Digest (for United States)

Monday, 1 March 2021: No agreement on EU defense policy, Space startups demand access to EU contracts

⊂ EUROPE ⊃
No agreement on EU defense policy: On Friday, EU heads of government discussed the future of European defense and armaments policy at their video summit. The question is to what extent Europe should emancipate itself from the USA. France is pushing ahead with its demand to achieve autonomy from the U.S. in the foreseeable future. Chancellor Angela Merkel, on the other hand, is promoting a strong NATO as a pillar of defense policy. Hopes are pinned on new President Joe Biden. The transatlantic defense course had noticeably deteriorated under Donald Trump – also because EU defense spending is far below U.S. spending. According to media reports, an extraordinary advance has been made on the part of the U.S. in the Netherlands: The U.S. wants to help build the European defense initiative Pesco.
dw.com, tagesschau.de, welt.de
Space startups demand access to EU contracts: 26 young space companies have written a letter to Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton. They demand the right to participate in EU tenders in order to strengthen internal European competition. Following the U.S. model, space startups should also be allowed to provide services to the European Commission or the European Space Agency. The background to the letter is the award of a satellite broadband project, which was awarded to a consortium of large companies such as Orange and Airbus at the end of 2020. Small startups felt excluded from bidding on the project because one requirement was that the companies had run five space programs worth €100 million each.
sueddeutsche.de
Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be approved by March 11: The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to approve the vaccine from U.S. pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson by March 11, according to the Bloomberg news agency. The EU has ordered 200 million doses of the vaccine from Johnson & Johnson. The option for another 200 doses is open. If approved quickly, 100 vaccines could be delivered by summer. Johnson & Johnson, unlike other products, requires only one vaccine dose. The EMA would review the product under an expedited process at this time.
t-online.de
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EU needs eleven million care workers by 2030: According to the EU Commission’s „Health and Longterm Care Workforce“ study, around eleven million care workers will be needed in the EU by 2030. In the EU countries, 20.3 percent of the population is older than 65 on average. Life expectancy at this point is 20 years, however, half of people spend the last years of life in poor health. Age and health status increase the demand for caregivers. In addition to the shortage of skilled workers, the study authors say the lack of common tools for recruiting skilled workers is a problem that needs to be addressed.
aerztezeitung.de, eureporter.co
Autoindustrie warnt vor der Abgasnorm Euro 7: Die EU-Kommission möchte bis zum Ende des Jahres einen Entwurf für die Auto-Abgasnorm Euro 7 vorlegen, die darauf abzielt den Schadstoffaußstoß von Autos zu verringern. BMW-Betriebsratschef Manfred Schoch mahnt davor Benzin- und Dieselautos durch neue Umweltnormen aus dem Markt zu verdrängen. Seiner Auffassung könne dies in Deutschland zu einer noch nie dagewesene Arbeitslosigkeit führen. In Deutschland seien rund fünf Millionen Arbeitsplätze direkt oder indirekt mit der Autoindustrie verbunden. Die Präsidentin des Verbands der Automobilindustrie (VDA), Hildegard Müller, bewertet die Pläne in Brüssel als unrealistisch. Strengere Abgasnormen sollen nach der Auffassung von Brüssel in der zweiten Hälfte des Jahrzehnts greifen. Müller verwies darauf, dass nicht jeder Bürger die finanziellen Mittel hätte, um auf ein Elektroauto umzusteigen. Außerdem sei die Ladeinfrastruktur nicht ausreichend ausgebaut. Der ADAC hingegen bewertet die Entwicklung moderater: Es sei noch nicht klar, ob Diesel- und Benzinautos tatsächlich von den Straßen verschwinden sollen. Experten zeigen, dass insbesondere beim Stickstoffausstoß ein Rückgang beim Ausstoß technisch möglich sei.
faz.net, spiegel.de
Borrell: „I Should Have Indulged My Desire To Argue a Little More“ spiegel.de
Diplomacy: EU summons ambassador to Cuba over letter to Biden politico.eu
Enlargement: Can the EU work with Biden in the Balkans? globalriskinsights.com
⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃
„Either the EU allows Lukashenko to rule for five more years, or there are smart sanctions that go to the heart and get results.“
Belarusian oppositionist Svetlana Tikhanovskaya calls for tough sanctions against Alexander Lukashenko.
zeit.de
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Dutch Chamber of Deputies classifies China’s treatment of Uyghurs as genocide: As the first European Parliament, the Dutch Chamber of Deputies has passed a motion according to which the treatment of the Chinese government with the ethnic minority of the Uyghurs is judged as genocide. The reason for this is the forced sterilization of many Uyghur women. According to ethnologist Adrian Zenz, the birth rate within the minority fell by 84 percent in 2016. China reacted with outrage to the decision, stating that the Uighur population increased by a quarter between 2016 and 2018. The regime also pushed off a vague warning to the MPs – they should „stop their injustice before it is too late.“ Previously, the Dutch government has always been more cautious toward China to avoid possible economic consequences. However, the Chamber of Deputies‘ decision fits into a larger international trend. Just a few days ago, Canada declared its treatment of the Uyghurs as genocide, and criticism is also growing in France.
faz.net, nzz.ch
German states press ahead with demands for new vaccination prioritization: The prime ministers of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, Markus Söder and Winfried Kretschmann, are advocating a change in vaccination prioritization. Söder criticized that in particular the vaccine of the British-Swedish manufacturer AstraZeneca is poorly accepted. So far, only 15 percent of the vaccine supplied has been used. Söder therefore advocates that these unused residual stocks be given to volunteers, regardless of their age and prioritization. Kretschmann also shares this view – as long as vaccine is in short supply, they cannot afford to just let it sit around. However, the state leaders do not want to go it alone in implementing their idea.
spiegel.de, tagesschau.de
France and Germany tighten border controls: Due to the rapid spread of the South African coronavirus mutation in the Moselle region, Germany and France are tightening border controls. The French administrative district of Moselle issued an obligation for a negative PCR test at the border crossing, which is to come into force from mid-March. Commuters are exempt. Germany also issued stricter measures against people entering the country from France after the Moselle region was declared a risk area. Among other things, bus and rail companies are no longer allowed to transport people from Moselle to Germany unless they are German citizens or foreigners residing in Germany.
euractiv.de, tagesschau.de
Think tanks say the UK is ill-prepared for Brexit: The think tanks EU in a Changing Europe, Centre for Competition Policy and Brexit and Environment have published a study according to which they give the UK poor marks. They say the country is not sufficiently equipped in many policy areas to quickly handle regulatory requirements and build infrastructure that is independent of the EU. „The UK does not have the physical or IT-based infrastructure to trade under its new relationship with the EU, and relies on transitional arrangements,“ the report says. The climate change, crime fighting and trade sectors are severely affected by these challenges, it said.
n-tv.de, politico.eu
Austria Sets Annual Record for Corona Infections: Since the February 8 relaxations, the 7-day incidence in Austria has risen to 158. On Sunday, 2,123 were recorded – the highest figure this year. The governing coalition continues to adhere to the testing strategy without introducing tightening of the Corona measures. The strategy aims to find and isolate sick people more quickly. However, only 10 to 15 percent of the tests currently registered are due to the increased testing capacity, he said. Meanwhile, viral mutations are spreading rapidly. The situation is expected to remain tense through Easter. The warmer weather combined with vaccination is then expected to have a noticeable effect.
suedtirolnews.it, kurier.at
Switzerland commits $65 million in development aid to Indonesia expatica.com
Italy Tightens Coronavirus Restrictions in Milan bloomberg.com
Spain: Fresh violence erupts at protests over rapper’s arrest dw.com
Hungary’s Orbán promotes Chinese coronavirus jab politico.eu
⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃
+++ECOS sucht Partnerships & Development Manager (m/f/d)+++Science Europe seeks Junior Communications Officer (m/f/d)+++GIZ sucht Leiter:in des Projekts Wertschöpfungskettenförderung (m/w/d)+++GIZ cherche Conseiller:e (h/f/a) spécialisé:e en politique fiscale et administration des finances publiques+++bitkom sucht Referent:in EU Public Affairs (m/w/d) +++GIZ seeks Head of Component (m/f/d) „Improving Regional Trade in Seed Potatoes in East Africa“+++European Business Summits seeks Communications, Programme and Research Assistant (CIP) (m/f/d)+++Jobs at politjobs.eu +++ Don’t miss any jobs with the politjobs.eu job alert +++
⊂ LAST BUT NOT LEAST ⊃
Von der Leyen must correct herself: EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen claimed Thursday night at the EU Video Summit that there were talks between the WHO, Apple and Google for a digital vaccination card. Over the weekend, Apple let it be known that this was not true. It said there were no talks about a vaccination app or similar offering. The EU Commission also backed away from its boss‘ statement. It had been a case of mistaken identity.
handelsblatt.com
 

Monday, 22 February 2021: EU invests in international vaccination campaign, EU to continue data exchange with the UK, EU wants eco-label for aviation industry

⊂ EUROPE ⊃
EU invests in international vaccination campaign: At the video conference of the G7 countries, the economically strongest countries agreed on greater investment in the fight against the Corona virus. The USA is contributing a total of four billion dollars to the international vaccination campaign, while Germany has pledged 1.5 billion euros. The European Union is contributing 500 million euros. Germany’s development minister criticized that the efforts were not enough. He said the pandemic could only be defeated internationally. So far, however, only 0.5 percent of vaccine doses would be used in the world’s poorest countries. French President Emmanuel Macron additionally urged vaccine donations of 13 million doses into play. He stated, „If we announce billions today to deliver doses in six months, in eight months, in a year, our African friends (…) will buy doses from the Chinese, from the Russians or directly from other laboratories.“
rnd.de, tagesschau.de
EU to continue data exchange with the UK: Despite Brexit, the EU wants to continue exchanging data with the UK. In the case of police or financial data, it is important to maintain the exchange. In the long term, this will facilitate the business activities of internationally operating companies. EU Commission Vice President Vera Jourová said British data protection laws are in line with European ones: „The UK has left the EU, but not the European data protection family.“ The British government welcomed the decision. On the part of the business community, the decision also caused confidence. Industry associations such as the BDI and Bitkom praised the continuation of data exchange. However, the EU member states must now approve the decision.
derstandard.de, netzpolitik.org
Biontech defends itself against accusations about vaccine price: Last week, Süddeutsche Zeitung, WDR and NDR reported about a first price offer that Pfizer had submitted on behalf of the cooperation with Biontech in the amount of 54 euros per dose. This is said to have been the reason for delays in the vaccination campaign. Biontech founder Ugur Sahin is now defending himself against the allegations. „It was early, mid-June and it was our first price calculation with a big set of unknowns,“ Sahin told Bild. The scaling, production costs and framework had not been clarified at that point during the initial bid, he said. However, Biontech and Pfizer offered the vaccine to industrialized nations in the summer at prices ranging from 15 to 30 euros. By July, negotiations were said to have been completed with the EU – a price of 15.50 euros was agreed. In the same period, the USA was awarded the contract for 16 euros. Sahin sees the accusation that price negotiations were responsible for delays in the vaccination campaign as invalidated.
bild.de, sueddeutsche.de, n-tv.de
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EU wants eco-label for aviation industry: In order to achieve the climate targets by 2050, the EU wants to issue an eco-certificate for aircraft. Similar to televisions or refrigerators, this would show the environmental performance of flights, airlines and aircraft models. This should prevent airlines and manufacturers from advertising with exaggerated environmental promises. However, the process is dragging on. Technical details for the assessment benchmarks are not expected to be finalized until the end of 2022. These are to cover not only CO2 emissions, but also service life, noise and nitrogen balance. It is unclear when an eco-certificate for the aviation industry will be made available to consumers.
welt.de
EU foreign ministers discuss riots in Myanmar: After two protesters were killed in Myanmar, EU foreign ministers plan to discuss military violence in the country on Monday. EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell sharply criticized the military’s handling of the protesters: „I call on the military and all security forces in Myanmar to immediately stop violence against civilians,“ the politician said. Myanmar citizens have been taking their discontent to the streets since the military coup on Feb. 1. UN Secretary-General António Guterres also called on the military to end the violence.
faz.net
Lithuanian president: EU needs ‚clear strategy for relations with Russia‘ dw.com
Partnership: EU seeks alliance with U.S. on climate change, tech rules reuters.com
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Varian by Siemens Healthineers ec.europa.eu
Freedom of press: EU condemns Slovenian PM Janez Jansa over ‚insulting‘ journalist euronews.com
⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃
„The U.S. will need a strong Europe.“
Peter Beyer, Transatlantic Coordinator of the German Government, on Joe Biden’s speech at the Munich Security Conference in which he proclaimed, „America is back.“
deutschlandfunk.de
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
European students‘ interest in the UK declines: In the wake of Brexit, British universities are experiencing a slump in applications from the EU. These have fallen by 40 percent. England, Wales and Scotland have been affected by this trend to the same extent, but demand has increased in Northern Ireland. However, the proportion of applications from China and India increased by 21 and 25 percent, respectively. The representation of British universities is concerned: „The British government and universities must make it clear how important European students are to them. They need to highlight the quality of British universities and create new support services for students,“ it said in a statement.
forschung-und-lehre.de
Denmark closes several border crossings with Germany: On Saturday night, 13 border crossings between Germany and Denmark were closed by the government in Copenhagen. The reason for this is the high seven-day incidence in the town of Flensburg in Schleswig-Holstein. It has risen to 177. Half of the cases were said to be due to the British coronavirus mutation B 1.1.7. The virus variant would spread at a rapid pace. Although travelers can cross the border, the Danish Ministry of Justice announced tougher controls. Flensburg tightened lockdown rules: Private meetings in the city are prohibited and a curfew between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. has been imposed. Doctor’s appointments and commuting to work remain permitted.
focus.de, deutschlandfunk.de
Austria is confident of its testing strategy: In Austria, barely two weeks after the lockdown relaxations, the seven-day incidence has risen from 100 to 115. However, the government believes it is on the right track as it rolls out a massive testing strategy. Three million antigen and PCR tests are to be performed weekly. Thus, arithmetically, every third Austrian would be tested per week. The aim is to identify and track chains of infection. Despite the rising incidence, the pressure on clinics has not increased so far. Tests for home use are also to be made available in pharmacies from March 1. Experts expect it to become clear in ten days whether the testing strategy is working – from that point on, the incidence should level off and start to decline. Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz praises the approach, in which mass tests are also carried out at schools. In addition, 1,000 companies with 500,000 employees are participating in the country’s free vaccination program.
tagesspiegel.de, n-tv.de
Protests in Spain continue: For several days, thousands of Spaniards have been protesting over the sentencing of rapper Pablo Hasél to nine months in prison. The musician had criticized King Juan Carlos for crooked dealings. A court saw in the statements of a „denigration of the crown“ as well as „glorification of terrorism“. In 64 tweets, Hasél had called the former king a „mafioso“ and „criminal,“ and he assessed the monarchy as „medieval.“ Protesters see the verdict as an attack on freedom of expression. The NGO Amnesty International also condemned the verdict. On Sunday night, the largest demonstrations to date took place. In Barcelona alone, 6,000 people are said to have taken to the streets.
tagesschau.de, dw.com
Poles rush to Zakopane ski resort: A week ago, the Polish government reopened ski resorts for a test period of two weeks. Thousands traveled to the popular ski resort of Zakopane. Party excesses were said to have occurred. The crowds did not stop last week either. A police spokesman said that staff was increased because Corona measures were not respected and there would be mass parties.
spiegel.de, rnd.de
Poland considering COVID-19 restrictions at Czech, Slovak borders: reuters.com
New COVID-19 mutation in Finland may escape PCR tests dailysabah.com
France: Sudanese migrant kills immigration official after rejected asylum request dw.com
Italy: Can Mario Draghi Turn Italy Around? spiegel.de
⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃
+++ECOS sucht Partnerships & Development Manager (m/f/d)+++Science Europe seeks Junior Communications Officer (m/f/d)+++GIZ sucht Leiter:in des Projekts Wertschöpfungskettenförderung (m/w/d)+++GIZ cherche Conseiller:e (h/f/a) spécialisé:e en politique fiscale et administration des finances publiques+++bitkom sucht Referent:in EU Public Affairs (m/w/d) +++GIZ seeks Head of Component (m/f/d) „Improving Regional Trade in Seed Potatoes in East Africa“+++European Business Summits seeks Communications, Programme and Research Assistant (CIP) (m/f/d)+++Jobs at politjobs.eu +++ Don’t miss any jobs with the politjobs.eu job alert +++
⊂ LAST BUT NOT LEAST ⊃
Scots take down British flag: The Scottish government is hanging the British flag from all government buildings – and letting the EU flag continue to fly. Brexit meets with widespread opposition in Scotland and fuels debates about independence from Britain. „The EU flag is flying to reflect the overwhelming vote of the Scottish people to remain in Europe and as a sign of solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of EU citizens who continue to call Scotland home despite Brexit,“ the Scottish government said.
n-tv.de, t-online.de
 

Monday, February 8 2021: Trade suffers under Brexit, Countries urge EU Commission to talk to Johnson & Johnson

⊂ EUROPE ⊃
Trade suffers under Brexit: The UK recorded 68 percent more exports to the EU in January 2021 than in the same period last year. Since Brexit, trade between the EU and the island has been jolting. Imports from the EU to the U.K. have also slowed considerably, with truckers currently having to wait up to 36 hours at the border. Many small and medium-sized businesses have stopped importing for the time being because they cannot keep up with regulations. There are reports of truck drivers being turned away at the border because they do not meet the new regulations‘ conditions. Currently, 10,000 people are working at the British border to handle the customs regulations. The Bundesverband Güterkraftverkehr Logistik (German Road Haulage Association) estimates that five times that number would be needed to ensure smooth operations.
wiwo.de, n-tv.de
Countries urge EU Commission to talk to Johnson & Johnson: Denmark, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Greece addressed the EU Commission in a letter regarding the production and distribution of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. The U.S. pharmaceutical company applied for emergency approval in the U.S. last Thursday, prompting concern from the countries‘ leaders: they fear that vaccines produced in Europe will be produced in the U.S. and not used locally at first. Therefore, they said, high-level talks are needed to ensure that vaccine produced in the EU is also used in the EU.
zeit.de
Countries urge EU Commission to talk to Johnson & Johnson: Denmark, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Greece addressed the EU Commission in a letter regarding the production and distribution of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. The U.S. pharmaceutical company applied for emergency approval in the U.S. last Thursday, prompting concern from the countries‘ leaders: they fear that vaccines produced in Europe will be produced in the U.S. and not used locally at first. Therefore, they said, high-level talks are needed to ensure that vaccine produced in the EU is also used in the EU.
deutschlandfunk.de, rnd.de
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Frontex criticized: The European border protection agency Frontex has maintained intensive contacts with weapons manufacturers and equipment suppliers in recent years. With increasing budgets, technical equipment that can be used for military purposes and the police (dual-use) is available. In particular, meetings with weapons manufacturers are said to have been essential for border defense in the Mediterranean. Besides, Frontex is accused of having repeatedly carried out illegal pushback. Human rights organizations are said to have been largely ignored by the agency.
netzpolitik.org, heise.de
Libya with new transitional government: The civil war parties in Libya have agreed on a transitional government. Under UN supervision, businessman Mohammed Dbeibah was elected prime minister. The conflict in Libya had evolved in recent years between a proxy war between Turkey and Russia. Experts see the EU’s role as essential to secure peace in Libya. A joint statement with the U.S., Germany, France, Italy, and the U.K. said they would hold actors accountable who endangered Libya’s stability.
zeit.de, taz.de
The number of new electric car registrations doubled in 2020: The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) reported 2020 as a successful year for electric cars. 745,000 battery-powered vehicles were sold – an increase of more than 100%. Mt 195,000 vehicles, Germany leads the list of new registrations. However, concerning the population, Norway is at the top – 60,000 electric vehicles were reported there with a population of just under 5.4 million.
heise.de
EUToday today poll: 81.8% of respondents say EU Commission chief Ursula Von Der Leyen should resign over vaccine debacle eutoday.net
Covid: German minister angry at vaccine rollout, which EU chief defends reuters.com
Tension: EU and UK ‚acting like absentee landlord‘ over Brexit in Northern Ireland theguardian.com
Navalny: Russia to expel three EU diplomats as Navalny tensions grow ft.com
⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃
„Last year, more money would not have helped us because we first had to set up the production process on a large scale safely. The 50 million cans we produced in 2020 were the maximum possible. Even with billions of euros and thousands of additional employees, it would not have been more..“
BioNTech CEO Sierck Poetting defends policy statement on vaccine shortage.
tagesspiegel.de
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Italian mafia targets EU aid money: The Italian mafia is said to be setting up a broad network of companies and digital portals to grab a large share of EU aid money. In 2020, the EU had decided to use 750 million euros for economic reconstruction following the Corona-related recession. Italian mafia members would try to get the cash injection by acquiring construction companies and other businesses in beleaguered industries. IT experts would also forge portals where entrepreneurs could apply for supposed aid money. By tapping into data, these would be sent to the mafia.
rnd.de
German states fail to find the common line for Common Agricultural Policy: At a special summit of German agriculture ministers on the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), there was little progress over the weekend. After eleven hours of video conference, it was clear that the states‘ agriculture ministers remain at odds. The point of contention is said to have been the reallocation of funds from Pillar 1 of the CAP (direct payments) to Pillar 2 (rural development). The CDU-led states want to reallocate no more than six percent of the funds, while the Greens want ten percent. Another extraordinary conference of agriculture ministers is expected to bring a solution.
tagesschau.de, n-tv.de
Protests in Denmark against Corona vaccination passport: Hundreds of people took to the streets in Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen. They protested against the ongoing partial lockdown, which the demonstrators described as a dictatorship. They also vented anger against the government’s plans for a digital Corona vaccination passport, granting privileges to those who have been vaccinated. Denmark has been in partial lockdown since mid-December – restaurants, bars, and many stores are closed. The Danish government has also tightened entry requirements – entrants must take a Corona test within 24 hours and stay in isolation for 10 days. The protesters also resisted this.
nachrichten.at, kn-online.de
Reinforced border controls between Bavaria and Austria: Due to the new virus mutation B 1.1.7. The high incidence of infection in the Czech Republic, Bavaria, and Austria are reinforcing controls at their border. The interior ministers want to stop any avoidable traffic. Border commuters and travelers returning home will be checked at the borders. Austria is relaxing regulations as of Monday. Stores and hairdressers will be allowed to reopen, and schools will also be open.
n-tv.de, br.de
Poland opens cinemas and hotels: Despite high infection figures, Poland opened hotels, cinemas, and restaurants on the weekend. However, these may now only be half occupied. Museums and stores opened in January. On Monday, teachers are to sign up for mass vaccinations. This should allow schools to open again, as well as face-to-face classes, he said.
tagesschau.de, sueddeutsche.de
Anniversary: Switzerland marks 50 years of women voting dw.com
Spain’s Lost Generation: Who Wants to Be a Thousandaire? foreignpolicy.com
Security: Belgium convicts Iranian diplomat to prison on terrorism charges bnn-news.com
⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃
+++ECOS sucht Partnerships & Development Manager (m/f/d)+++Science Europe seeks Junior Communications Officer (m/f/d)+++GIZ sucht Leiter:in des Projekts Wertschöpfungskettenförderung (m/w/d)+++GIZ cherche Conseiller:e (h/f/a) spécialisé:e en politique fiscale et administration des finances publiques+++bitkom sucht Referent:in EU Public Affairs (m/w/d) +++GIZ seeks Head of Component (m/f/d) „Improving Regional Trade in Seed Potatoes in East Africa“+++European Business Summits seeks Communications, Programme and Research Assistant (CIP) (m/f/d)+++Jobs at politjobs.eu +++ Don’t miss any jobs with the politjobs.eu job alert +++
⊂ LAST BUT NOT LEAST ⊃
European health authority doubts benefit of FFP2 masks: The Stockholm-based European health authority ECDC doubts a clear benefit of FFP2 masks. The agency does not support widespread use of FFP2 masks, it says, because the cost is too high and the benefit is comparable to the common medical surgical mask. EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides confirmed the ECDC’s assessment.
rtl.de
 

Monday, January 18 2021: The CDU has a new party leader, Navalny travels to Russia, Conte seeks majority

⊂ EUROPE ⊃
The CDU has a new party leader: The CDU has found a new party leader in North Rhine-Westphalia’s Minister President Armin Laschet. Friedrich Merz initially prevailed in the first round of voting, but in the second round Laschet won more than half of the 1001 delegates. After the election, Merz put himself forward as the new Economics Minister. It has not yet been clarified in what way Merz will be involved in the future and what the situation is regarding a complete switch from state to federal politics by Laschet.
spiegel.de, euractiv.de
Navalny travels to Russia: Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny has traveled back to Russia with his wife Yulia. On Sunday afternoon, the poisoned politician left Berlin after receiving treatment there. In Russia, the police are waiting for him. The judiciary had put Nawalny on the wanted list. His lawyer warned in advance that an arrest would violate international law. The opposition figure sees himself as a victim of poisoning by the Russian state. Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to deny any guilt in the Novichok poisoning case.
tagesschau.de, tagesspiegel.de
Conte seeks majority: Following the collapse of the governing coalition in Italy, Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte is seeking a new majority. On Monday, he will first face the House of Representatives and later the Senate. It is not yet clear whether the politician will ask for a vote of confidence. If Conte does not find a new majority for himself, he will have to resign as prime minister. Conte will have to mill around for the support of the non-factional parties because his previous kaolition partners, the Five Star Movement and the Democratic Party, reject a continuation of the current kaolition.
tagesschau.de, faz.net
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EMA reportedly under pressure from EU Commission: According to Business Insider, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is said to have experienced political pressure from the EU Commission to approve the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine as quickly as possible. If the EU lagged behind the US and China, this would have been a worst-case scenario. At least, this is shown by leaked emails that are said to have been fed into the darknet during a hacking attack in December. Normally, the EMA must act politically independently, but the political pressure from the Commission, which was urged by member states to act quickly, was clear.
businessinsider.de
EU Commission publishes handbook on dealing with anti-Semitism: The EU Commission wants to do more to combat anti-Semitism. To this end, experts have analyzed new forms of anti-Semitism and developed practical instructions for action. The German Association Research and Information Center on Anti-Semitism, RIAS e.V., co-initiated the project. Benjamin Steinitz, managing director of the association, explains: „The problem of anti-Semitism is a pan-European problem. There are different manifestations of it in every country.“
br.de
Trade: France pushes suspension of EU-US trade dispute politico.eu
Diplomacy: Deciphering EU’s new investment deal with China moderndiplomacy.eu
Covid: Pfizer, BioNTech cut back vaccine deliveries to EU at ’short notice‘
Economy: EU sets out plans to curb reliance on dollar in post-Trump era ft.com
⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃
„It is a medical requirement to have a certificate proving that you have been vaccinated.“
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen supports the idea of a European vaccination passport.
euractiv.com
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
A renewed wave of protests in France over security law: Despite Corona restrictions, there were 80 registered rallies in France over the weekend directed against the so-called security law. President Emmanuel Macron wants to use it to better protect police officers and reduce distrust of them. Among other things, film recordings of police officers on duty will no longer be allowed to be published. Critics of the law see this as an infringement of press freedom.
swr.de, deutschlandfunk.de
Greece eases Corona restrictions: Starting Monday, retailers in Greece will be allowed to reopen their doors and service providers such as hairdressers will also be able to resume their work. The seven-day incidence in Greece has dropped below 50. This means that Greece is no longer one of the risk areas. The number of infections had risen sharply in October and was brought under control again with the help of a tougher lockdown from November. However, the Greek government is also acting out of economic pressure – the country is sliding ever deeper into recession.
handelsblatt.com
The Polish government wants law against de-platforming: Poland’s right-wing conservative government is considering a law against account blocking on social networks. Cases such as the blocking of Donald Trump should be able to be appealed if there is no clear breach of Polish law. Courts want to use a complaints system to force companies to restore content or profiles. Deplatforming is a form of suppression of press freedom, according to government sources. In the past, politicians from the ruling PiS party have attracted attention with racist content.
netzpolitik.org
Austria extends lockdown by two weeks: Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced on Sunday that the lockdown would be extended by two weeks. Originally, schools, among others, would have had to open from January 25, but this is now postponed to February 8. The reason is the spread of the new mutation of the virus. According to Kurz, this is already common in Austria, which would exacerbate the situation. The seven-day trend of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants is 130.
t-online.de, merkur.de
British immigrants are leaving the country: According to the statistics institute Escoe, 1.3 million people have left Great Britain during the recession. This is suggested by a study that analyzed an emigration of 700,000 people, particularly in the London conurbation. Half of the emigrants had migrated to other EU countries, the other half to third countries. The Escoe study is causing a stir because the authors claim that it is the largest population decline since World War II, which other data have not yet proven. They also say that emigration has an impact on the labor market – the service sector in particular has been affected.
faz.net, n-tv.de
Spain: Earlier curfews, more municipalities locked down: Spanish regions introduce new Covid-19 measures english.elpais.com
Travel: Belgium tightens rules for UK travellers arriving by bus or train brusselstimes.com
Food chains: Big “Potato Fraud” Exposed in Bulgaria novinite.com
Salaries: Czech Finance Chief Urges No Real Wage Growth in Public Sector bloomberg.com
⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃
+++European Climate Foundation seeks Senior Associate, EU Green Deal Diplomacy (m/f/d)+++Goethe Institut Bruessel seeks KoordinatorIn (m/f/d)+++The Club of Rome seeks Senior Communications Manager (m/f/d)+++PensionsEurope seeks Policy Officer/Policy Adviser (m/f/d)  +++Center for Data Innovation seeks Senior Policy Analyst – AI Policy (m/f/d)+++Friends of the Earth Europe seeks Head of Operations (m/f/d)+++Jobs at politjobs.eu +++ Don’t miss any jobs with the politjobs.eu job alert +++
⊂ LAST BUT NOT LEAST ⊃
Swedish princess earns criticism for too few working days: Madeleine of Sweden is being publicly criticized because, according to a report, no royal has ever worked as few days as the princess did last year. The princess, who lives in the U.S., is said by critics to have too little commitment to her country.
bunte.de
 

Monday, 14 December 2020: Climate targets to be tightened, EU wants environmental rules for batteries, No progress on EU asylum reform

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Climate targets to be tightened: By 2030, greenhouse emissions are to be reduced by at least 55 percent compared with 1990 levels. The previous target was 40 percent. The EU member states have agreed on this. One of how this is to be achieved is through stricter emissions trading. Factories and power plants will have to buy a certificate for every ton of CO2 emitted. This approach is intended to significantly accelerate the phase-out of coal. Eastern European countries will be particularly affected. Poland, Bulgaria, and Slovakia still use coal-fired power to a large extent to supply electricity to their populations. A fund for the transition phase is intended to support the affected regions so that the energy turnaround actually succeeds. However, a more intensive debate on alternative energy sources is now beginning. In Eastern Europe in particular, there is a desire for a renaissance of nuclear energy – this idea is also said to be supported by Paris, albeit behind closed doors.sueddeutsche.desueddeutsche.de

EU wants environmental rules for batteries: According to an EU proposal, both household and industrial batteries should be subject to new rules that place a higher value on environmental protection and sustainability. Recycling is to be improved, service life is to be increased and the value chains of cobalt and lithium are to run according to ecological standards. The regulations would affect the product design of laptops, smartphones, and home appliances. To make batteries easier to replace, devices with permanently installed batteries would be banned. Consumers would also be given better information on storage, lifespan, and disposal when buying a device. EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius says the same standards should apply in the world’s second-largest battery market. The battery market is assessed by EU Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic as a strong growth market: he estimates that battery demand will increase fourteenfold by 2030. Because of this demand, it is necessary to implement clear environmental standards.chemie.depv-magazine.de

No progress on EU asylum reform: As an internal paper reveals, no progress has been made on asylum law reform under the German EU Council presidency. The process has been stalling for years and member states are sticking to their positions. A major point of contention is the distribution and reception of asylum seekers, where Poland and Hungary do not want to accept distribution according to the EU key. Mediterranean states such as Italy, Spain, Greece and Malta also consider the current proposal to change the asylum system too unbalanced. EU diplomats explain that it is not up to Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, however, that no progress has been made. Since the 2015 migration movement, they say, the fronts have hardened and EU states do not want to back down from their positions and accept large numbers of asylum seekers.

EU wants to help banks with bad loans: The EU Commission envisages a series of measures to help banks with bad loans. EU Finance Minister Mairead McGuinness is to present a strategy paper in the next few weeks aimed at stabilizing the financial market. It should be easier to transfer bad loans to so-called „bad banks“. The EU Commission also envisages improved consumer protection. Especially in countries with many bad loans such as Cyprus, Greece, or Croatia. The Federal Association of Volks- und Raiffeisenbanken is critical of the plans to create state incentives for the sale of bad loans. It says there are already private-sector instruments in the member states that are geared to such cases.handelsblatt.com

Social media must delete terrorist content within one hour: The anti-terror Internet regulation TERREG obliges social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to delete terrorist content within one hour of publication. Failure to do so could result in fines. In the case of systematic violations, platforms must pay up to four percent of annual revenue as a penalty. Technical instructions for building weapons and the glorification of terrorist ideas are among the content that must be deleted. Net politicians see the danger that the order could be abused by TERREG, for example in countries like Hungary. It could be used as an instrument against the opposition. The order is seen as a compromise to the controversial upload filter. According to critics, this is prone to errors and would also block legitimate journalistic content.deutschlandfunknova.de

-Advertisement –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.progressive-governance.eu

Brexit: EU Commissioner McGuinness says ‚deal to be done‘ with UK reuters.comLUX Award: three films shortlisted for the European Audience Film Award europarl.europa.eu Human rights: EU urges China to free reporters after Bloomberg employee arrest aljazeera.com

⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃

„We have to relaunch the future. We have to be more cohesive. We cannot leave anybody behind, regardless of where they were born or what region they come from. We have got to be more intelligent, more green and more digital. We now have the hope that we will have the needed funds very soon.„Elisa Ferreira, EU Commissioner for cohesion policy.france24.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Germany decides shutdown from Wednesday: The federal and state governments have agreed on tougher measures from December 16. Retailers are to close, school visits are to be possible only in exceptional cases, a ban on assemblies will apply for New Year’s Eve and alcohol consumption in public will also be banned. The measures are to apply until January 10. Only stores for daily needs such as supermarkets, beverage suppliers, pharmacies, and drugstores are to remain open. Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder said after the meeting that the partial lockdown since mid-November had not been enough and that the coronavirus had gotten out of control. Except for Christmas, the contact restriction is that five people from two households can meet. For the holidays, four people are allowed beyond one’s household, as long as they would be from the immediate family. Religious services may take place if the minimum distance of 1.5 meters is maintained and the mask requirement is implemented. Countries should also test staff in nursing and retirement homes weekly for Corona infection.spiegel.desueddeutsche.de

Right-wing extremist network discovered in Austria: Five people suspected of trying to set up a right-wing extremist network have been arrested in Austria. Austria’s Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said that two people were also arrested in Bavaria who were part of the network. A total of 70 automatic weapons were seized, and explosives and more than 100,000 pieces of ammunition were also found. It is suspected that the aim was to set up a terrorist cell in Germany. The main suspect is a 53-year-old man. The tip-off is said to have come from the German authorities; the man had attracted attention because of a drug offense. He is said to have acquired the weapons from the proceeds. Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer expressed shock. Both countries would cooperate closely.tagesschau.detagesspiegel.de

Switzerland wants only mild restrictions in ski areas: Switzerland does not want to participate in the lockdown of ski areas in the Alps. Germany, Italy, and France have closed ski lifts and Austria also allows skiing only to a limited extent. In Switzerland, however, only minor restrictions are to apply. For example, a mask requirement has been introduced for queuing and sitting in gondolas, and restaurants are to close at 7 pm. A restriction on restaurants has already been in place since October – only four people are allowed per table. Some constituent states are implementing tougher measures themselves. In Graubünden, a small er lockdown applies from December 4 to 18, restaurants are closed. People are also relying on mass testing, but this is proving to be a logistical challenge.sueddeutsche.de

The UK and the EU continue negotiations: On Sunday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen decided to continue their negotiations on Brexit. In a few weeks, the British membership in the EU will expire. Some are hoping for a last-minute agreement. On Friday, both parties said they assumed that Britain would operate without a deal with the EU from January. However, negotiators were ordered to hold new talks. No deadline has been set yet. Sunday was considered the last date for an agreement. Whether a last-minute decision could create an agreement between the two parties remains questionable.tagesspiegel.dewiwo.de

Corona relaxation in Italy: Five weeks after the introduction of the three-tier risk assessment system in Italy, the last zones have now also been downgraded from the red category. Only orange and yellow zones would be left in the country, as Health Minister Roberto Speranza commented. This removes some restrictions, and in some provinces, restaurants and bars are allowed to reopen. However, Speranza warns, it is a fragile success. The situation could change again at any time, and citizens must continue to be vigilant.n-tv.de

Sweden: Neighbours offer medical help as second Covid wave intensifies ft.comSpain could develop coronavirus herd immunity by end of summer 2021, minister says uk.reuters.comNetherlands expels 2 Russian diplomats accused of spying dw.com

⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃

+++European Climate Foundation seeks Senior Associate, EU Green Deal Diplomacy (m/f/d)+++AGVL seeks Policy Adviser for European Policy (m/f/d)+++Friends of the Earth Europe seeks Head of Operations (m/f/d)+++Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry seeks Policy Director (m/f/d)+++EurA AG seeks Community & Communications Officer (m/f/d)+++AVAAZ seeks Social Media Campaigner (Consultant) (m/fd) Europe or USA+++ICF seeks Junior Consultant / Consultant / Senior Consultant (m/f/d) – European Policy Implementation+++ALLEA seeks Scientific Policy Officer (m/f/d)+++Jobs at politjobs.eu +++ Don’t miss any jobs with the politjobs.eu job alert +++

⊂ AT LAST ⊃

Spanish king pays back taxes: Former Spanish King Juan Carlos I has remitted around 700,000 euros in taxes to the treasury. The monarch has absconded to Abu Dhabi, and there is speculation about a return to Spain. However, Juan Carlos I is accused of other crimes, including paying bribes.tagesspiegel.de

Monday 30 November 2020: EU presents law for digital services, EU wants a global hydrogen market with the Euro as the lead currency

⊂ EUROPE ⊃
EU presents law for digital services: At the beginning of December, the EU Commission presents the „Digital Services Act“. The law is intended to modernize the 20-year-old legislation for digital services. In doing so, it will use a great deal of leverage. It aims to make large digital groups more transparent and to increase competition and regulation. Tech groups such as Facebook, for example, are to assume greater openness and responsibility for decisions and explain, why images are deleted from the platform. Besides, the preferential treatment of own content, such as on the Amazon platform, is to be prevented.
deutschlandfunkkultur.de, tagesschau.de
EU wants a global hydrogen market with the Euro as the lead currency: The EU aims at the development of green hydrogen and wants to develop internationally uniform standards for this. A hydrogen market with the Euro as the lead currency is the ideal vision of Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson. The current challenge is to produce green hydrogen, which is more expensive than blue hydrogen. This is produced from fossil energy sources. As part of the Green Deal, Europe wants to be the leader in green hydrogen and promote its expansion – the more produced, the cheaper the resource.
euractiv.com
Politicians want to isolate Hungary and Poland: No progress is being made in the dispute between Poland and Hungary with the other EU member states. Both countries block the new EU budget with their veto. Without the unanimous approval, the EU would be without an official budget from January and would have to cope with an emergency budget. This would also affect Hungary and Poland – both countries are the largest net recipients of EU money. Politicians such as the Green Party member Franziska Brantner and the Social Democrat Martin Schulz are advocating a new mechanism that would bypass Poland and Hungary. However, this would significantly change the way the EU functions. The expectations of Germany, which holds the presidency, are high: a compromise solution with both countries is expected.
politico.eu, sueddeutsche.de
Closed ski resorts and relocation of the WEF? Switzerland has hosted the World Economic Forum (WEF) for 50 years, but due to the Corona Pandemic, the international conference could be relocated to Asia. Like most European countries, Switzerland is not managing to get the pandemic under control. Chancellor Angela Merkel therefore even called for the closure of ski resorts in Europe over the winter, which Switzerland and Austria, however, reject. However, the classification of the canton of Graubünden, where Davos is located, as a risk area is sufficient to deter entrepreneurs. Also because of its reputation. It would be difficult to convey the desire to act as a responsible employer and at the same time attend a potential superspreader event.
faz.net, rnd.de
EU Commissioner warns against digital payment services: EU Finance Commissioner Mairead McGuinness is a thorn in the side of Apple Pay, Alipay, and Google Pay. The politician warns against their use, as the services are increasingly becoming a goldmine for siphoning off data. The Irishwoman, therefore, calls for better regulation of payment services, which are in direct competition with banks. However, the commissioner admits that Europe has not yet managed to counter the Asian and US-American competition with its own payment system.
heise.de
-Advertisement –
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.
progressive-governance.eu
⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃
„If London does not make the necessary decisions quickly, a deal will become impossible.“
Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier expects quick agreements in the UK.
de.reuters.com
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Riots in France due to police violence: 62 police officers were injured, 81 demonstrators were arrested. In France, more than 130,000 people protested over the weekend against a new law designed to prevent the publication of videos documenting police operations. The protests were fuelled by two videos: one showing the violent use of police against migrants, the other documenting the attack and the racist insult of a black music president. Under the new law, the publication of both videos would be prohibited. The demonstrators, therefore, see an attack on the freedom of the press around controversial Article 24.
tagesschau.de, faz.net
Corona loosening in Italy despite rising death rates: Italy records over 800 deaths per day over the weekend due to the coronavirus. However, the situation is improving noticeably in some regions. Lombardia and Piedmont in the north and Calabria in the south are downgraded from red alert to orange. This will be accompanied by easing the situation for the inhabitants of these regions. The partial lockdown is lifted and stores are allowed to open again. The regions Liturgies and Sicily will become yellow zones. For all other red zones, the partial lockdown rules continue to apply.
rnd.de, orf.at
Mink continues to cause concern in Denmark: After a mutation of the coronavirus was detected in Denmark, the government in Copenhagen ordered the culling of about 17 million animals. This caused a scandal because the legal basis for such a step was initially lacking. The Minister of Agriculture had to resign. However, the dead minks continue to cause concern even after they have died: on the one hand, the animals are driven back to the surface as a result of the development of putrefactive gases – they had only been buried with sand. On the other hand, citizens and local parties fear that the release of nitrogen and phosphates in high concentrations could pollute the groundwater. Now the minks could be dug up again.
spiegel.de, dw.com
Kurz predicts a return to normality in the summer of 2021: Austria’s Chancellor Kurz spoke to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Friday about his country’s vaccination strategy. He was confident that vaccinations could begin as early as January, possibly even in December. Initially, Kurz said, there would be a shortage of vaccine doses, but he was confident that a return to normality would be possible from summer 2021. Austria will receive two percent of the EU’s vaccine doses. According to Kurz, the country of Austria would pay for the costs of logistics and vaccination, and for citizens, the vaccination would be free of charge.
kleinezeitung.at, kurier.at
Great Britain and the EU possibly in the final stages of the Brexit negotiations: British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Sunday that the negotiations for a Brexit agreement are in their final stages. On Saturday, personal talks were resumed with the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier after he had been in a precautionary quarantine. Deep trenches still existed in the conditions of competition and the regulations on fishing. While Great Britain has always been a net contributor to the EU, the region of Wales has always been a net recipient. The region’s fishing industry has been in a slump for decades.
spiegel.de, euractiv.de
Crisis: Spain’s health workers protest against health service cuts swissinfo.ch
Mobile: Huawei Fights Exclusion from Romania’s 5G Race balkaninsight.com
Conflict: Greece blasts Berlin for shunning plea for Turkey arms embargo politico.eu
⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃
+++EBS – European Business Summit seeks Research Hub Project Manager (m/f/d)+++CARE Global seeks Senior EU Advocacy Officer (m/f/d)+++AVAAZ seeks Social Media Campaigner (Consultant) (m/fd) Europe or USA+++ICF seeks Junior Consultant / Consultant / Senior Consultant (m/f/d) – European Policy Implementation+++ALLEA seeks Scientific Policy Officer (m/f/d)+++The Innovation in Politics Institute seeks Social Media Specialist (m/f/d)+++ Jobs at politjobs.eu +++ Don’t miss any jobs with the politjobs.eu job alert +++
⊂ AT LAST ⊃
1300 false coronate tests in Great Britain: 1300 people who had themselves tested for the coronavirus in 100 communities between November 19 and 23 received false results. There are said to have been problems with the chemicals used.
finanztreff.de
 

Monday, 16 November 2020: EU interior ministers discuss anti-terror measures, The EU Commission is considering stricter exhaust gas regulations for internal combustion engines

⊂ EUROPE ⊃
EU interior ministers discuss anti-terror measures: On Friday, the EU interior ministers met to discuss measures against terrorism following the violent attacks in France, Austria, and Germany. Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz explained that the ideology of political Islam is the origin of many acts of violence. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, on the other hand, outlined the line of conflict between the liberal democratic system and terrorist ideas. Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer called for a series of measures to contain the terrorist threat. These include the search for encrypted communications in suspicious cases. He also placed great emphasis on securing the external borders and the Schengen area.
dw.com
The EU Commission is considering stricter exhaust gas regulations for internal combustion engines: The end for vehicles with internal combustion engines could come closer than expected. The EU Commission has commissioned a study on exhaust emissions, from which it is deriving stricter requirements for the new Euro 7 emissions standard, which is to come into force from 2025. Starting in 2025, new cars are to emit only up to 30 milligrams of nitrogen oxide per kilometer in the first stage, and in the second stage, the value is to drop to 10 milligrams. So far, the limits for gasoline vehicles are 60 milligrams per kilometer and for diesel vehicles 80 milligrams.
t-online.de
Positive balance for trade agreements between the EU and Japan: An international trade agreement between the EU and Japan has been in force with the EPA since February 1, 2019. Economic experts from the Federation of German Industry, the Chamber of Foreign Trade, and the Council of European Business have so far expressed their satisfaction. The EU has demonstrated flexibility in the negotiations and this will have a positive impact on the economic balance sheet in 2019. Since then, standards and labels have been increasingly adopted. However, the benefits are not the same in all sectors. The food industry, in particular, benefits from the abolition of customs duties and harmonized standards. The automotive industry, on the other hand, is experiencing only minor differences – many customs duties were already very low before the EPA was signed.
handelsblatt.com
Covid mutation in minks could impair the effectiveness of the vaccine: The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control warns of coronavirus mutations in connection with the breeding of minks. After a mutation of Covid-19 was discovered in Danish mink farms on November 5, health experts warn that the vaccine, which is currently being tested by BioNTech, could be compromised. The new version of the virus could spread rapidly among animals and spread to humans. Whether the currently promising vaccine would be effective against it is not yet clear.
euractiv.com
SPD wants EU army: According to an SPD strategy paper, the EU should have its own army. According to the idea, this army should be directly subordinate to the EU Commission and start with 1500 soldiers and gradually grow to 8000 persons. Internationally, the EU is repeatedly confronted with demands for more military engagement. Criticism was promptly followed by CDU politician Norbert Röttgen, who dismissed the idea as a „pipe dream“ and pointed out that the EU is not a state that could sovereignly dispose of its own army. The SPD’s defense policy spokesman, Fritz Felgentreu, on the other hand, declared that the aim was to improve the EU’s ability to act.
spiegel.de
EU Education Commissioner Mariya Gabriel calls for improvements in the education system: Around 15 percent of pupils receive inadequate digital education in the EU. Around a third of German schoolchildren are unable to master even basic IT applications. In France, the rate is even higher, at 42 percent, and in Italy, two thirds of young people are unable to implement digital basics. The EU Commissioner for Education is calling on the member states to adapt their education programs and train teaching staff and to expand the digital infrastructure. However, access to digital education is stagnating in many places.
heise.de
-Advertisement –
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.
progressive-governance.eu
Human rights: European Commission presents strategy on LGBT+ rights dw.com
Belarus: EU condemns ‚outrageous‘ death of Belarusian artist after police arrest euronews.com
Ireland: EU unlikely to give UK more time to adjust after Brexit transition ends, Ireland’s FM tells Euronews euronews.com
U.S. Market: EU watchdog seeks to quell worry over cross-border investment funds reuters.com
⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃
„For this, we need the appropriate arsenal of possible measures: Impose fines, exclude companies or parts of their services from the Single Market, insists that they split up if they want to keep access to the Single Market. Or a combination of all of these.“
EU Commissioner Thierry Breton on the relationship to big tech.
uk.reuters.com
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
France commemorates terror victims: Five years ago, Islamist terrorists killed 130 people in the Parisian concert hall Bataclan, cafés, and restaurants, among other places. At the weekend, French politicians and representatives of civil society commemorate the victims. French President Emmanuel Macron promises to get to the root of the problem of Islamist terror and eradicate it. However, the mood in France is tense after renewed terrorist attacks and the highest terror warning level. Among other things, the population accuses the country’s leaders of being too far removed from the population, which creates a breeding ground for terrorism.
ansamed.info
Austria imposes a hard lockdown: Due to the increasing number of corona infections, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz imposes a hard lockdown – „Every contact is one too many“, he explained. The population should only have contact with people in their own households. Living alone should determine one contact person. Schools should switch to distance learning. All stores except those for daily needs such as supermarkets should close. Banks and pharmacies, however, will remain open. The regulation will take effect from Tuesday and will remain in effect until December 6. The „soft“ lockdown has not had the desired effect in Austria. With 7000 infections daily, the country is one of the states with the highest per capita infection rate.
bbc.com
The Netherlands ban New Year’s Eve fireworks because of Corona: The Dutch government bans New Year’s Eve fireworks this year. The reason for this is the high burden on health personnel as a result of the Corona pandemic. In the past year alone, 1300 people were injured by fireworks in the Netherlands and had to be treated on an outpatient basis – this year the capacities for this should not be strained. The Dutch will have to celebrate the new year with sparklers – they will remain permitted.
abcnews.go.com
Continuing protests in Belarus after the death of a demonstrator: In the Belarusian capital Minsk, protests against the government have gathered momentum again after the death of a 31-year-old demonstrator. The artist, Roman Bondarenko, died the day after his arrest under unknown circumstances. Critics of the government accuse the security forces of torturing and beating the young man and that he died as a result of these injuries.
apnews.com
Moldova: Pro-EU candidate Sandu leads Moldova presidential run-off, incumbent digs in swissinfo.ch
Hungary: Hungary’s Orban likens EU to former Soviet Union if rule of law criteria accepted reuters.com
Covid-19: Italy extends lockdowns to more regions, tightens curbs de.reuters.com
⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃
+++UNHCR seeks Associate Private Sector Partnerships Officer (Foundations) (m/f/d)+++ALLEA seeks Scientific Policy Officer (m/f/d)+++GIZ sucht BeraterIn im Sektorvorhaben „Förderung der Gleichberechtigung der Geschlechter“ (m/w/d)+++GIZ sucht PolicyberaterIn im Sektorvorhaben „Wirksamkeit und Transparenz bei der Umsetzung der Agenda 2030“ (m/w/d)+++The Innovation in Politics Institute seeks Social Media Specialist (m/f/d)+++Hering Schuppener Consulting seeks Intern (m/f)d) Corporate Affairs & Public Strategies+++SCOPE Europe seeks Head of Brussels Office (m/f/d)+++SCOPE Europe seeks Public Policy/Project Manager (m/f/d)+++ Jobs at politjobs.eu +++ Don’t miss any jobs with the politjobs.eu job alert +++
⊂ AT LAST ⊃
Foreign Minister Maas causes gloating: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas causes mockery on Twitter On the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the Bundeswehr, he posted a photo with a soldier – but he was in Belgian uniform. The faux pas was quickly noticed and the tweet was deleted. The malice remained anyway.
augsburger-allgemeine.de
 

Monday, 14 September 2020: France pushes for digital tax, EU states want to be allowed to ban crypto-currencies, Tensions between Turkey and Med7

⊂ EUROPE ⊃
France pushes for digital tax: At the informal meeting of EU finance ministers in Berlin, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire urged for a quick agreement on the digital tax. Although an internationally valid rule is being called for, Le Maire said that in case of doubt the EU would have to present its own tax draft in the first quarter of 2021 if no agreement could be reached. Ireland’s finance minister, Paschal Donohoe, was skeptical about the move, although he understood that a change in the taxation of global tech companies was necessary. Olaf Scholz was optimistic that an international agreement could still be found. The FDP, however, warns against Europe going it alone, as the USA could react with countermeasures. It is controversial whether a change in international tax law would result in the EU benefiting. At present, producers only have to pay taxes in their home country – it is unclear to what extent local taxation would be an advantage or disadvantage for export-oriented countries like Germany.
tagesspiegel.de, faz.net
EU states want to be allowed to ban crypto-currencies: Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands have joined forces on the subject of crypto-currencies and demand a strict set of rules for stablecoins such as Libra. Facebook would like to link Libra to a currency basket, so that fluctuations of the crypto currency are not given. The five EU states nevertheless want clear conditions to avoid risks such as money laundering or fraud, and consumer protection is also a concern for the EU countries. It is to be ensured that an exchange of crypto currency to assets is problem-free possible. In addition, the exchange ratio of currencies such as the euro should be 1:1. The European Union states want to reserve themselves to forbid in the doubt crypto currencies if they do not follow the regulations.
manager-magazin.de, heise.de
Tensions between Turkey and Med7: After French President Emmanuel Macron invited the heads of government from Greece, Cyprus, Italy, Spain and Malta to a meeting in Corsica at the end of last week, the Mediterranean states – called Med7 – spoke out in favor of sanctions against Turkey if the tensions in the eastern Mediterranean did not end. The background to this are natural gas fields that Greece claims for itself, but interprets Turkey as part of its own land base. Macron emphasized that he prefers open dialogue and a „Pax Mediterranes“ rather than resorting to the instrument of sanctions. Recently, shooting exercises by Turkish military ships caused irritation. The Turkish government criticizes Greece for resisting direct talks and pushing the EU forward. Macron is also being attacked – he has big-imperial fantasies. Meanwhile, Greece has decided to upgrade its military. The government would acquire new fighter jets and frigates. However, there is a ray of hope: the Turkish explorer ship „Oruc Reis“ has returned to Turkish waters – it was considered a superficial point of conflict in the past weeks.
tagesspiegel.de, nzz.ch, tagesspiegel.de, tagesschau.de
EU-China Summit on Monday: On Monday, EU leaders and Angela Merkel will meet with Chinese President Xi at a digital summit. The planned investment agreement is to be the subject of discussions. Europeans are demanding fair market access, while the Chinese so far seem hesitant and prefer their own corporations. However, as a result of the Corona crisis and the high level of debt, there could be more movement – the Chinese have a vested interest in a more liberal market system that could get them through the crisis.
tagesspiegel.de
-Advertisement –
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.
progressive-governance.eu
Political System: The Pandemic Is Making the European Union More Integrated — And More Unequal jacobinmag.com
Diplomacy: EU neighbourhood ‚in flames‘, warns Borell, calling for ’strong and united‘ response euronews.com
Race: Brussels considers EU equality law change to tackle racism theguardian.com
Climate: EU lawmakers up the ante, vote for 60% climate target for 2030 euractiv.com
⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃
„Do not mess with the Turkish people, do not mess with Turkey.“
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warns France against rearmament in the natural gas dispute.
sueddeutsche.de
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Former British Prime Ministers Call for Opposition to Johnson’s Brexit Plan: The former Prime Ministers of Great Britain, Tony Blair and John Major, sharply attack Boris Johnson and demand cross-party resistance to the planned Single Market Act. This would break international law. According to the former prime ministers, Johnson has put the country in an embarrassing situation. In a joint article they write that the Single Market Act is „irresponsible, fundamentally wrong and dangerous in practice. With his illegal proposal, Johnson wants to prevent the creation of a fixed border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. At the same time, he gave the EU negotiators in the eighth round of brexite negotiations an ultimatum.
spiegel.de, tagesschau.de
Morawiecki demands end of Nord Stream 2: In the FAZ guest article, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki argues for an end to Nord Stream 2. In recent years, Russia had demonstrated imperial ambitions and an anti-democratic attitude. A new natural gas pipeline would „blow up European energy policy from within“, make the EU dependent on Russia and destroy power vehicles. Morawiecki accuses Russia’s role in the Belarus case – Moscow would undermine the self-determination of nation states. The Prime Minister demands that Europe should stand up to Russia and not tolerate anti-democratic behavior. According to Morawiecki, however, the Nord Stream 2 project would have to be buried for this.
faz.net
Hundreds of arrests in Belarus: Over 100,000 people protested at the weekend in the Belarusian capital Minsk – more people than last weekend. There were also demonstrations in other cities. The police claimed to have arrested more than 400 people. In Belarus, there is currently a ban on demonstrations. On the basis of this ban and because of the wearing of illegal symbols, the police are said to have deliberately arrested people. Although the mobile Internet was switched off to hinder communication among the demonstrators, videos and photos were later shared in social media showing the police taking harsh and sometimes brutal action against demonstrators. The weekend demonstration was held under the motto „March of Heroes“ and was dedicated to the arrested opposition member Maria Kolesnikova, among others.
Second Corona wave hits Austria: Austria’s chancellor Sebastian Kurz is worried. The daily corona infections have almost tripled in the last two weeks. The situation is dramatic and we are at the beginning of the second wave. More than half of the 5700 people affected are in Vienna. Kurz expects that the number of infections will continue to rise.
n-tv.de
Art: Street Artist Adds Colour to Bulgaria’s Protest Movement balkaninsight.com
Monarchy: Rise and Fall of Spain’s Former King Juan Carlos spiegel.de
Corona: The gates have closed! Travel quarantine on Portugal and Hungary comes into force dailymail.co.uk
Pandemic: New Covid Cases Soar in Denmark, Surpassing No-Lockdown Sweden bloomberg.com
⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃
+++ Naturalis Biodiversity Center seeks Communications and Outreach Officer (m/f/d) +++ EUGINE seeks Manager Policy & Affairs (m/f/d) +++ European Investment Bank seeks (Senior) Regulatory Risk Policy and Implementation Officer (m/f/d) +++ BEUC seeks Policy Officer on Sustainable Consumption and Production (m/f/d) +++ Verband Kommunaler Unternehmen e.V. sucht eine/n Policy Advisor/ReferentIn (m/w/d) mit Schwerpunkt Energiewirtschaft +++ Eurochild seeks Communications Intern (m/f/d) +++ European Environmental Bureau (EEB) seeks Mercury Policy Officer (m/f/d) +++ Innovation & Networks Executive Agency seeks Communication Manager (m/f/d) +++ Clean Air Task Force seeks Government Affairs Officer (m/f/d) Europe +++ Jobs at politjobs.eu +++ Don’t miss any jobs with the politjobs.eu job alert +++
⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
German investment fraudster extradited from Lebanon: Around the young entrepreneur Hendrik Holt a group of investment fraudsters had formed, who cheated financiers by half a billion euro. They are said to have collected investments for wind farms that never existed. The fraud was discovered, entrepreneur Holt was arrested in April and has been in custody ever since. Heinz L., one of the masterminds behind the scheme, had left for Lebanon after the arrest. There he was arrested and on Saturday he was flown by Lufthansa to Frankfurt, where he was received by the police. There are two warrants for the 64-year-old’s arrest for fraud.
spiegel.de
 

Thursday, 10. September 2020: Fire destroys most of the refugee camp in Moria, Cyprus blocks sanctions against Belarus, EU wants to extend sanctions because of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine

⊂ EUROPE ⊃
Fire destroys most of the refugee camp in Moria: About 70 percent of the tents are said to have burned down in a fire in the refugee camp in Moria on the night of Wednesday. There shall be no deaths. The cause of the fire is still unclear. The authorities are investigating in all directions. In the past, several small fires were caused by defective electrical appliances, but never of such destructive extent. The accusation of arson is also being investigated. The atmosphere in the refugee camp on the Greek border has been heated for weeks – the camp was sealed off by the authorities to prevent corona infection among the refugees. However, new tests have shown that at least 35 people are already infected with the virus. Across Europe, politicians are calling for the 12,000 refugees to be accepted. A political solution is still being struggled for.
bbc.com, nytimes.com
Cyprus blocks sanctions against Belarus: According to information from the German Press Agency, the EU country Cyprus is to block the agreed sanctions against Belarus and its President Lukashenko. The Cypriots are only to agree to the sanctions if the EU also agrees to punitive measures against Turkey. Greece has also been demanding sanctions against its neighboring country for some time. The reason for this is the recent tensions in the eastern Mediterranean in the dispute over natural gas deposits in the sea. Turkey has also had warships patrolling the country. The blockade attitude is unpleasant for the EU, as it had only announced rapid measures in mid-August.
wiwo.de
EU wants to extend sanctions because of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine: The EU wants to extend existing sanctions against 175 Russians and Ukrainians until March 2021. Their accounts are to be blocked and their entry denied. On Wednesday the EU member states agreed to the measure. It has yet to be confirmed in a written vote in the respective EU capitals and is directed against those responsible in the East Ukrainian conflict. Those affected are Ukrainian rebel leaders, former and current Russian government members, military personnel and confidants of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
derstandard.de
Merkel at China summit: Chancellor Angela Merkel will participate in the virtual summit with China next Monday. This was confirmed by EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen. Merkel will participate as a representative of Germany’s current EU Council Presidency. The summit will focus on the tough negotiation process for the planned investment agreement. The EU is calling on China to show more commitment and commitment to a relationship based on partnership. However, Beijing is expected to react cautiously so far.
wiwo.de
Russia accuses Germany of hysteria in Nawalny case: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticizes the tone of the German government in the case of the poisoned opposition member Nawalny. Lavrov spoke of „unsubstantiated accusations and ultimatums to Russia“ and hysteria. He said the German government’s handling of the case was „unconstructive“. The policies of the European Union and the NATO partners were partly responsible for this policy. The German Ambassador Géza Andreas von Geyr, however, referred to statements by the EU and NATO that the Nawalny case was merely a conflict between Germany and Russia. The German Foreign Office resisted criticism that they were acting as constructively as possible.
faz.net, zeit.de
EU considers action against child pornography on the Internet: An internal paper of the EU Commission discusses possible measures to identify child abuse. The paper is controversial in that it proposes to search conversations that are encrypted end-to-end. This concerns, for example, the communication of messengers such as Threema or WhatsApp. However, this would involve major cuts in terms of security and data protection. Furthermore, experts fear that the abuse would merely shift to other channels and platforms.
spiegel.de
-Advertisement –
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.
progressive-governance.eu
Brexit: EU Executive Very Concerned About British Bill Plans, Would Undermine Trust nytimes.com
Charlemagne: The contradiction at the heart of the European Commission economist.com
Green Deal: Europe’s centre-right rallies behind 55% EU climate goal for 2030 euractiv.com
Modernization: EU leaders to call for an EU electronic ID by mid-2021 euractiv.com
⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃
„We currently have a state of lawlessness on the European external border. Yet it would never be easier than today to implement a humane border policy, as fewer and fewer people have come irregularly since 2017. We need fast and fair procedures, humane reception facilities, agreements with countries of origin and transit countries to speed up the repatriation of those who do not need protection in the EU after the procedure.“
Migration expert Gerald Knaus on a possible evacuation of Moria.
tagesschau.de
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Germany ends blanket travel warning against third countries: The Federal Government in Germany had issued a blanket travel warning against 160 countries outside the EU and the Schengen states. This is to expire on September 30. Instead, they want to issue individual risk assessments. The travel industry in particular had spoken out against the blanket travel warning, as it had applied to more than 80 percent of countries regardless of the occurrence of infection. Travel warnings offer the possibility of free cancellation. They are not a travel ban, but offer advantages for consumers.
zeit.de, tagesschau.de
Belarus: Opposition member Kolesnikova arrested for calling for a takeover: The oppositional Maria Kolesnikova is to be held in custody in Minsk after her presumed abduction on Monday. Her father Alexander Kolesnikow reported this to the press. She is to be accused of attempting to seize power. Criminal proceedings are pending against her. The Federal Government in Germany is calling on Lukashenko to enter into dialogue with the opposition: „Instead of intensifying repression and thus turning further sections of the population against himself, he should finally enter into dialogue with the bearer of sovereignty, the Belarusian people,“ declared the deputy government spokeswoman Martina Fietz.
dw.com
Italy discusses shortening the corona quarantine period: After the impulse of France, Italy follows in the discussion in the reduction of the corona quarantine time from 14 to 7 days. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte takes a pragmatic view of a possible reduction: „If we were to shorten the quarantine period, the social and economic costs would also be reduced. Experts also support the initiative. Mario Clerici, professor of immunology, explained that a quarantine of 14 days was useful at the beginning, but now one understands the course and disease better, so that a seven-day quarantine can be sufficient.
aerzteblatt.de
England verschärft Corona-Regeln: The British government has again tightened the contact restrictions for England. While up to 30 people were allowed to meet recently, now only six are allowed. Prime Minister Boris Johnson justified the measure with the rising number of infections – one must react now to cushion a strong spread.
theguardian.com
Again over 500 new corona infections in Austria: Austria reports rising corona numbers again. On Wednesday there were 502 registered new infections. About half of them in Vienna. Currently 4,072 people are infected, almost 200 are in intensive care. Vienna is followed by Tyrol and Upper Austria.
heute.at, kurier.at
Denmarkt: Danish killer confesses to murder of Kim Wall for first time theguardian.com
Sports: Switzerland’s highest court dismisses Caster Semenya’s appeal against CAS ruling dw.com
Coronavirus: Four areas of Spain’s Palma de Mallorca to be confined due to Covid-19 english.elpais.com
Tourism: Spain to negotiate travel corridors to its islands with Britain, Germany english.elpais.com
Bulgaria: Kindergarten Becomes Mandatory for 4-Year-Olds in Bulgaria from 2023 novinite.com
⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃
+++ Naturalis Biodiversity Center seeks Communications and Outreach Officer (m/f/d) +++ EUGINE seeks Manager Policy & Affairs (m/f/d) +++ European Investment Bank seeks (Senior) Regulatory Risk Policy and Implementation Officer (m/f/d) +++ BEUC seeks Policy Officer on Sustainable Consumption and Production (m/f/d) +++ Verband Kommunaler Unternehmen e.V. sucht eine/n Policy Advisor/ReferentIn (m/w/d) mit Schwerpunkt Energiewirtschaft +++ Eurochild seeks Communications Intern (m/f/d) +++ European Environmental Bureau (EEB) seeks Mercury Policy Officer (m/f/d) +++ Innovation & Networks Executive Agency seeks Communication Manager (m/f/d) +++ Clean Air Task Force seeks Government Affairs Officer (m/f/d) Europe +++ Jobs at politjobs.eu +++ Don’t miss any jobs with the politjobs.eu job alert +++
⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
Norwegian MP proposes Trump for Nobel Peace Prize: Right-wing Norwegian MP Christian Tybring-Gjedde has proposed US President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize for his mediation between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. The same MP had already nominated the US politician for the prize last year – most recently because of his efforts in dealing with North Korea.
theguardian.com
 

Tuesday, 21st July 2020: Agreement on Corona grants, Baltic States against US troop withdrawal in Germany, Criticism of the EU Commission’s nuclear energy report

⊂ 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.
euronews.com
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.
eng.lsm.lv
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.
euractiv.com
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.
handelsblatt.com
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“.
oe24.at
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.
handelsblatt.com
-Advertisement –
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.
progressive-governance.eu
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.
swr.de
⊂ 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.
bbc.com, dw.com
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.
techcrunch.com, cnbc.com
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.
boerse.ard.de
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.
nau.ch
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.
infomigrants.net
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.
sueddeutsche.de
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 ⊃
+++ Jobs at politjobs.eu +++ Don’t miss any jobs with the politjobs.eu job alert +++
⊂ 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.
n-tv.de