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The gap in Trump-European relations turned into a cliff



The gap in Trump-European relations turned into a cliff
Earlier this week, the European Union refused to put the US on its “safe country” list, which means that American travelers will not be accepted into the block for the foreseeable future, due to the surprising number of US coronavirus infections. Controversially, the list includes China – the country where the virus originated – on the condition of reciprocal regulation.
European Union officials stressed that the decision was not political and was entirely based on epidemiological evidence, hoping it would calm US President Donald Trump, a man who had attacked the bloc on several occasions.

However, others admit privately that if Brussels wanted to make the pill more suitable for an American audience, they could add a layer of sugar. “In the past, I could see that we might not include China to keep the US happy,” said an EU diplomat who was not authorized to speak in the notes on how the decision was made.

It might seem difficult to think of this incident as evidence of a break in trans-Atlantic relations, until you place it in the current geopolitical context. It’s no secret Washington is less interested in European affairs today. And it is well known that European countries are actively seeking greater diplomatic autonomy from America. This is especially true for 27 EU member states.

One way that according to Brussels can distance itself from DC is by engaging with China as a strategic and economic partner, reducing its dependence on one of the world’s superpowers by balancing its relationship with the others.

In recent years, Brussels has fought for big international things like Trump tearing things up. Think of the Paris Climate Agreement, the Iran Nuclear Agreement, 5G, and you begin to see patterns of behavior in which the EU can be seen as siding with China over its oldest allies. Of course, this might be an unreasonable reading about this situation, given the deep and intertwined ties between Europe and the US, but in this context, any hospitality felt to Beijing punches a very real bruise.

“Knowing what we know about Chinese data, how it behaved during the pandemic and the attitude of the White House, I think in other worlds we will hold it back,” the diplomat said. The other world he meant wasn’t just the world before Trump came to power.

A Brussels official who worked on EU foreign policy but was not authorized to speak on notes said the shift from Europe as a geopolitical priority began under former US president Barack Obama.

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“Obama does not have this close interest in the Middle East with the previous president, which is geographically more of a European problem. And he is shifting his priorities from Europe to China and Asia,” the official said.

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However, longtime observers of the alliance accept that it has been tense for the past four years – and will continue to worsen if Donald Trump defeats former vice president Joe Biden in this year’s US election. “Trump considers the European Union, especially Germany, an economic and trade rival, which means tensions can be expected if he gets a second term,” said Velina Tchakarova, from the Austrian Institute for European Policy and Security.

He said that when the European Union took steps towards “building stronger autonomy in the field of security and defense,” Trump tried to “weaken such efforts through his attacks on European NATO members as well as through economic and trade measures. “

The Brussels official explained that “Trump’s escape from multilateralism” on major international issues such as Iran, coupled with the US taking “less responsibility in European security” has accelerated European thought to take steps away from America and “do our own thing in the world stage . “

The characterization of hostile US governments who do not want to work with Europeans is recognized by EU diplomats. “The problem is, officials in DC who want to work with Europe, when they are in contact, don’t have the mandate from the government to get involved in a serious way. They last as long as they can but if we get both Trump terms, then we’re in big trouble.”

President Trump has criticized the bloc on several occasions.

This, according to Tchakarova, is why “EU institutions and the leaders of member states hope that Joe Biden will be elected in November … he supports multilateralism and his hope is that he will strengthen ties between the US and Europe.”

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CNN approached a number of officials from EU institutions and diplomats on both sides of the Atlantic to comment. Most refused to comment; some admit that they believe this is the problem. A European diplomat said: “We will dance with anyone on the dance floor, but it doesn’t take genius to see that EU-US cooperation is currently performing poorly.”

Asked to comment on the potential pivot by the EU which is far from its historical ties with the US, a State Department spokesman said: “The United States and the European Union share a strong and enduring partnership based on general democratic values ​​and governance, respect for human rights “and the rule of law, deep economic ties and a commitment to transatlantic prosperity and security. This longstanding partnership is very important because we coordinate a number of international efforts.”

However, a potential Biden victory will not provide a quick fix for the transatlantic partnership. “The real question is not whether you can get the relationship back where it came from, but if we can persuade the US to rejoin the Western order,” the EU diplomat said.

“The US and EU geopolitical pivots about Asia, the Middle East and trade have each started. The difference now is that we think the West should pivot as one.”

And even if Biden returns to Obama’s European policy, there is no guarantee that within four years he will not be replaced by someone even more radical than Trump. “The fundamental shift that is happening in the US will probably remain and we have to adjust, make the best of the relationships we can. These shifts, they are structural and they are not just based on one person,” Brussels officials said.

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Of course, all this does not mean that the transatlantic alliance will cease to be important. This will remain the center of what the West represents, and the US will always be a more important ally for Europe than China before. In addition, the EU’s big plan to engage more with China was dealt a major blow by the outbreak of Covid-19.

However, a fading layer of warmth – with Europe looking for a new place on the world stage as the global role of the US becomes even more unpredictable – can only be seen as good news for those whose historic Western powers banded together to fight not so long ago.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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