Thursday, 22 August 2019: Statistics office underestimated EU migration to UK, Five EU states to take in “Open Arms” migrants, Merkel calls on Boris Johnson to find Brexit solution, Greece says it will not help Iranian tanker


Statistics office underestimated EU migration to UK: EU migration to the UK over the last decade has been underestimated, statisticians have admitted. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the error affected the number of migrants from eight of the countries which joined the EU in 2004, including Poland. It said it may have also overstated migration from non-EU countries. As a result, the status of the immigration figures compiled by the ONS has been downgraded to “experimental”. The admission that tens of thousands more EU immigrants have moved to Britain comes at a time of intense debate over freedom of movement, as Home Secretary Priti Patel plans to bring it to an end in the event of a no-deal Brexit.,

Gove pledges to ensure traffic flows through ports after Brexit: Michael Gove, the minister in charge of coordinating no-deal Brexit planning, said the government would do all it could to ensure traffic flows through ports after Brexit. Port towns in England are being given an extra £9m to pay for preparations. Gove again dismissed leaked Whitehall documents predicting chaos as being out of date. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for a cross-party meeting of senior politicians, urging them to work with him to do everything possible to stop a no-deal Brexit. According to the “Guardian”, agency workers will take over tasks from Border Force guards for the first time in the event of a no-deal Brexit. (Gove); (Corbyn); (Border Force)

Labour urged for more ethnic minority candidates: Five Labour-supporting groups have urged the party to adopt election candidate shortlists where half of the hopefuls are from an ethnic minority. They also called for Labour to ensure diversity on candidate selection panels. Labour is currently deciding on candidate selections ahead of a possible general election this autumn. Two senior MPs have expressed alarm at the decision not to replace some departing female colleagues with all-women shortlists. The concerns of Labour MPs Gloria De Piero and Harriet Harman follow criticism of the party’s procedures by the Unison general secretary, Dave Prentis, who accused the Labour leadership of trading seats intended for female candidates in order to allow favourite sons to take up the safest Labour seats. (Ethnic minority candidates); (Female candidates)

Scotland: Scotland’s deficit seven times higher than UK as a whole last year
Wales: Welsh Labour to back Remain if Corbyn becomes PM
Rail project: HS2 could be scrapped as critic given role in independent review


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Five EU states to take in “Open Arms” migrants: After a three-week standoff in the Mediterranean Sea, five EU states agreed to take in migrants from the Spanish rescue ship “Open Arms”. The migrants finally disembarked on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa on Tuesday night after an Italian prosecutor ordered the ship’s seizure and evacuation. Spain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and Portugal have agreed to take all of them in, the EU Commission announced on Wednesday. France has become the first EU member state to say it would welcome some of the 356 migrants on board the stranded Norwegian rescue ship “Ocean Viking”. The Cyprus Coast Guard has rescued 33 migrants from an overcrowded ship in Cypriot waters. (Open Arms); (Ocean Viking); (Cyprus)

Merkel calls on Boris Johnson to find Brexit solution: During a visit by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she saw possibilities to solve the Irish backstop problem and avoid a no-deal Brexit, but she said it was up to the UK to come up with a workable plan. Merkel gave no indication that she would make a concession on the backstop to avoid a no-deal Brexit. Johnson accepted that he had thirty days to persuade the EU that there was a viable alternative to the backstop. Johnson is scheduled to travel on to Paris for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron over lunch on Thursday. Macron has already cautioned that there would be no renegotiation of the Brexit deal. European Council President Donald Tusk will meet Johnson on Sunday on the sidelines of the G7 summit., (Merkel); (Macron); (Tusk)

Greece says it will not help Iranian tanker: Greece will not facilitate the journey of the Iranian oil tanker “Adrian Darya 1” sailing in the Mediterranean Sea. Deputy Foreign Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis said Greece had sent a clear message that it would not allow the trafficking of Iranian oil to Syria, citing pressure from the United States. The US wants the tanker to be seized on suspicion that it is carrying oil to Syria in violation of sanctions as well as alleged ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Washington has warned Greece against assisting the vessel.,

G7: France wants progress in Ukraine before Russia returns to G7
International Monetary Fund: IMF executive board recommends scrapping age limit to elect Georgieva as managing director
Ryanair: Budget airline faces Europe-wide strikes
Religion: Europe honours victims of acts of violence based on religion or faith


Italy’s president searches for new government: Seeking to find a way out of a political crisis triggered by the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, President Sergio Mattarella has kicked off two days of consultations with various party leaders. The main opposition party PD said on Wednesday it was ready to hold talks with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement over forming a government. The two parties, however, would need to overcome myriad difficulties for the plan to become reality. The most plausible option for Mattarella may be to install a caretaker government to draft Italy’s budget for 2020 and prevent a VAT increase, before calling new elections in either October or November.,

Germany supports Kurdish fighters in Iraq: German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer concluded her three-day tour of the Middle East on Wednesday. She expressed her gratitude to the Iraqi Kurdish fighters for their help in fighting the “Islamic State” militants. The minister said Germany would not forget the sacrifices made by Iraqi Kurds, not just for the security of their own region, but for the security of Europe and Germany as well. Kramp-Karrenbauer also met with women and girls from the Yazidi minority group in northern Iraq who were enslaved and abused by Isis militants. She called for aid for those women who are still being enslaved by the jihadists.

One quarter of Germans has migration background: Nearly one quarter of Germany’s population has an immigration background, according to statistics released on Wednesday. 52% of those with a migration background were German citizens while 48% had a foreign passport. The top reasons for immigration were for family, employment, and education. The vast majority of those who came for family or employment reasons were from other European countries.

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Germany spends millions on US military bases: The German government spent €243 million over the past seven years to support US troops based in Germany. This accounts for costs such as benefits for former workers and operating costs associated with maintaining buildings and other properties. Another €480 million in financial support went toward contributing to Nato-related construction costs in Germany, almost exclusively on account of the United States. Left party politician Brigitte Freihold criticised that German taxpayers were subsidising US warfare. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert stressed that it was in Germany’s interest to have US troops stationed in the country.,

Netherlands: Plan for Whiskey ferry from Scotland to the Netherlands in light of approaching Brexit
Slovakia: President Caputova warns of Russia using Fake News to influence Europe
Germany: Police carry out massive human trafficking raids
Poland: Supermarkets introduce hour of silence for autistic people

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Danish prime minister disappointed by Trump’s cancellation: Less than two weeks before a scheduled trip to Denmark, US President Donald Trump announced that he has postponed his visit to Copenhagen after Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen disputed his interest in buying Greenland as absurd. Frederiksen said Wednesday she received the news that Trump had postponed his trip to Denmark with regret and surprise and had been looking forward to the visit. After Israel denied the two Democratic congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar permission to take part in a planned visit to the country, Trump criticised Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats, saying they lacked either knowledge or loyalty. (Frederiksen);, (Jewish Americans)


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