BERLIN/KIEV/BERN | | ukraineschweiz

BERLIN/KIEV/BERN (Own report) - In the aftermath of the Western-oriented putsch in Kiev, German politicians are preparing German public opinion for the disastrous deterioration of the Ukraine economic situation. Even though it was most recently suggested that the country could only expect a thriving development by linking up to the EU, it is now - truthfully - being announced that Ukraine is practically bankrupt. The CDU European parliamentarian, Elmar Brok, predicts "difficult times" ahead: "It has never rained gold coins, except in fairy tales." In fact back in the fall, experts had already indicated that, because of its out-dated industry, the Ukraine would have to expect dramatic economic slumps if it signs the EU Association Agreements - unemployment and poverty would dramatically rise. In a position paper, the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) is now proposing the introduction of a special status in EU ties for the Ukraine as well as other countries, such as Turkey. This sort of EU "second ring" would also permit the economic integration of such countries as Switzerland, which politically resists joining the EU. The SWP contends that these plans could also be used for Catalonia, should it secede from Spain and Scotland, from Britain. more…

BERLIN/VIENNA/BERN/VADUZ/LUXEMBURG | | oesterreichschweizluxemburg

BERLIN/VIENNA/BERN/VADUZ/LUXEMBURG (Own report) - Berlin is advancing its political positions in the middle of Europe by coordinating exclusive meetings of the four German speaking countries' foreign ministers. Last Friday's "quadripartite meeting" of the German foreign minister and his counterparts from Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein was also focused on the political crises in North Africa and the Middle East. Over the past few years, special meetings of ministers of the German speaking countries have been systematically intensified. They are based on the extraordinarily close economic ties, which secure Germany a predominating position. By way of its ties to the media market, Germany achieves a significant ideological influence within the German speaking countries. These meetings of the alpine countries have now been extended to include the participation of Luxemburg. This growing cooperation has been justified with the assertion that these countries constitute a "unitary cultural realm." However, the integration is not determined by culture, but is the result of German domination, supplanting the previously strong French influence in Luxemburg and Switzerland. more…

BERN/BERLIN | | schweiz

BERN/BERLIN (Own report) - War resisters in Switzerland are protesting against an armament project that would tie their country to the western military alliance. The project provides for the acquisition of a double-digit number of fighter aircraft worth billions. Unlike its predecessor, this new plane is to be a ground combat support aircraft and therefore can serve in NATO or EU military aggressions. Swiss soldiers are already participating in NATO's foreign interventions, often at the side of the German Bundeswehr, for example in Kosovo and until recently also in Afghanistan. For centuries Switzerland had been neutral. In the 1990s, through cooperating with the German Bundeswehr and by joining its armed forces to the NATO "Partnership for Peace" program, the country abdicated its neutrality. Switzerland is purchasing military hardware also in Germany, which is offering its Eurofighter for sale in the planned fighter aircraft acquisition. Western states are also training their armies in Switzerland. Just last week, a German Bundeswehr aircraft crashed while on maneuvers over Swiss territory. This was not the first time. more…