Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said her country’s decision on whether to apply for membership of NATO would be made within “weeks, not within months.”
“We need to have a view on the future and we are using this time to analyze and also build common views on the future when it comes to security,” Marin said. “I won’t give any kind of timetable when we will make our decisions, but I think it will happen quite fast. Within weeks, not within months.”
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told the news conference that “the security landscape has completely changed” after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and “given this situation we have to really think through what is best for Sweden and our security and our peace in this new situation.”
“This is a very important time in history. There is a before and after 24th of February,” Andersson said, referring to the date Russia’s invasion began. “We have to have a process in Sweden to think this through.”
Putin’s bullying backfires as Finland and Sweden edge closer to joining NATO (CNN)
Rob Loughlin tweetz:
If we don’t join them maybe we can start our own?
Earlier: Derek Mooney: Voters Understand That Defence Costs
Today’s summit will involve a discussion of all potential options and implications of the conflict, a senior Nato official told the FT. But alliance officials have consistently stressed in recent days that a no-fly zone or other intervention that would risk direct clashes with Russia is not an option because of the risk of sparking a wider conflict
Nato chief stresses ‘importance’ of ending Ukraine war (FT)
US President Donald Trump during his inauguration speech last week
US President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order that will put in motion the renegotiation of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
President Trump is also expected to sign an executive order announcing his intention to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement among 11 other Pacific Rim countries.
He will simultaneously move to commence trade negotiations with the parties of TPP individually. This means the Trump administration will seek one-on-one deals with the other countries involved in TPP, though Mexico and Canada already have a trade deal with the US through NAFTA.
The team expected to lead the negotiations include Wilbur Ross, Trump’s pick for secretary of Commerce and head of the newly formed White House Trade Council, long-time China critic Peter Navarro, and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Trump to sign executive order to renegotiate NAFTA and intent to leave TPP (CNBC)
Pic: New York Times
A map pinned to a telephone pole on Lesbos island, Greece from a cliff overlooking the Aegean Sea and, in the distance, Turkey – for volunteers on the lookout for refugee boats
Nato ships are being deployed to the Aegean Sea to deter people-smugglers taking migrants from Turkey to Greece, Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg says.
… Mr Stoltenberg said the mission would not be about “stopping or pushing back refugee boats”.
Nato, he said, will contribute “critical information and surveillance to help counter human trafficking”.
The decision marks the security alliance’s first intervention in Europe’s migrant crisis.
US defence secretary Ashton Carter earlier said that targeting the “criminal syndicate that is exploiting these poor people” would have the greatest humanitarian impact.
…Germany Defence Minister Ursula Von der Leyen said several Nato members had pledged warships and that any refugees rescued would be returned to Turkey, a fellow Nato ally.
A European Commission spokesman said it viewed the plan as “a sort of forerunner” to a proposed European coast guard.
Migrant crisis: Nato deploys Aegean people-smuggling patrols (BBC)
Previously: ‘We Can Bus The Refugees To Greece’
From top: Peter Sutherland and Simon Coveney at the Bilderberg Conference 2014; Simon Coveney launching the government’s white paper on the defence forces this morning.
A ‘soft’ draft.
Are we going to war?
Siobhan H writes:
In May 2014, Nato-cheerleader Peter Sutherland took Simon Coveney, to the Bilderberg Conference. High on the agenda was, eh, Nato with the supreme allied commander Europe in attendance. What the purpose of having a minister for agriculture there didn’t make too much sense at the time….
Two months later, Simon was given the job as Minister for Defence and today launches a white paper on defence that seeks a huge increase in funding for new technology, weapons, and the introduction of JobBridge soldiers [a new employment support scheme aimed at people in the 18-24 age group]. The question is who is behind this and where are we heading?
White Paper on Defence presents exciting new opportunities for the Curragh – Heydon (Fine Gael)
…and West is, well, you know….
Raúl Ilargi Meijer of The Automatic Earth writes:
No NATO territory is under threat of being violated, other than inside the narrative. Moreover, while voices in Europe increasingly claim that the threat to Ukraine is a threat to Europe (i.e. the EU), Ukraine is no more an EU member than it is a NATO member. Brussels seems to want it to be, but that’s where the narrative ends. So it’s simply being changed on the fly and has now become: “Ukraine is fighting a war on behalf of all Europe”, according Lithuanian leader Dalia Grybauskaite.
Which is where I think: really, Ukraine has killed over 2000 of its own citizens ‘on behalf of Europe’?
MORE: These Clowns Are Dragging Us Into War (The Automatic Earth)