Thursday, 08 November 2018: EPP race for Commission presidency kicks off, European defence coalition launched in Paris, Spain to change law to force banks to pay mortgage stamp duty

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

EPP race for Commission presidency kicks off: The European Union’s largest political grouping warned Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Wednesday that it might consider expelling his Fidesz party from its ranks due to concern over its record on the rule of law and democratic freedoms. The centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) backed a special resolution at its congress in Helsinki demanding respect for the values and freedoms that underpin the EU, saying they faced a serious threat. German MEP and head of the European People’s party Manfred Weber, is facing former Finnish Prime Minister Alex Stubb in the EPP race to become the next Commission President. Delegates decide Thursday on their candidate to replace Jean-Claude Juncker in the top job. Weber said his party is loyal to its Christian Democratic principles and has solutions for populism and extremism. He admitted that Orban was a problem for the EPP family.
reuters.com, euronews.com, euractiv.com

European defence coalition launched in Paris: A coalition of European militaries ready to react to crises near the continent’s borders was launched on Wednesday with Finland becoming the tenth country to join. The French-led initiative would not conflict with the Nato alliance, proponents say, but reflects in part concerns about a more isolationist United States under President Donald Trump. The European Intervention Initiative took official shape in Paris after months of negotiations with Germany, who France wants at the centre of the force. French President Emmanuel Macron had proposed the idea more than a year ago.
reuters.com

EU auditors criticise Commission farming proposal: The European Court of Auditors has published a scathing evaluation of the EU Commission’s legislative proposal on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy. The report said European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan’s schemes were muddled and would not deliver on promises to help the environment. It also criticised that the Commission gave insufficient arguments to support continued income subsidies for farmers, and that the Commission’s estimate of the proposal’s contribution to climate action appeared unrealistic.
euobserver.com, politico.eu

Italy’s Enria wins race to head ECB banking watchdog: Italian Andrea Enria was picked on Wednesday to head the European Central Bank’s supervisory arm. Defeating Ireland’s Sharon Donnery in a hotly-contested run-off, Enria will now head the Single Supervisory Mechanism, covering the eurozone’s 118 top lenders. The ECB’s Governing Council selected Enria in a secret ballot, and his appointment must now be approved by the full European Parliament and relevant ministers.
reuters.com

After the US election: EU Commission wants close cooperation with new US Congress handelsblatt.com
Mediterranean Sea: Libyan Coast Guard picks up 315 migrants attempting sea crossing reuters.com
Eurovision Song Contest: 42 countries to compete in Eurovision 2019 eurovision.tv

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

Europe must respond to US President Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda with its own answer. It is clear that this answer can only be “Europe United”. As Europeans we must join forces.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for greater cooperation in Europe after the US congressional elections.
reuters.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Spain to change law to force banks to pay mortgage stamp duty: Spain will change its mortgage law so that banks have to foot the bill for future stamp-duty payments on property purchases. The government announcement was a response to the outrage that followed a court decision that home buyers should pay the tax. The law would come into effect on Friday, Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said, reflecting a broad consensus among his coalition partners, opposition parties and consumer organisations that customers should not pay. Sanchez said the government regrets the Supreme Court decision handed down late Tuesday, and that it will make banks pay the tax from the moment it publishes a decree on the matter. Spain’s largest banks soared Wednesday morning after the Supreme Court said lenders aren’t liable for mortgage stamp-duty payments that could have imposed billions of euros in extra costs.
bloomberg.com, reuters.com

Hungary plans new courts overseen by minister: Hungary’s government set out plans on Tuesday to create new administrative courts overseen by the justice minister – a move the leftist opposition has said will limit the independence of the judiciary. The courts will deal with lawsuits about government business that are currently covered in the general legal system, according to the text of a bill to set them up posted on parliament’s website. Lawmakers will debate it later this year.
reuters.com

Warsaw bans nationalist march: Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz on Wednesday banned a nationalist march planned on Sunday to mark the centenary of Polish independence, saying there was a risk of violence and expressions of hate. Gronkiewicz-Waltz, a member of the opposition Civic Platform party, told reporters that the city would have trouble securing the march. Last year’s independence day parade, which drew around 60,000 people, saw some nationalists and fascists chant antisemitic slogans and attack counter-protesters. Organisers said they would defy the ban. They lodged a court appeal against the decision. The march was also immediately revived by President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. Their initiative overrules any other marches planned for the same route, said presidential spokesman Błażej Spychalski.
politico.eu, reuters.com

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Merkel ally urges new era in German politics: Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the woman many consider the natural successor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel both in leadership style and political agenda, has set out why she should be the next head of Germany’s embattled conservative party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Kramp-Karrenbauer has more government experience than either of her two main opponents: Friedrich Merz, a financial manager who has spent the past nine years out of politics, and Jens Spahn, the 38-year-old health minister. German prosecutors took aim at Merz’s Achilles heel on Tuesday, raiding the head office of BlackRock Germany in Munich in search for evidence of tax evasion. Merz is non-executive chairman of the asset manager’s German operations. The prosecutors are investigating a fraud known as cum-ex that typically involved trading company shares rapidly around a syndicate of banks, investors and hedge funds to create the impression of numerous owners, each entitled to a tax rebate. Spahn was recently forced to correct a statement he made about the number of immigrants in a German state.
dw.com, global.handelsblatt.com, reuters.com, tagesspiegel.de

Germany: Nearly two-thirds of citizens say Merkel should step down: poll politico.eu
France: Fears grow over antisemitic violence euronews.com
Italy, Hungary and the UK: EU’s troublemakers find comfort in Chinese arms euractiv.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 ⊃

Macron sparks outrage with tribute to Nazi collaborator: French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday publicly defended a decision to include Philippe Petain, leader of France’s collaborationist government during World War II, in the weekend’s ceremonies marking the centenary of the end of World War I. Macron said one could have been a great soldier during World War I and presided over ghastly choices during the second world war. His remarks unleashed criticism from Jewish groups, his political opponents and on social media. Pressed by reporters later in the day, Macron said he forgave nothing but he wouldn’t erase anything from history.
politico.eu, euronews.com

 

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