Thursday, 11 July 2019: Greens reject German defence minister as EU Commission president, EU considers imposing sanctions on Turkey for drilling off Cyprus, Bank stress test was too mild


Greens reject German defence minister as EU Commission president: Green MEPs will oppose Ursula von der Leyen’s nomination to be the next EU Commission President in a vote next week, the group said Wednesday evening. A meeting with von der Leyen had failed to allay their concerns that she isn’t strongly committed to action on climate change. In deciding to oppose the nomination, the Greens also took aim at von der Leyen’s answers on the rule of law — saying she evaded questions on the topic. Earlier on Wednesday, von der Leyen said during a meeting with MEPs from the Socialists & Democrats group that the EU should boost its 2030 emissions reduction target to 50%, up from a current 40% goal.

EU considers imposing sanctions on Turkey for drilling off Cyprus: EU diplomats have discussed which sanctions to slap on Turkey over gas drilling in Cypriot waters. Turkey said on Wednesday it rejected Greek and EU assertions that Turkish drilling for gas and oil off Cyprus was illegitimate, and said they showed the EU could not be an impartial mediator on the Cyprus problem. Cyprus says Turkey’s actions are contrary to international law. Turkey and the internationally-recognised government of the divided island have overlapping claims in that part of the Mediterranean.,

EU lowers eurozone growth forecast: The European economy continues to grow at a moderate pace and there is no acceleration any time soon. There is no change regarding this year: the EU is expected to expand by 1.4% and the euro area by 1.2%. Risks for the bloc have increased, the EU Commission said, and mostly come from the elevated uncertainty around United States’ trade policy, as Washington keeps threatening punitive tariffs on a broad range of EU products. Fears of increased trade tensions could also trigger a shift in global risk sentiment at times when valuations appear stretched across many asset classes, said EU Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici.,

Bank stress test was too mild: The European Court of Auditors joined regulators in questioning the value of the EU’s bank stress test, saying last year’s exercise should have been tougher and more consistently applied across the bloc. The European Court of Auditors warned that the European Banking Authority may have been too soft in assessing banks’ health, raising concerns about the way lenders’ risks are monitored by EU supervisors. The auditors said last year’s test was based on scenarios that were less serious than the 2008 financial crisis and was also milder for countries with weaker economies.,

EU budget: Council agrees its position
Eurostat: EU population rose to over 513 million last year
EU Court of Justice: Three judges appointed
Africa: EU foreign policy chief Mogherini in the Sahel zone
Rare earth metals: Europe takes on China’s global dominance of rare earth metals


Salvini denies receiving Russian oil money: According to a leaked tape revealed by „Buzzfeed“, the League party of Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini sought tens of millions of euros in funding from Russian investors during European election campaigning. It is the latest evidence of high-level collusion between far-right European populist movements and Russia. Salvini denied Wednesday receiving any money for his party from Russian investors, following allegations that one of his close aides had held secret meetings in Moscow to that end.,

French missiles found on pro-Haftar base in Libya: France has said some of its missiles were found at a Libyan base used by forces loyal to the military strongman Khalifa Haftar – an admission that raises new questions about the country’s role in the conflict in Libya. The French defence ministry denied supplying the US-made Javelin missiles to Haftar, which would have been in breach of a UN arms embargo, saying French forces operating in Libya lost track of them after they were judged to be defective. The four missiles were discovered in June when forces loyal to the UN-backed Libyan government overran the camp, prompting an investigation in Washington.,

Merkel suffers another bout of shaking: German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared to shake uncontrollably for the third time in a month during Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne’s visit to Berlin Wednesday. Footage shows Merkel trembling through the German national anthem during a welcome ceremony for her Finnish counterpart. Merkel later insisted that she was fine, adding that she was still in a processing phase after her first shaking spell in mid-June during a visit from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.,

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German parliament report on WWII reparations: A report by Germany’s parliament has questioned the response the German government has so far given Greece over World War II compensations. Berlin has so far said it will not pay and refused to even get to a negotiating table with Greece. But a report by parliament expert may force Angela Merkel’s government to reconsider its position.

France 1: US begins inquiry into French digital services tax
France 2: Government wants to ban the destruction of consumer goods
Greece: Germany sees no reason for debt relief

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French minister under fire over fancy dinners: France’s Environment Minister Francois de Rugy is under pressure after a report claimed he had hosted luxury dinners while parliament speaker with allegedly little connection to his position. De Rugy did not deny hosting the dinners, but vigorously rejected the claim they had been purely social events not linked to his job at the National Assembly.


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