Friday, 19th May 2017: Nato and EU defence ministers talk cooperation, EU Commission fines Facebook, EU Parliament condemns Israeli settlements

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Nato and EU defence ministers talk cooperation: EU defence ministers met in Brussels to debate how to strengthen Europe’s defence and security as well as working better with the Nato military alliance. EU states aim to pool public money into a fund to help pay for joint military projects, a senior EU official said on Thursday, in potentially one of the most significant steps to underpin an emerging European defence union. The fund would form part of Franco-German efforts to develop a more integrated European defence to respond to threats on Europe’s borders.
euronews.com, reuters.com

EU Commission fines Facebook: The Commission fined Facebook 110 million euro on Thursday over providing misleading information about its acquisition of mobile chat programme WhatsApp. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager announced the decision via Twitter. Three years ago, Facebook bought the messaging service WhatsApp. As part of the Commission’s check whether mergers do not lead to situations that distort competition, Facebook told the Commission that it was not able to link the accounts of Facebook users and WhatsApp users. But that is precisely what the US company did last year.
euobserver.com, europa.eu

EU Parliament condemns Israeli settlements: The EU Parliament has denounced Israel’s latest settlement push and announced an EU peace initiative. A two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states was the only viable option for lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, MEPs said in a resolution. They called for Israel to immediately stop construction of new settlements as they were illegal under international law, undermined the two-state solution, and constituted a major obstacle to peace efforts.
dw.com

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US military strikes Syria militia: The US military carried out an air strike on Thursday against militia supported by the Syrian government. The militia ignored warning shots from US aircraft, according to a US-led coalition statement. Syria peace talks hosted by the United Nations in Geneva spawned a new series of meetings on Thursday with no hint of tangible progress toward a deal to end the six-year-old civil war. At least 50 people were killed in an Isis attack on government forces and pro-regime villages in central Syria. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has called for the removal of Brett McGurk, the senior US envoy to the coalition against Isis.
reuters.com, independent.co.uk, dw.com

Persecution of gay men in Chechnya: MEPs call for urgent investigation europarl.europa.eu
EU refugee policy: Czech Republic against migrant redistribution handelsblatt.com
End to geo-blocking: Watching online films and TV while abroad europarl.europa.eu

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

Investing together, this is the best way to have an efficient European defence.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says the EU plans to strengthen Europe’s defence and security.
euronews.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

May plans migration curbs: British Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday urged voters to strengthen her hand in Brexit talks, as she unveiled the Conservative manifesto. May reiterated that Britain would be leaving the European single market and the customs union. Employers seeking non-EU workers for skilled jobs would face a doubling of the so-called skills charge and migrant workers would be asked to pay more into the National Health Service. The extra revenue gathered would flow into skills training for British workers. The BBC said May is also planning to implement a reduction of immigration from EU nations, once Britain has finalised its divorce from the bloc.
dw.com, reuters.com

Support for Macron grows: A parliamentary majority looks to be within reach for centrist French President Emmanuel Macron in next month’s parliamentary election, opinion polls indicated on Thursday, as his cross-partisan government held its first meeting. New Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot said on Thursday France would seek to reduce the share of nuclear in the power mix to 50 percent by 2025 and would close its oldest nuclear power plant. French unemployment fell to the lowest in almost five years at the start of 2017, with the figure for mainland France declining to 9.3 percent.
reuters.com, reuters.com, bloomberg.com

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Greek parliament approves austerity measures: Greek lawmakers approved pension cuts and tax hikes on Thursday sought by the country’s lenders to unlock vital financial aid. The leftist-led government hopes that legislating the measures, four days before eurozone finance ministers meet in Brussels, will convince its lenders to release a 7.5 billion euro bailout tranche and grant it further debt relief. Demonstrators protested outside the Greek parliament over new austerity, the latest since the country plunged into crisis seven years ago.
reuters.com

German government demands action on Amri cover-up: The Berlin state parliament on Thursday demanded answers about an alleged police cover-up of the criminal past of Anis Amri, the Berlin Christmas market attacker. Berlin’s Interior Minister Andreas Geisel said Amri should have been arrested long before he carried out the attack in December. Geisel announced to the public that he had reason to suspect an extensive cover-up relating to Amri. He called for an investigation into the case. German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere expressed his shock on Thursday after allegations surfaced that Berlin state officials had committed gross misconduct handling the case of Amri.
politico.eu, dw.com

Germany: Foreign minister seeks US support in Turkish airbase row dw.com

⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃

politjobs.eu: GIZ seeks Advisor (m/f) Economic Analysis and Policy *** IASS seeks Two Senior Research Associates (m/f) for the project “Co-Creation and Contemporary Policy Advice” *** Bayer seeks Government Relation Manager *** Google seeks Public Policy and Government Relations Analyst (Northern Europe) *** Lufthansa bietet Praktikum im Bereich Konzernpolitik *** NATO seeks Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges *** Copa-Cogeca seeks Policy Advisor Expert on Wine & Aquaculture
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)

⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃

Trump says he faces witch hunt: US President Donald Trump on Thursday declared himself the target of a witch hunt, a day after the Justice Department announced the appointment of a special counsel to investigate alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. This was the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history, Trump wrote on Twitter. During a speech in front of graduating Coast Guard cadets on Wednesday, Trump said no politician in history had been treated worse or more unfairly.
nbcnews.com

 

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