⊂ EUROPE ⊃

EU initiates action against UK over commissioner: The EU Commission announced on Thursday it was initiating infringement proceedings against the UK, hours after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson declined to nominate a candidate for EU commissioner. The Commission’s president-elect, Ursula von der Leyen, has twice asked the UK to nominate someone, as Brexit has been delayed to 31 January. But London said it does not intend to nominate a candidate for the Commission before the UK’s upcoming general election, set to take place on 12 December. Meanwhile, France’s Thierry Breton and Romania’s Adina Valean – nominated to oversee the EU’s internal market and transport sector, respectively – won endorsement as commissioners. However, Hungary’s Commissioner-designate Oliver Varhelyi was rejected by the EU Parliament. He will have to answer additional written questions in the coming days before his candidacy can be approved. The EU Parliament is to vote on 27 November to approve von der Leyen’s new Commission as a whole to start from 1 December.
dw.com, reuters.com, euronews.com

EU condemns Poland’s anti-sex education bill: Members of the EU Parliament have voted to condemn a a bill in Poland which they believe will criminalise sex education in schools. An initiative to amend a Polish law against pedophilia threatens teachers with up to three years in prison and increasing this penalty to five years has been proposed. The Polish government insists this legislation is to protect vulnerable children from pedophilia. But the EU Parliament condemned the shift in Poland towards misinforming young people, and stigmatising and banning sexuality in education. It called on the Polish parliament to refrain from adopting the bill, which follows recent attempts to limit sexual and reproductive rights in Poland, including the right to abortion. The EU pointed out the importance of sex education especially for girls and LGBTI children who are particularly impacted by inequitable gender norms and most hurt by the lack of sex education.
euronews.com, europarl.europa.eu

Dutch investigators link MH17 crash to Russia: The Dutch-led investigation into the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014 has publicly shared evidence that links the Russian government to the militant group responsible for the incident. Three calls intercepted between June and July 2014 show Russian separatist group leaders Igor Girkin and Alexander Borodai speaking with government contact points including Russian-appointed Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov and Vladislav Surkov, a high-ranking Russian government official and aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Investigators had previously identified four suspects, including three Russians with ties to the Kremlin’s security services, who will be prosecuted for shooting down the aircraft using a Russian BUK missile system, if they are ever apprehended.
politico.eu, dw.com

Tax evasion: Closing tax loopholes for sales through online platforms europarl.europa.eu
Bosnia: EU calls for closure of Bosnian migrant camp t-online.de

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

For the first time, we are met with an American president who does not share the idea of the European project.
French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that Europe can no longer rely on the United States.
dw.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Germany makes measles vaccination compulsory in schools: German lawmakers have approved a law that makes it mandatory for children attending kindergarten and elementary school to be vaccinated against measles. Parents that refuse to comply face potential fines of up to €2,500. Compulsory vaccination will also apply to teachers, asylum seekers and refugees in public housing, as well as employees working there. Health insurers will be obliged to enter into agreements with the country’s health service to reimburse the cost of vaccination carried out in schools. German Health Minister Jens Spahn said the new bill was a child protection law and a question of individual responsibility. CDU politician Rudolf Henke stressed that the law did not mean compulsory vaccination, it simply meant all those who wanted to use community facilities must be vaccinated and show proof of the fact.
dw.com, politico.eu, theguardian.com, tagesschau.de

French hospital worker strike: Thousands of nurses, doctors and other public hospital workers marched through Paris on Thursday to demand more staff and resources after years of cost cuts. The strike channeled anger that’s long been bubbling among France’s public hospital workers. Emergency room staff have held a rolling strike since March. As French hospitals were forced to cut €9 billion from their spending since 2005, hundreds of beds were scrapped while stagnant salaries fuelled a flight to the private sector. French President Emmanuel Macron said an action plan would be announced next week.
nytimes.com, euronews.com

Lower suicide rates after legalisation of same-sex marriage: Suicide rates among those in same-sex relationships have fallen significantly in both Denmark and Sweden since the legalisation of gay marriage, according to a study by the Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention and researchers from Stockholm University, which compared suicide rates for people in same-sex and heterosexual relationships in the periods 1989-2002 and 2003-16. Between the two periods, the number of suicides among people in same-sex unions fell by 46%.
theguardian.com

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State of emergency after flooding in Venice: Italy has declared a state of emergency in Venice after the Italian city was engulfed by 1.87m high water levels. A cabinet meeting approved a special decree that included 20 million euros in immediate financial aid aimed at helping the city recover. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte described the flooding as a blow to the heart of the country. He said the government would accelerate the building of structural defences for the lagoon city, referring specifically to the so-called Mose project – a hydraulic barrier system to shut off the lagoon in the event of rising sea levels and winter storms. The project had been delayed by cost overruns and corruption scandals, with no launch date in sight.
bbc.com, apnews.com, foxnews.com

Germany: Solidarity tax to be abolished for almost all taxpayers dw.com
Greece: European Council on Refugees blames Greece for islands migrant crisis euronews.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 ⊃

Controversy over rebuilding of Notre Dame: The debate in France over how best to rebuild the Notre Dame cathedral has become heated. Jean-Louis Georgelin, the army general overseeing the reconstruction of the cathedral, said the building’s chief architect Philippe Villeneuve should shut his mouth. The two men disagree over whether the cathedral’s new spire should look modern or medieval. Villeneuve has previously said the Notre Dame spire should be rebuilt as it was before the devastating fire, a view with which Georgelin does not agree. The culture minister, Franck Riester, tweeted on Thursday that Georgelin’s outburst was not acceptable, adding that respect was a cardinal value in French society and public officials should act exemplary.
cnn.com, bbc.com, theguardian.com