Friday, 13 September 2019: Johnson denies lying to Queen over parliament suspension, EU says backstop must be part of Brexit deal, ECB raises penalty rates for banks, Monsanto wins GMO soybean battle at European court


Johnson denies lying to Queen over parliament suspension: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has denied lying to the Queen over his reasons for suspending parliament. He was speaking after Scotland’s highest civil court ruled on Wednesday the shutdown of parliament was unlawful. Johnson has always insisted that his decision was a routine device that allowed the government to start a new parliamentary session with a fresh legislative agenda. Parliament was prorogued on Monday until 14 October.,

Bercow warns against Johnson breaking the law on Brexit: Commons Speaker John Bercow has vowed creativity if Prime Minister Boris Johnson ignores the law designed to stop a no-deal Brexit. In a direct warning to No 10, Bercow said he was prepared to allow additional procedural creativity if necessary to allow parliament to block Johnson from ignoring the law. He said not obeying the law would be a terrible example to set to the rest of society. He also proposed a written constitution to stop executive malpractice or fiat, which could potentially have avoided the constitutional crisis that the UK has found itself in over Brexit.,

Kwasi Kwarteng criticised for comment about judges: A government minister has been criticised for suggesting many people think judges are biased in relation to Brexit. The business minister Kwasi Kwarteng had said he thought judges were impartial, but that many people were beginning to question the partiality of the judges. Labour MP David Lammy described Kwarteng’s comments as shameful and said the minister had hidden behind leave voters to attack judges. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said that British judges were incredibly fair and the best in the world.,

Brexit: Northern Irish court dismisses case against no-deal Brexit
Legislation: Johnson promises new domestic abuse bill
Education: Gavin Williamson: universities must end grade inflation
Welsh politics: Safeguarding plans unveiled in response to Carl Sargeant death


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EU says backstop must be part of Brexit deal: The President of the EU Parliament, David Sassoli, said Thursday there would be no Brexit agreement without a backstop for Northern Ireland in some form. Sassoli said any departure without a deal would only ever be Britain’s choice and that the EU was ready to analyse any concrete proposals from London on replacing the backstop. The EU Parliament was willing to extend the deadline beyond 31 October provided it was something done for overriding reasons, such as to avoid no deal or to hold a general election. The EU Parliament is not directly negotiating with the UK, but will vote on any final Brexit deal.,

ECB raises penalty rates for banks: The European Central Bank announced Thursday that it’s cutting its deposit rate to a record low -0.5% from -0.4% and will restart bond purchases of 20 billion euros a month from November. Negative rates penalise banks for holding cash rather than lending it out, while bond-buying helps to drive down yields, reducing the cost of borrowing for governments and companies. The ECB also said it would take steps to shield banks from the effects of negative rates, which have been hurting the region’s lenders for years. ECB President Mario Draghi said the measures were intended to stimulate the ailing eurozone economy.,

Monsanto wins GMO soybean battle at European court: Monsanto’s genetically modified soybeans are allowed to be used in the EU. The European Court of Justice has ruled that the EU authorisation of genetically modified soy produced by former agrochemical corporation Monsanto was legal. Three NGOs had challenged a decision by the EU Commission that the genetically modified soybean had the same effect on human and animal health as non-genetically modified soy products. The NGOs said not enough research had been carried out into potentially unknown side-effects of the GMO soybeans.

EU auditors call for increased defence spending: According to the European Court of Auditors, EU member states would have to invest several hundred billions of euros in order to become independent from the US in the area of defence. Military capabilities in the EU have been hampered in recent years by low investments and cuts in national defence budgets. The situation is made worse by inconsistent technical standards.

Budget: Poland and Germany call for swift negotiations to conclude EU budget
Ukraine: EU extends sanctions over actions against Ukraine’s territorial integrity
Vaccination summit in Brussels: Together against anti-vaxxers


Accepting those that come from far away is part of the European way of life.
Outgoing EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has criticised the decision of his successor Ursula von der Leyen to create a commissioner for “Protecting the European Way of Life”.


Germany pressures Greece to step up deportations to Turkey: The German interior ministry has called on Greece to step up migrant deportations to Turkey. Stephan Mayer, the parliamentary secretary of the ministry, described the situation on the Greek islands closest to Turkey as very difficult. He said improvements at certain hot spots on the islands could only be achieved if there was progress in small repatriations to Turkey. The influx of migrants from Turkey to Greece continued Thursday, with 427 migrants reaching the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea within 24 hours. Italy announced Thursday it had done a deal with EU countries to share out migrants aboard a charity ship in the Mediterranean Sea. The EU is extending its “Sophia” operation in the Mediterranean, but will still not deploy ships. A pregnant woman and her husband were allowed to leave the rescue ship “Ocean Viking”. The German Protestant Church plans to send a rescue ship to the Mediterranean., (Greece); (Italy); (“Sophia”); (“Ocean Viking”); (Church)

Merkel opens car show with climate warning: German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the International Motor Show Germany (IAA) on Thursday, with an address highlighting the Herculean task that lay before the auto industry in trying to create more sustainable travel. On the subject of Dieselgate, she said consumers simply did not believe car companies any more when they claimed to produce more sustainable vehicles. Merkel urged the car industry to invest more resources into producing affordable and sustainable electric cars. A climate change protester was detained by security staff after he tried to rush across a stage where Merkel was inspecting a new electric vehicle. Bernhard Mattes, the head of Germany’s auto lobby group VDA, resigned unexpectedly in the middle of the IAA., (IAA); (Mattes)

“Extinction Rebellion” activist arrested in London: Climate activists from a group planning to use drones to disrupt flights in and out of Heathrow airport were pre-emptively arrested on Thursday. Roger Hallam, a co-founder of “Extinction Rebellion”, was arrested together with another activist at a cafe in London. The Metropolitan police later confirmed three men and two women had been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance in relation to operations at Heathrow airport.

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Google wins legal battle with German publishers: Google won a victory on Thursday after the European Court of Justice ECJ ruled that Germany has to notify the EU Commission of a rule allowing publishers to demand a copyright fee from Google for using news snippets. Germany has to notify the EU executive first for its ruling to take effect, ECJ judges said. Germany’s Justice Ministry said it would examine the ruling and present a draft law to implement the European rules. VG Media, a consortium of publishers, had taken Google to a German court for using text excerpts, images and videos produced by its members without paying them.,

Germany: Foreign Minister Maas vows to meet more activists after China outcry over meeting with Hong Kong activist
Hungary: Police searches opposition offices
Spain: Only 44% in favour of Catalonia’s independence

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Macron ally investigated over financial misconduct: Richard Ferrand, the president of the French National Assembly and an ally of French President Emmanuel Macron, is being investigated over allegations of financial misconduct linked to property deals. Ferrand is being investigated for allegedly improperly getting involved in property deals in 2011 when he was at the helm of a health insurance fund.,


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