⊂ EUROPE ⊃
EU countries urge Turkey to halt Syria invasion: At a United Nations meeting, Germany, Belgium, France, Poland, the UK and Estonia called for an end to the Turkish offensive in Syria. They warned that new armed conflicts in northern Syria threatened the stability of the entire region, worsened the suffering of civilians and led to further refugee movements. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened Europe with a flood of refugees on Thursday if the continent’s leaders label the Turkish invasion of Syria an occupation. Turkey’s ongoing assault in Syria has left more than 150 Kurdish forces dead, the country’s defence ministry announced Thursday. Turkey’s state-run news agency said Turkey-allied Syrian opposition fighters had cleared two villages across the border in Syria — meaning there are no more Syrian Kurdish fighters in those villages. The most intensive strikes were near Tel Abyad and Ras al Ain, two towns that United States forces withdrew from on Monday. Tens of thousands of civilians have fled from the fighting.
zeit.de, cnbc.com, foxnews.com, nytimes.com, theguardian.com
Macron’s nominee for EU Commission post rejected: EU Parliament lawmakers have voted against approving the candidacy of Sylvie Goulard, French President Emmanuel Macron’s choice to join the EU Commission as a top official. One reason was Goulard’s role in a jobs scandal, in which she denies wrongdoing, as well as her work in previous years as an adviser for a US think-tank. Macron has blamed leaders of rival political groups for Goulard’s rejection, and noted that she had been the personal choice of incoming EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. He added that he had warned von der Leyen that some may raise controversies linked to Goulard.
france24.com, reuters.com, politico.eu
Johnson and Varadkar see possibility for Brexit deal: Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar have agreed there is a pathway to a possible Brexit deal, surprising EU officials with their upbeat assessment after a meeting. Varadkar said Thursday’s meeting was sufficient to allow negotiations to resume in Brussels. He told reporters the talks were at a sensitive stage but were very positive and promising. He said he was now convinced the UK wants an agreement. However, issues remained over ensuring there is no customs border.
Mini budget for the euro zone: EU finance ministers agreed on a small budget for the euro zone on Thursday, ending two years of talks. The new budget will provide around 17 billion euros over seven years for the 19 countries using the euro. That leaves it just a shadow of French President Emmanuel Macron’s original proposal, which called for a budget of several hundred billion euros.
EU removes Switzerland from tax haven grey list: The EU has removed the United Arab Emirates and the Marshall Islands from its blacklist of tax havens. Blacklisted states face reputational damage and stricter controls on transactions with the EU. Switzerland was among the five countries struck from the so-called grey list. The country has delivered on its commitments to prevent being a tax haven, according to the EU. The two different lists reflect the level of commitment countries have given to implementing change. Countries on the gray list are being monitored by the EU after promising to commit to EU tax laws.
EU sues Poland over judicial independence laws: The EU Commission has referred Poland to the European Court of Justice regarding new disciplinary regime for Polish judges. The Commission said the legislation violated the principles of judicial independence. Under the law Polish judges can be investigated and sanctioned for their court rulings. The EU said judges were not insulated from political control and thus judicial independence was violated. The law also did not guarantee the independence and impartiality of the disciplinary chamber of the supreme court. This Sunday, parliamentary elections will be held in Poland. The Law and Justice (PiS) party is expected to easily win the most votes.
europa.eu, dw.com, theguardian.com
Tariffs: China hit by EU tariffs as high as 66% bloomberg.com
Asylum: Asylum cases at highest level since December 2017 easo.europa.eu
EU Parliament: Action against fake news and foreign electoral interference europarl.europa.eu
Ukraine affair: Two Rudy Giuliani associates arrested; Ukraine to investigate potential 2016 US election interference cnn.com; foxbusiness.com
⊂ QUOTES ⊃
“It’s the first time I will have a female boss.”
Vera Jourova, the European Commission’s Vice-President elect for Values and Transparency, is looking forward to working with incoming EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Merkel shocked after attempted Synagogue attack: Hundreds of people gathered at a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle on Thursday to hold a vigil for two people killed in a shooting nearby. Earlier, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany must crack down on hate, violence and hostility. She said she was shocked and dejected by the crime that was perpetrated in Halle, like millions of people in Germany. Merkel vowed there would be zero tolerance for hate in Germany. The German state and civil society must do everything in their power to stand up to hate, violence and contempt for human life. The Chancellor talked to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the phone on Thursday.
dw.com, reuters.com, afp.com, zdf.de
Police has so far arrested 1000 climate activists in London: More than 1,100 people have been arrested since the start of “Extinction Rebellion” protests this week in London, including 50 who were detained at London City Airport on Thursday. Those arrested at the airport included a man who climbed on top of a British Airways plane. Police also arrested people blocking the airport entrance as others glued themselves to the floor.
Romanian government collapses after no-confidence vote: Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila’s centre-left government collapsed on Thursday after losing a no-confidence vote in parliament. The vote opens the way for a transitional government to take over until the next national election in December 2020. Dancila will remain as a caretaker prime minister in the meantime. Lawmakers have accused Dancila of incompetence and misuse of EU funds.
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Denmark to restart Swedish border checks: The Danish government will reintroduce checks along its border with Sweden. Justice Minister Nick Hækkerup said the aim was to counter criminal gangs, which are thought to have been responsible for 13 attacks in recent months including an explosion at a tax office in Denmark and a double murder. The temporary border checks will include road and rail traffic over the Øresund bridge and ferry traffic through the ports of Helsingør, Frederikshavn, Grenå and Rønne.
AIDS donor conference in France: International donors pledged almost $14 billion to fight AIDS at a conference in Lyon on Thursday. French President Emmanuel Macron said the money will help save 16 million lives and avert 234 million infections by 2023.
⊂ 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 ⊃
Laughter in Danish parliament during statement on circus elephants: Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen started laughing as she was telling a story of four circus elephants bought by the Danish government in September to provide them with a decent retirement. They are the last circus elephants in the country. Frederiksen told parliament that the government also had to buy a circus camel that had befriended one of the elephants, as the authorities didn’t have the heart to separate the two animals. The Danish government will discuss a new bill to ban all wild animals from circuses later this year.