Monday, 13 July 2020: US announces duties on French goods, Poland votes for new president in runoff election, Hundreds barred from voting in Spanish regional elections due to virus


Austria’s Kurz lays out conditions for coronavirus recovery deal: Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz on Sunday laid out the conditions for him to approve the EU pandemic recovery package. “If we are spending a great deal of state money, we should at least ensure that it’s flowing into the right areas,” Kurz told German newspaper “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung”. Above all, investments were needed for more research and development towards a good digital infrastructure, including in the technological transition that is needed for better climate protection. Austria, along with Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden (known as the EU’s Frugal Four), would prefer loans rather than grants. “Conditionality is necessary so that money does not just serve to plug holes in the budget,” Kurz said. He repeated his belief that the recipient countries should have to repay at least part of the aid.

US announces duties on French goods: The US government on Friday announced additional duties of 25% on French cosmetics, handbags and other imports in response to France’s digital services tax. However, the Trump administration did say that it would hold off on implementing the move for up to 180 days. The US believes the way the French tax is structured unfairly targets large US internet companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon. The US Trade Representative’s office said delaying the start of the tariffs would allow further time to resolve the issue, including through discussions in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).,

Majority of Germans wants to fly in more refugees from crisis regions: A majority of Germans want the EU to stop asylum seekers from entering the bloc in an unauthorised manner but instead have refugees brought over directly from camps, according to a recent survey. 59% supported reconfiguring the EU’s Common European Asylum System to prevent asylum seekers from entering the EU illegally in the future, and instead focus on bringing in more vulnerable people directly from crisis regions.

UN Security Council approves limited extension of Syria aid: On its fourth attempt in one week, the United Nations Security Council on Saturday authorised cross-border humanitarian aid from Turkey into northwest Syria for one year. The updated resolution will allow the delivery of food, medicine and other lifesaving assistance through the Bab al-Hawa Border crossing. Veto-powers Russia and China wanted to halve the approved Turkey border crossings to one, arguing that the northwest of Syria can be reached from within the country. Germany, cosponsor of the resolution, expressed relief over the extension. “It is good news for millions of people in Syria that the Security Council was ultimately able to agree on our compromise proposal”, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said. But German UN Ambassador Christoph Heusgen voiced criticism and told his Chinese and Russian counterparts to report back to their capitals that he had asked “how those people who gave the instructions to cut off the aid of 500,000 children … are ready to look into the mirror tomorrow.”,

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Hong Kong: EU foreign ministers discuss possible reactions to China’s Hong Kong policy this Monday; Opposition primaries in Hong Kong draw thousands;
Coronavirus: Merkel and Conte discuss consequences of pandemic this Monday
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that challenges like the coronavirus pandemic can only be tackled with international cooperation.


Poland votes for new president in runoff election: Poland’s incumbent President Andrzej Duda holds a slim lead after Sunday’s presidential election, according to an exit poll. The poll on Sunday showed Duda with 50.4% of the vote. He was pitted against the socially liberal Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, who received 49.6% of the vote. Official results are expected on Monday. Duda, who is backed by the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party and the government, campaigned on traditional values and social spending as he sought a second 5-year term.,

Hundreds barred from voting in Spanish regional elections due to virus: Some 450 people who recently tested positive for the coronavirus will be unable to vote in elections in the Spanish regions of Galicia and the Basque Country on Sunday, authorities said on Friday. There are around 200 such cases across the region, Basque regional health chief Nekane Murga said, while those awaiting results of a coronavirus test are also barred from leaving their homes until they can rule out infection. Constitutional lawyer Xavier Arbós said excluding people from the election was unconstitutional. Andrés Betancor, professor of administrative law, said that while those infected could be quarantined, they had to be guaranteed the right to vote. Meanwhile, residents in the Spanish town of Lleida have been ordered to stay in their homes and only leave for food or essential work., (Election); (Lockdown)

Protests in Serbia continue: Thousands joined anti-government protests in the Serbian capital of Belgrade and other cities on Saturday for the fifth consecutive day of demonstrations. Originally sparked by a decision to reimpose a lockdown on Belgrade, the unrest is now directed at President Aleksandar Vucic’s coronavirus response which protesters are blaming for the second spike in infections in the country. Critics blame the surge in cases on Vucic’s decision to open the country too quickly ahead of elections which expanded his power. On Friday, a group of protesters threw bottles, rocks and flares at police guarding the parliament in Belgrade. The police fired tear gas at the protesters and prevented people from entering the building. 71 people were detained.,

Thousands call on Bulgarian government to resign: Thousands of Bulgarians protested on Saturday for a third day in a row, demanding the resignation of the government of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and the country’s chief prosecutor. Protesters accuse Borissov’s government and chief prosecutor Ivan Geshev of deliberately delaying investigations into links between graft-prone officials and local oligarchs. Public anger escalated following prosecutor raids on the offices of two of the Bulgarian president’s staff as part of investigations, which many saw as a targeted attack on President Rumen Radev, a vocal critic of the government.

Bosnia marks 25 years since Srebrenica massacre: A ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre took place on Saturday in Bosnia and Herzegovina, near the site of what is considered the worst atrocity on European soil since World War II. A large event had to be cancelled due to limitations posed by the coronavirus. Video messages from more than 35 current and former world leaders, including German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and former US President Bill Clinton, were played. The Srebrenica massacre took place towards the end of the 1992-95 Bosnian War, which saw Serbs fighting against Bosniaks and Croats. On 11 July 1995, Bosnian Serb militias invaded the town of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia and within a few days killed some 8,000 Muslim men and boys.

Germany 1: Criticism of Stuttgart police’s plans to investigate suspects’ origins
Germany 2: Virus-hit Tönnies slaughterhouse slammed for requesting state aid
Serbia and Kosovo will negotiate in Brussels on Thursday
Hungary restricts travel from Africa and South America
France to test at airports


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, (Inserat schalten)


Stricter rules after parties in Mallorca: Bar and restaurant operators on the Spanish island of Mallorca have had to tighten the rules for their guests after German and British holidaymakers held huge parties over the weekend. Almost no one wore a mask and there were no safety distances. The police did not intervene. In France, too, restrictions had to be increased after a video emerged of a densely filled open-air disco in Nice. The city’s mayor has announced that masks are now mandatory for all other events in the city. (Mallorca); (Nice)


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