⊂ EUROPE ⊃
Germany warns of war risk in Iran crisis: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned on Wednesday that all-out conflict between the United States and Iran was still a possibility. The risk of war had not been averted, said Maas in Paris. He called for de-escalation and dialogue, saying it was a time of “diplomacy first”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel sided with US allegations on Tuesday, saying there was strong evidence that Iran was behind the attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman. The limpet mines used to attack the tankers bore a striking resemblance to similar mines displayed by Iran, a US Navy explosives expert said Wednesday. Iran has announced that partners in the nuclear agreement will meet in Vienna at the end of next week. American, Russian and Israeli security advisers want to talk about the situation in the Middle East at a summit in Jerusalem next week.
dw.com, reuters.com (Germany); cbsnews.com (Mine); n-tv.de (Vienna); tagesspiegel.de (Jerusalem)
Debate about Spitzenkandidat system: EU leaders will debate who to nominate for the top jobs in the EU this Thursday. Posts to be filled include presidencies of the EU Commission, the EU Parliament, the council, the central bank, and the foreign policy chief. Ahead of the European Parliament elections, the European parties had nominated their lead candidates for the Commission’s presidency in an effort to increase the EU’s visibility. Germany is pushing for Manfred Weber from the European People’s Party to be next EU Commission President. But French President Emmanuel Macron is not a fan of Weber or the “lead candidate” (“Spitzenkandidat”) system, which means the head candidate of the party group that won most seats gets nominated by the European Council and then approved by the parliament. Macron has named Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, the centre-left’s candidate Frans Timmermans, and EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager as possibilities for the Commission presidency.
finance.yahoo.com, neweurope.eu, bloomberg.com
EU to fund cleaner transport in German cities: Germany’s plans to support the retrofitting of municipal and commercial diesel vehicles are in line with EU State aid rules, the EU Commission decided on Wednesday. The support schemes that Germany intends to set up, with an overall budget of around €431 million, will support the retrofitting of vehicles such as garbage trucks and delivery vehicles, equipped with diesel engines. The Commission said the measures should contribute to reducing nitrogen oxides emissions by 1,450 tonnes per year, while limiting distortions of competition. Five national academies have called for global action on air pollution, a major contributor to disease and climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States has announced that it will undo Obama-era climate requirements for coal plants.
neweurope.eu (Germany); faz.net (Academies); cbsnews.com (EPA)
Unionists voted for far-right parties: Policymakers at the Brussels Economic Forum said the European social contract was broken and inclusive economic policies should be on the top of the next European Commission’s agenda. The European Trade Union Confederation ran a survey among their active members, asking them who they voted for at the last national and European elections. As it turned out, one third of them said they had given their vote to far-right parties. When they were asked about the reason behind their vote, trade unionists mentioned job insecurity, precariousness, and the fear of losing their social protection safety net.
Renew Europe: Ciolos picked as new chief of liberal group in EU Parliament euobserver.com
European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR): New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) and Spain’s Vox to rejoin group in EU Parliament politico.eu
Latin America: Macron, Varadkar, Michel, and Morawiecki warn Mercosur deal could destabilise farm sector politico.eu
⊂ QUOTES ⊃
“The European Court of Justice has examined OMT and determined it to be legal. Moreover, OMT is current policy.”
European Central Bank (ECB) policymaker Jens Weidmann appeared to drop his opposition on Wednesday to an ECB programme of government bond purchases announced during the eurozone debt crisis.
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Suspects charged with MH17’s downing in the Netherlands: Prosecutors on Wednesday announced that four suspects, including three Russians, will face murder charges in the Netherlands over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014. The four men are suspected of bringing a missile launcher into eastern Ukraine and murdering the 298 passengers and crew. One of the suspects named, Igor Girkin, is a former colonel of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), according to investigators. Another suspect, Sergey Dubinskiy, was employed by Russia’s military intelligence agency GRU.
Former French president to stand trial for corruption: The former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is set to face trial on charges of corruption and influence peddling after his last appeal was rejected by France’s highest court. It would be the first time a former French president stands trial for actions taken during his presidency. Sarkozy is accused of trying to bribe a magistrate by offering a prestigious job in Monaco in return for information about a criminal inquiry into his political party.
Germany seeks level playing field in China: German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier on Wednesday signed a cooperation agreement with Chinese Market Regulation Minister Xiao Yaqing at the start of a three day visit. EU member states, including Germany, are hoping to establish better trade terms as the US pursues a costly trade war with China. Altmaier met China’s market regulation, industry and trade ministers on Wednesday. He is scheduled to meet Vice Premier Liu He, President Xi Jinping’s chief economic adviser, on Thursday.
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Debate over Turkey’s drilling off Cyprus: The breakaway Turkish Cypriot state has ordered a study to determine owners of properties in Varosha, which had been the island’s premier tourist resort before it was abandoned and sealed off following the Turkish takeover of northern Cyprus in 1974. The move was announced on Tuesday after the EU said it was mulling possible action against Turkey for drilling off Cyprus. The discovery of huge gas reserves in the Mediterranean Sea has fuelled a race to tap underwater resources and triggered an escalating dispute between Turkey and EU member Cyprus, which also plans to ramp up its exploratory activities in the area.
Germany: Christine Lambrecht is the new justice minister yahoo.com
Poland: Foreign minister Czaputowicz accuses EU of double standard dw.com
Norway: Island wants to be world’s first time-free zone cnn.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 ⊃
Richer countries have less faith in vaccines: People in high-income countries have the lowest confidence in vaccines, according to a study by the Wellcome Trust, a UK medical research charity. 59% of people in Western Europe agree that vaccines are safe, and only 40% in Eastern Europe. To compare, 72% of people in North America agree that vaccines are safe. Vaccines are a victim of their own success, campaigners say, since many people in developed countries have not had to deal with the infectious diseases they protect against.