⊂ EUROPE ⊃
Tusk proposes Social Democratic candidate as EU Commission President: European Council President Donald Tusk on Sunday briefed senior MEPs on a tentative proposal to divide up the EU’s top jobs, and would install Frans Timmermans, a social democrat, as European Commission president. The proposal would appoint a liberal to the Council presidency and give the EU Parliament presidency and the foreign affairs chief to the conservatives, according to several group and Parliament officials. But the European People’s Party (EPP) won the most seats in May’s European election and thus under the bloc’s lead candidate, or Spitzenkandidat process, deserves the Commission president post. Its pick is German lawmaker Manfred Weber. The question now is whether the EPP and Weber will accept no longer getting that role.
EU signs free trade agreement with Vietnam: The European Union has signed a landmark free trade deal with Vietnam, the first of its kind with a developing country in Asia. The agreement will reduce tariffs on 99% of goods between the EU and the Southeast Asian country. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström described the free trade deal as the most ambitious free trade deal ever concluded with a developing country. As a result of the agreement, clothes, shoes and smartphones may soon get cheaper in the EU, while almost all tariffs will disappear. The free trade deal shows what an economic transition Vietnam has made. The agreement still needs to be ratified by the EU Parliament and the Vietnamese parliament.
Switzerland-EU partnership row facing deadline: The Swiss government said on Monday it was ready to ban stock exchanges in the EU from trading Swiss shares — intensifying a row over a stalled partnership treaty. Relations between Switzerland and the EU are strained, with the EU threatening from midnight to terminate its preferential treatment of Swiss stock exchanges. Starting Monday, the EU would no longer recognise Swiss stock-exchange regulations as being equivalent to its own. The EU refrained from extending stock market equivalence because the Swiss did not endorse a partnership treaty with the EU that had been negotiated for years.
Trump crosses into North Korea: On Sunday, Donald Trump became the first sitting US president to set foot on North Korean soil when he walked over into the demilitarised zone that divides the Korean peninsula. It was there that Trump held an impromptu and historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump and Kim posed for handshakes before talking for nearly an hour in the heavily fortified demilitarised zone. There did not appear to be any new commitments made in Trump’s 50-minute meeting with Kim beyond an agreement to restart talks. In a move that could thaw the ongoing trade war between the US and China, Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to restart trade talks on Saturday at the G20 conference.
cbsnews.com, bbc.com, cnn.com (North Korea); cbsnews.com (China)
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Solidarity with German rescue ship captain: Carola Rackete, the German captain of a ship rescuing migrants from drowning in the Mediterranean Sea, said she disobeyed orders not to dock in Italy because she feared those on board would kill themselves. She denied Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s accusation that she had tried to ram a police boat in an “act of war”. Salvini dismissed a German call not to treat the captain as a criminal. German President Frank Walter Steinmeier had asked Italy to release Rackete and reiterated that anyone who saved people’s lives could not be considered a criminal. Relatives of Alan Kurdi, the two-year-old Syrian boy who drowned while trying to reach Europe with his family in 2015, have objected to a new film about the toddler.
bbc.com, reuters.com (Sea Watch); aljazeera.com (Alan Kurdi)
Thousands oppose suspension of anti-pollution plan in Madrid: Thousands of protesters flooded the streets of Madrid on Saturday to oppose the newly elected conservative mayor’s decision to reverse car pollution restrictions. Last November, Madrid’s then far-left government banned most petrol and diesel cars from its centre to tackle high levels of nitrogen dioxide. The People’s Party-run city hall has provoked an outcry by suspending the ban. In heatwave conditions, demonstrators thronged the streets of the Spanish capital on Saturday, calling on the mayor to reinstate the ban.
Albania votes despite opposition boycott: Polls closed on Sunday in Albania after a calm day of voting for mayoral elections, which the country’s opposition parties were boycotting. Because of the boycott, half of the contests saw candidates for the Prime Minister Edi Rama’s ruling Socialist Party running unopposed. President Ilir Meta had issued a decree to postpone the poll, but Rama rejected it. The vote went ahead, with critics saying it is not a proper election given the lack of competition. Opposition Democratic Party head Lulzim Basha said the very low turnout meant the vote was rejected.
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Germany and Italy prepare to sue Austria: Austria’s Tyrol province has restricted access to country roads for vehicles seeking to avoid its highways. The move has drawn the ire of officials in the German state of Bavaria, which borders the western Austrian province, as the ban would affect southern Germany’s summer cross country travellers. Tyrol’s ban will close major highway exits in and around the city of Innsbruck, where travellers usually gain access to alternative country roads. This will apply to all traffic, including cars, trucks or motorcycles, and will only affect those making long-haul journeys through the province. Germany and Italy are preparing lawsuits against Austria because of the restrictions.
⊂ 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 ⊃
German politician apologises for linking Merkel’s shaking to climate crisis: Green party co-leader Annalena Baerbock has apologised after suggesting that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s trembling episodes were connected to climate change. During a press conference on Friday, Baerbock said, “regarding the hot temperatures, we can see from the chancellor it is clear that this summer climate has health consequences.” She later took to Twitter to apologise for speculating on the causes of Merkel’s two episodes.