Thursday, 11 October 2018: EU says Brexit deal within reach next week, Man arrested in Germany on suspicion of killing Bulgarian journalist, Poland defies EU over Supreme Court judge appointments

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

EU says Brexit deal within reach next week: EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Wednesday an agreement with Britain could be within reach next week. Barnier said the talks between EU and UK were continuing intensively this week. He reiterated that as much as 85 percent of a withdrawal agreement had already been agreed. Negotiators from both sides have been locked in talks to overcome differences on the biggest outstanding hurdle to a deal – how to keep the UK frontier with the Irish republic free of border checks after Britain leaves the EU in March. The UK will keep to its 0.7% aid spending commitment but plans to dramatically scale up its private sector investment in poor countries, British Development Minister Penny Mordaunt said on Tuesday.
uk.reuters.com, euractiv.com

Policies to encourage a sense of European identity: Authors of a new study conducted jointly by the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim and the ifo Institute for the EconPol Europe research network recommend that policymakers should do more to encourage citizens to identify with Europe. They suggest that pan-European political consciousness could be encouraged by having citizens vote for European party lists, rather than national party lists in the European elections. An EU Citizens’ Assembly should serve as a platform to discuss specific political issues and propose potential solutions. Europe could also raise its profile overseas through shared EU embassies and consulates. Ideally, the EU should introduce new programmes such as “Erasmus for Pensioners” or a work exchange programme allowing workers to spend several months working in another European country.
econpol.eu, fxstreet.com

Timmermans launches Commission top job bid: The first vice-president of the European Commission Frans Timmermans announced Wednesday that he wants the top job at the Commission. He launched a bid to succeed his boss Jean-Claude Juncker next year, saying that he would seek to lead the centre-left campaign for May’s EU Parliament elections. Timmermans stands a good chance of winning the formal backing of the centre-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D) group in the EU. The centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) is set to choose either German EU lawmaker Manfred Weber or former Finnish prime minister Alexander Stubb to lead its campaign next month.
politico.eu, reuters.com

MEPs back broader plastic ban: Members of the EU Parliament’s environment committee agreed on Wednesday on amendments to a new bill that would ban certain plastic items. A majority said that oxo-degradable plastics and food containers made out of polystyrene should also be banned, on top of what the EU Commission proposed. The committee also agreed that makers of cigarettes and fishing gear that contain plastic should make consumers aware of their environmental effects.
euobserver.com, europarl.europa.eu

Syria: Rebels withdraw heavy weapons from Idlib nytimes.com
Jamal Khashoggi: Details of alleged Saudi hit squad emerge theguardian.com
China Uighurs: Xinjiang legalises reeducation camps bbc.com

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

I hope there is progress, apparently there is progress, but sometimes the devil is in the details.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has welcomed progress in negotiations on a Brexit deal and said she wanted a close relationship with Britain after it leaves the EU.
reuters.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Man arrested in Germany on suspicion of killing Bulgarian journalist: A Bulgarian man has been arrested in Germany on suspicion of the murder of Victoria Marinova, the Bulgarian journalist who was found dead in Ruse on Saturday. Bulgaria’s interior minister identified the suspect as Severin K., a 21-year-old Bulgarian citizen with a criminal record. Prosecutors in the northern German state of Lower Saxony said they’re currently verifying the conditions that are required to extradite him to Bulgaria. Bulgaria’s chief prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov, said on Wednesday that Severin K. has already been charged, although he has not yet been sent back to Bulgaria. Tsatsarov said added that evidence collected so far indicates a spontaneous attack.
politico.eu, dw.com

Poland defies EU over Supreme Court judge appointments: Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has appointed 27 new Supreme Court judges, despite internal and EU pressure not do so. The EU Commission has referred Poland to the European Court of Justice over its judiciary policies. Earlier this year the government lowered the retirement age of judges, forcing many to retire. Opponents say the move aims to appoint favourable replacements, undermining democracy and judicial independence.
bbc.com

Macron still searching for new interior minister: French President Emmanuel Macron put off a government reshuffle on Wednesday. The president and his prime minister have been weighing the reshuffle for a week following the departure of three ministers since late August, including interior minister and early Macron backer Gerard Collomb. The resignations have challenged the president’s authority and stalled his reform ambitions. Ministers had been expecting the reshuffle before a cabinet meeting on Wednesday morning. But in the event, the Elysee said it would not happen until after Macron returns from a visit to Armenia late on Friday.
reuters.com

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Greece to renew call for Germany to pay reparations: German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier travelled to Greece on Wednesday for a state visit, where he is to meet his Greek counterpart Prokopis Pavlopoulos. Talks are set to include topics including the country’s emergence from the debt crisis and ongoing youth unemployment – but an even older topic likely to come up is that of Greece’s demand for German reparations from World War II. Greece’s government, now free of its bailout programme, is to renew its call for Germany to pay €279 billion in war reparations in compensation for the Nazi occupation during the war. While the German government’s official line has long been to refuse such demands and insist that Greek claims have already been compensated in previous reparation payments, there are high-placed voices in the German government saying otherwise.
euronews.com, dw.com

ICC: France sued for ‚crimes against humanity‘ over nuclear tests in South Pacific dw.com
Black Sea: Romania warns of increased Russian activity reuters.com
Bulgarian court: German will not be extradited to Turkey tagesschau.de

⊂ 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 ⊃

Belgian football clubs raided: Several of Belgium’s top football clubs have been raided as part of a police investigation into alleged fraud involving the transfer of players. The federal prosecutor’s office said 44 raids were being held in Belgium and 13 more in France, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia. A number of people now face questioning. According to local media, Belgium’s best known agent, the Brugge coach Ivan Leko and a former Anderlecht club official were among those being questioned.
bbc.com, theguardian.com

 

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