⊂ EUROPE ⊃
EU is ready for no-deal Brexit: The EU Commission on Wednesday said a no-deal Brexit was very much possible as it updated its contingency preparations and told countries, companies and people to be ready for the expected economic fallout. Some possible successors to British Prime Minister Theresa May have said Britain would leave the EU at the end of October, deal or no deal. The Commission said a withdrawal of the UK without an agreement remained a possible outcome, with all its negative economic consequences. Contingency measures already in place remained fit for purpose. They include EU plans to extend current access to fishing waters and prolong safety clearances for rail, road and air transport between the bloc and the UK, if London reciprocates. The EU has also warned that Britain would have to pay its outstanding share of the existing EU budget even if it left the bloc without an agreement.
Hundreds arrested during protests in Moscow: Russian police detained more than 500 people, including opposition politician Alexei Navalny, at a protest in Moscow on Wednesday calling for punishment for police officers involved in the alleged framing of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov. Police abruptly dropped drug charges a day earlier against Golunov, a rare U-turn by the authorities in the face of anger from his supporters who said he was targeted over his reporting. Many of the marchers and those forcefully detained by riot police were prominent Russian journalists and activists. A member of staff from German magazine “Spiegel” was held as well as journalists from “Vedomosti” and “Echo Moscow Radio”. The march was originally organised to demand Golunov’s release but then became a call for those responsible for his initial detention to be held accountable.
Hong Kong protest delays extradition bill reading: Riot police in Hong Kong fired rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons at protesters Wednesday, trying to break up demonstrations that blockaded the city’s Legislative Council. Thousands of people crowded the area around the Legislative Council and blocked two major roads in front of the city’s seat of government. The protesters overturned metal barriers erected by the police and tussled with security forces, as the officers used pepper spray. The unrest forced lawmakers to delay debate on a controversial extradition bill that critics say would expose Hong Kong residents to China’s judicial system. The chief executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, who was elected under controversial new constitutional reforms, has tried to allay concerns by introducing amendments that she says would add safeguards to the legislation. She denounced the protests as an organised riot.
npr.org, dw.com, nbcnews.com
Uganda confirms first Ebola case: A child in Uganda has tested positive for Ebola in the first cross-border case of the deadly virus since an outbreak started in neighbouring Congo last year, Uganda’s health ministry said. The 5-year-old Congolese boy died Wednesday in Uganda, health officials said, and the boy’s younger brother and grandmother are also sick. They are the first confirmed cases of Ebola to spread beyond the large outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The case, first reported by the World Health Organisation on Tuesday, was identified soon after the child entered Ugandan territory. Nonetheless, it represented a new threat that the outbreak in Congo had crossed into a neighbouring country.
⊂ QUOTES ⊃
“The Fed Interest rate [is] way too high, added to ridiculous quantitative tightening! They don’t have a clue!”
US President Donald Trump believes that the European Central Bank’s loose monetary policy is responsible for the high number of tourists arriving to Europe. He criticised the US Federal Reserve for keeping interest rates high.
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Trump might send troops from Germany to Poland: US President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the US might move 2,000 troops from Germany to Poland. The commander-in-chief said nothing was definite, but that he believed Poland, a Nato ally, should be rewarded for increasing its defence spending. He also slammed Germany for not paying enough. Trump said he probably would shift some US service members from Germany, where tens of thousands have been based for a long time, or from elsewhere in Europe. He offered no timetable for when the additional military personnel would begin arriving in Poland. Trump also hailed Poland’s decision to buy more than 30 F-35 joint strike fighter jets from the US.
German politician defends Trump: Long considered German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s anointed heir by some, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has been building her international profile. After a pragmatic and frank 18 months of relations between Merkel and the Trump administration, Kramp-Karrenbauer set her own course for addressing strained trans-Atlantic ties, defending the US president against what she sees as excessive criticism. When Presidents Trump, Putin and Erdogan were mentioned in the same breath in discussions in Germany, this was a false equivalence that could not be tolerated, Kramp-Karrenbauer said. Trump’s presidency had again brought some Germans’ longstanding anti-American reflexes to light, she said, arguing that it was important to make clear the differences with Russia.
North Macedonia wants to join the EU: European Union leaders appear set to push back the start of membership talks with Albania and North Macedonia despite warnings that further delays could undermine pro-democratic reform efforts and stability in the Balkans region. At a summit in Brussels next week, EU leaders will discuss the candidacies of Albania and North Macedonia, but the chairman of their meeting — European Council President Donald Tusk — signalled Wednesday that not all countries want them to start negotiations right now.
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Norway wealth fund to ditch fossil fuels: The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund is embracing renewable energy and winding down fossil-fuel investments. Norway’s parliament voted on Wednesday to instruct its $1 trillion sovereign-wealth fund to pull an estimated more than $13 billion from oil, gas and coal extracting companies. It will also step back from any company which generates more than 10GW of electricity from coal, or mines more 20 million tonnes of thermal coal a year. In turn, the fund will move up to $20 billion into renewable-energy projects and companies, representing around 2% of the fund.
France to close Fessenheim nuclear power plant: French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced that the country will double its target for developing offshore wind generation to 1 gigawatt (GW) per year from around 500 megawatts previously. He also reiterated that France will close the Fessenheim nuclear power plant, France’s oldest, before end 2020 as it moves to reduce the share of atomic power in its electricity mix to 50% by 2035 from over 75% currently. He confirmed that France’s remaining coal-fired power plants in Gardanne, Saint Avold, Cordemais and Le Havre will be closed by 2022 as previously announced.
Romania: Opposition parties submit motion of no confidence against government handelsblatt.com
Austria: Chancellor Bierlein delivers government declaration de.euronews.com
Sweden: No explosives in package outside police station reuters.com
France: Paris will replace emblematic paper tickets on city’s metro france24.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 ⊃
Macron will send new tree to the White House: French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to send a new oak to US President Donald Trump after the tree he gave him during last year’s state visit to the United States died. Responding to social media posts, Macron said people should not read symbols into everything. He told Swiss public broadcaster RTS that he would send a new oak to Trump and that this was no tragedy. With a smile, Macron said it turned out that the oak had been put in quarantine for American sanitary reasons and the poor thing did not survive.