Today, we are talking about the election in the UK, the money dispute at the EU summit in Brussels, the US sanctions against Nord Stream 2, and the reelection in Israel.
US MPs vote for the military – and against Nord Stream 2
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Republicans and Democrats in Washington tend to argue like tinkers, but there's one point where traditionally unity is established: that's the budget for the US military. So also this year. Both sides have agreed on a gigantic budget of $ 738 billion. The House of Representatives approved the law at night, and the Senate is expected to follow quickly.
Planned in the budget are the creation of the so-called Space Force, which will take care of the war in space, and all sorts of benefits for the soldiers. Of course, both sides will see the agreement as a success on the flags, especially US President Donald Trump, who wants to sign the budget law in the coming days with a big show for the TV cameras in the White House.
For Germany, the law also has a side effect: It contains in a Zusatzpassus the new US sanctions against the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 2. They affect the operators of the special vessels that lay the tubes. You have to expect to lose lucrative orders from the US if you continue to work for Nord Stream. It is therefore to be expected that they will now withdraw from the project. The construction of the pipeline could be delayed because new ships have to be found to lay the tubes. How big the delays will be in the end is unclear.
Election Crime in the UK
Enough talk, enough speculation, today British voters can clarify which course their country should take in the future. A new lower house is elected. Results can only be expected after 11 pm German time. The latest polls continue to favor Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who can hope to win a clear majority of his own. He would really be the new strong man on the island. A clear majority for his Tories would allow him to finally enforce his Brexit plan; Britain could leave the European Union on January 31, 2020.
Of course, as always, everything can change. Surprisingly, the Labor Party led by Jeremy Corbyn in some surveys in recent days has slightly increased, the dreaded "hung parliament" would be possible, so unclear majorities. A government formation would then be possible for the two major parties only by complicated coalition formations, and the Brexit-cheating could go on.
That is why nervousness is growing among Premier Johnson and his advisors in the last hours before the election. The prime minister himself tried to avoid a TV interview when he flew to a refrigerated room full of milk bottles when he visited a dairy in front of the reporter. One of his advisers is heard with a curse, "Oh for fuck's sake." I will spare you the translation at this point.
EU Zoff for dear money
It just happens that EU heads of state and government are meeting for the summit in Brussels today and Friday during the UK election thriller. Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and Co. can then directly comment on the results from London and discuss what that means for them.
The main topics of the summit are the climate protection plan and the future budget of the new EU Commission headed by Ursula von der Leyen. In principle, most countries are in favor of making the EU carbon neutral by 2050. However, Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary in particular are demanding financial support from Brussels for the implementation of climate protection measures in their respective countries.
The money in the EU budget is also at stake: With the departure of the British from the EU, there is no money in the European community fund. This has to be compensated somehow in the medium-term financial planning. The EU Commission wants each country to pay 1.11 percent of its gross national income to the EU budget, and in the EU Parliament, they even want 1.3 percent. So far, an upper limit of 1.0 percent was provided. The heads of state and government are embarking on tough negotiations, and several net payers want to stick to the 1.0 percent threshold, including Germany.
Loser of the day …
Amir Cohen / Ariel Schalit / REUTERS
… are Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (pictured right) and his rival Benny Gantz. Both top politicians failed to form a government after the election in September. During the night, the final deadline for forging a coalition passed. Now the Israelis have to vote again. The new election will take place on 2 March 2020. It is the third choice within a year. The election campaign is likely to be harder and dirtier than the last argument. "Keep your kids away from TV sets," commented Yair Lapid of the Blue and White party. Because the election campaign will be a festival of "hatred, violence and disgust".
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I wish you a nice start to the day.
Your Roland Nelles