Tuesday, April 16th 2019: Tougher EU copyright rules approved, EU to start trade talks with US, Fire at Notre Dame cathedral


Tougher EU copyright rules approved: EU countries approved sweeping reforms to the European Union’s copyright laws on Monday. The legislation, which was passed by lawmakers at the EU Parliament last month, aims to update Europe’s rules on copyright to reflect the challenges posed by the age of information. Under the new rules, Google and other online platforms will have to sign licensing agreements with musicians, performers, authors, news publishers and journalists to use their work. They also face new obligations to monitor their sites for any copyright-infringing content and remove any that falls under those licensing deals. Opponents of the law say this will lead to filtering systems that block everything from memes to GIFs before they’re even uploaded. However, the EU insisted this will not be the case, claiming that people will still be able to share such content freely. Tweaks to the law subsequently made an exception for content used for the purposes of quotation, criticism, review, caricature, parody and pastiche.
cnbc.com, reuters.com, bbc.com, politico.eu

EU to start trade talks with US: European Union countries have approved plans for trade talks with the United States. The decision by EU ministers gives the European Commission authorization to conduct formal talks. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said the Commission wanted to wrap the talks up within six months, and that she would contact her US counterpart Robert Lighthizer later Monday to work out when formal negotiations might begin. France and Belgium refused to support the launch of negotiations, highlighting divisions over US President Donald Trump’s trade and climate policies. French President Emmanuel Macron has said he objects to negotiations because the Trump administration withdrew from the Paris climate agreement in 2017. France has, however, been outvoted. But the negotiating guidelines given to the Commission do respect French concerns in that they do not allow for talks on cutting tariffs on agricultural goods.
bbc.com, apnews.com, nytimes.com

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United States: Justice Department expected to release redacted Mueller report Thursday cnn.com


If we agree to start, I think it can go quite quickly… We are definitely determined to do everything we can to finish this during the Juncker Commission.
European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said the EU wants to quickly conclude a trade deal with the United States.


Fire at Notre Dame cathedral: The Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was scarred by an extensive fire on Monday evening that caused its spire to collapse. Around 500 firefighters battled the blaze for nearly five hours. The cause of the fire is not yet clear. Officials said it could be linked to the renovation work that began after cracks appeared in the stone, sparking fears the structure could become unstable. Paris prosecutor’s office said it had opened an inquiry into “accidental destruction by fire”. A firefighter was seriously injured while tackling the blaze. President Emmanuel Macron said France would rebuild Notre Dame. The fire prompted the president to postpone a major speech. Macron had been due to give a televised address to outline measures he plans to take following nationwide public debates held in response to the “Yellow Vest” protest movement. Instead, he traveled to the cathedral to inspect the blaze and the efforts of firefighters to bring it under control.
nytimes.com, bbc.com, politico.eu

Merkel and Grandi voice concern about situation in Libya and Sudan: During a meeting with UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi in Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed concern about the human rights situation in Libya and Sudan while calling for an improved approach to the factors that force people to migrate. Merkel said the challenges of migration continue to be gigantic. Grandi said the escalation of fighting in Libya made it difficult to work in the refugee camps there. He thanked Germany for its support of migrants in Libya and elsewhere. Separately, Merkel talked to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi on the phone about the political instability in Libya and Sudan.

Italy: Fighting in Libya will create huge number of refugees, PM warns theguardian.com
Finland: Election sets stage for tough talks about government formation bloomberg.com
Estonia: Liberals fail to form government france24.com
France: French-made tanks and howitzer canons used in Yemeni war uk.reuters.com


politjobs.eu: Alfa Fellowship Program seeks Young German, British, and American Leaders *** FTA seeks Regulatory Affairs Advisor (m/f) *** Bayer seeks Trainee (m/f) *** ISN seeks Advocacy Officer (m/f) *** Politico seeks Lobbying Reporter (m/f) *** EGEC seeks Trainee (m/f) *** Facebook seeks Public Policy Manager (m/f) *** Google seeks Public Policy and Government Relations Manager (m/f) *** DEKRA offers Internship (m/f) *** European Friends of Amernia seeks Communications and Media Engagement Officer (m/f) *** International Crisis Group seeks Analyst (m/f)
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)


Ecuadorian president accuses Assange of espionage: The government of Ecuador has continued taking jabs at WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after effectively evicting him from its London embassy and allowing for his arrest. In an interview published by the “Guardian”, Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno rejected claims that he had allowed for Assange’s arrest as a reprisal for WikiLeaks purportedly leaking documents that sullied his name, including claims of secret bank accounts and hidden wealth. Moreno insisted it was Assange’s actions against other democratic countries, taken while he lived in Ecuador’s embassy for seven years, that had led to the eviction. Moreno said Ecuador could not allow its embassy to become a center for spying.


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