Tuesday, June 11th 2019: Asylum seekers in EU on the rise, Trump likes EU fines against big tech companies, German minister warns of escalation in the Middle East

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Asylum seekers in EU on the rise: The number of people seeking asylum in the European Union has increased so far this year, bucking a downward trend since the height of the refugee crisis in 2015. From January to April, around 206,500 people applied for asylum for the first time in the EU — a 15% increase from the same period last year, according to an analysis by German media. The increase is attributed to a dramatic rise in people applying from Venezuela, Columbia and the western Balkans, who don’t need a visa to travel to the EU. The second largest number of asylum seekers now come from Venezuela, behind only Syria and ahead of Afghanistan.
politico.eu

Trump likes EU fines against big tech companies: US President Donald Trump on Monday suggested that American regulators should follow the EU’s lead by levying massive fines against American tech companies, saying obviously there was something going on in terms of monopoly in the sector. Trump told CNBC on Monday that the US could benefit from some of the cash windfall European regulators are getting from lawsuits with major American technology companies. The EU Commission has slapped $9.5 billion in antitrust fines against Google since 2017. Facebook has been subject to probes across the EU since a strict new set of privacy rules called the General Data Protection Regulation went into effect last year.
cnbc.com, politico.eu

Trump wants to raise tariffs on China: US President Donald Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on China again if President Xi Jinping doesn’t meet with him at the upcoming G20 summit in Japan. When asked during a telephone interview if tariffs would be enacted immediately if there was no meeting at the summit later this month, Trump told CNBC’s Becky Quick, “Yes, it would.” Trade talks with China hit an impasse last month after the president accused China of reneging on provisions of a tentative agreement. Trump said his threat to impose tariffs on Mexico encouraged the country to agree to stronger immigration enforcement, and he predicted the strategy will be successful with China. Hundreds of thousands of protesters marched through Hong Kong on Sunday to voice their opposition to government-sponsored legislation that would allow people to be extradited to mainland China to face charges.
fortune.com, cnbc.com (Trump); cbsnews.com (Hong Kong)

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Criticism of EU climate goals: A document on the EU’s priorities has been criticized as offering little more than a collection of buzzwords to tackle the climate crisis. EU leaders are due to adopt a strategic agenda for 2019-24 at a Brussels summit starting on 20 June, but a draft has encountered criticism from some green groups, who accuse officials of lacking urgency. The five-page document, drawn up by the team of European Council President Donald Tusk, is intended to set the bloc’s priorities for the next five years. Spanning migration, trade and the EU’s place in the world, the document avoids details such as targets, budget numbers or specific countries.
theguardian.com

Meeting of euro finance ministers: Decision on eurozone budget possibly on Thursday tagesspiegel.de

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

It is a difficult process in which we are trying to get rid of this anti-democratic oligarch regime that has installed many corruption mechanisms.
In the midst of a government crisis in Moldova brought on by an inconclusive parliamentary election in February, ACUM leader Maia Sandu was sworn in as prime minister over the weekend and her government convened in parliament.
reuters.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

German minister warns of escalation in the Middle East: Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced Monday that he and his German counterpart Heiko Maas had held frank and serious talks on his country’s nuclear deal with world powers. Zarif said that Iran would cooperate with EU signatories of the deal to save it. Maas reiterated that Britain, France and Germany would stick to their commitments, adding that it was important to keep on talking to avoid a military escalation. He warned that the countries could not work miracles, but that they would try to avert a failure of the nuclear deal. The situation in the region was highly explosive and extremely serious, Maas said. A dangerous escalation of existing tensions could also lead to a military escalation.
dw.com, reuters.com

Snap election in Greece: Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos accepted a request from Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to dissolve parliament on Monday, formally triggering a snap election that Tsipras has called for next month after badly losing a vote for the EU Parliament. In last month’s European vote, Tsipras’ governing Syriza party lost by more than 9 percentage points to the main opposition, conservative New Democracy party. The government has said it wants to hold the new election on July 7th. Tsipras has said this will avoid a protracted pre-election period before the end of his term in October, which might have hurt economic progress made in recent years. His Syriza party was forced to backpedal and accept another bailout soon after its election in 2015 or risk Greece being thrown out of the eurozone.
reuters.com, washingtonpost.com

Parliamentary election in the Ukraine: The party of Ukraine’s new President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Servant of the People, has kept a strong lead ahead of a parliamentary election due on July 21st, an opinion poll showed on Monday. The KIIS poll put Opposition Platform in second place and European Solidarity – the party of Zelenskiy’s predecessor Petro Poroshenko – third. After taking office last month, Zelenskiy dismissed the parliament still dominated by loyalists of his defeated predecessor. Servant of the People has no lawmakers in the outgoing legislature and is campaigning on a pro-European and anti-corruption ticket.
reuters.com

Italy’s Salvini confident of budget accord with EU: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has warned that the government would be finished if Italy can’t make a budget compromise with the European Union. Without a deal, “we all risk to go home. For sure I would go,” the premier said. Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, however, expressed confidence that Rome would be able to reach an accord with the EU over public finances. Salvini struck a reassuring note, saying the last thing the Italian government wanted was to pick a fight with Europe. The country is at risk of an EU disciplinary procedure over its debt, which stands at more than 1.3 times its economic output – a ratio second only to Greece’s within the eurozone.
bloomberg.com, reuters.com

France: Anniversary of Nazi massacre of civilians dw.com
Czech Republic: Prague rejects Sudeten Germans Day faz.net

⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃

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)

⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃

Solidarity with arrested journalist in Russia: The Kremlin has admitted mistakes may have been made by police during the arrest of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov, as calls for his release grew louder. In a show of rare solidarity, Russia’s three major newspapers on Monday put out nearly identical front pages to support Golunov. The journalist was charged over the weekend with trying to illegally sell drugs. His lawyer said the drugs were planted. Golunov, who was reportedly beaten up during his arrest last week, also claims that he has been tortured in custody. The Kremlin rarely accepts Russian law enforcement agencies may have acted unprofessionally.
theguardian.com, bbc.com, cbsnews.com

 

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