Monday, 11 June 2018: Germany slam Trump’s G7 statement U-turn, New Italian economy minister vows to stay in euro, Spain’s Basques form human chain calling for independence vote

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Germany slam Trump’s G7 statement U-turn: France and Germany have criticised US President Donald Trump for threatening to pull the United States out of a joint statement with key G7 allies. Trump tweeted Saturday that he had instructed his representatives not to sign a communique between the seven nations that make up the group just after host Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced all countries had agreed to it. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Trump’s decision to reject the joint communique was sobering and depressing. The statement had sought to overcome deep disagreements, notably over trade. Europe will implement counter-measures against US tariffs on steel and aluminum just like Canada, Merkel said. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Sunday called on European nations to stick together following Trump’s announcement. France is also standing by the G7 communique, a French presidency official said. French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said all of Europe would continue to stand behind the joint statement, which included a commitment by the seven leading industrialised democracies to a rules-based international trading system and a pledge to continue to fight protectionism. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he is happy to meet Trump once Washington is ready to hold a summit and welcomed the US president’s call to bring Russia back into the G7 group of leading industrialised nations. Trump arrived in Singapore on Sunday for his historic meeting with the North Korea leader, Kim Jong-un, on Tuesday.
cnn.com, bbc.com, politico.eu, reuters.com, theguardian.com (Putin), nytimes.com (North Korea)

New Italian economy minister vows to stay in euro: Italy’s new coalition government has no intention of leaving the euro and plans to focus on cutting debt levels, Economy Minister Giovanni Tria said on Sunday, looking to reassure nervous financial markets. Italian government bonds have come under concerted selling pressure on fears the government will embark on a spending splurge that Italy can ill-afford and markets are wary that euro-skeptics within the coalition might try to push Italy out of the eurozone. In his first interview since taking office a week ago, Tria said the coalition wanted to boost growth through investment and structural reforms. Italy is grappling with a 2.3 trillion euro debt, which is 132 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) — the second highest ratio in the eurozone after Greece. Tria’s words echoed those of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who earlier this week said a departure from the euro was not up for discussion.
reuters.com, dw.com

Erdogan slams Austria’s move to shut down mosques: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to take action against the Austrian government’s decision to shut down seven foreign-funded mosques and potentially expel dozens of Turkish Muslim clerics. The Austrian government said on Friday that it would potentially expel dozens of imams and close several mosques in a move to tackle political Islam and stem the foreign financing of mosques. Reacting to the announcement, a spokesman for Erdogan said that Vienna’s move was „a reflection of the anti-Islam, racist and discriminatory populist wave in the country.“ Turkish forces are stationed inside northern Iraq and could advance further to target Kurdish PKK militants, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has said. Officials have called for fresh elections due to the fire at one of Baghdad’s largest ballot repositories. The fire started hours after a number of judges were officially tasked with carrying out the manual process of recounting the votes from May’s election. Iraq’s civil defence force was able to contain the fire and stop it from spreading to the main warehouse housing the majority of the ballots, according to General Saad Maan, spokesman for Iraq’s Interior Ministry.
dw.com (Austria), spiegel.de (Iraq), cnn.com (Baghdad)

EU assures Jordan of aid: The EU has assured Jordan of continued financial support Sunday, saying it was an investment in an ally in the most heated and difficult area of the world. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini’s visit to Jordan came days after the country’s prime minister Hani al-Mulki quit amid widespread protests against a government austerity plan sought by international lenders, including proposed tax increases. The new prime minister, Omar al-Razzaz, says he will scrap the tax plan and devise a new one. Mogherini told a news conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi on Sunday that the EU has given Jordan one billion euros over three years, financing a range of programmes in infrastructure, water and energy sectors as well as education. She also announced that the EU would provide 20 million euros for social protection programmes targeting vulnerable Jordanians.
washingtonpost.com

Refugee crisis: More than 1,000 migrants rescued from Mediterranean over weekend, Italy wants to close ports tagesspiegel.de
Pulse of Europe: Ceremony for more Europe de.euronews.com
Fighting traffic jams: EU considers road toll to force motorists to use public transportation tagesspiegel.de

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

The withdrawal via Twitter is of course sobering and a little depressing.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday chided US President Donald Trump’s decision to retract his endorsement of the G7 communique via Twitter.
dw.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Spain’s Basques form human chain calling for independence vote: Tens of thousands of people in the autonomous Basque country of northern Spain joined to form a 202 kilometre-long human chain on Sunday, as they called for the right to host a referendum on independence from Madrid. The chain extended from the city of San Sebastian all the way to the Basque parliament in Vitoria-Gasteiz, the capital of the autonomous region. The region has a higher degree of self-government than Catalonia – which has been seeking independence from Spain. The protest was organised by the Basque group Gure Esku Dago (In Our Own Hands). Meanwhile, Spain’s minister for regional affairs, Meritxell Batet, called on Saturday for constitutional reform, saying there was an urgent need for it with regard to the ongoing political conflict between the central government and the regional administration in Catalonia.
dw.com, bbc.com, dw.com

Poland done making concessions in dispute with EU: The Polish government is done trying to satisfy EU concerns about ongoing changes to the country’s judicial system, officials said Sunday. Jacek Sasin, an aide to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, said the government had run out of concessions and expected the European Commission to withdraw its threats to punish Poland over the changes that give the justice minister and the president roles in the appointment of judges. The EU Commission says the changes undermine judicial independence and threaten the rule of law. It triggered a censure process in December that could lead to punitive measures and also made recommendations to Warsaw for improving the situation.
abcnews.go.com

Bucharest Gay Pride celebrates EU residency ruling: On Sunday, some 10,000 people took part in the 14th annual gay and lesbian „Bucharest Pride“ parade – a record for the Romanian event. There was special reason to celebrate this year: Earlier this week, the European Court of Justice handed down a precedent-setting decision for same-sex couples. The EU’s highest court declared that EU member states could not deny residency to the same-sex spouses of citizens. The wheels of justice in Romania had been grinding slowly for the last six years as Romanian Adrian Coman and his US husband Claibourn Robert Hamilton fought for the right to legally reside in the country as a same-sex couple. Coman and Hamilton married in Belgium in 2010 and now they have finally won their battle. Meanwhile, the ruling Social Democrats in Romania and thousands of their supporters rallied outside government headquarters in Bucharest on Saturday to protest alleged abuses of power by anti-corruption prosecutors. The ruling Social Democratic Party believes the prosecutors have too much power and allege that they have tapped phones illegally and have unjustly targeted officials.
dw.com, euronews.com, dw.com

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Merkel’s conservatives eye tougher asylum rules after murder case: German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives called on Sunday for stricter immigration rules and faster deportation of failed asylum seekers after a public outcry over a 14-year old German girl who was raped and killed by an Iraqi man. Police in the Kurdistan region of Iraq said on Saturday the 20-year-old suspect, identified by German authorities as Ali Bashar, had admitted to the murder of Susanna Feldman in Germany, where the case has stoked the immigration debate. Iraqi authorities extradited Bashar on Saturday after Kurdish security forces had taken him into custody on Friday. He left Germany together with relatives earlier this month. In an interview with German broadcaster ARD, Merkel expressed her concern about the current system’s shortcomings and the need for improvement. The cornerstone of the government’s efforts, led by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, to reform its asylum procedures is so-called Anker centres, large-scale refugee processing facilities.
reuters.com, dw.com

Germany: Left Party Die Linke congress calls for legal escape routes for refugees dw.com
Athens: Greece puts men accused over Turkey coup attempt under armed guard theguardian.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 ⊃

Viral G7 photo released by Germany: The G7 photo that went viral Saturday appeared to say a thousand words: US President Donald Trump, sitting with his arms crossed, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel facing him, leaning forward and surrounded by other leaders. Released by the German federal government, it contrasted heavily with the official White House photos that showed more conciliatory photos of Trump and the other world leaders. This is not the first time an image of Merkel literally talking down to an American president has made the rounds online. Recall back in 2015, almost three years ago to the day, when Merkel, with outstretched arms, stood before President Barack Obama, seated on a bench at that year’s Group of 7 summit.
cbsnews.com, time.com

 

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