Tuesday, 10 September 2019: Johnson tells Varadkar no-deal Brexit would be failure, UK government ordered to release Brexit documents, Almost half of new EU Commission is female, Italian leader Conte wins confidence vote


Johnson tells Varadkar no-deal Brexit would be failure: During a visit in Dublin, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a no-deal Brexit would be a failure of statecraft that both the British and Irish governments would be responsible for. He said he believed a Brexit deal was still possible by the EU summit in 17 October. Irish PM Leo Varadkar said he would be keen to have the matter resolved with a Brexit deal by the summit. He reiterated that the backstop was a critical component of the withdrawal agreement unless alternatives were found. The absence of a backstop in a proposal would be the same as no-deal for Ireland. Varadkar warned that even if a deal were agreed, Britain should not be deluded about the future relationship negotiations. Free-trade agreements were difficult to strike but Ireland would be a friend and ally.
bbc.com, euronews.com, theguardian.com

Corbyn to accuse Johnson of hijacking Brexit: This Tuesday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will accuse Prime Minister Boris Johnson of hijacking Brexit to lead Britain out of the EU without a deal and shift power and wealth to those at the top, warning that a no-deal brexit would destroy jobs, push up food prices in the shops and cause shortages of everyday medicines that people relied on. Corbyn will again repeat Labour’s stance to stop no deal and then trigger a general election. The Liberal Democrats are set to campaign to cancel Brexit by revoking Article 50 to allow the UK to remain in the EU, party leader Jo Swinson has said. The move would effectively sever the chances of an alliance with Labour at a forthcoming general election.
reuters.com (Corbyn); independent.co.uk, theguardian.com

May accused of cronyism after handing honours to aides: Former prime minister Theresa May has been accused of cronyism after handing out peerages, knighthoods and other honours to her closest aides, including her controversial former advisers Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, who left office amid accusations of bullying behaviour. Ian Lavery, chairman of the Labour party, said it came as no surprise that big Tory donors and No 10 cronies were being honoured yet again. Pete Wishart, a senior SNP MP, accused May of handing out peerages like sweeties to the same Tory advisers who got the country into the Brexit mess.


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UK government ordered to release Brexit documents: The British government was ordered to release private messages between senior officials relating to its decision to suspend parliament, as well as documents related to no-deal Brexit planning. MPs voted in favour of a motion demanding the documentation’s release, just hours before parliament was suspended until 14 October. Lawmaker Dominic Grieve, who proposed the motion, said there were suspicions that parliament was being suspended to stop the legislature from debating the risks of leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement. A bill that would force Prime Minister Boris Johnson to seek a delay to the Brexit deadline if no deal is reached has become law with approval by the Queen. MPs have again rejected Johnson’s calls for a snap election. John Bercow has announced that he will stand down as Speaker of the House of Commons.
politico.eu (Documents); apnews.com (Bill); bbc.com (Snap election); cnn.com (Bercow)

Almost half of new EU Commission is female: The new EU Commission will have more female commissioners than any previous Commission and get close to being gender balanced. Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen has named 13 women, including herself, and 14 men to lead her administration for the next five years. This Tuesday, von der Leyen will announce the distribution of portfolios and the way she intends to organise the work of the next Commission. The Council of the EU must now adopt the list of commissioners. A series of hustings will take place in the weeks to come, in which EU lawmakers can choose to reject some of von der Leyen’s nominees. The Estonian government decided Monday that it did not consider it necessary to fill the post of Estonian commissioner in the outgoing Commission. The European Anti-Fraud Office Olaf is investigating French Commission candidate Sylvie Goulard.
telegraph.co.uk, europa.eu, dw.com (Commission); news.err.ee (Estonia); orf.at (Goulard)

Merkel will not meet Hong Kong activist Wong: Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong landed at Berlin’s Tegel airport on Monday. He was in Berlin for a media-sponsored human rights event at the German parliament. Wong was arrested at Hong Kong airport on Sunday for allegedly breaching the terms of his bail and then was freed to fly to Germany. He will travel onto the United States after the German leg of his tour. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has just returned from a trip to China, will not meet with Wong, although the German Foreign Office is considering a meeting, as well as Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
dw.com, reuters.com, n-tv.de, stern.de

Syrian opposition calls for German military mission: Unclaimed air strikes in Syria have killed at least 18 pro-Iran fighters, according to a war monitoring group. Suspicion is likely to fall on Israel, which has conducted hundreds of bombing raids in the country, often against Iranian military assets and personnel. It accuses Iran of using Syria, which neighbours Israel, as a base to attack it. The Israeli military said Monday Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias fired rockets at Israel from Syria but they fell short. Meanwhile, the Turkish army, which supports Sunni Islamist fighters in Syria, threatened to invade the neighbouring country. Syrian opposition politicians have called for a German military mission on the Syrian-Turkish border. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that Iran had been developing nuclear weapons at a secret site near the city of Abadeh. The United Nations’ atomic watchdog has confirmed that Iran has moved ahead with preparations to use more advanced centrifuges.
theguardian.com (Air strikes); reuters.com (Rockets); tagesspiegel.de (Turkey); reuters.com (Netanyahu); cbsnews.com (Watchdog)

Georgieva likely to lead the IMF: Bulgarian economist Kristalina Georgieva is the sole candidate to be the next International Monetary Fund IMF managing director. The deadline for submitting nominations for the position closed on Friday. Georgieva now faces a series of meetings with the IMF’s executive directors about her candidacy. The selection process is set to end by 4 October. The 66-year-old came out top of a list of names put together by ministers. Under pressure from France, the IMF waived its 65-year-old age limit for applicants to take up the role.
reuters.com, politico.eu

Cuba: EU foreign affairs chief Mogherini visits Cuba de.euronews.com
Fossil fuels: EU countries have no concrete plans to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, according to study euractiv.com


We are setting the course for the future – for the next 30 years.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel supports plans to increase the price of CO2 emissions.


Italian leader Conte wins confidence vote: Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and his coalition government won the confidence of lawmakers in parliament on Monday. Conte is expected to face a similar vote in the Senate, where he has a slimmer majority, this Tuesday morning. In a speech to the lower house of parliament ahead of the confidence vote, Conte promised improved ties with Europe following months of conflict under his previous government. He called for reform of EU budget rules and cooperation on immigration. He said promises of solidarity between EU member states were not enough, and insisted both Italy and the EU must stop treating the migration phenomenon in crisis-mode, but implement concrete measures such as humanitarian corridors.
nytimes.com, reuters.com, france24.com

British Airways strike causes cancellation of nearly all flights: This week’s British Airways strike caused chaos for an estimated 280,000 passengers who were due to fly with the airline. British Airways said Monday that it had been forced to cancel almost all flights as a result of a pilots’ 48-hour strike over pay. The airline said it had no way of predicting how many pilots would come to work or which aircraft they were qualified to fly. BA chief executive Alex Cruz called for unconditional talks to continue but the union Balpa said the airline had refused to commit to meaningful negotiations. Air France has confirmed its offer to buy the bankrupt carrier Aigle Azur, France’s second-largest airline, which suspended flights last week leaving thousands of passengers stranded.
cnn.com, cbsnews.com, theguardian.com (British Airways); france24.com (Air France)

Swedish prosecutor reviewing witness accounts in Assange case: The Swedish prosecutor investigating a rape allegation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said on Monday she had interviewed witnesses not previously heard, but had yet to determine how to proceed in the case. The Swedish prosecutor, Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Eva-Marie Persson, faces a deadline in the case with the statute of limitations set to expire in August 2020.

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Nissan CEO Saikawa resigns: Nissan chief executive Hiroto Saikawa will step down next week, after Saikawa said he had received payments from Nissan well beyond his earnings — an admission that echoed the charges that led to former chairman Carlos Ghosn’s fall. Ghosn, the architect of the Renault-Nissan alliance, faces accusations of financial misconduct and breach of trust. Nissan’s business has suffered since November, when Ghosn was arrested and accused of financial wrongdoing.
bbc.com, nytimes.com

France: Foreign minister Le Drian wants to rebuild ties with Russia cbs17.com
Germany: Widow of Isis rapper arrested in Hamburg dw.com
Netherlands: Shooting in Dutch city of Dordrecht kills three dw.com


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JPMorgan created index to track effects of Trump tweets: US President Donald Trump’s many tweets have consequences for investors and businesses. Analysts at JPMorgan have now created an index to track the impact of his tweets on US interest rates. The “Volfefe Index” is an apparent mashup of volatility and a certain “covfefe” tweet that launched a social media frenzy back in 2017. Analysts found that Trump’s tweets have significantly increased volatility.


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