Digest (for United States)

Monday, 18 May 2020: Brexit negotiations unsuccessful, EU struggles with planned annexation of Israel, EU agrees on short-time working allowance

⊂ EUROPE ⊃
Brexit negotiations unsuccessful: For one week, the EU and representatives of Great Britain negotiated the future relationship between them. However, the round of negotiations was unsuccessful, according to both British negotiator David Frost and EU chief negotiator Michael Barnier. Both sides accuse each other of blocking progress. While Great Britain sees an ideological focus on the part of the EU, Barnier criticises “lack of ambition” on the British side, which in his opinion is dealing with symbolic aspects. Great Britain wants unrestricted market access to the EU internal market, which is rejected by the EU side. Frost, however, sees the possibility that an agreement could be negotiated by the end of the year, while the EU is preparing for the “no deal” option.
bbc.com, theguardian.com
EU struggles with planned annexation of Israel: The government of Israel under Benjamin Netanyahu plans to annex parts of the West Bank. The annexation would violate international law, but is supported by the USA. The White House’s plan is for Israel to occupy about 200 settlements on the West Bank – about 30 percent of the total area – in return for which the Palestinians are to receive parts of southern Israel. US President Donald Trump had promised the Palestinians their own state under these conditions. However, the EU is unable to find a common position on how to proceed. It is in favour of the two-state solution and would insist on dialogue, but the EU High Representative, Josep Borrell, limited himself to vague statements on the issue. Austria’s government warns against “prejudgement” of Israel before the plans are even put into concrete terms.
timesofisrael.com, irishtimes.com
EU agrees on short-time working allowance: The EU ambassadors of the member states have agreed on nationwide short-time work to cushion mass unemployment and company bankruptcies due to the Corona crisis. Countries are to provide up to 25 billion euros in guarantees, depending on their economic performance. Short-time work is one of the strongest instruments to cushion economic recessions, but not all countries have such a model for worker protection so far. However, the planned introduction from 1 June is likely to be delayed because the member states will have to ratify the decision in their respective national parliaments. The programme, which has been named “Sure”, will allow workers to apply for financial support retroactively from February.
consilium.europa.eu
Several supercomputers in the EU were attacked by hackers: Several high-performance computers in the EU were attacked by hackers and shut down as a result, including the Leipzig Supercomputer Centre and the British operator Archer. Earlier last week, the FBI issued a hacker warning that Chinese hackers were in danger of stealing data related to the development of a vaccine against the corona virus. The background to the current hacker attack is not yet clear. Cybersecurity experts are trying to reconstruct the attack and determine whether data was stolen.
swissinfo.ch, zdnet.com
Germany lifts quarantine regulations for EU citizens: After the borders across the EU have been reopened, Germany has agreed to relax the quarantine regulations for EU citizens. According to the agreement, travellers no longer have to stay in quarantine for more than two weeks. German Foreign Minister Horst Seehofer recommended that the states only apply the quarantine obligation if the number of infections in neighboring countries increases drastically again. In his opinion, they should only apply to people entering from third countries.
reuters.com
EU economic recovery plan to be presented on 27 May: The EU Commission intends to present a billion-euro package of measures to rebuild the economy on 27 May. This had already been announced for the beginning of May, but was repeatedly postponed due to dissonances regarding individual measures. In addition, the EU has in the meantime adopted a number of individual protective measures. The economic recovery plan is to be embedded in the plan for the next seven years. Financing has been a major bone of contention so far, and it is also unclear how much the economic stimulus package is to be.
euronews.com
EU-Australia relations: Australia secures European support for independent pandemic probe smh.com.au
Green Deal: ‘Bold and visionary’: MEPs demand ‘massive’ €2tr EU green recovery package businessgreen.com
Law: Burning EU and other flags can now bring German jail term bbc.com
Budget: After coronabonds, EU heads for clash over “corona” tax in next budget reuters.com
Trade: Europe should temporarily ban Chinese takeovers: Germany’s Weber reuters.com
⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃
“We need strict controls to allocate these funds. I am saying it clearly: it cannot be that those funds are destined to cover budgetary holes or to pay for pensions.”
Manfred Weber, the leader of the Christian Democrats’ parliamentary group in the European Parliament, wants to closely examine the use of Corona aid money.
explica.co
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Corona outbreaks in Austrian postal centres: In Vienna-Inzersdorf and Hagenbrunn, outbreaks of coronavirus were registered in logistics centres. In both postal warehouses, the virus was detected in more than ten percent of the postmen. A temporary employment agency near Vienna is suspected to be the hub of the infection, and a refugee home in Eastern Austria is also suspected to be the origin of a chain of infection. The infected persons have probably continued to work despite the infection. The Austrian Armed Forces arrived in Hagenbrunn to disinfect the postal centre, but also to take over the work of the post office. In Vienna, the city wants to regulate the continuation of the postal work itself.
krone.at, merkur.de
France wants to revive tourism: France plans to reopen many tourist destinations by the end of June, thus combating the slump in the industry. On May 25th a schedule of measures for the tourism industry will be published. The hope for a good summer season remains. The French agency for tourism development hopes for German tourists. France, however, has criticized the Italian government which wants to make tourist travel possible as early as June 3rd. Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner called for a uniform European approach. In France, the start of tourism is not scheduled until June 21.
connexionfrance.com, theguardian.com
Switzerland takes in 23 refugee children: On Saturday, Switzerland admitted 23 unaccompanied minors between the ages of 10 and 17 who have family members in the country. The entry was family reunification under the Dublin Convention. The Dublin Agreement states that the country in which the relatives live must assume responsibility for minors. Most of them come from Afghanistan, two from the Congo. The youths are initially in quarantine for two weeks. Switzerland had negotiated with the authorities in Athens about the admission. The UN Refugee Agency welcomes this step. Swiss refugee aid demands that more young people be admitted. It is estimated that about 5000 minors will have to remain in the border area between Greece and Turkey.
swissinfo.ch
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Italy considers State aid to Fiat Chrysler: Italy is pinning its hopes on state aid for the car company Fiat Chrysler. This involves state guarantees of 6.3 billion euros for a period of three years. Fiat Chrysler employs 55,000 workers in Italy, and many suppliers are dependent on production. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte declared on Saturday that the company was entitled to state aid, even though its headquarters are in the Netherlands. Demands to move the headquarters back to Italy had been raised in politics. Especially the more favourable tax burden had caused Fiat Chrysler to move to The Netherlands. For Italy, saving the automobile sector is essential – it contributes 6.2 percent of the gross domestic product.
wsj.com, seattletimes.com
Liberal coalition in Poland presents new presidential candidate: After the presidential election in Poland was postponed because of the Corona crisis, the liberal opposition is replacing its candidate. Warsaw’s Lord Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski is to campaign for the Civic Platform (PO). The previous candidate Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska returned her candidacy after her approval ratings were between two and four percent. The conservative incumbent president Andrzej Duda leads in all polls. Trzaskowski has already been an EU minister and a member of the EU Parliament. In 2018 he was elected Lord Mayor of Warsaw and won the election against the PiS candidate.
abcnews.go.com, bloomberg.com
Spain extends state of emergency again: This is to be the last extension of the state of emergency – the Spanish government is extending the protective measures against the corona virus by one month. An initial phase of relaxation had been initiated in most of the country’s provinces, but according to the Sánchez government, the infection figures do not yet allow a return to normality. Spain is currently the EU country most affected by the corona virus. No opening for tourists has yet been announced. There are repeated protests in Madrid – citizens fear the economic cutbacks that would be exacerbated by a missed tourist season.
bloomberg.com, edition.cnn.com
Slovenia becomes first European nation to declare an end to its coronavirus epidemic cnbc.com
Bulgaria to reopen shopping malls from Monday as virus curbs eased reuters.com
Denmark reports no new coronavirus deaths for first time since March foxnews.com
Hungary: MEPs Ask EU To Impose Sanctions And Stop Payments eurasiareview.com
Grain Britain: Campaigners call for junk food advertising ban as British PM hints at interventionism to tackle obesity foodnavigator.com
⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃
Bitkom sucht Referent europäische Digitalpolitik (w/m) *** Int. Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory seeks Innovation Project Manager *** Int. Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory seeks Project Assistant for EU Funded Projects *** PwC seeks Public Affairs Senior Manager Belgium *** Johnson & Johnson seeks Policy Assistant, Government Affairs & Policy EMEA *** Public Policy Manager, Connectivity *** Ryanair offers Public Affairs internship
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)
⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
From Wednesday, menthol cigarettes will no longer be available in the EU: after a four-year transitional period, menthol cigarettes and smoking products with a similar taste will be banned throughout the EU on 20 May. As the taste masks the tobacco, these cigarettes are considered a danger for increased consumption. The EU wants to reduce premature deaths from tobacco.
news.err.ee

Tuesday, 5 May 2020: EU Commission approves Air-France aid, European Parliament offices open for women in emergency situations, record slump in industry in the eurozone

⊂ EUROPE ⊃
EU Commission approves Air-France aid: The European Commission has approved seven billion euros in French state aid to support the airline Air France. The aid is proportionate as a bankruptcy of the airline would cause serious economic damage. The financial injection is made up of four billion euros in government money and three billion in bank loans. In addition, Air France employs 41,000 people, which is an essential reason for the survival of the company. The airline is part of the Dutch-French Air-France-KLM group, in which the two states each have a 14 percent share. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager also praised the airline for complying with certain environmental requirements when rescuing it.
reuters.com
Büros des Europaparlaments öffnen für Frauen in Notsituationen: The European Parliament has opened its doors to women in need. In the Helmut Kohl House in Brussels women can stay overnight and get a meal. To this end, 100 offices of parliamentarians have been converted into individual accommodation. This is possible because 95 percent of the parliamentarians do their work from their home office. The campaign is an initiative of the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli. The number of homeless women as well as women affected by domestic violence is said to have risen noticeably due to the Corona pandemic. There are currently 60 women in Brussels. Sassoli has also made an offer to local authorities in Strasbourg and Luxembourg to make the premises available to social organisations.
euractiv.com
Record slump in industry in the euro zone: The IHS Markit Institute has been studying industrial sentiment in the eurozone using the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) since 1997. In April the PMI fell from 44.5 to 33.4 points, the lowest value ever recorded. In 1997 it stood at 33.6 points. From a value of 50, the value indicates economic growth – including a decline in economic power. Exports, orders and production have declined noticeably, and delivery times have increased considerably. If there is no massive second wave of infection, however, the economic low point could be reached. “Given the flattening curve of the virus spread and the discussions towards easing pandemic restrictions, there is hope that the peak of the virus’ negative impact on the economy was in April,” said Chris Williamson, Chief Economist of IHS.
finanzen.net, markets.businessinsider.com
Vice President of the EU Parliament Karas calls for rule of law criteria: ÖVP politician Othmar Karas, demands that there should be clear criteria for the rule of law in corona aid. According to the Vice-President of the EU Parliament, member states should commit themselves to the democratic and constitutional values of the EU and otherwise be sanctioned if this is disregarded. EU rule of law proceedings are currently underway against Poland and Hungary. The politician also warns, however, that the EU budget beyond the Corona aid of 540 billion euros must be increased, as no other economic, social and ecological challenge would be less important. At the same time, environmental protection and the “Green Deal” should not be played off against containing the Corona pandemic.
volksblatt.at
EU citizens should be able to enter France without quarantine: French President Emmanuel Macron is sending a signal to the European states: he wants to lift the compulsory quarantine for persons from the EU, Great Britain and the Schengen states against the approach of his health minister Olivier Véran. The two-week compulsory quarantine on entry was a particular challenge for commuters from the border regions. However, France did not close its internal borders with neighbouring states, but implemented a travel ban that did not allow further travel beyond 100 kilometres. However, these are to be relaxed from 11 May. France had only extended the health emergency by two months until 24 July at the weekend. In the coming days, more precise regulations for border crossers will be defined.
thelocal.fr
EU Commission approves Aurbis takeover: The Hamburg-based copper group Aurubis may now officially take over the Belgian-Spanish Metallo Group for the price of 380 million euros. The EU Commission has approved the deal, which was negotiated in May 2019. The EU Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, explained that copper is an essential component of the digital economy and therefore an examination had to be carried out to ensure that the resource cycle would not be negatively affected. However, no evidence of this had been found, so that the takeover was also in line with the Green Deal plans.
reuters.com
Unemployment: Pandemic pushes Austrian unemployment to all-time high rappler.com
Car manufacturer: Nissan will scale back efforts in Europe to focus elsewhere cnet.com
Apps: European virus tracing apps highlight battle for privacy mynorthwest.com
COVID-19: Von der Leyen thanks Boris Johnson for his generosity as UK makes £774million donation express.co.uk
⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃
“Faced with COVID-19, ‘everyone for themselves’ would be a major mistake.”
French President Emmanuel Macron at the Donor Conference. France gives 500 million euros in the fight against the Corona virus.
thenationonlineng.net
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Corona dark figure declines in Austria according to study: On Monday, the Austrian Research Minister Heinz Faßmann announced that according to a new study, a maximum of 11,000 people in the country are infected with the corona virus. The number of infections is thus noticeably decreasing. This is the second study that has been conducted. At the beginning of April, 60,000 people were presumably ill during the first round – at the end of April, only about a sixth of them were still sick. The study was carried out with a random sample of 1,432 people – of whom only one person was proven to have the corona virus. The sample was selected at random, nursing homes and hospitals were not included. In communities where there had previously been a high number of corona infections, every 20th person tested positive. Faßmann thus dissipated hopes for the establishment of local herd immunity.
derstandard.at, welt.de
Outlook among Swiss SMEs is slowly recovering: Small and medium-sized companies assess their financial situation slightly better than a month ago, according to a study by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW). The proportion of companies with financial worries fell from just under half to 36 percent. However, one in eight companies fears bankruptcy. The general mood remains gloomy: 70 percent of SMEs expect negative to very negative consequences of the corona pandemic, this figure has only fallen by seven percent compared to the previous month. In response to the economic turbulence, half of the companies have introduced short-time working. The survey covered 350 companies.
nau.ch, blick.ch
British Minister of State resigns: The British Minister of State Conor Burns, who is responsible for international trade relations, has resigned due to abuse of office. He is considered a close confidant of Prime Minister Boris Johnson. A committee of inquiry had found that Burns had used his office to his advantage in a personal dispute. In a private credit dispute, he had tried to obtain payment for his father on official letterhead. In the process, he allegedly threatened that if he refused to pay, he would bring the case to Parliament. On behalf of the sub-committee, the letter allegedly showed that Burns had used his status to intimidate a British citizen.
independent.co.uk
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Portugal relaxes restrictions: After six weeks of a state of emergency with severe initial restrictions, Portugal relaxes the rules. Shops up to 200 square metres are allowed to open, and car dealerships can also resume operations. Masks are compulsory on public transport and in shops. Outdoor sports are also permitted again. Some beach sections are open for this purpose, so that citizens can surf. The Portuguese government had presented a plan to get out of the lockdown. In three steps, everyday life should return to normality. The next relaxation is to take place on May 18, shops up to 400 square meters are to open, and cafés and restaurants can also serve guests under certain conditions. Schools are also to reopen from this date. In the third phase, cinemas, theatres and shopping centres will also be accessible from 1 June.
forbes.com
In the Netherlands, contact has been broken off with over 5000 pupils: Due to the corona crisis, 5000 children and adolescents are currently unreachable according to school authorities – this corresponds to about 0.3 percent of all school-age children. Neither by telephone, e-mail or letter can the pupils be located in these cases. Although the digitalisation of the education system in the Netherlands is well advanced, homeschooling concepts would not reach precisely those children whose parents have a poor understanding of the language or where there is neglect. Experts assume that labour migrants have partly returned to their home countries because of the pandemic. However, many children simply miss lessons. In the Netherlands, educational institutions are to reopen from 11 May.
deutschlandfunk.de
Poland argues about presidential election: A new president is due to be elected in Poland on 10th May – the PiS government is keeping to the date despite a corona pandemic and a polarising electoral law reform that has not yet been approved by Parliament. The opposition wants to postpone the election date. The electoral law reform is to be discussed in parliament on 6 or 7 May – just a few days before the election date. It provides that the election can only be conducted by postal vote. Poland had only abolished postal voting a few years ago because it was too susceptible to forgery. But there is also resistance within the PiS. Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin resigned in protest against the election plan. There is a wing of 18 people around him – if they do not vote for the electoral law reform in parliament, it could fail. What would happen to the presidential election in this case is uncertain.
abcnews.go.com
Slovenia: PM Janša channels Orbán with attacks on media and migrants theguardian.com
Czech Republic: Government will not seek to extend state of emergency past May 17 news.expats.cz
Greece transfers almost 400 migrants from Lesbos island to mainland euronews.com
Belgium: Phasing Out Of Lockdown brusselstimes.com
Sweden: The risk of Sweden’s coronavirus strategy? Blind patriotism. washingtonpost.com
⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃
Bitkom sucht Referent europäische Digitalpolitik (w/m) *** Int. Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory seeks Innovation Project Manager *** Int. Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory seeks Project Assistant for EU Funded Projects *** PwC seeks Public Affairs Senior Manager Belgium *** Johnson & Johnson seeks Policy Assistant, Government Affairs & Policy EMEA *** Public Policy Manager, Connectivity *** Ryanair offers Public Affairs internship
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)
⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
Sporting goods manufacturers affected above all in Europe: The corona pandemic has hit sporting goods manufacturers hard economically – large companies like Adidas have already demanded state aid. The World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry says Europe’s supply chains are affected by 64 percent – only China has suffered a severe cut of 68 percent.
ispo.com
 

Monday, 4. May 2020: EU donor conference for corona vaccine starts on Monday, EU criticises restrictions on press freedom, EU Culture Ministers want to support artists and journalists

⊂ EUROPE ⊃
EU donor conference for corona vaccine starts on Monday: In order to contain the corona pandemic worldwide, a donor conference initiated by the EU Commission will take place on Monday. The aim is to collect donations to finance research into vaccination and the development of therapies, tests and protective clothing. Eight billion euros are needed as start-up financing. Germany has already promised to contribute a generous donation, but France and Norway have also pledged a strong participation. This is not only a European project – the pandemic is to be fought worldwide. That is why the African Union, Saudi Arabia, Canada and globally active foundations and organisations are participating in the initiative. It is estimated that a total of 40 billion euros will be needed to produce vaccines across the board.
bloomberg.com, voanews.com
EU criticises restrictions on press freedom: On the occasion of Press Freedom Day, EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Josep Borrell issued a statement on behalf of the 27 EU Member States criticising restrictions on press freedom. The Corona pandemic would be used in some countries as an opportunity to suppress journalists. Some critics fear that also in the EU member state Hungary, the rights of the press would be curtailed under the pretext of restricting Fakenews. With regard to the restrictive measures implemented in some states against the freedom of the press, the statement states that the EU would work both within and outside its territory to promote credible sources.
dw.com, consilium.europa.eu
EU Culture Ministers want to support artists and journalists: The Culture Ministers of the EU Member States have agreed to promote artists and journalists at EU level. With the exception of Hungary, all member states have signed an agreement aimed at mobilising financial support for creative and freelance artists who have come under economic pressure because of the corona virus. Germany’s Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters commented on the agreement: “Seldom in the history of the European integration process have culture and the media been more important than they are today. Culture is not a luxury that can only be afforded in good times”. In addition, funding programmes such as “Creative Europe” are to be increased.
europarl.europa.eu
EU Commissioner Vestager fears new imbalance between member states4: Danish EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager fears that the imbalance between the member states could increase due to the Corona crisis. She said the fiscal situation differs greatly from country to country – while Italy has been struggling with over-indebtedness for years, Germany has achieved budget surpluses in the same period. The politician believes that equal opportunities for participation in the European internal market are at risk. She also urges vigilance, as ailing European companies could be taken over by international investors to the detriment of EU economic strength.
focus.de
Eurogroup President Centeno defends European crisis procedure: Mário Centeno, President of the Eurogroup, rejects criticism of the way the economic consequences of the Corona pandemic have been dealt with. He said Europe had reacted quickly and agreed on a €540 billion aid package within ten days – this would enable the Union to take the right aid measures. Compared to the US, the EU is in a good position, said Centeno. He referred to the social security systems, which can cushion current difficulties to a certain extent. In the USA, more than 20 million people have become unemployed within a few weeks. At the same time, the economist is looking to the future with caution – the internal market must be saved, and Europe’s economy must become greener and more digital. In addition, the pathologist Sotiris Tsiodras plays a major role in building public confidence. He is part of the Greek crisis team and his popularity rating is 66 percent. He is praised for his sensitive explanations and his commitment to supplying the affected regions.
nachrichten.at
Spain plans return to ‘new normal’ by end of June bbc.com
Formula 1: Hungarian Grand Prix to be held without fans bbc.com
Covid-19: Danes and Czechs say easing lockdowns has produced no Covid-19 surge theguardian.com
UK: Factories suffer worst month in three decades: IHS Markit thetelegram.com
⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃
“There are many passengers who would need the money. People may have lost their jobs, they may need money for medication, to pay their rent.”
EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager on travel reimbursements for passengers.
euronews.com
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Germany puts the brakes on Austria’s hopes for open borders: The Austrian Minister of Tourism, Elisabeth Köstinger, had advocated opening the borders between Germany and Austria for tourist purposes during the summer months. After Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas had already urged restraint and the worldwide travel warning had been extended until 15 June, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is now also dampening hopes that the border will soon be opened. Seehofer explained that the restrictions for citizens should not be maintained any longer than necessary, and at the same time it was essential to take account of the incidence of infections.
kurier.at, faz.net
Switzerland launches Corona app on 11 May: At the federal government’s press conference, researchers from the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich (ETH) and Lausanne (EPFL) explained that the app to contain the corona virus would probably be available on 11 May. They said it was strongly inspired by the model presented by Apple and Google. Mobile phones will exchange information with the app via Bluetooth. If a person receives a positive Corona message when they meet, they can enter this information via the app. The people they have met during the risk period will receive a notification of the risk of infection. There is still scepticism about data protection at present. Use of the app will be voluntary, but according to a survey, 60 percent of Swiss people have announced that they want to install the application.
thelocal.ch
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Greece’s corona strategy receives international praise: The Greek government under Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is internationally praised for its handling of the corona virus. The number of cases and deaths is significantly lower than in many other countries. This can partly be attributed to a lower testing rate, but on the other hand the Greek government has acted early and decisively. Curfews were imposed early, school classes abroad were brought back, and business trips were banned. Greece has only 605 intensive care beds in the whole country – a tenth of which cannot be used to capacity due to a lack of personnel.
france24.com
UK Prime Minister Johnson comments on hospitalisation: For the first time after his return to government business just under a week ago, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented on his hospital stay in early April. Because of the outbreak of the corona virus, he spent three days in intensive care, explaining that there were emergency plans in case of his death. However, at no time did he himself believe that he would actually die. His condition is said to have deteriorated for days before he recovered. Great Britain is one of the countries worst affected by the corona virus. The chain of infection in the country is still unbroken.
time.com, abc.net.au
France wants to extend state of emergency until 24 July: Next week a proposal is to be voted on in the French parliament, according to which the country will extend its state of emergency for the health sector by two months. This should provide the government with legal security in case there are further closures in the event of a second wave of infection. Shops are to open in France from 11 May, and the wearing of face masks is to become compulsory on public transport. Catering establishments and beaches are to remain closed. The state of emergency has been in effect in France since the end of March and was initially set for two months.
brusselstimes.com
Poland relaxes conditions for commuters: Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced that as from 4th May he was going to relax the conditions imposed on people working or studying in Germany, the Czech Republic or Slovakia. According to this, commuters would no longer have to spend two weeks in quarantine. Morawiecki explained the move by saying that although the pandemic had not yet been defeated, it would be increasingly brought under control. Since the closure of the border in mid-March and the strict conditions, there have been repeated protests – among others at the border crossing between Frankfurt (Oder) and Slubice.
nytimes.com
Bulgaria: Open-air spaces in restaurants may re-open, after checks by health officials sofiaglobe.com
Tensions: Anger as Italy slowly emerges from long Covid-19 lockdown theguardian.com
Portugal to Reopen Small Shops on Monday, Larger Stores in June bloomberg.com
Romania: Seasonal workers sidestep lockdown out of necessity france24.com
Sweden: Gamble on coronavirus herd immunity couldn’t work in the US — and it may not work in Sweden businessinsider.com
⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃
Bitkom sucht Referent europäische Digitalpolitik (w/m) *** Int. Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory seeks Innovation Project Manager *** Int. Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory seeks Project Assistant for EU Funded Projects *** PwC seeks Public Affairs Senior Manager Belgium *** Johnson & Johnson seeks Policy Assistant, Government Affairs & Policy EMEA *** Public Policy Manager, Connectivity *** Ryanair offers Public Affairs internship
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)
⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
Belgian Potato Association calls on citizens to eat more fries: Belgien hat eine lange Tradition Kartoffelprodukte zu verarbeiten und zu konsumieren. Die Corona-Pandemie führt jedoch dazu, dass in diesem Jahr mindestens ein Drittel der Kartoffelproduktion nicht verarbeitet wird. Grund dafür ist die gesunkene Nachfrage durch die Schließung der Restaurants. Für die Landwirte bedeutet das ein Verlust von insgesamt 120 Millionen Euro. Der Verband der Kartoffelbranche fordert die Bevölkerung dazu auf, jede Woche eine Portion Pommes zu essen, um weitere Verschwendung zu verhindern.
choice.npr.org

Tuesday 17 December: France’s pension chief resigns, Belgian court postpones decision on Carles Puigdemont, Turkey is considering sending ground troops to Tripoli

⊂ EUROPE ⊃
France’s pension chief resigns: French President Emmanuel Macron loses a valuable companion. Senior pension officer Jean-Paul Delevoye resigns due to lucrative side jobs which have only now become public. The politician was appointed to reform the complex French pension system – a process which was leading towards a higher retirement age. The reform provoked widespread protests across the country. Delevoye is said to have received a monthly salary of 5,300 euros from a think tank. His critics said this was inconsistent with his position. The politician agreed to repay 120,000 Euros in profits from additional income.
theguardian.com
Belgian court postpones decision on Carles Puigdemont: A Belgian court should have ruled on Monday whether Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont would enjoy immunity or be extradited to Spain. However, the fleeting politician has been given another grace period, because the court in question will only deal with his case in February. The court agreed to wait for decisions at EU level first before moving further with the case. The Catalan has been sentenced to 13 years in prison, but has been in exile since Catalonia’s independence referendum.
aljazeera.com
Turkey is considering sending ground troops to Tripoli: Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan is considering to send ground troops to Libya to support Prime Minister Fayiz al Sarradsch. Although there is an arms embargo in Libya, there are numerous international weapons. On the opposite side of the government, rebels are fighting for the leader Chalifa Haftar, who classifies al Sarraj as Islamist. Russian mercenaries are said to support his troops. With direct influence from Turkey, the civil war threatens to escalate. This is also critical for the EU, since Libya is crucial when it comes to whether refugees make their way to Europe by sea. Chancellor Merkel tries to soothe the conflicting parties – so far without success.
euronews.com
Capitals of the Visegrád countries make a pact: Warsaw, Bratislava, Prague and Budapest all have mayors who belong to the liberal opposition in the nationally conservative states. The four politicians of the Visegrád capitals want to send a signal that liberal values such as openness and human dignity are also important in their home countries. They see themselves as political drivers because the capital regions in these countries generate between a quarter and a half of the gross domestic product. Although they have limited political power, they represent the economic strength in the respective countries.
ft.com
Boris Johnson approves release of Russian interference report: After the election, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed to released the report on Russian influence during the 2016 Brexit vote. The report should be available as soon as the Secret Service Committee meets again – this will only be the case in January. According to insider sources, however, the report cannot fully clarify whether there had actually been interference by the Russian government.
independent.co.uk
NATO worries about Russian submarines: NATO is concerned about an increased presence of Russian submarines in the fall of this year – said a spokeswoman for the defense alliance on Monday. Up to ten submarines were sighted at the same time. This prompted NATO itself to launch more measures such as naval exercises and the establishment of a new command in Norfolk, USA. A major concern is that Russian submarines could cut underwater lines through which a significant portion of the Internet communication between the two countries runs.
112.international
Tesla: Cybertruck Not Street-Legal In EU forbes.com
Battle of the Bulge: German president urges ‘united Europe’ dw.com
Uber: plans to ‘double down’ on bikes and scooters next year — especially in Europe cnbc.com
⊂ QUOTES ⊃
“A united and peaceful Europe — that is the lesson we Europeans have learned from unbridled nationalism and racism, from the war of annihilation.”
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
dw.com
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Council of Europe reprimands Poland: Poland’s efforts to combat corruption are “globally unsatisfactory”. The Council of Europe stated this. Poland will therefore have to submit a report at the end of 2020 to show that the EU’s anti-corruption measures are actually being implemented. The situation in the country has been unchanged since 2014 – there is no evidence of any major progress. The judicial system in particular has repeatedly been the subject of criticism since the great legal reform in Poland.
coe.int
Another bank bailout in Italy: With 900 million euros, the Italian state is helping out with the ailing Banca Popolare di Bari – money that taxpayers have to pay for. It is one of the largest banks in the south of the country. Since the outbreak of the economic crisis, Italy has stepped in several times to rescue banks because bad loans had accumulated in many financial institutions. The Italian state most recently stepped in to save the Carige bank earlier this year.
nytimes.com
After four years: convictions after nightclub fire in Bucharest: Thirteen people were sentenced by a court four years after a fire in Bucharest, the capital of Romania. 65 people died in the accident in a nightclub. Prison sentences of several years were imposed on the then owner of the club and the owner of the fireworks company, whose pyrotechnics sparked the fire on stage. According to the court, both had acted irresponsibly. In 2015, 26 people died immediately during the fire, the other victims succumbed to the burn injuries days later.
balkaninsight.com
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Counterfeit money from Portugal offered on the Darknet: An international cooperation in investigations ensured that counterfeit money producers were caught in a raid in Germany. The origin of the money is in Portugal – the Portuguese authorities and Europol had worked with the German authorities and searched several apartments. The counterfeit money was sold via the Darknet. The trail led to Colombia, where a person was also arrested.
bbc.com
Turkey : Armed drone lands in Cyprus as regional tensions rise theguardian.com
Poland: asks for more time to align with EU’s climate objectives neweurope.eu
U.K.: Plans B.D.S. ban nytimes.com
⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃
politjobs.eu: Bitkom sucht Referent europäische Digitalpolitik (w/m) *** Int. Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory seeks Innovation Project Manager *** Int. Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory seeks Project Assistant for EU Funded Projects *** PwC seeks Public Affairs Senior Manager Belgium *** Johnson & Johnson seeks Policy Assistant, Government Affairs & Policy EMEA *** Public Policy Manager, Connectivity *** Ryanair offers Public Affairs internship
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)
⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
China attacks Mesut Özil: After football player Mesut Özil criticized via Twitter that the Muslim countries would remain silent in the event of Uyghur oppression in China, the Chinese government addressed the athlete. A spokesman for the State Department said Özil was “deceived by fake news” about the Uyghurs – there was no Uyghur oppression, according to the Chinese authorities.
bbc.com

Monday, December 2nd 2019: New EU Commission starts, EU antitrust regulators investigate Google, Malta’s Prime Minister Muscat to resign in January

⊂ EUROPE ⊃
New EU Commission starts: The new European Commission officially took office on Sunday, one month later than planned. The new head of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will attend a climate summit in Madrid and travel to Africa in her first week in the job, highlighting two of the key priorities for the Commission over the next five years. Von der Leyen has set high targets in the EU’s policy to combat climate change, pledging to reduce EU carbon emissions by at least 50% by 2030. Emphasizing the importance of the “Green Deal”, the EU Commission wants to make Europe a global powerhouse on green policy. Von der Leyen, who replaced Jean-Claude Juncker, will lead a 27-strong team of commissioners who also began work on Sunday.
nytimes.com, france24.com
EU antitrust regulators investigate Google: EU antitrust regulators are investigating Google’s data collection practices. The EU Commission told “Reuters” on Saturday that there was an ongoing preliminary investigation seeking information on how and why Google is collecting data. The EU’s focus is on data related to local search services, online advertising, online ad targeting services, login services and web browsers.
reuters.com
Guterres’ verdict ahead of the climate summit: The world is facing a climate crisis – and the point of no return is hurtling towards us. That is the verdict of United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres ahead of the COP25 climate conference. Guterres called on world leaders to take concrete steps to confront the problem. He said countries were still lacking political will to put a price on carbon, stop subsidies on fossil fuels, stop building coal power plants and shift taxation from income to carbon. World leaders will be gathering in Madrid this week to forge ahead with efforts to curb global temperature rises.
euronews.com
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Albania: Germany’s Merkel vows aid for earthquake victims dw.com
Hong Kong: China accuses UN human rights chief of inflaming Hong Kong unrest dw.com
Iraq: Parliament accepts PM Adel Abdul-Mahdi resignation, protesters demand more npr.org
⊂ QUOTES ⊃
“Our war against nature must stop.”
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has taken the world’s major economies to task for not pulling their weight to reduce emissions.
dw.com
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Malta’s Prime Minister Muscat to resign in January: Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has announced on national TV that he will step down in the new year, amid a crisis over murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. The investigation surrounding the case has reached Muscat’s trusted aide and chief of staff Keith Schembri, with another high-level suspect naming Schembri as a mastermind behind the assassination. Schembri resigned and was interrogated by the police earlier this week. He has denied any connection with the murder. Fury over Muscat’s handling of the crisis grew this weekend when businessman Yorgen Fenech was charged with complicity in the murder, an allegation he denies. Caruana Galizia had been investigating alleged corruption within the government.
bbc.com, dw.com, cnn.com
Netherlands to join French-led Strait of Hormuz naval mission: France has pushed for a European security mission in the Strait of Hormuz to protect oil tankers and cargo ships from threats in the strategic waterway. The Netherlands will contribute a ship to the French-led naval mission for a six-month period starting in January. The French government said Italy, Denmark and the British Navy will also join the mission, while Germany has opted not to participate. Meanwhile, a new neo-Nazi scandal has erupted in the German military, this time in its Special Forces Command (KSK), according to media reports. European aviation giant Airbus has fired 16 employees over an investigation into suspected internal spying on German army projects.
reuters.com, faz.net (France); dw.com (German military); dw.com (Airbus)
Protest against far-right in Italy: Tens of thousands rallied in Florence on Saturday against the far-right League party, the latest in a series of demonstrations called by the new “Sardine Movement”. Organizers claimed that 40,000 people had turned out to the protest. The movement started just weeks ago in Bologna. Its name comes from the idea of cramming as many people as possible into the city’s Piazza Maggiore square. The sardine has become a symbol of protest against far-right leader Matteo Salvini, who served as interior minister and deputy prime minister in the previous coalition government.
france24.com, euronews.com
Poland: Protest against government’s justice reforms nytimes.com
Germany: Thousands of migrants return after deportation, report says dw.com
France: Public transportation services strike on December 5th de.euronews.com
⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃
politjobs.eu: Alfa Fellowship Program seeks Young German, British, and American Leaders *** FTA seeks Regulatory Affairs Advisor (m/f) *** Bayer seeks Trainee (m/f) *** ISN seeks Advocacy Officer (m/f) *** Politico seeks Lobbying Reporter (m/f) *** EGEC seeks Trainee (m/f) *** Facebook seeks Public Policy Manager (m/f) *** Google seeks Public Policy and Government Relations Manager (m/f) *** DEKRA offers Internship (m/f) *** European Friends of Amernia seeks Communications and Media Engagement Officer (m/f) *** International Crisis Group seeks Analyst (m/f)
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)
⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
Criticism of Saudi Arabia’s G20 presidency: The human rights organization Amnesty International has called on world leaders to address the country’s heinous human rights record as Saudi Arabia assumes the presidency of the G20 global economic forum. The group said G20 member states that continue to profit from the arms trade with Saudi Arabia, including the US, UK and France, must consider the extent to which they are complicit in human rights violations committed by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in the conflict in Yemen.
amnesty.org
 

Thursday, November 28th 2019: Von der Leyen wants one trillion euros to fight climate change, Malta ex-chief of staff under arrest, French farmers protest in Paris

⊂ EUROPE ⊃
Von der Leyen wants one trillion euros to fight climate change: The European Parliament confirmed the new EU Commission on Wednesday. Incoming Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stressed the existential challenge of climate change, putting this at the forefront of the Commission’s new agenda. She said massive investments were needed to tackle the issue, estimating the cost of combating climate change during her term at one trillion euros. The money will come from the EU budget, EU member states and the private sector. Von der Leyen also said she would work on a “European Green Deal” so the EU can continue to be a global leader on the climate change issue. On a personal note, von der Leyen, whose sister died of cancer at the age of 11, said her Commission would seek to lead in the fight against cancer across the EU.
dw.com, tagesspiegel.de, nytimes.com, theguardian.com
Germany to increase Nato military spending in 2021: Germany will start to pay as much into Nato as the United States do, according to media reports. German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday underscored her commitment to Nato, pledging to raise Germany’s defense spending to the alliance’s 2% target by the early 2030s. At the moment, Europe would be unable to defend itself, she said, urging the bloc to stay together. Merkel said Nato had been a bulwark for peace and freedom and was even more in Europe’s interests today than it was in the Cold War.
tagesspiegel.de, dw.com
Environment tops public concerns in Europe: A survey by Germany’s Bertelsmann Foundation on Wednesday found that environmental protection is the most pressing issue among people polled across 27 EU member states. Environmental protection was followed by job protection at 34% and social security with 23%. Some 12,123 people were surveyed in every EU state except the UK.
euobserver.com
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Benin orders EU ambassador to leave: Benin ordered EU ambassador Oliver Nette to leave the country on Wednesday, diplomatic sources told AFP news agency. The Beninese government accused the ambassador of the European Union mission of interfering in domestic political affairs. A government spokesman said Nette had constantly called on civil society to protest against the government. The government reportedly gave the German-born diplomat until December 1st to leave the country.
dw.com
EU budget: European Parliament approves annual budget 2020 faz.net
European Stability Mechanism (ESM): Rescue fund reform will likely happen in February nytimes.com
Mediterranean Sea: Four dead and 16 missing sn.at
⊂ QUOTES ⊃
“That would be disastrous not for China but for us in Europe.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on European countries to agree a common approach towards China and the rollout of the next generation 5G mobile network. She said one of the biggest dangers was that individual countries in Europe would have their own policies towards China, resulting in mixed signals.
reuters.com
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Malta ex-chief of staff under arrest: Keith Schembri, the Maltese government’s former chief of staff, was arrested Wednesday as part of an investigation into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, the “Times of Malta” newspaper reported. Schembri, a close friend of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, resigned on Tuesday after he was named by businessman Yorgen Fenech as a person of interest in the investigation. Fenech is the suspected middleman in the 2017 murder of Caruana Galizia. For nearly four years, Schembri has been at the center of a political scandal triggered by Caruana Galizia’s investigations. Using a leak of offshore information known as the “Panama Papers”, she reported that Schembri and fellow minister Konrad Mizzi became the beneficiaries of secretive offshore companies soon after entering office.
reuters.com, theguardian.com
French farmers protest in Paris: Hundreds of French farmers drove tractors along the main highways into Paris on Wednesday to protest international trade deals and government policies, such as the phasing out of the weedkiller glyphosate. Resentment among farmers has been growing at what they call “agri-bashing”, or criticism of agriculture over issues ranging from pesticide use to animal welfare. A food law passed by the government, which aimed to give farmers a fairer share of profits, has failed to dispel discontent over modest revenues.
euronews.com
UN urge Greece to improve refugee camp conditions: The United Nations have urged the Greek government to improve living conditions in migrant camps. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi also said Europe must do more to protect unaccompanied children. Arrivals of migrants from neighboring Turkey have risen again in recent months, with more than 37,000 people crammed into facilities on eastern Aegean islands that operate far beyond their capacity.
euronews.com
Swedish bank suspected of ties to money laundering: Swedish state broadcaster SVT said Wednesday that about 194 clients at Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) are suspected of using the bank to launder money through Swedish and Baltic accounts. SVT’s report said transactions through the SEB accounts included around 475 million Swedish crowns connected to the so-called Magnitsky affair. Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was arrested in 2008 after accusing Russian officials of large-scale tax fraud. He died in a Moscow prison in 2009 after complaining of mistreatment.
wsj.com, reuters.com
Romania: Disabled people isolated in Romanian institutions zeit.de
France 1: President Macron meets Putin halfway on nuclear missiles faz.net
France 2: Unions call for protests against Macron’s reforms handelsblatt.com
Germany: First arrest in Cum-Ex tax probe news.bloombergtax.com
⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃
politjobs.eu: Alfa Fellowship Program seeks Young German, British, and American Leaders *** FTA seeks Regulatory Affairs Advisor (m/f) *** Bayer seeks Trainee (m/f) *** ISN seeks Advocacy Officer (m/f) *** Politico seeks Lobbying Reporter (m/f) *** EGEC seeks Trainee (m/f) *** Facebook seeks Public Policy Manager (m/f) *** Google seeks Public Policy and Government Relations Manager (m/f) *** DEKRA offers Internship (m/f) *** European Friends of Amernia seeks Communications and Media Engagement Officer (m/f) *** International Crisis Group seeks Analyst (m/f)
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)
⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
Apple changes Crimea map to meet Russian demands: Apple appears to have complied with Russian demands to show the annexed Ukrainian Crimea peninsula as part of Russian territory on its apps. Crimea is shown as Russian territory on Apple Maps and its Weather app when viewed from Russia. The apps do not show it as part of any country when viewed elsewhere. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko denounced Apple’s decision and called on the US company to stick with what it knows, saying global politics was clearly not Apple’s strong point.
euronews.com, bbc.com
 

Wednesday, November 27th 2019: Sentsov warns Europe not to trust Putin, Germans feel the consequences of global warming, Malta officials resign in scandal over journalist’s murder

⊂ EUROPE ⊃
Sentsov warns Europe not to trust Putin: Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov finally accepted the Sakharov Prize on Tuesday at the EU Parliament, after being freed in a high-profile prison swap between Russia and Ukraine in September. Held captive in Russia’s Arctic far-north for five years on terror charges, Sentsov warned European lawmakers to be wary of Russian President Vladimir Putin as peace talks approach. He said he did not trust Putin and Europeans shouldn’t either. Russia did not wish for peace in Donbass or Ukraine, Sentsov warned while accepting the award. He also reminded the audience to remember the thousands of those who had fallen in Ukraine. Sentsov had opposed Russia’s annexation of his homeland Crimea.
dw.com, europarl.europa.eu
Germans feel the consequences of global warming: The average temperature in Germany rose 1.5 degrees Celsius between the years 1881 and 2018, according to a new climate change report. Environment Minister Svenja Schulze said the alarming report revealed an imminent need to adapt to climate change through design and planning. Meanwhile, a new United Nations report warned that countries must make an unprecedented effort to cut their levels of greenhouse gases in the next decade to avoid climate chaos. The globe may soon feel the dire effects of inaction, including rising temperatures. A spokesman for designated EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has rejected a report claiming that she wants to invest some 3 trillion euros in climate protection by 2030.
dw.com, theguardian.com, time.com, nytimes.com, t-online.de
Germany calls on China to comply with human rights obligations: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Tuesday called on China to comply with its human rights obligations and urged the Chinese government to clarify its position on interning Muslim minorities in prison camps. Rights groups estimate that around a million Uighurs and members of other Muslim minority groups have been detained in so-called reeducation camps in Xinjiang province. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said recently leaked documents confirmed that China was committing very significant human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims and other minority groups. German carmaker Volkswagen has defended its presence in the Xinjiang region, where it operates a production facility in Urumqi.
dw.com (Maas), nytimes.com (Pompeo), dw.com (VW)
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German minister defends Nato: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Tuesday Nato was alive and stressed it was important not to have a decoupling of security interests after French President Emmanuel Macron suggested the security alliance was suffering brain death. Maas added that Nato remained crucial for security in the future and needed to be further developed.
nytimes.com
EU Parliament: Election of the new EU Commission this Wednesday europarl.europa.eu
EU Court of Auditors: MEPs back five members europarl.europa.eu
Wojciech Wiewiorowski: Parliament approves EU’s new data protection watchdog europarl.europa.eu
EU accession: EPP leader Weber wants accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania this year handelsblatt.com
Jihadists: MEPs call for repatriation of children from Syria welt.de
⊂ QUOTES ⊃
“We know from all reports that we get that this situation is alarming. And that’s why Germany and Europe need to take action.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has reiterated the goal of future EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to turn Europe into a CO2-free continent by the year 2050.
handelsblatt.com
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Malta officials resign in scandal over journalist’s murder: Two years after the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, several resignations have rocked Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s government. His chief aide, Keith Schembri, quit amid reports he was being questioned by police, and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi also resigned. The Economy Minister, Chris Cardona, took the decision to suspend himself. The departures came almost four years after Caruana Galizia used a leak of offshore information, known as the “Panama Papers”, to reveal that Schembri and Mizzi, who was then energy minister, had become the beneficiaries of secretive Panama shell companies shortly after assuming office. Last week, prominent businessman Yorgen Fenech was arrested in a dramatic raid on his yacht. Before her murder, Caruana Galizia had linked both Mizzi and Schembri to secret payments made by Fenech.
bbc.com, reuters.com, theguardian.com, dw.com
German farmers protest agricultural policies: Around 5,000 tractors gathered at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate on Tuesday as thousands of farmers protested against the government’s agricultural policies. Farmers claim that planned new environmental limits are too restrictive and that the government is making it impossible for national agriculture to compete against imports. German Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner and Environment Minister Svenja Schulze had presented an agricultural package in September saying that farmers would have to reduce their use of fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides with a view to curbing the dying of insects and reducing the nitrate content in the groundwater.
euronews.com, dw.com
Arrests during protests in Georgia: Thousands of protesters gathered in the Georgian capital Tbilisi on Tuesday demanding electoral reforms. Just last week, Georgia’s ruling party backtracked on electoral reforms, causing demonstrators to take to the streets. Protesters argue that the rules benefit the ruling Georgian Dream party. Riot police used water cannons to scatter dozens of demonstrators gathered near the parliament, as they tried to blockade parts of the building and prevent lawmakers from entering.
dw.com, bbc.com
Probe over Ibiza scandal in Austria: Austrian prosecutors have opened criminal investigations against seven people in connection with the Ibiza scandal video that triggered the collapse of the government earlier this year. Prosecutors said Tuesday that seven suspects are being investigated on allegations of making illegal recordings, forgery, attempted blackmail and serious fraud. The so-called Ibiza video showed Austria’s then-vice chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache appearing to offer favors to a purported Russian oligarch’s niece.
nytimes.com
France mourns death of 13 soldiers in Mali: France on Tuesday mourned the death of thirteen soldiers in a helicopter collision in Mali, the country’s worst military loss in four decades. The soldiers died when two helicopters collided in a nocturnal operation to bolster ground troops hunting jihadists in the Liptako region, near the borders of Burkina Faso and Niger. French President Emmanuel Macron expressed deep sadness over the incident. Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said the government has launched an investigation into the incident.
telegraph.co.uk, cnn.com
Poland: Memorial stone for German Freikorps removed spiegel.de
Denmark: Government strips citizenship from suspected Isis fighters kurier.at
Netherlands: Police arrest two on suspicion of preparing jihadist attack reuters.com
⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃
politjobs.eu: Alfa Fellowship Program seeks Young German, British, and American Leaders *** FTA seeks Regulatory Affairs Advisor (m/f) *** Bayer seeks Trainee (m/f) *** ISN seeks Advocacy Officer (m/f) *** Politico seeks Lobbying Reporter (m/f) *** EGEC seeks Trainee (m/f) *** Facebook seeks Public Policy Manager (m/f) *** Google seeks Public Policy and Government Relations Manager (m/f) *** DEKRA offers Internship (m/f) *** European Friends of Amernia seeks Communications and Media Engagement Officer (m/f) *** International Crisis Group seeks Analyst (m/f)
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)
⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
EU restricts imports of cheap chicken from Ukraine: Following a rapid increase of Chicken imports from the Ukraine, the EU Parliament has agreed to modify the EU-Ukraine trade agreement to curb imports of cheap Ukrainian poultry meat entering the EU using a legal loophole. The new poultry regime will handle boneless and bony chicken breasts on a single tariff line, and will raise the amounts that Ukraine is able to export to the EU without tariffs.
europarl.europa.eu
 

Tuesday, November 26th 2019: Germany calls for UN access to Chinese camps, France wants to stop violence against women, Uber loses licence to operate in London

⊂ EUROPE ⊃
Germany calls for UN access to Chinese camps: Germany has called on the Chinese government to give UN human rights officials unhindered access to camps in China’s western region of Xinjiang, after leaked documents indicated they are used to forcibly reeducate minorities. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Germany had previously joined other countries in calling for UN experts to be allowed to visit the camps and produce an independent assessment of the situation there. A foreign ministry spokesman said Germany was following with great concern recent news reports about the camps, where about one million people are being held. Meanwhile, Australia’s intelligence agency has said it is investigating reports that China tried to plant a spy in the country’s parliament. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the allegations were deeply disturbing.
nytimes.com (China); dw.com, bbc.com (Australia)
Council adopts new list of Commissioner candidates: The EU Council has adopted the list of commissioners for the new European Commission, paving the way for the vote of consent in the EU Parliament on the Commission as a whole – even without a British commissioner-designate. The UK did not meet the deadline to respond to the infringement procedure for its failure to name a candidate for the EU Commission. However, this will not affect the plans of the new Commission.
consilium.europa.eu, euobserver.com
EU Council backs budget plan for 2020: The Council of the EU has approved the deal reached with the EU Parliament on the 2020 EU budget. If the agreement is also confirmed by the parliament on Wednesday, the EU budget for 2020 is adopted. Next year’s budget will continue to support growth and the competitiveness of the European economy, as well as other EU priorities, such as security and management of migration. Total commitments are set at 168.7 billion euros. It is still unclear when an agreement on the future EU budgetary framework for the period between 2021 and 2027 will be reached. The EU Parliament will not accept a “take it or leave it” agreement on the EU’s next long term budget, co-rapporteurs Jan Olbrytch and Margarida Marques told “Euractiv”.
consilium.europa.eu, euractiv.com
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Coal regions want more EU funding for energy transition: Europe’s coal regions have asked for more help from the new EU Commission for long-term structural changes in coal mining regions. The Deputy Director General for Energy of the European Commission, Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, said the transformation process in coal regions was one of the priorities of the new Commission. Meanwhile, a new study shows that electricity production from coal is on track to fall by around 3% globally in 2019 – the largest drop on record – with Western European countries leading the charge.
handelsblatt.com (Coal regions), euractiv.com (Study)
Europol attacks Isis’ online presence: Europol announced that a significant blow has been dealt to the presence of Isis on the internet when European police agencies knocked out several servers used by the terrorist group. The operation closed accounts associated with the group’s news outlet after an examination of propaganda videos, publications and social media accounts supporting terrorism and violent extremism. Europol had confirmed in an earlier statement that a large swathe of propaganda material had been found on the Telegram app.
uk.reuters.com, euronews.com
International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women: Minute of silence in the EU Parliament europarl.europa.eu
5G: EU says security is not the only concern when it comes to 5G cnbc.com
Romania: EU congratulates Iohannis on his reelection as Romanian president consilium.europa.eu
Migration: Alliance of organizations calls for change to European migration policy welt.de
Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought: Oleg Sentsov to receive his 2018 Sakharov Prize europarl.europa.eu
World Meteorological Organization (WMO): Greenhouse gases accelerate to new peak in 2018 nytimes.com
⊂ QUOTES ⊃
“It is also a very important message to the rest of the world: We, in Europe, declare a state of climate and environmental emergency. The fact that Europe is the first continent to declare a climate emergency, seems to me very important as a geopolitical response to Trump’s announcements.”
The chairman of the EU Parliament’s environment committee, Pascal Canfin, has called on the parliament to declare a climate emergency at the next plenary session in November.
euractiv.com
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
France wants to stop violence against women: The French government wants to tackle domestic violence. Among the measures announced by French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is a plan to staff a domestic abuse hotline 24 hours a day. Rules covering doctor-patient confidentiality will be lifted so health professionals can report suspected cases of abuse that are extremely urgent or suggest a risk of violence being repeated. A new clause covering harassment and psychological control is to be written into law, as this can also lead to violence. Philippe admitted the authorities had not understood the scale of the problem until now but he said he hoped the measures being introduced would produce a jolt. France’s National Observatory of Violence Against Women has estimated that at least 220,000 adult women suffer domestic violence every year. In Germany, at least one woman is physically injured every hour on average at the hands of their partner.
theguardian.com, france24.com (France); dw.com (Germany)
Uber loses licence to operate in London: The ride-share operator will not be granted a new licence to operate in the British capital after repeated safety failures, Transport for London has said. London’s regulator of taxi and private hire services cited several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk. The regulator highlighted how Uber’s systems allowed unauthorized drivers to upload their photos to other Uber driver accounts, allowing them to pick up passengers as though they were the booked driver. Such cases occurred in at least 14,000 trips. London Mayor Sadiq Khan backed the decision and said the regulator had identified a pattern of failure by Uber that had directly put passengers’ safety at risk.
bbc.com, dw.com
Aid groups criticize Greek migrant camps: Aid groups have condemned Greece’s plans to overhaul refugee reception centers on Aegean outposts facing Turkey. Under the new scheme, closed installations will replace vastly overcrowded camps. Land and sea borders will be reinforced with about 1,200 more guards and extra patrol vessels and deportations stepped up. Syriza-EU parliamentarian Kostas Arvanitis criticized the government’s plans, saying new camps would not solve problems but create new ones. Meanwhile, migrants continue to travel from Turkey to the islands in the Aegean Sea. 2,793 migrants arrived in Lesvos, Chios and Samos over the course of seven days, Greek state television reported. Two rescue ships with migrants on board have been given permission to board and disembark their passengers in Italian ports. A boat with migrants has capsized off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa.
theguardian.com, dw.com (Greece); derstandard.at (Aegean); de.euronews.com (Rescue ships); de.euronews.com (Lampedusa)
Austria: Failed referendum on basic income tagesspiegel.de
Greece: Government concludes early repayment of IMF loans reuters.com
Italy: Opposition leader Salvini responds with kitten photos to sardines protest de.euronews.com
⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃
politjobs.eu: Alfa Fellowship Program seeks Young German, British, and American Leaders *** FTA seeks Regulatory Affairs Advisor (m/f) *** Bayer seeks Trainee (m/f) *** ISN seeks Advocacy Officer (m/f) *** Politico seeks Lobbying Reporter (m/f) *** EGEC seeks Trainee (m/f) *** Facebook seeks Public Policy Manager (m/f) *** Google seeks Public Policy and Government Relations Manager (m/f) *** DEKRA offers Internship (m/f) *** European Friends of Amernia seeks Communications and Media Engagement Officer (m/f) *** International Crisis Group seeks Analyst (m/f)
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)
⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
Huge haul of treasure stolen in German castle vault heist: Thieves have stolen around one hundred pieces of priceless treasure in a heist from a castle vault in the German city of Dresden. Security camera footage showed two men breaking in through a grilled window, police said. Officers arrived five minutes after the alarm sounded, but the burglars had escaped. Saxony’s interior minister Roland Wöller said police had already set up a special team of investigators to pursue the case. He said the thieves had stolen cultural treasures of immeasurable worth.
cnn.com, reuters.com
 

Monday, November 25th 2019: Johnson’s Christmas present for Britain, Romania re-elects President Iohannis, Italy tests new distribution system for refugees

⊂ EUROPE ⊃
Johnson’s Christmas present for Britain: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised £23.5 billion worth of public spending and tax relief on Sunday as he unveiled the Conservative manifesto. Johnson announced a “triple lock” on income tax, national insurance and value added tax rates. He also insisted that he would push his Brexit withdrawal agreement through parliament before Christmas if he wins an outright majority in the upcoming election. The biggest Conservative pledge is to raise the threshold for National Insurance contributions, followed by extra spending on the health service. Other Tory pledges include 20,000 new police officers, an extra £1 billion for social care and an Australian-style points based immigration system. Johnson criticized Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for pledging to stay neutral during a second referendum on Brexit. According to polls, the Tory share of the vote now stands at 47%, with Labour at 28%.
euronews.com, cnn.com (Johnson); theguardian.com (Poll)
No British Commissioner in sight: The European Union is due to relaunch its new European Commission under the leadership of German conservative Ursula von der Leyen on December 1st. Until now, Britain has refused to name its representative for the Commission, as the country plans to finally leave the EU on January 31st. The EU has launched a legal case against the UK on the matter. The British government has until the end of November 22nd to reply to the outgoing EU Commission. Trying to hedge their bets, the other 27 EU member states are preparing a decision that would stress the legality of forming the new Commission without Britain.
uk.reuters.com
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Pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong makes big gains: Hong Kong’s opposition pro-democracy movement made major gains in the district council elections. The elections were seen as a test of support for the city’s pro-China Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who has faced intense pressure during months of protests in Hong Kong. Initial results from the voting showed huge gains for the pro-democracy camp. A record 4.1 million people had registered to vote, or more than half the population of 7.4 million. Meanwhile, leaked documents detail China’s systematic brainwashing of hundreds of thousands of Muslims in a network of high-security prison camps. The documents show how inmates are locked up, indoctrinated and punished.
bbc.com, cnbc.com (Hong Kong); bbc.com (China)
Jean-Claude Juncker: A European navigator disembarks dw.com
EU naval mission: France says Abu Dhabi to host headquarters for European naval mission for the Gulf af.reuters.com
United States: Mike Bloomberg launches bid for 2020 Democratic presidential nomination cnbc.com
Israel: Opposition politician Gantz wants to prevent new elections with unity government tagesspiegel.de
Bolivia: New elections excluding Evo Morales approved dw.com
⊂ QUOTES ⊃
“I understand your desire for disruptive politics. But I’m tired of picking up the pieces. Over and over, I have to glue together the cups you have broken so we can then sit down and have a cup of tea together.”
The “New York Times” reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has sharply criticized French President Emmanuel Macron for his comments on Nato.
nytimes.com, reuters.com
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Romania reelects President Iohannis: Romanian President Klaus Iohannis won a presidential runoff vote on Sunday, earning twice as many votes as his challenger Viorica Dancila from the PSD Social Democrats. According to exit polls, Iohannis garnered around 63% of votes followed by Dancila with almost 37%. Turnout at the election was about 50%, making it the lowest since the fall of Communism 30 years ago. However, for the first time almost one million Romanians living abroad went to the polls. The government had simplified voting procedures at the consulates.
dw.com, reuters.com, spiegel.de
Italy tests new distribution system for refugees: The rescue ship “Ocean Viking” has docked in the Italian port of Messina, carrying 213 migrants saved at sea. Italy usually only opens its ports to rescue vessels with migrants on board if other EU states have agreed to take them in. In this case, Italy, Germany, France and Malta jointly applied to the EU Commission to initiate the redistribution of the migrants, according to the Italian interior ministry. It is the first time such an application has been made according to a basic protocol for migrant rescues agreed by these four countries at a meeting in Malta in late September. Meanwhile, seven people are reported to have died when an overcrowded boat carrying migrants capsized off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa on Saturday. The Italian coast guard said it had rescued another 149 but that some 20 people were still missing.
dw.com, theguardian.com
Maltese police interrogate economy minister after murder of journalist: Malta’s Economy Minister Chris Cardona has been questioned by police, following the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017. Cardona had been called in to verify certain matters. He was not arrested and is not being treated as a suspect. Prominent businessman Yorgen Fenech, arrested by Malta police as a person of interest in the murder, has asked for a pardon in return for information about the case, police sources said on Saturday. He is the second man to seek a pardon after Melvin Theuma, under arrest on suspicion of having been a middleman in the murder, made a similar request earlier in the week.
tagesspiegel.de, nytimes.com
German minister protests Turkish lawyer’s arrest: The arrest of a lawyer working for Germany’s embassy in Turkey has prompted a protest from Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu. Maas said Germany regarded the lawyer’s arrest as incomprehensible and that the German government had no understanding for it. Lawyer Yilmaz S. was arrested in mid-September, prompting fears that he held sensitive data on Turks exiled in Germany since Turkey’s failed 2016 coup. Some 200 asylum-seekers have reportedly been warned by Germany’s Office for Migration and Refugees that the data could lead to probes by Turkey’s national intelligence agency.
dw.com
Austria 1: Momentum in ÖVP and Green Party coalition talks spiegel.de
Austria 2: Dream of the 1,200 Euro basic income welt.de
Luxembourg: Foreign Minister Asselborn calls for European reaction to US policy change in the Middle East tagesspiegel.de
France and Italy: Flooding leaves at least three dead washingtonpost.com
⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃
politjobs.eu: Alfa Fellowship Program seeks Young German, British, and American Leaders *** FTA seeks Regulatory Affairs Advisor (m/f) *** Bayer seeks Trainee (m/f) *** ISN seeks Advocacy Officer (m/f) *** Politico seeks Lobbying Reporter (m/f) *** EGEC seeks Trainee (m/f) *** Facebook seeks Public Policy Manager (m/f) *** Google seeks Public Policy and Government Relations Manager (m/f) *** DEKRA offers Internship (m/f) *** European Friends of Amernia seeks Communications and Media Engagement Officer (m/f) *** International Crisis Group seeks Analyst (m/f)
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)
⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
Isis fighter returns to Germany: A German woman suspected of being an Isis member has been repatriated along with her three children. German authorities had previously ordered for the mother to be returned to her home country from a Syrian camp, saying that she left Germany and joined the jihadi militia in 2016. German authorities have been investigating the mother on suspicion of membership of a terror organization and child neglect.
dw.com
 

Friday, November 22nd 2019: EU urges end to violence in Iran, EU Parliament tables resolution to declare climate emergency, EU still cautious on threat of US car tariffs

⊂ EUROPE ⊃
EU urges end to violence in Iran: A spokeswoman for the EU on Thursday expressed condolences to the families of those killed during protests in Iran and called for dialogue to resolve the tensions. She said the EU expected Iran’s security forces to exercise restraint in handling the protests and for protesters to demonstrate peacefully. Any violence was unacceptable. The spokeswoman also urged Iranian authorities to ensure the free flow of information and access to the internet. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday that calm had returned across the country. The semi-official ISNA news agency announced that the internet has been restored in the southern Iranian province of Hormozgan.
dw.com, politico.eu, france24.com
EU Parliament tables resolution to declare climate emergency: The European Parliament will vote next week on whether a climate emergency should be proclaimed in Europe. A growing number of states and local administrations have already made similar declarations. Renew Europe (formerly Alde, the liberal group in the EU Parliament) has asked parliament to adopt a resolution calling on the EU Commission and EU countries to take action to initiate a society-wide mobilization. The resolution is also in line with the negotiations of the EU’s next multi-annual budget, where the Commission and EU Parliament say they want to further budgetary efforts to tackle climate change and turn the related challenges into economic opportunities. The proclamation of a climate emergency is a symbolic act to raise awareness of climate change and plan for laws.
eureporter.co
Vote on new EU Commission on Wednesday: The European Parliament will vote on the new Commission next Wednesday. If it is a favorable vote, the EU Commisison will be able to start its work on December 1st. After meeting with the Commission’s three executive Vice Presidents-designate, EU Parliament President David Sassoli told a press conference the College of Commissioners would be presented to the parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday. 27 EU member states have made their nominations, but the United Kingdom failed to put names forward, leading to the Commission to begin infringement proceedings against the UK.
europarl.europa.eu, euronews.com
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EU still cautious on threat of US car tariffs: The European Union is still uncertain about whether the United States could impose further tariffs on European car exports, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said on Thursday. Ater a meeting of EU trade commissioners, Malmström said the good news was that the US did not announce any new tariffs on EU cars and car parts on the November 13th deadline. But she also warned that this threat was not entirely gone.
dw.com
European Court of Human Rights: Transit zones at the border are allowed tagesschau.de
Singapore: EU-Singapore trade agreement enters into force ec.europa.eu
Zimbabwe: EU worried about recent political developments in Zimbabwe reuters.com
Study: EU and member states are biggest development donor group in the world theguardian.com
“Extinction Rebellion”: Co-founder Hallam apologizes for Holocaust remarks nytimes.com
⊂ QUOTES ⊃
“Whoever is in government in the UK in a few weeks’ time, whoever is prime minister, we will be happy to sit down with them, listen to what they say and work with them.”
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has said if the British government wanted to talk about a customs union with the EU, or closer alignment with the single market, then Ireland would be open to this.
independent.co.uk
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Migrants found in sealed container on ferry to Ireland: The crew of a passenger ferry traveling to Ireland from France discovered 16 migrants stowed aboard in a sealed trailer on Thursday, a spokesman for the vessel’s Swedish operator Stena Line said. The migrants were found during a routine inspection on board the ferry. Cyprus authorities have rescued 120 Syrian migrants from a boat adrift off the island’s southeastern coast, police said on Thursday. Spanish rescue ship “Open Arms” has rescued around 73 migrants from a packed rubber dinghy that had been drifting off the Libyan coast for nearly 24 hours. Meanwhile, about 200 migrants are still on the Norwegian rescue vessel “Ocean Viking”.
euronews.com (Ireland); france24.com (Cyprus); reuters.com, dw.com (Rescue ships)
Hungarian government must apologize for misleading survey: Hungary’s top court ruled on Wednesday that Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government had published misleading and falsely presented facts about a refugee rights group in a questionnaire sent to millions of households in 2017. The Supreme Court ruled that the government had damaged the reputation of NGO Hungarian Helsinki Committee over the national consultation questionnaire about US billionaire George Soros, ordered an apology and compensation of €6,000.
euobserver.com
Greek economy to grow in 2020: Greece expects its economy to grow by 2.8% next year, driven by higher investments, improving domestic demand and tax cuts as the country recovers from a decade-long debt crisis. Greece emerged from international bailouts supervised by its lenders in August 2018. But it still needs to meet fiscal targets, including a primary budget surplus of 3.5% of GDP up to 2022. Finance Minister Christos Staikouras told reporters on Thursday that Greece will conclude an early repayment of loans from the International Monetary Fund next week, a move which helps Greece reduce its debt-servicing costs.
reuters.com
Serbia accuses Russia of spying: Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced Thursday that Serbian intelligence agencies have uncovered a wide-ranging intelligence operation involving Russian spies and members of the Serbian military. Vucic ordered an investigation after a video emerged purporting to show a Russian diplomat or intelligence officer handover a wad of cash to a Serbian man. The video showed a man identified as Lt. Col. Georgy Kleban, a former assistant military attache at Russia’s embassy in Belgrade, meeting a Serbian retired army officer. One of the men is seen handing over a carrier bag to the second man, whose face is blurred in the video but is said to be Serbian. However, Vucic said the spy scandal should not harm relations between Serbia and Russia, adding he was sure that Russian President Vladimir Putin was not informed about this.
reuters.com, euronews.com
Greece: Protest against deportation camp on Samos n-tv.de
Georgia: Thousands protest ruling party’s broken promises dw.com
Catalonia: Puigdemont and Comin demand to take seats in EU Parliament politico.eu
France: Government wants to comply with EU deficit rules 2020 despite overspending zeit.de
Germany: Merkel pledges bigger European share of 5G network reuters.com
Sweden: Europe’s center for clan crime handelsblatt.com
⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃
politjobs.eu: Alfa Fellowship Program seeks Young German, British, and American Leaders *** FTA seeks Regulatory Affairs Advisor (m/f) *** Bayer seeks Trainee (m/f) *** ISN seeks Advocacy Officer (m/f) *** Politico seeks Lobbying Reporter (m/f) *** EGEC seeks Trainee (m/f) *** Facebook seeks Public Policy Manager (m/f) *** Google seeks Public Policy and Government Relations Manager (m/f) *** DEKRA offers Internship (m/f) *** European Friends of Amernia seeks Communications and Media Engagement Officer (m/f) *** International Crisis Group seeks Analyst (m/f)
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)
⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
Greenpeace steals the “C” from German CDU party headquarters: German activists with Greenpeace removed the 6.5-foot-tall “C” from the headquarters of the Christian Democrats (CDU) in Berlin on Thursday. To the remaining “DU” — German for “you” — they added a banner reading, “should protect the climate.” Greenpeace said it planned the logo letter theft to protest against the CDU’s disastrous climate policies. Last week, parliament approved the German government’s climate protection plan, which was criticized by environmental groups for not going far enough. CDU leader and German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer appeared to take the protest in stride. She said the CDU was happy to lend Greenpeace its “C”, which stood for Christianity and sustainability, for a short time. CDU secretary general Paul Ziemiak posted a picture of himself from the party conference posing with another, older copy of the party’s logo. “We’re in luck since the original ‘C’ is here in Leipzig,” he wrote.
dw.com, nytimes.com