Monday, December 14th: World climate agreement hailed as historic breakthrough, Increase in turnout thwarts Le Pen, Libya conference in Rome

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

World climate agreement hailed as historic breakthrough: Representatives from 196 nations have made a historic pact, agreeing to adopt green energy sources, cut down on climate change emissions and limit the rise of global temperatures, while also cooperating to cope with the impact of unavoidable climate change. The accord achieved one major goal: It limits average global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures and strives for a limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius if possible. More than 180 states have already published their targets for the first round, which will begin 2020. There are no penalties for countries that fail to meet their emissions targets. However, new transparency rules are intended to encourage countries to implement their promises.
npr.org, nytimes.com

Reactions to Paris climate agreement: Scientists and researchers recognized the climate treaty as an important breakthrough. Politicians were downright euphoric. US President Barack Obama spoke of a turning point for the world and called the agreement „the best chance we have to save the one planet that we’ve got”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said while there was still a lot of work ahead, the deal was a sign of hope “that we will manage to secure the life conditions” of billions of people for the future. For many climate experts and activists, however, the agreement does not go far enough. BUND chairman Hubert Weiger was ambivalent in his evaluation of what had been achieved in Paris.
cnn.com, dw.com

Increase in turnout thwarts Le Pen: France’s far-right Front National (FN) party has failed to win a single region during the second round of regional elections. With more than 90 percent of votes counted, seven of the country’s 13 regions have been won by the centre-right Les Republicains of former president Nicolas Sarkozy and their allies, five by the Socialists of president Francois Hollande and their allies. After the elections, the FN leader Marine Le Pen will have to answer to accusations of voting fraud in the European Parliament, according to the French daily “Les Echos”.
theguardian.com, euractiv.com

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Libya conference in Rome: An international conference aimed at ending the civil war in Libya has called on all parties to accept an immediate ceasefire. US Secretary of State John Kerry said he expected Libya’s rival governments to sign a UN-backed agreement on Wednesday to form a unity government. Global powers backed the formation of a national unity government in Libya, pledging economic and security support to help stabilize the North African country. Libya has been unstable since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in October 2011.
bbc.com, reuters.com

Poland refuses EU refugee quota: The new government in Poland has announced that it will not comply with the EU refugee relocation program. Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has defended the German-Franco plan to give the EU border protection agency Frontex more powers of intervention in the refugee crisis. The Greek government plans to host a mini-summit on the crisis with Turkish Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
n-tv.de

Russia leads global arms sales: Global arms sales in 2014 were dominated by defense firms in the US and Western Europe. but Russian firms gained ground, research institute Sipri said Monday. Russian firms accounted for one-tenth of total sales on the list. The top Russian seller was Almaz Antei, with sales of 8.8 billion dollars, and 11th place overall. There are now eleven Russian companies in the Top 100 and their combined revenue growth over 2013-14 was 48.4 per cent.
europeonline-magazine.eu

New risks for states and municipalities: One reason for the persistent criticism of the free trade agreements TTIP and CETA are the planned arbitration courts in the agreements. Investors can sue states in these courts if they feel like they are being treated unfairly. According to the German Ministry of Economic Affairs, the federal government is not necessarily responsible for lost arbitration cases – the 16 German states and municipalities are also liable.
welt.de

Security concerns: EU warns Thailand over air safety euractiv.com
European Council: Review of EU telecoms rules consilium.europa.eu
Regional development: All 118 Rural Development Programs adopted europa.eu

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

Only six, seven years ago, a political actvist would go to jail for five to ten days for protesting against Putin’s abuse of power. That has happened to me as well. Today, you go to jail for five to ten years. A few days ago a Russian activist was sent behind bars because he was holding a poster criticising Putin.
Garry Kasparov, Russian opposition politician and former World Chess Champion, urges the West not to give Russian President Vladimir Putin a stage for his political productions.
tagesspiegel.de

Our head stays above water.
Olai Uludong, ambassador on climate change for the Pacific island state of Palau, welcomes the Paris climate agreement.
uk.reuters.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Russia fires warning shots at Turkish boat: Moscow says one of its warships fired warning shots at a Turkish fishing boat in the Aegean Sea to avoid a collision. A Russian defense ministry statement said the Turkish vessel approached to 600m before turning away in response to Russian small arms fire. The Turkish military attache in Moscow has been summoned to the foreign ministry over the incident. Relations remain tense between the two countries since Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian warplane.
bbc.com

Standard & Poor’s is critical of Brexit: The ratings agency Standard & Poor’s said that Britain remains at risk of a downgrade due to Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to hold a vote on whether to leave the European Union. The agency reiterated its decision to put the country on notice that it faced a one-in-three chance of a downgrade in the next two years, warning that the risk of Britain leaving the EU could affect its triple-A ranking. In MEP David McAllister’s opinion, the Brits could already vote in 2016 on whether or not Britain will remain in the EU.
telegraph.co.uk

Assange to be questioned by Sweden: Ecuador has agreed to allow Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to be questioned by Swedish authorities at the Ecuadorean embassy in London. Assange took refuge there three years ago to avoid extradition to Sweden on charges of sexual assault against two women in 2010. He denies the accusations and says he fears Sweden would extradite him to the United States for possible trial there.
bbc.com

Republika Srpska ends police cooperation: The EU has expressed concern after Bosnian Serbs decided to suspend co-operation with the country’s central police force and courts. The Bosnian Serb move follows raids by officers investigating war crimes. The EU called on authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina to maintain mutual co-operation and dialogue. It underlined „the need to respect the rule of law throughout the whole territory of the country“.
bbc.com

Protests in Poland: Tens of thousands of people held demonstrations here over the weekend after the new populist government in Polandmoved to install its own judges at the highest court, stirring controversy and antagonizing the opposition. Already 55 percent of Poles believe the country’s freedom and democracy is threatened, according to a recent survey. Since the new government started its work less than a month ago, it has begun to revamp the state at a dizzying pace: The intelligence chiefs and the police chief were replaced, and changes are being prepared in the public media and the military.
wsj.com

Saudi Arabia: Historic election sees several women win seats dw.com
Switzerland: Two Syrian terrorist suspects arrested cnn.com
Spain: Suspected terrorist arrested abcnews.com
Germany: CDU party conference dw.com
Turkey: Twitter fined for praising terrorism dw.com

⊂ DATA ⊃

Every third Greek pays bribes during a hospital visit, according to a recent study. The volume of bribes varies from 200 euros for modest interventions up to 5,000 Euro for large operations.
faz.net

⊂ 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 ⊃

They’re fighting again: Fighting broke out in the Ukrainian parliament on Friday after a member of President Petro Poroshenko’s bloc, Oleh Barna, physically picked up Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk and pulled him from the podium. Members from Yatseniuk’s People Front party waded in, pushing Barna and throwing punches. Lawmakers from Poroshenko’s bloc joined the fray and a brawl ensued for several minutes.
reuters.com

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