sábado, 30 de janeiro de 2016

Here is the weather forecast for the next five years: even hotter


Here is the weather forecast for the next five years: even hotter

Long-range forecast predicts generally upward temperature trend, possibly interrupted by La Niña event in 2017
An international team used tree ring records and historical documents to reconstruct yearly temperatures going back 2,100 years and discovered there was no period as warm as the last 30 years.

Robin McKie
Sunday 31 January 2016 00.05 GMT

Global temperatures will continue to soar over the next 12 months as rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions and El Niño combine to bring more record-breaking warmth to the planet.

According to the Met Office’s forecast for the next five years, 2016 is likely to be the warmest since records began. Then in 2017 there will be a dip as the effects of El Niño dissipate and there is some planet-wide cooling.

But after that, and for the remaining three years of the decade, the world will continue to experience even more warming. The forecast, which will be released this week, is the first such report that the Met Office has issued since it overhauled its near-term climate prediction system last year.

“We cannot say exactly how warm it will get but there is no doubt the overall upward trend of temperatures will continue,” said Doug Smith, a Met Office expert on long-term forecasting. “We cannot say exactly how hot 2018, 2019 or 2020 will be. That will depend on other variables. But the general trend is going to be upwards.”

The current El Niño – a meteorological event in which a band of warm water develops in the Pacific Ocean around the equator – is about to peak. However, global warming associated with the event normally lags several months behind that peak and as a result, 2016 could be even hotter that 2015, the warmest year on record.

Some global warming deniers have claimed that the current El Niño alone was responsible for making last year a record one, with the effects of carbon emissions being irrelevant. But Smith rejects these claims.

“We have had El Niños before,” he said. “The one in 1997-98 was particularly intense. Nevertheless, global temperatures were less then than they were in 2015 – and that is because background heating caused by increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are higher today than they were in 1997-98.”

However, the end of the current El Niño and the possible triggering of a La Niña event – an extensive cooling of the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean – is likely to bring a temporary halt to rising global temperatures, according to the Met Office.

As a result, 2017 is likely to see a dip in global temperatures. “We can be pretty sure there will be a drop that year,” added Smith.

After that, temperatures could start to rise again over the rest of the decade. “Whether one of these years – 2018, 2019, 2020 – overtakes 2016 in terms of temperature is very hard to predict at this stage,” said Smith. “We are looking quite far into the future, after all.”

One reason for such uncertainties is a lack of precise knowledge about the heating of the oceans. “If you want to measure climate change you need to have precise information about the total energy of the planet and most of that is stored in the ocean,” said Smith. “Recently temperature rises on the land slowed and people said global warming had stopped. That was never true. The ocean heat content went up all the time.”

In a bid to improve information about ocean warming trends, scientists have deployed robot floats – part of the international Argo measuring system – that record temperatures and salinity to depths of 2,000 metres. Now a new generation of Argo devices is to be deployed and will reach depths of 5,000 metres. “That should provide crucial data that will help us make more accurate forecasts,” added Smith.


The release of the Met Office study comes as another group of scientists revealed research that shows the last 30 years were probably the warmest Europe has experienced in more than two millennia. An international team used tree ring records and historical documents to reconstruct yearly temperatures going back 2,100 years and discovered there was no period as warm as the last 30 years.

Bruxelas não aceita contas do Governo ao défice estrutural


Bruxelas não aceita contas do Governo ao défice estrutural
NUNO MARTINS/ 30/1/2016, OBSERVADOR

Governo continua a tentar negociar, mas a Comissão está intransigente: reversão dos cortes salariais e da sobretaxa de IRS não são medidas temporárias. Défice estrutural pode subir em vez de descer.

A Comissão Europeia não aceita, e já o disse ao Governo, que a reversão de medidas, como o corte salarial e a sobretaxa em sede de IRS, sejam consideradas medidas temporárias. Isso faz com que o esforço orçamental calculado no esboço do Orçamento se transforme num agravamento do défice estrutural, depois de a UTAO considerar esta prática como uma forma de “melhorar artificialmente o esforço orçamental”.

No passada terça-feira a Comissão Europeia enviou uma carta ao Governo português a pedir esclarecimentos sobre a razão pela qual a redução do défice estrutural estava longe das recomendações do Conselho da União Europeia, de julho do ano passado, avisando que podia considerar que o Orçamento do Estado para 2016 violava de forma grave os compromissos do Pacto de Estabilidade e Crescimento (PEC). Bruxelas pediu respostas até ao final do dia desta sexta feira solicitando que as equipas do Governo esclarecessem as dúvidas aos técnicos, sendo que uma parte deles se encontra em Lisboa, para trabalhos como a realização da terceira missão de monitorização pós-programa.

O Governo terá começado a responder aos técnicos – negociações que ainda não terminaram e não se resumem à questão da forma da contabilização das medidas – mas não alterou a sua proposta no que diz respeito ao cálculo do saldo estrutural.

Segundo duas fontes contactadas pelo Observador, a resposta das equipas da Comissão Europeia a esta pretensão do Governo é um rotundo não. Bruxelas não aceita o entendimento do Governo na forma como o Executivo calculou a redução do défice estrutural, que no esboço do Orçamento aponta para uma redução de 1,3% para 1,1% do PIB potencial, mas que calculado da forma correta poderia dar um aumento considerável deste défice. O Governo está a tentar negociar, mas continua a esbarrar na intransigência da Comissão Europeia.

O jornal Público avançou durante a tarde de quinta-feira que o Governo estava a contabilizar estas reversões como medidas extraordinárias, ou seja, sem impacto no saldo estrutural. Ao início da noite, no parecer sobre o Esboço do Orçamento do Estado para 2016, a UTAO ia mais longe e dizia que as contas estão feitas de forma errada e que as medidas revertidas não podem ser consideradas como extraordinárias, acusando o Governo de, por esta via, maquilhar o esforço orçamental.

“A identificação indevida de medidas one-off de agravamento do défice orçamental, i.e. operações que aumentam despesas ou diminuem receitas, contribui para melhorar artificialmente o esforço orçamental, interferindo com a medição da variação do saldo estrutural conforme estabelecido no Pacto de Estabilidade e Crescimento e refletido na Lei de Enquadramento Orçamental”, dizem os técnicos que trabalham junto da comissão de orçamento e finanças.

“O exercício orçamental estrutural apresentado no Esboço do Orçamento do Estado para 2016 considera medidas one-off que não se encontram em conformidade com o Código de Conduta para a implementação do Pacto de Estabilidade e Crescimento. Tendo em consideração as regras vigentes e a aplicação do princípio da prudência, a UTAO considera que muitas das medidas identificadas pelo Ministério das Finanças como one-off não cumprem os requisitos para serem identificadas como tal”, explica a UTAO.

Os técnicos que trabalham junto do Parlamento dizem que este tipo de contabilização está feito até para o cálculo do défice estrutural do ano passado, que terá, segundo o Governo, descido para 1,3% do PIB potencial. No entanto, corrigindo estas contas com a contabilização considerada adequada, o défice estrutural teria aumentado no ano passado de 1,6% para 1,7%, e aumentaria novamente para os 2,1% este ano.

A recomendação do Conselho da UE, a que a carta da Comissão faz referência, era de que Portugal reduzisse o seu défice estrutural para 0,5% este ano. As contas do Governo já deixam esta meta longe – uma diferença de 0,6 pontos percentuais – mas com o entendimento da Comissão Europeia, e a confirmarem-se as contas da UTAO, a diferença para o objetivo seria consideravelmente maior, de 1,6 pontos percentuais, três vezes maior que a meta.

O Governo já garantiu que vai insistir na sua posição, como defendeu António Costa esta sexta-feira no debate quinzenal. O primeiro-ministro disse que foi o anterior Governo que informou mal Bruxelas, dizendo que as medidas eram de carácter estrutural, lembrando que as medidas foram apresentadas como temporárias e, como tal, a sua reversão também tem de ser considerada temporária.

O Observador contactou a Comissão Europeia, que recusou fazer comentários para já, indicando apenas que estão em contacto com as autoridades portuguesas e que darão a sua opinião no seu parecer sobre o orçamento.


“Estamos em contacto com as autoridades portuguesas no âmbito da preparação sobre o nosso parecer. Faremos comentários sobre o conteúdo do Esboço do Orçamento do Estado quando emitirmos o nosso parecer”, diz fonte oficial da Comissão Europeia.

Chuva e o consenso vencem protestos contra medidas antiterrorismo em França


Chuva e o consenso vencem protestos contra medidas antiterrorismo em França

PÚBLICO 30/01/2016 - 18:26

Não passaram de poucos milhares em Paris a marcharem pelo fim do estado de emergência e retirada da nacionalidade francesa a condenados por terrorismo.

Milhares de pessoas enfrentaram a chuva, o frio e o consenso para protestarem neste sábado em França contra o estado de emergência e a iminente reforma constitucional que permitirá retirar a cidadania a condenados por terrorismo com dupla nacionalidade. Estavam agendadas manifestações em dezenas de cidades francesas, mas as grandes expectativas estavam em Paris, para onde apontaram armas as 70 organizações não-governamentais e sindicatos que assinam a convocatória do protesto.

A sua intenção era contrariar as sondagens que dizem que sete em dez franceses aprovam as duras políticas antiterrorismo impostas pelo Governo socialista de François Hollande e mostrar que não existe consenso sobre a continuação do estado de emergência e mudanças constitucionais. Não o conseguiram. A organização garante que marcharam em Paris 20 mil pessoas e outros milhares em cidades diferentes. Mas a polícia parisiense contou quatro vezes menos manifestantes: 5500.

Os organizadores – liderados pela Liga dos Direitos do Homem – mesmo assim reclamam vitória. Diante do mesmo Palácio Real em que o Conselho de Estado recusou esta semana um pedido da Liga para a suspensão do estado de emergência, os organizadores disseram que ficou “feita a demonstração” de que não existe apoio consensual em torno das medidas antiterrorismo e que os protestos foram “bem-sucedidos”, segundo escrevem os jornalistas do Libération e Le Monde na capital.

Para além de começar esta semana o debate sobre a reforma constitucional – para a qual se presume uma aprovação fácil, com apoio da oposição mais conservadora –, espera-se que o Governo socialista anuncie em breve a intenção de prolongar por uma segunda vez o estado de emergência, que por enquanto tem validade até 26 de Fevereiro.

O Executivo socialista – agora sem Christiane Taubira na pasta da Justiça, a figura mais oposta no Governo à linha dura antiterrorismo – quer tempo para incluir o estado de emergência na Lei Fundamental e deve argumentar que a ameaça de atentados em França continua alta, com a aproximação do Europeu de Futebol, em Junho. Várias organizações de protecção dos direitos do Homem, incluindo o Conselho da Europa e Nações Unidas, por exemplo, alertaram já para “restrições excessivas e desproporcionadas a liberdades fundamentais”.

Os poucos milhares que saíram este sábado à rua argumentam que a rédea livre na polícia e o possível fim da nacionalidade a condenados por terrorismo são uma afronta ao Estado de Direito, aos direitos fundamentais e afectam desproporcionalmente a população muçulmana francesa.


“O estado de emergência durará até quando?”, perguntava uma manifestante de Paris à AFP. “Até ao fim do Daesh [Estado Islâmico]? Até daqui a dez anos? Para sempre? Temos que pôr um fim a isto, sobretudo porque o nosso arsenal legislativo já é bem mais do que o suficiente.”

Quem disse que ia ser fácil? / TERESA DE SOUSA

As “análises” de Teresa de Sousa são sempre muito mais baseadas em “Wishful Thinking” pró-Europeu, do que em disgnósticos verdadeiramente e objectivamente jornalísticos.
Ela escreve exclusivamente OPINIÃO, mas assinando como jornalista.
Análise jornalística é algo muito diferente de Opinião.
OVOODOCORVO

Quem disse que ia ser fácil?
TERESA DE SOUSA 31/01/2016 - PÚBLICO

Não podemos abdicar da nossa capacidade negocial, nem do dever de contrariar a destruição económica e social que até os relatórios de instituições imparciais admitem.

1. Por estes dias, lembrei-me de uma frase repetida durante a crise estudantil de 69 pela esquerda mais radical para desafiar os estudantes a não ter medo de combater a ditadura e a guerra colonial e que era qualquer coisa do género: “Rejeitem o polícia que o fascismo vos enfiou pela garganta abaixo.” A frase veio-me à memória na tentativa desesperada de entender o debate em torno das linhas gerais do Orçamento que o Governo enviou para Bruxelas. As críticas são quase todas no mesmo sentido, ou seja, que temos de engolir as regras de Bruxelas e de Berlim, porque não temos alternativa que não indisponha os mercados, as agências de rating, ou, em última instância, a chanceler. Também nós engolimos o mercado, temos um economista dentro de nós a fazer contas com um qualquer powerpoint construído nos cursos de Gestão das universidades mais prestigiadas.

Reconhecendo que há razão nalgumas das críticas a este Orçamento, a minha primeira perplexidade é simples: António Costa apresentou-se aos eleitores defendendo uma política diferente da receita única que vigorou desde o início da crise do euro em Portugal e noutros países do Sul. Seria impossível esperar que elaborasse um Orçamento de mera continuidade do anterior Governo. Mas, quando o apresentou, caiu-lhe toda a gente em cima: do Conselho de Finanças Públicas (ainda que num tom moderado) à UTAO, passando pelas primeiras reacções da Comissão e por quase todos os comentadores de todas as origens, como se fosse uma grande surpresa. Dir-me-ão que não podemos riscar os mercados do mapa (ou do estômago). Nem queremos, mas a outra verdade, igualmente importante, diz-nos que, sem soluções mais flexíveis, a Europa não sobreviverá politicamente como infelizmente vemos todos os dias. Mesmo que as eleições presidenciais tenham revelado que somos uma excepção no mar alto do populismo e da xenofobia europeia, não estamos imunes ao discurso populista (como também se viu nessas eleições, e não estou a falar de Tino de Rans ou de Paulo Morais), nem às radicalizações perigosas. As negociações com Bruxelas vão ser certamente muito duras. Têm sido sempre, mesmo no anterior Governo, cujo programa estava em sintonia com a receita da troika, incluindo a ideia de punição. As metas para o défice falharam várias vezes, sendo mesmo um dos argumentos da carta de demissão de Vítor Gaspar.

2. Mas há outra questão a que António Costa não pode deixar de prestar muita atenção. A sua ideia parece ser fazer rapidamente as concessões prometidas ao Bloco e ao PCP, para depois passar a funcionar com base no programa do seu Governo (no qual, por exemplo, a reposição dos salários levava dois anos). A questão é saber se o preço a pagar não será demasiado alto. As presidenciais foram um teste nesse sentido. O PCP viu-se reduzido a pó. A questão é saber por que razão teimou em ter um candidato próprio. Como me dizia quase todos os dias uma amiga que vive no Barreiro e que passa frequentemente à porta da sede dos comunistas, as conversas de rua sobre a necessidade de votar Nóvoa para impedir a vitória de Marcelo eram às claras. A tentação do PCP de levantar as pontes levadiças e se entrincheirar no castelo pode vingar. Mas isso seria o princípio do fim, porque deixaria de ter qualquer influência na vida do país e arcaria com as culpas de ter derrotado o único governo que lhe permitiu essa possibilidade. A greve da função pública no dia 29 mostra até que ponto o PCP está dependente dos que se julgam com todos os direitos, deixando de lado os que sofrem mais com a crise: os precários ou os desempregados. A ideia das 35 horas visa esta base de apoio, mas põe em causa uma das promessas fundamentais do PS de acabar com os dois países de que fala Marcelo: público contra privado, velhos contra novos.

O Bloco não é um problema menor, embora pareça. Está deslumbrado consigo próprio, sonha com um destino igual ao do Podemos e pode cair na tentação de sobreavaliar a sua força. Que o PCP defenda a soberania nacional contra Bruxelas faz parte do seu programa ideológico. Que o Bloco enverede por um discurso populista e “patriótico” contra Bruxelas, como temos ouvido nos últimos dias, não é um bom sinal para um governo que defende a Europa, com todas as suas vantagens e dificuldades. É por aqui que passa uma linha divisória essencial, na qual o PS não pode ceder nem um milímetro. Mas é também por isso que não é possível continuar a aceitar, sem pedir contas a ninguém, que, de vez em quando, entidades tão respeitáveis como o Tribunal de Contas Europeu ou o FMI, publiquem relatórios concluindo que os programas de ajustamento estavam mal feitos, não levavam em conta a realidade e destruíram mais do que seria necessário. Quer dizer, destruíram a vida de pessoas. “Olha, enganámo-nos no efeito sobre o desemprego em Portugal. Que maçada.” Os jornais resumem-nos e no dia seguinte tudo fica na mesma. Não há nada de mais revoltante.

3. Enfim, vale a pena olhar para outros exemplos que nos são próximos, para entender até que ponto a austeridade versão Berlim começa a ser posta em causa de uma forma mais sistemática por outros governos (de direita e de esquerda). Matteo Renzi foi na sexta-feira a Berlim com uma agenda reivindicativa pesada, da energia aos refugiados. Em Novembro, travou um braço-de-ferro com Bruxelas por causa do Orçamento, cuja medida essencial é uma acentuada redução de impostos para estimular a economia. O seu problema do défice é diferente do nosso. Já está abaixo dos 3 por cento e o que quer é uma curva de redução mais lenta (2,6 para 2,2 e não para 1,8, como queria a Comissão). Tem a sorte de liderar a terceira economia da zona euro e joga com a ascensão dos populismos, que ele próprio enfrenta, para fazer Berlim ceder: “Se não me ajudar, olhe com quem vai ter de lidar.” A sua outra mensagem é: “Se se quer uma estratégia europeia para resolver a questão dos refugiados [leia-se Merkel], então não chega telefonar para Hollande e para a Comissão Europeia, para que eu leia a notícia na imprensa.” Com tudo isto, consegue manter uma relação cordial com Merkel. O seu problema é que a Itália começou tarde (bem mais tarde do que nós) a fazer as reformas para combater o seu maior problema: a competitividade. Em Espanha, Rajoy também não aceitou as metas impostas por Bruxelas, que, aliás, raramente cumpriu, com argumentos que têm um fundamento sólido: o crescimento invejável da economia e a queda acentuada do desemprego. O problema agora está naquilo a que as agências chamam “risco político”: a paisagem espanhola mudou radicalmente nas últimas eleições e os partidos do sistema (PP e PSOE) ainda não sabem como lidar com esta nova realidade. Na França, a história é outra. Antes dos atentados terroristas, Paris já tinha negociado a descida do défice abaixo dos 3 por cento apenas em 2017. Agora, já disse que o financiamento da luta contra o terrorismo afectará o cumprimento dessas metas. Mas talvez o mais importante acontecimento que hoje determina o futuro da Europa seja a luta que a chanceler trava em torno da identidade alemã e que todos gostaríamos muito que ganhasse, porque um cenário diferente seria bastante assustador. António Costa visita-a na próxima quinta-feira. Tem aqui uma boa matéria para uma aproximação. Não somos a Itália, nem a Espanha, nem a França, é verdade. Mas não podemos abdicar da nossa capacidade negocial, nem do dever de contrariar a destruição económica e social que até os relatórios de instituições imparciais admitem. Tem de haver uma forma.


Jornalista

Germany's Merkel says refugees must return home once war is over


Germany's Merkel says refugees must return home once war is over

NEUBRANDENBURG, GERMANY | BY ANDREAS RINKE

German Chancellor Angela Merkel tried on Saturday to placate the increasingly vocal critics of her open-door policy for refugees by insisting that most refugees from Syria and Iraq would go home once the conflicts there had ended.

Despite appearing increasingly isolated, Merkel has resisted pressure from some conservatives to cap the influx of refugees, or to close Germany's borders.

Support for her conservative bloc has slipped as concerns mount about how Germany will integrate the 1.1 million migrants who arrived last year, while crime and security are also in the spotlight after a wave of assaults on women in Cologne at New Year by men of north African and Arab appearance.

The influx has played into the hands of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), whose support is now in the double digits, and whose leader was quoted on Saturday saying that migrants entering illegally should, if necessary, be shot.

Merkel said it was important to stress that most refugees had only been allowed to stay for a limited period.

"We need ... to say to people that this is a temporary residential status and we expect that, once there is peace in Syria again, once IS has been defeated in Iraq, that you go back to your home country with the knowledge that you have gained," she told a regional meeting of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Merkel said 70 percent of the refugees who fled to Germany from former Yugoslavia in the 1990s had returned.

Horst Seehofer, leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the CDU's Bavarian sister party, has threatened to take the government to court if the flow of asylum seekers is not cut.

Merkel urged other European countries to offer more help "because the numbers need to be reduced even further and must not start to rise again, especially in spring".

A MILLION MORE

Fabrice Leggeri, the head of the European Union's border agency Frontex, said a U.N. estimate that up to a million migrants could try to come to Europe via the eastern Mediterranean and Western Balkans next year was realistic.

"It would be a big achievement if we could keep the number ... stable," he told the magazine Der Spiegel.

Merkel said all EU states should have an interest in protecting the bloc's external borders, and all would suffer if the internal passport-free Schengen zone collapsed and national borders were closed.

AfD leader Frauke Petry told the Mannheimer Morgen newspaper that Germany needed to reduce the influx through agreements with neighboring Austria and a reinforcement of the EU's external borders.

But she also said it should not be shy about turning people back and creating "border protection installations" - and that border guards should, if necessary, shoot at migrants trying to enter illegally.

No police officer wanted to shoot at a migrant, Petry said, adding "I don't want that either but, ultimately, deterrence includes the use of armed force".

Such comments evoke memories of Germany's Cold War division, when guards in the communist East, led by Erich Honecker, were under orders to shoot people attempting to cross the heavily fortified border into the West.

"The last German politician who let refugees be shot at was Erich Honecker," said Thomas Oppermann, a senior member of the Social Democrats.


(Additional reporting and writing by Michelle Martin in Berlin; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

Cameron stuck on ‘emergency’ migrant brake


Cameron stuck on ‘emergency’ migrant brake

British prime minister struggles to reach deal after day of EU reform talks.

By TARA PALMERI 1/29/16, 4:57 PM CET Updated 1/29/16, 11:56 PM CET

David Cameron said there’s “no deal done” on his EU reform plan after a meeting in Brussels on Friday with top European officials, but claimed they had made progress.

The British prime minister held a “difficult but constructive meeting” with Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker over lunch as they negotiated the terms of Cameron’s most controversial demand: a four-year ban on in-work benefits for EU migrants.

Cameron and Juncker struggled to reach agreement on how long the UK could use an “emergency brake” that would activate the ban, according to an EU diplomat involved in the negotiations.

The British prime minister wants the brake to be activated immediately in the U.K. and remain in effect for a substantial period of time, the source said. The benefits ban aims to deter migrants from seeking jobs in the U.K.

The Commission is concerned that, if the brake is extended past an emergency period, it won’t be legally compatible within the EU treaties as an emergency mechanism. The EU currently guarantees freedom of movement of the bloc’s workers in a single market.

“They will be working on this over the weekend,” the official said Friday. “Cameron wants this to be a lasting solution, but the Commission sees it as a temporary option.”

European Council President Donald Tusk is expected to send Cameron’s draft plan to the other 27 EU countries on Monday ahead of the February 18 summit. Cameron followed the meetings with Junckerand Schulz with a phone call with French President Francois Hollande. They discussed concerns over the non-eurozone voting rights, according to an official familiar with the call.

Another sticking point is a safety mechanism that would give non-eurozone countries a voice in decisions made by eurozone countries is still being discussed.

“The devil is in the details,” the diplomat said. “We want to make sure we’re not giving the British a veto.”

The Commission did not respond to requests for comment.

Earlier in the day, Cameron told BBC Scotland that the EU deal is “not strong enough yet.”

“There’s still a long way to go,” Cameron said after the meeting. “But one instance of progress is that for a long time I’ve said we have got to have a system where you don’t get benefits out of the system until you pay in to our system.”

“There’s now a proposal on the table,” Cameron said. “It’s not good enough, it needs more work, but we are making progress.”

Cameron wants to strike a deal at the February summit so that he can hold a referendum on the country’s membership in June, but he warned that he’s not convinced that will happen.

“I can’t be certain we’ll get there in February but I will work as hard as I can to deliver a good deal for the British people,” Cameron said.

Schulz said he’s feeling optimistic that there will be a deal by mid-February.

“Then we have to fight for a majority … first of all the U.K. government has to convince U.K. voters that the deal is a good one,” Schulz said.

This article was updated after the Cameron/Schulz meeting.

Authors:


Tara Palmeri  

A SOLMAR vai Fechar ? Solmar não vai fechar, dizem os proprietários


Solmar não vai fechar, dizem os proprietários
O receio de que mais um símbolo da Baixa estivesse condenado espalhou-se. Donos afirmam que são só férias e pequenas obras
Os próximos meses dirão se este fecho a ajudará a renascer, ou se antecipará o que muitos receiam: que também ela seja devorada pelos apetites e modas que estão a transformar a Baixa num sítio que apenas faz pensar em Lisboa.

José António Cerejo / 30-1-2016 / PÚBLICO

O longo rol de velhas casas comerciais que estão a desaparecer da cidade, fazendo muitos lisboetas sentir-se estrangeiros na sua terra, não foi esta semana aumentado com mais um nome de respeito. A Solmar, nas Portas de Santo Antão, não vai desaparecer, ao contrário dos presságios de mau agoiro que se propagaram nos últimos dias nas redes sociais. Essa é, pelo menos, a garantia do director do Garden Hotel, um estabelecimento detido por um dos proprietários da cervejaria, ali a dois passos, na Rua do Jardim do Regedor.
Luis Marques, em nome do gerente da Solmar, António Pedro Paramés, assegurou ontem ao PÚBLICO que a verdade está no aviso afixado no local: “Encerrado para férias.” Segundo a mesma fonte, a cervejaria estará fechada durante um mês e nesse período serão feitas obras de conservação. “Vai reabrir exactamente como está, mas com melhores condições para servir devidamente os clientes”.
O PÚBLICO não conseguiu chegar à fala com António Paramés, um dos herdeiros dos dois irmãos de origem galega que em 1956 fundaram a casa, no piso térreo da sede do Ateneu Comercial de Lisboa. A família Paramés acumulou durante o século passado um importante património na Baixa, com restaurantes, hotéis e imóveis, e ainda hoje controla numerosas empresas em diferentes sectores.
A cervejaria, agora decadente, tornou-se um dos ex-líbris da cidade, sobretudo pela sua arquitectura e decoração. Os próximos meses dirão se este fecho a ajudará a renascer, ou se antecipará o que muitos receiam: que também ela seja devorada pelos apetites e modas que estão a transformar a Baixa num sítio que apenas faz pensar em Lisboa.
Os temores de que este cenário se confirme são reforçados pela situação do Ateneu, uma colectividade com 135 anos, insolvente desde 2012. Embora o rés-do-chão pertença aos donos da cervejaria, o facto (não confirmado pelo PÚBLICO) de estes possuírem terrenos nas traseiras faz com que alguns sorriam quando ouvem falar nas férias da Solmar.




É com preocupação e tristeza que damos conta do encerramento de um dos restaurantes mais bonitos de Lisboa, a Cervejaria SOLMAR. Urge chamar à atenção para a necessidade de preservação deste magnífico local. Expressando desejos de que reabra, bem conservada e com nova dinâmica, fundamental à Rua das Portas de Santo Antão. — at Solmar.

Este grande exemplo de um Projecto Total de Arquitectura de Interiores ou "Gesamtkunstwerk", teve agora o reconhecimento e consagração definitiva da sua importância Patrimonial, ao ser publicado na Mundialmente famosa e respeitada "World of Interiors".
Agora que se fala novamente da classificação deste tipo de Património Único e Insubstituível, tema pelo qual me bato há muitos anos ... aqui temos um caso a ser proposto já e de imediato ... não esqueçendo que a Cervejaria/Restaurante e a Pastelaria são um TODO indivísivel !!
António Sérgio Rosa de Carvalho

60 anos de Solmar
“Ocupando o lugar do "Club Arcadia" - que por sua vez tinha ocupado o lugar do "Palace Stand" importador da "Chevrolet" - os irmãos galegos António e Manuel Paramés encomendaram, em 1954, o projecto da "Solmar" aos arquitectos Bevilaqua, Botelho e Curado do gabinete do Prof. Jorge Pinto.

O mobiliário foi fornecido pelo "Móveis Olaio" e desenhado por José Espinho.”



Merkel ganha mais tempo de portas abertas com regras de asilo mais duras


Merkel ganha mais tempo de portas abertas com regras de asilo mais duras
FÉLIX RIBEIRO 29/01/2016 - PÚBLICO

Disputas no interior da coligação governamental tornam-se mais evidentes à medida que se aproximam as eleições regionais. Chanceler vai reavaliar política depois de cimeira europeia.

No final de uma semana em que os três países escandinavos endureceram o tom e políticas de acolhimento a refugiados, a Alemanha anunciou na noite de quinta-feira um plano para tornar o seu próprio sistema de asilo mais severo. Berlim vai reduzir o apoio financeiro do Estado aos candidatos e começar a exigir uma espera de dois anos antes de permitir a reunião de familiares. As deportações serão facilitadas para criminosos e aceleradas em pedidos falhados de asilo.

Mas ao contrário dos seus vizinhos na Suécia, Angela Merkel diz encarar as novas regras não como uma derrota da sua política de portas abertas, mas como um balão de oxigénio. “Sinto-me fortificada”, disse a chanceler alemã na conferência de imprensa que se seguiu ao encontro entre os três partidos da coligação governamental. "Estamos a conseguir que muito seja feito.”

É pouco provável que as novas leis de asilo reduzam imediatamente o número de refugiados na Alemanha, que só em 2015 recebeu 1,1 milhões de pessoas, muito mais do que qualquer outro país europeu. O que a reforma anunciada quinta-feira faz para já é aliviar alguma da pressão vinda do seu partido, os democratas-cristãos da CDU, e da formação irmã da Baviera, o CSU. Entre os dois, perto de cem deputados discordam da escala de acolhimento defendida por Merkel, segundo as contas do Financial Times.

As tensões partidárias são cada vez mais evidentes à medida que se aproximam as eleições de Março em três estados. Este mês, um grupo de 40 deputados dos dois partidos irmãos defendeu numa carta a Merkel a imposição de controlos de fronteira e a imposição severa das regras de Dublin, o que faria com que fosse possível impedir a entrada a quase todos os requerentes de asilo que hoje chegam à Alemanha.

Os cristãos-democratas temem que as eleições regionais se tornem um plebiscito às políticas de acolhimento da chanceler e que mesmo na Baviera – onde a CSU governa há décadas de forma quase indisputada – os eleitores escolham votar no partido antimigração e extrema-direita, o Alternativa para a Alemanha, a quem as últimas sondagens dão 11% dos votos a nível nacional – nas eleições de 2013 ficou aquém dos 5% necessários para entrar no Bundestag.

Angela Merkel já prometera "reduzir visivelmente" o número de chegadas e fazer um balanço sobre as políticas de asilo em meados de Fevereiro, depois da próxima cimeira europeia. A chanceler ainda terá por essa altura margem de manobra antes das eleições e de uma renovada vaga de refugiados que espera para a Primavera para viajar. Até lá, segundo escreve o Financial Times, Merkel tentará fortalecer a resposta europeia, até agora incipiente.

Já está em movimento para o fazer. Passadas semanas de desacordo, a chanceler conseguiu esta sexta-feira que o primeiro-ministro italiano aceitasse o envio de 3000 milhões de euros em ajuda humanitária para a Turquia a troco de Ancara controlar melhor as suas fronteiras. Da visita a Berlim, Matteo Renzi recebeu elogios e mais flexibilidade nas suas finanças, segundo escreve a versão europeia da revista Politico.

Violência em duas frentes
A pressão sobre a chanceler sente-se diariamente, alimentada pela recente vaga de ataques sexuais contra mulheres em Colónia, cometidos sobretudo por homens imigrantes e requerentes de asilo vindos do Norte de África. Nesta sexta-feira, por exemplo, a revista Focus publicou uma sondagem em que anuncia que 40% dos alemães acreditam que Angela Merkel se deve demitir pela sua política de asilo.

Apesar disto – a sondagem entrevistou pouco mais de 2000 pessoas –, as últimas sondagens dão o bloco cristão-democrata e os sociais-democratas do SPD, terceiro membro da coligação, no mesmo patamar dos últimos meses, embora um pouco abaixo dos resultados das últimas eleições.

A coligação prepara-se para absorver parte dos receios sobre novos ataques ao retirar Tunísia, Marrocos e Argélia da lista dos países de risco, o que torna muito mais difícil a cidadãos destes países conseguirem asilo na Alemanha. Mas a medida pode não ser muito eficaz: a Der Spiegel publica esta semana uma reportagem em que documenta as grandes dificuldades que existem em deportar milhares de cidadãos para estes três países por falta de cooperação entre governos.


A revista descreve para além disso a falta de condições na polícia alemã para responder ao aumento da violência cometida por e contra imigrantes e requerentes de asilo. O ministro alemão da Justiça anunciou esta sexta-feira que só no último ano se registaram 1005 ataques contra centros de acolhimento, cinco vezes mais do que em 2014. De acordo com Heiko Maas, quase todos – 90% – são cometidos por activistas de extrema-direita. Na madrugada desta sexta-feira os seguranças num centro em Villingen-Schwenningen encontraram uma granada no interior do edifício que, “por pura sorte”, não explodiu.  

German Interior Minister on Refugee Crisis: 'We Want Clarity on the Refugee Crisis by Spring' / DER SPIEGEL



German Interior Minister on Refugee Crisis: 'We Want Clarity on the Refugee Crisis by Spring'

Interview Conducted by Ralf Neukirch and René Pfister

In an interview, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, 62, warns that the government in Berlin only has a few weeks left to solve the refugee problem. He fears that Europe's open-border policies may soon end if a solution isn't found.

SPIEGEL: Interior Minister de Maizière, the state of Bavaria has written to Chancellor Merkel demanding that she change her refugee policies, there is protest among German conservatives and now the deputy chair of her own Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has come up with her own plan to stymie the flow of refugees to Germany. Is it time to concede that the chancellor's Plan A has failed?

De Maizière: No. Coping with the refugee crisis is complex -- it has an international aspect, a European and a national one. We are addressing all three fields methodically and step by step. It is an illusion to believe that there is a Plan A, B, or C to solve the refugee crisis.
SPIEGEL: Isn't the real illusion the idea that Europe is going to help bail Germany out of the refugee crisis? Austria has announced a cap on the number of refugees it is willing to take, Denmark has tightened its asylum laws and Sweden is no longer allowing refugees without papers into the country.

De Maizière: On Monday, I sat together with my European counterparts in Amsterdam and the degree of responsibility they felt was indeed very divergent. However, it is a mistake if some partners believe they can avoid the problem. Should the Schengen system of open borders face additional pressure or its long-term viability continue to be questioned, they will realize that the refugee crisis than just a German issue, because all in Europe would be hurt.

SPIEGEL: In mid-December, the CDU agreed at its party convention that the number of refugees has to be significantly reduced. How much time do you have left?

De Maizière: We want clarity by spring. Compared to September and October, when on some days as many as 10,000 people entered Germany, the number has decreased significantly. In January, an average of 2,000 people came per day, which, projected over a year would still be very many -- too many. So no matter what, we need to prevent the influx from massively increasing again in the spring. Time is running out.

SPIEGEL: Is the drop in the number of refugees in recent weeks solely attributable to bad weather?

De Maizière: To a large degree, probably yes. Although there have been sporadic efforts by Turkey to stop illegal migration across the Aegean Sea, this is still not happening on the scale that is necessary.

SPIEGEL: What would happen if Turkey and Europe were to let the German government down? Would Germany then close its borders to refugees?

De Maizière: I don't take part in speculation over various scenarios. Instead, I work to ensure that our approach will be successful.

SPIEGEL: At the moment there is discussion over stopping refugees at the border between Slovenia and Croatia.

De Maizière: This is an idea that is being discussed especially by the southeastern European countries themselves. But you also have to consider the fact this would effectively shut Greece out of the Schengen area and could lead to a backup (of refugees), either in Greece, in Macedonia, where we already observed this effect this week, or elsewhere in the Balkans. You cannot simply ignore that.

SPIEGEL: What do you mean by that?

De Maizière: That we have to continue to work on other solutions in parallel. It is a matter of supporting countries, like Lebanon and Jordan, where large refugee camps are located. It is a matter of establishing a link between migration and development aid so that we can encourage the countries of North Africa, especially, to take back illegal migrants again. And we have to intensify our talks with Turkey.

SPIEGEL: If the situation is truly to be brought under control by March, then Turkey has to close its beaches to refugees and traffickers. Is it even logistically possible for the Turks to control a section of coast that is several hundred kilometers long?

De Maizière: It could at least be done much better than it is right now.

SPIEGEL: Turkey is already accommodating more than 2 million refugees. Viewed from that perspective, the government in Ankara is likely pleased when refugees leave the country and head for Europe.

De Maizière: Turkey and Europe have common interests. Europe is prepared to help with providing shelter for refugees in Turkey. Turkey is demanding relaxed visa requirements from the EU. There is also a connection between the issue of refugees and the battle against the so-called Islamic State. The perpetrators in Istanbul who killed 10 Germans at the beginning of January were registered as refugees according to Turkish investigators. It will surely not contribute to the stabilization of Turkey domestically if it remains a transit country for refugees in the long term.

SPIEGEL: At the moment, Turkey is constructing a massive border fortification along the Turkish-Syrian border. Is it not hypocritical for Germany to say it wants to help refugees on the one hand, but then, on the other, places pressure on Turkey, with the outcome being that an escape route from the Syrian civil war is blocked?

De Maizière: The only answer to that is that we need to do everything in our power to put an end to the horrendous conditions in Syria. Furthermore, there is nothing fundamentally wrong with border control. We have a fence on the land border between Turkey and Greece. We have a fence between Turkey and Bulgaria. We have a fence between Morocco and the Spanish exclave Melilla. We rightly expect every country in the Schengen zone to protect its external border. And I am sympathetic to the fact that Turkey is doing everything it can to prevent the civil war in Syria from spilling over into its own country.

SPIEGEL: But the consequence is that Syrians are no longer able to flee from Assad's barrel bombs.

De Maizière: That is why it is so important to combat the roots of the flight. I am a politician, but I am also a Christian and, as such, I worry about the situation people in the region are in -- and I am convinced that we in Germany and the international community need and can do considerably more on this issue. However, it is also true that it is impossible for Germany to take in all the refugees from the world's crisis regions. And this especially applies to those people not from Syria who are coming here for a better life or to look for a job in Germany.

SPIEGEL: In retrospect, was it a mistake that Chancellor Merkel didn't explicitly state at the start of the refugee crisis that Germany does not have unlimited capacity for taking in people?

De Maizière: We have done that several times. It was just that the people from the crisis areas were already on their way -- and they didn't just leave following the chancellor's decision at the beginning of September to take in refugees who had been stranded in Hungary.

SPIEGEL: The German government's central message was, "We can handle this" and "there is no upper limit for asylum." Do you honestly believe that this wasn't a trigger that led people to come to Germany?

De Maizière: I do not want to be a part of any debates about the causes of the flight or enticement effects . Surely there were several.

SPIEGEL: Was the idea of a Willkommenskultur, or welcoming culture, for the refugees a mistake?

De Maizière: Asolutely not. We should be proud when refugees say that the German border official was the first polite police officer they had ever encountered in their life. Of course you could say that even that could be an enticement to come. It has to be self-evident that we seek to provide people with decent accommodations. The personal experiences that are shared using smartphones play a considerable role in the fact that so many people want to come to us.

SPIEGEL: So you're saying that the German government did everything right?

De Maizière: Please. Who does everything right? Everyone learns in a crisis. We introduced the nuclear energy phase-out (in Germany) after the accident at Fukushima. During the financial crisis, we began the search quite late for a solution for the entire system rather than rescuing individual banks. And it was relatively late in the euro crisis that we pushed through stringent conditions. All that was correct. In the refugee crisis, we have achieved a whole lot during only five months that would not have been possible without the crisis.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière: "We would be doing ourselves all a favor if we were to refocus on finding a solution to the challenges instead of stirring up political passions."

SPIEGEL: What have we learned from the refugee crisis?
De Maizière: We have agreed on (revisions to our asylum laws through) the Asylum I and Asylum II legislative bills, we have declared a number of countries to be safe countries of origin and we have simplified regulations. Until the middle of last year, when we spoke about migration, it had been almost exclusively about migration from the Balkan states. As a result of our measures, that issue has been largely resolved today. And all of that happened within just a few months. I think we have demonstrated that were are very capable of learning.

SPIEGEL: The Asylum II bill, which limits the right of asylum-seekers to bring family members who have been left behind to Germany and also makes deportations easier for people whose asylum applications are rejected, was delayed for a long time because the conservatives could not reach an agreement with their government coalition partner, the center-left Social Democrats. Don't tactical games like this play right into the hands of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany party?

De Maizière: Things are not that simple, though I would have liked to have seen a quicker agreement. In any case, it was not due to a lack of reasonable proposals from my side.

SPIEGEL: There are numerous people in the police and security agencies who are urging you to adopt a firmer stance. On the other side, you have Chancellor Merkel, who has struck a markedly different tone. Do get the feeling sometimes that you're trapped in the middle?

De Maizière: Each government minister views the circumstances of each issue differently. An interior minister has a different view of visa liberalization than does a foreign minister. An education minister has a different take on the supply of teachers than a finance minister. It is my job as interior minister to speak out early and clearly on the issue of security, order and the integration of refugees.

SPIEGEL: In the past, government ministers have stepped down because they no longer felt they could support their government's policies. Is there a line in the sand for you in terms of Merkel's refugee policies?

De Maizière: The German chancellor and I have known each other since the fall of 1989, 26 years. We have worked together very closely in a number of different capacities. That is more than the normal relationship a German chancellor has with a cabinet member. Please, you do not need to be worried about that.

SPIEGEL: Given that it directs attention at the problems, is the mass criticism by Horst Seehofer, the head of Merkel's Bavarian sister party, against her policies actually helpful in a way?

De Maizière: I can understand it when Horst Seehofer points out the concerns. More recently, however, I would have preferred more confidential talks between partners.

SPIEGEL: You are referring to the letter the Bavarian state government sent in which it threatened to sue the federal government if it does not implement an upper limit on the number of refugees entering the country and move to secure Germany's borders.

De Maizière: Too many letters are being sent at the moment between people who see each other frequently in person. It would be better if people discussed things internally and solved problems together. I also believe there is only a limited chance that such a lawsuit would be successful. Of course we are complying with the rules and laws. In addition, if the Federal Constitutional Court were to agree to take on the case, it is certain that it would not issue a ruling quickly. That's another reason why I do not consider Bavaria's action to be a constructive approach.

SPIEGEL: Are we currently experiencing the most serious crisis yet in Angela Merkel's time as chancellor?

De Maizière: That is something for the historians to determine at some point. Clearly it is a major challenge. But not just for the chancellor. For everyone.

SPIEGEL: Let's put the question another way: Is the crisis so major that it could cause Merkel to fall?

De Maizière: We would be doing ourselves all a favor if we were to refocus on finding a solution to the challenges instead of stirring up political passions.

SPIEGEL: Has the crisis already changed Germany?

De Maizière: Yes. At least there is a change at the moment. And it was surely intensified by (the events) of New Year's Eve in Cologne. In many places, the optimistic attitude "We Germans are able to solve every problem" has been supplanted by the difficult question: "Are we still capable of solving this?"

SPIEGEL: And this only happened because we are once again facing a wave of refugees?

De Maizière: I think there are also other causes. The possible irregularities in the awarding of the World Cup, the Volkswagen scandal, the problems encountered in the construction of the new Berlin airport, Hamburg's failed bid for the Olympics, the high number of refugees, the fear that terrorism is approaching, still persistent worries about the euro -- all those things have put a dent in the confidence of many Germans. This worries me because it has a tendency to make problems bigger and not smaller.

SPIEGEL: By contrast, it is Germany's self-confidence that has bothered many of our neighbors.

De Maizière: There is a sort of fatigue in our country when it comes to change, more so in the eastern states than in the western ones. In earlier times, globalization always appeared at first glance to be happening elsewhere, and we were the winners. Now the darker side of globalization has also arrived.


SPIEGEL: Is that really true? Germany is still faring very well compared to other countries.
De Maizière: That is true. For generations parents have been telling their children: We work hard so that things will be better for you than they are for us. People can sense that this sentence is no longer as valid. If we work hard, the best case scenario is that our children and grandchildren will have things as good as we have them -- and things really are quite good for us, especially if you look at our history. This causes many people to conclude: Let's pull the blanket over our heads and wait for the storm to pass so that nothing will change and things stay good. I think that's wrong and illusory. We have to address the challenges of a changed world. But with a lot of people, I think this fundamental sense of resignation explains a lot.


SPIEGEL: Minister de Maizière, we thank you for this interview.

Merkel and Renzi bury the hatchet


Merkel and Renzi bury the hatchet

Berlin signals flexibility on finances, Rome unblocks EU aid for Turkey.

By MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG 1/29/16, 4:08 PM CET Updated 1/29/16, 5:59 PM CET

BERLIN — Angela Merkel and Matteo Renzi offered a picture of unity as they emerged from an extended lunchtime summit in Berlin, signaling that they had resolved the tension that had weighed on Rome’s relationship with Berlin in recent weeks.

The Italian premier arrived in Germany Friday seeking Merkel’s backing for more “flexibility” in the European Commission’s analysis of its finances. He appeared to have achieved that aim, as the German leader praised Renzi’s reform agenda and the recent progress he has made.


“We can see step by step that this agenda is being implemented,” she said, adding that the reform process in Italy was moving “in exactly the right direction.”

“This is an important contribution for the future of Italy and an important for the future of Europe,” she added at the conclusion of a meeting that lasted an hour longer than scheduled.

Merkel was keen to avoid an open dispute with Italy at a time when the refugee crisis is testing her leadership at home and in the EU. Berlin also viewed Renzi’s recent harsh tone as a tactic to win Merkel’s quiet endorsement for his fiscal maneuvers.

But Merkel also appeared to have gotten what she wanted from Renzi. Italy has been blocking €3billion euro in EU aid to help Turkey cope the with the refugee crisis. The money is the centerpiece of a broader agreement between the EU and Ankara reached in late November. Merkel views Turkey as the linchpin to her effort to reduce the flow of refugees into Germany.

Without the aid, however, Ankara is unlikely to take steps to stem the flow.

Renzi said Italy was prepared to do its part and the aid should be approved within days.

“Italy has said yes,” he said, adding that “it would please” him if the aid could be released before a donors’ conference for the refugees in London set for next week. He blamed the delay on the Commission, which he said had yet to prove Italy with technical information on the agreement that it had requested.

Friday’s meeting was viewed as crucial for both sides. Renzi has been pelting Berlin with accusations for weeks, complaining about its slavish devotion to austerity policies and what Rome regards as its hegemony in EU decision-making.

Italy is preparing for a Commission review of its state finances and is seeking more leeway in the evaluation. Italy has Europe’s biggest debt burden after Greece and is under pressure to reduce it. A failure to comply could result in sanctions.

But Renzi faces as series of municipal elections next year and a crucial referendum on a government overhaul in the fall. To prevail against a rising populist tide, he needs to more flexibility than Europe’s fiscal rules allow.

“The mountain of debt needs to be reduced. Everyone knows that,” Renzi said. “I’m not saying that to flatter Angela but for my children and my children’s children… But austerity alone won’t work.”

While the German leader didn’t state outright that the EU should show Italy leniency in its evaluation, she hinted that Berlin wouldn’t stand in its way. Merkel stressed that it was up to the Commission do determine how much flexibility was merited when evaluating Italy’s finances.

“Fortunately it is up to the Commission to offer its interpretation and I’m not going to get involved,” she said.

The two leaders displayed what appeared to be genuine amity after their meeting, stressing that they agreed on most issues, despite their differences on economic policy.

Renzi, recounting a recent dinner between his and Merkel’s families, said he shared her view that Europe needed to show more pride in its past and optimism about its future.

“I think Italy and Germany are going to defend Europe,” the Italian premier said at one point. “We may not agree on everything but at least we discuss our differences with a smile.”

Authors:


Matthew Karnitschnig 

Far-right sees its chance as Europe stumbles


Far-right sees its chance as Europe stumbles

Brexit will be followed by ‘Frexit’ and ‘Nexit,’ says European Parliament’s new far-right group.

By ALBERTO MUCCI 1/29/16, 6:24 PM CET

MILAN — Europe’s far-right sees the collapse of the passport-free Schengen area and the Brexit debate as a golden opportunity for Euroskeptic, anti-immigrant parties to turn their growing popularity into real political power.

Holding its first conference on Thursday and Friday in Milan, a new political group in the European Parliament known as Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) sent a message to “Brussels’ politically correct élite” that the far-right is here to stay.


“Finally Schengen is dead and the European Union is breaking apart,” said Marine Le Pen, whose National Front has support levels of about 29 percent in France, despite losing the second round of elections last December. “Frexit,” she said, was now a distinct possibility.

The ENF, founded in July 2015, is a coalition of 38 MEPs from eight countries, including some where support for the far-right has surged. As well as the National Front, it includes Geert Wilders’ Dutch Freedom Party, Italy’s Northern League, the Freedom Party of Austria and Belgium’s Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest). There are also British, Romanian and Polish members.

Recent election results and opinion polls tend to bear out the ENF’s claims.

The Northern League, led by Matteo Salvini who organized the two-day meeting in Milan, is on an upward trajectory with 16-17 percent support in polls. In Austria, Heinz-Christian Strache’s FPÖ won 31 percent of the vote in a city election last October in Vienna, putting it in second place in a historic stronghold of the Social Democrats.

The ENF, according to Wilders, wants to “save Europe from itself.”

Predicting that he could be the next prime minister of the Netherlands — and lead it out of the EU in a “Nexit” — Wilders said the people of Europe were “tired of governments that don’t listen to them and of Brussels imposing decisions that are not put under scrutiny.”

Speakers repeatedly referred to the New Year’s Eve wave of sexual assaults on women in Cologne as evidence of the failure of EU migration policies — especially the open-door stance of Chancellor Angela Merkel, which was blamed for the “Islamization” of Europe. Equally, the media was guilty of downplaying events because of its obsession with political correctness, said Le Pen.

ENF leaders denied there was any racism or discrimination in their anti-immigrant stance. “Women and children escaping from bombs and war are welcome, the others are not,” said Salvini. “There’s simply not enough space or resources.”

He pointed to a decision by Sweden’s center-left government to send home 80,000 asylum seekers on charter flights as proof that politicians across the political spectrum agreed that the wave of migration had to be halted.

The ENF leaders rejected any suggestion that their positions were too hardline for a majority of the European electorate and that this would ultimately keep them out of government.

The call us the extreme-right. But I say we’re doing the job the unions and the Left should be doing” — Matteo Salvini

“Absolutely not,” said Le Pen. “We’ve been gaining ground election after election over the last year. We started from 4 percent and today we are the first party in France.”

The far-right leaders were critical of what they portrayed as the cosy relationship between EU leaders and the speculative end of the financial industry, and they accused Brussels of failing to protect families and small business. Multinationals were shipping in immigrants as cheap labor, said Salvini.


Echoing Le Pen’s attempts to capture disenchanted left-wing voters in France, he portrayed the new coalition as champions of the working class: “The call us the extreme-right. But I say we’re doing the job the unions and the Left should be doing.”

Death, lies and migration fears in Germany


Death, lies and migration fears in Germany

Syrian refugee’s death caused an outcry. But no one checked to see if it was true.

By MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG 1/28/16, 6:07 PM CET Updated 1/28/16, 7:32 PM CET

BERLIN — The story had all the makings of a major scandal: A 24-year-old Syrian refugee, riven with flu and fever, succumbed in the small hours of Wednesday after days spent waiting for help in the cold outside Berlin’s notorious refugee center.

There was just one problem: There was no body.


A volunteer aid worker told police late Wednesday he had made up the story. By then, the damage was done. What he had portrayed as an eyewitness account of the refugee’s plight spread like wildfire over Facebook. At the end of a string of dispatches, the aid worker reported that the Syrian had died of heart failure in an ambulance on the way to hospital.

German media seized on the Dickensian tale early Wednesday. Social media exploded in outrage. In the U.K., the Daily Mail ran the headline: “Migrant dies after queueing for DAYS outside overworked registration offices in Berlin.”

By mid-morning, scores of mourners had gathered near the refugee center, known by its German acronym Lageso, to light candles and lay flowers at a makeshift memorial.

A local aid group printed a black-bordered death announcement dripping with pathos.

“You survived so much,” it read. “You didn’t survive Lageso …We cry.”

The biggest casualty in the affair might be the media’s credibility; most Germans already think the press has a one-sided view of the refugee crisis.

The episode is emblematic of Germany’s tortured public debate over the refugee crisis. What was initially heralded as a Wilkommenskultur, or culture of welcome, in the early fall, quickly shifted into a fear of being overrun by foreign masses, followed by guilt that many refugees weren’t being treated well.

For pro-refugee groups, the supposed death seemed to confirm their persistent warnings over dire conditions in some of the refugee centers. Lageso, in particular, had become synonymous with bureaucratic ineptitude. Every day, hundreds of refugees — including many small children and their mothers — were forced to queue in the cold outside Lageso’s dingy headquarters to receive basic services.

The report of the dead Syrian fit perfectly into the long-running narrative about Lageso’s dysfunction.

For the swelling ranks of German populists and nationalists, the affair served as an affirmation of their suspicion that the aid groups have a hidden political agenda.

Yet the biggest casualty in the affair might be the media’s credibility; most Germans already think the press has a one-sided view of the refugee crisis. Just weeks after underreporting and downplaying reports of mass sexual assaults on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, some of the very same outlets seized on the Lageso story with missionary zeal.

Along the way, they ignored many of the basic tenets of responsible reporting. Not only did the press not wait for official confirmation of the death, they also implied that the man died from being left out in the cold. Usually in such cases, the media leave it to a medical examiner to determine the cause of death, especially when it involves such a sensitive case as this one.

Instead of waiting, the German press relied on a spokeswoman for a local aid group, known as Moabit Hilft, and what turned out to be a fictitious Facebook chat. While most outlets mentioned that authorities had yet to confirm the account, they didn’t stress the point.

A day later, few in the press were apologetic. “It fit into the picture,” explained a news anchor on German radio’s main news program.

Der Spiegel’s online version, for example, one of most-read German-language sites, led with the story during the busy lunch hour, quoting an aid worker who said the man’s death was “a direct result of the long wait at Lageso.” The piece, which catalogued the history of problems at the refugee center, didn’t mention there was no official confirmation of the death until more than halfway through.

Matthias Streitz, managing editor at Spiegel Online, said: “In our coverage of the alleged death at Lageso, we were careful from the start to emphasize that this story was based on two connected sources only — a Facebook post and an interview with a Moabit Hilft representative — and official confirmation was lacking.”

“The story was judged newsworthy even at this early stage because the situation at Lageso has long been notorious and the report of a deadly incident seemed entirely plausible. In retrospect, we should have emphasized our doubts even stronger (headline wording included), and publishing this story on the very top position of our page, if only for an hour, now looks like a misjudgement. We’ve discussed this at some length internally and will strive to be more careful in comparable situations.”

Dailies including Die Welt — owned by Axel Springer, which co-owns POLITICO Europe — and public television and radio ran with the story as well. Some outlets featured video interviews with indignant aid workers demanding consequences.

A day later, few in the press were apologetic. “It fit into the picture,” explained a news anchor on German radio’s main news program.

The real culprits, Germany’s media agreed, were the aid worker and the charity, neither of which had apologized.

Authors:


Matthew Karnitschnig