Monday, 22nd of June: Summit of euro zone leaders, Five presidents’ report, Italy’s Catholics mobilise against gay marriage

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Summit of euro zone leaders: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will meet the heads of the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund on Monday ahead of a summit aimed at reaching a deal over debt talks. Tsipras also spoke on the phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. French President Francois Hollande has warned that everything must be done to keep Greece in the eurozone. Talks have been in deadlock for five months.
theguardian.com, bbc.com, reuters.com, pes.eu

Five presidents’ report: The heads of EU and European Central Bank will release the so-called five presidents’ report on Monday in Brussels. It is aimed at strengthening the people’s trust in the eurozone, which is shaken due to the unsolved debt crisis with Athens. As the five presidents’ report entered the final stages of preparation, some EU officials acknowledged the difficulty of tackling the currency union’s future while faced with the immediate challenges of keeping all current members on board.
bloomberg.com

Almost 60 million refugees: On the occasion of World Refugee Day on Saturday, the United Nations Refugee Agency reminded of the 59.9 million refugees world-wide. 51 percent of them are children and youths under the age of 18. Stressing the grim statistics, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said that in 2014, an average of 42,500 people every day became refugees, asylum-seekers or internally displaced.
unhcr.org, facebook.com/unhcr

EU sanctions against Russians are ineffective: The EU sanctions against private Russian indiviuals are almost completely ineffective, according to research by the European newspaper alliance Lena. In at least nine out of 28 EU member states, no assets of individuals, companies, and organizations on the EU sanctions list were frozen or confiscated, as reported by Spain, Malta, Finland, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Ireland, and Lithuania.
euractiv.com

Doubts about success of TTIP: The German Minister for Economic Affairs, Sigmar Gabriel, has fundamental doubts that the free trade agreement TTIP will come about, warning that it could fail in the end. Organizations such as BUND and Greenpeace protested against the trade agreement at Gabriel’s SPD party convention over the weekend. The U.S. House of Representatives referred a vote on President Obama’s authority to negotiate the deal back to the Senate.
sueddeutsche.de, euractiv.com

EU to examine Cameron’s reform proposals: According to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the EU will seriously consider the British reform proposals by Prime Minister David Cameron. Merkel had promised in the past to work with Cameron to reach a deal on reforming the EU that would keep Great Britain in the bloc. Cameron wants to restrict EU migrants‘ access to British welfare, improve the single market, and win safeguards to ensure countries outside the eurozone are not put at a disadvantage by greater integration.
euractiv.com, reuters.com

From the European Council: At the meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council, ministers discussed next steps in the establishment of a European fund for strategic investment, part of the EU action plan on investment. The Council also agreed its negotiating stance on structural measures to improve the resilience of EU credit institutions. The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council backed a call of the Slovenian delegation to present a new framework for the EU’s alcohol policy.
consilium.europa.eu (finances), consilium.europa.eu (employment)

CO2 burden: Germany faces infringement proceedings for persistently poor air quality duh.de
Nature reserve: Oder Delta to be 8th Rewilding Europe region duh.de

EuroPride 2015: Gay rights activists meet in Riga facebook.com/EuroPride2015
Development: Foundation for Science and Politics in Berlin deals with trade and investment agreements as contribution to sustainability swp-berlin.org

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

Looking away, when someone is a victim of political persecution or threatened with death, is a failure to render assistance. The right to asylum is a fundamental human right. A fair distribution of refugees across Europe within the framework of a quota must succeed. It displays a lack of solidarity when EU states think they can opt out of world affairs.
Josef Weidenholzer, Speaker on Human Rights in the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the EU Parliament, calls for more civil courage in Europe.
ots.at

Russia and NATO are currently playing a risky game.
Alexander Likhota, advisor to former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, warns of an escalation in Europe and draws parallels to the First World War.
handelsblatt.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Denmark after the elections: The centre-right bloc which won Denmark’s general election has begun negotiations to form a new government. The bloc’s leader, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, looks likely to succeed Helle Thorning-Schmidt as prime minister. The biggest party in the right-bloc is now the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party (DPP).
bbc.com

Athens has to reduce wages and pensions: Thousands of people rallied in front of parliament in Athens on Sunday, urging Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to resist pressure from the creditors to accept more austerity in exchange for billions in aid. Greeks have withdrawn billions of euros from the country’s banks this week. The ECB has to help the Greek Central Bank with emergency credits every other day. In June, Athens will be unable to make its full payments to public officials and pensioners.
reuters.com, dw.de, nytimes.com

Protests against British austerity: Tens of thousands of people have taken part in anti-austerity demonstrations in UK cities. The biggest march was in London, where thousands of people attended a rally outside the Bank of England before marching to the Houses of Parliament. Protests also took place in Liverpool and Glasgow. The government says austerity measures are vital to cutting the deficit.
bbc.com

Azerbaijan and the critical press: Azerbaijan views critical coverage of the human rights situation in the country as a Western propaganda offensive and an attempt by the Armenian lobby to exert influence. The Guardian’s chief sports correspondent, Owen Gibson, was denied entry to the country. The government has banned the Guardian, along with a number of media outlets and human rights activists, from entering Azerbaijan to cover the inaugural European Games which begin on Friday.
theguardian.com

Italy’s Catholics mobilise against gay marriage: Hundreds of thousands of Italians gathered in Rome Saturday to demonstrate against gay unions and the teaching of gender theories in schools, as Prime Minister Matteo Renzi tries to push a civil union bill through parliament. There were both cries of support and derision from the political sphere. The protests represented a section of Italian catholics, progressive wings and associations did not attend.
yahoonews.com

Protest against German refugee policy: Thousands of protesters joined the “march of the determined” in front of the German Bundestag to protest the government’s current refugee policy. As a symbolic act, the demonstrators dug more than 100 graves in the lawn in front of the Reichstag. Most protesters left peacefully at the request of police, only a few activists resisted.
tagesspiegel.de, npr.org

Austria: Man drives into crowd in Graz cnn.com
Ukraine: U.S. Senate wants to arm Ukraine derstandard.at
Romania: Prime Minister Victor Ponta temporarily vacates post derstandard.at

⊂ DATA ⊃

77 percent of Germans are not worried about their own savings in case of a Greek exit from the eurozone.
infratest-dimap.de

⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃

politjobs.eu: Fundació Barcelona Promoció seeks Brussels Liaison Officer (German Speaker) *** Verband öffentlicher Versicherer sucht Policy Advisor (m/w) *** Kellen AGEP seeks Stagiaire Consultant *** Inclusion Europe seeks an Executive Director *** VDMA sucht Referent (m/w) Handelspolitik/Wirtschaftsrecht *** Bayer seeks EU Policy Manager *** POLITICO seeks Policy editor/Account Manager *** RISE Foundation seeks Researcher *** ECDHR offers Advocacy & EU Public Affairs Internship
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)

⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃

BND taps Oktoberfest: The Oktoberfest in Munich attracts tourists from all over the world, as well as the employees of intelligence services. Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service BND has been inviting staff from foreign intelligence agencies to Oktoberfest since 2001. According to the German Chancellor’s Office, the BND has been staging large event at Oktoberfest for years.
zeit.de, dw.de

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