The plan put forth by European finance ministers is to outright confiscate 9.9 percent from any person with a Cyprus bank account with more than €100,000 ($129,000 US). Of course, there are not many accounts holders who have that much cash, so ministers went after everyone else too, demanding 6.7 percent from anyone with cash in the bank.
This is not a new position for French President Sarkozy, he’s been advocating legal immigration for economic reasons since at least 2007 while restricting illegal immigration. In the United States, he’d be marked a racist bigot.
In my opinion the kerfuffle started back in 2008 and 2009 when a select few European countries were willing to take in released Guantanamo Bay detainees and others refused. The open border policy between most of Europe is now causing more heartburn, with some countries planning to take a much closer look at people crossing borders.
If you’re one of those 20 or 30-year-olds who think the Internet – and stuff on it – should be free, you now have a political party to join over in Sweden. The Pirate Party now has one seat at the table of the European Union’s parliament. Read more
In what I only can describe as a smack to the head, President Obama’s request for $80 million in supplemental funding to close Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba was voted down by a 90-6 vote in the Senate this afternoon.
This is not unexpected since politicians have a habit of speaking a great game and completely failing on their actions. On the day that Obama signed the Executive Order to close Gitmo, the administration made a big deal about doing the right thing, but I immediately questioned moving forward without any sort of plan.
Let’s just bullet point this…
- There is no way anyone in Congress will go along with accepting detainees into their district. That would be political suicide.
- Federal prisons don’t want them either.
- Although France has taken one detainee, many countries in Europe do not want to take any of them, especially since the United States has not committed to taking any of them. “You first!” they cry.
- Although Europe in general demanded that Gitmo be closed, there is little interest in taking released detainees and one of the stumbling blocks is the European Union does not have any borders. If Portugal takes one or two and they are released from custody, the detainee would be free to travel from country to country in the EU.
The Senate voted on Wednesday to yank money for closing the Guantanamo Bay detention camp from a war spending bill, delivering a setback to President Obama in his efforts to shutter the prison by the start of 2010.
By a vote of 90-6, the Senate approved an amendment that not only blocks supplemental funds from being used to close Guantanamo and move detainees to U.S. soil, but also orders that no funds already in U.S. coffers be redirected toward that purpose.
Sen. Dan Inouye, D-Hawaii, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the vote to strip the $80 million Obama had wanted should not be seen as a rebuke to the administration but a “wake up call.”
He said it is “up to the administration to fashion a plan that can win the support of the American people and members of Congress.”
Obama is trying to do exactly that with a speech Thursday meant to shed light on how the administration expects to transfer 240 detainees off the island. He wants to keep Democratic unrest from derailing his plans to close the detention camp.
If we take prisoners from Gitmo and place them into federal prisons in the United States, my bet is the next step could be release into the United States.
Can someone tell me what the difference is between holding these prisoners – for life if necessary – at Gitmo compared to a federal prison? My guess is they will prefer Gitmo, unless of course they spend a bunch of money to build out special facilities for them.
So what’s your bet? Obama is set for a speech to lay out his plan (demands) on Thursday.
My crystal ball tells me Obama will say something like we need to work together to ensure that the detainees be treated fairly while protecting the population of the United States. He’ll also say if we expect other countries to join us in this effort, we must be willing to close Gitmo and accept that detainees must be allowed into federal prisons in the United States.
Congress has completely dumped this problem on Obama since they know it is a no-win situation for them. If Obama uses his famous mob-like tactics to place detainees into the federal system, Congress can blame the Executive Branch.
Obama owns this issue now. If anything happens, he – and he alone – will be to blame.
As many countries in Europe demanded the United States close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, they refused efforts by the Bush administration to provide asylum or refugee status to prisoners who were ready for release.
In Berlin yesterday, 27 members of the European Union made a weak attempt to support the new administration by offering assistance in closing the facility, but still would not commit to join together and accept inmates into the Union. What does this mean? Are they going to provide landing rights so we can refuel jets as we take the prisoners somewhere else?
Note there were prisoners ready for release by the Bush administration, but nobody would take them. Thanks a lot for the support guys, next time keep your mouths shut.
Again, no commitment from Europe, since they have been provided time to respond.
… the EU is expected to play for time, arguing that, since it will take at least a year to close the camp, European countries have several months to produce a detailed response.
“The reality is that we are divided,” said one of those close to the negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. “There are a bunch of countries that want to offer something to the US, and there are countries that are careful and are not ready to jump.”
The divisions show how difficult it will be for the Europeans to reach a united stance, said Karsten Voigt, the coordinator for German-American cooperation in the Foreign Ministry in Berlin.
“We have been criticizing the US all along and demanding that Guantanamo be closed,” Voigt said. “Now that the new administration wants to do it, we either simply say it is a US problem and Washington must deal with it, or we help to solve the issue.”
Portugal has stepped up and stated that they will immediately take prisoners who have been cleared for release and are not welcome in their own home countries, but Austria has said no way.
Privately, many are saying that it’s America’s problem and we need to deal with it on our own. Well if it’s our problem why did you demand for months for us to close the facility?
Here’s the problem European Union countries face; they have no internal borders. Unless they have some sort of special rule for released detainees and hold them in some sort of prison atmosphere, released terrorists will be able to freely roam between 22 countries.
There are no longer any frontier controls at the borders between 22 EU countries. This is thanks to the Schengen agreement which is part of EU law. The Schengen rules remove all internal border controls but put in place effective controls at the external borders of the EU and introduce a common visa policy. The full Schengen members are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia,Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden (but not Ireland and the United Kingdom) plus Iceland and Norway (which are not EU members).
Cyprus which joined the EU in 2004 and Bulgaria and Romania which joined in 2007 do not yet fully participate in Schengen. You will therefore need a valid passport or ID card to travel to those countries and to Ireland and the United Kingdom.
If Portugal will take a few, will they be allowed to roam into Austria who does not want any of them?
My guess is that you’re not going to see any agreement from EU diplomats within one year. Not going to happen.