Thursday, 25th of June: Deadlock in Greece debt crisis talks, NATO increases rapid response force, U.S. spied on French Presidents

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Deadlock in Greece debt crisis talks: Negotiations to avert a Greek debt default broke up without agreement on Wednesday. The eurozone finance ministers, who accused Athens of refusing to compromise, cut short an emergency meeting after little more than an hour because there was no deal ready for them to discuss. The finance ministers will reassemble on Thursday in a bid to achieve a breakthrough. German officials warned however that the talks could last beyond the full two-day summit of leaders on Thursday and Friday. Greece has to repay 1.6 billion euros to the International Monetary Fund next Tuesday or be declared in default.
reuters.com, theguardian.com

NATO increases rapid response force: In response to the Ukraine crisis, NATO is expanding its new spearhead rapid response force to 40,000 troops, instead of 20,000 to 25,000. The task force is designed to react within days to a threat. At a meeting in Brussels, defense ministers decided to expedite the spearhead unit’s deployment by giving Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s top commander, greater authority.
wsj.com

Data protection regulation trilogue starts: In Brussels, the negotiations for the so-called data protection reform trilogue between European Parliament, EU Commission, and Council has begun. The data protection reform is considered a key building block of the Digital Single Market. The trade association Bitkom demanded improvements since new markets around cloud computing, big data, and cognitive computing would be seriously affected by the regulation.
europa.eu, bitkom.org

Maternity leave extension has failed: Draft EU laws to extend maternity leave to 18 weeks will be abandoned. Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans wrote to Parliament President Martin Schulz and told him that there was a clear lack of support for pursuing the dossier in the Council of Ministers. Once the Commission puts forward replacement rules with more chance of being backed by national governments, the bill will be dropped.
euractiv.com

Less regulation for telecom sector: Executives from Orange, Deutsche Telekom and BT have urged a step back in regulations, arguing that it will drive investment. The EU Commission seems to agree, saying its priority was to promote cash flow to build up broadband infrastructure run by big telco firms. The companies hope that less regulation will balance out loopholes tipped in favour of Internet competitors like Skype or WhatsApp, which are offering services for free.
euractiv.com

Parliament gives green light to European Investment Fund: To promote jobs and growth in Europe, social and micro-enterprises will soon have access to over 500 million euros. MEPs voted on the establishment of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), that is intended to help implement the EU’s 315 billion euro plan to overcome a shortage of investment in the EU economy. The aim is to provide support for projects that are economically viable, but would not otherwise happen because private investors are hesitant to finance them.
europarl.europa.eu, europa.eu

Consumer protection: Commission sets 115.9 million euro fine for food packaging cartels reuters.com
EU Strategy for Danube Region: Meeting on strategy for the Danube region at “Danube Floating Conference” stm.baden-württemberg.de
TTIP: German Federation for Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND) sees safety standards at risk euractiv.de
EU summit: EU Council meeting on June 25th and 26th will discuss migration consilium.europa.eu
Controversial nuclear subsidies: An alliance of green energy providers and public utilities file a lawsuit against EU Commission subsidies greenpeace-energy.de

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

We cannot ask the new generations to spend decades paying for their parents’ mistakes. We have to look ahead. Europe was founded on forgetting debts and investments in the future.
French economist Thomas Piketty calls for a large-scale debt conference.
tagesspiegel.de

With a parliamentary party status, these anti-Europeans and neo-Nazis have a right to different positions. They have announced that they will increase their focus on racist and misanthropic policies in Parliament. We have to fight against this.
MEP Dietmar Köster calls for a coalition of democrats to face the new extreme right group in the EU Parliament.
facebook.com/dietmar.fuer.europa

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

U.S. spied on French Presidents: France has summoned the U.S. ambassador in the wake of WikiLeaks reports that the United States spied on French President Francois Hollande and his two predecessors, Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy. In a phone call with Hollande, U.S. President Barack Obama reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to end spying practices deemed „unacceptable“ by its allies.
reuters.com, cnn.com

Hungary backpedals: Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has said that the country will not override EU asylum regulations. The announcement that Hungary would suspend indefinitely the application of a key EU asylum rule that requires migrants’ claims to be processed in the EU country they first arrive in, would only be applied to refugees who had been deported to Hungary by mistake.
theguardian.com

Thousands Armenians protest against their government: Thousands of young protesters confronted riot police in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, for a second night on Tuesday, just hours after a previous demonstration was dispersed with blasts of water and more than 200 arrests. What was originally a protest against high electricity prices has turned into a massive demonstration against the government. Many protesters reject the course that President Serzh Sargsyan has taken.
nytimes.com

Queen warns against division in Europe: Thousands of people lined up Wednesday to catch a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth during her state visit to Germany. At a state banquet in Berlin, the Queen said she and German President Joachim Gauck had seen the worst but also the best of Europe in their lifetimes. She urged Europe to guard against division in the continent. It is the Queen’s seventh state visit to Germany since 1965, when she came here for the first time just four years after the Berlin Wall was erected.
uk.reuters.com, dw.de

Queen warns against division in Europe: Thousands of people lined up Wednesday to catch a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth during her state visit to Germany. At a state banquet in Berlin, the Queen said she and German President Joachim Gauck had seen the worst but also the best of Europe in their lifetimes. She urged Europe to guard against division in the continent. It is the Queen’s seventh state visit to Germany since 1965, when she came here for the first time just four years after the Berlin Wall was erected.
uk.reuters.com, dw.de

Local elections in Albania: After the first elections since becoming a candidate for EU accession, the international monitoring mission of OSCE/ODIHR has criticized the politicisation of public institutions in Albania which undermine the electoral process. In total, however, the elections were seen as fair and peaceful. A coalition led by the governing Socialist Party has won three-fourths of mayoral elections, seen as a possible step toward improving its bid to launch membership negotiations with the EU.
foxnews.com

Great Britain: Cameron urges more action on migrants euronews.com
Netherlands / Belgium: Dutch and Belgian retailers merge to form new supermarket giant euronews.com
Turkey: Critical journalist faces 23 years in jail taz.de

⊂ DATA ⊃

Unemployment figures in Finland rose to 11.8 percent, up 1.5 percent compared to March and April. That’s a 1.1 percent increase year-on-year, and worse than forecast.
euronews.com

⊂ 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 ⊃

Varoufakis wants to replace the Euro with digital currency: In a blog post back in February 2014, Greece’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has said he would consider creating a parallel digital currency, using Bitcoin’s digital security and transparency. Varoufakis outlined how a virtual currency could be used to get around the ECB’s refusal to boost demand through quantitative easing. Just like Bitcoin, it would be exchangeable one for one with euros, but it would be issued by the state.
welt.de, theguardian.com

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