Thursday, 18th of June: Warnings, accusations, and emergency plans, Eurogroup meeting in Brussels, Europe’s states haggle over every migrant

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Warnings, accusations, and emergency plans: The Bank of Greece cautions against a Greek exit from the eurozone. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has accused Athens of twisting his words. He criticized Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, saying the leader wasn’t giving his citizens correct information about EU proposals. Greece’s tax revenue in the first five months of this year has a shortfall of 1.7 billion euros. Austrian Finance Minister Werner Faymann is in Athens to talk with Tsipras.
dw.de, telegraph.co.uk, reuters.com

Eurogroup meeting in Brussels: At the Eurogroup meeting on Thursday, the main focus was on Greece amid growing concerns of a Greek exit from the eurozone. Other topics on the agenda were the economic, fiscal, and tax policy developments in Portugal, as well as the Cyprus adjustment programme. The IMF and ECB chiefs, Christine Lagarde and Mario Draghi, will participate in the meeting. If no progress is made, an emergency summit of EU leaders could be organised during the weekend.
euobserver.com, reuters.com

Europe’s states haggle over every migrant: EU governments failed to reach agreement on how to divide up the tens of thousands of refugees pouring into southern Italy from north Africa, increasing Rome’s fears that it will be left to cope with the Mediterranean migrant crisis. EU member states seem set to reject minimal proposals by the EU Commission to secure the resettlement of 40,000 asylum seekers. Interior ministers from the 28 member states agreed, however, that a joint European solution is necessary. Italian Prime Minister Renzi has called on his peers to change the rules of the Dublin system.
alde.eu, theguardian.com

Sanctions against Russia: The EU economic sanctions against Russia will be extended by six months until the end of January 2016. The decision to prolong the sanctions, which expire at the end of July, was made by EU ambassadors in Brussels on Wednesday and is expected to be ratified at a meeting of foreign ministers early next week in Luxembourg. The U.S. lobbied against any letup in sanctions, securing agreement from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders at the G7 summit.
nytimes.com

Commission wants to close coorporation tax loopholes: The EU Commission has unveiled an action plan aimed at closing loopholes and harmonizing tax rules to prevent big multinationals from shirking their tax-paying duties in the eurozone. The plan sets out a series of initiatives to tackle tax avoidance, secure sustainable revenues and strengthen the Single Market for businesses. In addition, the Commission also published a list of 30 nations deemed particularly non-cooperative when it comes to clamping down on tax evaders. The list included the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, Liberia and Monaco.
dw.de, europa.eu

Reform of rules for organic food: The European agriculture ministers have reached an agreement on reforms for organic food regulations. Germany prevailed in one of the most controversial points: In the future, there will be no special limits for residues of pesticides and other undesirable substances in organic foods. The reform is far from being finalized. EU Parliament will now start its discussions.
euractiv.de

Ban on cloned food: The Environment and Agriculture Committees on Wednesday approved by 82 votes to 8 with 8 abstentions a draft law to ban the cloning of all farm animals, their descendants and products derived from them, including imports. MEPs beefed up the EU Commission’s initial proposal, citing high mortality rates at all development stages of cloning and EU citizens’ animal welfare and ethical concerns.
europarl.europa.eu, europarltv.europa.eu

Radical demand: New extreme right group wants to dissolve the eurozone euractiv.com
Valletta Conference: President Tusk appoints Pierre Vimont as personal envoy consilium.europa
Road toll: EU formally opens proceedings against Germany joleinen.de
Human Rights Dialogue 1: EU and Turkmenistan held seventh round of talks eeas.europa.eu
Human Rights Dialogue 2: Federica Mogherini meets with Secretary General of Amnesty International eeas.europa.eu

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

This nuclear sabre-rattling of Russia is unjustified, it’s destabilising and it’s dangerous. This is something which we are addressing.
Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg condemns Russia’s move to strengthen its nuclear arsenal.
bbc.com

He knows that the situation is critical. I have explained that to him from all angles and in several languages.
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker hopes, that Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras knows what he’s doing.
handelsblatt.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Former Turkish President Demirel died: Suleyman Demirel died early Wednesday at the age of 90 in Ankara. He served as head of state from 1993 to 2000, the culmination of a four-decade career that repeatedly took him in and out of high office — with two stints as prime minister cut short by military intervention. Critics say Demirel symbolized a culture in which power came before principles.
washingtonpost.com

Italy’s corruption paralyses the economy: One kilometer of the high-speed line Milan-Turin costs 74 million euros. Italy’s infrastructure is more expensive than that of any other EU country. In Spain, the line Madrid-Valladolid costs around 30 million euros per kilometer. Italy is corrupt through and through. There is something fishy with every third public construction contract, according to a recent annual report by the financial police Guardia di Finanza.
dw.de, nzz.ch

Switzerland confirms Cassis de Dijon principle: The EU Cassis de Dijon principle was introduced in Switzerland in 2010. It allows products that are lawfully produced and marketed in one EU country to be sold unrestricted in another. The head of the Swiss Farmers‘ Federation has now failed with an initiative for even more market isolation, which questioned the principle.
nzz.ch

Ireland to abolish small change: The Irish government is to discuss abolishing one cent and two cent coins. The Central Bank of Ireland has recommended rolling out the practice of “rounding” nationally. The bank estimates that there are currently 35.3 million euros worth of one and two cent coins in the Republic of Ireland.
bbc.com

Polish conservatives plan special tax: The Polish opposition party Law and Justice (PiS) wants to introduce Hungarian-style special taxes on banks and supermarkets if it comes to power. The party would also aim to limit profits transferred abroad by foreign firms operating in Poland. PiS currently leads opinion polls before October’s parliamentary elections.
euractiv.com

Hungary walls itself off: Because of the large number of migrants entering Hungary, the country plans to erect a border fence to keep out migrants entering from Serbia. Hungarian authorities announced that the wall would run the length of the 175km border between the countries. Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Hungary could not wait for the EU to find a solution to immigration.
bbc.com

Turkey: Former President Abdullah Gul possibly planning political comeback welt.de
Georgia: Escaped zoo tiger kills man in Tbilisi cnn.com
Switzerland: Art Basel 2015 opened nytimes.com
Norway: Tourism as an alternative to oil mynewsdesk.com

⊂ DATA ⊃

Germany has received 202,645 asylumseekers last year, the most in the EU. When taking the size of the population into account, however, Sweden has received more applications.
telegraph.co.uk

⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃

politjobs.eu: Fundació Barcelona Promoció seeks Brussels Liaison Officer (German Speaker) *** Verband öffentlicher Versicherer sucht Policy Advisor (m/w) *** Kellen AGEP seeks Stagiaire Consultant *** Inclusion Europe seeks an Executive Director *** VDMA sucht Referent (m/w) Handelspolitik/Wirtschaftsrecht *** Bayer seeks EU Policy Manager *** POLITICO seeks Policy editor/Account Manager *** RISE Foundation seeks Researcher *** ECDHR offers Advocacy & EU Public Affairs Internship
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)

⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃

Segolene Royal fights against Nutella: France’s Environment Minister Segolene Royal has offered her apologies after urging the public to stop eating Nutella because it was destroying the environment. Royal had criticised the use of palm oil in the hazelnut spread, which is made by Italian confectionery company Ferrero. Luca Galletti, the Italian Environment Minister, rushed to Nutella’s defence after Royal said in a television interview that the use of palm oil in the product was leading to massive deforestation, which was a cause of global warming.
theguardian.com

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