Tuesday 17 December: France’s pension chief resigns, Belgian court postpones decision on Carles Puigdemont, Turkey is considering sending ground troops to Tripoli


France’s pension chief resigns: French President Emmanuel Macron loses a valuable companion. Senior pension officer Jean-Paul Delevoye resigns due to lucrative side jobs which have only now become public. The politician was appointed to reform the complex French pension system – a process which was leading towards a higher retirement age. The reform provoked widespread protests across the country. Delevoye is said to have received a monthly salary of 5,300 euros from a think tank. His critics said this was inconsistent with his position. The politician agreed to repay 120,000 Euros in profits from additional income.

Belgian court postpones decision on Carles Puigdemont: A Belgian court should have ruled on Monday whether Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont would enjoy immunity or be extradited to Spain. However, the fleeting politician has been given another grace period, because the court in question will only deal with his case in February. The court agreed to wait for decisions at EU level first before moving further with the case. The Catalan has been sentenced to 13 years in prison, but has been in exile since Catalonia’s independence referendum.

Turkey is considering sending ground troops to Tripoli: Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan is considering to send ground troops to Libya to support Prime Minister Fayiz al Sarradsch. Although there is an arms embargo in Libya, there are numerous international weapons. On the opposite side of the government, rebels are fighting for the leader Chalifa Haftar, who classifies al Sarraj as Islamist. Russian mercenaries are said to support his troops. With direct influence from Turkey, the civil war threatens to escalate. This is also critical for the EU, since Libya is crucial when it comes to whether refugees make their way to Europe by sea. Chancellor Merkel tries to soothe the conflicting parties – so far without success.

Capitals of the Visegrád countries make a pact: Warsaw, Bratislava, Prague and Budapest all have mayors who belong to the liberal opposition in the nationally conservative states. The four politicians of the Visegrád capitals want to send a signal that liberal values such as openness and human dignity are also important in their home countries. They see themselves as political drivers because the capital regions in these countries generate between a quarter and a half of the gross domestic product. Although they have limited political power, they represent the economic strength in the respective countries.

Boris Johnson approves release of Russian interference report: After the election, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed to released the report on Russian influence during the 2016 Brexit vote. The report should be available as soon as the Secret Service Committee meets again – this will only be the case in January. According to insider sources, however, the report cannot fully clarify whether there had actually been interference by the Russian government.

NATO worries about Russian submarines: NATO is concerned about an increased presence of Russian submarines in the fall of this year – said a spokeswoman for the defense alliance on Monday. Up to ten submarines were sighted at the same time. This prompted NATO itself to launch more measures such as naval exercises and the establishment of a new command in Norfolk, USA. A major concern is that Russian submarines could cut underwater lines through which a significant portion of the Internet communication between the two countries runs.

Tesla: Cybertruck Not Street-Legal In EU forbes.com
Battle of the Bulge: German president urges ‘united Europe’ dw.com
Uber: plans to ‘double down’ on bikes and scooters next year — especially in Europe cnbc.com


A united and peaceful Europe — that is the lesson we Europeans have learned from unbridled nationalism and racism, from the war of annihilation.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.


Council of Europe reprimands Poland: Poland’s efforts to combat corruption are “globally unsatisfactory”. The Council of Europe stated this. Poland will therefore have to submit a report at the end of 2020 to show that the EU’s anti-corruption measures are actually being implemented. The situation in the country has been unchanged since 2014 – there is no evidence of any major progress. The judicial system in particular has repeatedly been the subject of criticism since the great legal reform in Poland.

Another bank bailout in Italy: With 900 million euros, the Italian state is helping out with the ailing Banca Popolare di Bari – money that taxpayers have to pay for. It is one of the largest banks in the south of the country. Since the outbreak of the economic crisis, Italy has stepped in several times to rescue banks because bad loans had accumulated in many financial institutions. The Italian state most recently stepped in to save the Carige bank earlier this year.

After four years: convictions after nightclub fire in Bucharest: Thirteen people were sentenced by a court four years after a fire in Bucharest, the capital of Romania. 65 people died in the accident in a nightclub. Prison sentences of several years were imposed on the then owner of the club and the owner of the fireworks company, whose pyrotechnics sparked the fire on stage. According to the court, both had acted irresponsibly. In 2015, 26 people died immediately during the fire, the other victims succumbed to the burn injuries days later.

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Counterfeit money from Portugal offered on the Darknet: An international cooperation in investigations ensured that counterfeit money producers were caught in a raid in Germany. The origin of the money is in Portugal – the Portuguese authorities and Europol had worked with the German authorities and searched several apartments. The counterfeit money was sold via the Darknet. The trail led to Colombia, where a person was also arrested.

Turkey : Armed drone lands in Cyprus as regional tensions rise theguardian.com
Poland: asks for more time to align with EU’s climate objectives neweurope.eu
U.K.: Plans B.D.S. ban nytimes.com


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)


China attacks Mesut Özil: After football player Mesut Özil criticized via Twitter that the Muslim countries would remain silent in the event of Uyghur oppression in China, the Chinese government addressed the athlete. A spokesman for the State Department said Özil was “deceived by fake news” about the Uyghurs – there was no Uyghur oppression, according to the Chinese authorities.

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