Monday, 30 September 2019: UK health secretary considers compulsory vaccinations, Johnson denies abuse of office, Trump criticises impeachment investigation, Kurz wins Austrian election

⊂ UNITED KINGDOM ⊃

UK health secretary considers compulsory vaccinations: Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that he is looking very seriously at making vaccinations compulsory for all children going to school in England. Speaking at a fringe event at the Conservative party conference, he said he was very worried by falling vaccination rates, indicating the government could act soon. Unvaccinated children are putting other children at risk. Vaccination rates dipped in the 1990s following publication of a report linking the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine to autism, but partly recovered after that research was disproved.
bbc.com, theguardian.com

Finance minister pledges infrastructure spending: This Monday, Finance Minister Sajid Javid will set out an investment package designed to win over voters before an expected early election. With parliament in deadlock over Brexit, a new election is expected to come before the end of the year. Javid will commit 5 billion pounds to improving fast broadband access in harder-to-reach parts of the country, announce a strategy to improve bus services, and set out how billions already set aside for road improvements will be spent. The plans also include a 2.7 billion pound investment for six hospitals over five years.
uk.reuters.com, bbc.com

No police action over Farage’s comments: Police say they will not be taking further action over comments made by Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage in a speech to supporters. Gwent Police said they received complaints from the public after a video showed Farage saying “we’ll take the knife” to civil servants. But police said the comments did not constitute a criminal offence. Farage said on Sunday he would run for a seat in parliament in any upcoming election. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ruled out a forming an electoral pact with the Brexit Party after Farage claimed it could deliver the Tories a 100-seat majority.
bbc.com, uk.reuters.com, independent.co.uk

Margaret Hodge: Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson criticises party for wasting time and effort on local selection battles theguardian.com

⊂ JOB-BOARD UNITED KINGDOM ⊃

politjobs.ukAssociation of Directors of Children’s Services seeks Policy Officer *** The Royal Society seeks Senior Policy Adviser (Education) *** ITV Cymru Wales seeks Public Affairs Manager *** Independent Age seeks Public Affairs Officer *** Dogs Trust seeks European Policy Advisor (Publish your job ad)

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Johnson denies abuse of office: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said there was no interest to declare regarding links with US businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri. It is alleged Arcuri had received favourable treatment due to her friendship with Johnson. The “Sunday Times” reported that Arcuri told friends that she had an affair with Johnson while he was mayor of London. The police watchdog are deciding whether to investigate the prime minister for a potential criminal offence of misconduct in public office while he was mayor. Johnson has also rejected claims that the language he was using against his Brexit opponents would incite violence. Johnson said he has been a model of restraint when it comes to language around the Brexit debate. Meanwhile, Downing Street has denied allegations that Johnson groped a female journalist. On the first day of the Conservative party conference in Manchester, Johnson told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show that Britain can still leave the EU on 31 October despite the passing of the Benn Act, which aims to prevent a no-deal Brexit by forcing him to ask the EU for a delay.
bbc.com, theguardian.com, bbc.com, independent.co.uk, theguardian.com

Trump criticises impeachment investigation: US President Donald Trump launched a social media broadside Saturday against the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, calling it the single greatest scam in the history of American politics. He again referred to the inquiry as a witch hunt. House Leader Nancy Pelosi said the US public was now in favour of an impeachment inquiry against Trump over allegations he pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate the son of former vice president Joe Biden. Pelosi said the tide had completely changed following the release of a whistleblower complaint about Trump’s conversations with Zelenskiy. The US administration is investigating emails of dozens of current and former senior State Department officials who sent emails to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private address. Former US President Barack Obama has visited Munich. Iran has accused the US of starting a cyber war between the two countries. Houthi rebels in Yemen say they have captured 500 Saudi soldiers.
foxnews.com (Trump); independent.co.uk (Pelosi); cnn.com (Clinton); tagesspiegel.de (Obama); reuters.com (Iran); theguardian.com (Yemen)

Orban says Hungary will remain part of the EU: Hungary has no plans to leave the EU, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Sunday, adding however that eastern and western members of the EU must find a compromise over the union’s future. He again rejected the EU’s criticism of Hungary’s record on the rule of law. The Romanian and Hungarian governments have reiterated their support for their candidates for European commissioner, after MEPs on Thursday voted against the nomination of Romania’s Rovana Plumb and Hungary’s Laszlo Trocsanyi over conflict of interest concerns.
reuters.com, politico.eu

Clashes in Hong Kong: Thousands of protesters marched in Hong Kong’s shopping district on Sunday. Police used teargas, rubber bullets, pepper spray and water cannon against protesters. Battalions of riot police officers patrolled the streets of major commercial districts. Protesters threw petrol bombs and bricks. Some protesters set fires at intersections and the entrances to shuttered subway stations. Sunday’s demonstrations were some of the worst unrest in the city since the protest movement began in early June. Protesters especially criticise Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam for being too close to the Chinese government.
cnn.com, nytimes.com

Brexit: European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) wants to prevent creation of shell companies handelsblatt.com
Minimum wage: Employers criticise von der Leyen’s minimum wage plans n-tv.de
Russia: Thousands rally in Moscow to demand release of jailed protesters reuters.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Kurz wins Austrian election: Austria’s former chancellor Sebastian Kurz won a snap election he called four months ago after his government collapsed because of a scandal engulfing his far-right coalition partner. Kurz’s centre-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) came in first with 37.1%. The second winners of Sunday’s vote were the Austrian Greens. Boosted by growing concerns about climate change, they returned to parliament with 14% of the vote. Kurz’ former coalition partners, the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), have lost support, falling to 16%. A return to government remains a possibility, with Kurz signalling during the campaign that he was open to another coalition with the far right. The liberal pro-business Neos party received 7.4% and the Social Democrats 21.5% of the vote.
nytimes.com, politico.eu, bbc.com

France seeks EU intervention after XL Airways collapse: France believes state aid to budget carrier Norwegian Air was partly to blame for the bankruptcy of Paris-based rival XL Airways and will seek EU intervention, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Sunday. Norwegian Air undercut prices while in debt and received public funding from Norway, Le Maire said, adding that this support partly explained the difficulties that drove XL Airways into bankruptcy.
reuters.com

Catalonia braced for fresh unrest: Thousands of people protested near Barcelona on Saturday, upset about the jailing of seven Catalan separatists on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks. Last Monday, police had arrested seven members of the Catalan independence movement for allegedly belonging to a terrorist group, manufacturing explosives and conspiring to wreak havoc. They have been held awaiting trial. Protesters demanded their release, with separatists claiming their incarceration was part of a political attempt to quash the peaceful independence movement. With lengthy prison sentences expected in the trial, the independence movement has promised massive civil disobedience to force Spain solve the conflict democratically.
dw.com, telegraph.co.uk

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Tribute to former French president Chirac: Thousands of mourners paid tribute to the late former French President Jacques Chirac on Sunday. Chirac lay in state during a public ceremony at the Invalides monument. People held a moment of silence in front of the casket draped in the French flag under a large, smiling picture of Chirac.
time.com, france24.com

Poland: Police stop protesters who disrupt gay pride parade washingtonpost.com
Germany: Increased police presence at border checkpoints zeit.de
Italy: Government expects rising new debt in 2020 wiwo.de
Slovakia: Mig-29 jet crashes during training flight zeit.de
Norway: Memorial in honour of victims of attacks in Oslo and Utoya zdf.de
Sweden and Estonia: 25th anniversary of Estonia ferry disaster dw.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 ⊃

No rift between Merkel and German defence minister: German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has denied a falling out with Chancellor Angela Merkel after the pair travelled on separate airplanes to the United States. The defence minister and her entourage were removed from Merkel’s plane at short notice, and the two politicians travelled almost simultaneously on two separate air force jets to the US east coast.
dw.com

 

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