⊂ EUROPE ⊃
Varoufakis wanted Grexit: Some members of Greece’s ruling Syriza party wanted to raid central bank reserves to prepare a return to the drachma, according to recent reports. It is not clear how seriously the government considered the plans, attributed to former Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and Ex-Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. Athens has meanwhile formally submitted a request to the International Monetary Fund for a new loan facility. The extent of the IMF’s participation has remained unclear once its current program expires next year.
theguardian.com (Varoufakis), cnbc.com (IMF)
Schäuble plans European tax: Germany is willing to discuss the creation of a eurozone finance minister who would have his own budget and raise extra taxes. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble is open to the idea to transfer financial resources from his tax revenues to a separate budget of the monetary union. One option could be that member states would transmit parts of their national revenues from income and value-added tax to such a eurozone budget. The eurozone finance minister could also get the right to put a surcharge on taxes.
Speculation about IMF and World Bank: The next managing director of the International Monetary Fund is likely to come from outside Europe when current leader Christine Lagarde eventually leaves, says IMF First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton. The tradition by which a European heads the fund while an American leads the World Bank was coming under pressure and the next appointment would be strictly merit-based, according to Lipton.
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Elimination of custom duties: A total of 54 members of the World Trade Organization, including the EU, China, and the United States, have agreed to eliminate custom duties on 201 high-tech products. The agreement initiated and brokered by the EU will remove customs duties on a wide range of tech products. The deal will cover 1 trillion euros in global trade, covering close to 90 percent of world trade in the products concerned.
Cameron fast-tracks referendum: Prime Minister David Cameron now plans to hold the in-or-out referendum on Great Britain’s future EU membership in June 2016. Finance Minister George Osborne travelled to Paris on Sunday to campaign for EU reforms. U.S. President Barack Obama also joined the debate, warning Britain against a “Brexit” if the country wants to keep its role in world politics.
Food waste: An estimated 89 million tonnes of food are wasted across Europe every year. This figure could rise to approximately 126 million tonnes by 2020 if no action is taken. The House of Lords, along with 16 EU member states, has now sent a letter to EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, demanding that the EU crack down on food waste.
Mergers: Commission approves Nokia´s acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent europa.eu
Ratification: Germany sign EU association agreement with Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine euractiv.com
Refugees: Eritrea calls for UN probe into “abhorrent” people smuggling yahoonews.com
Human Rights Dialogue: Ukraine and EU met in Kiev on Friday seas.europa.eu
Film award: Mediterranea, Mustang and Urok shortlisted for the 2015 Lux Prize europarl.europa.eu
Plea: German Green party leader Hofreiter calls for less regulation and more Europe zeit.de
⊂ QUOTES ⊃
“Emotionally I am for the euro, because I like the idea of a united Europe. But I’m no longer able to defend the euro rationally. We have a refugee crisis, we have the Ukraine crisis – but our governments have to talk about sales tax rates on Greek islands. We have to develop ideas for a European unity apart from the euro.”
German writer Thomas Brussig believes the euro went from being a symbol for unity to being a symbol for separation.
“Just as Turkey has a justified right to defend itself against IS, it is equally important for it not to leave the initiated path of reconciliation with the Kurdish Workers Party.”
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen criticizes Turkey’s military actions against the PKK.
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Turkey attacks PKK and IS: Amid a wave of violence between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), German Chancellor Merkel appealed to Turkish Prime Minister Davutoglu not to give up the peace process with the Kurds. Turkey had launched air strikes against PKK positions in northern Iraq on Sunday following an air strike on Friday targeting the Islamic State (IS) group. Late on Saturday a car bomb attack on a military convoy killed two soldiers and injured four others, Turkish officials said. Turkey has called a special meeting of Nato ambassadors.
dw.com, bbc.com, theguardian.com
Tour de France incident: Just ahead of the finale of the Tour de France on Sunday morning, a car struck a taxi and tried to drive at high speed through barricades set up near the finish line. Police opened fire on the vehicle during the incident, which happened hours before the arrival of the cyclists and spectators. There were no reported injuries and police are searching for the four occupants of the car.
Putin wants his own ratings agency: The Russian Central Bank wants to launch a new Russian credit ratings agency by the end of the year, following accusations that credit downgrades by two of the three dominant international agencies, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s, earlier in the year were politically motivated. Both now classify Russian sovereign debt as below investment grade.
Russian Major arrested: The Ukrainian border patrol has reported the arrest of a Russian Major said to have accompanied a rebel munitions transport. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has announced that all heavy weaponry will be withdrawn from the front by August. The President of the separatist region Transnistria, Yevgeny Shevchuk, said on Friday that Ukraine has mobilised 5,000 to 7,000 soldiers on the border to Transnistria.
Corbyn could win Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn is a 66-year-old Member of Parliament who has represented Islington North since 1983. He is now currently leading the polls in the race to succeed Ed Miliband as the next leader of the Labour Party. Corbyn’s popularity has sparked a row within the party. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair is among those to have warned Labour against moving to the left following the poll that put Corbyn ahead.
Possibly majority for war crimes court in Kosovo: The Kosovan government coalition has apparently managed to secure the necessary number of votes in Parliament to change the country’s constitution and create a special court for war crimes. According to reports the constitutional amendments are now being supported by 85 of 120 MPs.
Spain: Investors sue state after reduction of solar subsidies handelsblatt.com
France: Constitutional Coouncil approves surveillance law despite UN concern theguardian.com
Hungary: Orban speeds up construction of border fence euronews.com
Turkey: Two brothers charged ten years after honor killing of Hatun Sürücü faz.net
⊂ DATA ⊃
900,000 of more than one million Ukrainian refugees want to stay in Russia. While they were welcomed warmly at the beginning, their integration is now causing increasing problems.
⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃
politjobs.eu: 350.org seeks campaigner *** Steltemeier & Rawe seeks Senior Associate (m/f) *** 1&1 sucht EU Public Affairs Manager VKU sucht Referentin/en *** Afore Consulting seeks Junior Consultants in European Public Affairs
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)
⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
Austria bans Nazi licence plates: More than 30 number and letter combinations for personalised registration plates that contain allusions to the Nazis are being made illegal in Austria. Acronyms such as “NSAP 1” and “SS 18” are no longer allowed to appear on cars. Transport minister Alois Stöger said in a statement that fascist ideology had no place in Austrian society. Austria has some of the toughest laws against glorification of nazism and Holocaust denial.