Posted tagged ‘European Commission’

French blogger lashes out at YouTube for trying to ‘censor’ her interview with Juncker — RT News

September 19, 2016

French blogger lashes out at YouTube for trying to ‘censor’ her interview with Juncker

Published time: 19 Sep, 2016 13:51

Source: French blogger lashes out at YouTube for trying to ‘censor’ her interview with Juncker — RT News


Screenshot of the interview between video blogger Laetitia Birbes and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker © Youtube

A French video blogger who interviewed European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker has exposed a video in which a YouTube representative tries to censor her “super tough” questions. The embarrassing scene was caught on hidden camera.

“You don’t want to get on the wrong side of YouTube and the European Commission, or of the people who trust you. Except if you don’t care about having a long career on YouTube,” a YouTube employee tells Birbes, adding that he would have to discuss potential “red-flag” questions with Juncker’s spokesperson, Natasha Bertaud.

“At the beginning, I realized that YouTube was trying to gently influence me,” Birbes said in her video statement on Facebook. “Then eventually it got more serious, and at some point I felt threatened.”

YouTube wanted the conversation with Juncker to be a politics-free chat, nothing to write home about. “They wanted me to ask super soft questions. The goal was to give advertisement to Juncker.”

“They suggested I ask Juncker ‘What is happiness?’ [and] discuss his vintage Nokia phone and his dog named ‘Plato,’” Birbes told French news website Rue 89.

The French blogger, who is the host of the YouTube channel ‘Le Corps, la Maison, l’Esprit’ (The Body, the Home, the Spirit), with over 64,000 subscribers, said she was pressed to make a tough choice.

“What was difficult for me is that I felt a ball in my stomach when I talked to the YouTube guy,” she recalled.

“Clearly, I had to decide: Take the risk and lose everything I’ve succeeded in so far in order to ask the questions [that I chose], or stay within the system and ask the questions suggested by YouTube. I decided to run the risk. I wanted to be honest with myself and with all those people who trust me,” the blogger said in her video.

Birbes jumped at the opportunity to grill Juncker about his predecessor José Manuel Barroso’s controversial job at Goldman Sachs, as well as about Luxembourg’s tax policies under his terms as Prime Minister and Finance Minister.

A spokesperson for Google (which owns YouTube) has denied any intention to shape Birbes’ interview with Juncker.

“Laetitia had some tough questions for President Juncker and before the interview, asked for our advice on how to phrase them,” the spokesperson, who declined to be named, told Politico. “Our colleague encouraged her to be respectful, rather than confrontational — that is all that happened here.”

Birbes said in her video that after the Juncker interview, Google offered her a chance to become a YouTube ambassador for humanitarian projects, with a grant of €25,000 ($27,900).

“I feel at a loss. Why are they proposing this contract at this particular moment? Is it honest or not? Are they doing it to buy me off, for not showing the video, not talking about this?” Birbes asked. “I can’t sign it right now.”

“I was really shocked to have been manipulated and threatened like this. I can’t keep silent [about it],” she said.

“I’d like YouTube to pledge publicly for no more manipulating, threatening and instrumentalizing YouTube content makers,” she added.

Juncker: No Matter How Bad Migrant Crisis, Terrorism Gets, We’ll Never Give Up On Open Borders

July 28, 2016

Juncker: No Matter How Bad Migrant Crisis, Terrorism Gets, We’ll Never Give Up On Open Borders

Source: Juncker: No Matter How Bad Migrant Crisis, Terrorism Gets, We’ll Never Give Up On Open Borders


Jean-Claude Juncker has vowed that no matter how bad terrorism or the migrant crisis gets, the European Union (EU) will never give up on open borders. The European Commission president said terrorism could be countered with better intelligence-sharing between member states.

On France 2’s Four Truths programme this morning, Mr. Juncker said “a lot of initiatives” will be required to strengthen security in the EU. After a bloody month for Europe in which the continent has seen multiple Islamic terror attacks — four in the last week in Germany alone — the EU president insisted better communication between member states would solve the problem.

Mr. Juncker told presenter Gilles Bornstein that he “expected a better response from member states regarding the exchange of information between police and intelligence services”.

The EU chief said he believes member states “are not yet used to the obvious need there is to better share information”.

Mr. Juncker insisted that however bad the “migrant crisis” and terrorism in Europe gets, the EU will never call into question the free movement of people within the bloc.

“This is one of the four fundamental freedoms of the founding Treaty of Rome. It is an inviolable principle,” he said.

In the interview on the publicly owned broadcaster, Mr. Juncker also mused on a number of other issues such as this year’s U.S. presidential race, and Turkish accession to the EU. The unelected European People’s Party figure told Mr. Bornstein that “Turkey is not in a position to join the EU in the short and medium term”.

“If Turkey reintroduced the death penalty, negotiations would stop immediately,” he added.

Mr. Juncker said he considers it illegitimate for him to “interfere in the Democratic [party] Republican [party] debate”, but the EU chief admitted he would prefer Hillary Clinton in the White House to Donald Trump.

The President of the European Commission is not just committed to open borders within Europe. Under his presidency, the European Commission lists migration as one of its priorities. As well as offering residency to the world’s “refugees”, the Commission seeks to make it much easier and more desirable for Africans and their families to move to EU countries.

Speaking after Islamic terror attacks left 130 dead in Paris last November, Mr. Juncker rejected calls to rethink the EU’s open doors policy on migration from Africa and the Middle East. Dismissing suggestions that open borders led to the attacks, Mr. Juncker said he believed “exactly the opposite” – that the attacks should be met with a stronger display of liberal values including open borders.

Turkey’s Erdoğan threatened to flood Europe with migrants, leak reveals

February 9, 2016

Turkey’s Erdoğan threatened to flood Europe with migrants, leak reveals

February 08, 2016, Monday/ 17:03:09/ TODAY’S ZAMAN

Source: Turkey’s Erdoğan threatened to flood Europe with migrants, leak reveals

Turkey’s Erdoğan threatened to flood Europe with migrants, leak reveals

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (L) at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels on Oct. 5, 2015. (Photo: Cihan)

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened to send buses full of refugees to Greece if the EU did not finalize an agreement with Turkey over the action plan to stem the flow of refugees to Europe, according to the leaked transcript of a meeting between Erdoğan and leaders of the EU.

The transcript, published by the Greek-based online news portal, claims to be the minutes of a meeting of Erdoğan, President of the European Council Donald Tusk and President of the European Commission (EC) Jean-Claude Juncker.

According to the transcript Erdoğan pushes the EU leaders for 3 billion euros per year, for two years, instead of 3 billion euros over two years, which the EU proposed. According to the leak, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who was present at the meeting, showed Juncker an internal document belonging to the EC, which stated 3 billion euros per year.

Erdoğan also asks whether the proposal would be for 3 billion or 6 billion euros. When Juncker confirmed 3 billion, Erdoğan said Turkey did not need the EU’s money.

“We [Turkey] can open the doors to Greece and Bulgaria any time, and we can put the refugees on buses,” Erdoğan was quoted as saying.

The meeting was held in Antalya in the run-up to the EU-Turkey summit on Nov. 29, 2015, in which the action plan that envisages Turkey stemming the flow of Syrian refugees to Europe was signed.

In return for keeping the refugees, the EU promised Turkey 3 billion euros, visa-free travel to Europe, the inclusion of Turkish officials in EU summits and a re-invigoration of Turkey’s EU accession process — starting with the opening of the 15th chapter of the negotiation acquis.

All 28 EU countries recently signed off on the proposal to allocate the funds to Turkey at a meeting in Brussels. The funds will be given to Ankara in return for Turkey culling the flow of immigrants to Europe.

In response to Today’s Zaman, the EU Commission declined to comment on the leak.

The transcript states that Erdoğan said the agreement on the action plan is to keep alive the Schengen project, which allows free travel among most EU member states. Many officials, including Tusk, have warned about the impending collapse of the Schengen project if the refugee crisis is not tended to urgently.

In the transcript Juncker replies to Erdoğan stating that if Schengen collapses Turkey can have no visa liberalization deal with the EU and will have to apply for visa exemptions on a bilateral basis.

According to the minutes of the meeting, Tusk told Erdoğan that the EU “really wants a deal” with Turkey, to which Erdoğan replied: “So how will you deal with the refugees if there is no deal? Kill the refugees?”

Also Erdoğan tells the EU leaders that the delaying of the European Commission’s Progress Report did not help the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) to win the Nov. 1 election last year.

“Anyway, the report was an insult. Who prepared it, anyway? How can you come up with this? It’s not the real Turkey. You [EU leaders] never came to me to learn the truth,” Erdoğan said, according to the transcript.

“Again, no chapters have been opened yet, despite our [Turkey] good progress. We [Turkey] used to be at EU summits, but for 11 years you [EU officials] don’t want to be seen with us. And for five years there has been no opening of chapters,” Erdoğan said.

The EC’s report on Turkey, originally set to be published on Oct. 14, 2015, was held back until after the Nov. 1 election. It criticized the AK Party over backtracking on the rule of law, media freedom and judicial independence.

Juncker, however, is quoted as saying that the report was delayed upon Erdoğan’s request. “Why else would we be willing to get criticized for it [delaying the report]?” he was reported to have said.

Erdoğan also says Luxembourg, Juncker’s native country, is the size of a town in Turkey and that Turkey should not be compared with other EU member states due to its size.

The report prompted a member of the European Parliament from the Greek centrist party To Potami to ask the European Commission to confirm the purported talks.

“If the relevant dialogues between the EU officials and the Turkish President are true, it seems that there are aspects of the deal between Ankara and the EU which were concealed on purpose,” Miltos Kyrkos said in the question he submitted to the Commission.

“We want immediately an answer on whether these revelations are true and where the Commission’s legitimacy to negotiate, using Turkey’s accession course as a trump card, is coming from,” Kyrkos said.

Turning point? EU Commission head says relations with Russia ‘must be improved,’ US ‘can’t dictate’

October 9, 2015

Turning point? EU Commission head says relations with Russia ‘must be improved,’ US ‘can’t dictate’ Published time: 9 Oct, 2015 04:13 Edited time: 9 Oct, 2015 09:10

Source: Turning point? EU Commission head says relations with Russia ‘must be improved,’ US ‘can’t dictate’ — RT News


European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker © Vincent Kessler

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker © Vincent Kessler / Reuters

Europe must treat Russia with more decency, improve the relationship, and not let EU policies be dictated by Washington, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a surprise speech in Germany.

READ MORE: NATO to create new HQs in Hungary & Slovakia, boost response forces – Stoltenberg

It is now critical for the EU to work on its relations with Russia, Juncker said in the southern German town of Passau: “We must make efforts towards a practical relationship with Russia. It is not sexy but that must be the case, we can’t go on like this.”

Moreover, the US needs to keep its influence out of EU relations with other countries, Juncker added.

“Russia must be treated decently … We can’t let our relationship with Russia be dictated by Washington.”

EU-Russia relations have deteriorated since the EU imposed sanctions on Russia for its alleged role in the Ukrainian conflict. The Russian government has unswervingly denied these allegations.

In the meantime, some progress has recently been reported in eastern Ukraine, as the armed forces of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR) have begun withdrawing weapons under 100 mm caliber from the conflict zone. Ukraine’s Joint Staff has also announced the start of a withdrawal of artillery from the region.

The withdrawal of weapons is part of the Minsk agreements, which was agreed upon by the leaders of the Normandy Four, namely France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia, in February. The deal required a ceasefire, a weapons withdrawal, constitutional reforms, legislative recognition of a special status for the unrecognized republics, and release and exchange of prisoners on an all-for-all basis.

READ MORE: Top Ukraine official backs idea ‘to help ISIS take revenge on Russian soldiers in Syria’

However, lasting truce was only reached in late August. Kiev and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics maintain the armistice has been holding since September 1, although both sides still occasionally accuse each other of violations.

Moscow continues to stress the importance of direct dialogue between Kiev and representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told CBS’s ‘60 Minutes’ at the end of September that all countries need to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty.

“At no time in the past, now or in the future has or will Russia take any part in actions aimed at overthrowing the legitimate government,” Putin said, adding that Moscow “would like other countries to respect the sovereignty of other states, including Ukraine. Respecting the sovereignty means preventing coups, unconstitutional actions and illegitimate overthrowing of the legitimate government.”

READ MORE: Moscow ready for more sanctions, regardless of Ukraine crisis – Foreign Ministry

EU sanctions against Russia could be renewed at the end of this year, however, even though some European countries have been hit hard by the fall in trade triggered, in part, by Moscow’s counter-sanctions on food imports.

EU sanctions include restrictions on lending to major Russian state-owned banks, as well as defense and oil companies. In addition, Brussels has imposed restrictions on supplying weapons and military equipment to Russia, as well as military technology, dual-use technologies, high-tech equipment, and technologies for oil production. A number of Russian and Ukrainian officials have also been blacklisted by the West.