Monday, 03 June 2019: Italy will not seek fight with EU, Czech PM found in conflict of interest by EU, United States ready to talk to Iran

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Italy will not seek fight with EU: The Italian government is confident it can reach a compromise with the European Union and avoid sanctions over its deteriorating public finances, economy minister Giovanni Tria has said. The European Commission wrote to Italy last week asking it to explain why its public debt rose in 2018 instead of falling as required. In his response, Tria blamed an economic downturn for the rising debt and vowed to respect the EU’s fiscal rules in the next budget. He also reiterated a pledge that the 2019 budget deficit would come in below a government forecast of 2.4% of gross domestic product – a level the Commission deems too high.
reuters.com

Czech PM found in conflict of interest by EU: The EU Commission has determined that Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis is in conflict of interest because of his business empire placed in trust funds, and the country may lose some EU funding as a result. The findings, if confirmed in further proceedings, could mean that the Czech Republic would have to return an unspecified amount of funding paid to the businesses, daily „Hospodarske noviny“ reported. A spokesman for the Commission declined to comment on the report and on what he called ongoing audit procedures.
reuters.com

United States ready to talk to Iran: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday that the Trump administration is ready for unconditional discussions with Iran in an effort to ease rising tensions that have sparked fears of conflict. But he also restated that the US would not relent in trying to pressure Iran to change its behaviour in the Middle East. His statements followed reports that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had said Tehran would talk to the Americans if they showed respect instead of issuing orders. Iranian officials previously had ruled out talks with the Trump team. The US military has announced that a B-52 bomber and an aircraft carrier dispatched to the Mideast over a perceived threat from Iran have conducted a joint exercise together in the Arabian Sea.
apnews.com, politico.eu (Pompeo); foxnews.com (Military exercise)

Trade policy: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calls on EU to waive tariffs on US imports handelsblatt.com
Lack of candidates: Algeria cancels presidential election bbc.com

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

When I was talking to Donald Trump, I was constantly looking at my watch so that I wouldn’t miss my flight home. Trump kept saying, ‘Your plane can wait!’ He didn’t realise that I didn’t have my own aeroplane.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has pointed out that he has to fly on commercial flights as the EU Commission does not have its own plane for official business.
politico.eu

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Impounded migrant rescue vessel released in Italy: The German NGO Sea-Watch has announced that its ship „Sea-Watch 3“ was released by Italian authorities Saturday after being impounded nearly three weeks ago. The ship was initially prohibited from docking in Italy after rescuing 65 migrants off the coast of Libya in mid-May. Its request to dock in Lampedusa was blocked by Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, but his decision was eventually overturned by the European Court of Human Rights. More than 70 migrants have been intercepted in one day as they crossed the English Channel on eight boats, the British government has confirmed. Home Secretary Sajid Javid spoke of a deeply concerning situation.
dw.com, bbc.com

Leader of German Social Democrats quits: The leader of Germany’s Social Democrats, the junior partner in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition, has announced her resignation on Sunday, raising questions about the government’s future. Party leader Andrea Nahles said she would formally hand in her resignation this Monday. After more than a year of her leadership, the Social Democrats earned only 15.8% of support nationwide during the European Parliament election a week ago. The party also lost control of Bremen, a state that had been in Social Democratic hands for more than seven decades. Initial signals from the CDU suggest the conservatives are determined to keep the governing coalition together. Merkel’s successor as party leader, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, said she had acknowledged Nahles‘ resignation with great respect.
nytimes.com, dw.com

Austria’s former chancellor Kurz ahead in polls: Sebastian Kurz may have just lost a vote of confidence, but new polls show he could ultimately end up Austria’s chancellor again. A survey conducted for Austria’s „Krone“ newspaper showed Kurz’s centre-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) at 38%, compared to the 31.5% the party won in the October 2017 national election. The Social Democrats followed with 21%. The vote of confidence was held after Kurz’s coalition government between the ÖVP and far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) collapsed over the so-called Ibiza affair: A video emerged showing then vice chancellor and FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache attempting to trade lucrative public contracts for campaign support from a woman he believed to be the wealthy niece of a Russian oligarch.
politico.eu

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Pro-Palestinian march in Berlin: Pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel demonstrators peacefully marched in Berlin on Saturday. The annual al-Quds Day march, or Jerusalem Day in Arabic, came as German officials, from the president to the country’s anti-Semitism commissioner, called on people to show solidarity with Israel and Jews at a time anti-Semitic crimes in Germany have increased, the vast majority committed by right-wing extremists. Others, including the Central Council of Jews in Germany, called for the al-Quds march to be banned. About 1,200 people attended a march in the German capital that was intended as a defence of Israel and a show of solidarity with the Jewish community.
dw.com, theguardian.com

Greek conservatives win big in local elections: Greece’s main opposition conservative party, New Democracy, dominated in second-round runoff local elections on Sunday, repeating last week’s success in the European Parliament elections. The political group secured 12 of the country’s 13 regions and won a majority of cities. In Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis won with a 65% share of the vote to defeat a candidate backed by the ruling left-wing Syriza. Prime Minister Alex Tsipras‘ party picked up less than a quarter of the vote last week, a result that led him to call for snap elections on 7 July, three months earlier than scheduled, and crushed his dream of becoming the first Greek prime minister in three decades to see out a full term in office.
dw.com

Italy: Cruise ship crashes into port in Venice npr.org
Spain: Former king Juan Carlos bows out of public life telegraph.co.uk
Denmark: Deterrence, isolation dissuade asylum-seekers dw.com

⊂ 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 ⊃

Turnout at French „Yellow Vest“ protest hits new low: The number of „Yellow Vest“ demonstrators marching against high living costs in France dwindled on Saturday following several weeks of waning turnout, more than six months into the protests against President Emmanuel Macron. Some 9,500 people took to the streets across France on 1 June, the interior ministry estimated, with 1,500 in Paris. That was down from the 12,500 nationwide last Saturday, and a far cry from the close to 300,000 that first occupied roundabouts and blocked roads in what began as an outcry against fuel tax hikes.
reuters.com

 

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