⊂ EUROPE ⊃
Hard Brexit risks 100,000 German jobs: A hard Brexit could cost more than 100,000 jobs in Germany, the “Welt am Sonntag” newspaper reported on Sunday, citing a study by the Leibniz Institute for Economic Research Halle and the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. The study only captures the jobs that would be lost because of a slump in exports resulting from, among other things, customs duties that would be levied by Britain on German exports in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Job losses resulting from other factors such as a fall in British investments in Germany are not reflected in the figures. British Prime Minister Theresa May will pledge this week to give the parliament in London another chance to voice their opinions on Brexit by 27 February as she tries to buy more time to negotiate a new deal with the EU. The Dutch government has said it is in talks with more than 250 companies about moving their operations from the UK to the Netherlands before Brexit.
dw.com (Study), reuters.com (May), theguardian.com (Netherlands)
Grenell warns Europeans not to bypass US sanctions: US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell has criticised the European mechanism designed to facilitate trade with Iran and bypass US sanctions. Grenell said it was counterproductive to Washington’s efforts to force the Iranian government back to the negotiating table over its nuclear programme. Grenell reiterated that the US followed a “carrot and stick” approach when it came to Iran. This had worked so far in North Korea, he said, and even a little bit in Venezuela. Grenell also criticised Germany’s pledge to incrementally raise its defence spending to 1.5% until 2024. In 2014, Nato member states had agreed to meet the alliance’s defence spending target of 2% by 2024.
Rescue ship named after drowned child Alan Kurdi: A German migrant rescue ship operating in the Mediterranean Sea was renamed on Sunday after Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian Kurdish boy who died during the height of Europe’s migrant crisis. The disturbing image of his death showed to the world the dangers that Syrian refugees faced as they fled their country amid a devastating civil war. The Kurdi family, who are Kurds from Syria, were trying to reach relatives in Vancouver, Canada. Alan, his 4-year-old brother and his mother Rehen all died on the boat trip across the Aegean Sea to Greece. Abdullah Kurdi, the boy’s father, was the only one to survive.
Egypt takes over chair of African Union: Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi took up his chairmanship of the 55-member African Union (AU) at the AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Sunday. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres thanked African member states and the African Union Commission for supporting peace operations in Africa, saying that the service and sacrifice of African peacekeepers was at the forefront of everyone’s minds. The UN chief’s praise for the work of Blue Helmets and other peacekeeping personnel was part of his address to heads of state gathered at the summit. Guterres said African nations were setting an example for richer countries when it came to the treatment of refugees. He did not mention the dangers that many refugees and internally displaced persons are exposed to in parts of Africa.
dw.com, news.un.org, news.un.org, zeit.de
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Thousands protest in Spain against Catalonia talks: Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Madrid on Sunday to protest Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s plan to ease tensions with Catalan separatists, in a demonstration uniting the leaders of conservative and far-right parties. The rally was organised by the conservative opposition Popular Party (PP) and the centre-right Citizens Party, with backing from the far-right party Vox. Protesters called for a snap election because of the Spanish government’s decision to accept a long-held demand of Catalan secessionists to appoint a facilitator in talks between pro-independence and pro-unity political parties. The demonstration was the largest against Sanchez since his minority Socialist government took office. Sanchez came to power in June, inheriting the Catalan independence crisis from former Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the conservative PP.
nytimes.com, dw.com, politico.eu
Violent “Yellow Vest” protests in Paris: A “Yellow Vest” protester was severely injured on Saturday in the streets of Paris, as police shot teargas at protesters who were trying to knock down a barrier at the French parliament. According to an eyewitness, the person who lost their hand was a photographer attempting to take pictures of people breaking down barriers around the National Assembly building. The man’s hand was nearly blown off when he picked up a tear gas grenade and it exploded, NPR reported. Paris police confirmed that a demonstrator was injured in the hand and been treated by paramedics, but did not identify the victim. Tens of thousands of people turned out for peaceful protests in other parts of France, including the port cities of Marseille and Montpellier and also in Bordeaux and Toulouse in the southwest.
npr.org, bbc.com, politico.eu
Paris sues Airbnb: The city of Paris is suing Airbnb for publishing 1,000 illegal rentals adverts, which could cost the American rental website more than 12.5 million euros in fines. Under French law, home owners in Paris can rent out their places on short-term rental platforms for up to 120 days in a year. Advertisements must include a registration number to help ensure properties are not rented out for longer. France passed a law in 2018 which makes companies such as Airbnb punishable by fines of 12,500 euros per illegal posting, a new provision Paris will use to challenge Airbnb in court. A spokeswoman for Airbnb said it had implemented measures to help Paris users of its website comply with European rules.
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Bulgaria to investigate third suspect in Skripal poisoning: The Bulgarian parliament has opened an investigation following reports that a third suspect in the Salisbury attack was also involved in a 2015 poisoning in Bulgaria. It comes after investigative group “Bellingcat” reported an alleged Russian military intelligence agent arrived in Bulgaria in April 2015, a few days before Bulgarian businessman Emilian Gebrev was poisoned by an unidentified substance. “Bellingcat” said the Russian agent travelled under the alias Sergei Vyacheslavovich Fedotov and had been identified as an agent for Moscow’s GRU agency. “Bellingcat” said the agent also was suspected of being involved in the Novichok nerve-agent poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the English city of Salisbury.
⊂ 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 ⊃
Financial incentives to boost Hungary’s birth rate: Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced new tax and loan benefits for families as part of his government’s efforts to increase the birth rate. The programme includes a loan of 10 million Forint (€31,352) to women under the age of 40 who marry for the first time. A third of the loan would be waived after the woman has a second child and the entire sum waived following the birth of a third child. Another plank of the programme would absolve any woman who has four or more children from paying income tax for life. Orban said in his annual State of the Nation speech that the policy was Hungary’s answer to population decline, not immigration.