Tuesday, 20 August 2019: Police escape without injury after bomb explodes in Fermanagh, UK will end freedom of movement for EU citizens, Macron calls for summit to solve Ukraine crisis, Merkel meets Orban in Hungary

⊂ UNITED KINGDOM ⊃

Police escape without injury after bomb explodes in Fermanagh: Police in Northern Ireland said a device that exploded near the border with the Irish Republic on Monday was designed to lure in and kill officers examining a nearby hoax. Police and army bomb disposal experts were mounting a security operation when the device exploded near Newtownbutler in Co Fermanagh on Monday morning. There were no casualties. Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney condemned the act. Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Simon Byrne, called the attack a sinister development. PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin warned that the deadlock over Stormont and Brexit was enabling terrorism in Northern Ireland. He said that wider issues, including ongoing deadlock in Northern Ireland’s government and the still-unresolved Brexit border issue, had led to the peace process slipping back.
nbcnews.com, theguardian.com, euronews.com

Phone call between Johnson and Varadkar: Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar spoke on the phone for almost an hour on Monday evening. A spokesman for Johnson’s office said the two leaders discussed Brexit, economic issues, and the trading relationship. Johnson said the Brexit agreement in its current form would not get through the House of Commons, while Varadkar reiterated that it cannot be reopened. Both prime ministers condemned Monday’s bomb in County Fermanagh. Downing Street has rejected demands by MPs for a recall of parliament following the leak of damaging no-deal Brexit documents.
bbc.com, uk.reuters.com, theguardian.com

Plan to hold Scottish independence vote in 2020 thrown into doubt: Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s preference for holding another referendum on Scottish independence in the second half of next year has been put in doubt after the Electoral Commission recommended a gap of at least nine months between the completion of the required legislation and polling day. The Electoral Commission wants to assess the wording of the question to be put in the referendum.
theguardian.com

Labour: Corbyn says Labour may stay neutral if referendum is between its Brexit deal or remain theguardian.com
Animal welfare: Labour commits to total ban on keeping monkeys as pets theguardian.com
Knife crime: Curfew plan for 12 year olds bbc.com

⊂ JOB-BOARD UNITED KINGDOM ⊃

politjobs.ukAssociation of Directors of Children’s Services seeks Policy Officer *** The Royal Society seeks Senior Policy Adviser (Education) *** ITV Cymru Wales seeks Public Affairs Manager *** Independent Age seeks Public Affairs Officer *** Dogs Trust seeks European Policy Advisor (Publish your job ad)

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

UK will end freedom of movement for EU citizens: The British government has said EU free movement rules will end immediately if there is a no-deal Brexit on 31 October. The change would affect the rights of EU citizens who arrive in the UK from November onwards. Director of the Migration Observatory, Madeleine Sumption, said ending freedom of movement could simply mean ending the role of EU law in governing the rights of EU citizens in Britain and replacing it with UK law. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote to European Council President Donald Tusk on Monday to propose replacing the Irish backstop with a commitment to put in place alternative arrangements by the end of a post-Brexit transition period.
bbc.com (Freedom of movement); reuters.com (Johnson)

Spain to allow migrants to disembark in Mallorca: The situation on board the “Open Arms” rescue ship is worsening. On Monday, Spain offered the ship to dock at ports on the Balearic islands of Menorca and Mallorca. But “Open Arms” expressed concern over the time it would take to sail the boat to a Balearic port as they are currently based off the coast of Italy and the journey would significantly exacerbate the already trying conditions on board. The NGO cited the precarious psychological state of the migrants and the restrictions of the small ship, suggesting that Italy’s Coast Guard should take the migrants to Spain.
dw.com, euronews.com, reuters.com

Juncker to miss G7 summit: EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will not attend the G7 summit at the weekend after undergoing emergency gallbladder surgery, a Commission spokesperson said Monday. However, Juncker will hold talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and European Council President Donald Tusk ahead of the summit, which will take place from Saturday until Monday in Biarritz, France.
politico.eu

US companies criticise French digital tax: Google, Facebook, Amazon, and several other major tech companies testified at a US hearing on France’s digital services tax on Monday. The companies combined argue that the tax, although seemingly small, was unjustifiable in that it infringed international agreements, and unreasonable in that it was discriminatory, retroactive and inconsistent with international tax policy principles. Nicholas Bramble of Google’s trade policy counsel said France’s tax was a sharp departure from long-established tax rules and uniquely targeted a subset of businesses. The US is looking to use France as an example to deter other countries from targeting American technology firms for tax dollars.
foxbusiness.com, bloomberg.com

Euro zone: Inflation at its lowest level since 2016 reuters.com
Sudan: EU ends migration pact with Sudan spiegel.de
INF treaty exit: US conducts first cruise missile test since withdrawal from treaty cbsnews.com
Iran conflict: Iran warns US against oil tanker seizure as ship leaves Gibraltar theguardian.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Macron calls for summit to solve Ukraine crisis: French President Emmanuel Macron hosted his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for talks on Monday in the hopes to persuade Russia to return to peace talks over Ukraine. Macron said he hoped to attend a four-way summit with the leaders of Ukraine, Russia and Germany – the so-called Normandy format – in the next few weeks to try to end the fighting which began in 2014. Putin said phone conversations with Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy had given him cautious grounds for optimism, but stressed that he believed that any meeting aimed at resolving the Ukraine crisis should yield tangible results. The two heads of state also discussed recent protest in Moscow. Putin said he did not want “Yellow Vest” protests to spring up like in France, after Macron urged the Russian leader to abide by democratic principles. Macron said the comparison with France was inaccurate, since at least “Yellow Vest” protesters could stand in elections.
cnbc.com, france24.com, reuters.com

Merkel meets Orban in Hungary: German Chancellor Angela Merkel met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Monday as part of the Pan-European Picnic anniversary. The symbolic event thirty years ago was a show of support for a united Europe that led to the first exodus from behind the Iron Curtain. Hungarian border guards for the first time allowed people from communist East Germany to cross freely into Austria. Merkel visited Sopron in western Hungary on Monday and expressed thanks for the Hungarian border guards’ restraint, which – by allowing people to cross – contributed to German reunification a year later. Orban’s anti-immigration policies made Monday’s commemoration all the more significant, particularly as Merkel has taken a very different strategy.
dw.com, bbc.com, reuters.com

Italy’s Five Star Movement looking for alternatives: The opposition Democratic Party (PD) had good, initial contacts with the ruling Five Star Movement over the possibility of forging a coalition, a PD source said Monday. The Five Star’s current coalition partner, the League, has said it will present a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in an attempt to trigger a snap election and cash in on the League’s surging popularity in the polls. Conte is due to address the upper house Senate on Tuesday over the political crisis.
uk.reuters.com

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Germany takes children back from Syrian Isis fighters: Kurdish authorities in Syria have handed over to Germany four children whose parents were fighters of the so-called “Islamic State” (Isis). It is the first time Germany has taken back Isis children from war-torn Syria. The children were living in northeastern Syria’s al-Hol camp, home to nearly 74,000 people. The German interior ministry said it was particularly concerned about the children of fighters, describing them as innocent victims in the conflict.
euobserver.com, dw.com

Estonian President Kaljulaid says finance minister unfit for job: Estonia’s President Kersti Kaljulaid said on Monday that Finance Minister Martin Helme was unfit to serve in the cabinet, citing Helme’s attempt to fire the head of the police force last week. Helme tried to fire the police chief but failed as the post is appointed by the cabinet, not by the minister. Helme apologised to Prime Minister Juri Ratas, saying he had acted too strongly and too fast.
nytimes.com

Germany: Poland wants World War II reparations welt.de
Poland: The Polish church’s homophobia tagesspiegel.de
North Macedonia: Public prosecutor Katica Janeva under corruption suspicion spiegel.de
France: Community shows how shift towards sustainability can work 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 ⊃

World’s biggest container ship arrives in Europe: The world’s largest container ship “MSC Gülsün” arrived in Europe after its maiden voyage from China. At 400 metres long and more than 60 metres wide the vessel is designed to stimulate the trade of chilled and frozen goods, including food, drink and medicines, between Asia and Europe. Container ships have been getting bigger for years. European ports oppose increasingly large ships because it means having to invest in wider shipping channels and new wharves.
telegraph.co.uk, thetimes.co.uk

 

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