⊂ EUROPE ⊃
Agreement on Corona grants: At the EU summit on the fourth day of negotiations the 27 heads of state agreed on subsidies amounting to 390 billion euros. Originally. 500 billion had been planned. The “frugal four” (Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Austria) and Finland have opposed the volume of subsidies and would have preferred to grant loans exclusively. In doing so, they wanted to encourage crisis countries like Italy to carry out reforms. The level of the long-term EU budget is open.
Baltic States against US troop withdrawal in Germany: The representatives of the Baltic states are pressing for the USA not to reduce its troops in Germany. US President Donald Trump had announced in mid-June that he intended to withdraw 9500 people. The Balts fear greater aggression on the part of Russia and admit that they do not have enough capacity to counter this. They communicated their demand to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. Only last weekend, the prime ministers of Bavaria, Hesse, Baden-Wuerttemberg, and Rhineland-Palatinate had addressed a joint letter to 13 US delegates, positioning themselves in favor of retaining troops.
Criticism of the EU Commission’s nuclear energy report: The EU member states have commissioned the Commission to research the sustainability of nuclear energy. To this end, the Commission has set up its own nuclear research centre. The decision has attracted criticism. In a letter of complaint to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Member of the Bundestag Sylvia Kotting-Uhl accuses the institution of bias. France and Great Britain in particular have been campaigning for nuclear energy, while other countries such as Germany have chosen the path of nuclear phase-out. An agreement on the future political assessment of nuclear energy has therefore been postponed for the time being and will be reached after the research centre has carried out its assessment.
Jourová against deletion of fake news: The Czech EU Commissioner for Values and Transparency, Vera Jourová, has spoken out against making online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter liable to deletion in the case of clear fake news. Although the politician sees the damaging potential of fake news, she sees systematic deletion as a “way to censorship”. “I have great doubts that we need laws on disinformation that declare some of the content illegal,” explains Jourová. Instead, she demands more transparency from the platforms.
European Ministers meet in Vienna on illegal migration: On Wednesday and Thursday, at the invitation of the Austrian Interior Minister Karl Nehammer, the Interior Ministers from Denmark, Germany, Greece, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary as well as State Secretaries from Poland and Slovakia will meet on the topic of illegal migration. The ministers from Romania and Bulgaria will be joined by video due to the Corona restrictions. The Vice-President of the EU Commission, Margaritis Schinas, and the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Olivér Várhelyi, will also participate in the conference. Nehammer explains the aim of the conference: “Our aim is to support the countries along the migration routes in order to jointly prevent irregular migration. The meeting sends a “strong signal of cooperation”.
EU concept for agricultural reform to come in autumn: The German Minister of Agriculture, Julia Klöckner, announced that the agricultural concept would be worked out by the autumn. Actually, the new reform should be adopted by the end of the year, Germany is considered to be delaying the reform so far. Klöckner promises more environmental and climate protection and greater competitiveness for European farmers.
Prospects for EU reform and strategies for a new progressive agenda 2022+: Cerstin Gammelin in conversation with Wolfgang Schmidt. 2020 Progressive Governance Digital Summit with more than 2,800 fellow progressives from 70+ countries, 114 speakers, 25 partner organisations.
Covid-19: Europe Said It Was Pandemic-Ready. Pride Was Its Downfall nytimes.com
Strategy: How Europe Kept Coronavirus Cases Low Even After Reopening wsj.com
Energy: Gas grid operators unveil plan for ‘backbone’ of Europe’s hydrogen infrastructure edie.net
Research: Europe’s lessons on reopening schools axios.com
⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃
“EU Council demonstrates inability to act on corona aid.”
Green politician Sven Giegold criticises the negotiations on Corona aid.
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
UK suspends extradition agreement with Hong Kong: Because of the new security law adopted by Beijing, Great Britain is suspending the extradition agreement with Hong Kong. The government no longer considers the independence of the Special Administrative Region to be guaranteed by the new law. Foreign Minister Dominic Raab announced on Monday that there is concern about possible human rights violations, especially in connection with the Uighur minority. London also wanted to extend its arms embargo to Hong Kong. Raab emphasised that this decision did not mean, however, that they were against China – they wanted to find an appropriate balance in the political relationship.
Promising corona vaccine from Oxford: At the British elite University of Oxford, important progress is being made in the search for a vaccine against the corona virus. The university is working together with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca on a drug that will develop immunity against the corona virus. Among 1000 test persons, 90 percent of the immune reactions were positive with only minor side effects. In a second step, another 10,000 people will be vaccinated to test the safety and effect of the potential vaccine. Great Britain has already ordered 100 million vaccine doses.
Balance sheet scandal shakes Austria: Commerzialbank Mattersburg is said to have manipulated its balance sheets for years and granted dubious loans. About 400 million euros are said to be missing from the bank in Burgenland. State Governor Hans Peter Doskozil suspects that the money is gone. The bank is facing bankruptcy, the Financial Market Authority FMA stopped all transactions. Bank head Martin Pucher announced his resignation. Thousands of bank customers are worried about their savings.
Swiss committee collects signatures for corona app referendum: The “Stop Swiss Covid” committee would like to block the changes to the Epidemic Law that were adopted in the course of the introduction of the SwissCovid App. The law amendment is initially valid until June 2022. The Committee fears a “digital dictatorship” and would like to vote on the legal framework of the App in a referendum. The group sees the danger that sensitive data on the App could be tapped by large companies such as Google or Apple.
Gangs of traffickers excavated in Greece: In the Greek city of Igoumenitsa, security forces have found several migrants in a truck – they would have wanted to travel to Italy by sea. They were followed by a gang of smugglers who are said to have systematically organised illegal migration by sea to Western Europe. The clandestine crossings are said to have cost 5500 euros per head. Currently, 100,000 refugees are said to be stuck in Greece.
Doubts about Dudas election victory: A number of complaints about the presidential election are said to have been filed with the Polish Supreme Court. Election observers report chaotic procedures and irregularities. Complaints about unfair election conditions have also become public – these are directed in particular against public television, which is in the hands of the PiS. Andrzej Duda had won the presidential election by a narrow majority.
Protests: Showdown on Beach in Bulgaria Balloons Into Political Crisis nytimes.com
Covid-19: Sweden pays human and economic price for not locking down edition.cnn.com
Drugs: Police in Italy find shipment of coffee beans stuffed with cocaine edition.cnn.com
Scotland: Quarantine rules lifted for travel to Spain bbc.com
⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃
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⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
Lip herpes is going down, but..: In Europe, the number of people who carry the pathogen for cold sores is declining. However, another type of herpes spreads in the intimate area. Women are affected a little more often. Researchers assume that this is because women have older partners who carry the virus more often.
⊂ EUROPE ⊃