Thursday, 08 March 2018: EU pledges to fight back on Trump tariffs, Tusk rejects May’s Brexit vision, Former Russian spy poisoned by nerve agent

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

EU pledges to fight back on Trump tariffs: European Union officials unveiled an array of tariffs on Wednesday that they would place on American-made goods if the United States followed through on President Donald Trump’s plan to impose penalties on imported steel and aluminum. Such a move by the US would put thousands of European jobs in jeopardy, and had to be met by a firm and proportionate response, Cecilia Malmstrom, the EU commissioner for trade, said at a news conference in Brussels. European officials have been meeting with their counterparts in Washington, urging them to revisit the plans, she added. The EU threatened to impose duties on US bourbon, peanut butter, cranberries and orange juice. Representatives of 11 nations are gathering in the Chilean capital of Santiago on Thursday to sign a regional free trade agreement that has been strongly championed by Japan since the United States decided to withdraw from the pact shortly after Trump entered the White House.
nytimes.com, cnbc.com, dw.com (Trade deal)

Tusk rejects May’s Brexit vision: European Council President Donald Tusk put forward draft negotiating guidelines Wednesday that seek to maintain as close as possible a partnership with the UK, but that is effectively constrained to a free-trade agreement because of London’s insistence on quitting the EU single market and customs union. The EU Council president said British Prime Minister Theresa May wanted to demonstrate at any price that Brexit could be a success, but that was not the EU’s objective. He said the EU wanted an ambitious and advanced free trade deal – and continued access to UK waters for EU fishing vessels. There can be no cherry-picking or partial participation in the single market, as the UK wants.
politico.eu, bloomberg.com, bbc.com

French far-right lawmakers must repay EU parliament: The European Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday that Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of France’s far-right National Front, and a ranking party official must repay nearly 600,000 euros to the European Parliament for wages wrongly paid for supposed parliamentary assistants. The court ruling upheld a decision by the EU Parliament seeking to recover the money from Le Pen and long-time National Front member Bruno Gollnisch. The two lawmakers had sought to annul the parliament’s decision. A number of National Front MEPs have been accused of paying permanent members of the party’s staff with Parliament money by making them assistants of MEPs, but without them doing any relevant work.
washingtonpost.com, politico.eu

EU criticises aggressive tax practices: The EU Commission criticised seven member states Wednesday for aggressive tax policies designed to undercut others in the race to lure multinational companies. The European Union’s executive branch pointed the finger at Belgium, Cyprus, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands, arguing that they have tax policies that undermine the integrity of the European single market. While dismissing the notion than any one country in the EU operates as a tax haven and arguing that progress is being made among the seven, Pierre Moscovici, the commissioner responsible for tax policy, said it’s imperative those named accelerate plans to amend aspects of their tax systems that undermine the credibility of the EU.
washingtonpost.com

Passengers can claim compensation at destination: Passengers can sue airlines for compensation in the country where their trip ends when a delay in the first leg of their journey causes them to miss connecting flights, the EU’s top court said on Wednesday. If they fly on a single booking, passengers can seek compensation in court at their final destination, even if the airline only carried them to their first stop, the court said.
reuters.com

Plan for sustainable growth: EU wants a green financial sector tagesspiegel.de
Women get 21.5 percent less than men: Germany and UK have among biggest gender pay gaps in Europe spiegel.de
Aid: EU Commission wants to work together with major cities to counter terrorism tagesspiegel.de
Eurozone: Growth 2017 less than expected zeit.de

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

The truth is trade wars are bad and easy to lose.
Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, said on Wednesday that US President Donald Trump was wrong about trade wars being easy to win.
money.cnn.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Former Russian spy poisoned by nerve agent: A former Russian spy and his daughter were deliberately poisoned with a nerve agent, British police said Wednesday. Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found unconscious in Salisbury, southern England, on Sunday afternoon and remain in a critical condition. Mark Rowley, assistant chief commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, did not confirm the exact substance used but said this was being treated as a major incident involving attempted murder, by administration of a nerve agent. Sergei Skripal, a retired Russian military intelligence officer, was jailed for 13 years by Russia in 2006 for spying for Britain. He was one of four prisoners released by Moscow as part of a spy swap in 2010.
politico.eu

Berlusconi pledges to back League’s Salvini: Silvio Berlusconi will support the leader of Italy’s eurosceptic partner the League in attempts to form a government, the former prime minister said in a newspaper interview on Wednesday. In a personal defeat for Berlusconi, the far-right League surpassed his Forza Italia party in Sunday’s elections, winning about 17 percent of the vote to 14 percent for Forza Italia. The four parties in the centre-right coalition agreed during the campaign that the leader of the party that won the most votes would head a government. Berlusconi said on Tuesday that the centre-right coalition must receive a mandate to govern after winning the most seats at Sunday’s election. Gianni Pittella has announced his resignation as president of the European Parliament’s Socialists & Democrats group Wednesday after winning a seat in the Italian Senate on Sunday.
euronews.com, politico.eu

German investors angry at Catalan separatists: Catalan lawmakers must accept the legal consequences if they refuse to obey Spanish law, the head of an association for German executives in the region said. Albert Peters, chairman of the Barcelona-based Circle of German-Speaking Businessmen in Catalonia, said he hopes the new government of Catalonia changes course after ousted President Carles Puigdemont led a drive to declare independence from Spain last year. His association represents more than 200 executives and its sponsors include firms such as BASF SE and chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli AG, according to its website.
bloomberg.com

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Facebook removes Hungarian government video: Facebook has removed a controversial Hungarian government video which claimed that “white Christians” are gone from parts of Vienna and the same could happen in Hungary. Janos Lazar, whose title is minister of the prime minister’s office, posted the video on his official Facebook page late Tuesday, weeks ahead of the country’s April 8 election. Vienna’s vice mayor Dominik Nepp dismissed Lazar’s remarks, saying they were unreasonable and not exactly an act of courtesy in the sense of friendly relations between neighbouring countries. Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, has also faced fierce criticism in recent weeks over disparaging comments he made about foreigners.
euronews.com, politico.eu

Germany: Government criticises far-right MPs’ Syria visit politico.eu
Russian parliament: BBC journalist accuses Russian politician of sexual harassment bbc.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 ⊃

Serbia-Kosovo spat delays electric clocks in Europe: A long-running political dispute between Serbia and Kosovo is spilling into Europe’s power network and delaying electric clocks across the Continent, electricity transmission system operators warned this week. An unprecedented drop since mid-January in the frequency average in Continental Europe’s power system, stretching from Spain to Turkey, Poland and the Netherlands, is affecting electric clocks that are steered by the frequency of the power system and not by a quartz crystal. The area covers 25 countries — most of the European continent. The issue originated in Kosovo and Serbia, the network said. It’s not yet clear who will compensate for the missing energy, which currently amounts to 113 gigawatt hours.
politico.eu

 

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