Tuesday, 9 June 2020: Johnson urges peaceful struggle against racism, Three EU countries willing to help Malta with migrant relocation, France vows “zero tolerance” against racist police officers, US has not confirmed plans to withdraw troops from Germany

⊂ UNITED KINGDOM ⊃

Johnson urges peaceful struggle against racism: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged the country to work peacefully, lawfully to defeat racism and discrimination. Writing in “The Voice”, the PM said the government could not ignore the anger and undeniable feeling of injustice sparked by George Floyd’s killing. But he said the cause was at risk of being undermined by a minority of those attacking police and property. The UK, he said, had made big strides in tackling racism in recent decades but more had to be done. Home Secretary Priti Patel has said official estimates suggest 137,500 people have attended the protests against police violence in the UK. Patel said she sympathised with peaceful protesters but added that large gatherings were currently unlawful due to the public health risks around the spread of the coronavirus. Labour has supported the aims of the protesters, while condemning the minority who resorted to violence. Labour leader Keir Starmer sparked unease among some on the left of his party on Monday, as he condemned the tearing down of the statue of the slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol at the weekend. The cabinet will meet this Tuesday to discuss the next steps for easing the coronavirus lockdown in England. Dawn Butler, the former shadow women and equalities minister, has gone to the police after being threatened with a torrent of violent and racist abuse for defending the Black Lives Matters protests.
bbc.com, theguardian.com, uk.reuters.com, theguardian.com, theguardian.com

New UK travel quarantine rules a stunt, says Ryanair boss: New rules requiring all people arriving in the UK to self-isolate for 14 days have come into effect. Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has said the rules were a political stunt and were not a quarantine. He claimed even the Home Office acknowledged the rules were unenforceable. Travellers arriving at UK airports, ferry ports and international rail terminals will be required to self-isolate at home for two weeks, with the threat of fines up to £1,000 for people who break the rules. Arriving travellers are asked to travel directly to their self-isolation location, but can stay somewhere overnight along the way if necessary. O’Leary told the BBC: “You could be in Sainsbury’s, you could be on the beach, you could be on the golf course in the unlikely event the Home Office calls you – all they will have is a mobile number.” O’Leary said he hoped a court would hear an emergency legal challenge by the end of this week to halt the quarantine.
bbc.com, independent.co.uk, reuters.com

Hancock hails coronavirus retreat: Health Secretary Matt Hancock has claimed coronavirus is in retreat across the country as the number of recorded deaths among people testing positive for Covid-19 fell to the lowest daily level since before the lockdown was announced. A further 55 people died after contracting the virus in the UK, the lowest daily total reported since 22 March. Hancock also said the epidemic in care homes was coming under control.
theguardian.com, uk.reuters.com

Scotland: Sturgeon optimistic about easing lockdown rules further bbc.com
Ireland: British holidaymakers on alert as Ireland eases lockdown three weeks earlier than scheduled telegraph.co.uk
NHS: UK ministers face legal challenge for refusal to order PPE inquiry theguardian.com
No-fault divorce bill backed by MPs bbc.com

⊂ POLITJOBS UNITED KINGDOM ⊃

Association 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 ⊃

Three EU countries willing to help Malta with migrant relocation: Three EU member states have offered to assist Malta with the relocation of some 425 migrants who were finally allowed to disembark on Saturday night after being held on four tourist boats for weeks on end. The EU Commission said Portugal, France and Luxembourg had agreed to take in some of the people rescued at sea. The Commission called on other EU countries to equally show their support, saying it remained in close contact with Malta to coordinate the relocation of migrants and refugees. Migrants aboard the tourist boats were brought to shore late on Saturday after a group aboard one of the boats allegedly threatened to kidnap the crew. In a letter to the EU Commission, five EU-Mediterranean countries – Italy, Spain, Greece, Malta and Cyprus – called for the introduction of binding and automatic quotas for every EU country when redistributing migrants.
timesofmalta.com, kurier.at, orf.at

Vietnam ratifies free trade deal with EU: Vietnam has ratified a free trade agreement with the EU that will cut or eliminate 99% of tariffs on goods traded between the Southeast Asian country and the EU. It is the most comprehensive trade agreement the EU has ever concluded with an emerging nation and only the second with a country in Southeast Asia. The EVFTA, expected to take effect in July, will open up Vietnam’s services, including post, banking and shipping and public procurement markets, align some standards and protect EU food and drinks from imitations in Vietnam. Lawmakers also ratified a second pact that protects investors. Negotiated since 2012, it gives EU companies equal treatment with domestic bidders in competing for public contracts in Vietnam.
reuters.com, apnews.com

EU Commission wants monthly misinformation reports from social media companies: Facebook, Google and Twitter will have to provide monthly updates on how they’re tackling misinformation connected to the coronavirus under plans to be unveiled by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and EU Vice President Vera Jourova on Wednesday, according to several different media reports. The EU also wants social media giants to give fact checkers and scientists more access. The Commission is expected to call for greater cooperation with international partners, including Nato and the G7 group of the world’s most wealthy nations, on combatting digital misinformation. Officials are also expected to call out both Russia and China for efforts to spread disinformation aimed at undermining the West.
politico.com

EU watchdog aims for speedy approval of remdesivir as virus treatment: The European Medicines Agency EMA said on Monday it would look to fast-track the approval of Gilead Sciences Inc’s antiviral remdesivir as a potential Covid-19 treatment in Europe after the US drugmaker submitted its marketing application. The assessment of the benefits and risks of remdesivir was being performed under a reduced timeline and an opinion could be issued within weeks, the EMA said in a statement.
uk.reuters.com

Lawmakers demand condemnation of police brutality in Europe: A group of 118 MEPs have called on the EU Commission to condemn police brutality within the EU and convene an anti-racism summit on combatting structural discrimination in Europe, while urging member states to unblock the anti-discrimination law proposed in 2008 that has been stuck in the Council for 12 years.
euractiv.com

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Energy transition: BlackRock to advise EU on environmental rules for banks theguardian.com
Elanco wins conditional EU antitrust okay for $7.6 billion Bayer deal reuters.com
Steel: European steel industry calls on EU to cut import quotas reuters.com
Judicial reform: EU Commission wants statement from Polish government handelsblatt.com
EU agricultural policy: Commission announces corrections for species protection handelsblatt.com
Palantir: Commission kept no records on Davos meeting between Commission President von der Leyen and Palantir CEO Alex Karp euractiv.com

⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃

Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures.
European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde has defended the recent expansion of the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) to 1.35 trillion euros.
de.reuters.com, nasdaq.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

France vows “zero tolerance” against racist police officers: French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner on Monday pledged “zero tolerance” of racism in the police force, as he unveiled reforms following protests sparked by George Floyd’s death in the United States. Castaner’s reforms include ending a controversial chokehold method of arrest, which will no longer be taught in police schools. A police officer can now be suspended on suspicion of racism and the use of body cameras will be beefed up. Castaner reminded officers that their registration numbers must be visible at all times and said that every service will be reminded of when identity checks can be carried out. Police training will now also include a mandatory formation to combat racism.
nytimes.com, euronews.com, time.com

US has not confirmed plans to withdraw troops from Germany: Berlin has not yet received confirmation from Washington about reports that the United States plans to withdraw thousands of troops from Germany, German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said on Monday. She added that she would not speculate about media reports without confirmation. German officials expressed concern that removing the US troops could pose a security risk on the continent by weakening Nato. Green party politician Tobias Lindner said US President Donald Trump’s mistake was that he apparently viewed the US troops stationed in Germany as a gift to the Germans. Former Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel called for calm in the debate, saying Germany should wait until the US elections in November. According to Gabriel, Germany and the US would immediately have a better relationship if Democrat Joe Biden was president.
uk.reuters.com, nypost.com, spiegel.de, rnd.de

€600 million rescue package for Lufthansa subsidiary AUA: The Austrian government has approved a €600 million rescue package for Lufthansa-owned Austrian Airlines. The package includes €300 million in state-backed loans, a €150 million injection from the government and an additional €150 million from Lufthansa. However, the deal comes with a few strings attached, including restrictions on short-haul flights and keeping the airline based in Vienna. The government will also introduce a 30 euro tax on flights of up to 350 km, and a minimum ticket price of on average 40 euros, a move aimed at budget airlines’ heavy discounts.
dw.com, reuters.com

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Italy announces bond to fund coronavirus measures: Italy’s Treasury set out plans on Monday for a new bond, for retail investors only, called the “BTP Futura”, whose proceeds will be entirely used to fund measures to help the economy recover from the coronavirus epidemic. It will be put on sale for the first time from 6-10 July and will have a maturity of eight to ten years, with a final decision to be announced on 19 June. The Italian coronavirus warning app “Immuni” has been launched in the four regions of Abruzzo, Liguria, Marche and Puglia.
reuters.com (Bond), rnd.de (App)

Poland halts work at 12 coal mines to curb virus: Poland will close 12 coal mines from Tuesday for three weeks to curb the spread of the coronavirus among miners, Deputy Prime Minister Jacek Sasin said on Monday. Two mines operated by state-run JSW and ten mines owned by PGG group will close for three weeks. All are in Silesia, a mining region which accounted for over half of the new 599 coronavirus cases reported in Poland on Monday.
nytimes.com

Spain heads for its worst recession on record: The Spanish economy may shrink less than feared this year, but the recession will nevertheless be about three times as bad as the record contraction of 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis, the central bank said on Monday. The economy could contract by 9% to 11.6% in 2020 as the fallout from the pandemic hits the tourism-dependent country more than others in Europe.
uk.reuters.com

Charred scaffolding around Notre-Dame is being removed: Workers at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris have begun dismantling a 200-tonne tangled web of metal that fused together during the fire last year. The scaffolding was installed for a renovation of the steeple before the fire erupted on 15 April 2019. Teams have spent months consolidating the structure with metal girders so it can be dismantled without collapsing. The cathedral is still closed and will be for several years during renovations.
euronews.com, france24.com

Switzerland: All schools open again stol.it
Denmark eases coronavirus restrictions and allows meetings of up to 50 people nau.ch
Cyprus welcomes tourists kurier.at
Belgium not ready to prevent second coronavirus wave, government told politico.eu
Netherlands: Defence wants more time in Dutch MH17 trial after Covid-19 delays reuters.com
Spain probes former King Juan Carlos over alleged Saudi bribe dw.com

⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃

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 ⊃

Supercharging Europe’s bio-based economy: The Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant is unique in Europe. Its goal is to dramatically scale up innovative bio-products. Up to now, 120 businesses and 45 public projects have benefited from the facility’s services since 2008. The plant’s total budget is 12.9 million euros, 3.4 million of which was provided by Europe’s Cohesion Policy. So far, 322 industrial projects have been completed.
euronews.com

 

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