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Interview of the week – Von der Leyen sets terms for cooperation with MPs from right-wing parties

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Interview of the week – Von der Leyen sets terms for cooperation with MPs from right-wing parties

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Copenhagen in May 2024 (picture Alliance / Ritzau Scanpix / Ida Marie Odgaard)

The Commission President stressed that it is about winning over political forces for – I quote – “the majority in the centre”. Von der Leyen stressed that there is no obligatory faction in the European Parliament. Rather, you must constantly search for and form the majority. That’s why it makes sense to look at individual representatives.

Von der Leyen is running in the European elections as the European People’s Party’s best candidate for a second term as Commission President. The CDU politician confirmed that the elections were „directional elections.” Rather, it is about developing Europe – or dividing and dismantling it.

Accusation of rapprochement with post-fascists in Italy

The Commission President has been criticized for not ruling out cooperation with the right-wing conservative ECR group in the European Parliament. The Social Democrats, the Left and the Greens accused her of cozying up to post-fascism in Italy. Prime Minister Meloni’s „Fratelli d’Italia” party is part of the European Council’s parliamentary group. Von der Leyen recently described Meloni as „clearly pro-European”.

Demand fair trade from China

In Deutschlandfunk, von der Leyen again criticized China’s trade practices. There is weak demand in China, but the country still heavily subsidizes electric vehicle production. So there is excess capacity. The United States has closed its market, so the European Union must be careful not to end up on the European market.

The Commission President pointed to the Chinese solar industry, which was heavily subsidized by the state and dominated the market with cheap products. Von der Leyen demanded fair trade.

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Investigation into protective definitions

She explained that the Commission has begun an investigation into the issue of protective tariffs on electric cars coming from China, as required by the rules of the World Trade Organization. However, the results are not yet available. The first step is to talk to the Chinese government. Von der Leyen rejected the accusation that she was heading towards a trade war with China.

Interview of the week with Ursula von der Leyen You can here Read slowly. You can listen to it Sunday at 11:05 am on Deutschlandfunk or soon in the DLF audio library.

This message was sent on May 25, 2024 via Deutschlandfunk.

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NEOM: A “completely ridiculous” design with no purpose, says the professor

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NEOM: A “completely ridiculous” design with no purpose, says the professor

Photography of the line.
NEOM

One expert says that “The Line” in NEOM is a “completely crazy” project.

The futuristic city consists of two mirrored skyscrapers approximately 650 feet (about 198 meters) tall.

Architects and planners have long questioned the practicality and sustainability of the project.

This is a machine translation of an article from our American colleagues at Business Insider. Automatically translated and verified by a real editor.

The Line – a section of NEOM consisting of two mirrored skyscrapers – is one of the most prominent areas of the planned mega-city. Saudi Arabia’s plans for the futuristic city have stunned architects and designers. Also those who worked on the original designs. These giant structures have been criticized for their impact on wildlife, their suitability for everyday use and their general practicality.

Andreas Krieg is Professor at the Institute of Middle East Studies at King’s College London. He gave an interview to Business Insider and says The Line’s plans are „completely ridiculous.” “The line is an unsustainable project. It is a completely ridiculous mega-project that was never possible due to the enormous cost,” he explained. He said that while some areas of NEOM have clear goals, the central city “has no real purpose” or “use.”

The megacity will also include an octagonal floating city with a sustainable harbour, a luxury island resort and a ski and adventure mountain. “From a government trade strategy perspective, NEOM is a very viable project that has a lot to offer,” Craig said. “But you need a plan on how to implement it. So that it attracts investors. “Saudi Arabia has not done that yet,” he added.

Satellite image of construction work in

Satellite image of construction work on The Line.
Satellite image © 2024 Maxar Technologies

Plans for the mega-city have reportedly been scaled back in recent months. Originally, The Line was expected to be inhabited by 9 million people by 2030. However, according to a recent report from Bloomberg, that estimate has been reduced to fewer than 300,000 people by that point.

Planners were also concerned about the costs associated with the project. Executives working at NEOM reportedly rejected the official $500 billion figure as unrealistically low. The first 1.5 miles (2.41 kilometers) of the road alone are expected to cost more than $100 billion (about 93 euros). Two people familiar with the work told the Wall Street Journal.

“The world has never seen anything like The Line before,” Craig said. “There has never been a project that has had so much like it resources „It was gutted and served no real purpose,” he added. Additionally, Craig is not the first to question the viability of the Shining City.

Last year, British architect Peter Cook, involved in the project, described the city as „amazing absurdity”. He added that the proposed height was „a bit ridiculous and unreasonable,” according to The Architect’s Journal. NEOM representatives did not respond to a request for comment.

Read also

'Ambitious but not revolutionary’: This is what city planners say about Saudi Arabia’s $1 billion NEOM project

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Putin’s peace offer in Ukraine war is merely a 'revival of National Socialism’

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Putin’s peace offer in Ukraine war is merely a 'revival of National Socialism’

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s offer for peace negotiations. He compared the Kremlin’s actions to the policies of Adolf Hitler in the Third Reich.

In an interview with the Italian news channel Sky TG24 Zelensky explained that the offer was an ultimatum that would not differ from previous ones. “What he is doing is reviving Nazism,” Zelensky said. Therefore, Putin wants Ukraine to give up the territories occupied by Russia, but at the same time he is interested in the unoccupied territories. According to Zelensky, Putin has no intention of ending the war. A frozen conflict will not be possible.

The Ukrainian head of state cited the partition and annexation of Czechoslovakia by Adolf Hitler in 1938 as an example of this approach. The German dictator at the time claimed that the Sudetenland was Nazi Germany’s last territorial demand – which ultimately turned out to be just that. to lie.

About Zelensky’s statements The Kyiv Independent website also reported.

Zelensky’s advisor: The proposals do not end the war in Ukraine

Mykhailo Podoliak, Zelensky’s advisor, commented In a post on X And also Putin’s demands. Russian claims on Ukraine would amount to Ukraine ceding its territory, giving up its sovereignty and leaving itself unprotected. He also stressed that the peace proposals are not new and that they will not end the war.

Giving up territory and not joining NATO: this is what Putin demands

On Friday afternoon, Putin made the withdrawal of Ukrainian forces from four regions and renunciation of NATO membership a condition for peace negotiations. Putin told Russian Foreign Ministry executives that once Kiev begins withdrawing from the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia regions and formally abandons its plans to join NATO, „we will cease fire immediately, literally in the same minute, and start talks.” .

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Putin called on Ukraine to hand over these areas, which are partially occupied by the Russian army, to Russia. Moscow announced the annexation of Ukraine’s eastern and southern regions in September 2022. For Kiev, these conditions represent an effective demand for surrender. (With AFP)

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Ukraine War: Ukraine and NATO reject Putin’s ceasefire conditions

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Ukraine War: Ukraine and NATO reject Putin’s ceasefire conditions

the Ukraine He rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s conditions for a ceasefire and peace negotiations, describing them as „eyewash.” “There is nothing new, no real peace proposals and no desire to end the fighting,” Ukrainian presidential advisor Mykhailo Podlyak wrote on Channel X. One must stop taking Russia’s „proposals” seriously, which contradict common sense.

It was before Put it in He told Russian Foreign Ministry executives that his country would „immediately cease fire and begin talks” if Ukraine withdraws from the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions and renounces NATO membership. Ukraine should also fully hand over to Russia the areas partially occupied by the Russian army.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba described Putin’s statements as ridiculous. Kuleba said that Putin’s goal is to mislead the international community.

The United States government does not want peace through dictatorship

Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg He said at the conclusion of a meeting of defense ministers in Brussels that Putin’s conditions „are not a peace proposal” but „a proposal for more aggression and more occupation.”

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin accused Putin of wanting to „dictate” peace to Ukraine. Putin has occupied Ukrainian territory in violation of international law and has been unable to tell Ukraine what to do to reach a solution. Austin said: “We do not want the leader of a country to wake up one day and decide to erase his neighbor’s borders and annex his lands. This is not the world we all want to live in.”

Ukraine demands the complete withdrawal of Russian forces

Ukraine is conducting a complete withdrawal of Russian forces from its internationally recognized territory, including in 2014. Russia Annexation of Crimea as a condition for possible peace negotiations.

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Sahira Wagenknecht finds Putin’s demands „understandable”

On the other hand, BSW President Sarah Wagenknecht called for openness to Putin’s conditions. Wagenknecht said Ukraine and the West must „avoid the historical mistake of crudely dismissing signals from Moscow as unrealistic maximum demands.” Instead, Putin’s initiative should be treated “with due seriousness” and seen as a starting point for negotiations.

Wagenknecht said that Ukraine’s permanent non-nuclear status and renunciation of NATO membership are „understandable demands from Russia.” It is „in Europe’s existential interest to find a compromise now to avoid the risk of a major European war.” The G7 heads of state and government must respond quickly to this offer.

At the end of the week, representatives of more than 90 countries and organizations want to speak in Switzerland about the possibilities for achieving peace in Ukraine. Russia does not participate.

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