Thursday, 12 April 2018: Brussels proposes class-action suits for EU consumers, Proposal on transparency in food safety, France strikes expected to cost hundreds of millions

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Brussels proposes class-action suits for EU consumers: Consumers from across the European Union may in future be able to join forces and file class-action lawsuits with a view to getting compensation from companies that break the law. Under a proposal made by the EU Commission Wednesday, consumers‘ rights are to be strengthened considerably. Calls for the EU to introduce collective lawsuits, a tool used extensively in US litigation, had grown after Volkswagen clients were outraged to learn that the German car giant had cheated on emissions tests. Brussels actually proposed two instruments. One would be for situations in which a limited group of people suffered comparable harm. The second would be for low-value cases in which many consumers suffered a small loss which would be hard to compensate. Vera Jourova, the EU Commissioner in charge of the legislation, said the change signalled a turning point after Europeans received much lower compensation than US consumers from Volkwagen after news of the car manufacturer’s cheating on diesel tests broke in 2015.
dw.com, euractiv.com

Proposal on transparency in food safety: The EU Commission has responded to the concerns expressed by citizens in a successful European Citizens‘ Initiative, with a proposal to improve the transparency of scientific studies in the food safety area. The proposal, drawing also on the Commission’s Fitness Check of the General Food Law, will give citizens greater access to information submitted to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) on approvals concerning the agri-food chain as well as provide the possibility for additional studies to be requested by the Commission. It will also involve member states‘ scientists more closely in approval procedures.
europa.eu

EU looks to resolve row with Poland over rule of law: The Commission on Wednesday said it hoped for a deal very soon in a fundamental dispute with Poland over judicial independence and sources said mid-May could be a key date. After two years of standoff between the bloc’s largest ex-communist member and the more liberal founding states, Poland’s ruling nationalists brought in a new prime minister at the turn of the year to seek a thaw with Brussels. The EU now sees Poland, where the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party stands accused of imposing more direct government control on the judiciary, as a test case for the bloc.
reuters.com

Fox offices in London raided by EU Commission investigators: Commission investigators raided Twenty-First Century Fox’s London office on Tuesday, The Daily Telegraph reported. Sources at the location told the newspaper that authorities were trying to be discreet and had been told to keep details of their mission confidential. Shares of Fox fell more than 1 percent in extended trading. The raid comes amid Fox’s drawn out takeover of Sky, which has fallen under intense scrutiny by regulators at the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority. The Commission confirmed that it carried out unannounced inspections of companies that distribute sports media rights in several countries on Tuesday. The affected companies may have violated antitrust rules that bar cartels and restrictive business practices.
cnbc.com

After gas attack: Trump promises strike on Syria nytimes.com
European Central Bank: ECB says Nowotny’s view is not its own reuters.com

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

We have very good discussions. The situation is calmer now that it was two weeks ago.
Trade discussions with the US are progressing well, European Commission vice-president Jyrki Katainen said. However, he lamented the deteriorating business climate in China.
euractiv.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

France strikes expected to cost hundreds of millions for public companies: Tuesday marked the 7th day of strikes to hit Air France since February in a row over workers wages. With another 4 strike days scheduled this month the conflict is starting to make a dent in the finances of the government owned company. Air France’s board announced that the cost of the 7 days of strikes so far was estimated at 170 million euros. Unions have been demanding a six percent increase in wages that in some cases have been frozen for up to six years. That would represent a cost to the company of 240 million euros per year, a cost it says it cannot afford. The national railway company SNCF, also on strike has estimated the cost the 36 strike days scheduled would amount to a whopping 720 million euros at 20 million euros per day.
euronews.com

Daughter of poisoned Russian spy declines embassy help: Yulia Skripal, who was poisoned in Britain last month along with her father, former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, said on Wednesday she did not wish to take up the offer of services from the Russian Embassy in London. In a statement issued on her behalf by British police, Skripal said her father, Sergei, remained seriously ill and she was still suffering from the effects of nerve gas used against them. She also addressed comments made by her cousin Viktoria in the Russian media, asking her not to contact or visit her in the UK. Skripal confirmed that she was safe and had specially trained officers available to her during the recovery. She also said she would give interviews to the media in time, but asked the press to have patience while she recovers. The statement comes two days after she was discharged from Salisbury District Hospital.
reuters.com, theguardian.com

Aliyev wins 7-year term in Azerbaijan: The president of the oil-rich Caspian Sea nation of Azerbaijan raced Wednesday toward a landslide win that would add seven more years to his 15-year tenure. The national elections commission said that with 65 percent of the ballots counted, President Ilham Aliyev had received 86 percent of the vote in an early presidential election. Leading opposition parties boycotted the race, leaving seven token challengers. One opposition group claimed that only about 15 percent of the electorate voted, while Azerbaijan’s elections commission reported the turnout at nearly 75 percent. The group also alleged widespread violations including people voting multiple times.
washingtonpost.com

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UN appeal court convicts Serb radical Seselj of war crimes: A UN court has overturned the acquittal of Serbian ultra-nationalist Vojislav Seselj for crimes committed during the 1990s Balkans conflict. Appeal court judges in The Hague found him guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to 10 years in jail. Seselj was acquitted two years ago of nine war crimes and crimes against humanity, following a trial lasting more than eight years. He will not return to custody as he has served 11 years in pre-trial detention.
bbc.com

‚Islam shouldn’t culturally shape Germany‘, says Dobrindt: Alexander Dobrindt, the leader of Germany’s Christian Social Union’s parliamentary party, defended against criticism on Wednesday that his conservative Bavarian party was seeking to marginalise Muslims while doubling down on the stance that Islam is not part of Germany. Dobrindt said Muslims who wanted to integrate into German society were part of the country, but Islam was not part of Germany. Islam had no cultural roots in Germany and with Sharia as a legal system, it had nothing in common with the country’s Judeo-Christian heritage.
dw.com

Catalonia crisis: German and Spanish prosecutors talk about Puigdemont extradition handelsblatt.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 ⊃

German spy chief not surprised by Facebook data scandal: Germany’s domestic intelligence chief Hans-Georg Maaßen has said he wouldn’t trust Facebook with his data. Maaßen said he was astonished how many people were surprised by the privacy scandal surrounding Facebook users‘ personal information. He told reporters that as a matter of principle he only entrusted his data to companies that he really trusted – and that he wouldn’t have trusted Facebook with his data.
nytimes.com

 

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