Brussels is preparing to retaliate against the US if Washington pushes ahead with far-reaching new sanctions on Russia that hit European companies. The White House indicated on Sunday that President Donald Trump would accept legislation that would punish Russia for interfering in the 2016 election. This is despite Mr. Trump questioning assertions about Moscow’s involvement for months — and as Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort were scheduled to appear before Senate committees this week (FT, 7/24)
“The assessment is that the Bill responds primarily to the US domestic political situation and that its harmful consequences are probably unintentional yet serious,” says the note. (Brussels Briefing, 7/24)
Brussels is examining all options in its arsenal to do battle with its supposed ally, as the US inches closer to ripping up friendships and partnerships with its unilateral action on Russia. Anger has reverberated through the continent as the US looks poised to rubber stamp a deal on sanctions against their Cold War foe.
The EU and US look set to clash over the draft sanction laws, which target Russian energy, financial, railways, the shipping and mining sectors.
Republicans and Democrats thrashed out the deal over the weekend, and The House of Representatives will vote on the bill on Tuesday. (Juncker “set to retaliate in days,” Daily Express, 7/24)
Honeymoon over Emmanuel Macron’s approval rating has fallen 10 percentage points to 54 per cent, the second-biggest decline for a French president so soon after election. French voters were either confused by plans for the tax system, shocked by a dispute with the head of the army or unsettled by upcoming labour laws reform. (Bloomberg 7/24)
- More than 60 Islamic leaders and imams — from France, Belgium, Britain, Tunisia, and of different Islamic faiths — in a move that may be unprecedented, are touring Europe to denounce Islamic terrorism and to pay homage to the victims of terror in Europe by visiting many of the sites of terror attacks.
- The idea seems to have shaken extremists to the core. They have been sending these imams death threats.
- It is therefore high time, as mankind faces a crucial turning point, that people will pull together and support any voices of peace such as those of the marching imams, and restrain any hands that would try to sabotage their noble mission. (“Hero Imams,” GT 7/24)