⊂ EUROPE ⊃
Brussels protest over UN migration pact turns violent: Protesters took to the streets of the Belgian capital on Sunday to rally against the United Nations pact on migration. Flemish right-wing parties called the march, which took place near major EU institutions, amid fears the pact could lead to an increase in immigration. The Global Compact on Migration was adopted on Monday by 164 UN members and aims to improve the treatment of migrants worldwide. Police said some 5,500 people marched in the bigger protest. A minority of the demonstrators became violent when they were asked to disperse and began throwing paving stones, street furniture and and firecrackers at security forces near the European Commission building. Police responded with tear gas and water cannons. A counter-demonstration of around 1,000 people took place in the centre of Brussels. The family of a young Guatemalan girl who died in the custody of US border officials has called for an investigation into her death.
bbc.com, euronews.com, reuters.com, telegraph.co.uk, washingtonpost.com (United States)
Theresa May condemns Tony Blair’s new Brexit vote call: British Prime Minister Theresa May has attacked one of her predecessors – accusing Tony Blair of undermining the Brexit talks by calling for another referendum. She called his comments an insult to the office he once held and said MPs could not abdicate responsibility to deliver Brexit by holding a new poll. In London last week, Blair said MPs might back a new vote if none of the other options worked. In response to May, he insisted that a new referendum was democratic. Former prime ministers have generally restrained themselves from intervening in frontline politics in recent years, and the public spat between the pair underlines the bitter tone of much of the Brexit debate. Labour will not table a vote of no confidence in the government until after Christmas because MPs must first have their say on May’s Brexit deal, a senior ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has said. Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Sunday she thought that a confidence motion against the government could succeed in parliament.
bbc.com, theguardian.com, telegraph.co.uk (Labour), uk.reuters.com (Sturgeon)
Strasbourg remembers as fifth terror victim dies: The French city of Strasbourg paid homage to the victims of Tuesday’s terrorist attack on Sunday, on a day when the Paris prosecutor announced a fifth victim had died of their injuries. An official from the Paris prosecutor’s office said the victim was a Polish national, but gave no other details. Hundreds of people gathered around a makeshift shrine in Strasbourg to honour the victims with readings and songs. The suspect in the attack was shot dead by police on Thursday. Four members of his family were released on Saturday and two others close to him were freed on Sunday.
Climate conference agreement sidesteps financial issues: Theres has been a lukewarm reception from observers to the COP24 climate change deal agreed on Saturday by some 200 nations in Katowice, Poland. A 156-page rule book fleshes out details on how to implement the 2015 Paris agreement. The target is to limit global warming well below two degrees centigrade. The rulebook covers issues such as how countries should establish and monitor emission reduction plans. But it is less clear on how a pledge of €90 billion to poorer countries will be financed – or on how a carbon credit scheme might work.
EU Council Presidency: MEPs doubt that Romania is competent enough for the presidency zeit.de
United States: Turkey says Trump working on extraditing wanted cleric Gulen reuters.com
Unconstitutional: Texas judge deals Obamacare a major blow forbes.com
⊂ QUOTES ⊃
“It is very clear that the EU understand what the problem is. And it’s a question now, without unpicking the whole of the withdrawal agreement, can we find a mechanism of operating the backstop in a way that actually removes those anxieties? And that’s something, it will happen over Christmas, it’s not going to happen this week, it’s not going to be quick, it will happen some time in the New Year.”
British Trade Minister Liam Fox explains why Prime Minister Theresa May returned from the Brussels summit without results.
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
French “Yellow Vest” protests continue: Yellow vest protesters occupied dozens of traffic roundabouts across France on Sunday even as their movement for economic justice appeared to be losing momentum on the fifth straight weekend of protests. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner called on protesters to free the roundabouts from the traffic chaos. Eight people have died in incidents tied to the yellow vest movement, mostly from traffic accidents linked to roads blocked by protesters. Police in Paris fired water cannon and teargas in the afternoon to disperse groups of protesters in sporadic, brief clashes with riot police on the Champs-Elysees. There were also clashes between police and protesters in Nantes, western France, and further south in Bordeaux. In an effort to defuse France’s social crisis, President Emmanuel Macron has announced a series of measures aimed at improving people’s spending power. National Assembly president Richard Ferrand announced Sunday that France’s budget deficit is likely to overshoot the EU’s limit of 3% of GDP next year and reach 3.4%.
time.com, euronews.com, nytimes.com, reuters.com (Deficit)
Kosovo approves team for talks with former adversary Serbia: Kosovo’s parliament voted on Saturday to form a negotiating team to try to resolve outstanding disputes with Serbia. The two countries committed to an EU sponsored dialogue aimed at setting all remaining issues between them in 2013, but little progress has been made since. On Friday they reached a new low when Kosovo’s parliament voted to approve the creation of a standing army, only a week after Serbia’s Premier Ana Brnabic suggested such a move could provoke military intervention by Belgrade. Thousands of demonstrators have braved heavy snow in Belgrade to protest at an alleged crackdown by the Serbian government on opposition parties and the media. The protesters fear President Aleksandar Vucic may call a snap parliamentary election in what they claim are rigged conditions.
reuters.com (Kosovo), euronews.com (Serbia)
More protests against “slave law” in Hungary: Around 10,000 Hungarians protested in Budapest on Sunday against a new labour law and what they see as the increasingly authoritarian rule of Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The protest was the fourth and biggest demonstration in a week by leftist opposition parties, student groups and civilians against Orban’s government. Trade unions also joined the rally. Protesters waved Hungarian and EU flags as they walked from the historic Heroes’ Square towards parliament, holding up banners with slogans including “Don’t steal” and “Independent courts!”.
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President of Georgia sworn in amid protests: Salome Zurabishvili, the first female president of Georgia, has been sworn into office amid protests from opposition figures who allege her election was tainted. Opposition activists clashed with police after authorities blocked access to the inauguration’s venue in the city of Telavi. Zurabishvili won a runoff against opposition candidate Grigol Vashadze in November. The government favoured her in the race. The opposition alleges gross electoral violations occurred during the presidential election that make the outcome illegitimate. Observers for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe have said the government was overly involved in the election campaign.
Croatia accused of illegally deporting migrants: Croatian authorities on Sunday denied a report by an international watchdog group that alleged police were illegally and sometimes violently pushing migrants back into neighbouring Bosnia. The “Border Violence Monitoring” group had published a video showing armed Croatian police officers shouting orders at a group of migrants and escorting them out of a forest. The monitoring group said it had more footage from cameras hidden along Croatia’s border with Bosnia. Police in Croatia have denied similar accusations in the past.
South America: German reporter faces espionage charges in Venezuela nytimes.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 ⊃
Putin wants government to take charge of rap music: Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked the government to “take charge” of rap music, expressing particular concern about drug abuse among young people. His comments came after Russian rapper Husky was arrested after several of his concerts were cancelled. In December, authorities in the southern city of Krasnodar called off his planned performance for alleged extremism. The musician – whose real name is Dmitry Kuznetsov – was then jailed for 12 days after performing for fans on the roof of a car.