⊂ EUROPE ⊃
Talks about third bailout: Greece’s creditors will start bailout talks in Athens on Friday, after Greek lawmakers adopted a second package of reform measures. The so-called troika of international inspectors of European Union, International Monetary Fund, and European Central Bank will be joined by representative from the European Stability Mechanism. This week, Greek Prime Minister Tsipras pushed more controversial reforms through Parliament than any of his predecessors. The turmoil over Greece has been blamed for a drop in consumer confidence across the eurozone.
EU Commission fights geoblocking: The EU has launched an antitrust case against six major U.S. movie studios and British satellite broadcaster Sky UK for putting up anti-competitive barriers that restrict consumers from watching the films and TV shows of their choice. The Commission accuses Britain’s biggest pay-TV broadcaster of creating bilateral agreements that mean consumers outside the UK and Ireland cannot get access to Sky’s full range of programming.
nbcnews.com, theguardian.com, europa.eu
EU cooperates with authoritarian regimes to fight smugglers: According to media reports, the Commission wants to increase its cooperation with authoritarian regimes in Africa in order to stop refugees from attempting the dangerous journey to Europe. According to the ARD magazine “Monitor”, the EU plans to strengthen Eritrean government institutions and help them take action against people smugglers.
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UN official Pansieri quits amid abuse scandal: The most senior United Nations official Flavia Pansieri, the deputy high commissioner for human rights, based in Geneva, is resigning from her post for health reasons. Pansieri has been at the center of explosive accusations, discovered by human rights investigators in the Central African Republic. Pansieri had been informed of accusations of child sexual abuse by French soldiers in the Central African Republic last year, but took no action at the time.
EU approves public financing of Fehmarn Belt tunnel: The Commission has approved the public financing model of the Fehmarn Belt fixed rail-road link between Denmark and Germany, considering it in line with EU state aid rules. The Fehmarn Belt fixed rail-road link is a key element to complete the main North-South route connecting central Europe and the Nordic countries.
Germany blocks discrimination protection: Since 2008, the EU has been discussing a new anti-discrimination guideline. All states have by now signaled their consent, except for Germany. The country is blocking a Europe-wide discrimination protection. According to Germany, the anti-discrimination regulation should be addressed on the state level. More than 40 NGOs and organizations as well as the German government’s Anti-Discrimination Agency are criticizing this stance.
Migration: Mediterranean flow continues for Italy and Spain euronews.com
UN Climate talks: Small island states set example for large polluters euractiv.com
Slave labor: Thai seafood products could be banned, warns MEP euractiv.com
Natural disasters: Commission allocates 16.2 million euros from the EU Solidarity Fund to Greece and Bulgaria europa.eu
Deficit: Deficit down to 2.3 percent of GDP in euro area, 2.6 percent in entire EU europa.eu
ECB: New 20 euro banknote in November ecb.europa.eu
⊂ QUOTES ⊃
“Due to the great challenges that it faces, Portugal is one of the countries in Europe where political stability is most necessary.”
Portugal’s President Anibal Cavaco Silva urges politicians to follow the example of European countries with majority coalition governments.
“What I believe is that NGOs can fully use the Better Regulation Agenda positively, for their benefit. Today, this legislative body has grown, it has aged. We must therefore examine possible duplication or inconsistencies and adapt this body of legislation to the challenges of the modern world.”
Genevieve Pons-Deladriere, head of the WWF’s EU office, explains why the EU Commission’s Better Regulation Agenda is wrongly perceived by the NGO community as purely business-driven.
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
France passes new energy law: French lawmakers adopted a long-delayed energy law that will reduce the country’s reliance on nuclear reactors and raise carbon prices almost fourfold. The law stipulates that nuclear reactors should provide half of all power output by around 2025. The new energy transition law reflects a campaign pledge by President Hollande to cut France’s nuclear-energy reliance in favor of renewables.
Turkey and “Islamic State”: The United States and Turkey have reached an agreement for manned and unmanned American warplanes to carry out aerial attacks on the Islamic State from two Turkish air bases. The decision came before Turkish forces and Islamic State fighters in Syria exchanged fire in a rare and deadly cross-border clash. Turkish tanks blasted the militants inside Syria after the fighters opened fire on a border outpost, killing at least one soldier.
Border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia: A Slovenian member of the arbitration tribunal created to solve a border dispute with Croatia has resigned. Jernej Sekolec resigned after a media scandal showed he had breached the tribunal’s rules of impartiality. A Croatian newspaper had published a series of recordings of tapped phone conversations between Sekolec and the Slovenian government’s intermediary dealing with the Tribunal, Simona Drenik, in which they discussed a tactic that would lead to a ruling of the court favourable for Slovenia.
French visitors in Crimea: French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has condemned a visit to Crimea by a group of French MPs in defiance of Western sanctions against Russia. Fabius said he was shocked by the visit, warning that it risked violating international law, since entering Crimea without the Ukrainian authorities’ permission would mean recognition of Moscow’s claims. The French Foreign Ministry said the visit was a violation of international law.
Ukrainian film director goes on trial: The award-winning Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov has been put on trial for terrorism in Russia. Sentsov was detained in Simferopol, the Crimean capital, in May 2014 after he attended a protest against the annexation. A government prosecutor said Sentsov had created a “terrorist group” on the orders of the Ukrainian ultra-nationalist party Right Sector. Sentsov and his alleged subordinates are accused of setting fires in the local office of the ruling United Russia party and in the entryway to a building rented by the Russian Community of Crimea.
Portugal: President announces general election euronews.com
Czech Republic: Former Health Minister David Rath sentenced to prison derstandard.at
Croatia: Tensions with Serbia ahead of military parade derstandard.at
⊂ DATA ⊃
202 attacks on asylum centers and refugee homes have been registered in Germany in the first six months of 2015.
⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃
politjobs.eu: 350.org seeks campaigner *** Steltemeier & Rawe seeks Senior Associate (m/f) *** 1&1 sucht EU Public Affairs Manager VKU sucht Referentin/en *** Afore Consulting seeks Junior Consultants in European Public Affairs
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)
⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
Russian beauty queen is a Nazi: A woman who won a beauty contest in Russia has been stripped of her “Miss Charming” title. It turned out that Olga Kuzkova had connections to the neo-Nazi scene after pictures appeared showing her wearing a Nazi armband and, amongst others, extend her right arm in a Nazi salute, while standing in front of right extremist graffiti.