Thursday, 27 June 2019: Rescue ship enters Italian waters despite warning, EU court backs stricter air quality standards, Finland will focus on climate during EU presidency

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Rescue ship enters Italian waters despite warning: Defying an order from Italian authorities to stay out, the migrant rescue ship „Sea-Watch 3“ decided to enter Italian waters on Wednesday. The German charity boat had been stranded at sea for two weeks with 42 rescued migrants on board. The ship’s captain Carola Rackete said she knew what she was risking and she had decided to bring the exhausted migrants aboard to safety. No European institution was willing to take responsibility and uphold human dignity at Europe’s border in the Mediterranean Sea, she said. This was why she had to take the responsibility herself. A shocking photo of a drowned father and his two-year-old daughter at the US-Mexican border surfaced on Wednesday – a tragic reminder of the risks that Central American migrants face on their journey to reach the United States. The Mexican newspaper “ El Universal“ published a video on Wednesday showing a Haitian woman sprawled out on the dirt pavement in a migrant reception camp, crying for help for her children and pleading for justice.
euronews.com, bbc.com, dw.com (Rescue ship); dw.com (Photo); dailymail.co.uk (Video)

EU court backs stricter air quality standards: The European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Wednesday ruled in favour of citizens and environmental groups in a case about air pollution standards. The judges ruled that sampling stations should be set up in areas with the highest pollution levels. While authorities could choose where to conduct sampling, this needed to include the most polluted areas and concluded that the average measurement from different parts of the city did not show the exposure to pollutants. The court also found that national courts were empowered to review the location of air quality stations and could order local authorities to make sure they are located appropriately.
dw.com, cnbc.com

Finland will focus on climate during EU presidency: Finland will target an agreement to make the EU commit to becoming carbon neutral by 2050 during its EU presidency. The country on Wednesday unveiled the programme it plans to pursue through December. Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne told parliament in Helsinki that the key goal for the period was making the EU a global leader in fighting climate change. Finland wants EU leaders to agree this year on the key elements of the plan to commit to carbon neutrality.
bloomberg.com

Weber indirectly criticises Macron: Manfred Weber, the lead candidate of the European People’s Party (EPP), has sharply criticised French President Emmanuel Macron for not backing the „Spitzenkandidat“ („lead candidate“) process, which would automatically make Weber the next EU Commission President. Wiping out the top candidate would make the result of the European parliament elections irrelevant and frustrate voters, Weber wrote in a guest article for German newspaper „Die Welt“. He warned that the EU was well on its way back to decision-making in the backroom. After a summit last week, Macron had declared the lead candidate system dead and said the search for a Commission president would start from scratch.
euobserver.com, politico.eu

Council of Europe 1: Croatian foreign minister Buric named new head of the council politico.eu
Council of Europe 2: Ukraine withdraws following the return of voting rights to Russian delegates zeit.de
Mercosur: EU and South America plan historic trade deal handelsblatt.com
Uranium enrichment: Iran wants to officially violate nuclear agreements for the first time tagesspiegel.de

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

Europe treats us worse than China.
US President Donald Trump used a Fox interview to criticise the EU.
politico.eu

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Neo-Nazi admits to murder of German politician: The suspect in the fatal shooting of German politician Walter Lübcke has confessed. The suspect, identified only as Stephan E., reportedly has contacts in right-wing extremist circles, and said he acted alone. But investigators are still searching for any possible accomplices. According to reports, Lübcke had been killed over the building of a new refugee centre. E. had even been present at a controversial town hall meeting on the topic several years ago, video of which had widely circulated online. At the meeting, Lübcke said citizens had to stand up for Christian values. Whoever did not support these values could leave Germany at any time. Since the killing of Lübcke, other regional politicians have said they have received an increasing number of death threats.
bbc.com, nytimes.com

Dutch railway to compensate Holocaust survivors: The Netherlands‘ state-run rail company NS has said it will pay tens of millions of euros in compensation to Holocaust victims and their families. The company earned millions by transporting Jewish families to a Nazi transit camp. It apologised in 2005 for its role in helping the Nazi occupiers in World War Two, but it only set up a commission to decide how much to pay in November last year.
bbc.com

German chemical firm defends Syria deliveries: Shares in German chemicals distributor Brenntag dropped on Wednesday on a report that the company sold substances to a company in Syria that could go into chemical weapons, among other uses. A Swiss subsidiary of Brenntag supplied isopropanol and diethylamine to Syria. The two substances can be used in pharmaceuticals but could also be used to make the banned nerve agent sarin. The German company said it did not circumvent EU export restrictions and said the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs had confirmed compliance with export regulations.
bbc.com, uk.reuters.com

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Denmark’s new government scraps plans for migrant island: Social Democrat Mette Frederiksen became Denmark’s youngest ever prime minister on Wednesday. In her bid for the prime ministership, Frederiksen mediated disagreement among the leftists on issues such as immigration and welfare. She rose to prominence with a pro-welfare, anti-immigration stance. Frederiksen has already scrapped the previous government’s plans to move up to 150 migrants to the small island of Lindholm. Some commentators are dismayed by the anti-migrant turns of progressive parties, believing that it normalises the heartless treatment of people fleeing war.
politico.eu, washingtonpost.com

Italy: Government unlikely to set new 2020 deficit goal in EU budget tussle uk.reuters.com
Spain: Detained separatists transferred to Catalonia de.euronews.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 ⊃

Soldier with Brazil’s G20 delegation held over drug trafficking: Spanish police arrested a member of the military delegation travelling with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s party for the G20 summit in Japan after 39kg of cocaine was discovered in his luggage. Bolsonaro confirmed the news in a statement on Tuesday night, saying he had been informed of the airman’s arrest by the defence minister. The airman had walked off the plane carrying a garment bag and a carry-on suitcase, law enforcement officials said. When airport screeners inspected the bag, they found 37 bundles of cocaine and nothing else in the bag.
theguardian.com, nytimes.com

 

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