Thursday, 28 June 2018: Albania refuses to host EU migrant centres, Bank of England rejects EU’s warnings, Poland softens controversial Holocaust law

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Albania refuses to host EU migrant centres: Albania has rejected any talk of hosting centres for migrants seeking to enter the European Union. Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama dismissed the idea, saying that people must not be treated like „toxic waste“. The European Council of Foreign Ministers on Tuesday supported EU enlargement to include Albania and Macedonia while postponing a final decision about opening accession negotiations. The thorny issue of migration will dominate a summit of EU leaders Thursday and Friday with divisions rife between the bloc’s 28 members over how they should tackle the crisis. Tightening external borders, giving Libya more support and creating disembarkation centres outside the bloc for those coming by sea are all on the agenda – along with spending more cash on boosting Frontex border guards. A rescue boat stranded for days in the Mediterranean carrying more than 200 migrants docked in Maltese capital of Valletta on Wednesday. The „Lifeline“, a vessel operated by the German charity Mission Lifeline, had been waiting for six days for permission to dock after rescuing 234 migrants off the coast of Libya on Thursday.
bild.de, cnbc.com, euronews.com, dw.com

Bank of England rejects EU’s warnings: The Bank of England (BoE) has hit back at EU criticism on Wednesday, saying British banks were fully prepared for any disorderly Brexit. BoE Governor Mark Carney challenged assertions made by the EU’s banking watchdog, the European Banking Authority (EBA), on Monday that banks were inadequately prepared for a hard Brexit. Carney said the UK banking system could support the real economy through a disorderly Brexit. The Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee (FPC) says banks in Britain are holding enough capital and will not need any more to face any turbulence in markets if Britain leaves the EU without a deal. On Monday, the EBA had said that banks had failed to make enough progress in their Brexit preparations and should not expect help from a miracle of public intervention. The EBA said on Wednesday it was aware of Britain’s temporary permissions proposal, but that it required a legislative and political process to put into effect.
reuters.com, euronews.com

Turkey criticises EU report on accession talks: Turkey has accused the EU of hypocrisy and inconsistency after the bloc published a report that says Ankara is moving further away from the bloc and its membership bid is at a standstill. The report, endorsed by EU ministers in Luxembourg on Tuesday, came two days after Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan won a fresh five-year term. Turkish journalist Mehmet Altan was released from prison on Wednesday, one of his lawyers said, four months after he was jailed for life on charges of aiding plotters behind a failed military coup. Earlier in the day an Istanbul appeals court ordered that he be freed from the city’s Silivri prison. Altan’s brother Ahmet and four other journalists were also sentenced to life in the same case and remain behind bars. The Altan brothers were detained in September 2016 as part of a government crackdown following the July 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan.
tagesspiegel.de, reuters.com

Trump and Putin to hold summit meeting: US President Donald Trump plans to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin next month in a one-on-one summit meeting. National Security Adviser John Bolton said that a meeting between Trump and Putin set to take place isn’t unusual despite clear concerns about the leaders‘ relationship amid ongoing probes into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election. An aide to Putin first confirmed that Washington and Moscow had settled on a date and venue for the meeting, and that details would be announced in a joint statement Thursday. A federal judge in San Diego has ordered immigration agents on Tuesday to stop separating migrant parents and children who have crossed the border from Mexico. The US House of Representatives, as expected, defeated a Republican compromise bill on Wednesday aimed at providing long-term protections to „Dreamers“ brought to the United States illegally as children. Justice Anthony Kennedy, a conservative who provided key votes for same sex-marriage, abortion access and affirmative action, will retire from the Supreme Court.
nytimes.com, cbsnews.com, ncbnews.com (Family separation), reuters.com (Immigration bill), cnn.com (Kennedy)

Chemical weapons: OPCW chemical watchdog gains power to assign blame bbc.com
Syria crisis: Air raids hit more Syrian towns, knock out hospitals: monitor reuters.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Poland softens controversial Holocaust law: Polish lawmakers voted Wednesday to remove the threat of jail terms for people who suggest the country was responsible for Nazi crimes, softening its so-called Holocaust law which drew the ire of the US and Israel. The law was intended to ensure Poland isn’t tarred with responsibility for helping Germany commit the Holocaust during World War II: The country has long objected to how former Nazi-run death camps within its territory, like Auschwitz, are sometimes referred to as „Polish.“ But critics accuse the law of advocating a revisionist version of history. After debate on Wednesday in Poland’s lower house of Parliament, lawmakers voted to remove the criminal penalties, which would stop courts from issuing prison sentences. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the law had been successful in raising international awareness of Polish victims during the Holocaust.
politico.eu, npr.org

Catalan separatists lose legal challenge against charges: The Spanish Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by 15 indicted Catalan separatists, ruling they should be put on trial for rebellion, disobedience and misuse of public funds for their efforts to take the Catalonia region out of Spain. The court ruled Wednesday that the rebellion charge against the secessionist politicians was sufficiently reasonable because they were behind an uprising which used power unjustly. The charges are in connection with the Catalan regional government’s unauthorised referendum last year on independence from Spain and a subsequent unilateral declaration of independence by the separatist-controlled regional parliament. Those charged include former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who fled the country to avoid jail and is fighting extradition from Germany.
washingtonpost.com

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Babis sworn in as head of Czech minority government: Czech President Milos Zeman formally appointed Andrej Babis as the country’s prime minister Wednesday, ending eight months of political deadlock since the billionaire businessman’s centre-right Ano party won parliamentary elections. While Ano topped the polls in October’s parliamentary vote, it failed to win enough seats in the Chamber of Deputies to govern alone. In January, Babis’s minority government lost a parliamentary vote of confidence as most other parties refused to support him as prime minister after he was charged by police with defrauding the EU of a 2 million euro subsidy. Babis denies any wrongdoing and says the charges are politically motivated. Zeman helped cobble together an unlikely coalition of Ano and the centre-left Social Democrats. But with just 93 seats in the 200-strong lower house, the coalition is seeking outside support from the Communists – giving the fringe party its first say in national politics in the almost three decades since its authoritarian rule ended.
politico.eu, reuters.com

Romania: Government survives no-confidence vote politico.eu
Tsipras: Greece open to migrants deal with Germany politico.eu

⊂ 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 ⊃

French butchers want protection from vegans: An organisation representing French butchers has called for the government to stop violence from what it has referred to as militant vegans. The French Federation of Butchers wrote to the interior minister, saying vegans have stoned and defaced butchers’ shop fronts, spraying some with fake blood and graffiti. The letter from federation chief, Jean-François Guihard, said such attacks were a form of terrorism and that the media was fuelling veganism and threatening butchers’ safety. Despite the butchers’ concern, vegetarians and vegans still only make up a small proportion of the French population. A 2016 survey estimated that just 3 percent of the country considered themselves vegetarian, with vegans even fewer in number.
time.com, independent.co.uk

 

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