Tuesday, February 5th 2019: EU nations back Venezuela’s Guaido, Ireland resists UK attempts for border talks, Most deprived areas hit hardest by pollution


EU nations back Venezuela’s Guaido: Major European nations joined the United States on Monday in recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state. The coordinated recognition by EU nations including Britain, Germany, France and Spain followed the expiration of an ultimatum for Maduro to call a new presidential election, aligning them with Washington and against Russia and China. Italy, however, blocked a joint EU position to recognize Guaido, diplomatic sources said, with the government in Rome deeply divided over the issue. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France Inter radio station Guaido had the capacity and the legitimacy to organize a presidential election. British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Twitter that Guaido was being acknowledged as interim constitutional president until credible elections can be held. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he would discuss the situation in Venezuela with a US official and representatives of other countries at an upcoming Washington conference, stressing it was key to maintain pressure on Venezuela.
reuters.com, theguardian.com, nytimes.com, reuters.com

Ireland resists UK attempts for bilateral border talks: Ireland has resisted attempts by the British government to open up bilateral talks in relation to the use of technology to keep the border on the island of Ireland open after Brexit, Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said on Monday. He also dismissed claims by Britain’s interior minister Sajid Javid that it was possible to use existing technology to solve the issue of post-Brexit arrangements for the border between the United Kingdom and Ireland. Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has warned that there was a real and growing risk that the UK will leave the EU with no deal in less than two months‘ time. Giving a speech at Georgetown University in the US, she again called for a second Brexit referendum. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said it was up to Britons to decide whether they wanted to hold a second referendum and insisted that there was no question of going back on the Brexit withdrawal agreement. Following concerns voiced by Irish farmers regarding a no-deal Brexit, the EU Commission has announced that it will provide financial aid to Irish farmers in the case of a no-deal Brexit.
reuters.com, independent.co.uk, reuters.com, euronews.com (Farmers)

Most deprived areas hit hardest by air pollution: Europe’s poorest, least educated and most jobless regions are bearing the brunt of the air pollution crisis, according to an analysis from the European Environment Agency (EEA). Especially regions with lower average socio-economic status and higher proportions of elderly people in southern and south-eastern Europe experience greater exposure to ground-level ozone and high air temperatures. The combination of higher exposure to environmental health hazards in low socio-economic groups and their increased susceptibility to the effects of exposure (primarily as a result of stress, fewer opportunities to choose health-promoting behaviors and poorer health status) results in health disparities driven by environmental factors. Meanwhile, the EU Commission has welcomed the student protests for more climate protection in Europe.
eea.europa.eu, theguardian.com, tagesspiegel.de

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Hungary opposes EU-Arab League cooperation: The EU had high hopes for a cooperation agreement with the Arab League, however, those dreams were dashed when Hungary declared its opposition. The Hungarian government said it was against any reference to the word migration being used in texts drafted ahead of the upcoming summit between the EU and the Arab League. The opposition put forth by Hungary has raised concerns about the future of a relationship between the two governing bodies.

Social media: EU applauds social media platforms for removing hate speech euronews.com
Solidarity Corps: More opportunities for young people europarl.europa.eu


Merkel and Abe meet in Japan: German Chancellor Angela Merkel met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday, three days after a free trade pact came into effect between Japan and the EU. Merkel hailed the free trade agreement as an important message to the world. She said the talks had been between two national leaders who wanted to cooperate, who believed that there could be very good win-win situations when all partners worked together. The amount of trade is expected to increase after the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and Japan – creating what signatories dubbed the world’s largest free trade area – came into force on Friday. Merkel and Abe also discussed Japan’s priorities for its upcoming presidency of the G20 group of economic powers. In addition, they addressed the US and Russia’s suspension of the INF treaty. Speaking at a news conference with Abe in Tokyo, Merkel said Britain and the EU could still perhaps resolve the issue of Irish border arrangements after Brexit.
dw.com, reuters.com (Brexit)

Meat scandal in poland: Several countries have started to cut the amount of beef they import from Poland after a TV documentary showed an abattoir killing sick cows, the head of the meat producers lobby said on Monday. Secret filming by broadcaster TVN revealed last week that unwell animals were being killed at a slaughterhouse situated 112km east of Warsaw. A team of inspectors from the EU Commission arrived in Warsaw on Monday to investigate the reports, Poland’s chief veterinarian told a news conference. He said no member states had completely canceled meat imports from Poland.
reuters.com, euronews.com

Fear of Italy’s debt: Europe’s most dangerous stock of public borrowing – some 1.5 trillion euros – is concentrated on the balance sheets of banks in Rome and Milan. According to „Bloomberg“, the main banks in the rest of Europe are holding more than 425 billion euros of sovereign and private Italian debt, based on an analysis of European Banking Authority data. French banks are the most exposed if a sell-off in Italy starts to affect the economy and spread through Europe’s financial system. The country’s two largest banks, BNP Paribas SA and Credit Agricole SA own retail units in Italy.

France: Government plans to force heads of big firms to be tax resident tagesspiegel.de


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)


German health minister defends statements on cancer: Conservative politician Jens Spahn has defended his comments that advances in cancer research mean the disease can be wiped out in the next two decades. The health minister stressed that there had been significant advances in cancer diagnosis, therapy and research in recent years, drawing parallels with the fight against HIV/AIDS. That Germany has one of the lowest HIV infection rates in the world gives the government confidence that it can make a difference, he said. Spahn drew criticism from health experts and patient groups on Friday when he first spoke to the media about his cancer outlook. Others accused the minister of behaving irresponsibly and raising false hopes.



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