Tories plan January Brexit, February budget if they win: Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives have announced they would complete Brexit by the end of January and hold a budget in February if they win the election. The Tories pledged to ratify Britain’s EU exit, introduce new domestic law on issues such as health, justice and education, and set out tax cuts in a budget. Johnson has shelved a planned cut in corporation tax to free up £6bn for more public spending. Johnson said only a Tory victory would end Brexit uncertainty and get MPs working on the people’s priorities. If re-elected, he said schools and the NHS would get immediate extra cash. Pressed on whether it would be possible to get an EU trade deal wrapped up in a year, when most take many years, the prime minister said any suggestion it would require more time was “negative”.
uk.reuters.com, bbc.com, theguardian.com

Testimony in Labour antisemitism probe: Dozens of serving and former Labour officials have given sworn statements to an official investigation in to Labour’s handling of antisemitism allegations. The statements form part of a submission from the Jewish Labour Movement to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). The Jewish Labour Movement asked the EHRC to urge Labour to acknowledge it has become institutionally antisemitic and needed to change. The EHRC declined to comment, saying its investigation was live and ongoing.

Labour political reforms include ban on MPs having second jobs: MPs would be banned from holding second jobs under reforms of the rules governing political donations and lobbying that have been proposed by Labour. The party also wants to ban political donations from convicted tax evaders and prevent ministers from becoming lobbyists for five years after leaving office. Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said under the Tories, the government was in serious danger of becoming a playground for the rich and powerful, with decisions often made behind closed doors.

Liberal Democrats: Party leader Swinson apologises for voting to cut benefits while serving in government with Conservatives bbc.com
5G network: Prime Minister Johnson suggests Huawei role in 5G might harm UK security theguardian.com


politjobs.ukAssociation of Directors of Children’s Services seeks Policy Officer *** The Royal Society seeks Senior Policy Adviser (Education) *** ITV Cymru Wales seeks Public Affairs Manager *** Independent Age seeks Public Affairs Officer *** Dogs Trust seeks European Policy Advisor (Publish your job ad)


Von der Leyen concerned about developments in Malta: EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she was concerned about recent developments in Malta, where investigations into the 2017 murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia have shaken the government and prompted Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to announce that he would resign in January. Von der Leyen called for a thorough and independent investigation, free from any political interference. Muscat has denied wrongdoing but acknowledged he could have handled the aftermath better. The head of an EU mission to Malta said Muscat should step down immediately. On Wednesday, the self-confessed middleman in the murder told a court that entrepreneur Yorgen Fenech was the brains behind the killing. He gave a detailed account of how Fenech had contacted him in 2017 to organise the hit, providing 150,000 euros for the contract.
nytimes.com, euobserver.com, euronews.com, reuters.com, telegraph.co.uk

Merkel and Trump consider Nato summit a success: US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have agreed that the Nato summit in London was a success. As the two-day summit drew to a close, Nato members vowed to stand together against threats from Russia and terrorism and the challenge of a rising China. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has agreed to back Nato’s defence plans for Poland and the Baltic states. Meanwhile, Trump criticised Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for being “two-faced” after a video circulated appearing to show Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and others laughing about Trump’s freewheeling news conferences. In the US, a trio of legal scholars argued at the first House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing Wednesday that Trump’s unprecedented conduct was evidence of impeachable offences.
zeit.de, theguardian.com, reuters.com, cnbc.com, washingtonpost.com (Nato summit); cnn.com (Impeachment)

Von der Leyen wants 100 billion euros for climate protection: EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wants to mobilise 100 billion euros in investment to help finance climate protection measures. The EU Commission will be working with the European Investment Bank to ready the funds during the period between 2021 and 2027. The tool will aid regions most affected by the EU’s planned target of net-zero emissions by 2050. The European Environment Agency (EEA) has warned that the EU will likely miss its target for reducing greenhouse gases by 2030. The agency called on European policymakers to put Europe on track to avoid irreversible change and damage.
bloomberg.com (Leyen); apnews.com, euobserver.com (EEA)

Digital tax: US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin warns of new global taxes, opposes digital services duty cnbc.com
Europol: Arrests made in anti-money laundering sweep tagesschau.de


Czech Prime Minister Babis fraud investigation to continue: Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis sees no reason to resign over an ongoing EU Commission audit into conflicts of interest related to the Babis-owned Agrofert conglomerate. The case concerns 1.8 million euros in EU subsidies for a spa resort called the Stork’s Nest owned by members of Babis’ family that Babis green-lit. The subsidies were eligible for medium- and small-sized businesses, but the spa resort would not have been eligible. The Supreme State Attorney in the Czech Republic has ruled that fraud investigations into Babis should continue. The prosecutor’s office in Prague will conduct the investigation and then consider whether the case should be reopened.
dw.com, reuters.com, euronews.com

Germany expels Russian diplomats after murder in Berlin: Months after a man was shot dead in Berlin, Germany is throwing out two Russian diplomats because it suspects the murder was ordered by Russia or Russia’s Chechen republic. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she plans to raise the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin when she meets him next week. She said there had been no active help from Russia in solving the case. Russia’s Foreign Ministry condemned Germany’s move as unfriendly and baseless, according to Russian news agencies. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia would examine the case.
bbc.com, dw.com

Macron pledges to fight antisemitism: More than 100 graves at a Jewish cemetery in France have been defaced with Nazi swastikas. French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the attack in a tweet on Tuesday evening, saying France would fight antisemitism until the dead could sleep in peace. France’s north-eastern Alsace region, on the border with Germany, has been marked by a series of antisemitic acts in recent months.
bbc.com, cnn.com

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General strike in France: The country is bracing itself for a widespread transport strike starting this Thursday. It looks set to be the biggest strike France has experienced in decades. All public transport systems will be affected by the planned walkout. Many trains have been cancelled, others are running at drastically reduced levels. International travel will be also affected. In an anticipatory measure, Eurostar has cancelled all trains to and from Paris. Around one fifth of all flights into and out of France will be cancelled.

France: ECB needs to move fast on digital currency reuters.com
Ukraine: EU gas supply secure even if Russia, Ukraine fall out, says study reuters.com


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politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)


Balsamico “Made in Germany” not illegal: The European Court of Justice has determined that the term “Balsamico” is not a food designation protected under the EU’s geographical food designation rules. A vinegar manufacturer based in Germany has been marketing its balsamic vinegar products with the names “Balsamico” and “German Balsamico”. An Italian consortium sued the manufacturer on the grounds that such branding infringes on the geographical food designation “Aceto Balsamico di Modena.” But the court said the term “Aceto Balsamico di Modena” did not extend to the use of non-geographical individual terms.
dw.com, theguardian.com


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