Thursday, 16 January 2020: Health secretary hints at scrapping waiting time targets, Iran’s Rouhani makes veiled threats to EU troops, Germany to receive 877 million euros for coal phase-out, Former EU diplomat suspected of spying for China

⊂ UNITED KINGDOM ⊃

Health secretary hints at scrapping A&E waiting targets: Health Secretary Matt Hancock has hinted the government could scrap the four-hour waiting time target in A&E departments. Hospitals must aim to ensure 95% of patients are seen within the time limit, but in November, every major A&E unit in England missed the target. Hancock suggested that the long-standing benchmark designed to avoid long waits – which the NHS has not achieved since 2015 – was no longer clinically appropriate. He admitted there were big challenges in the NHS when it came to waiting times, arguing it was due to a rise in the number of people being treated in accident and emergency units. He said the government was putting an additional £33.9bn into the service to help.
bbc.com, independent.co.uk

Airline and rail rivals attack government rescue of Flybe: British Airways’ owner IAG has filed a complaint to the EU arguing Flybe’s rescue breaches state aid rules. The move comes amid a growing backlash against the government’s plan to defer some of Flybe’s air passenger duty payments, thought to top £100m. EasyJet and Ryanair said taxpayer funds should not be used to save a rival.
bbc.com

Labour candidates seek union backing in next phase of contest: Labour leadership hopefuls are seeking the backing of unions and local parties as the contest’s next stage begins. The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said it would be backing Lisa Nandy. And SERA, an environmental campaign group affiliated to the party, has said it is supporting Sir Keir Starmer, who already has the backing of Unison. Rebecca Long-Bailey is expected to win the backing of the left-wing grassroots group Momentum as a poll placed her ahead of closest rival for the Labour leadership, Keir Starmer.
bbc.com, theguardian.com

Criminal records scandal: Police chiefs blame Theresa May theguardian.com
Legislation: TV cameras to be allowed in Crown Courts in England and Wales bbc.com
N. Ireland: Stormont to get an extra £1bn from Westminster bbc.com

⊂ POLITJOBS UNITED KINGDOM ⊃

Association 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 ⊃

Iran’s Rouhani makes veiled threats to EU troops: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has criticised the US and Europe for their presence in the Middle East and for what he described as the latter’s failures in upholding the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal. Rouhani said the EU should fulfill its commitments under the agreement. He said US troops were insecure in the region today, and EU troops “might be in danger tomorrow”. Rouhani also dismissed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s proposal for a new “Trump deal” to replace the Iranian nuclear pact. According to the “New York Times” and the “Wall Street Journal”, surveillance video from Iran appears to show two missiles hitting the Ukrainian passenger plane downed over Tehran. The UK’s ambassador to Iran, Rob Macaire, has returned to London. US President Donald Trump called Iranian General Qassem Soleimani – who was killed in a US airstrike earlier this month – a “son of a bitch” at a campaign rally Tuesday night.
cnbc.com, nbcnews.com, reuters.com (Rouhani); wsj.com, nytimes.com (Plane); independent.co.uk (Macaire); politico.com (Trump)

Germany to receive 877 million euros for coal phase-out: As part of the EU’s “Green Deal” initiative, the €7.5-billion-strong Just Transition Fund will allocate €2 billion to Poland and €877 million to Germany under a proposal sent to national governments on Wednesday. Funding applications under the fund will be assessed based on how carbon-intensive the applying regions are, the number of potential job losses and national income levels.
euractiv.com

Former EU diplomat suspected of spying for China: German prosecutors confirmed on Wednesday that they are investigating three people suspected of spying on behalf of China, including a former EU diplomat. Police carried out raids on homes and offices in Berlin and the southern German states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, as well as in Brussels. None of the suspects had been arrested. Two of the suspects are lobbyists, the other is a former EU diplomat who previously worked at the EU Commission in Brussels and later served as an EU ambassador in several countries.
euractiv.com, dw.com

EU lawmakers concerned about citizens’ rights: Lawmakers in the EU Parliament have urged the British government to overhaul its regime for EU citizens’ rights after Brexit, expressing grave concern about its EU Settlement Scheme. In a resolution adopted on Wednesday, MEPs take stock of citizens’ rights in the context of Brexit and highlight that their consent to the Brexit deal will take into account experiences gained and assurances given about their protection. Parliament expresses concerns especially about the application-based approach used in the UK EU Settlement Scheme, and the absence of physical proof for successful applicants, among other issues.
euractiv.com, europarl.europa.eu

DiscoverEU: EU will pay for 20,000 young Europeans to travel through Europe ec.europa.eu
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA): EU to ban insecticide Thiacloprid euractiv.com
Conference on the Future of Europe: Citizens should set the tone for EU reform europarl.europa.eu
Russia: Government resigns as Putin moves to change constitution npr.org
United States: House votes to send Trump impeachment articles to Senate, triggering trial politico.eu

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Bullet holes found in German lawmakers office: German police are investigating after Social Democrats MP Karamba Diaby said bullet holes were found in his constituency office window on Wednesday. Diaby is currently the only African-born member of the German parliament and has faced abuse from the public in the past. Several politicians posted messages of solidarity with Diaby. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas pledged his full support to him and his team. The socialist Left party responded from its party account, saying “Don’t be intimidated by Nazi-terror.” Social Democrats party leader Saskia Esken said she was truly shocked by the lengths cowardly criminals would go to to intimidate those who had different opinions.
dw.com, politico.eu

Swedish military duped by officer with fake diploma: Sweden’s military has conceded that a Swedish man was wrongfully employed in the military using forged credentials, and was promoted to work as staff officer at Nato’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) in Belgium. He served in the Swedish Armed Forces for more than a decade and even served in a UN mission. The military added that Nato had been informed on Monday.
france24.com

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Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) is reinventing itself: Austria’s right-wing populist party FPÖ has launched a rebranding exercise with the aim of becoming a “modern right-wing conservative party”. The FPÖ hopes to appeal to sections of society with whom it has failed to score well, such as women, academics and city dwellers. The party certainly needs to change a few things. After ruling alongside Chancellor Kurz’s conservative ÖVP until the government’s collapse in May 2019 with a 26% share of the vote, the party has suffered a deep fall. The so-called “Ibiza-gate” scandal led to Heinz-Christian Strache’s resignation as Vice-Chancellor and FPÖ leader, followed by an affair involving misuse of party funds. In Austria, parties can only spend a certain amount on their election campaigns. It was announced on Wednesday that the ÖVP will have to pay a penalty because it spent more money on its 2017 election campaign than allowed.
euractiv.com (FPÖ), faz.net (ÖVP)

Greece: Migration ministry created after surge in arrivals nytimes.com
Hungary: Smog alarm in Budapest continues de.euronews.com
Spain: Chemical plant explosion kills man 3km away bbc.com

⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃

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 ⊃

Climate activists to sue German government: Activists and several environmental organisations are lodging three constitutional complaints against the federal government and the German parliament. The environmentalists say the climate protection package approved by parliament last year to help the country meet its 2030 target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions is insufficient. They want to see Germany’s climate laws revised, arguing that the failure to tackle climate change contravened a constitutional right to live in dignity.
dw.com, reuters.com

 

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