Friday, 14 September 2018: EU calls for end to national border controls, EU prolongs sanctions over actions against Ukraine’s territorial integrity, ECB stays on course to curb stimulus


EU calls for end to national border controls: According to the European Commission, the planned expansion of EU border protection must be accompanied by an end to national internal border checks in the Schengen area. Several EU countries had previously reintroduced internal border controls. Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European commissioner for migration, citizenship and home affairs, said Schengen was one of the greatest achievements of European integration and the Commission’s new proposals were a contribution to its preservation. One day after Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the Union speech, Avramopoulos elaborated Juncker’s suggestion on handling migration and refugee issues. Meanwhile, Juncker has hit out at Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini for criticising the EU over Rome’s migration crisis, insisting his attacks were not helping Italy.,,,

Germany will sign migration deal with Italy: Berlin has struck a bilateral deal with Italy on migration that it will sign in the coming days, Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced on Thursday. This comes after the German government agreed in August with both Greece and Spain to send migrants back to those countries within 48 hours if they have already applied for asylum there. Speaking in the German parliament, Seehofer did not go into the specifics of the deal, saying the agreement had not yet been signed by him or his Italian counterpart, Matteo Salvini, and would take several more days to finalise.,

EU prolongs sanctions over actions against Ukraine’s territorial integrity: The EU’s general court upheld on Thursday the bloc’s sanctions against Russian banks and oil and gas companies over their involvement in the turmoil in Ukraine. The Council prolonged the restrictive measures over actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine for a further six months. The measures consist of asset freezes and travel restrictions. The Italian government blocked a Crimean lawmaker being added to the EU’s Russia sanctions list, according to three diplomats.,,

ECB stays on course to curb stimulus: The European Central Bank kept policy unchanged as expected on Thursday, staying on track to end bond purchases this year and raise interest rates next autumn, even as it warned that risks from protectionism were gaining prominence. In a subtle change to the bank’s guidance, the ECB announced plans to end bond purchases at the end of year and keep interest rates at record low levels at least through next summer. With inflation rebounding and growth leveling off at a relatively healthy pace, the ECB has been gently removing stimulus for months in the belief that a range of risks from trade disputes to emerging market turbulence and Brexit will not be enough to derail an economic expansion now in its sixth year.,

State of the Union: Elections should be better protected against manipulation


Prioritising the return of migrants from Europe, without ensuring that key international human rights obligations are met cannot be seen as a protective measure.
The new UN Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet has already criticised the migration policy in Europe.


France to put 8 billion euros into fighting poverty: French President Emmanuel Macron’s government plans to spend 8 billion euros to tackle poverty, its spokesman said in a newspaper interview released on Wednesday. With his popularity slumping, Macron wants to convince voters that his reform agenda does not only benefit the wealthy. Opponents have dubbed him a “president of the rich”, a tag that has hurt his image. The president announced compulsory school or vocational training until the age of 18, extra creche places to help mothers return to work, more emergency accommodation with a priority for women and children, and breakfast at school for primary school students in the poorest areas. The INSEE statistics agency estimates that in 2016 some 8.8 million people in France were living in poverty, defined as 60 percent of the median income. That was equivalent to 14 percent of the population.,

EU court finds British surveillance violated human rights: Europe’s human rights court handed a partial victory Thursday to civil rights groups that challenged the legality of mass surveillance and intelligence-sharing practices exposed by American whistleblower Edward Snowden. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that some aspects of British surveillance regimes violated provisions in the European Convention on Human Rights that are meant to safeguard Europeans’ rights to privacy. The court crucially said bulk interception was legitimate and it had seen no evidence it had been abused.,

Lawmakers back Slovenia’s first minority cabinet: Slovenia’s parliament confirmed Prime Minister Marjan Sarec’s centre-left coalition as the country’s first minority government on Thursday, following an inconclusive June general election. 45 deputies in the 90-seat parliament voted in favour of the new cabinet, 34 were against, while 11 abstained from the vote or were absent. Sarec, a former provincial mayor, comedian and actor, became prime minister-designate last month after the centre-right Slovenian Democratic Party failed to forge a coalition despite winning most votes in June’s election.

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Skripal poisoning suspects say they travelled to UK as tourists: Two men named as suspects in the poisoning of a Russian ex-spy in the UK have said they were merely tourists. The men, named as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, told the state-run RT channel they had travelled to Salisbury on the recommendation of friends. The British government, however, says they’re military intelligence officers who were ordered to carry out a high-profile assassination. “The lies and blatant fabrications in this interview given to a Russian state-sponsored TV station are an insult to the public’s intelligence,” Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said.,

Germany: SPD demands dismissal of top security official
Greece: NGOs urge Greece to act over migrant camps

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German police remove treehouse protesters from forest: Police forces in Germany removed environmentalists from three houses they created in a forest to stop logging from starting. Authorities claimed the roughly 60 houses built by protesters posed a fire hazard. Activists are calling for nationwide demonstrations on Friday and saying they expect thousands of people to join sit-ins in the forest itself. What’s at stake, they say, is much more than a scrap of ancient woodland. Over the last week, police have clashed with activists over the removal of the camp’s ground-based structures.,


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