Monday, November 25th 2019: Johnson’s Christmas present for Britain, Romania re-elects President Iohannis, Italy tests new distribution system for refugees

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Johnson’s Christmas present for Britain: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised £23.5 billion worth of public spending and tax relief on Sunday as he unveiled the Conservative manifesto. Johnson announced a “triple lock” on income tax, national insurance and value added tax rates. He also insisted that he would push his Brexit withdrawal agreement through parliament before Christmas if he wins an outright majority in the upcoming election. The biggest Conservative pledge is to raise the threshold for National Insurance contributions, followed by extra spending on the health service. Other Tory pledges include 20,000 new police officers, an extra £1 billion for social care and an Australian-style points based immigration system. Johnson criticized Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for pledging to stay neutral during a second referendum on Brexit. According to polls, the Tory share of the vote now stands at 47%, with Labour at 28%.
euronews.com, cnn.com (Johnson); theguardian.com (Poll)

No British Commissioner in sight: The European Union is due to relaunch its new European Commission under the leadership of German conservative Ursula von der Leyen on December 1st. Until now, Britain has refused to name its representative for the Commission, as the country plans to finally leave the EU on January 31st. The EU has launched a legal case against the UK on the matter. The British government has until the end of November 22nd to reply to the outgoing EU Commission. Trying to hedge their bets, the other 27 EU member states are preparing a decision that would stress the legality of forming the new Commission without Britain.
uk.reuters.com

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Pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong makes big gains: Hong Kong’s opposition pro-democracy movement made major gains in the district council elections. The elections were seen as a test of support for the city’s pro-China Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who has faced intense pressure during months of protests in Hong Kong. Initial results from the voting showed huge gains for the pro-democracy camp. A record 4.1 million people had registered to vote, or more than half the population of 7.4 million. Meanwhile, leaked documents detail China’s systematic brainwashing of hundreds of thousands of Muslims in a network of high-security prison camps. The documents show how inmates are locked up, indoctrinated and punished.
bbc.com, cnbc.com (Hong Kong); bbc.com (China)

Jean-Claude Juncker: A European navigator disembarks dw.com
EU naval mission: France says Abu Dhabi to host headquarters for European naval mission for the Gulf af.reuters.com
United States: Mike Bloomberg launches bid for 2020 Democratic presidential nomination cnbc.com
Israel: Opposition politician Gantz wants to prevent new elections with unity government tagesspiegel.de
Bolivia: New elections excluding Evo Morales approved dw.com

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

I understand your desire for disruptive politics. But I’m tired of picking up the pieces. Over and over, I have to glue together the cups you have broken so we can then sit down and have a cup of tea together.
The “New York Times” reports that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has sharply criticized French President Emmanuel Macron for his comments on Nato.
nytimes.com, reuters.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Romania reelects President Iohannis: Romanian President Klaus Iohannis won a presidential runoff vote on Sunday, earning twice as many votes as his challenger Viorica Dancila from the PSD Social Democrats. According to exit polls, Iohannis garnered around 63% of votes followed by Dancila with almost 37%. Turnout at the election was about 50%, making it the lowest since the fall of Communism 30 years ago. However, for the first time almost one million Romanians living abroad went to the polls. The government had simplified voting procedures at the consulates.
dw.com, reuters.com, spiegel.de

Italy tests new distribution system for refugees: The rescue ship “Ocean Viking” has docked in the Italian port of Messina, carrying 213 migrants saved at sea. Italy usually only opens its ports to rescue vessels with migrants on board if other EU states have agreed to take them in. In this case, Italy, Germany, France and Malta jointly applied to the EU Commission to initiate the redistribution of the migrants, according to the Italian interior ministry. It is the first time such an application has been made according to a basic protocol for migrant rescues agreed by these four countries at a meeting in Malta in late September. Meanwhile, seven people are reported to have died when an overcrowded boat carrying migrants capsized off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa on Saturday. The Italian coast guard said it had rescued another 149 but that some 20 people were still missing.
dw.com, theguardian.com

Maltese police interrogate economy minister after murder of journalist: Malta’s Economy Minister Chris Cardona has been questioned by police, following the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017. Cardona had been called in to verify certain matters. He was not arrested and is not being treated as a suspect. Prominent businessman Yorgen Fenech, arrested by Malta police as a person of interest in the murder, has asked for a pardon in return for information about the case, police sources said on Saturday. He is the second man to seek a pardon after Melvin Theuma, under arrest on suspicion of having been a middleman in the murder, made a similar request earlier in the week.
tagesspiegel.de, nytimes.com

German minister protests Turkish lawyer’s arrest: The arrest of a lawyer working for Germany’s embassy in Turkey has prompted a protest from Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu. Maas said Germany regarded the lawyer’s arrest as incomprehensible and that the German government had no understanding for it. Lawyer Yilmaz S. was arrested in mid-September, prompting fears that he held sensitive data on Turks exiled in Germany since Turkey’s failed 2016 coup. Some 200 asylum-seekers have reportedly been warned by Germany’s Office for Migration and Refugees that the data could lead to probes by Turkey’s national intelligence agency.
dw.com

Austria 1: Momentum in ÖVP and Green Party coalition talks spiegel.de
Austria 2: Dream of the 1,200 Euro basic income welt.de
Luxembourg: Foreign Minister Asselborn calls for European reaction to US policy change in the Middle East tagesspiegel.de
France and Italy: Flooding leaves at least three dead washingtonpost.com

⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃

politjobs.eu: Alfa Fellowship Program seeks Young German, British, and American Leaders *** FTA seeks Regulatory Affairs Advisor (m/f) *** Bayer seeks Trainee (m/f) *** ISN seeks Advocacy Officer (m/f) *** Politico seeks Lobbying Reporter (m/f) *** EGEC seeks Trainee (m/f) *** Facebook seeks Public Policy Manager (m/f) *** Google seeks Public Policy and Government Relations Manager (m/f) *** DEKRA offers Internship (m/f) *** European Friends of Amernia seeks Communications and Media Engagement Officer (m/f) *** International Crisis Group seeks Analyst (m/f)
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)

⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃

Isis fighter returns to Germany: A German woman suspected of being an Isis member has been repatriated along with her three children. German authorities had previously ordered for the mother to be returned to her home country from a Syrian camp, saying that she left Germany and joined the jihadi militia in 2016. German authorities have been investigating the mother on suspicion of membership of a terror organization and child neglect.
dw.com

 

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