Tuesday, 16 October 2018: No-deal Brexit more likely than ever, says Tusk, Trump claims EU takes advantage of US, EU paves way for sanctions over chemical weapons

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

No-deal Brexit more likely than ever, says Tusk: A no-deal Brexit is more likely than ever before, European Council President Donald Tusk warned in a letter to EU leaders Monday, a day after negotiations between Brussels and London hit a new wall. Downing Street confirmed Monday that British Prime Minister Theresa May would accept an invitation from Tusk to address EU27 leaders ahead of a dinner Wednesday evening, during which they will discuss the state of play in the Brexit talks. The EU Commission said on Monday it was continuing its work to prepare for the possible failure of Brexit talks between Britain and the EU. British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday that a deal to take Britain out of the EU was still achievable. She said it was frustrating the two sides could not agree how to guarantee no hard border in Northern Ireland.
politico.eu, reuters.com, telegraph.co.uk, bbc.com

Trump claims EU takes advantage of US: US President Donald Trump on Sunday again railed against the trans-Atlantic trade relationship, claiming that „nobody treats us much worse than the European Union.“ Trump claimed that the EU was formed in order to take advantage of the United States on trade. He said his hard-handed tactics against the EU were not hostile toward America’s allies. Trump and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Junker had agreed in July to reduce trade tensions and work toward elimination of tariffs on industrial goods. Employees of EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström will travel to the US to hold talks about the customs dispute.
dw.com, de.reuters.com

EU paves way for sanctions over chemical weapons: The EU on Monday unveiled a legal framework to allow sanctions against the use of chemical weapons. The framework gives the EU the power to place restrictive measures on people or entities identified as being involved in the development or deployment of chemical weapons, regardless of their location or nationality. Sanctions consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed.
dw.com, consilium.europa.eu

Saudis allegedly preparing to admit Khashoggi died during interrogation: Saudi Arabia is preparing a report that will acknowledge that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death was the result of an interrogation that went wrong, according to CNN. The Washington Post columnist was last seen in public when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul at the beginning of October. Previously, Saudi authorities had maintained Khashoggi left the consulate the same afternoon of his visit, but provided no evidence to support the claim. A team of Turkish and Saudi investigators entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Monday for a joint inspection. US President Donald Trump said that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has denied knowledge of Khashoggi’s disappearance, and that he ordered Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with the king.
cnn.com, cbsnews.com, politico.eu

Human rights: Council of Europe denounces violence against women in Turkey zeit.de
Singapore: Council adopts decisions to sign trade and investment agreements consilium.europa.eu
Iraq: EU Advisory Mission extended and budget agreed consilium.europa.eu

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

It’s doable to have an agreement by Christmas… Why by Christmas? Because after that, we will enter into another timing, which will be the political cycle – first, Brexit will approach; second, there will be the European elections.
The EU’s Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici has rallied the cause for an EU-wide digital tax to be rolled out in time for Christmas.
euractiv.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Hungary enforces homeless ban: A tough new law that bans homeless people from sleeping on Hungary’s streets came into force on Monday, prompting criticism from human rights groups who say it is inhumane. The law empowers police to order homeless people to move into shelters. If they disobey three times within a 90-day period, the police can detain them and destroy their personal belongings. In June, United Nations housing expert Leilani Farha called the law cruel and incompatible with international human rights law. There are an estimated 11,000 places available for the homeless in state-run shelters. But experts say at least 20,000 people are homeless across the country.
reuters.com, bbc.com

Sweden’s Löfven takes turn at forming new government: Sweden’s caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has two weeks to try to form a governing coalition after the centre right failed to win support in the wake of September’s election. Parliament’s new speaker Andreas Norlen said Monday he had given the Social Democrat leader two weeks to test support from other parties. Sweden was plunged into unaccustomed instability after the September election resulted in a difference of just one seat between Löfven’s centre left and the centre right, led by Ulf Kristersson‘s Moderates. The far-right Sweden Democrats gained ground to finish in third place.
politico.eu

German police free hostage at Cologne train station: A woman was held hostage by a man for two hours at a pharmacy in Cologne’s central railway station on Monday. Police stormed the pharmacy and ended the situation around two hours later, shooting the individual several times. The perpetrator had initially thrown a Molotov cocktail inside a fast-food restaurant in the station, injuring a 14-year-old girl and setting off a sprinkler system. The assailant then fled to a pharmacy, where he took a hostage. When special forces intervened, the man attempted to set light to the hostage. The woman was also slightly injured and treated on the scene. The suspect is probably a 55-year-old Syrian citizen, Cologne’s deputy police chief Miriam Brauns said, adding that police found identification documents in the back of the pharmacy that showed that the owner of the papers was allowed to stay in Germany until mid-2021.
dw.com, cbsnews.com, reuters.com

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German journalist Mesale Tolu to return to Turkey for trial: German journalist and translator Mesale Tolu has said she intends to fly to Istanbul on Monday evening to attend her trial on charges of spreading terrorist propaganda and supporting terrorist organisations, which begins on Tuesday. Tolu, who spent some seven months in pre-trial detention after her arrest in Turkey in late April 2017, said she wanted to personally defend herself against all charges and call for an acquittal. Iran dismissed reports on Monday of a suicide bomb threat at its embassy in Ankara, Iranian state television said, after a Turkish newspaper reported a planned attack on the building.
dw.com (Mesale Tolu), reuters.com (Iranian embassy)

Italy: Government approves draft budget that would widen deficit wsj.com
France: Government reshuffle postponed further reuters.com
Luxembourg: Bettel’s government confirmed after Luxembourg vote politico.eu
Germany: Seehofer says now is not the time for staffing discussions politico.eu

⊂ 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 ⊃

Around 100,000 Opel vehicles to be recalled: German prosecutors searched Opel sites in the country on Monday as part of an ongoing probe into the possible manipulation of diesel exhaust emissions. Germany’s Transport Ministry said on Monday it would order roughly 100,000 Opel vehicles to be recalled. German motor vehicle authority KBA found four software programmes capable of altering vehicle emissions in 2015, and ordered Opel to implement a software update in cars to remove them.
dw.com, reuters.com

 

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