Thursday, 14 February 2019: John McDonnell calls Winston Churchill a villain, Tusk awaits realistic Brexit proposals from UK, EU adds Saudi Arabia to money laundering blacklist, US Middle East conference starts in Warsaw

⊂ UNITED KINGDOM ⊃

John McDonnell calls Winston Churchill a villain: Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell has said that Winston Churchill was a villain rather than a hero, because of his role in the quelling of rioting in a south Wales town. He was referring to the incident in the south Wales town in November 1910 when one miner was killed and about 580 people, including 80 policemen, were injured after Churchill, the then home secretary, sent 200 Metropolitan police officers with a detachment of Lancashire Fusiliers held in reserve in Cardiff to stop riots that erupted after police attempted to break the miners’ picket line. In response to McDonnell’s comments, Churchill’s grandson Sir Nicholas Soames claimed the shadow chancellor was seeking publicity.
theguardian.com, bbc.com

Workers at business ministry go on strike: Catering staff earning as little as £7.83 an hour danced and sang outside their work at the business department as they staged a 26-hour strike in protest at what they described as poverty pay. The strike, which began on Wednesday and continues until Thursday at 7pm, comes after joint strike action on 22 January, when support staff in the United Voices of the World union at the Ministry of Justice joined the BEIS workers for a one-day strike and demonstration in Westminster.
theguardian.com

Home secretary wants knife-crime posts taken down: Home Secretary Sajid Javid wants to introduce new laws to stop social media being used to fuel knife crime. He told „Newsbeat“ that he does not have what he needs to crack down on things that fuel gang disputes – despite the laws which exist to remove terrorism content and child sex abuse images from online. Javid said he told major online brands that they need to introduce better tools to monitor content which could result in criminal activity, like knife crime.
bbc.com

Councils: Council tax to rise across England as austerity hits hard theguardian.com
Business: Inflation falls to two-year low in January bbc.com

⊂ JOB-BOARD UNITED KINGDOM ⊃

politjobs.ukAssociation of Directors of Children’s Services seeks Policy Officer *** The Royal Society seeks Senior Policy Adviser (Education) *** ITV Cymru Wales seeks Public Affairs Manager *** Independent Age seeks Public Affairs Officer *** Dogs Trust seeks European Policy Advisor (Publish your job ad)

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Tusk awaits realistic Brexit proposals from UK: The European Union is still waiting for Britain to present solid proposals to break the impasse over its exit from the bloc, European Council President Donald Tusk said on Wednesday after meeting with the EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier. No news was not always good news, Tusk said. The EU27 were still waiting for concrete, realistic proposals from London on how to break Brexit impasse. US carmaker Ford said Wednesday that a no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic for the firm’s manufacturing operations in the UK and that it would do whatever is necessary to protect its business. The comments came after a report the carmaker was stepping up preparations to move production out of the UK.
reuters.com (Tusk), bbc.com (Ford)

EU adds Saudi Arabia to money laundering blacklist: The EU Commission has added Saudi Arabia, Panama, Nigeria and other jurisdictions to a blacklist of nations seen as posing a threat because of lax controls on terrorism financing and money laundering. EU banks must carry out extra stringent checks on payments involving entities from listed jurisdictions. Saudi Arabia has been widely accused of doing little to stop vast sums of money flowing to Islamist terrorists and extremists. EU Justice Vommissioner Vera Jourova, who proposed the list, told a news conference that she was confident states would not block it. She said the commission will continue monitoring other jurisdictions not yet listed. Among the states that will be closely monitored are the United States and Russia.
reuters.com, independent.co.uk

EU lawmakers approve trade deal with Singapore: European lawmakers approved a free trade deal between the EU and Singapore in the EU Parliament on Wednesday. The agreement is part of the EU’s push for more open markets in Asia amid rising trade tensions with the US. It will remove virtually all tariffs between the two parties within five years, according to the Parliament. The agreement also includes strengthened labour rights and environmental protection. The EU hopes to use the agreement, which was signed in October last year, as a blueprint for further deals in southeast Asia.
dw.com, europarl.europa.eu

Slovenia and Croatia accuse Tajani of historical revisionism: Slovenian and Croatian leaders have condemned EU Parliament President Antonio Tajani for remarks seen as suggesting an Italian claim on their territory. At a commemoration of a World War II massacre that took place on the border between Italy and Slovenia, Tajani declared near the city of Trieste: „Long live Trieste, long live Italian Istria, long live Italian Dalmatia, long live Italian exiles.“ The region of Istria includes parts of present-day Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. Dalmatia forms part of Croatia. Both areas were occupied by Italian fascists during World War II. Tajani’s remarks drew rebukes from the prime ministers of both Slovenia and Croatia, and from Slovenia’s European commissioner, Violeta Bulc. Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said the Parliament president’s comment was unacceptable. In a statement, Tajani denied any wrongdoing. He said his reference to Istria and Italian Dalmatia was in no way a territorial claim.
politico.eu

Pensions: Agreement on pan-European pension product consilium.europa.eu
European Central Bank: Draghi says ECB would welcome eurozone budget reuters.com
Gas pipeline: EU members and leaders agree on compromise for Nord Stream 2 dw.com

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

Europeans will finally have modern copyright rules fit for [the] digital age.
EU Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip has welcomed the reform of EU copyright rules.
reuters.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Spain edges towards early elections: The Spanish parliament rejected a draft 2019 budget on Wednesday, pushing the country close to an early national election. Sources in the government and the Socialist party of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told „Reuters“ on Tuesday that he would call a snap election if the draft was rejected, with 14 April or 28 April the most likely dates. An official in Sanchez’s office said that he would make his decision known after he chairs a weekly cabinet meeting on Friday. Sanchez’s government has so far refused to negotiate Catalan self-determination and as a result, the region’s two small pro-independence parties have rejected his budget legislation. Catalonia’s regional government head Quim Torra said self-determination through a referendum had to be part of any dialogue with Madrid.
reuters.com, dw.com

US Middle East conference starts in Warsaw: The US and Poland began a Middle East two-day conference on Thursday that is meant to address a broad range of security challenges, but looks set to be dominated by Iran, which has become a source of tension between the US and allies and is reportedly causing friction within the administration as well. US Vice President Mike Pence will deliver a speech Thursday in which he will essentially call out Iran for their actions, according to administration officials. The Trump administration says it is intent on pressuring Tehran to change its behaviour in the region, not on regime change, but the aggressive US stance and Washington’s decision to leave the Iran nuclear pact has frustrated European allies, creating tensions in the trans-Atlantic alliance.
cnn.com

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Syrian agents arrested in Germany: Germany’s investigative police force has arrested two alleged former employees of the Syrian secret service in Germany for suspected crimes against humanity. Federal prosecutors said one of them is a high-ranking member of Syria’s General Intelligence Service, who is accused of participating in the abuse of detainees at a prison he oversaw in Damascus. As lead investigator, the man allegedly ordered the use of systematic and brutal torture on anti-government activists between the end of April 2011 and the beginning of September 2012. Both men appear to have left Syria in 2012, three years before the large influx of migrants to Germany began.
dw.com, bbc.com

Italy: Rescue ship „Sea Watch 3“ has to stay in Italian port spiegel.de
Germany: EU Commission examines German plans for Diesel ban zeit.de
EU neighbour: Election may keep Moldova in gray zone between West and Russia reuters.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 ⊃

France wants to give Europe’s electric battery industry a jolt: France will invest 700 million euros over the next five years into projects to boost the European electric car battery industry, French presidency officials have announced. The plan comes after Germany in November set aside 1 billion euros to support battery cell production to reduce dependence on Asian suppliers and shore up jobs at home that may be at risk from the shift away from combustion engines. French officials said the two European countries will work on Franco-German initiatives, at a time when their countries’ carmakers are waking up to the threats posed from relying on Chinese suppliers in an age of international trade wars.
reuters.com

 

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