Tuesday, 10 July 2018: Jeremy Hunt named UK foreign secretary, Energy security in spotlight at EU-Ukraine summit, EU Parliament wants to put an end to the solidarity offence in Europe

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Jeremy Hunt named UK foreign secretary: Jeremy Hunt was named as British foreign secretary on Monday evening. A longtime ally of Prime Minister Theresa May, he campaigned for Remain but now says he supports Brexit. The health secretary replaces Boris Johnson who quit over May’s new Brexit customs plan. In his letter resigning as foreign secretary, Johnson said the prime minister was leading the UK into a semi-Brexit with the „status of a colony“. May said she was „sorry – and a little surprised“ by Johnson’s move after his apparent support on Friday. Johnson quit just hours after the resignation late Sunday of Brexit Secretary David Davis, the government’s top Brexit official. Davis said he could not support May’s plan to maintain close trade and regulatory ties with the EU, which he said gave too much away, too easily. Dominic Raab, a Brexit-supporting minister, has been promoted to replace Davis as Brexit secretary.
politico.eu, bbc.com, cnn.com, cnbc.com, theguardian.com

Energy security in spotlight at EU-Ukraine summit: Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has been in Brussels to discuss free-trade and reforms. Energy security was also one of the main topics on the agenda as he met up with EU chiefs Jean Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk. Kyiv wants to stop the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Poroshenko said this was not a commercial project, nor a profitable or economic project, this was definitively a geopolitical project which tried to make Ukraine weaker. The pipeline aims to transport Russian gas directly to Germany, across the Baltic Sea, dodging Ukrainian territory. It represents a significant loss of income for Ukraine.
euronews.com

Trump criticises Nato members ahead of summit: Nato leaders are hoping their summit in Brussels this week will not suffer the same fate as last month’s Group of 7 meeting, which unraveled over trade disputes with US President Donald Trump. The American president on Monday renewed his long-standing concerns with Nato, complaining that member states do not spend enough on their own defence. Trump also sought Monday morning to tie his complaints about Nato to his broader concerns about America’s trade relationship with Europe, which he says unfairly favours the EU. In an effort to correct what he has identified as an imbalance, Trump has imposed tariffs on the EU, as well as on Canada and Mexico, straining relationships with longtime allies.
politico.com, npr.org

EU Parliament wants to put an end to the solidarity offence in Europe: MEPs have called on the EU Commission to clarify rules on providing help to migrants, often misused by some member states to penalise humanitarian assistance. Only eight EU member states have banned the solidarity offence from their national laws. This offence is often used to prosecute citizens and organisations assisting migrants. Meanwhile, the EU Commission will put forward an ambitious plan to toughen protection of the EU’s external borders by September, President Jean-Claude Juncker announced. Juncker said the Commission would develop the plan in response to a call by EU leaders at a summit in Brussels last week for stricter border controls, including an accelerated expansion of Frontex, the bloc’s border protection service. Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, will make a request on Thursday when meeting EU interior ministers in Innsbruck that refugees who are rescued at sea by ships from border control missions are no longer taken to Italy.
euractiv.com (Parliament), politico.eu (Frontex), euobserver.com (Italy)

JEFTA: Why the agreement between Japan and the EU is a big deal euronews.com
ECB: Draghi says improving euro-area inflation appears self-sustained bloomberg.com
Gordon Sondland: US ambassador to EU arrives in Brussels politico.eu
Time change: EU launches online survey tagesspiegel.de
Peace deal: Ethiopia, Eritrea sign joint declaration of peace and friendship in Asmara reuters.com

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

Politicians come and go but the problems they have created for people remain.
European Council President Donald Tusk raised the idea that Brexit might be called off in a tweet on Monday after Boris Johnson, a campaigner for Britain to leave the EU, resigned as foreign secretary.
reuters.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Britain accuses Russia after Novichok death: Britain’s Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said on Monday that Russia was to blame for the death of a homeless British woman from exposure to the nerve agent Novichok. About 100 detectives are working around the clock to try to establish how Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley were contaminated by the nerve agent Novichok. The woman killed by the Russian military nerve agent suffered a huge dose after handling a container contaminated by Novichok, believed to be from the same batch used in March’s attempted assassination of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, police have said. Russian officials dismissed any claims that the Kremlin was responsible for the Novichok death. Last week, UK officials said the nerve agent used against the couple in Amesbury was of the same variety as the toxin used against the Skripals, but it was not clear if the substance came from the same batch. The nominally retired double agent Sergei Skripal spent several weeks in a coma after being discovered on a bench in Salisbury in March; he eventually recovered enough to be released from the hospital.
dw.com, yahoo.com, bbc.com, theguardian.com

Spanish PM and Catalan leader agree to keep talking: Spain’s new socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez agreed Monday to re-open previously suspended bilateral discussions with Catalonia, in a meeting with the region’s leader aimed at easing tensions between the central and regional governments. In an atmosphere his office described as cordial, Pedro Sanchez spoke with pro-independence Catalan leader Quim Torra for more than two hours. Torra’s newly-elected administration continues to push for a split from Spain, but Socialist Sanchez has taken a less hardline tone on the region than his conservative predecessor, whom he replaced in June. Torra and Sanchez agreed to re-open bilateral committees of the central and regional governments, which had been suspended since 2011, with the aim of normalising relations, Calvo said. Sanchez also said he would lift a veto by Rajoy on so-called social laws introduced by the Catalan parliament regarding energy self-sufficiency, climate change and social security.
politico.eu, reuters.com

China and Germany to keep trade free: Germany and China signed a raft of commercial accords worth some 20 billion euros on Monday, with their leaders reiterating commitments to a multilateral global trade order despite a looming trade war with the US. The deals involve German industrial giants including Siemens, VW and BASF. „We are interested in friction-free trade,“ Merkel said during a press conference on Monday afternoon, before emphasising that both Berlin and China are committed to multilateral order. She also welcomed the fact that China’s financial markets had been opened to German firms, and that the Chinese firm CATL had announced a plan to open a battery factory for electric cars in eastern Germany. For his part, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said that free trade was vital for revitalising the world economy.
dw.com, reuters.com

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Macron pledges to overhaul French welfare state: France’s President Emmanuel Macron has promised to overhaul the French welfare state and cut public spending, telling MPs at the Palace of Versailles that his only ideology is to strive for „French greatness“. Addressing a joint gathering of the French national assembly and Senate at the Palace of Versailles, Macron sought to confront critics who have dubbed him „president of the rich“, while not stepping back from his pledge to transform France. While polls show his popularity falling, Macron pointed to an increase in foreign investment since his election, with tech companies opening new research hubs, banks moving employees to Paris and French universities luring foreign brains – part of the so-called „Macron effect“.
theguardian.com, reuters.com

Romanian president dismisses chief anti-corruption prosecutor: Romanian President Klaus Iohannis signed a decree Monday to dismiss the country’s leading anti-corruption figure, Laura Codruța Kövesi, in a move to comply with a ruling by the Constitutional Court. The court ruling at the end of May demanded the Romanian president dismiss Kövesi. The case was brought by Justice Minister Tudorel Toader, who called for Kövesi’s removal, accusing her of overstepping her mandate and not respecting the parliament’s authority, among other allegations. The governing Social Democratic Party and its allies had long wanted to remove the anticorruption chief, while Iohannis had been a vocal supporter of the country’s efforts to fight corruption. But he has been under increasing pressure to fire Kovesi since the justice minister recommended her removal in February.
politico.eu, nytimes.com

US sanctions: Germany considers Iranian bid to withdraw 300 million euros cash reuters.com
Poland: Judges organise opposition to government zeit.de
Czech Republic: Justice minister resigns over plagiarism allegations derstandard.at
Despite cracks: Experts consider Belgian nuclear power plants safe faz.net

⊂ 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 ⊃

Le Pen to appeal withholding of party funds: French far-right leader Marine le Pen said Monday she was appealing a decision by two judges to withhold the payment of a public subsidy which she says will kill her party. On Sunday, Le Pen said in a statement that the subsidy was essential for the party to meet its running costs such as salaries and rent, and that without it the National Rally had only enough money to last until the end of August. The party set up a website to gather donations from the public.
abcnews.com

 

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