Thursday, 12 October 2017: Spain gives Catalan leader five days to clarify independence, UK prepares for bad-tempered Brexit, Turkish court remands German journalist in custody


Spain gives Catalan leader five days to clarify independence: The Spanish government has given Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont five days to say whether he declared independence or not. The uncertainty comes after Puigdemont told the Catalan Parliament on Tuesday that Catalonia had the right to be an independent country, citing a disputed referendum last week that showed strong support for secession from Spain. If Puigdemont was to confirm he did declare independence, he would be given an additional three days to rectify. On Wednesday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy accused Puigdemont of sowing deliberate confusion.,

UK prepares for bad-tempered Brexit: Britain needs to be ready for a bad-tempered breakdown in negotiations with the EU over Brexit, which would lead to non-cooperation between the two sides over trade and other matters, Chancellor Philip Hammond said Wednesday. Speaking to the House of Commons treasury committee, Hammond said that a more confrontational outcome was possible, which in the worst case could see people not necessarily acting in their own economic self-interest.

EU weakens plan on bank protection: The EU Commission proposed on Wednesday watered-down measures to help guard EU banks against future crises, after two years of fruitless talks among the 28 EU states on more ambitious plans. The new proposals were designed to win over Germany, the EU’s largest economy and the staunchest opponent of sharing banking risks among EU states. The proposals could slow the European Central Bank’s plans to reduce the exposure of banks to bad loans.

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Air pollution linked to thousands of premature deaths: Air quality in Europe is improving, but pollution is still killing a lot of people. Fine particulate matter pollution caused 399,000 premature deaths in EU countries in 2014, according to the most recent estimates on the health impact of air pollution published Wednesday by the European Environment Agency (EEA). That is an eight percent decrease compared to the previous year.

Schulz: EU Parliament distances itself from former president
Muiznieks: Rights group questions Italy’s work with Libya stopping migrants
Eurogroup head: Dijsselbloem to leave Dutch politics
EU Parliament: Glyphosate hearing


Independence is about to put an end to the best time in Catalonia in all its history.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has ruled out dialogue over Catalan independence.


Turkish court remands German journalist in custody: A German journalist went on trial for terrorism charges in Turkey on Wednesday, saying she was innocent and demanding her immediate release. Mesale Tolu was detained in April, accused of being a member of a terrorist organisation and publishing terrorist propaganda. Tolu is one of 18 people on trial accused of membership of the MLKP, a communist party with links to armed Kurdish groups. Dozens of reporters, including several foreign journalists, have been jailed in Turkey following last year’s failed coup.,

Gender equality in Germany below European average: Gender equality in Germany is below the European average, according to a new EU study released on Wednesday. The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) placed Germany 12th in a ranking of all EU 28 member states in its new Gender Equality Index, which scores countries from 0 to 100 across domains including work, health, and political representation.

Italian government wins confidence votes on electoral law: The Italian government on Wednesday won two confidence votes on a fiercely contested electoral law. The proposed voting system is backed by three of the country’s four largest parties, with the centre-left government looking to rush it onto the statute books ahead of elections, which are due by May 2018. Unlike the current rules, the new system would allow the formation of multi-party coalitions before the ballot.

Merkel picks migration expert as new foreign adviser: German Chancellor Angela Merkel selected refugee coordinator Jan Hecker as her new foreign policy adviser. Hecker, a former federal judge, has been leading a newly-established team for coordinating refugee policies, which was set up amid the massive migration of refugees to Germany in 2015. Christoph Heusgen, who previously held the adviser role, left the position to become Germany’s ambassador to the UN after serving under Merkel for more than a decade.

Serbia optimistic about EU accession: For Serbia, it’s time to open more chapters in its membership negotiations with the EU. The EU Commission is expected to give its assessment on Serbia’s progress by early next year. Serbia and Montenegro are the frontrunners for the next round of EU enlargement, likely to take place in 2025.

France: Government about to pass new anti-terror law
Denmark: Border controls extended

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Putin gets a puppy from Turkmenistan’s president: On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a belated birthday gift by Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov — a puppy called Verny (“faithful” in Russian). The two presidents were holding talks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, on the sidelines of a summit of former Soviet states, with the Turkmen side pushing for a resumption of natural gas exports to Russia, according to reports.



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