June 28, 2016

FRANCE: Leader of France's Conservative Party Marine Le Pen on Brexit: ‘This Is the Beginning of the End of the European Union’

Time Magazine online
written by Vivienne Walt/Brussels @vivwalt
Tuesday June 28, 2016

"The European Union is objectively a total failure"

Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front, was one of the few European politicians to celebrate Britain’s decision to exit the European Union. In an interview with TIME’s Vivienne Walt, she explains how she plans to use the Brexit example to pull France out of the E.U.—and why she is so sure she will succeed.

You said Brexit is the biggest thing in Europe since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Is this the end of the E.U.?

Yes, this is the beginning of the end of the European Union. And I hope the birth of the Europe of nations, a Europe of cooperation, that we’ve been propounding for years. The European Union is objectively a total failure. It’s a social failure, it’s an economic failure, it’s a failure in terms of power, it’s a diplomatic failure. They are doing exactly what they did in the Soviet Union. When the results were not in line with expectations, [the Soviets] would say it didn’t work because there was not enough Communism. And the European Union is the same. Each time there is a failure they say it is because there is not enough Europe. The British people have just said ‘stop. For us it’s the end. It’s over.’

What is the path for you between now and the French exit from the E.U.?

In order to organize the referendum I need to win the presidential elections [next year]. I’m the only major candidate that has proposed a referendum, and that has been since four years ago, since before [U.K. Prime Minister David] Cameron, that I suggested organizing a referendum. I would go to the European institutions, I would demand for the French people four sovereignties: territorial—our borders; monetary and budgetary; economic; and legislative. Either the European Union says yes to me, or they would say no, and I would say to the French, there is no only other solution but to leave the E.U.

In your opinion the E.U. cannot be saved or reformed?

Was the Soviet Union reformable? I would say no. They said, ‘okay the Soviet Union isn’t working,’ They would say, ‘no it’s great. We just need democracy, political pluralism, private property.’ And then there was no Soviet Union. The European Union is the same.

How has Brexit changed your political prospects in the French presidential elections next year?

With each day that passes we are shown to be right. Every day that passes validates the analysis that we have put forward these past years, often very alone, often very much against everyone, very often mocked, insulted. The Brexit has given a new demonstration. They told us that it was not possible to leave the E.U. The British people just showed that yes, it is possible. So, we’ve taken note. They joined together to demonstrate against the system. The people in fact wanted to get out. And me, I say, that in many other countries in the E.U., people also want to get out.

Currently the polls say you wouldn’t win a referendum to get France out of the E.U.

Oh really? I don’t know that, myself. That is what people said in Britain. Hah.

What’s the ideal relationship now for the U.K. with the E.U.?

A neighboring country that must go through commercial agreements with the European Union. The E.U. has agreements—and worse than that, free trade agreements—with more than 30 countries in the world: Colombia, Mexico, Albania, Algeria, the Farro Islands… Great Britain is at the same time our neighbor, a European country, and in terms of its economy mostly structured in the same manner, like the big European countries. There is no justification to reject this agreement, except if they want to punish Great Britain, unless they want to avenge Great Britain. But there again would be profoundly anti-democratic. Voilà.

Aside from France, who else will want to get out of the E.U.?

It depends on the elections. We don’t know. I don’t know what might intervene. The signal that has been launched is a real deep upset of conscience. Because the idea, again, the argument that it is impossible to leave the E.U., that was hammered over years and years, that has just collapsed as a result of the act of conscience that has been taken by the people against the European Union.

Why did the British vote to leave the E.U.?

Freedom, the right to decide for themselves. Immigration, undeniably. Social dumping organized by the directive of free movement of workers. I think these were three elements. And perhaps the cost of the E.U., because it costs a lot every year. I think these were the elements.

Does the Brexit change everything for you?

It doesn’t change everything. It’s a validation of the political engagement fought with deep conviction, under conditions that are very difficult. The system is ranged against us, I have to tell you. In France you will not find a single media outlet who is for a referendum. Not one. Not one. Not one political figure. Not one media. Not one party. Not one trade union. It’s not easy to fight within those conditions. But when you have a good thing that happens like that [the Brexit] obviously, it’s a moment of joy. Because it is gives energy to continue.

What’s your prediction for 10 years from now for Europe?

I think within 10 years the European Union will be deconstructed. There will be these buildings, these meetings, these nations. We will work together in work groups on projects. Like Ariane [the E.U. space program], or Erasmus [E.U. student exchange program]. These are projects that have nothing to do with the European Union, the single market. It will be what I call a Europe of cooperation. Some people will find a project and circulate it, and some will say, I like this project, others will say I don’t like it, I don’t want to participate.

ENGLAND: Thatcher "Described The ‘European Project’ As The Greatest Folly Of The Modern Era." #Brexit

Breitbart news
written by Nile Gardiner
Thursday June 23, 2016

Nile Gardiner, director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at The Heritage Foundation and a former aide to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, told Breitbart News Daily SiriusXM host Stephen K. Bannon Thursday, “I think she would be greatly saddened by the fact that Britain is still part of the European Union.”

Gardiner went on to say, “If she were alive today, no doubt that Margaret Thatcher would be actively campaigning for Britain to leave the EU. In fact, she described the ‘European project’ as the greatest folly of the modern era. It was certainly her desire that Britain should leave the European Union.”

“Europe today really is a basket case,” added Gardiner.

As for the larger implications of the vote, he said:
This referendum is hugely important not just for Britain, but also for Europe, for the future, I think, of the free world–and also for the United States, as well. This is ultimately a battle, a fight for sovereignty, self determination, the right to make your own laws. The right for your courts to be sovereign. … And it’s also about the right to control your own borders. … So all of these issues are fundamentally important, as well, for America. The very principles and ideals that the American people cherish are the same principles and ideals that people are fighting for today in this referendum, which is why I think that Americans should instinctively support Brexit. … Anything that advances the cause of freedom on the world stage is a good thing.
Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

ENGLAND: Queen Elizabeth for Brexit: “EU Courts ‘Denigrate’ Britain By Protecting Terrorists”

Jihad Watch
written by Christine Williams
Thursday June 23, 2016

Even the usually neutral Queen is fed up with European courts protecting Islamic jihadist hate preachers, saying that they “denigrate Britain” and asking the question: “Give me THREE good reasons” to remain inside the European Union. Pity that the Obama administration and Western leftist authorities are not as wise as the Queen on this matter, as she has now signaled her position on Britain leaving the EU and the critical reason for doing so.

“Her Majesty The Eurosceptic Queen: EU Courts ‘Denigrate’ Britain By Protecting Terrorists,” by Liam Deacon, Breitbart, June 22, 2016:

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II thinks European courts that protect Islamist hate preachers “denigrate” Britain and has demanded her dinner guests “Give me THREE good reasons” to remain inside the European Union (EU).

The loaded challenge has been widely interpreted as an expression of Euroscepticism since the Royal biographer Robert Lacey made the revelation in a blog post in the Daily Beast.

The EU and the European Court of Human Rights are known for their history of protecting the “rights” of extremists and blocking deportations.

Last night Breitbart London revealed that Islamist hate preacher, terrorist apologist and Caliphate agitator Anjem Choudary supports Remain because “there are certain principles and caveats” in EU law that offer “recourse” to Islamist radicals.

According to Mr. Lacy: “We know from another leaked royal conversation that the European Court of Human Rights has annoyed the Queen as much as many Britons.

“She felt that the Court’s shielding of Abu Hamza, the extremist Muslim cleric whom the Home Office wished to deport in 2012, ‘denigrated’ Britain.”

EU courts blocked the deportation of the Egyptian militant Islamist from the UK for eight years, even after he had been found guilty of numerous terror-related crimes.

The Queen is often lauded the model of a responsible constitutional monarch — going to great lengths to remain neutral on big political issues of the day. However, she is said to enjoy “robust” debate and has strong personal views.

The evidence for her majesty’s Eurosceptic tendencies is building. In March, it was revealed that she had spoken out strongly against the EU in a private 2011 discussion with the then Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg – himself a committed Europhile.

A senior source said: “People who heard their conversation were left in no doubt at all about the Queen’s views on European integration.

“It was really something, and it went on for quite a while. The EU is clearly something Her Majesty feels passionately about.”

ENGLAND: German Chancellor Angela Merkel Sees No Chance Of British U-turn On Brexit. EU Parliament Leader: We Want Britain Out As Soon As Possible.

Reuters news
reporting by Noah Barkin
Tuesday June 28, 2016

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday she saw no chance that Britain might go back on its decision to leave the European Union.

Speaking at the end of the first day of an EU summit, Merkel described talks with outgoing British Prime Minister David Cameron as "serious" but "friendly". She said it was not a time for sorrow or anger, but that Europe must simply deal with the situation with which it was now confronted.

"I want to say very clearly tonight that I see no way to reverse this," Merkel said when asked about the possibility of a British U-turn on Brexit. "We all need to look at the reality of the situation. It is not the hour for wishful thinking."
The Guardian, UK
written by Jennifer Rankin and Jon Henley in Brussels, Philip Oltermann in Berlin and Helena Smith in Athens
Friday June 24, 2016

President Martin Schulz says speeding up of UK exit being considered after ‘continent taken hostage because of Tory party fight’

A senior EU leader has confirmed the bloc wants Britain out as soon as possible, warning that David Cameron’s decision to delay the start of Brexit negotiations until his successor is in place may not be fast enough.

Cameron announced on Friday morning that he would step down as prime minister by the autumn, after the British public caused a political earthquake by voting 52%-48% to leave the European Union.

Martin Schulz, the president of the European parliament, told the Guardian that EU lawyers were studying whether it was possible to speed up the triggering of article 50 of the Lisbon treaty – the untested procedure for leaving the union.

As the EU’s institutions scrambled to respond to the bodyblow of Britain’s exit, Schulz said uncertainty was “the opposite of what we need”, adding that it was difficult to accept that “a whole continent is taken hostage because of an internal fight in the Tory party”.

“I doubt it is only in the hands of the government of the United Kingdom,” he said. “We have to take note of this unilateral declaration that they want to wait until October, but that must not be the last word.”

Schulz’s comments were partially echoed by the president of the European commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, who said he there was no reason to wait until October to begin negotiating Britain’s departure from the European Union.

“Britons decided yesterday that they want to leave the European Union, so it doesn’t make any sense to wait until October to try to negotiate the terms of their departure,” Juncker said in an interview with Germany’s ARD television station. “I would like to get started immediately.”

As the pound fell to its lowest level since 1985 amid fears that the Brexit vote could spark a fresh global financial crisis, the governor of the Bank of England stepped in on Friday to calm financial markets.

Mark Carney said Threadneedle Street was ready to do whatever was needed to mitigate the impact of Britain’s historic vote to leave the EU. City traders quickly responded by placing bets on an interest rate cut by the end of the year.

With anti-European sentiment on the rise across the continent, national governments outside Europe’s capital sought urgently to prevent any contagion from the UK vote, urging swift reforms to the 60-year-old bloc. Calls for similar referendums were made in France, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Cameron, who had campaigned hard but ultimately unsuccessfully to keep Britain in the EU, emerged outside No 10 Downing Street just after 8am on Friday to announce his departure, accompanied by his wife, Samantha.

“I was absolutely clear about my belief that Britain is stronger, safer and better off inside the EU,” he said. “I made clear the referendum was about this, and this alone, not the future of any single politician, including myself.

“But the British people made a different decision to take a different path. As such I think the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction.”

Cameron said in his resignation speech that it would be up to his successor – expected to be appointed before the Conservative party conference in October – to trigger article 50. Once that is done, the clock starts running on two years of negotiations.

Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London and a leading leave campaigner, said there should be “no haste” in the preparations for the exit of Britain, the first sovereign country to vote to leave the union.

The president of the European council, Donald Tusk, said the 27 remaining members of the bloc would meet next week to assess its future without Britain. “It is a historic moment, but not a moment for hysterical reactions,” he said.

In Berlin, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, expressed “great regret” at Britain’s decision, but said the EU should not draw “quick and simple conclusions” that might create new and deeper divisions.

The Handelsblatt newspaper said a leaked eight-page emergency Brexit plan suggested the German government should push for an “associative status” for Britain after two years of “difficult divorce negotiations”.

The document indicated that Germany would drive a hard bargain to “avoid offering false incentives for other member states when settling on new arrangements”. Specifically, the paper advocates “no automatic access to the single market”, Handelsblatt reported on Friday afternoon.

While Brussels talked tough, a chorus of European capitals, anxious to avoid clashes with their own Eurosceptic citizens, stressed that the Brexit vote should be seen as a wake-up call for a union that was increasingly losing touch with its people.

Speaking in Paris, the French president, François Hollande, said he “profoundly regretted” the Brexit vote but that the EU now had to make changes. In a brief televised statement, Hollande said the vote would put Europe to the test: “To move forward, Europe cannot act as before.”

Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency, said the EU “has to become more relevant, deliver added value to our lives: jobs, growth, control of our external borders”.

He said he personally felt “this strong discontent with Europe, the Europe of the lofty speeches. Most of my EU colleagues also share this view. They too don’t want any more big visions, conventions and treaties.”

Italy’s foreign minister, Paolo Gentiloni, said the EU must relaunch “common policies for growth, for migration and common defence”, while the Austrian chancellor, Christian Kern, said Brussels needed a clear reform process to boost economies, stem unemployment and improve working conditions.

Sigmar Gabriel, the head of Germany’s Social Democrats, Merkel’s coalition partners, said the British vote was a “shrill wake-up call” for European politicians. “Whoever fails to heed it or takes refuge in the usual rituals, will drive Europe against the wall.”

The Belgian prime minister, Charles Michel, called for a special “conclave” of EU leaders as early as next month. “We need to keep a cool head and need to see what new way of cooperation would be possible,” he said.

Poland’s foreign minister, Witold Waszczykowski, said the result showed “disillusionment with European integration, and declining trust in the EU”. He sought to reassure at least 850,000 Poles living in Britain that “during talks (...) we will aim to guarantee the rights citizens have acquired”.

The Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, tweeted: “We must change it to make it more human and more just. But Europe is our home, it’s our future.” Lars Loekke Rasmussen, the Danish prime minister, said Denmark “belongs in Europe” but that mounting Euroscepticism must be taken seriously.

In Greece, there was concern that the referendum result would intensify anti-European sentiment. “In the short term, Brexit may help Greece, because our allies will want to solidify and show solidarity,” a senior minister told the Guardian. “But in the long term, it will not. The prospect of Grexit will increase.”

Turkey, whose future membership of the EU played a key role in the UK referendum campaign, cast doubt on the likelihood of it joining in the aftermath of the Brexit vote. “The European Union’s disintegration has started,” deputy prime minister Nurettin Canikli tweeted. “Britain was the first to jump ship.”

Schulz’s stark comments followed an earlier joint statement with the presidents of the European council and commission, Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, as well as Rutte, warning that the EU would expect Britain to act “as soon as possible, however painful the process may be” and that there could be “no renegotiation”.

The four said after emergency talks in Brussels that they regretted, but respected Britain’s decision. “This is an unprecedented situation, but we are united in our response.”

While the UK would remain a member until exit negotiations were concluded, they said, Europe expected it to “give effect to this decision ... as soon as possible”. The special settlement negotiated by Cameron earlier this year was void and could not be renegotiated, they said.

Schulz said he would speak to Merkel about “how to avoid a chain reaction” of other EU states following Britain.

“The chain reaction being celebrated everywhere now by Eurosceptics won’t happen,” he said, adding that the EU was the world’s biggest single market and “Britain has just cut its ties with that market. That’ll have consequences, and I don’t believe other countries will be encouraged to follow that dangerous path.”

Manfred Weber, the chairman of the European People’s party group of centre-right parties in the European parliament, stressed that Britain had crossed a line and there was no going back. “There cannot be any special treatment,” he said. “Leave means leave.”

The UK was the EU’s second-largest economy and largest military power. It will embark on the process of leaving as the union grapples with multiple crises: huge numbers of migrants, economic weakness and a nationalist Russia seeking to overturn the post-cold war order.

The UK has to negotiate two exit agreements: a divorce treaty to wind down British contributions to the EU budget and settle the status of the 1.2 million Britons living in the EU and 3 million EU citizens in the UK; and an agreement to govern future trade and other ties with its European neighbours.

Tusk has estimated that both agreements could take seven years to settle “without any guarantee of success”. Most Brussels insiders think this sounds optimistic.

There were early warnings of difficulties ahead. The German MEP Elmar Brok, who chairs the European parliament’s committee on foreign affairs, told the Guardian the parliament would call on Juncker to strip the British commissioner, Jonathan Hill, of the financial services brief with immediate effect and turn him into a “commissioner without portfolio”.

He said: “They will have to negotiate from the position of a third country, not as a member state. If Britain wants to have a similar status to Switzerland and Norway, then it will also have to pay into EU structural funds like those countries do. The British public will find out what that means.”

Jean-Claude Piris, a former head of the EU council legal service, said claims that Britain would get unfettered access to the single market, without free movement of people, were the equivalent of believing in Father Christmas. He said the British “cannot get as good a deal as they have now, it is impossible”.

Some Brussels insiders fear France and Germany may soften their approach after the vote. Others think countries, especially France, will push for a harsh settlement to hammer home the price of leaving.

One likely outcome of negotiations is that banks and financial firms in the City of London will be stripped of their lucrative EU “passports” that allow them to sell services to the rest of the EU.

In theory, the UK retains the decision-making privileges of membership; in reality, power will rapidly drain away and British diplomats can expect to be marginalised in the councils of Brussels.

The UK will keep its veto in some areas, such as tax and foreign policy, but diplomats say Britain’s voice on other EU decisions, for example, on economics and business, will count for little.

June 26, 2016

10 Inspirational Quotes By Leo Buscaglia!

Felice Leonardo "Leo" Buscaglia, Ph.D. (31 March 1924 – 11 June 1998) was an author and motivational speaker, and a professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Southern California. He was a graduate of Theodore Roosevelt High School (Los Angeles). Leo Buscaglia authored a number of New York Times bestselling inspirational books on love and human reticence on the subject, including The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, Bus 9 to Paradise, Living Loving and Learning, Love, and My Father. In lectures he often protested, in outrage at the comparative absence of writings on the subject, "I got the copyright for love!!!" [source: wikipedia]

10 Inspirational Quotes From Leo Buscaglia
  1. Love always creates, it never destroys. In this lie's man's only promise.

  2. Love is always bestowed as a gift - freely, willingly and without expectation. We don't love to be loved; we love to love.

  3. We all need each other.

  4. Don't smother each other. No one can grow in the shade.

  5. What we call the secret of happiness is no more a secret than our willingness to choose life.

  6. Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.

  7. The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another's, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises.

  8. Death is a challenge. It tells us not to waste time... It tells us to tell each other right now that we love each other.

  9. It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them.

  10. The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position.

BONUS
Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.

SUNDAY Afternoon Cartoons To Cheer Everybody Up And Take A Break From This World's Nonsense! Let Bugs Bunny Put A Smile On Your Face. :)


Bugs Bunny - Baseball Bugs (1946) by TheCryptoCrew

Bugs Bunny - (Ep. 25) - Wackiki Wabbit by serijedomace04

bugs bunny - sahara hare by tetleymoon

Transylvania 6-5000 -- 1963 by tetleymoon

02 Ali Baba Bunny .Looney Tunes by lardbass

My favorite part: Daffy Duck, "It's mine, you understand. Mine. All mine. Mine. Mine. Mine." That's how I feel about my favorite treats lol ;)
To thrive in life you need three bones. A wish bone. A backbone. And a funny bone. ~by Reba McEntire 
One last thing I'd like to leave you with... all of you really need to lighten up and laugh a little. Stop being so hyper-sensitive and offended by every minute detail you see. Stop over-analyzing something meant to be funny. First ask yourself, why am I offended by this? Is this really hurting me? Is this hurting other people? Sadly, I have read so many comments on youtube condemning Bugs Bunny cartoons because they were "offended". Really? As if our world didn't have enough major issues to be offended by like rape, murder, corruption, oppression, slavery, people left starving, millions of household pets euthanized per year in the US alone, fisherman capturing sharks who then cut off their fins and throw them back into the ocean to die, or how about elephants and rhinos being killed solely to have their ivory tusks and horns cut off with carcass left to rot. Catch my drift?
The leadership instinct you are born with is the backbone. You develop the funny bone and the wishbone that go with it. ~by Elaine Agather
I'll give you an example, I am not fond of Pablo Picasso artwork. However, there are millions of people on this planet who love his artwork. Many of his original paintings have been auctioned for tens of millions, even hundreds of million of dollars. I believe to each his or her own taste. If someone were to give me a Picasso painting as a gift, I could not in good conscience hang that painting any where in my home. Why? Because I have no connection to his style of art. His art doesn't move me. I don't care that it's worth tons of money. I'm not going to display it to make someone else feel good. I'm the one who needs to feel good in my own house. I would graciously accept the gift and thank them. But I would not hang it up. Now, just because I don't like Picasso's art style doesn't mean it's not amazing artwork, and just because I don't like Picasso's art style doesn't mean I want it banned.
Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. ~by Plato
Another example I'd like to bring up is a Cuban artist expressing himself in 1987 by displaying a photograph of the cruxifiction of Jesus Christ submerged in a jar of urine at a New York art museum. If I were walking through this museum and saw this display, I would flinch. Then I would wonder, what would cause him to feel such disdain for Jesus Christ? That's what artist make us do, question things. Would I want this banned from any museum? No, this artist is expressing what is in his heart. Do I think his artwork is vulgar, well yes I do on a personal level because I love Jesus Christ. But that doesn't mean I want it banned. That's just an object, a thing. I have Jesus Christ in my heart. For all we know, this Cuban artist may have been molested by a Catholic priest who was supposed to be representing Jesus Christ. But seriously, I could care less that someone wants to offend me, and I would most definitely not have any desire to kill them, or injure them in any way, shape, or form for trying to offend me or trying to hurt my feelings. Give me a break!

Look, I respect each person's autonomy and right to believe whatever the heck that person wants. A person can worship a rock for all I care. As long as you are not harming anyone, well then, it's no skin off of my back. Treat others the way you want to be treated.

I hope all of you have a great lighthearted day! Hugs! ♥

HAPPY Sunday Everybody! Love You...♥

SPAIN: Paralyzed Spain Heads For Election Rerun Today: 5 Things To Know

Market Watch
written by Barbara Kollmeyer
Saturday June 25, 2016

U.S. voters can complain all they want about this year’s presidential election battle—but at least they won’t have to live through it twice.

So it might be appropriate to pity the Spanish voter, who heads back to the polls on Sunday for another general election after the last contest in December failed to produce a government.

Months of political deadlock and squabbling between four parties—two upstart and two traditional—have left the country in a state of political paralysis, and acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy leading a caretaker government. Investors fear that paralysis may remain after this weekend.

It is Rajoy’s Partido Popular that has the lead, according to a Metroscopia poll taken one week before the election.
Here are five important things to know about the Spanish vote:

How did we get here? Spain’s general elections last December ushered in big losses for the two dominant parties, Rajoy’s Partido Popular (Popular Party) and the Socialists (PSOE). That was as two upstart parties—left-wing and antiausterity Podemos, which literally means “we can,” and business-friendly, anticorruption Ciudadanos (citizens)—saw strong enough finishes to break the traditional hold by the established parties.

The election outcome left the two main parties unable to form a government, and King Felipe VI himself was forced to finally dissolve parliament and call new elections. It went down in history as the shortest lived parliament since democracy was established after dictator Francisco Franco died in 1975.

Now what? Much to the annoyance of the already fed-up Spanish public—the unemployment rate hovers at 20%, the highest in the European Union after a lengthy recession—another general election will take place Sunday. Results of the election should be known late that evening, local time.

Recent polls indicate that the general elections will deliver another fragmented parliament, with results similar to the December outcome, said Apolline Menut and Antonio Garcia Pascual, economists at Barclays. They expect a minority government will be formed ahead of the summer break, more than likely led by the Popular Party.

“One important factor determining which party will lead that government is whether PSOE maintains second place (as in December, when it returned 90 MPs) or comes third, with less MPs than Unidos Podemos,” as suggested by the latest polls, the analysts said in a recent note to clients.

But Unidos Podemos is a potential game-changer in the new election. The left-wing electoral alliance was formed by Podemos, an antiausterity party that’s barely two years old, the United Left (IU), Equo and allied left-wing parties in May. Led by Podemos’s popular, ponytailed leader Pablo Iglesias and IU’s Alberto Garzon, recent polls show the leftist alliance could make big enough gains to come in second behind PP.

The outcome and markets: Clearly, for many analysts and financial markets, a biggish win by those upstart parties would be a worry, with the memory of Greece and the victory of its own anti-Establishment party, Syriza, fresh in the minds of some. It’s no surprise that Rajoy has been emphasizing such concerns, arguing that a victory by the upstart parties could undermine stability.

Menut and Pascual said if the election produces another minority government, key reforms may not pass and that could weigh on Spain’s medium-term growth prospects.

The country needs action on fiscal issues and labor markets, given its long-term unemployment issues and huge youth unemployment problem, they said. The European Commission is expected to announce in July whether it will fine Spain and Portugal for not reducing their budget deficits fast enough to comply with European Union fiscal rules.

The Barclays economists expect political risks to remain elevated after the election and Spanish assets to continue to underperform relative to what economic fundamentals would justify. The Spain IBEX 35 Index IBEX, -12.35% is down 8.5% on a year-to-date basis, slightly underperforming the Stoxx Europe 600 index SXXP, -7.03% loss of 6.6%.

A PP minority government led by someone other than Rajoy, or a grand coalition of PP and the Socialists would make markets happy, said Predrag Dukic, senior equity sales trader at CM Capital Markets, in emailed comments. “On the other hand, a PODEMOS UNIDOS+PSOE government would be a disaster.”

The Brexit twist? The surprising U.K. exit from EU after last Thursday’s referendum could alter the outcome of the Spanish election, said UniCredit analysts Luca Cazzulani and Edoardo Campanella, in a note issued ahead of the Brexit vote.

With a leave camp victory “the heightened financial and political uncertainty that would follow would likely persuade undecided voters to lean on the more moderate traditional parties, or on Ciudadanos itself,” they said. While no party would likely win an absolute majority, the Socialist party could preserve its second-place finish and Ciudadanos could erode some support for Unidos Podemos.

Buying opportunity? Dukic said trying to determine whether Spanish stocks are attractive right now versus other European countries really will depend on the outcome of the election. “Assuming that Unidos Podemos are not part of the government, I would be looking at domestic banks, utilities and construction companies as sectors which should outperform,” he said.

European banks have had a rough year, though Spain’s giant BBVA SA BBVA, -18.85% BBVA, -16.18% has fared marginally better than Germany’s Deutsche Bank AG DB, -17.49% DBK, -13.92% with a 16% versus 32% loss respectively, year to date.

June 24, 2016

WORLD: BREXIT STUNS FINANCIAL STOCK MARKETS, DOW FALLS 600 POINTS: Here's what you need to know...

Business Insider
written by Myles Udland
Friday June 24, 2016

Friday was a historic day in markets after the UK's vote to leave the European Union shocked global markets and sent risk assets the world over into a tailspin.

Looking just at US markets, overnight futures cratered as S&P 500 futures went limit-down - meaning that trading was halted - after falling 5%.

After a small bounce following the market open, US stocks slid through the afternoon and closed off the lows but with sharp losses that erased year-to-date gains for the S&P 500 and Dow.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell over 4% on Friday, the biggest one-day drop since 2011.

This was an absolutely manic day in markets that saw massive dislocations across asset classes - a day of market action, we imagine, many won't soon forget.

Scoreboard
  • Dow: 17,407, -603, (-3.3%)
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Brexit

It happened.

On Thursday, Britons took to the polls in the UK's EU referendum, voting to leave the EU in a vote that went against betting markets and the financial market's conventional wisdom.

Following this result, financial markets were sent into a tailspin with futures diving overnight, the British pound collapsing, and US stocks, after finding some stability early in the day on Friday, tumbling into the close as the Dow and S&P 500 wiped out all of their gains for 2016 in one fell swoop.

Amid this frantic risk-off market action, gold and US Treasurys rallied.

The most jittery part of the business world following this result was the financial sector, with a number of Wall Street banks sending around memos to reassure staff who, in turn, you'd imagine will seek to reassure nervous clients. Portia Crowe has the rundown of bank memos here.

Clinton, Trump, Obama

As expected, the three biggest players in US politics right now, presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as well as the actual president, Barack Obama, were out saying their piece on the Brexit vote.

Clinton said simply that she respects the choice that the UK's citizens made and added that, "Our first task has to be to make sure that the economic uncertainty created by these events does not hurt working families here in America." This statement wasn't all that different from Obama's statement.

Trump used the decision to take something resembling a victory lap, saying at a press conference at one of his golf courses in Scotland: "It's always the will of the people. Ultimately, that wins out. They've taken back their independence. And that's a very, very important thing."

In the run-up to the Brexit vote, the easy parallel to make from an American point of view is that the Leave camp shared many similarities with the Trump campaign. And here we are.

Much as the conventional wisdom ahead of the Brexit vote held that eventually the Remain camp would prevail, right now the same elite consensus has coalesced around the idea that Clinton will most likely be our next president. Josh Barro argues that there are three reasons to be sanguine about Clinton's chances and just one reason - basically a recession - to worry that he could win.

The polling gap between Clinton and Trump right now is a bit wider than final polling between the Leave and Remain camps showed, but after a shock vote like this, it is worth keeping your guard up ahead of the actual vote.

Or, as Brett LoGiurato wrote on Friday, all bets are now off.

Reaction, commentary, everything else

The Federal Reserve said in a statement on Friday morning that it was monitoring the situation in global markets closely and stood ready to provide liquidity if needed.

ENGLAND: David Cameron Is A Historic Failure, A Terrible Strategist, And A Worse Tactician. Excellent Piece! #Brexit

Foreign Policy
written by Alex Massie
Friday June 24, 2016

The prime minister wanted to modernize the Tory Party and unify the United Kingdom. He accomplished exactly the opposite.

This is how a political life ends: with a crash, not a whimper. David Cameron’s place in history is now assured. He is the man who took the United Kingdom out of the European Union. As we wait for the full impact of Thursday’s referendum to be felt, he may be remembered as the prime minister who presided over the beginning of the end of the United Kingdom, too. Scottish independence, defeated as an idea just two years ago, is back on the table.

Cameron’s ten years as leader of the Conservative party and six as prime minister now boil down to these solitary facts. Nothing else matters; nothing else will be remembered. Cameron gambled everything on one roll of the dice and lost it all.

No prime minister in living memory has suffered a defeat of such cataclysmic proportions; none has been so thoroughly humiliated by his own electorate. Cameron lost control of his party and then his country. The consequences of that carelessness will be felt, in Britain and internationally, for years to come. Future political historians will ponder a melancholy question: what was the point of David Cameron? And their judgment is likely to be severe.


It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Cameron was to be a different kind of Tory, one comfortable with the face and reality of modern Britain. He was elected leader on a modernizing platform that stressed the party’s need to change. He would lead a gentler, more inclusive, Conservative party that would be economically conservative but socially liberal. Tax cuts and gay marriage; welfare reform and a marked increase in spending on international aid for the world’s poorest countries.

Above all, he insisted, the Tory party would have to stop “banging on” about Europe. The EU, he recognized, was a distraction from more immediate and pressing concerns. Besides, Cameron appreciated that Tory divisions over Europe helped bring about Margaret Thatcher’s demise and crippled John Major’s premiership.

A year ago, Cameron didn’t even expect he would have to honor his party’s platform promise to hold a referendum on EU membership. But that was before he won a surprising majority in last year’s general election. Suddenly he found himself trapped by his own manifesto promises — promises made to placate the Euroskeptics in his own party and see off the threat posed to his right flank by the virulently anti-European UK Independence Party. A referendum would have to be held.

Even so, Cameron was confident — or complacent — enough to think winning it would be an easy task. After all, most of the British establishment was firmly in the pro-Europe camp and so, overwhelmingly, was British business. Economic self-interest would surely persuade voters to set aside their concerns about the EU and endorse the status quo. They might not do so with any great measure of enthusiasm but a reluctant vote Remain was all Cameron, and his government, needed.

But, if Cameron understood that there was anti-establishment sentiment in his country, he was entirety too confident he could placate it. Cameron’s attempt to win over Euroskeptics by renegotiating the terms of British membership was an embarrassing, even humiliating, flop. He had disastrously misjudged his room to maneuver. Britain was already a semi-detached member of the EU, granted exemptions from the single currency and the common Schengen travel area; there was not much further autonomy for Britain to win within the confines of the EU. Cameron’s attempt to do so was an inevitable failure, and an unforced strategic blunder.

Any remaining hope the Remain side might cruise to a comfortable victory evaporated when Boris Johnson, Cameron’s most probable successor and arguably the most charismatic and popular politician in Britain, declared he would campaign for Leave. Worse still, the temper and character of the times offered Cameron little encouragement. Populism is the currency of the age and “elites” are fair game everywhere. The EU, which has never inspired much enthusiasm in Britain, was easily depicted as an unaccountable undemocratic, and out of touch. More relevantly, though perhaps less fairly, the same held true Cameron, with his privileged background and aristocratic manner. The would-be “One Nation conservative” came to be dismissed by his countrymen as a hapless toff.

It did not help matter that all Cameron could offer, in response to the Leave campaign’s promise to “take back control” and restore British parliamentary sovereignty, was a parade of “experts” — ranging from the World Bank and the IMF to Barack Obama — all of whom warned against leaving the EU. Experts, too, are out of fashion in Britain. “We are about democracy, they are about economics” said Johnson, while Michael Gove, a former key Cameron ally turned impassioned Leave campaigner, remarked that “I think people in this country have had enough of experts”.

Above all, the Leave campaign concentrated its fire on the issue of immigration. Cameron once promised to cut net inward migration to Britain to less than 100,000 people a year. It is a promise he has had ample cause to regret, not least since figures released just before Thursday’s vote revealed that, in 2015, immigration increased the UK’s population by 330,000 people. Half of that figure was accounted for by EU citizens traveling from elsewhere in Europe to live and work in Britain.

Cameron hoped rhetorical feints against immigration — warnings about “swarms” of migrants from a refugee camp in Calais and the like — could purchase him the credibility his policies would not. He was, again, mistaken; his rhetoric was dismissed by true migration skeptics as just that. Enough is enough, the Leave campaign insisted, only leaving the EU can give Britain the power to control its own borders.

So this morning Cameron finds himself the laughing-stock of Europe. His reinvention of the Conservative party, reviving it in the aftermath of three shattering election defeats at the hands of Tony Blair, counts for nothing. His party is split in two; his country faces an impossibly uncertain future as the full impact of Thursday’s extraordinary vote begins to be felt.

Most of all, Cameron must reflect on the manner in which he lost the confidence of the British people. The roots of this crisis run long and deep but they are connected to the ongoing impact of 2008’s financial crash. The British people have put up with six years of “austerity” government but have never done so enthusiastically.

We used to think Cameron was a lucky politician at his best in a crisis. He had the good fortune to face two Labour leaders — Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband — who were in their different ways almost heroically unpopular. In 2014 he saw off the threat of Scottish independence and, until just a few weeks ago, looked like seeing off the threat of Brexit too.

That analysis no longer holds. This plebiscite was a revolt against Westminster just as much as it was an expression of anti-European animus. The British people have tired of the governing officer class and gleefully took the opportunity of kicking Cameron in the shins.

The referendum result revealed a picture of a sharply polarized Britain. Older voters voted to Leave while their grandchildren overwhelmingly voted to Remain. Middle-class university graduates voted to Remain but working-class high-school graduates voted to Leave. London and Scotland endorsed the EU, the so-called “heartlands” of “middle England” backed Leave. Britain this morning is a country divided by class and geography as almost never before. That too is part of Cameron’s legacy; the proof of a failed premiership.

At some point and eventually, even lucky generals find their good fortune runs out. Cameron has proved no exception to that immutable law of politics. Almost all political lives end in failure but few in quite such a devastating fashion as this. This is a shipwreck and Cameron is the captain who drove HMS Britain onto the rocks. That is his legacy; that is what he will be remembered for. And deservedly so.

ENGLAND: Conservatives Cheer #BrexitVote's Blow Against Bureaucracy, But Liberals Fear Anarchy

The Washington Examiner
written by Pete Kasperowicz
Friday June 24, 2016

Washington, D.C., politicians had sharp disagreements Friday over what the British vote to leave the European Union really means, as conservatives called it a welcome shaking off of an international bureaucracy, while liberals denounced it as a step toward global anarchy.

Republicans were far more likely to defend the vote, and many cheered both the right of British citizens to hold the vote, as well as the result. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, went further by saying the vote should be seen as a "wake-up call" for "internationalist bureaucrats."

"The British people have indicated that they will no longer outsource their future to the EU, and prefer to chart their own path forward," Cruz said. "The United States can learn from the referendum and attend to the issues of security, immigration and economic autonomy that drove this historic vote."

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., not only praised the vote, but said the U.S. should also get ready to eschew "global powers."

"Now it's our time," Sessions said. "Just as in the U.K., our November presidential election presents a stark contrast. The establishment forces, the global powers, are promoting their values and their interests."

Sessions is advising Donald Trump's campaign, and while Trump didn't cheer the result as much as Sessions, he and others were clearly comfortable with the idea of British citizens deciding their own fates.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., also defended the vote, and offered assurances that the "special relationship" between the U.S. and U.K. will continue.

"A free people should choose their own way, and we respect the British decision to leave the European Union," he said. "That close partnership will endure, and we will continue to work together to strengthen a robust trade relationship and to address our common security interests."

Democrats, however, were more likely to see the vote as a global governance disaster that will undermine decades of integration in Europe.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said the vote "engenders economic and geopolitical uncertainty that will play itself out in the months and years ahead."

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., cast the vote as a devastating turn of events that is already proving to be one that could destroy the U.K.'s market.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who has yet to drop out of the Democratic presidential race, indicated he's worried it could lead to a deeper destabilization of Europe.

"What worries me very much is the breaking down of international cooperation," he said on MSNBC. "Europe in the 20th century, as we all know, the kind of blood that was shed there was unimaginable. You never want to see that again."

And Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., said the vote was the result of "xenophobia" that could spread throughout Europe.

"This is a very bad thing for the United Kingdom," he said. "This risks turning a major global power into a more provincial country that can't exercise its desperately needed leadership in Europe."

"This is where that xenophobic, angry, right-wing dark instinct takes you," he added.

Hillary Clinton had a relatively muted reaction that seemed designed to enhance U.S. voters' view of her as a presidential candidate. "This time of uncertainty only underscores the need for calm, steady, experienced leadership in the White House," she said.

And there were some who admitted they aren't quite sure what it all means.

"Where do you start?" Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., told the BBC. "Hell! I am worried. It's just an unknown."

ENGLAND: Britain Has Voted Narrowly To Leave The EU. David Cameron, The Gambler, Has Finally Lost #Brexit

The Economist
written by Staff
Friday June 24, 2016

HOW quickly the unthinkable became the irreversible. A year ago few people imagined that the legions of Britons who love to whinge about the European Union—silly regulations, bloated budgets and pompous bureaucrats—would actually vote to leave the club of countries that buy nearly half of Britain’s exports. Yet, by the early hours of June 24th, it was clear that voters had ignored the warnings of economists, allies and their own government and, after more than four decades in the EU, were about to step boldly into the unknown.

The tumbling of the pound to 30-year lows offered a taste of what is to come. As confidence plunges, Britain may well dip into recession. A permanently less vibrant economy means fewer jobs, lower tax receipts and, eventually, extra austerity. The result will also shake a fragile world economy. Scots, most of whom voted to Remain, may now be keener to break free of the United Kingdom, as they nearly did in 2014. Across the Channel, Eurosceptics such as the French National Front will see Britain’s flounce-out as encouragement. The EU, an institution that has helped keep the peace in Europe for half a century, has suffered a grievous blow.

Managing the aftermath, which saw the country split by age, class and geography, will need political dexterity in the short run; in the long run it may require a redrawing of traditional political battle-lines and even subnational boundaries. There will be a long period of harmful uncertainty. Nobody knows when Britain will leave the EU or on what terms. But amid Brexiteers’ jubilation and Remain’s recriminations, two questions stand out: what does the vote mean for Britain and Europe? And what comes next?

Brexit: the small print

The vote to Leave amounts to an outpouring of fury against the “establishment”. Everyone from Barack Obama to the heads of NATO and the IMF urged Britons to embrace the EU. Their entreaties were spurned by voters who rejected not just their arguments but the value of “experts” in general. Large chunks of the British electorate that have borne the brunt of public-spending cuts and have failed to share in Britain’s prosperity are now in thrall to an angry populism.

Britons offered many reasons for rejecting the EU, from the democratic deficit in Brussels to the weakness of the euro-zone economies. But the deal-breaking feature of EU membership for Britain seemed to be the free movement of people. As the number of new arrivals has grown, immigration has risen up the list of voters’ concerns.

Accordingly, the Leave side promised supporters both a thriving economy and control over immigration. But Britons cannot have that outcome just by voting for it. If they want access to the EU’s single market and to enjoy the wealth it brings, they will have to accept free movement of people. If Britain rejects free movement, it will have to pay the price of being excluded from the single market. The country must pick between curbing migration and maximising wealth.

David Cameron is not the man to make that choice. Having recklessly called the referendum and led a failed campaign, he has shown catastrophic misjudgment and cannot credibly negotiate Britain’s departure. That should now fall to a new prime minister.

We believe that he or she should opt for a Norwegian-style deal that gives full access to the world’s biggest single market, but maintains the principle of the free movement of people. The reason is that this would maximise prosperity. And the supposed cost—migration—is actually beneficial, as Leave campaigners themselves have said. European migrants are net contributors to public finances, so they more than pay their way for their use of health and education services. Without migrants from the EU, schools, hospitals and industries such as farming and the building trade would be short of labour.

Preventing Frexit

The hard task will be telling Britons who voted to Leave that the free having and eating of cake is not an option. The new prime minister will face accusations of selling out—for the simple reason that he or she will indeed have to break a promise, whether over migration or the economy. That is why voters must confirm any deal, preferably in a general election rather than another referendum. This may be easier to win than seems possible today. While a deal is being done, the economy will suffer and immigration will fall of its own accord.

Brexit is also a grave blow for the EU. The high-priesthood in Brussels has lost touch with ordinary citizens—and not just in Britain. A recent survey for Pew Research found that in France, a founder member and long a strong supporter, only 38% of people still hold a favourable view of the EU, six points lower than in Britain. In none of the countries the survey looked at was there much support for transferring powers to Brussels.

Each country feels resentment in its own way. In Italy and Greece, where the economies are weak, they fume over German-imposed austerity. In France the EU is accused of being “ultra-liberal” (even as Britons condemn it for tying them up in red tape). In eastern Europe traditional nationalists blame the EU for imposing cosmopolitan values like gay marriage.

Although the EU needs to deal with popular anger, the remedy lies in boosting growth. Completing the single market in, say, digital services and capital markets would create jobs and prosperity. The euro zone needs stronger underpinnings, starting with a proper banking union. Acting on age-old talk of returning powers, including labour-market regulation, to national governments would show that the EU is not bent on acquiring power no matter what.

This newspaper sees much to lament in this vote—and a danger that Britain will become more closed, more isolated and less dynamic. It would be bad for everyone if Great Britain shrivelled into Little England and be worse still if this led to Little Europe. The leaders of Leave counter with the promise to unleash a vibrant, outward-looking 21st-century economy. We doubt that Brexit will achieve this, but nothing would make us happier than to be proved wrong.

WORLD: Sorry ISIS — 5 European LGBT-Friendly Cities You Can’t Scare Visitors From


NY Post
written by Jennifer Ceaser
Tuesday June 21, 2016

Despite the recent terror attack in Orlando, LGBT Pride events will continue as planned across the globe throughout the summer months.
(For one, New York City’s massive PrideFest is this coming weekend.)

But while Manhattan’s parade may be among the world’s largest, Gotham is hardly the only LGBT-friendly town worth visiting.

Europe, with its long tradition of LGBT acceptance, also knows a thing or two about celebrating pride — even in the face of adversity — and these five cities do it best.

Stockholm

Scandinavia’s biggest LGBT party, Stockholm Pride (July 25-31) stretches a full week, with much of the action taking place in Tantolunden, a huge green space in the city center.

The festivities culminate in a 50,000-strong parade that draws half a million spectators as it winds through Stockholm’s narrow cobblestone streets.

The first Stockholm Pride took place in 1998, but the Swedish capital has long been a leader in LGBT rights: in 1944, homosexual relationships were declared legal in Sweden, and in 1972, it became the first county in the world to allow legal gender change for transsexuals.

Such progressiveness meant that Stockholm never established a true “gayborhood” — though you can find a large number of gay clubs in Gamla Stan (Old Town) and the hip Södermalm neighborhood.

Amsterdam

It doesn’t get much gay-friendlier than the Netherlands: It was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage and to legally marry a gay couple.

(The ceremony, in April 2001, took place in Amsterdam, officiated by then mayor Job Cohen.)

The capital boasts hundreds of LGBT-oriented venues — hotels, clubs, bookstores, bathhouses — as well as Pink Point, a kiosk that provides information about the city’s gay community.

So it’s no surprise that Amsterdam hosts one of the globe’s biggest gay pride celebrations, EuroPride (July 23-Aug. 7), which spans two weeks and attracts 500,000-plus visitors.

Among this year’s highlights: a human rights concert on July 24 at the famed Dam Square with a performance by Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst.

But what makes EuroPride truly unique is its Canal Parade, which takes place entirely on water.

Eighty boats carrying drag queens, muscled men in body paint (and little else) and flamboyant, rainbow-hued supporters of all kinds sail through miles of the city’s waterways, as crowds gather along the canal banks to cheer them on.

Zurich

The only Swiss city to have an openly gay female mayor, Corine Mauch, Zurich is known for its tolerance and open-minded stance on civil rights — including LGBT rights.

Which means being gay here is a non-issue; in fact, in many of the so-called “gay” venues you’ll find a mixed crowd.

That said, the Niederdorf quarter is a popular area for the LGBT community and is home to Predigerhof Bistro Bar, one of the city’s top gay bars.

While Zurich Pride is still growing — the three-day event just wrapped up its seventh year, with around 30,000 visitors — the city is better known as the site for the world’s largest techno party, Street Parade (Aug. 13), which attracts nearly a million people.

Though not officially a gay event, the lakeside festival, which preaches “peace, tolerance and unity,” is hugely popular among the house music-loving LGBT crowd.

Barcelona

Looking at the fun, freewheeling, gay-friendly Barcelona of today, it’s hard to believe that its LGBT movement is only a few decades old.

Because homosexuality was illegal under dictator Francisco Franco’s regime, it wasn’t until after his death in 1975 that Spain’s gay scene was allowed to flourish.

The country’s first gay disco didn’t open until 1980 — in Sitges, a gay seaside resort community just outside of Barcelona.

But the Catalonian capital quickly made up for lost time and now has one of Europe’s top LGBT scenes, with much of it concentrated in the Eixample (pronounced Eh-hem-play) district — nicknamed “Gaixample” for its many gay bars, clubs, bookstores and hotels.
Coming up is Pride Barcelona (June 28-July 9) whose highlights include a daylong celebration at the water park Illa Fantasia, a “High Heels” race, the biggest foam party in Europe and a parade through Barcelona’s main streets. Circuit Festival Barcelona (Aug. 2-14), meanwhile, attracts more than 70,000 gay men with its DJs and pool-party events.

Milan

Italy approved same-sex civil unions last month, so this year’s Milano Pride week (June 18-25) promises to be a truly celebratory.

It concludes with a parade through the ancient city.

Even as the country inches toward being more gay-friendly, Milan has been so for some time — due in large part to its standing as a global fashion capital.

Nevertheless, a membership card is necessary to enter gay clubs and saunas here — but it’s easy to obtain at any gay venue.

While Via Sammartini is considered the main “gay street,” Milan’s gay bars are scattered throughout the city.