Thursday, March 14th 2019: UK parliament votes to reject no-deal Brexit, Boeing recommends worldwide ban for Max series, Spotify files EU antitrust complaint against Apple

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

UK parliament votes to reject no-deal Brexit: The British parliament on Wednesday voted to reject a no-deal Brexit, setting up another vote Thursday on whether its official departure date should be extended. The defeat for the government prompted shouts of “resign” from opposition MPs. Prime Minister Theresa May acknowledged the clear majority against leaving without a deal, but she said the legal reality remained that the UK would leave without a deal on March 29th unless a divorce treaty was agreed, Article 50 revoked or a delay to Britain’s exit day signed off by the EU. An EU Commission spokeswoman offered a withering assessment of the parliament vote, saying it was not enough to vote against no deal – MPs had to agree to a deal. May hopes to find a way to persuade hardline pro-Brexit lawmakers to back her deal at the third attempt, on the grounds that the alternatives offer a less clean break with the EU.
politico.eu, cnbc.com, theguardian.com, reuters.com

Boeing recommends worldwide ban for Max series: After days of mounting pressure, the United States grounded Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft on Wednesday. The decision, announced by President Donald Trump, followed determinations by safety regulators in some 42 countries to ban flights by the jets, which are now grounded worldwide. The US move marks a stunning turnaround for the country, which has stood by the American-made aircraft as dozens of countries around the world grounded the planes after a Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed Sunday in Ethiopia. The Federal Aviation Administration said the grounding will remain in effect while it investigates the crash. Germany’s Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation said on Wednesday it will not analyze the black box from the crashed passenger jet. European discount carrier Norwegian Air is seeking compensation from Boeing for its grounded fleet of 737 Max 8 jets.
nytimes.com, cnbc.com (Boeing); reuters.com (Black box); cnn.com (Norwegian)

Spotify files EU antitrust complaint against Apple: Music streaming service Spotify has filed a complaint against Apple with the EU Commission’s antitrust regulators, saying Apple Music has an unfair advantage over rivals. Apple had introduced rules to the App Store that purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience, Spotify’s founder and CEO Daniel Ek wrote in a blog post. He said Spotify had asked the Commission to intervene after trying unsuccessfully to resolve the issues directly with Apple. Apple’s role as a make-or-break arbiter has long frustrated app makers by imposing rules and charging a fee of up to 30% on anything sold through its App Store. The policies have been particularly vexing for companies, like Spotify, that compete with Apple. Spotify and Apple Music are the world’s largest music streaming services.
cnbc.com, cnn.com, nytimes.com

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EU rebuffs German call for more lax nitrogen oxide limits: The EU Commission has rebuffed German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer’s call for a reappraisal of existing nitrogen oxide limits. Scientific findings regarding nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter had repeatedly shown the negative health effects, three EU commissioners wrote in a response to Scheuer. The commissioners said there was a legal obligation to stay below the limits agreed by member countries including Germany. The letter added that a reassessment had already started last year, also with a view to checking whether the limits were sufficiently strict – in contrast to Scheuer’s call, who had effectively asked for more lax regulations in order to prevent diesel driving bans in Germany.
cleanenergywire.org

Human rights abuses: EU Parliament calls for suspension of Turkey’s EU-entry talks bloomberg.com
Disinformation campaigns: EU prepares itself to fight back against hostile propaganda europarl.europa.eu

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

How can a President of the European Parliament fail to acknowledge the nature of fascism?
Udo Bullmann, the leader of the Socialist group in the European Parliament, called for an explanation from EU Parliament President Antonio Tajani, after Tajani said in an interview that the fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini did positive things for Italy.
politico.eu

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

French parliament facilitates demonstration bans: The French Senate, the upper house of the country’s parliament, has passed an anti-riot bill giving police powers to quell unrest. MPs insisted that the legislation will allow to distinguish between law-abiding protesters and violent rioters. Government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said President Emmanuel Macron intended to appeal to the French Constitutional Council to examine the draft law for its compliance with the constitution. Critics fear a restriction of civil rights.
tagesspiegel.de

German minister fears excluding Huawei could hurt economy: Excluding China’s Huawei from participating in the construction of Germany’s 5G next-generation mobile network could hurt the country’s economy, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer warned on Wednesday. He urged a dialogue with China and a technical solution to concerns about security. The United States had told Germany it would share less intelligence with its security agencies if the country’s wireless network uses China’s Huawei Technologies Co to upgrade to 5G, according to media reports. Asked about that warning on Tuesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany would define its own security standards for a new 5G mobile network. Seehofer welcomed Merkel’s calm response. Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder described the US warning about Huawei as blatant blackmail.
reuters.com (Seehofer); n-tv.de (Schröder)

German finance minister plays down government role in bank merger talks: Finance minister Olaf Scholz has played down the government’s role in talks about a possible merger between Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank. On Monday, Scholz told reporters in Brussels there were exploratory talks between Deutsche and Commerzbank about a tie-up following such media reports and weeks of merger speculation. Speaking during a closed-door meeting on Wednesday, Scholz said he was closely watching the reports about a possible merger, three participants told „Reuters“ on condition of anonymity. Scholz also said the government was always open for talks with private sector companies, but said he could not confirm that any such talks were taking place or had taken place, the sources said.
reuters.com

Spanish police link suspects in embassy attack to CIA: Investigators in Spain believe at least two of the people who broke into the North Korean Embassy in Madrid last month have a connection to the US Central Intelligence Agency, according to Spanish media reports. Attackers gagged staff and stole computers just days before the North Korea-US summit in Hanoi, Vietnam on February 27th. So far no suspects have been arrested. Newspaper „El Pais“ reported that police viewed surveillance tapes from the embassy and Spanish investigators identified two of the intruders as having connections to the CIA. The US had denied it but not in a very convincing manner.
politico.eu, euobserver.com

Hungary: Orban honors antisemitic writer faz.net
Czech Republic: Politician causes outrage with comment about Holocaust spiegel.de

⊂ 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 ⊃

Student protest against climate change at the EU Parliament: About 60 European students from the „Youth for Climate“ movement attended a debate on climate change at a plenary session of the European Parliament, seated in the gallery. They were part of the international movement of school children demanding more climate action via street protests – often during school hours. If it had been up to Green party MPs, the activists would have been allowed to take part in the debate. But the format of Wednesday’s debate was decided by the leaders of the eight political groups, and there was a majority against the protesters‘ participation.
euobserver.com, brusselstimes.com

 

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