Tuesday, 25 September 2018: UK to hold nerve after Brexit talks hit impasse, EU takes action against UK over customs duties, Italian government adopts measures to narrow asylum rights


UK to hold nerve after Brexit talks hit impasse: Britain’s Brexit minister Dominic Raab said on Monday that the UK would not flinch in an impasse with the EU after European leaders rejected British Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans for leaving the bloc last week. Raab was speaking to the BBC after a cabinet meeting as May met senior ministers. The prime minister is sticking by her Chequers plan for future co-operation despite European leaders attacking it. The talks hit the rocks on Thursday when EU leaders dismissed the basis of the PM’s plan – a free trade zone and common rule book for goods with greater divergence for services – as unworkable. May defended her strategy following calls from leading Brexiteers in her party to keep the option of a Canada-style arrangement on the table as talks enter a crucial phase. A motion to be voted on by Labour conference on Tuesday instructs the party leadership to support all options including campaigning for a public vote on Brexit if parliament rejects May’s divorce deal.
reuters.com, bbc.com, politico.eu (Labour)

EU takes action against UK over customs duties: The EU Commission has warned the UK for a second time to recover 2.7 billion euros in lost EU revenue stemming from the country’s failure to stop a massive fraud network that allowed cheap Chinese goods to flood into Europe. The Commission’s warning is the next stage in the bloc’s formal infringement procedure. The alleged scam was unveiled last year by the EU’s anti-fraud office Olaf. It said imports of Chinese textiles and other products into Britain were declared at an artificially low value to reduce the level of customs duties raised, with a resultant impact on the EU’s budget which is funded by such duties.
politico.eu, euronews.com, washingtonpost.com

EU sues Poland for undermining independence of courts: The EU Commission is suing Poland at the European Court of Justice for its decision to force judges to retire. The Commission maintains that the Polish law on the Supreme Court is incompatible with EU law as it undermines the principle of judicial independence, including the irremovability of judges. In July 2017, the Commission launched an infringement procedure on the „Polish Law on Ordinary Courts“. The new law led to mass protests in Poland over the summer as people fear that the government now has free reign to handpick judges. The Commission asked the European Court of Justice to suspend the application of the law until it reaches a verdict to prevent the forced retirement of the judges and the appointment of new ones.
reuters.com, dw.com

„Aquarius 2“ migrant ship calls on Europe for help: Humanitarian groups operating the last private rescue ship near the deadly central Mediterranean human trafficking route have asked French authorities to allow 58 refugees to disembark in the southern port of Marseille. The charities urged European governments to help the vessel find a new flag to sail under after Panama revoked its registration. Panama’s maritime authority said it has begun procedures to remove the registration of Aquarius 2 after Italy complained that the ship’s captain failed to follow orders to return rescued migrants to Libya.
nytimes.com, reuters.com

Money laundering scandal: EU watchdog to probe Danish, Estonia supervisors over Danske Bank politico.eu
Nomination: Nicola Beer is the FDP’s top candidate for the European election handelsblatt.com
Time change: Is the eternal summer time coming? It’s still uncertain tagesspiegel.de


I focused too much on functionality and processes in the interior ministry and not enough on what moves people, rightly, when they hear of someone’s promotion.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has admitted that she misjudged her response to allegations of far-right sympathies against Germany’s domestic intelligence chief, after resolving a row over his redeployment that threatened to pull her government apart.


Italian government adopts measures to narrow asylum rights: The Italian government approved a package of new migration measures Monday, aimed at making it more difficult for migrants to obtain asylum and humanitarian protection. Under the legislation — which still needs parliamentary as well as presidential approval — migrants could have their asylum requests suspended and face immediate repatriation if they are considered socially dangerous or convicted of certain crimes, including drug dealing and sexual assault. The decree also doubles the amount of time migrants can spend in reception centres before being repatriated to 180 days. A lower level of residency – humanitarian protection – would be awarded only on six strict criteria, including whether an applicant had survived a natural disaster.
politico.eu, dw.com

Swedish PM Lofven faces ouster: Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lovfen is set to lose power in a confidence vote in parliament on Tuesday, with no clear indication of who will replace him after an inconclusive election that saw a surge by the far right. Voters delivered a hung parliament in the 9 September election, with Social Democrat Lofven’s centre-left bloc garnering 144 seats, one more than their centre-right rivals, the Alliance, whose biggest party is the Moderates.

Russian at Oslo IT conference held on suspicion of spying: Russia’s foreign ministry summoned Norway’s ambassador on Monday to protest against the arrest of a Russian citizen in Oslo on suspicion of spying while Norwegian authorities sealed off what was described as a „compromised room“ in parliament. Police were summoned on Friday because of the man’s strange behaviour, the Norwegian parliament’s director told the country’s public broadcaster, NRK. He was arrested at the airport charged with violating espionage laws.
uk.reuters.com, theguardian.com

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Navalny detained again: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was detained immediately on his release from prison after serving a 30-day sentence for an unauthorised protest. Navalny’s supporters said he was arrested moments after walking from jail at the end of his previous stint handed down for planning an unauthorised demonstration in Moscow in January that called for a boycott of what he said would be a rigged presidential election.
theguardian.com, reuters.com

Hungary: Open Society takes Hungary to court over ‘Stop Soros’ law politico.eu


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)


Alternative Nobel Prize goes to Saudi Arabia for the first time: Three human rights activists, two corruption fighters, a farmer and an agricultural scientist are the 2018 winners of the Alternative Nobel Prize. They are tirelessly fighting the world over to make it a better place. Abdullah al-Hamid, Mohammad Fahad al-Qahtani and Waleed Abu al-Khair are among Saudi Arabia’s most prominent human rights lawyers. In a society where the ruling House of Saud exercises totalitarian rule in close alliance with the ultraconservative Wahhabi clergy, the three have relentlessly endeavored to bring about reform.



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