Tuesday, 15 May 2018: Dozens die in Gaza as US Embassy opens in Jerusalem, Iran’s nuclear deal deadline on meeting agenda, Catalonia elects hardline separatist as new regional president

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Dozens die in Gaza as US Embassy opens in Jerusalem: At least 58 people have been killed during clashes Monday along the border fence between Israel and Gaza, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. More than 2,800 people suffered injuries. The latest protests took place as the United States Embassy was formally relocated to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, on the 70th anniversary of the formation of Israel. The formality and celebration created an almost surreal contrast to the violence raging barely 40 miles away. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu concluded security consultations with the Defence Minister, Public Security Minister, IDF Chief of Staff, and others on Monday night, ahead of more expected protests. Kuwait has requested a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday to discuss continuing violence along the Gaza-Israel border, diplomats said on Monday.
cnn.com, nytimes.com, reuters.com

Iran’s nuclear deal deadline on meeting agenda: German Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth on Monday said that it would be necessary to discuss the proposed 45-60 day deadline Tehran has given Europe to provide guarantees to safeguard Iran’s interests after the US‘ withdrawal from a nuclear accord reached in 2015. Roth made the comments in Brussels ahead of a meeting due to take place there between Iran, France, Germany and Britain on Tuesday to discuss the nuclear deal. The EU’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, will also attend. Britain’s foreign minister Boris Johnson said on Monday he will discuss ways to protect companies doing business with Iran at a meeting with counterparts from France and Germany on Tuesday. Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi had said Germany, France and the UK had 60 days to provide Iran with enough guarantees to ensure it could stay in the deal. The EU trio have asked for a limit of 90 days.
dw.com, reuters.com, cnn.com

Secret services: Russia trying to undermine European democracies: Russia is seeking to undermine European democracies with „malign activities“, the MI5 chief has warned. Speaking to security chiefs in Berlin, Andrew Parker also condemned Russia for the „reckless“ poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury. Parker also warned Islamic State aspires to commit „devastating“ and „more complex“ attacks in Europe. The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence service, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, has warned of possible cyber attacks on the country’s critical infrastructure. Hans-Georg Maaßen told German broadcaster rbb that the country should be ready with „anti-sabotage“ measures to deal with any future attacks. Maaßen recalled the cyber attack on a Ukrainian power plant in December, 2015, saying the attacker had attempted an attack on Germany at around the same time.
bbc.com, dw.com

EU seeking bundled bonds despite opposition: The EU Commission is going ahead with its proposal to bundle sovereign European bonds and sell them to investors despite widespread opposition from eurozone member countries. Commission vice president Valdis Dombrovskis will formally present his plan next week, „Handelsblatt“ reported. The commission proposal explicitly rules out any mutualisation of debt — a sharing of liability that is anathema to Germany and other northern European countries. The bundled bonds — called “sovereign bond-backed securities” — would not even be issued by a government agency, but by a private entity created for the purpose.
global.handelsblatt.com

Britain’s EU exit: France wants Brexit Irish border dispute settled by June zeit.de
EU training mission in Mali: Council extends mission for two years consilium.europa.eu
Budget: Hungary and Poland unite on opposing EU budget cuts uk.reuters.com

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

Even if remuneration were the same across the border, people would nonetheless migrate to Germany for child benefit payments.
Czech MEP Martina Dlabajova has pointed out that Czech firms in the southwest are facing labour shortages as residents living close to the border are increasingly commuting to Germany for work. The main incentives are salaries, three times higher than the Czech average, and child benefits.
euractiv.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Catalonia elects hardline separatist as new regional president: Catalonia’s parliament has voted in a hardline separatist leader, Quim Torra, a former lawyer who went on to lead a prominent pro-secession group. Catalan MPs elected Torra as president by the narrowest of margins – 66 votes to 65. He vowed to build an independent Catalan republic by working under the leadership of his predecessor, Carles Puigdemont, who is currently in Germany fighting extradition to Spain. He is wanted for allegedly using public funds and orchestrating an “insurrection” to get Catalonia to break away from Spain. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has offered talks with Torra. The Spanish government is expected to remove the special controls on the Catalan administration after Torra and his new ministers are sworn in later this week.
independent.co.uk, bbc.com, washingtonpost.com

EU demands action by Poland’s government to protect rule of law: If Poland does not make enough progress in conforming with EU rule of law by the end of June, the EU Commission will move to the next step of Article 7 enforcement proceedings, Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans warned on Monday. Timmermans acknowledged that Poland has made “some progress” in changing its controversial judiciary reforms, “but not enough to be able to say that the systemic threat to the rule of law would be removed,” he said. A meeting of the same EU ministers next month, in the general affairs council, could establish a hearing at which the commission lays down its case against Poland, and Warsaw would seek to defend itself, Timmermans said. The Commission is demanding that Poland remove the discretionary power of its president, Andrzej Duda, to prolong the mandate of supreme court judges, and abandon the extraordinary appeal procedure, which includes a power to reopen final judgments made years earlier.
politico.eu, theguardian.com

Coalition reportedly agreed for Italy: The country’s political leaders appear to have reportedly agreed to form a coalition, ending the political limbo that has been going on since March. The leader of the country’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement says he has reached an accord with the right-wing League. On Sunday, Luigi di Maio says negotiations are continuing over who will lead the planned coalition. No names of potential candidates have been mentioned so far. However, neither Di Maio nor Salvini want the other to become Italy’s next premier. Italian President Sergio Mattarella reminded the parties on Saturday that the constitution grants him the final say over nominating the next premier and that he doesn’t have to accept their recommendation.
euronews.com, dw.com

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Populism and media mistrust go hand in hand, study says: The Pew Research Center, a US think tank, has published a new study featuring the results of polling conducted with citizens in eight western European countries and concludes: Adherence to traditional left-right thinking is less of a determining factor as to how people view media outlets than a growing tendency toward populist sentiment. The study’s results suggest varying intensities of identification with populist sentiment in the countries in which it was conducted: Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The study found: „People with populist sentiments in the eight countries surveyed trust media outlets between eight and 31 percent less than those people with other political views.“
dw.com

Ukraine: Persons involved in organisation of Russian presidential elections in Crimea added to EU sanctions list consilium.europa.eu
France: Trains widely disrupted as rolling strikes resume abcnews.go.com
Greece: Tsakalotos: „There will be no new line of credit“ faz.net
New law: How Spain plans to prevent squatting handelsblatt.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 ⊃

Russia bars German anti-doping journalist from World Cup: Russia has refused World Cup accreditation to a journalist specialising in investigations into illegal doping. Germany’s ARD television had hoped to send its investigative sports reporter Hajo Seppelt after Russian sport was rocked by a series of scandals involving its athletes using performance enhancing drugs at international sports events. The broadcaster said Seppelt had been declared persona non grata, barred from entering Russia, in response to its request to accredit the journalist, who has reported on doping scandals in Germany, China and Kenya as well as Russia.
reuters.com

 

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