Tuesday, 20 February 2018: New party aims to overturn EU referendum vote, EU chooses Spain’s de Guindos for ECB vice-chair, EMF should be independent of Commission


New party aims to overturn EU referendum vote: A new British party inspired by French President Emmanuel Macron’s movement launched a campaign on Monday to thwart Brexit by convincing lawmakers to block any EU withdrawal deal British Prime Minister Theresa May can strike. The „Renew“ party said it would target pro-Brexit lawmakers in constituencies with high levels of support for EU membership. Bundesbank executive board member Andreas Dombret said on Monday that when it comes to Brexit, banks were welcome to hope for the best, but should prepare for the worst. The Netherlands have become the latest member to refuse to pay more to plug the budget blackhole left by Brexit. Australia said on Monday it would be open to the idea of Britain joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership regional trade group after it leaves the EU.
reuters.com, independent.co.uk, politico.eu (Bundesbank), express.co.uk (Netherlands), uk.reuters.com (Australia)

EU chooses Spain’s de Guindos for ECB vice-chair: Eurozone finance ministers on Monday chose Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos to be the next vice president of the European Central Bank, a move that will hand Madrid a top seat at the helm of the bank for the first time since 2012. The decision, which was struck at a meeting in Brussels on Monday, is a victory for Spanish Prime Mariano Rajoy, who pushed hard to win back the position. The ECB has stopped all payments by one of Latvia’s largest lenders on Monday, after its liquidity position collapsed in the wake of allegations from US authorities.
reuters.com, bloomberg.com, cnbc.com

EMF should be independent of Commission: The European Monetary Fund being planned to replace the eurozone bailout fund should be controlled by member states and independent of the EU Commission, the fund’s head Klaus Regling said on Monday. The Commission wants the European Stability Mechanism to become an EU institution governed by a separate treaty signed by eurozone countries. Regling said the ESM should be an intergovernmental body controlled by euro zone member states.

Turkey sentences journalists: Turkey’s sentencing of five journalists to life for involvement in a failed 2016 coup shows that the country’s judiciary cannot make independent decisions, the president of the Association of European Journalists (AEJ) said on Monday and urged the Council of Europe to take action. Altogether six people were sentenced, including five members of the press. One journalist was released on bail but Otmar Lahodynsky, AEJ president, said that was hardly reassuring.

Defence: Rheinmetall-led consortium wins first European research contract reuters.com
France: A small setback for intensive agriculture in Africa euractiv.com


We decided to put forward our own proposal, a package of amendments, which includes the proposals that were worked out by Hungary, and whose main point is for the EU to finally stop putting relocation, distribution at the centre of its thinking, instead of border protection.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has used a visit to Bulgaria to once again lash out at the EU’s migration policies.


Merkel taps possible successor Kramp-Karrenbauer: In a move widely seen as anointing her chosen successor, German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday promoted one of her key lieutenants to a pivotal role as chairman of her Christian Democrat party (CDU). The appointment positions Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to take control of the party when Merkel eventually steps down or is forced from office. Kramp-Karrenbauer is respected in the CDU for helping the party win Saarland’s state election last year and played a key role in coalition talks between the conservatives and the Social Democrats (SPD).
telegraph.co.uk, dw.com

Poland spares forest to win EU favour: When Poland sought to ease tensions with the EU by declaring a halt to logging in the ancient Bialowieza forest, it did not announce how many trees it had already cut down. In fact, logging quotas to 2021 had already been reached and in one part of the forest an expanded quota, declared illegal by the EU Commission, had been more than half fulfilled despite an injunction, official forestry data shows. At the beginning of this year, a reshuffled Law and Justice government in Warsaw said it had complied with an order from the European Court of Justice, first issued in July, to stop logging in Bialowieza, setting a new tone it wants Brussels to match.

AfD surpasses SPD for first time in German poll: The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party narrowly surpassed the centre-left Social Democrats for the first time in a national poll on Monday. The poll by Insa showed the AfD at 16 percent support compared to the SPD at 15.5 percent — a new low for what has traditionally been one of Germany’s largest parties. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU bloc reached 32 percent support, which was an increase of 2.5 percentage points from last week’s survey.

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Greece closer to get disbursement of new loans: Greece is close to receive a new disbursement of loans from its eurozone creditors after having completed most of the required reforms, the head of the Eurogroup of the bloc’s finance ministers. Mario Centeno, said on Monday. The next tranche of loans is of 5.7 billion euros, Centeno said, adding that it is up to euro zone states now to do what necessary to unlock the funds.

Poland: Jewish organisations protest against Antisemitism spiegel.de
Hungary: Asselborn criticises Orban’s speech tagesspiegel.de
Iceland: Possible circumcision ban sparks religious outrage bbc.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)


Chinese and US officials scuffled over nuclear football: A clash over US President Donald Trump’s “nuclear football” almost caused an international incident in November when a Chinese security official was tackled to the ground during a chaotic scene in Beijing, according to reports on Sunday. The incident took place after a US military aide carrying the briefcase with which the president can launch a nuclear strike was prevented from following Trump into the Great Hall by Chinese security. US chief of staff John Kelly in the adjoining room, was informed, and he rushed over and told US officials to keep walking. A Chinese security official grabbed Kelly, then a US Secret Service agent grabbed the Chinese security official and tackled him to the ground.
nypost.com, theguardian.com



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