Tuesday, 10 April 2018: Almost one million people were granted EU citizenship in 2016, International observers raise concerns over Hungary election, May links reported chemical attack in Syria and ex-spy poisoning


Almost one million people were granted EU citizenship in 2016: Almost one million people were granted European Union citizenship in 2016. Approximately 995,000 people acquired citizenship of an EU member state in the year of the Brexit referendum, a significant increase on 2015 when the figure stood at 841,000. Meanwhile, the total number of people who were granted British citizenship stood at approximately 150,000 – an increase of almost 30 per cent on 2015. However, the number of Britons becoming citizens of another EU country more than doubled in 2016, data showed, and more than quadrupled in Germany in a development Berlin put down to Brexit. In the year Britons voted to quit the European Union, 6,555 of them acquired citizenship in another of the bloc’s states, up 165 percent from 2,478 in 2015, statistics office Eurostat said on Monday. Belgium, where thousands of Britons hold jobs in Brussels that may depend on their being EU citizens, granted passports to 506 of them in 2016, four times as many as in 2015.
telegraph.co.uk, reuters.com

UK firms more optimistic after Brexit transition deal: Britain’s Brexit transition deal last month has boosted confidence among finance chiefs at some of the country’s leading companies, a survey published on Monday showed. Accountancy firm Deloitte said 27 percent of chief financial officers it interviewed after the deal was struck were more optimistic than three months earlier. That compared with 18 percent of CFOs who were more optimistic before the deal was struck. Prime Minister Theresa May and the rest of the EU’s leaders agreed on March 19 to keep their existing trade ties unchanged for 21 months after Brexit in March 2019. The deal pushed back the risk of disruption for companies until the end of 2020.

EU aid spending slumps as refugee crisis recedes: Development aid to countries in the Global South stagnated in 2017, according to new figures published by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) on Monday. The annual report by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) at the Paris-based thinktank put the total of foreign aid from official donors at $146.6 billion in 2017, a fall of 0.6% in real terms from a year earlier. For many European countries, the drop in their net ODA spending was merely the result of lower in-donor refugee costs reported in 2017, a sign that the impact of the refugee crisis on European countries began to recede in 2017, after peaking in 2015 and 2016.

May links reported chemical attack in Syria and ex-spy poisoning: British Prime Minister Theresa May drew parallels on Monday between a reported chemical attack in Syria and the poisoning of an ex-spy in England, condemning the recklessness of how chemical weapons have been used. The US and Russia have traded threats at a United Nations Security Council meeting over the suspected deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta region. At least 70 people, including children, died in the rebel-held town of Douma as a result of the alleged chemical attack on Saturday, according to aid groups working on the ground. Israel on Monday appeared to have escalated its shadow war in Syria against Iran, with a predawn airstrike against a military base that coordinates Iranian-backed militias, killing four Iranian military advisers. Israeli officials declined to confirm or deny that Israel had conducted the airstrike.
politico.eu, euronews.com, nytimes.com (Israel)

EU Parliament members visit Ukraine: A European Parliament delegation visited Ukraine last week and pinpointed an urgent need for the country to tackle corruption and make significant headway towards democratisation. The delegation, led by Laima Andrikiene from Lithuania and also including Michael Gahler and Dariusz Rosati, visited the eastern European country to assess a plan to provide Ukraine with an additional €1 billion as part of an EU macro-financial assistance package. The EU signed an Association Agreement with Ukraine that has been in force since September and the delegation reinforced its recommendations to tackle corruption.

Competition: Significant labour cost gaps between EU countries nasdaq.com
Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg admits responsibility for data misuse dw.com
North Korea: Trump says he’ll meet with Kim Jong Un in the next month or two nypost.com


It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it and I’m responsible for what happens here.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will strike a contrite tone when he appears before the US Congress this week, admitting that the company didn’t do enough to prevent its tools from being used for harm.


International observers raise concerns over Hungary election: International observers on Monday raised concerns about Hungary’s general election, saying cooperation between Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s party and state institutions made it hard for opponents of the prime minister to compete with him on a level playing field. The election was characterised by a pervasive overlap between state and ruling party resources, undermining contestants’ ability to compete on an equal basis, said Douglas Wake, head of an election observation mission from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has congratulated Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban on his election victory, a German government spokesman said on Monday, adding that she would work with his new government despite differences on migration.
politico.eu, reuters.com

French police fire teargas to expel anti-capitalist squatters: French police have used teargas in an attempt to clear anti-capitalist squatters from the site of an abandoned airport project. About 2,500 riot police made a pre-dawn raid in Notre-Dame-des-Landes to evict about 250 activists. The squatters have for 10 years to prevent the airport from being built, but refused to leave after the earlier this year, saying they sought to construct an alternative way of life. Strikes at France’s state-owned SNCF railway operator may have already cost the company 100 million euros ($123 million) as the walkout affecting services including the Eurostar route between Paris and London rumbles into a second week. Unions representing pilots, cabin crew and ground staff at Air France are now emulating the two-day rolling strikes currently being deployed by workers at SNCF.
theguardian.com, bloomberg.com, independent.co.uk

Berlin Half Marathon ‚crime‘ suspects freed: Six men detained over concerns about a possible attack on Berlin’s half-marathon were released Monday after investigators found no concrete evidence to back their initial suspicions, German officials said. Berlin prosecutors said the six men, aged 18-21, were released after their investigation, including the evaluation of data stored on electronic devices, turned up insufficient evidence to keep them in custody. Searches of several apartments failed to turn up any weapons, explosives or other suspicious items. Although no arrest warrants were issued for the suspects, investigations of confiscated mobile telephones and data storage devices were ongoing. Authorities in Germany have been on heightened alert following a van attack in the western city of Münster on Saturday that left two people dead. No terrorist motive is suspected in that attack.
time.com, dw.com

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Poroshenko pursues new energy partnership during Turkey visit: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko discussed forging a new energy co-operation with Turkish officials during a surprise visit to Istanbul on Monday. Poroshenko, who held talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said Ukraine was discussing the implementation of a joint energy project, including a trilateral cooperation between Ukraine, Turkey and Qatar. Ukraine is seeking to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar to make up for energy shortfalls from its standoff with Russia.

Germany: Interior Ministry floats passport denial for jihadis dw.com
Armenia: New president Sarkissian sworn in de.euronews.com


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)


Integrating EU’s minority Roma community: Coming together in Brussels to mark International Roma Day. Young Roma people, from several European countries, have been at an activism workshop – with their hearts set on eliminating poverty and social exclusion which they say have been an issue for centuries. According to the latest report from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, 80 percent of the minority Roma are at risk of poverty; 3 in 4 adults are without paid work; and half of children are not attending early schooling. Roma are the EU’s biggest ethnic minority, with a population of around six million.



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