Tuesday, 14 July 2020: Face coverings in shops compulsory from 24 July, EU should not cease dialogue with China over Hong Kong, Merkel says, EU to take action against smugglers, Spanish court strikes down home confinement in Catalonia


Face coverings in shops compulsory from 24 July: Wearing a face covering in shops and supermarkets in England will become mandatory from 24 July. The move will bring England in line with Scotland and other major European nations like Spain, Italy and Germany. Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to set out the new guidance on face coverings this Tuesday. The government until now recommended – but did not require – mask-wearing in stores. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who in the spring spent a week in the hospital being treated for Covid-19, was not seen in public in a mask until Friday, when he suggested that the government was considering stricter rules for mask use. Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove suggested Sunday that no government order was required, saying he trusted people to use common sense. The Labour party questioned Monday why the new mask measure would not come into force for eleven days. Labour health spokesman Jonathan Ashworth said the government had been slow and muddled again over face coverings.
bbc.com, apnews.com

UK tells businesses to prepare for Brexit crunch: The government is urging businesses and individuals to prepare for the 31 December end of the Brexit transition period with an information campaign titled: “The UK’s new start: let’s get going.” The campaign will include ads appearing on TV, radio, billboards and online. A survey from lobby group the Institute of Directors said only a quarter of companies were fully ready for the end of the transition period. Meanwhile, a fast-track health and care visa has been unveiled as part of the UK’s plans for a points-based immigration system when freedom of movement with the EU ends in January. Home Secretary Priti Patel said employers would be encouraged to invest in workers from within the UK.
reuters.com (Businesses), bbc.com (Immigration system)

No reason not to put delayed Russia report out next week, MPs told: The long-delayed report into Russian infiltration in the UK could be published next week now that parliament’s intelligence and security committee is being set up, its most senior Labour member told MPs on Monday night. Kevan Jones said there was no reason why the document could not be published before parliament goes into recess – nine months after its release was blocked by Prime Minister Boris Johnson ahead of the general election. The report was sent to Downing Street in October.

Labour sees draft conclusions of anti-Semitism report bbc.com
Inequality: Labour criticises PM’s silence on promised equalities review theguardian.com
Central bankers say now is the time to get ready for end of Libor uk.reuters.com


Association of Directors of Children’s Services seeks Policy Officer *** The Royal Society seeks Senior Policy Adviser (Education) *** ITV Cymru Wales seeks Public Affairs Manager *** Independent Age seeks Public Affairs Officer *** Dogs Trust seeks European Policy Advisor (Publish your job ad)


EU should not cease dialogue with China over Hong Kong, Merkel says: China’s decision to impose a new security law on Hong Kong is no reason for the EU to sever dialogue with the Chinese government, Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. She reiterated the importance of the EU member states finding a common policy toward China and a common answer. The German chancellor also said EU leaders meeting this Friday and Saturday in Brussels had a long way to go to agree on the proposed coronavirus recovery fund. A second summit before the summer break might be required to clinch a deal. Merkel added that both Germany and Italy agreed on the basic structure of the proposal that European Council President Charles Michel presented last week. Meanwhile, EU foreign ministers are preparing countermeasures on China in response to the security law, but envoys stressed the likely steps will not amount to economic sanctions. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said nothing specific had been decided but that the ministers had discussed extending the EU’s export ban on sensitive technology to Hong Kong. Borrell was referring to any equipment or software that could be used for suppressing protests in Hong Kong.
reuters.com, politico.eu, apnews.com (Merkel and Conte); reuters.com (EU foreign ministers)

EU to take action against smugglers: The EU plans to cooperate with five North African countries in order to curb irregular migration. The fight against smugglers will be expanded through training and joint investigation teams, EU Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson announced Monday following a video conference. The EU will also take action against disinformation campaigns by criminal groups on social media. Additionally, Johansson called for the development of legal migration routes to the EU. According to Frontex, criminal networks on the western and central Mediterranean routes have earned 330 million euros from people smuggling in the past three years alone.
faz.net, zeit.de

EU foreign ministers urge more action on Turkey: EU foreign ministers discussed the deteriorating relations with Turkey on Monday. Greece is pushing for a list of possible sanctions against Turkey, for violating the sovereign rights of Greece and Cyprus over energy exploration in the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey has sent vessels to drill for gas in an area of the Mediterranean where Cyprus says it has exclusive rights. Ministers tasked Brussels with coming up with a way to lower tensions with Turkey. There was broad support for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to explore further paths that could contribute to reaching an understanding on issues that are increasingly stressing the relations between Turkey and the EU.

EU and UN worried about unrest in Mali: The United Nations and the European Union have condemned the Malian government’s use of lethal force during protests calling for President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign, and urged it to release detained opposition leaders. On Friday, the latest and third mass demonstration held since protests began in early June turned violent, with police firing gunshots toward demonstrators, some of whom had occupied state buildings in Bamako. According to doctors, 11 people have been killed and more than 120 injured in protests since Friday.
af.reuters.com, france24.com

ECB calls on Croatia, Bulgaria to do more before joining euro: Bulgaria and Croatia still have work to do in fixing their economies and improving their institutions before joining the euro, European Central Bank board member Fabio Panetta said on Monday. The reforms undertaken by the two will not fix all the imbalances and vulnerabilities they are facing, and more progress is needed to improve governance, their legal framework, and the overall quality of institutions, Panetta said in speech.

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Gene-editing: EU still reflects over agri-innovation as UK mulls moves forward euractiv.com
Innovation in agriculture: Europe at crossroads euractiv.com
Fighting breaks out on Azerbaijan-Armenia border, several dead reuters.com


It shouldn’t be decided in China whether or not we have enough protective masks.
According to Health Minister Jens Spahn, Germany will use its EU Council Presidency to work towards greater European independence in the supply of medicines.


Spanish court strikes down home confinement in Catalonia: Spain’s Catalonia approved on Monday a decree giving it legal backing to place restrictions on the city of Lleida and its surroundings to stem a surge in coronavirus infections, defying a judge’s earlier ruling that such an order was unlawful. After an extraordinary late-night cabinet meeting, the regional government said it would seek legal authorisation allowing it to limit people’s movements, adding that on Tuesday it could confine Lleida area inhabitants at home. Catalan authorities on Sunday reimposed lockdown measures on nearly 160,000 people in the region, which reported 800 new cases. A Spanish court later suspended the stay-at-home order.
reuters.com, dw.com

Kosovo’s president Thaci meets war crimes prosecutors: Kosovo President Hashim Thaci arrived in The Hague on Monday for a meeting with prosecutors who last month indicted him for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during Kosovo’s 1998-99 uprising against repressive Serbian rule. Thaci, who is attending voluntarily, has said he wants to prove that he broke no international rules in the armed conflict between separatists from the Kosovo Liberation Army and Serbia. The Kosovo president and others face ten counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, enforced disappearance of persons, persecution, and torture.
reuters.com, dw.com

Poland’s Andrzej Duda wins 2nd term by narrow majority: Poland’s incumbent candidate Andrzej Duda won the country’s presidential election, Poland’s National Electoral Commission said Monday, securing a second five-year term for the right-wing populist president. Duda won 51.21% of the vote, the commission said. Opposition candidate Rafal Trzaskowski received 48.79%. International monitors criticised the election: The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said after the election’s first round that the campaign had been marked by inflammatory language by the incumbent and his campaign that was at times xenophobic and homophobic, adding: “In the run-up to the election, the public broadcaster became [his] campaign tool, while some reporting had clear xenophobic and antisemitic undertones.”
dw.com, theguardian.com

EU agrees to bailout of Dutch airline KLM: The EU Commission on Monday said it had approved the 3.4 billion euros bailout package promised by the Dutch government to airline KLM last month. After months of wrangling with France over the role each country should play in a coronavirus rescue deal, the Netherlands said it would support the Dutch arm of Air France-KLM with 2.4 billion euros in bank loans with guarantees, and a 1 billion euro direct loan.

Hundreds of French women protest against new interior minister: Hundreds of women protested in Paris on Friday against the appointment of Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who is under investigation for a rape allegation. Darmanin, who denies the allegation, was promoted to the key post of interior minister in a government reshuffle on Monday.

Bulgaria: Anti-graft protests want Borissov’s government out reuters.com
Germany: Mallorca parties increase corona risk, Health Minister Spahn warns politico.eu
France: President Macron wants to honour helpers of the pandemic zeit.de
Greece courts pensioners with tax flat rate handelsblatt.com
Portugal wants to attract new investors to the country handelsblatt.com
North Macedonia will vote on 15 July de.euronews.com


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politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)


Millionaires call for higher taxes: A group of 83 millionaires from seven countries is campaigning for higher taxes for the super-rich in order to finance social reconstruction after the coronavirus pandemic. An open letter stated that the problems caused and revealed by the pandemic could not be solved with charity, no matter how generous, and that governments must take responsibility for raising the funds needed to tackle the issues themselves.


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