Thursday, 18th May 2017: EU to start democracy probe on Hungary, Macron unveils new French cabinet, Protests against austerity measures in Greece

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

EU to start democracy probe on Hungary: In an unprecedented move, the EU Parliament on Wednesday called for the triggering of a check on the state of Hungary’s democracy which could lead to the suspension of the country’s EU voting rights. The parliament condemned a serious deterioration of the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights in Hungary and called for a process that could theoretically lead to EU sanctions against Budapest. Although sanctions are widely regarded as unlikely, the vote shows how frustrated MEPs across party lines have become with Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government.
euobserver.com, politico.eu

EU and US meeting on airline laptop ban: A meeting Wednesday between EU and US officials to discuss the possibility that the US will extend a ban on laptops in aircraft cabins to European airports ended without coming to a conclusion. A follow-up meeting is set for next week in Washington. The US Department of Homeland Security is aware of the operational and economic implications of the possible ban, but the consequences of an aircraft going down outweigh the other considerations, the official said.
politico.eu

EU Commission launches procedure against Italy: The Commission launched legal action against Italy on Wednesday for failing to respond to allegations of emission-test cheating by Fiat Chrysler. Italy now has two months to respond. The Commission may eventually decide to take the country to court if it is not satisfied with the answer. This could eventually lead to the country being fined by the Court of Justice of the EU. Italy has denied the allegation that a Fiat 500X contained illegal software that made the car appear cleaner in the official test than it was in actual road use – a so-called defeat device.
euobserver.com, reuters.com

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UK confident EU will approve military headquarters: Britain supports setting up an EU military centre and is confident that plans will be settled on Thursday, a defence ministry spokeswoman said, following earlier British objections to the project. The ministry’s comments come after the EU’s foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said on Monday she believed the ministers would unanimously back the proposals. EU diplomats confirmed a compromise proposal. It remains unclear, however, whether a decision will be made at the meeting of EU defence ministers in Brussels on Thursday.
zeit.de

Weed killer: EU to propose 10-year license renewal for glyphosate reuters.com
Brexit: MEPs welcome unity on Brexit and call for reform of the EU europarl.europa.eu
EU refugee crisis: “Relocation is our shared moral duty” europarl.europa.eu
WhatsApp: Vestager set to sanction Facebook politico.eu

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

If the British government says that free movement of people is no longer valid, that will have its price in relations with Britain.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the UK will pay a price if it curbs immigration from the EU after Brexit.
washingtonpost.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Macron unveils new French cabinet: Newly inaugurated French President Emmanuel Macron appointed his government on Wednesday, naming a mix of figures from across the political spectrum in a bid to bridge a right-left rift. Outgoing defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was appointed to head up a newly created Europe and Foreign Ministry. Pro-EU and centrist politician Sylvie Goulard was named defence minister. Bruno Le Maire, a German-speaking pro-European from the centre-right Republicans party, was appointed finance minister. The Socialist mayor of Lyon Gerard Collomb was appointed interior minister. Television presenter Nicolas Hulot was recruited to the ecology ministry and Gerald Darmanin, another Republican, was named budget minister.
dw.com, bloomberg.com

Protests against austerity measures in Greece: Hundreds of thousands of Greeks walked off the job on Wednesday, heeding the call of labour unions to join a 24-hour general strike to protest a new round of austerity measures nearing approval in the Greek Parliament. The effects of the strike were widespread: Flights and public transportation were disrupted, ships remained anchored in ports, government offices were closed and hospitals operated with limited staff. Greek police in Athens fired tear gas to break up protesters. Some protesters in the crowd of some 12,000 people threw rocks and firecrackers at police.
nytimes.com, dw.com

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Irish Prime Minister to step down: Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny will step down as leader of the Fine Gael party on Wednesday night, he said. He will continue as taoiseach (prime minister) until the Dail (parliament) chooses a successor. Kenny told a parliamentary party meeting on Wednesday that a successor would be appointed by 2 June. The 66-year-old had been under pressure to resign from factions within his own party dissatisfied with his leadership.
bbc.com, politico.eu

German transport ministry to open bids for toll system: It has been a long-time coming, but the transportation ministry is finally ready to open the bidding process for Germany’s controversial highway toll system for passenger vehicles. The EU Commission on Wednesday gave the green light to Germany, ending a long-running dispute between Brussels and Berlin over the toll system. European officials had alleged that the system discriminates against foreign drivers.
global.handelsblatt.com

Germany 1: Berlin terrorist Anis Amri was a known drug dealer dw.com
Germany 2: Immigration boosts economy euractiv.com
Britain 1: Boris Johnson censured for talking about alcohol at Sikh temple politico.eu
Britain 2: Four men arrested in London over terror plot telegraph.co.uk

⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃

politjobs.eu: GIZ seeks Advisor (m/f) Economic Analysis and Policy *** IASS seeks Two Senior Research Associates (m/f) for the project “Co-Creation and Contemporary Policy Advice” *** Bayer seeks Government Relation Manager *** Google seeks Public Policy and Government Relations Analyst (Northern Europe) *** Lufthansa bietet Praktikum im Bereich Konzernpolitik *** NATO seeks Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges *** Copa-Cogeca seeks Policy Advisor Expert on Wine & Aquaculture
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)

⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃

German AfD leader loses case against TV show: A German court on Wednesday rejected a request by Alice Weidel, a senior figure in the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), not to rerun a satirical TV programme in which she was called a “Nazi slut” by the presenter. The Hamburg district court ruled that freedom of expression in Germany covers satire, especially when directed toward public figures, who must put up with exaggerated criticism.
politico.eu

 

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