Friday, 17 May 2019: EU rebuffs US warning over defence union, EU finance ministers worried about Greece, Mediation in Norway to resolve Venezuela crisis


EU rebuffs US warning over defence union: The EU has rejected US criticism of its plans for a European Defence Union. The United States has decried „poison pills“ embedded in proposed rules which could shut third country allies such as the United States out of European defence projects. But High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said the US concerns were unfounded. The EU’s foreign service said it was fully committed to transatlantic ties and that procurement rules had not changed. The EU has in turn insisted that the United States, which dominates the global weapons market, should award more defence contracts to European companies and end export control regulations that limit the EU’s ability to use capabilities developed with US technology.,

EU finance ministers worried about Greece: Eurozone finance ministers are worried that recent tax and spending measures from Greece could threaten the country’s primary surplus target this year, the head of the eurozone bailout fund Klaus Regling said on Thursday. Greek lawmakers on Wednesday approved tax breaks and bonuses for pensioners days before elections, rowing back some austerity mandated by international bailouts. Greece, which required three international bailouts between 2010 and 2015 to stave off bankruptcy, emerged last August from economic adjustment programmes overseen by its lenders. It still needs to meet fiscal targets, including a primary budget surplus of 3.5% of annual economic output up to 2022.

Pompeo to visit Germany on 31 May: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Berlin on 31 May, after he cancelled a trip to the German capital earlier this month. The „Tagesspiegel“ cited German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas as announcing the date to a meeting of the foreign affairs committee in parliament. Pompeo had cancelled his original trip to Berlin because of the Iran conflict, going to Baghdad to meet with Iraqi leaders instead. Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of ordering this week’s attack on key oil facilities. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif has criticised mounting US sanctions imposed on Tehran by the Trump administration as unacceptable, even as he insisted that his country is committed to an international nuclear deal that has steadily unraveled amid rising tensions in the Mideast.,,

EU election candidates debate: Manfred Weber backs blocking fake names on social media
US sanctions against Huawei: Europe refuses Trump’s Huawei ban
Foreign exchange market rigging: Banks fined €1bn by EU for currency rigging


France and Europe are pragmatic and realistic.
French President Emmanuel Macron has rebuffed US President Donald Trump over his executive order targeting Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei, saying that Paris has no intention of launching a trade or tech war.


Mediation in Norway to resolve Venezuela crisis: Diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving Venezuela’s crisis accelerated on Thursday as the government and opposition sent envoys to talks in Norway. Opposition leader and self-declared interim president Juan Guaido confirmed that envoys were in Norway. He said any talks on resolving the Venezuelan crisis must lead to the end of President Nicolas Maduro’s government, its replacement by a transitional administration and free and fair elections. Norway’s Foreign Ministry said its norm was not to comment on possible roles in ongoing or potential peace talks.,

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Former Eta leader Josu Ternera arrested in France: Josu Ternera, a former leader of the Basque terrorist group Eta, has been arrested in France after spending more than 16 years on the run, the Spanish government announced on Thursday. Ternera was a long-time leader of a group estimated to have killed more than 850 people during a 50-year guerrilla campaign aimed at creating a Basque state in northern Spain and southwest France. He announced its dissolution in 2018. He had been sought by Spanish authorities since November 2002, when he failed to appear in court in connection with an attack on a police barracks in the northern city of Zaragoza in 1987 which left eleven people dead.,

Germany: Chancellor Merkel rules out taking on any further political office
Estonia: President Kaljulaid hits out at white supremacist display with Le Pen

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EU national climate plans well below par: Of the 28 draft national energy and climate plans submitted by EU member states, not a single one is on a pathway to reach net-zero emission by 2050, according to a new study. Spain is the only EU country holding its head above water, scoring 52% across a range of indicators comprising the overall carbon reduction goal, the level of detail of proposed policy measures and the inclusiveness of the drafting process. All the other plans score below 50%.


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