Thursday, 13 September 2018: Juncker’s state of the union speech, EU parliament pushes Hungary sanctions, EU Parliament backs copyright reform

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Juncker’s state of the union speech: EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivered his annual State of the Union address to the European Parliament on Wednesday. He outlined the impact of the Commission’s work in ten priority areas and what it intends to achieve in the run-up to the European elections in May. On Brexit, he said he supported the UK being granted „free trade area“ status with the EU. He also announced several new legislative measures, including plans to help tackle migration to Europe with more border controls. The EU plans to send 10,000 more border guards to tackle unlawful immigration by 2020. Juncker also called for more solidarity, rather than „ad-hoc solutions“ for people on migrant ships, and suggested radical changes to the voting system used at EU level. Juncker described Africa as Europe’s „twin continent“ and called for more investments. He told the Parliament he believed “we should develop the numerous European-African trade agreements into a continent-to-continent free trade agreement, as an economic partnership between equals”. Juncker also announced that the Commission wants to scrap daylight saving next year.
reuters.com, theparliamentmagazine.eu, bbc.com, euractiv.com, politico.eu

EU parliament pushes Hungary sanctions: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government has been accused of attacks on the media, minorities, and the rule of law. The European Parliament voted on Wednesday to sanction Hungary for flouting EU rules on democracy, civil rights and corruption. MEPs voted en masse to trigger Article 7 proceedings against Hungary. The same proceedings were activated against Poland in last December. The vote was only the first step toward potential sanctions. The leaders of the EU’s 28 member states must ultimately decide if Orban’s government is at fault, and whether it should be punished. The ultimate sanction, the suspension of Hungary’s voting rights, is unlikely as Poland is likely to veto any such move.
euractiv.com, reuters.com, nytimes.com, bbc.com

EU Parliament backs copyright reform: Google, Facebook and other technology firms could be forced to share more revenues with European media, publishers and other creative industries in a shake-up of copyright rules. The European Parliament has voted to back a sweeping overhaul of copyright rules for the internet era. The proposed new rules were carried after 438 MEPs voted in favour of the reforms, 226 voted against and 39 abstained in a vote. After Parliament rejected a first draft of the reform in July, a majority backed changes that will impose extensive new duties on platforms, if they are adopted after further discussions between EU institutions. The approved text now heads for negotiations between Parliament, the European Commission and Council of the EU, which represents member countries. These trilogues, as they are known in Brussels, will trigger further lobbying, although no longer aimed at influencing public positions.
politico.eu, telegraph.co.uk, euronews.com, europarl.europa.eu

EU to push for takedown law for terrorist content: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has announced new rules to get terrorist content off the web within one hour. The new rules are being presented one week ahead of the Informal Meeting in Salzburg where EU Leaders are expected to discuss security. Every internet platform that wants to offer its services in the European Union will be subject to clear rules to prevent their services from being misused to disseminate terrorist content. Strong safeguards will also be introduced to protect freedom of speech on the internet and ensure only terrorist content is targeted.
europa.eu

EPP party: Salvini sees populist-conservative coalition guiding the new EU Commission euractiv.com

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

It’s a scandal what we witnessed again this summer in the Mediterranean, it’s disgusting to see people drowning, and the official EU mission doesn’t have any safe harbours anymore because of the Italian government.
German MEP Udo Bullmann has criticised EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and called for more action on migration.
euronews.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Pro-Brexit Tory MPs openly discuss how to get rid of May: Conservative MPs have openly discussed methods of ousting Prime Minister Theresa May at a private meeting of hardline Brexiters. At the gathering on Tuesday night of the European Research Group (ERG) of more than 50 Eurosceptic MPs, sources said MPs in the Thatcher room in Portcullis House discussed the timing of a possible confidence vote in the prime minister if she did not abandon her Chequers plan. Environment Secretary Michael Gove said leadership speculation was „loose talk“ and urged MPs to unite behind the PM. David Davis and Jacob Rees-Mogg have insisted they were not seeking to oust May.
theguardian.com, bbc.com, theguardian.com

Merkel condemns far-right outbreak: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she understands the outrage that led people to demonstrate in the eastern German city of Chemnitz but insisted there is no „excuse or explanation“ for Nazi slogans and attacks on people who „look different“. She added that the incident has affected her and that the perpetrators would be punished according to the law. Also speaking in parliament, AfD leader Alexander Gauland criticised allegations his party cooperated with the extreme right groups behind the violent protests. Former EU Parliament President Martin Schulz attacked Gauland, saying he belongs „on top of a dunghill of history“. The debate in parliament, which also focused on the national budget and immigration, came as Germany’s head of domestic security, Hans-Georg Maassen, faced grilling by the government’s committee for interior affairs over his controversial comments regarding the protests. German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Wednesday that he saw no reason for Maassen to resign.
politico.eu, theguardian.com, dw.com

Germany can’t look away if Syria uses chemical weapons: Top German officials on Wednesday called for concerted global efforts to prevent chemical weapons being used in Syria, as conservative chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany could not simply look away if such attacks took place. German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, a member of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), highlighted the past repeated use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar Assad. She said a credible deterrent was needed. The CDU backs taking part in a future Syria mission, should chemical weapons be used once again. SPD leader Andrea Nahles said her party would not agree unless the United Nations authorised such action. UN investigators said on Wednesday that they had documented three further uses of banned chlorine weapons by Syrian government forces that constituted war crimes, and urged major powers to help avert a massacre in the final battle for Idlib.
reuters.com, dw.com, reuters.com

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Putin claims Skripal suspects are civilians: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that his country had found the two Russians that Britain accuses of trying to use a rare nerve agent to kill former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, and identified them as civilians who had done nothing criminal. He also said he would like the men, who Britain says are Russian military intelligence officers, to come forward to tell their story. Downing Street said that Russia has repeatedly been asked to account for what happened in Salisbury. The prime minister’s official spokesman said that Moscow „had replied with obfuscation and lies“. British officials have said the men were agents of Russian military intelligence dispatched to kill Skripal. Prime Minister Theresa May last week stopped short of blaming Putin personally but hinted the Kremlin had ordered Skripal’s assassination.
nytimes.com, bbc.com, independent.co.uk, theguardian.com

Return of asylum seekers: Agreement between Germany and Portugal zdf.de
France: Macron ally Richard Ferrand to lead lower house deutschlandfunk.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 ⊃

Driverless trains in mainland France by 2023: France’s national railway operator SNCF has announced plans to introduce prototypes of driverless mainline trains for passengers and freight by 2023. The operator hopes the switch will allow it to run more trains on France’s busiest main lines, and cut energy consumption. The SNCF said the benefits of autonomised trains for passengers and for freight clients would be greater capacity, better circulation of trains and improved timekeeping. It also said the trains would use less energy and therefore have ecological benefits.
theguardian.com, dw.com

 

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