Thursday, July 4th 2019: Sassoli elected EU Parliament President, Italy averts EU sanctions, German court overturns abortion advertising conviction

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Sassoli elected EU Parliament President: The European Parliament filled its top EU post on Wednesday, with lawmakers electing Italy’s David-Maria Sassoli as the new president of the assembly. Sassoli won 345 out of 667 valid votes in the second round. Czech lawmaker Jan Zahradil, with the euroskeptic European Conservatives and Reformists bloc, came in second followed by German Greens candidate Ska Keller and Spain’s Sira Rego who came in last. Meanwhile, German lawmakers criticized the European Council’s nominee for EU Commission president, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen. The Socialists and Greens argued the appointment was a stitch-up which undermined the EU Parliament. SPD lawmakers said the decision to pick von der Leyen failed to respect the outcome of May’s European elections. Former SPD chief Sigmar Gabriel spoke of an unprecedented act of political trickery. German government spokesman Steffen Seibert dismissed Gabriel’s comments, saying von der Leyen’s candidacy was suggested after the most intensive negotiations and represented a hard-won compromise.
europarl.europa.eu, dw.com, politico.eu, dw.com

Italy averts EU sanctions: The EU Commission took stock of the additional fiscal effort announced by the Italian authorities this week and concluded that it was material enough not to propose to the Council the opening of an excessive deficit procedure against the country. Italy managed to convince the Commission that it could bring its deficit down after recouping some €7.6 billion from value-added tax payments and lower-than-expected costs in some social programs, to make good on its Christmas deal. The EU had in recent weeks threatened Italy with punitive measures for failing to address its high public debt and running up a bigger budget deficit than promised in December.
ec.europa.eu, politico.eu

Study on global migration movements: Millions more people will move across the globe in the coming decades, as economic inequality and the effects of the climate crisis take their toll. That is the conclusion of a new study by the Berlin Institute for Population and Development. On one hand there are humanitarian movements: People fleeing persecution, war, or similar. On the other hand there is migration that happens for educational purposes or so that families can be reunited. Increasingly there are mixtures, where it is unclear in what field they should be categorized. The globalized economy has also made people more mobile in general. But the EU isn’t necessarily the main magnet for people: The US remains the guiding target for potential migrants across the world: some 21% said they would like to head there, according to Gallup, a figure that equals 158 million people. Germany, France, and the UK were named as attractive destinations for 42 million, 36 million, and 34 million respectively.
dw.com

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Belgium’s Michel as European Council President: Outgoing Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has been nominated by EU leaders to replace Donald Tusk as president of the European Council. Michel built a solid European network during his premiership, developing personal relationships with many of his EU counterparts during official visits via private dinners or drinks after EU summits. Along with Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and Dutch premier Mark Rutte, he has formed a trio of liberal Benelux leaders giving an image of unity and convergence on major European issues such as Brexit. French President Emmanuel Macron said at a press conference on Tuesday that with Michel at the helm of the European Council, he hopes to see closer cooperation on different formats to relaunch the European project.
euractiv.com

Migrant rescue 1: „Sea Watch“ captain Carola Rackete released, but controversy rages on euronews.com
Migrant rescue 2: Activists in Strasbourg to start debate about rescue ships in the Mediterranean Sea de.euronews.com
Iran: President Rouhani says Iran will begin enriching uranium at higher level nytimes.com

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

In the S&D Group we are very unhappy because the European Council’s announcement is clearly causing confrontation.
Former German Justice Minister Katarina Barley will vote against the European Council’s proposed candidate for the EU Commission presidency, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen.
euractiv.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

German court overturns abortion advertising conviction: A court on Wednesday overturned the conviction of German doctor Kristina Haenel after the government loosened regulations on the issue. Haenel had been fined by another court in 2017 after stating on her website that she carried out abortions. A higher court in Frankfurt overturned the conviction and ordered a retrial. The ruling followed a compromise reached by the German government earlier this year, under which doctors and hospitals are allowed to say on their websites they perform abortions, without giving more detailed information.
washingtonpost.com

Macron defends Mercosur trade deal: The EU and the South American trade bloc Mercosur reached a free-trade agreement on Friday. But French farmers‘ groups and environmentalists have raised concerns about the risk of a surge in South American agricultural exports to Europe. In addition, critics argue there are lower standards for produce in the Mercosur countries and insist that they would oppose the deal unless they see proper traceability and good livestock practices in the beef sector. French President Emmanuel Macron defended the deal on Wednesday, saying measures had been taken on the European side to protect, via quotas, sensitive sectors such as beef and sugar. He warned against what he termed „neo-protectionist“ attitudes, which would refuse reciprocity and exchange.
euronews.com, yahoonews.com

Election in Greece: Greeks will head to the polls on July 7th to elect a new government. Alexis Tsipras became prime minister in 2015 with promises to eliminate austerity. Instead, Greece’s creditors forced him to accept a third bailout. Tsipras has vowed to make the biggest comeback in modern Greek history, despite suffering successive defeats to conservative challenger Kyriakos Mitsotakis in the last two months. Tsipras himself in June called for the snap election after a stinging defeat to Mitsotakis’s New Democracy party, which secured a margin of nearly 9.5 points in May’s European Parliament elections.
euronews.com, france24.com

Germany: President Higgins begins first official Irish visit to Germany since 2008 thejournal.ie
UK: Are London’s bankers the pioneers of green financing? euractiv.com

⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃

politjobs.eu: Alfa Fellowship Program seeks Young German, British, and American Leaders *** FTA seeks Regulatory Affairs Advisor (m/f) *** Bayer seeks Trainee (m/f) *** ISN seeks Advocacy Officer (m/f) *** Politico seeks Lobbying Reporter (m/f) *** EGEC seeks Trainee (m/f) *** Facebook seeks Public Policy Manager (m/f) *** Google seeks Public Policy and Government Relations Manager (m/f) *** DEKRA offers Internship (m/f) *** European Friends of Amernia seeks Communications and Media Engagement Officer (m/f) *** International Crisis Group seeks Analyst (m/f)
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)

⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃

Trump says US should play currency manipulation game: US President Donald Trump has once again accused Europe and China of pumping money into their system in order to compete with the United States. Trump suggested the US should match China and Europe’s „currency manipulation game“ – or the country could continue to sit back and politely watch as other countries continued to play their games. The US Dollar Index, a basket of the greenback vs. major currencies, slid into the red following the Trump tweet before recovering.
cnbc.com

 

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