a proposition that we can support.

We have to be a bit realistic. The five members would not give up their contemporary, privileged status. So we think that the 6 new permanent members not immediately have a veto, but a sort of a semi veto. Maybe this can evolve in the future to a full veto. We also propose a sort of a rotation system for those new members. Every five year there must be an evaluation of the 6 new members. And if those 6 members don’t have that much power anymore they must be replaced by the new powers. So that the Security Council gets a more vital character and  will be up to date every five years.

Resolution 1970/73

In February 2011 to resolutions were adopted by the Security Council, res. 1970 and 1973. This was the consequence of the military actions of Khadafy against his own citizens.

France, UK, the USA and Germany proposed the resolution 1970. This resolution condemned the use of violence against the Libyan people who participated in the Libyan uprising. Kaddafi was also found guilty ofbombing places in Tripoli where protesters were standing ground. This cruel act led to the first resolution.

The second resolution was more expected then the first one. France, the UK and Lebanon proposed this resolution, with Sarkozy leading them. He has to do something right? Resolution 1973 stated that the UN demanded an immediate ceasefire and that by any means this could be enforced, such as military intervention. This act was adopted on the 17th of March 2011. The Security Council also wanted to enable a Non-fly zone above Libya.

The 15 members approved the first resolution. The second resolution was a close call, with 5 member states abstaining. The implementation of the second resolution started on the 19th of March when French Jets bombed the city of Tripoli.