Friday, 8 June 2018: UK proposes new Brexit deal to avoid hard border in Ireland, Spain’s king swears in cabinet with majority of women, Canada and France unite ahead of G7 summit


UK proposes new Brexit deal to avoid hard border in Ireland: Ministers in Britain have struck a deal on a further year of transition after the country leaves the European Union in order to help prevent a hard border on the island of Ireland. The UK will propose the customs arrangement – widely known as a „backstop“ plan – to ensure people and goods can still move between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit occurs in March next year. The agreement appeared to be a compromise with Prime Minister Theresa May to ensure the UK’s Brexit minister David Davis did not resign from the cabinet. May agreed to a backstop — which would see the UK match EU trade tariffs temporarily in order to avoid a hard border in Ireland — in principle in December, but objected to the EU’s language, which would have effectively kept Northern Ireland within the EU’s customs union. Davis had demanded the backstop plan did not last indefinitely and convinced May to confirm that any transitional period would have to end before the year 2022. The published plan now mentions a cutoff date but does not say when that should be.,

EU court questions German’s whisky branding: A German distiller selling a whisky called “Glen Buchenbach” may be infringing Scotland’s rights on its national drink even though he makes clear he produces it in Germany, the EU’s top court ruled on Thursday. The European Court of Justice on Thursday referred the case back to the Hamburg court that previously dealt with it, saying in a statement that the German body needed to determine if a „reasonably well informed and reasonably observant and circumspect“ consumer would think of Scotch whisky when confronted with the name „Glen Buchenbach.“ “Scotch Whisky” can only be sold in the European Union if it is actually made in Scotland, for which the spirit is the biggest international export earner. Klotz’s “Swabian Single Malt Whisky”, distilled near Stuttgart, is labeled as made in Germany. But the Scots argued that the use of the Gaelic term “glen” — a valley — could mislead buyers to think it Scotch.,

EU Commission hopes for big science funding uplift: The European Commission has set out how it wants to spend 100 billion euros on science in the next EU budget. The funding programme, dubbed HorizonEU, covers the period 2021-2027. Expenditure would be split across three main areas, with the largest sum going on global challenges, such as health, energy, and food. Open science, or researcher-driven projects, would get 25.8 billion euros, and innovation directed at taking ideas to market would receive 13.5 billion euros. The whole HorizonEU programme has to run through Europe’s normal democratic channels – through debate in the European parliament and among member states. The numbers that fall out at the end of this process could look very different.,

EU states agree to keep small German parties out of Brussels: Beginning in 2024, extremely small German parties like the Free Voters, the Pirate Party and the neo-Nazi NPD will no longer be able to gain seats in the European parliament. On Thursday, EU states agreed on a new restriction rule put forward by three of Germany’s major parties: Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, their Bavarian sister party the CSU, and the Social Democrats. Although the decision had been tentatively agreed to months ago, with an eye to making European elections smoother next May, Belgium and Italy had remained as hold-outs. But now the law will not apply until the 2024 vote, due to an EU agreement that does not allow for any changes to be made to suffrage laws within a year of an election. Currently, these very small parties occupy seven of the 96 German seats in the EU legislature. After 2024, parties will have to cross a 5-percent hurdle in order to gain seats in the European parliament.

US allies boost defence spending: US military allies have increased their defence spending by 3.82 percent over the past year, since US President Donald Trump called for more contributions, according to figures released by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Nato defence ministers tried to put aside frustrations over the US‘ newly imposed steel tariffs during Thursday’s Brussels summit by rallying around their latest plans to bolster troop levels in Europe. In a bid to reinforce their presence in the event of a crisis in Europe, the new „Four Thirties“ initiative will enable Nato members mobilise 30 land battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 combat vessels within 30 days. The plan will comprise of around 30,000 troops, 300 aircraft and at least 30 vessels or submarines. Ministers also agreed a plan to protect the North Atlantic against increased Russian naval strength, move troops more quickly across Europe and have more combat-ready battalions, ships and planes. There were differences related to issues like trade, the Iran nuclear deal and climate change, Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters: „We have disagreements between Nato allies but we stand together in Nato when it comes to the core task of Nato – to protect each other.“ German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said there were controversial issues but that the atmosphere and cooperation in the alliance were full of trust.,,

European election: Kurz and Merkel want to reorient the EU
Syria: Assad ‘no longer immune’ as Netanyahu threatens to strike Syrian targets unless Iran withdraws


By pooling together the existing instruments can achieve 15% more investment.
The European Commission has put forward a proposal to bring all of the EU’s existing investment instruments under the banner of a new fund called „InvestEU“ which will formally succeed the Juncker Plan, Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen announced on Wednesday.


Spain’s king swears in cabinet with majority of women: Spain’s King Felipe VI has sworn in a new Socialist government with a record number of 11 women in 17 cabinet posts. Just five women served in the last Cabinet under ex-PM Mariano Rajoy. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said his new team „shared the same vision of a progressive society that was both modernising and pro-European“. The new Spanish government’s pro-EU credentials are clear to see. A former head of the EU Parliament, Josep Borrell, is in charge of foreign policy. And Nadia Calvino, director-general for budgets at the EU Commission, is the economy minister. Other prominent appointees included Carmen Calvo, who became deputy prime minister and equality minister; former Andalusia councilor Maria Jesus Montero as budget minister and Meritxell Batet has been tasked with handling the Catalan independence issue as territory administration minister.,,

Canada and France unite ahead of G7 summit: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron have both expressed support for strong multilateralism for global issues ahead of the G7 summit in Quebec. Macron called on other members of the G7 to stand up to US President Donald Trump’s trade policies in the face of what he described as the threat of a new US hegemony. Macron called on other G7 leaders not to water down a joint communique at the end of the summit, at the expense of shared values, simply in an effort to win Trump’s signature, warning that a „G6 plus one“ outcome was possible. The two leaders also said they will not abandon either the nuclear agreement reached with Iran in 2015, nor the Paris agreement against global warming.,

Balkan countries meet to discuss migrant crisis: Countries in the Balkans have pledged to work together to prevent a repeat of the 2015 influx of migrants. More than a million refugees crossed into Europe from North Africa and the Middle East, with many using the Balkans as a route into the EU. Security and police officials from the region met in Bosnia on Thursday to discuss how to respond to a new smuggling route from Greece through Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia to Croatia and western Europe. Meanwhile, women who are poor are crossing borders as never before in history. 48 percent of all migrants are women, according to the latest UN International Migration Report.,

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Stockholm truck attacker jailed for life: A failed Uzbek asylum seeker was jailed for life in Sweden on Thursday for killing five people when he slammed a stolen truck into shoppers on a busy street in Stockholm in April 2017. He was also convicted of the attempted murder of 119 other people who were at the scene of the attack. He had hijacked a beer truck outside a restaurant in central Stockholm on April 7 last year and sped about 500 metres down a pedestrian street, plowing into shoppers before crashing the vehicle into a department store. He was arrested the same day outside a gas station in a Stockholm suburb after he was recognised from a CCTV image and quickly admitted to being the driver of the truck. He stated during the trial that he wanted to punish Sweden for its part in the global fight against Isis. Soon after the attack, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said Sweden would stick by its open, liberal values.

Turkey election: Voters in Germany head to polls
Ukraine: Finance Minister Danylyuk dismissed
UK: Putin seeks consular access to Yulia Skripal

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Fear of opioid crisis in Europe: Cocaine continues to occupy a sadly prominent position in the world of drugs. According to a study (by the European Observatory of Drugs and Drug Addiction), 2.3 million young adults (between 15 and 34 years old) used cocaine last year. But the new dangers come from synthetic drugs. Last year alone, 51 new psychoactive substances have been detected. Experts say, Europe must prepare for the landing of fentanyl, an synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin. The number of overdoses within the European Union has been on the rise for five years. Last year, 9,000 people died – and experts fear a health crisis.



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