Friday, August 9th 2019: Britain reverses exit from Interrail, „Open Arms“ and „Ocean Viking“ stuck in the Mediterranean, Italian deputy prime minister Salvini pushes for new election

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Britain reverses exit from Interrail: British railway operators have struck a deal to stay inside the Interrail pan-European ticketing scheme, just a day after announcing they would leave following a dispute with the company that runs the system. The split between the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents British operators, and the Dutch-based Eurail Group came after UK companies stopped taking part in a trial program for the Eurail ticket. British companies wanted to secure a competitive position for their BritRail Pass, which offers travelers tickets for the UK network. But British Transport Minister Grant Shapps called the move counterproductive and urged the RDG to to reverse its decision, which it did.
politico.eu

„Open Arms“ and „Ocean Viking“ stuck in the Mediterranean: The „Open Arms“ rescue ship with 121 migrants on board has been stuck in the Mediterranean Sea for over a week. Amnesty International has shown serious concern for the wellbeing of the people aboard the ship. EU Parliament speaker David Sassoli has written to EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker asking for help. Sassoli called for immediate action, adding that if Europe could not protect the migrants it would mean that it had lost its soul, as well as its heart. „Open Arms“ warned that people should not be abandoned at sea. Malta has refused a request by the „Ocean Viking“ rescue ship to refuel in its harbors.
amnesty.org.uk, euronews.com, europarl.europa.eu

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New EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Council of the EU has appointed Johann Sattler as EU Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He will also take over the role of the Head of the EU’s Delegation in Sarajevo. EU Special Representatives promote the EU’s policies and interests in certain regions and countries. They play an active role in efforts to consolidate reforms, stability, and the rule of law.
consilium.europa.eu

Climate: Damage to land hurts climate battle, says UN report politico.eu
EU Commission: Sweden nominates Employment Minister Johansson as EU Commissioner politico.eu
Expansion: EU expansion plans stall for the Balkans euronews.com

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

Iran is in serious financial trouble. They want desperately to talk to the US, but are given mixed signals from all of those purporting to represent us, including President Macron of France.
US President Donald Trump has accused French President Emmanuel Macron of sending mixed signals to Iran.
politico.eu

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Italian deputy prime minister Salvini pushes for new election: Italy faced a government crisis Thursday after Interior Minister Matteo Salvini of the right-wing League party called for a new election, saying his party’s coalition with the Five Star Movement had collapsed over policy differences. Premier Giuseppe Conte said he would convene parliament, as requested by Salvini to seek a confidence vote, but showed his anger over what he called Salvini’s move to abruptly interrupt the actions of the government. He urged Salvini to explain himself to voters. The two governing parties have been at odds over an EU-funded high-speed rail link with neighboring France.
nytimes.com

Polish parliament speaker Kuchcinski to resign over flight scandal: Speaker Marek Kuchcinski announced Thursday that he is resigning after a scandal erupted over his and his family’s frequent use of government planes. Kuchcinski had used government planes and military helicopters and aircraft dozens of times over the past few years, mostly for flights from the capital Warsaw to his home city. Kuchcinski apologized earlier this week although he insisted no laws had been broken.
apnews.com, dw.com

German defense ministry admits huge spending on consultants: The German defense ministry and its affiliated institutions spent €155 million on external consultants and support services between January and June 2019, more than the 13 other German ministries combined. The main explanation for the high expenditure is the challenge posed by digitalization. But opposition politician Matthias Höhn described the expenditure total as disgraceful. Under its former head Ursula von der Leyen — now designated president of the EU Commission — the German defense ministry has long faced scrutiny over equipment deficiencies and why it resorts to consultancy despite having a staff of over 20,000.
dw.com

Germany increasingly popular as holiday destination: Foreigners spent 39.8 million nights in German hotels in the first half of 2019, which was a rise of 3% on the previous year. Domestic travel in Germany also increased by 4%, which brought an overall increase of 3.8%. The president of Germany’s tourism industry federation BTW, Michael Frenzel, said the fact that Germans were traveling more ran contrary to the increasing skepticism over travel due to climate change.
dw.com

Greece 1: New law lifts obstacle to police entering universities faz.net
Greece 2: Central bank seeks full lifting of capital controls reuters.com
Denmark: Nord Stream 2 pipeline route request could cause eight-month delay euronews.com

⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃

politjobs.eu: Alfa Fellowship Program seeks Young German, British, and American Leaders *** FTA seeks Regulatory Affairs Advisor (m/f) *** Bayer seeks Trainee (m/f) *** ISN seeks Advocacy Officer (m/f) *** Politico seeks Lobbying Reporter (m/f) *** EGEC seeks Trainee (m/f) *** Facebook seeks Public Policy Manager (m/f) *** Google seeks Public Policy and Government Relations Manager (m/f) *** DEKRA offers Internship (m/f) *** European Friends of Amernia seeks Communications and Media Engagement Officer (m/f) *** International Crisis Group seeks Analyst (m/f)
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)

⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃

Swine flu spreads in eastern Europe: Several outbreaks of African Swine Flu have occurred in Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine, originating in Bulgaria. The country’s deputy agriculture minister Dessislava Taneva admitted that Bulgaria failed to contain the disease. Experts say it might lose its entire 600,000-strong pig-breeding industry. Bulgaria will receive €2.9m EU financial aid to combat the disease.
euobserver.com

 

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