Friday, 19 October 2018: Juncker believes longer Brexit transition phase is possible, EU expresses concern about Italian budget, EU leaders ask for sanctions to deter cyberattacks

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Juncker believes longer Brexit transition phase is possible: The EU announced Thursday it was ready to extend the length of the transition period designed to smooth the UK’s exit from the 28-nation bloc next year. Both European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker struck an optimistic note, saying that a Brexit deal was closer. While ruling out major concessions, French President Emmanuel Macron said it was clear that the roadblock to a deal did not lie in Brussels. German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that time was running short for reaching a deal. British Prime Minister Theresa May said she was not proposing extending the transition, but that having the option to do so could help solve the current impasse over the Irish border. The current plan is for a transition period of 21 months to smooth the path from Brexit to the UK and EU’s future permanent relationship, but this arrangement could be extended.
cnn.com, theguardian.com, bbc.com, reuters.com

EU expresses concern about Italian budget: Italy’s draft budget plans are of serious concern to the EU Commission, it said in a letter to Rome Thursday. The letter from commissioners Valdis Dombrovskis and Pierre Moscovici stated that the plans constitute an obvious significant deviation from recommendations adopted by the Council for 2019. They also said that the macroeconomic forecast underlying the plans has not been endorsed by Italy’s independent fiscal monitoring institution. The commissioners added that these factors would seem to point to particularly serious non-compliance with budgetary policy obligations. Italy has until this coming Monday at noon to submit a response, which the Commission would consider before it gives a formal opinion on the budget plans.
politico.eu

EU leaders ask for sanctions to deter cyberattacks: European Union leaders agreed on Thursday to impose sanctions to stiffen their response to cyber attacks and to rush through new curbs on online campaigning by political parties to protect next year’s European polls from interference. The threat of a special EU economic sanctions regime against computer hackers, including hostile governments and individuals, as well as fines for political parties, will act as a deterrent, European Council President Donald Tusk said after the summit of EU leaders in Brussels. The European Council conclusions didn’t make any mention of Russia or its military intelligence agency GRU, believed to be behind the attack according to the Netherlands, the UK, Estonia, Germany and others.
reuters.com, politico.eu

Ministers pull out of Saudi event over alleged murder of Khashoggi: UK Trade Secretary Liam Fox and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin joined key European partners in pulling out of a major economic forum in Saudi Arabia nicknamed Davos in the desert, in response to the alleged murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The British withdrawal was announced soon after the French finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, and his Dutch counterpart, Wopke Hoekstra, confirmed they were withdrawing from the event starting on 23 October. Other senior figures have already dropped out of the event, including the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, and representatives of major tech and media companies such as Google, Uber, and the New York Times. A group of US senators have demanded answers about President Donald Trump’s business ties to the Saudi Kingdom. Pictures have emerged of the suspected Saudi hit squad that allegedly assassinated Khashoggi. Turkish police are searching a forest on the outskirts of Istanbul and a city near the Sea of Marmara for Khashoggi’s remains. The „Washington Post“ has published the last piece written by Khashoggi – a story about the lack of a free press in all but a few corners of the Arab world.
theguardian.com (Economic forum), time.com (Trump), nytimes.com (Suspects), reuters.com (Search), nbcnews.com, washingtonpost.com (Khashoggi’s last piece)

EPP: Hungary PM Orban backs Germany’s Weber for top EU job reuters.com
Climate protection: Environment Committee MEPs push for cleaner trucks and electric buses europarl.europa.eu
Afghanistan: Top Afghan police chief killed, 2 Americans wounded in Kandahar attack cnn.com

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

Enough of talking. Enough words. Enough excuses!
Europe has talked long enough about whether to make internet giants like Google, Apple, and Facebook pay more taxes and it is time for a decision, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday.
reuters.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Investigation after school attack in Crimea: A student went on a shooting rampage and then shot and killed himself at a technical school in Crimea, which also was hit by an explosion, Russian authorities said Wednesday. At least 20 people were killed and 50 injured in the gunfire and the blast, which officials told Reuters went off in the school cafeteria. A spokesman for the National Anti-Terrorism Committee said bomb technicians were examining an explosive device found at the scene. Russian authorities initially opened a criminal case on terrorism charges before reclassifying it as murder and announced that although they were looking into the possibility of the suspect having had accomplices, they believe he had acted alone. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday blamed the attack on „globalisation“ and linked it to US school shootings.
npr.org, euronews.com

Norway apologises to wartime „German girls“: Norway has apologised to women and their descendants ostracised after World War II for coupling or having children with occupying German soldiers. After Norway’s liberation in 1945, reprisals inflicted included job dismissals, detentions, expulsions and revocations of citizenship. Prime Minister Erna Solberg said Norwegian reprisals were shameful. The prime minister delivered the government apology at an event to mark the 70th anniversary of the UN’s universal declaration of human rights.
dw.com

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Diplomatic tensions flare between Spain and Belgium over Catalan crisis: Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel sought to defuse bilateral tensions at the EU summit on Wednesday after Flemish and Spanish authorities traded accusations over Spain’s handling of Catalonia’s illegal declaration of independence and imprisonment of separatists. Flemish president Geert Bourgeois called on Belgium’s federal government to summon the Spanish ambassador after Spain decided to withdraw diplomatic credentials to Flanders in response to continued criticism over the management of the Catalan crisis. Spain’s move came in response to a letter by the president of the Flemish parliament Jan Peumans, who criticised Madrid for jailing Catalan separatists.
euractiv.com

Hungary: First homeless person put in front of a court n-tv.de
Cyprus: Low-cost airline folds, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded 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 ⊃

Merkel and Macron treat themselves to fries and beer: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and the leaders of Belgium and Luxembourg surprised late-night drinkers by dropping by a Brussels bar for beer and fries after an evening of summitry on Brexit with British Prime Minister Theresa May. The state leaders chatted and shook hands with tourists and locals on the picturesque Grand Place with their local host, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, and his Luxembourg neighbour Xavier Bettel, who said he bought the drinks to celebrate his re-election as premier on Sunday.
reuters.com

 

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