Thursday, 06 June 2019: EU calls for infringement procedure against Italy, Google appeals EU antitrust fine, Social Democrats win election in Denmark


EU calls for infringement procedure against Italy: The European Commission on Wednesday took the first step in launching a disciplinary process against Italy over the Italian government’s defiance of EU spending rules. European Economic Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said that the EU prefers dialogue to sanctions, but added that Italy must be required to follow European rules. The EU Commission also warned France and Belgium over their public finances but stopped short of saying that disciplinary proceedings against the two were justified. Meanwhile, the Commission released Spain from the procedure, meaning Italy is the only country now with a financial black mark against it from the EU.,,

Manfred Weber reelected as EPP leader: The European People’s Party (EPP) on Wednesday reelected the German MEP Manfred Weber as leader of its group in the EU Parliament. The conservative EPP group also reelected current vice chairs. Weber is seeking to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission. He currently needs the support of at least two further parliamentary groups to muster the 376 votes required in the 751-seat Parliament.,

Brexit party and PiS dash far-right hopes for alliance: Far-right parties’ hopes of forging a powerful new eurosceptic bloc in the EU Parliament suffered a double blow on Wednesday when Poland’s ruling nationalists and Britain’s Brexit Party both said they would not join such a grouping. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland’s conservative ruling party Law and Justice (PiS), ruled out joining on account of the pro-Russian stance of Salvini, France’s National Rally, led by Marine Le Pen, and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party also said it would not join the putative new grouping, though it gave no reason.

Google appeals EU antitrust fine: Google has appealed a billion dollar fine from the EU Commission for stifling competition in the online advertising industry, the company announced on Wednesday. In March, the executive arm of the EU had slapped Google with its third antitrust fine, this time for abusing its dominance in the online advertising market through its AdSense business. The EU said Google’s practice of restricting online search advertisements from competitors was illegal under the bloc’s antitrust rules.

EU budget 2020: Focus on jobs, growth and security
Environmental policy: EU Commission calls on Germany to increase climate protection
Russia: EU mission in Moscow discovers potential hack into systems


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Social Democrats win election in Denmark: The Social Democrats won the largest share of the vote in Denmark’s parliamentary election on Wednesday, according to exit polls and early counting. Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen has conceded victory, paving the way for Social Democrat leader Mette Frederiksen to take power. Frederiksen has vowed to form a minority government if the party won the most votes. Such governments are common in Denmark, where ruling parties often seek support from different parties to pass laws on a case-by-case basis. The general election was dominated by debates over climate change, welfare cuts and immigration.,

Ghosn could face legal action in France: French finance minister Bruno Le Maire told BFM TV on Wednesday that Renault could be bringing former executive boss Carlos Ghosn to court after finding out about 11 million euros of dubious expenses. Le Maire said it was now up to judicial authorities to take the next decision. France has stakes in Renault so this could mean an even bigger headache for the disgraced former CEO, who was arrested in Tokyo last November after a Nissan internal probe found him guilty of financial misconduct. The accusations included appropriating company funds for his personal use and misreporting his income to Japanese authorities over five years.

Finland pledges carbon neutrality: Finland’s new government has announced that the country will aim to cut its carbon emissions completely by 2035. It is one of the most ambitious benchmarks set by a major EU country and will obligate Finland to reduce its carbon emissions to below the amount that can be absorbed by forests, wetlands and new technologies. The Nordic nation will take over the rotating EU presidency in July, with an ambitious pan-European climate deal still left on the negotiating table.

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Ukraine’s new president vows pro-Western trajectory: During his first trip to Brussels, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the country’s strategy of seeking full-fledged Nato membership remained unchanged. Although still somewhat of a political blank slate, Zelenskiy aimed to use his visit to set the foreign policy tone for his five-year term and show Western partners that the Ukraine is serious about European and Euro-Atlantic integration. A former comedian and political novice, he was elected the sixth president of Ukraine by an overwhelming majority over predecessor Petro Poroshenko in April.

Germany: Ministers want to use Alexa recordings as evidence in trials
France: Investigation against former interior minister Collomb

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World Bank says global growth continues to weaken: After the International Monetary Fund and the OECD, the World Bank has also cut its 2019 growth forecasts. Uncertainties over trade and investment are at the root of this slowdown. For the eurozone, the various organisations expect an average growth of 1.2%, with marked differences between France (+1.3% for the OECD) and Italy, which is expected to be close to recession. Germany should see its GDP increase by only around 0.7%.



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