Tuesday, 07 August 2018: US to restore sanctions on Iran, Greece gets last bailout tranche, Spain calls for refugee coalition of several EU states

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

US to restore sanctions on Iran: The United States will reimpose sanctions against Iran at midnight on Monday, restoring economic penalties that were lifted under the 2015 nuclear accord. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the White House is ready to enforce sanctions against Iran, an effort by the US to „push back“ against Tehran’s „malign activity.“ The renewed sanctions follow President Donald Trump’s decision in May to withdraw the US from the multi-nation nuclear accord with Tehran. The 2015 agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, of JCPOA, brought a suspension of US sanctions in exchange for Tehran’s agreement to end its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. European officials have said that the Iran nuclear agreement is crucial to their national security, and international inspectors have concluded that Tehran is complying with the accord. The EU vowed to counter Trump’s renewal of sanctions on Iran. As Washington’s so-called „snapback“ sanctions are reinstated on Tuesday, a new EU law to shield European companies will also take effect to try to mitigate what EU officials say is an unlawful reach beyond US borders. The situation has forced many European firms to begin winding up their operations in Iran. French firms like the oil group Total and carmaker PSA have already indicated they are likely to pull out of Iran. Germany will continue to offer export and investment guarantees for companies doing business with Iran, the economy ministry said on Monday, adding Berlin remained in dialogue with the US on exemptions for German companies from Iran sanctions. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani dismissed a US call for talks, saying there could be no talks as long as Washington was reneging on the deal.
nytimes.com, npr.org, reuters.com, dw.com, euronews.com, reuters.com

Greece gets last bailout tranche: Greece received on Monday the final 15-billion-euro payment from its eight-year bailout programme in what creditors hailed as proof that tough austerity measures were paying off. The payout by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the eurozone’s bailout fund, comes ahead of the formal end on August 20 of Greece’s third financial rescue package since 2010. ESM Managing Director Klaus Regling said the final set of reforms agreed by Greece in exchange for the last payout included important actions in the field of tax policy, combatting tax evasion, public revenue reforms, and the resolution of non-performing loans. Meanwhile, the head of Greece’s civil protection department resigned on Monday, a day after the government replaced the chiefs of its police force and fire brigade after a public outcry over a wildfire that killed more than 90 people.
washingtonpost.com, reuters.com (Wildfire)

Spain calls for refugee coalition of several EU states: Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell has called on the other EU countries to show more solidarity in receiving refugees. Borrell also called for a pioneering role for certain countries. If some EU states refused to show solidarity, Borrell said a small coalition of Germany, France, and Spain should take action on its own. Borrell’s pioneering group in the EU is intended to offer constructive solutions and counteract the fear-based policies that are currently being enacted by right-wing populist governments. Borrell also suggested incentives for countries of origin to take back migrants.
zeit.de

Trump acknowledges Trump Tower meeting was about information on political opponents: US President Donald Trump on Sunday appeared to change his story about a 2016 meeting at Trump Tower that is pivotal to the special counsel’s investigation, tweeting that his son met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer to collect information about his political opponent. His comments, delivered by tweet, directly contradicted a July 2017 statement in which Trump’s team claimed the purpose of Trump Jr’s meeting a year earlier was to discuss adoption policy regarding Russian children. People close to the president believe that he may be increasing his legal jeopardy by continuing to speak publicly about sensitive matters even as his campaign is under investigation for possible collusion with Russia and he himself is under scrutiny for possible obstruction of justice. US Senator Rand Paul announced Monday that Russian lawmakers have agreed to visit the US Capitol. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s star witness, Rick Gates, finally took the stand on Monday, incriminating his former boss Paul Manafort in multimillion-dollar tax evasion, bank fraud and hiding offshore accounts, while also admitting to stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars during a decade on Manafort’s payroll. Meanwhile, the US is seeking to scrap the UN agency responsible for providing services to displaced Palestinians, and strip them of their refugee status.
time.com, nytimes.com, politico.eu, politico.com, newsweek.com

Jourova: Brussels to take action against EU countries that trade in passports welt.de
Venezuela: Colombia’s head of state Juan Manuel Santos denies assassination attempt on Venezuelan President Maduro cnn.com

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

If they make a strategic decision to give up nuclear weapons, they can do it within a year.
US National Security Advisor John Bolton said that there was nobody in his administration “starry-eyed” about the prospects of North Korea actually denuclearising. Pressed on how long the US was prepared to wait, Bolton said that depended on a clear showing of North Korean will.
yahoo.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Spain’s Supreme Court asked to probe conservative leader’s degree: A court in Madrid on Monday asked the Spanish Supreme Court to look into whether conservative leader Pablo Casado received his master’s degree as a form of bribery. The lower court said there were indications that Casado, who became leader of the Popular Party last month, received the degree as a gift for his special political relevance during the 2008-2009 academic year at King Juan Carlos University in what could constitute a form of bribery, according to Spanish news agency Europa Press. The court added that Casado appeared to be part of a select group of students with political or personal connections to the university to receive degrees without academic merit. Casado insisted at a press conference that he did everything correctly, and that his degree was not a gift. He added that he would cooperate with providing information about his studies.
politico.eu

Skripal poisoning: UK set to request extradition of Russian attack suspects: Britain is expected to request the extradition of two Russians accused of committing a nerve agent attack against a Russian double agent in southern England, British daily newspaper „The Guardian“ reported on Monday. British civil service and security sources told the newspaper that the government had finished preparing the request to the Russian government. The decision, which the Russian government is expected to reject, is the culmination of an investigation by British authorities into the entry, activity and departure of the two Russian suspects. Both are suspected of poisoning Sergei Skripal, a former double agent, and his daughter, Yulia, on March 4 with Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Sergei and Yulia later recovered from the attack.
dw.com

Ukraine is struggling with corruption: The Ukrainian government is losing 4.8 billion dollars a year due to corruption in the customs service alone, according to a report by German newspaper „Süddeutsche Zeitung“. Ukraine wouldn’t need any outside financial assistance if it would just eliminate corruption in the customs service, which regulates tariffs on imports and exports. Ukraine has lost about 14.4 billion dollars since 2015 due to corruption in this area, according to the newspaper’s investigation. According to the journalists, this information proves the facts of a mass corruption on many of the Ukrainian borders. The main scheme is the re-declaration of the goods, which is being carried out with the participation of the state agencies’ officers.
sueddeutsche.de

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Fireball near Bologna airport after road crash explosion: A tanker truck ploughed into a lorry on a motorway near Bologna airport in northern Italy on Monday, exploding in flames and sending a huge ball of fire and black smoke into the sky. At least two people were killed and more than 60 injured, according to local authorities. Video of the incident showed the tanker truck, which contained inflammable materials, slamming into the back of a lorry which had come to a halt because of heavy traffic. Services at Bologna’s airport were running normally, airport officials said.
reuters.com, dw.com

Germany: Bavaria unlawfully deported Uighur man to China washingtonpost.com
Hungary: Government orders „patriotic education“, according to reports zeit.de
Algarve region: Portuguese and Spanish firefighers struggle to contain wildfires euronews.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 ⊃

Boris Johnson dubbed „pound-shop Donald Trump“ for burqa comments: Former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was accused of fanning the flames of Islamophobia for comparing Muslim women in burqas to bank robbers and saying they look like letter boxes. Johnson, writing in his „Daily Telegraph“ column, said he was surprised that Denmark had banned face veils. Johnson said he did not agree with a ban on the face veil, but compared Muslim women in burqas to bank robbers and rebellious teenagers. He said he would expect his constituents to remove face coverings when talking to him at his MP’s surgery, comments which the shadow equalities minister, Naz Shah, said fell foul of equalities law. Shah said Johnson’s comments were „ugly and naked Islamophobia“ and said the Conservative chair, Brandon Lewis, should abide by his word to give Tory members diversity training to combat Islamophobia. Labour MP David Lammy wrote on Twitter that Johnson was a „pound-shop Donald Trump,“ who was fanning the flames of Islamophobia to propel his electoral ambitions.
politico.eu, theguardian.com

 

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