Friday, 20 July 2018: EU Commission publishes briefing on no-deal Brexit planning, EU raps Hungary for ‚Stop Soros‘ law, Spanish judge dismisses extradition order for Puigdemont

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

EU Commission publishes briefing on no-deal Brexit planning: Transport between the EU and the UK will be severely impacted with roads and ports blocked by customs queues and millions of British and EU citizens would be left in legal limbo if the UK leaves without a deal next March, the European Commission said Thursday in a briefing on Brexit preparations. The document said that preparing for all Brexit scenarios was a matter for everyone and urged private companies and individuals to take responsibility for their individual situation. As the new Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab warned Europe to prepare for a no-deal exit during a meeting with EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier. The International Monetary Fund said such an outcome would hurt the UK most but would also have damaging economic consequences for Ireland and other EU nations. Raab said he was looking forward to intensifying talks with the EU, as an October deadline draws nearer. Brexit campaigner Raab was appointed to the government last week after his predecessor David Davis quit.
politico.eu, theguardian.com, reuters.com

EU raps Hungary for ‚Stop Soros‘ law: The EU Commission on Thursday stepped up a legal battle with Hungary over EU migration rules and denounced as illegal its „Stop Soros“ law that criminalises support for asylum seekers. Hungary has now been referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for non-compliance with EU legislation. Viktor Orban’s government passed a law in June stating anyone facilitating illegal immigration could face prison. The law was dubbed „Stop Soros“ after the billionaire philanthropist Hungary accuses of supporting Muslim migrants. On Thursday, the Commission chided Hungary over the law, which it said curtailed asylum applicants‘ right to turn to national, international and non-governmental organisations for help.
reuters.com, bbc.com

Italy says EU should create crisis unit for migrant arrivals: Italy on Thursday called on the EU Commission to set up a crisis unit to deal with the hundreds of migrants being picked up each week in the Mediterranean Sea. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that he had written to the Commission to outline the idea, which he said would help better manage the migrant sea landings. The EU Commission on Thursday was non-committal towards Conte’s plan. Spain has said it will take in a survivor from a migrant shipwreck in the Mediterranean Sea along with the bodies of another woman and young child, amid a row between Italy and the NGO which picked them up. The sea rescue charity Proactiva Open Arms has accused the Libyan coastguard of abandoning them and Italy of shutting its ports – charges both countries deny. The Italian interior minister responded by accusing the NGO of lying.
dw.com, euronews.com, theguardian.com

Trump bashes EU over fine for Google: US President Donald Trump resumed his criticism of the EU on Thursday, assailing the bloc for the record antitrust fine it levied against Google this week. Trump said in a message posted on Twitter that the EU’s $5.1 billion fine against Google, a punishment for its anticompetitive practices in the smartphone market, was a slap against one of America’s great companies. The EU Commission announced the record fine on Wednesday after an investigation found the tech company had required smartphone operators to pre-install Google’s search and browser apps or lose access to its online store and streaming service. Meanwhile, the EU is making a list of goods it could target as a way to retaliate against potential tariffs on European cars, an EU official said Thursday. Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom will travel to Washington on 25 July with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, with the latter due to hold talks focused on trade with Trump.
nytimes.com, theguardian.com, cnbc.com, reuters.com

Energy regulation: European Commission refers Germany to court over energy laws dw.com
Gas and Oil: EU and Ukraine in tug of war over Naftogaz unbundling euractiv.com
US and Russia: Trump inviting Putin to Washington this fall cnn.com

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

There is no European bank which is presently able to do businesses in or with Iran.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) would risk its business model if it invested in Iran, because of the sanctions the US reinstated after its withdrawal from the nuclear deal, EIB chief Werner Hoyer has warned.
euractiv.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Spanish judge dismisses extradition order for Puigdemont: A Spanish Supreme Court judge on Thursday dismissed an extradition order for ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont after a German court refused to recognise charges of rebellion against him. Rebellion is the most serious charge levelled against Puigdemont. The judge also dropped a European arrest warrant for Puigdemont — the second time this had happened. The dropping of the international warrant means Puigdemont and his former colleagues – currently in Belgium, Scotland and Switzerland – no longer face extradition proceedings. But domestic warrants remain in force, meaning the six will be arrested should they return to Spain. Spanish authorities had sought to extradite Puigdemont on charges of rebellion and misuse of public funds for his role in a separatist push last year. However, a regional court in Germany said it would only extradite him over misuse of public funds, arguing that the more serious charge of rebellion was not admissible because such an offense in Germany would have to include violence, which the court said was not the case.
politico.eu, theguardian.com, bbc.com

Macron faces scandal over security officer video: French President Emmanuel Macron is facing calls to fire a senior aide at the Elysee after prosecutors launched an investigation over a film of him beating up a protester. The film shows Alexandre Benalla – in charge of Macron’s security during his electoral campaign last year and now assistant to the president’s chief of staff – in a police helmet and armband but no uniform joining CRS riot police at a protest on 1 May. There was anger and surprise that senior figures at the Elysee Palace who had learned of the incident in May did not refer it to the prosecutor. Several politicians from across the political spectrum have demanded a public inquiry into how Benalla could have appeared wearing a police armband and visor, committing violence among real police officers without being stopped.
telegraph.co.uk, theguardian.com

Orban tells Israel that Jews in his country can feel safe: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on a visit to Israel on Thursday that all Jews should feel safe under his government. Orban made the comments following a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Paying a reciprocal visit to Israel a year after hosting Netanyahu in Budapest, Orban reaffirmed that Hungary would show zero tolerance for anti-Semitism. The prime minister’s visit to Israel has proven highly controversial, with opposition politicians criticising Netanyahu’s government for hosting a leader that many Hungarian Jews see as fanning the flames of anti-Semitism at home. When greeting Orban, Netanyahu called him a true friend of Israel. The two leaders have found common ground in their right-wing views and opposition to migration, despite controversy over Orban’s nationalist rhetoric.
reuters.com, dw.com, politico.eu

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Britain has identified Russians suspected of Skripal nerve attack: British police have identified several Russians who they believe were behind the nerve agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, the British news agency Press Association said on Thursday, citing a source close to the investigation. Detectives think several Russians were involved in the attack in Salisbury in March and are looking for more than one suspect, the Press Association reported. A police spokesman declined to comment on the report. Security Minister Ben Wallace was dismissive. Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a public bench in the English city of Salisbury on 4 March. Britain blamed Russia for the poisonings and identified the poison as Novichok, a deadly group of nerve agents developed by the Soviet military in the 1970s and 1980s. Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attack.
reuters.com, theguardian.com

Air traffic restored in Belgium as technical glitch fixed: A technical glitch that halted air traffic over Belgium has been resolved. Belgium’s air traffic control centre, Belgocontrol, closed off all air traffic over Belgium on Thursday as they dealt with a technical glitch in its data system of the air safety control centre. Belgocontrol executed a „clear the sky“ operation until the issue was fixed. Belgocontrol operates flights in Belgium’s lower airspace, all flights above that level are handled by Eurocontrol.
euronews.com

Sweden: Wildfires rage in Arctic Circle as Sweden calls for help theguardian.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 ⊃

New restrictions for owners of holiday lets in Portugal: A new law in Portugal could mean holiday rentals such as Airbnb could be closed down if more than half the neighbours complain. The Portuguese Parliament approved a proposal which adds restrictions to private rentals for the tourist industry. Complainers must demonstrate how the movement of tourists disturbs the normal use of the property and the rest of those who live there.
euronews.com

 

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