Friday, July 13th 2018: EU interior ministers plan to expand border protection, EU offers muted reaction to May’s Brexit White Paper, Trump blasts Nato in closed-door summit session


EU interior ministers plan to expand border protection: The EU interior ministers want to strengthen the protection of the European Union’s external borders. Austrian Interior Minister Herbert Kickl said there was a broad consensus between ministers to focus on border protection. The EU border protection agency Frontex will be built up even further and equipped with a necessary mandate. The ministers also agreed that there needs to be additional border protection measures in countries of origin and transit. Dozens of migrants rescued at sea and brought to an Italian port on Thursday cannot disembark, Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said, reversing a decision by a fellow minister and opening a rift within the government. France has taken in a group of 78 asylum-seekers, mainly from Eritrea and Sudan, after their charity rescue ship was blocked form ports in Italy and Malta. Macedonia has rejected the creation of EU asylum centers on its territory. Deaths among migrants crossing the Central Mediterranean have skyrocketed to more than 600 in the past four weeks as a consequence of Italy’s crackdown on NGO boats, two charities operating rescues claimed on Thursday., (Italy), (France), (Macedonia),

EU offers muted reaction to May’s Brexit White Paper: British Prime Minister Theresa May has published her long-awaited proposal for the future relationship between the UK and the EU, setting out proposals for a softer Brexit than she first planned. The long-awaited White Paper is aimed at ensuring trade co-operation, with no hard border for Northern Ireland, and global trade deals for the UK. It fleshes out the Chequers agreement that sparked the resignations of Boris Johnson and David Davis. The UK is hoping the EU will back the proposals in the White Paper so an exit deal can be struck by the autumn, ahead of the UK’s official departure from the EU in March. There’s more work to be done on reaching a withdrawal agreement, warned the EU Parliament’s Brexit group. That deal includes the backstop plan to keep the Irish border invisible. Britain’s new Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, has urged critics of the Chequers plan to stop complaining and come up with a credible alternative.,,

Trump blasts Nato in closed-door summit session: US President Donald Trump went on a fresh attack against Nato allies’ spending and European trade practices in a closed-door session at a Nato summit on Thursday. Nato leaders then asked non-Nato partner countries Ukraine and Georgia to leave the room for an unscheduled, allies-only session. „We had a very intense summit,“ German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters after the meeting. Trump had demanded that other countries greatly speed up their progress toward a Nato target of spending at least two percent of their GDP on defense, which now has a deadline of 2024 with get-out terms available that can stretch it to 2030. The Associated Press reported shortly after the press conference ended that French President Emmanuel Macron denied Trump’s claim that Nato powers agreed to increased defense spending beyond previous targets.,,

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EU backs Bulgaria’s first step towards joining euro: Eurozone finance ministers backed on Thursday Bulgaria’s bid to join the banking union, a move that precedes the country’s membership of the euro, they said in a statement. Bulgaria is expected to apply to join the banking union, and has committed to adapting its banking and legal system to join the bloc’s flagship project to enhance financial stability of its banks. The European Central Bank will conclude an assessment within approximately one year after Bulgaria’s formal application to join the banking, the statement said. After this assessment, Bulgaria could join the bloc’s ERM-2 exchange rate mechanism – a waiting room of at least two years that precedes euro membership.

German finance minister: No recapitalization of banks through eurozone bailout fund
Hinkley Point C: EU court dismisses Austrian case against UK nuclear plant
Syria: Deraa, birthplace of Syria uprising, retaken by government forces
North Korea: Trump releases letter from Kim Jong Un, touts „great progress“


Trade wars produce no winners, only casualties.
The negative impact of trade disputes on the European and global economy are expected to be much bigger in case of escalation, according to EU economics commissioner Pierre Moscovici.


Puigdemont can be extradited for misuse of public funds: A German court ruled on Thursday that Catalonia’s former leader Carles Puigdemont can be extradited to Spain, but only on fraud charges and not for rebellion, the main charge he faced in Spain after Catalonia’s botched declaration of independence last year. The regional court had in May said that it would study the extradition request, and it ruled that extradition on the charge of rebellion wis not admissible since it has no equivalent in German law. The decision is a setback for the Spanish judiciary, which had hoped the German court would allow Puigdemont to stand trial on a rebellion charge, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 30 years. Puigdemont has been in Germany since March, after he was detained under a European Arrest Warrant issued by Spain as he crossed the border from Denmark. Spain accused Catalonia’s former president of rebellion and misuse of public funds over his involvement in a 2017 independence referendum which led to a separatist push declared illegal by Madrid.,

France removes the words „race“ and „sex“ in constitution: The French National Assembly has unanimously decided to delete the word „race“ from the French constitution. Up until now, the first article in the constitution said that France guarantees „equality before the law for all citizens, regardless of their origin, race or religion“. In the future it will say „regardless of their gender, their origin or religion.“ 119 members of the assembly participated in the vote. MEPs agreed with French President Emmanuel Macron and his La Republique en Marche (LREM) party that the term „race“ was outdated.

Trump meets May at Blenheim Palace: US President Donald Trump was welcomed to Blenheim Palace by Theresa May, on the first day of his UK visit. The US president and the first lady were given a red carpet reception at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire. Protesters gathered outside the US ambassador’s residence in London and near Blenheim Palace. Police estimated there were about 1,000 people demonstrating near the palace, the birthplace of wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill. A high fence has been erected around the US ambassador’s central London residence where Trump will spend Thursday night and the embassy has sent out an alert warning Americans in London to keep a low profile in case protests turn violent. Trump has warned May that a soft Brexit will kill the chance of a trade deal with the US, in comments that hugely undermined her attempts to win support for her Chequers deal.,,

Police in Germany mistakenly beat victim of anti-Semitic attack: Police in the German city of Bonn have apologized to a Jewish-American philosophy professor for a case of mistaken identity related to an anti-Semitic attack on Wednesday. Police say the 50-year old academic was initially approached by a 20-year-old German of Palestinian descent who knocked the yarmulke off his head, shoved him and yelled: „No Jews in Germany!“ The young man fled when a person accompanying the professor called the police. The professor then gave chase and failed to stop when police quickly arrived at the scene and ordered him to do so. At this, police suspected he was in fact the perpetrator rather than the victim, at which point they tackled him and pinned him to the ground. When he resisted police he was punched him in the face. Bonn Police Chief Ursula Brohl-Sowa met with the professor Thursday to express her regret over the confusion and to apologize for the actions of the officers. North Rhine-Westphalian State Interior Minister Herbert Reul also contacted the professor by telephone to offer his own apologies.

Eurogroup chairman Centeno: Italy wants to comply with EU budget rules

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Juncker seen stumbling before Nato gala dinner: European leaders stepped in to help EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday evening, as he was seen stumbling ahead of a gala dinner at the Nato summit. Video footage that was published Thursday from the event at Parc du Cinquantenaire in Brussels on Wednesday shows the 63-year-old struggling with his balance and being given assistance by, among others, the prime minister of the Netherlands and the president of Ukraine. Juncker has previously revealed that he suffers from sciatica — a leg pain originating in the lower back — that can sometimes affect his movements.,



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