Tuesday, 16 June 2020: EU talks with US Secretary of State Pompeo, 5-Star Movement founder given €3.5M by Venezuela? Germany buys stake in CureVac


EU talks with US Secretary of State Pompeo: EU foreign ministers on Monday urged the United States to join a new effort to breathe life into peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, but they rejected US President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan as the basis for any international process. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the Europeans recognised the merit of the US plan because it had created a certain momentum where there was nothing. This momentum could be used to start a joint international effort on the basis of existing internationally agreed parameters, Borrell said, referring to the need for a two-state solution. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also insisted on the need to revive the peace process in the region and find a way for both sides to speak and negotiate with each other. He called for a multilateral push to restart peace talks, but US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was noncommittal, instead calling on the EU to take a hard line against China. Maas said there were common interests with the US in relation to China, but the big questions of the time could only be solved with Beijing’s involvement.
pbs.org, politico.com, faz.net

New momentum needed in trade talks, say UK and EU: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and EU leaders have agreed to inject new momentum into the stalled talks on the future EU-UK relationship. Johnson, who met EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen virtually, said there was a good chance of getting a trade deal by December. Both sides said the ongoing negotiations between EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart David Frost had been constructive. The two sides agreed that the pace of negotiations should intensify, with weekly rounds through July and August — some of which are expected to take place in person instead of via videocall. Differences between the two sides remain on fisheries, competition rules, police co-operation, and how a deal would be enforced.
politico.eu, bbc.com

Pilot dies after US military aircraft crashes into North Sea: A US Air Force pilot has died after a fighter jet crashed into the North Sea during a routine training mission. The F-15 aircraft, from the 48th Fighter Wing based at RAF Lakenheath in the east of England, crashed Monday morning with one pilot on board. The US Air Force said the cause of the crash was still unknown and that UK Search and Rescue had been deployed.
politico.eu, dw.com

Website tells you where you can (and can’t) go in Europe: The EU Commission launched Re-open EU on Monday to provide up-to-date information on the region’s travel restrictions. The aim is to boost tourism — a key economic driver for many EU countries — at a time when the industry grapples with severe financial uncertainty due to the pandemic. The web platform will provide real-time information on borders and available means of transport and tourism services in EU member states. Re-open EU will also include practical information provided by member states on travel restrictions, public health and safety measures. The information is frequently updated and available in 24 languages.
reopen.europa.eu, ec.europa.eu, cnbc.com

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Corona border controls: German and French MPs draw critical conclusions tagesschau.de
Budget: Germany set to pay 42% more into EU budget in coming years, report says reuters.com
Climate: EU set to slightly surpass 2030 renewable energy goal, but funding boost needed reuters.com
EU exports slumped 28% in April because of pandemic afp.com
United States: LGBT workers protected under civil rights law, rules US top court dw.com


Europe’s vast and rich cultural heritage is one of our major assets. But with no possibility to travel and with most venues closed these past months, culture and tourism have been hit hard.
Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, has welcomed plans to restart tourism in Europe.


5-Star Movement founder given €3.5M by Venezuela? The government of Venezuela sent a suitcase containing €3.5 million in cash to one of the founders of Italy’s 5-Star Movement, according to a report by Spanish newspaper ABC. The article alleges that a small suitcase was handed to Gianroberto Casaleggio, a Five Star co-founder, through Venezuela’s consul in Milan, Gian Carlo di Martino. It cites what it says is a classified document of Venezuelan military intelligence. Maduro was foreign affairs minister at that time. The Italian party denied the ABC report.
politico.eu, bloomberg.com, abc.es

Violent unrest in Dijon: Police reinforcements have been sent to the French city of Dijon following a spate of violence from Chechen groups. More than 150 people, some hooded and armed, gathered on Monday to avenge the alleged assault of a Chechen teenager by a drug dealer. A prosecutor said several people were hurt, some seriously, on Friday night and one person suffered gunshot wounds on Saturday. About 37 riot police have already arrived in the city and 110 additional police officers were due to be deployed on Monday.

Poland reassures Germany over US troops withdrawal: Ahead of German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas’ visit to Warsaw, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki emphasised that the increase in US troops hoped for by his country should not come at the expense of Germany. Poland has long been trying to expand the US military presence on its territory, Morawiecki said. But it was not his country’s intention to achieve this goal because of a reduction of US troops stationed in Germany. US President Donald Trump on Monday confirmed that he wants to lower the number of US troops in Germany to 25,000 in response to what he characterised as German delinquency on military spending.
tagesschau.de (Morawiecki), politico.com (Trump)

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Germany buys stake in CureVac: German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier confirmed Monday that the government is investing in biotech firm CureVac. The move follows attempts by the US in March to acquire a stake in the company. Germany will pay €300 million for a 23% share. To safeguard Germany’s ownership of its two coronavirus vaccine developers — CureVac and BioNTech — the federal government gave itself new powers in May to reject foreign takeover bids for healthcare companies. Altmaier said Germany wanted to strengthen its sectors in life sciences and biotech and that the government would not have any authority over CureVac’s business strategy.

Denmark agrees cash injection to boost virus-hit economy: Denmark on Monday announced a string of initiatives to stimulate the economy including cash handouts and a fund to support struggling companies as it starts to phase out generous aid packages introduced at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. The cash payout will be financed by Danes’ own holiday allowance, which had been frozen over a revamp of the holiday pay system, originally meant to be paid out as an additional pension when people retire.

Norway suspends virus-tracing app due to privacy concerns: Norway’s health authorities have announced that they suspended an app designed to help trace the spread of coronavirus after the country’s data protection agency said it was too invasive of privacy. The smartphone app Smittestopp was set up to collect movement data to help authorities trace the spread of Covid-19, and inform users if they had been exposed to someone carrying the virus. On Friday, the data agency Datatilsynet issued a warning that it would stop the Norwegian Institute of Public Health from handling data collected via the app.

Finland withdraws emergency powers: Finland is withdrawing the emergency powers act that parliament adopted in March to tackle the coronavirus as the infection rate has slowed and exceptional measures are no longer needed, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Monday. She said there were no longer legal grounds for the government to keep the emergency legislation and the state of emergency would end at midnight on Monday.

Germany: Government to increase new borrowing to a record 218.5 billion this year nytimes.com
Italy’s daily coronavirus death toll falls to lowest since 2 March reuters.com
Greece reopens to tourists, but some coronavirus restrictions apply npr.org


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)


Mayor reports himself for coronavirus violation: The mayor of Frankfurt an der Oder, René Wilke, has reported himself for a violation of social distancing rules after he hugged his counterpart Mariusz Olejniczak from the neighbouring town of Slubice at the opening of the border between Poland and Germany. On Friday evening, Wilke and Olejniczak had planned on greeting each other with elbow contact only, but despite their good intentions the two city leaders ended up embracing each other. The border between Poland and Germany had previously been closed for three months with few exceptions.


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