Thursday, 11 January 2018: EU to consider plastic tax, EU warns Poland to comply with rules, Catalan separatists back Puigdemont

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

EU to consider plastic tax: The European Union plans to propose a tax on plastic bags and packaging to reduce waste and to help fill a budget gap. EU Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger pointed to a move by China to curb imports of plastic waste and other scrap for recycling as helping to spur the EU’s move. The EU Commission will consider whether the tax should be levied when the packaging is produced, used or disposed of. It will also analyse whether there should be exemptions for packaging that is necessary for hygiene or safety.
bloomberg.com, bbc.com

EU warns Poland to comply with rules: EU Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger raised the possibility on Wednesday of Poland losing out financially if it refuses to give ground in a bitter dispute with the bloc over its judicial reforms. Oettinger’s comments came after Poland’s new prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, pressed a charm offensive in Brussels aimed at smoothing relations badly strained by disputes over the courts and also over migration. EU Council President Donald Tusk warned on Wednesday that the Polish government could push the country towards what is already being dubbed in Brussels as „Polexit.“
reuters.com, dw.com

Western Sahara dispute could invalidate EU-Morocco fish deal: The EU’s fisheries deal with Morocco should be declared invalid because it includes Western Sahara, an adviser to the EU’s top court said on Wednesday in the latest legal opinion on trade ties involving the disputed territory. Western Sahara has been contested since 1975 when Spanish colonial powers left. Morocco claimed the territory as it own and fought the 16-year war with the Polisario Front independence movement which established its self-declared Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.
reuters.com

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Barnier meets Brexiteers: The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier on Wednesday met a group of Brexiteers, including a British lord and a member of the EU Parliament, but made them promise not to reveal what he told them. Barnier, who pledged at the start of the Brexit process to conduct negotiations with full transparency, held the secretive talks in Brussels.
politico.eu

EU Southern States: Doubling down on the fight against human traffickers and slavery n-tv.de
EU Parliament: EU discusses electric pulse fishing faz.net

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

We produce and use too many plastics which, despite recycling efforts, become rubbish which we cannot sell on global markets any longer in a way we used to do it in the past because of China.
EU Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger has announced plans for a new bloc-wide tax on plastics.
euronews.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Catalan separatists back Puigdemont: The main separatist parties of Catalonia have reached a preliminary agreement to re-elect Carles Puigdemont as leader of the restive Spanish region, even as he remains in self-imposed exile in Belgium. In a Catalan election on December 21, the three main separatist parties won 70 of the 135 seats in the regional Parliament, with 47.5 percent of the vote. The parties‘ announcement Wednesday raises the specter of a renewed push for independence — and also raises difficult questions about how, exactly, Puigdemont might go about governing.
nytimes.com, npr.org

Macron presses EU for united front on foreign takeovers: Europe should to be more united in protecting strategic assets from foreign takeovers if it wants Beijing’s respect, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday as he wrapped up a visit to China. Macron has pushed for the EU to screen foreign investments in its strategic sectors and, signalling French annoyance at China’s reluctance to open some of its domestic markets, that issue has been a focal point of the three-day visit.
reuters.com

Czech lower house delays confidence vote: The Czech lower house voted on Wednesday to adjourn a session due to hold a confidence vote on a minority government led by Prime Minister Andrej Babis until Jan. 16. Babis, a billionaire businessman and leader of the anti-establishment Ano party, was expected to lose the vote after other factions in parliament said they would not back the cabinet due to a police investigation of alleged subsidy fraud by Babis.
reuters.com

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shoepassion.com

Good looks win more votes: German sociologists, extending research begun by Professor Ulrich Rosar in 2002, said Wednesday candidate attractiveness had swung Germany’s federal election last September like never before as personal optics overrode policy content. Lead research sociologist Lena Masch said that attractiveness was only outclassed by those candidates whose previous public profile was already high. Relegated behind attractiveness were factors such as academic title, migratory background, and gender.
dw.com

Greek and Italian leaders discuss migration: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has met with his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni ahead of the fourth summit of Southern European countries in Rome. The two leaders, who’s countires are at the front line of migratory flows, discussed ways to better distribute the migration burden within the EU.
euronews.com

EU presidency: Will Western Balkan EU bids move forward? euronews.com
Austria: Interior minister promises tough asylum policies politico.eu
UK: Ban on microbeads in beauty products euronews.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 ⊃

Many countries still without US ambassadors: Almost one year into Donald Trump’s presidency and many countries still don’t have a US ambassador. In several cases the White House has not yet nominated a candidate. The American Foreign Service Association says that the diplomatic ranks are thinning out in an unprecedented exodus under Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Four out of six career ambassadors are gone, career ministers down from 33 to 19, minister counselors down 431 to 369, and that was only as of Labour Day.
handelsblatt.com, politico.com

 

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