Monday, 18 May 2020: Brexit negotiations unsuccessful, EU struggles with planned annexation of Israel, EU agrees on short-time working allowance


Brexit negotiations unsuccessful: For one week, the EU and representatives of Great Britain negotiated the future relationship between them. However, the round of negotiations was unsuccessful, according to both British negotiator David Frost and EU chief negotiator Michael Barnier. Both sides accuse each other of blocking progress. While Great Britain sees an ideological focus on the part of the EU, Barnier criticises “lack of ambition” on the British side, which in his opinion is dealing with symbolic aspects. Great Britain wants unrestricted market access to the EU internal market, which is rejected by the EU side. Frost, however, sees the possibility that an agreement could be negotiated by the end of the year, while the EU is preparing for the “no deal” option.,

EU struggles with planned annexation of Israel: The government of Israel under Benjamin Netanyahu plans to annex parts of the West Bank. The annexation would violate international law, but is supported by the USA. The White House’s plan is for Israel to occupy about 200 settlements on the West Bank – about 30 percent of the total area – in return for which the Palestinians are to receive parts of southern Israel. US President Donald Trump had promised the Palestinians their own state under these conditions. However, the EU is unable to find a common position on how to proceed. It is in favour of the two-state solution and would insist on dialogue, but the EU High Representative, Josep Borrell, limited himself to vague statements on the issue. Austria’s government warns against “prejudgement” of Israel before the plans are even put into concrete terms.,

EU agrees on short-time working allowance: The EU ambassadors of the member states have agreed on nationwide short-time work to cushion mass unemployment and company bankruptcies due to the Corona crisis. Countries are to provide up to 25 billion euros in guarantees, depending on their economic performance. Short-time work is one of the strongest instruments to cushion economic recessions, but not all countries have such a model for worker protection so far. However, the planned introduction from 1 June is likely to be delayed because the member states will have to ratify the decision in their respective national parliaments. The programme, which has been named “Sure”, will allow workers to apply for financial support retroactively from February.

Several supercomputers in the EU were attacked by hackers: Several high-performance computers in the EU were attacked by hackers and shut down as a result, including the Leipzig Supercomputer Centre and the British operator Archer. Earlier last week, the FBI issued a hacker warning that Chinese hackers were in danger of stealing data related to the development of a vaccine against the corona virus. The background to the current hacker attack is not yet clear. Cybersecurity experts are trying to reconstruct the attack and determine whether data was stolen.,

Germany lifts quarantine regulations for EU citizens: After the borders across the EU have been reopened, Germany has agreed to relax the quarantine regulations for EU citizens. According to the agreement, travellers no longer have to stay in quarantine for more than two weeks. German Foreign Minister Horst Seehofer recommended that the states only apply the quarantine obligation if the number of infections in neighboring countries increases drastically again. In his opinion, they should only apply to people entering from third countries.

EU economic recovery plan to be presented on 27 May: The EU Commission intends to present a billion-euro package of measures to rebuild the economy on 27 May. This had already been announced for the beginning of May, but was repeatedly postponed due to dissonances regarding individual measures. In addition, the EU has in the meantime adopted a number of individual protective measures. The economic recovery plan is to be embedded in the plan for the next seven years. Financing has been a major bone of contention so far, and it is also unclear how much the economic stimulus package is to be.

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We need strict controls to allocate these funds. I am saying it clearly: it cannot be that those funds are destined to cover budgetary holes or to pay for pensions.
Manfred Weber, the leader of the Christian Democrats’ parliamentary group in the European Parliament, wants to closely examine the use of Corona aid money.


Corona outbreaks in Austrian postal centres: In Vienna-Inzersdorf and Hagenbrunn, outbreaks of coronavirus were registered in logistics centres. In both postal warehouses, the virus was detected in more than ten percent of the postmen. A temporary employment agency near Vienna is suspected to be the hub of the infection, and a refugee home in Eastern Austria is also suspected to be the origin of a chain of infection. The infected persons have probably continued to work despite the infection. The Austrian Armed Forces arrived in Hagenbrunn to disinfect the postal centre, but also to take over the work of the post office. In Vienna, the city wants to regulate the continuation of the postal work itself.,

France wants to revive tourism: France plans to reopen many tourist destinations by the end of June, thus combating the slump in the industry. On May 25th a schedule of measures for the tourism industry will be published. The hope for a good summer season remains. The French agency for tourism development hopes for German tourists. France, however, has criticized the Italian government which wants to make tourist travel possible as early as June 3rd. Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner called for a uniform European approach. In France, the start of tourism is not scheduled until June 21.,

Switzerland takes in 23 refugee children: On Saturday, Switzerland admitted 23 unaccompanied minors between the ages of 10 and 17 who have family members in the country. The entry was family reunification under the Dublin Convention. The Dublin Agreement states that the country in which the relatives live must assume responsibility for minors. Most of them come from Afghanistan, two from the Congo. The youths are initially in quarantine for two weeks. Switzerland had negotiated with the authorities in Athens about the admission. The UN Refugee Agency welcomes this step. Swiss refugee aid demands that more young people be admitted. It is estimated that about 5000 minors will have to remain in the border area between Greece and Turkey.

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Italy considers State aid to Fiat Chrysler: Italy is pinning its hopes on state aid for the car company Fiat Chrysler. This involves state guarantees of 6.3 billion euros for a period of three years. Fiat Chrysler employs 55,000 workers in Italy, and many suppliers are dependent on production. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte declared on Saturday that the company was entitled to state aid, even though its headquarters are in the Netherlands. Demands to move the headquarters back to Italy had been raised in politics. Especially the more favourable tax burden had caused Fiat Chrysler to move to The Netherlands. For Italy, saving the automobile sector is essential – it contributes 6.2 percent of the gross domestic product.,

Liberal coalition in Poland presents new presidential candidate: After the presidential election in Poland was postponed because of the Corona crisis, the liberal opposition is replacing its candidate. Warsaw’s Lord Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski is to campaign for the Civic Platform (PO). The previous candidate Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska returned her candidacy after her approval ratings were between two and four percent. The conservative incumbent president Andrzej Duda leads in all polls. Trzaskowski has already been an EU minister and a member of the EU Parliament. In 2018 he was elected Lord Mayor of Warsaw and won the election against the PiS candidate.,

Spain extends state of emergency again: This is to be the last extension of the state of emergency – the Spanish government is extending the protective measures against the corona virus by one month. An initial phase of relaxation had been initiated in most of the country’s provinces, but according to the Sánchez government, the infection figures do not yet allow a return to normality. Spain is currently the EU country most affected by the corona virus. No opening for tourists has yet been announced. There are repeated protests in Madrid – citizens fear the economic cutbacks that would be exacerbated by a missed tourist season.,

Slovenia becomes first European nation to declare an end to its coronavirus epidemic
Bulgaria to reopen shopping malls from Monday as virus curbs eased
Denmark reports no new coronavirus deaths for first time since March
Hungary: MEPs Ask EU To Impose Sanctions And Stop Payments
Grain Britain: Campaigners call for junk food advertising ban as British PM hints at interventionism to tackle obesity


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)


From Wednesday, menthol cigarettes will no longer be available in the EU: after a four-year transitional period, menthol cigarettes and smoking products with a similar taste will be banned throughout the EU on 20 May. As the taste masks the tobacco, these cigarettes are considered a danger for increased consumption. The EU wants to reduce premature deaths from tobacco.

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