The effective occupation of the Crimea by Russia has this morning been hailed as one of the most dangerous moments of the 21st century and follows an all too well historically established route.

For EU countries this should not just be about defending a far-off small country on NATO’s Eastern Border.

This is the middle game period in an already well developed Russian strategy to regain territory that the Russian people and importantly President Putin believes are Russian by right, historically linguistically and culturally.

To look at the build up to Crimea is to see a disturbing similarity eighty years before.

Since 2008, the Georgian government has lost control of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, both effectively annexed by Russia.

Though they are still unrecognised as separate countries by almost all of the world, the two territories have effectively become Russian.

The international community’s response?

UN talks to try to resolve the dispute have got nowhere and Russian appeasement has been rife in case of retaliation by Gazprom, the Russian State owned Gas company, for whom most of Europe depend for a large amount of their Gas supplies .

Given that the international community has done nothing to stop Russia, now Crimea has effectively been annexed and still the international community is relying on “harsh words” diplomacy, leaving the fledgling, democratically elected, Ukrainian government to sabre rattle on their own.

Let’s look back 80 years at another country that believed it’s People historically,  linguistically and culturally extended beyond their own borders.

Germany.

In 1935 a majority of Germanic population allowed Germany to take back control of the Saar.

Then in 1936 in violation of an international treaty the Germans re-militarized the Rhineland.

During the period they were arming and providing military aid to Franco in Spain, then in 1938 with the Anschluss Austria became a part of Germany.

The Germans, not being stopped by the international community with anything other than words, only continued demanding first the Sudetenland and then eventually taking the whole of  Czechoslovakia.

Only with the invasion and annexation of Poland in 1939 were other countries finally willing to act.

What will be Poland this time round….?

Can we afford to wait and find out?

I think combining these two images tells you all you need to know of my view of the recent events in Portugal!

José Sócrates the Prime Minister of Portugal has resigned after failing to get his austerity measures through the parliament, thanks to the pigheadedness of a sizable left wing politicians, seemingly intent on destroying their own country and indeed trying to take the economies of the rest of Europe with them!

Ridiculously, Portugal will now need an EU/IMF bailout and have to face, as Cranmer points out the very measures that they just voted against.

All the Left in Portugal have succeeded in doing is delaying the inevitable a short while, whilst making the situation for themselves internationally so very much worse, oh and forcing the resignation of someone in Socrates who was actually trying to do the best thing for his country. Still the left will still claim this as “a victory against the cuts” and will leave Britain shouldering an extra £3Billion or so of other peoples debt….

I spotted this on ConservativeHome today and as you can imagine was not best pleased.  If this is the truth then someone in Central Government needs a good talking to. Preferably from a hard case like “Our Chum” Mr Pickles.

It cannot be right in a time of fiscal meltdown, recovering from the mess that Gordon Brown has left us with, when all decent areas of Government are desperately trying to reduce spend, to spend even more on Europe!

I don’t think we get value for money at the moment, one reason why I think organisations like the ENTP are so important to funnel European Cash (British Taxpayers Money!!!) back to British Councils!

I was in Greece recently, as those who follow my tweets will know.

I thought some of you would find it interesting if I blogged about the reasons for being there.

You see, I am president of the ENTP, the “European New Towns Platform” and the General Assembly of the ENTP was held in the new town of Agios Stefanos from 26th to 28th May.

The ENTP is a pan European group of New towns, that was formed in 2001. Its key objectives are:

  • For New Towns to share experiences, as all new towns have similar themes, issues and problems it is worth talking to each other to avoid re inventing the wheel
  • To act as an automatic grouping to access EU funding; many people don’t know that to access the monies the EU gives out you need to be working in a network of other towns, the ENTP is a ready made network
  • To lobby the EU and National Governments to take note of the particular roles and difficulties suffered by new towns in policy making and spending reviews.

It represents 31 New Towns from 12 European countries and has about a dozen partner organisations who are interested in New Towns.

In 2008 when the Conservatives took control of Harlow Council, I took over from the Labour Leader Tony Durcan as a board member of the ENTP; Tony had been a board member for two years.

In December 2009 the Board of ENTP elected me as their President.

Since becoming President I have been keen for the ENTP to look beyond the borders of Europe and share the knowledge and experience of New Town development in other countries. We welcomed to the General Assembly this year a new “associate member” of the ENTP the town of Luodian in China. We also welcomed NUAC to talk to the Assembly, an organisation representing about 30 New Towns being developed in Egypt.

I have also been keen to strengthen the lobbying aspect of the ENTP to ensure that Harlow’s voice and the voice of new towns across Europe is heard by those making senior decisions.

So what does Harlow get out of this?

Well there is an office and staff in Brussels that we have access to who have a finger on the pulse of what’s going on in European funding streams and law making, we have a network of European partners to learn from and a greater opportunity to access EU funding. In the last 4 years our membership of ENTP has gained us access to £580,000 worth of EU monies (that’s Harlow tax payers cash coming back to the Harlow!)

Overall I think it is a very worthwhile organisation and one that I am proud to be President of.

I was re-elected President of the ENTP on 28th May to serve until at least the next General Assembly in 2011.

I was in Greece recently, as those who follow my tweets will know.

I thought some of you would find it interesting if I blogged about the reasons for being there.

You see, I am president of the ENTP, the “European New Towns Platform” and the General Assembly of the ENTP was held in the new town of Agios Stefanos from 26th to 28th May.

The ENTP is a pan European group of New towns, that was formed in 2001. Its key objectives are:

  • For New Towns to share experiences, as all new towns have similar themes, issues and problems it is worth talking to each other to avoid re inventing the wheel
  • To act as an automatic grouping to access EU funding; many people don’t know that to access the monies the EU gives out you need to be working in a network of other towns, the ENTP is a ready made network
  • To lobby the EU and National Governments to take note of the particular roles and difficulties suffered by new towns in policy making and spending reviews.

It represents 31 New Towns from 12 European countries and has about a dozen partner organisations who are interested in New Towns.

In 2008 when the Conservatives took control of Harlow Council, I took over from the Labour Leader Tony Durcan as a board member of the ENTP; Tony had been a board member for two years.

In December 2009 the Board of ENTP elected me as their President.

Since becoming President I have been keen for the ENTP to look beyond the borders of Europe and share the knowledge and experience of New Town development in other countries. We welcomed to the General Assembly this year a new “associate member” of the ENTP the town of Luodian in China. We also welcomed NUAC to talk to the Assembly, an organisation representing about 30 New Towns being developed in Egypt.

I have also been keen to strengthen the lobbying aspect of the ENTP to ensure that Harlow’s voice and the voice of new towns across Europe is heard by those making senior decisions.

So what does Harlow get out of this?

Well there is an office and staff in Brussels that we have access to who have a finger on the pulse of whats going on in European funding streams and law making, we have a network of European partners to learn from and a greater opportunity to access EU funding. In the last 4 years our membership of ENTP has gained us access to £580,000 worth of EU monies (that’s Harlow tax payers cash coming back to the Harlow!)

Overall I think it is a very worthwhile organisation and one that I am proud to be President of.

I was reelected President of the ENTP on 28th May to serve until at least the next General Assembly in 2011.