Tuesday, 18 December 2018: Theresa May sets new date for Brexit vote, EU court orders Poland to suspend judicial overhaul law, Hungarians protest at state TV


Theresa May sets new date for Brexit vote: British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday said a parliamentary vote on her draft Brexit deal would take place in mid-January. Last week she had postponed a vote on the plan in the face of deep opposition within her own Conservative Party. May also dismissed a second referendum, saying it would do irreparable damage to the UK and was not in the national interest. Several lawmakers, including some within the Conservative Party, criticised May’s decision to delay the vote, saying it should instead take place before Christmas recess. The Labour party submitted a motion of no confidence in May. Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said it was unacceptable for the House of Commons to wait another month to have its say on the agreement. The motion, which could be debated and voted on Tuesday, would not, however, force May to resign even if it won the backing of a majority of MPs.
dw.com, cnbc.com, politico.eu

EU court orders Poland to suspend judicial overhaul law: The European Court of Justice ruled on Monday that Poland must immediately suspend judicial reforms that imposed earlier retirement ages on justices of its Supreme Court. A law backed by Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party lowered the judges’ retirement age from 70 to 65, allowing them to stay on past that age only if they gained the permission of President Andrzej Duda. The measure would have forced about 40% of the court’s judges into early retirement. The PiS party had already agreed to scrap the law that lowered the judges’ retirement age, after the European Court of Justice issued an interim judgment against the legislation in October. Monday’s order made the court decision final.
politico.eu, reuters.com

Russia to deploy warplanes to Crimea: Russia’s Ministry of Defence said on Monday it was deploying more than ten Sukhoi SU-27 and SU-30 fighter jets to Crimea after Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov alleged Ukraine was preparing a provocation near Crimea before the end of the year. In comments carried by the state-run TASS news agency, Lavrov said Moscow would not allow the Ukrainian government to act on those plans, saying they would regret it. The Defence Ministry was cited as saying that the deployment was to the overhauled Belbek air base in Crimea where the fighter jets would be permanently stationed. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of avoiding negotiations to release Ukrainian sailors captured last month. Poroshenko also stated that he does not plan to extend martial law unless there is a large-scale attack from Russia.
dw.com, uk.reuters.com, euronews.com (Poroshenko)

European Defence Fund could be breaching European treaties: The European Defence Fund moved closer to becoming reality this week in Strasbourg when MEPs gave it the green light. However, some uncertainties persist as a legal expert opinion obtained by “Euractiv” suggests that establishing the fund could be violating EU law. According to Andreas Fischer-Lescano of the University of Bremen, who drafted the legal study, the Lisbon Treaty explicitly prohibits the financing of military or defence projects from the European Union’s common budget.

Carbon dioxide emissions: EU adopts stricter CO2 limits for new cars bloomberg.com
Fight against corruption: Romania slams EU ahead of taking rotating presidency euractiv.com
Eurozone: October trade surplus falls reuters.com


I think the mood has changed in the last couple of months and now people are saying: ‘Could it happen?’
Former British prime minister Tony Blair has been lobbying European leaders to prepare for a second referendum on Brexit.


Hungarians protest at state TV: Around 2,000 Hungarians protested at the state television building to demand independent public media and courts on Monday. Two Hungarian lawmakers were thrown out of the state TV headquarters after they tried to broadcast a petition against the new labour laws. The two lawmakers were among about a dozen members of parliament who spent the night in the building demonstrating against Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s policies, after a big protest on Sunday that took some 10,000 people to the streets. The government said the labour reform will benefit workers as well as companies who need to fill a labour shortage. Hungary has seen five days of street protests against the reforms, led by trade unionists and students.
reuters.com, bbc.com

Italy makes concessions in latest budget draft proposal: The EU Commission noted progress in Italy’s revised budget for 2019 sent late on Sunday as EU experts crunched numbers to see if Italy’s effort was sufficient to end the budgetary spat. Italy said it hoped to clinch a deal with the Commission on its contested 2019 budget. A deal would end weeks of wrangling between the Commission and Italy’s coalition government, which is made up of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the right-wing League.
euractiv.com, uk.reuters.com

French tax on Google, Facebook: A French tax on digital giants including Google and Facebook will enter into force on the 1st of January, 2019, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire announced Monday. The French government, which lobbied unsuccessfully for a pan-European digital tax, hopes the levy will bring 500 million euros per year into state coffers. Le Maire previously said that France would wait until March, 2019, before imposing a national tax to allow time for a possible Europe-wide tax.

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No change to passport rules in Germany: Germany is forcing people displaced by the Syrian war to get documents and hand over money at Syrian consulates loyal to Bashar Assad. Refugee advocates say this is inhumane. Of the hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians who have come to Germany since 2014, many enjoy only subsidiary protection and not full refugee status. Among other things, this means that they are dependent on embassies loyal to Assad’s regime. Under German law, people with various levels of political asylum or similar protection in Germany have to actively cooperate in procuring identity documentation, including passports. And more and more Syrians are being granted only subsidiary rather than full refugee status.

France: Two more arrested after Strasbourg attack foxnews.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)


SPD wants to expel anti-Islam author: Anti-Islam author Thilo Sarrazin again faces possible explusion from the German Social Democrats. The party has sought to ban the economist since his first of two critical bestsellers on Islam in Germany. The party’s general secretary, Lars Klingbeil, said on Monday that the SPD’s executive board had decided to formally start an expulsion process against Sarrazin based on internal SPD complaints after he ignored its calls to go voluntarily.


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