Tuesday, 06 November 2018: Social Democrats rally behind Timmermans for EU election, EU-Japan trade deal clears hurdle, EU awaits Italy’s revised budget

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Social Democrats rally behind Timmermans for EU election: The European Union’s deputy chief executive Frans Timmermans will lead the centre-left campaign in May’s EU parliamentary election, the party said on Monday, after fellow commissioner Maros Sefcovic stepped aside. Sefcovic, who is vice president for energy on the European Commission, said he endorsed Timmermans, the executive’s first vice president, in his bid to succeed Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker next year. Timmermans, a former Dutch foreign minister, promises to bring the EU closer to ordinary voters at a time when Britain’s pending exit is inspiring other nationalist movements to challenge European integration. The eventual nominee must be approved by a majority in the European Parliament, but the European Council is still free to nominate an individual who did not run as a lead candidate for the post.
reuters.com, politico.eu

Europeans believe things are getting worse: Two-thirds of Europeans believe that the world used to be a better place, according to a recent Eupinions survey from the Bertelsmann Stiftung. Italians were particularly nostalgic, with 77% believing that the past was better. Nostalgic Europeans often appear more rightwing and are generally more critical of immigration, the survey found. Support for EU membership was higher (82%) among non-nostalgics than among nostalgics (67%).
euobserver.com

EU-Japan trade deal clears hurdle: European Union and Japanese plans to form the world’s largest free trade area cleared a significant hurdle on Monday when EU lawmakers specialising in trade backed a deal that could enter force next year. The EU Parliament’s international trade committee voted to clear the deal for a final vote in the parliament’s full chamber set for 13 December. An agreement would bind two economies accounting for about a third of global gross domestic product and also signal their rejection of protectionism. It will also open up services markets, in particular financial services, telecoms, e-commerce and transport.
reuters.com

ECB shuts Pilatus Bank: The European Central Bank has withdrawn the banking license of Malta’s Pilatus Bank, the island’s financial regulator said on Monday. The ECB decision came after the chairman of the bank was charged in the United States over money laundering and bank fraud. The lender had been accused by investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia of processing corrupt payments for senior Azeri and Maltese figures. She was killed a year ago by a car bomb in Malta. The EU has been investigating the bank ever since her murder.
reuters.com, bbc.com

UK celebrated too soon: EU dampens Brexit optimism n-tv.de
Iran sanctions: US exempts eight oil importers, including China and Japan npr.org
Mexico: Migrant caravan has arrived in Mexico City bbc.com
Tax evasion: One year after the Panama Papers oxfam.org

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

The interior minister is fully responsible for this disaster.
The domestic affairs expert for Germany’s Green party, Konstantin von Notz, condemned Interior Minister Horst Seehofer after the dismissal of the former head of Germany’s domestic intelligence, Hans-Georg Maassen.
dw.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

EU awaits Italy’s revised budget: Eurozone finance ministers met in Brussels on Monday to discuss the ongoing Italian budget crisis. Despite EU warnings and market turmoil that increased Rome’s debt servicing costs, Italy’s government is not backing down from its plan to increase its budget deficit to 2.4% of GDP next year. European Economic Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said the EU Commission has not yet made a decision to launch disciplinary steps against Italy over its 2019 budget because it is still waiting for Rome to send a revised draft that would meet EU rules. The Commission will issue its opinions on all the eurozone’s draft budget plans, including Italy’s revised plan, on 21 November and EU officials have said the EU executive was ready to start disciplinary steps against Rome unless the new draft is in line with EU rules.
euronews.com, reuters.com

Swedish parliament to vote on new prime minister: The Swedish parliament will vote next week on whether the leader of the centre-right Moderate Party Ulf Kristersson will become prime minister. Sweden has been stuck in political deadlock since the election in September delivered a hung parliament, with Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven standing in as caretaker PM. Next week’s vote by lawmakers aims to end the stalemate. Discussions on forming a government have led nowhere and there are few signs that parties are willing to compromise.
politico.eu, reuters.com

Seehofer forces Maaßen into retirement: German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said on Monday that he was temporarily relieving former domestic spy chief Hans-Georg Maaßen of his duties after Maaßen made unacceptable remarks in a farewell speech to representatives of international intelligence agencies. In his speech, Maaßen criticised Germany’s current policies on refugees and security as naive and leftist. He also questioned well-documented reports of far-right violence against foreigners during the Chemnitz protests. Seehofer said he was disappointed in Maaßen and that Maaßen’s former deputy will take over the tasks of the president of the domestic intelligence agency BfV, until a new head is chosen.
dw.com, politico.eu

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Ukrainian activist dies after acid attack: A prominent Ukrainian anti-corruption activist has died, three months after she was injured in an acid attack. Kateryna Handzyuk suffered burns over 40% of her body and severe eye damage as a result of the assault in the southern city of Kherson. President Petro Poroshenko on Sunday called for the killers to be punished. Five suspects are already in custody. Sunday evening, after news emerged of Handziuk’s death, protesters gathered in five cities to demand a transparent investigation and justice. About 200 people held a candlelight vigil in front of the main police department in Kiev, the capital.
bbc.com, nytimes.com

Portugal: The populist exception? euronews.com
Greece: Plan to digitise agriculture wins EU approval euractiv.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 ⊃

German, French presidents mark centenary of WWI end: German President Frank-Walker Steinmeier joined French President Emmanuel Macron Sunday at a ceremony in Strasbourg’s cathedral to observe a century since the end of World War I. Macron made an unexpected start to his week-long commemoration of the centenary of the First World War by visiting the site of one of the country’s worst military disasters. He chose to kick off a 14-stop tour of towns, cities and battlefield sites around northeast France by travelling to Morhange, where 40,000 French lost their lives against the Germans in the space of just three days at the start of the war.
dw.com, telegraph.co.uk

 

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