Tuesday, May 14th 2019: EU warns US not to start war with Iran, China places higher tariffs on American goods, EU threatens legal steps against Romania


EU warns US not to start war with Iran: Top European Union officials told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday to exercise maximum restraint in Washington’s standoff with Iran. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and foreign ministers from leading EU countries delivered the message at a series of meetings after Pompeo made an unexpected visit to Brussels. Several ministers expressed fears that tension between the US and Tehran could flare into a military conflict. British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt warned of a conflict erupting by accident and called for calm. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he had made clear to Pompeo that Berlin is sticking to the international nuclear deal. Tensions have risen in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) amid the deployment of a growing number of US military assets to the Middle East, due to deteriorating relations with Iran. Four ships were targeted on Sunday near the strategic Emirati port of Fujairah, in what the UAE called a sabotage attack. Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih described the incident as a deliberate attempt to undermine the freedom of maritime navigation, and the security of oil supplies to consumers all over the world.
politico.eu, theguardian.com, cnn.com

China places higher tariffs on American goods: China is imposing new retaliatory tariffs on 60 billion dollars worth of US goods, days after the Trump administration said it would impose higher tariffs on 200 billion dollars in Chinese goods. The latest tit-for-tat exchange comes as trade talks have failed to yield a deal. China’s latest tariffs will take effect at the start of June, adding up to 25% to the cost of US goods that are covered by the new policy from China’s State Council Customs Tariff Commission. Big names like Boeing, Nike, Tesla, General Motors, Intel, and many others are all hugely dependent on the Chinese market. Apple partially blamed the trade war for a revenue decline in the first three months of 2019. US President Donald Trump announced on Monday that he will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping at next month’s G-20 summit in Japan.
npr.org, cnn.com (China); politico.com (Trump)

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EU threatens legal steps against Romania: The European Commission said on Monday it would take legal action against Romania unless it reversed measures that undermine the independence of its courts and the fight against corruption. New rules adopted by Romania’s parliament for reporting bribery risked creating a situation of de facto impunity for crimes, including corruption crimes, the Commission first vice president Frans Timmermans wrote in a letter. The Commission has already put Hungary and Poland under a special rule of law investigation, which could in theory lead to a suspension of their voting rights in the EU.
reuters.com, politico.eu

Facebook: Fake Italian accounts taken down ahead of EU election reuters.com
EU election: EU Justice Commissioner Jourova warns of Russian meddling dw.com
Guy Verhofstadt: “I don’t want a superstate” euronews.com
EU Commission: AB InBev fined 200 million euros for beer sales restrictions politico.eu


I stand for a Europe in which as much power as possible belongs to the people.
Manfred Weber, the leading candidate of the center-right European People’s Party (EPP) in the European election, said he was unconcerned by suggestions that EU leaders could nominate another person for EU Commission President even if his party wins this month’s election.
zeit.de, politico.eu


Sweden to reopen rape case against Assange: Swedish prosecutors have announced they are reopening an investigation into a rape allegation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Swedish Deputy Director of Public Prosecution Eva-Marie Persson said Monday that a European Arrest Warrant for Assange would be issued to request his extradition. Sweden’s prosecutors first ordered Assange’s arrest in 2010 after two women accused him of rape and molestation but discontinued the investigation after attempts by the British and Swedish to surrender him to Sweden failed. Assange claimed asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012. He was removed from the embassy by police last month after Ecuador withdrew his asylum status and subsequently sentenced to 50 weeks in jail in the UK for breaching his bail conditions. Assange is also charged in the United States with conspiracy to “commit computer intrusion” by helping former intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning with “cracking a password” to access classified documents.
politico.eu, euronews.com

Concern over Syrian war: Britain, Germany and France have called for an end to the military escalation in north western Syria, saying they were gravely concerned at recent violence which had led to the death of more than 120 civilians. The military escalation must stop, the joint statement from the three countries, issued by Britain’s Foreign Office, said. Airstrikes on population centers, indiscriminate bombardment, and use of barrel bombs as well as the targeting of civilian and humanitarian infrastructures, notably schools and health facilities, were blatant violations of international humanitarian law.

Brexit drives firms to relocate to Germany: More foreign firms are relocating their operations to Germany than ever before, according to new figures by the economic development agency German Trade and Invest (GTAI). A record 2,062 foreign companies either set up shop or expanded their operations in Germany in 2018. GTAI credited Brexit as a likely reason, with a 38% increase in the number of British firms moving operations to Germany since the Brexit vote in June 2016. The largest number of investments in Germany came from the US. In second place was Switzerland, followed by China and the UK.

Hungary: US President Trump lauds Prime Minister Orban for tremendous job theguardian.com
Poland: Government cancels Israeli visit independent.co.uk
Italy: Interior Minister Salvini plans to fine NGO boats up to 5,500 euros per rescued migrant theguardian.com
Czech Republic: Protests over new Justice Minister Benesova enter third week 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)


Eight EU airports among world’s ten worst: Eight of the world’s ten worst airports are located in the European Union, according to a new survey. Airports in France, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, and the UK ranked among the world’s worst for on-time performance, services and shops. The ranking also crowned the best airport in the world, which was once again Qatar’s Hamad International, after the Middle East hub also won the accolade last year. Only three of the top ten are EU airports: Athens International placed third, dropping a spot since 2018, Gdansk ranked fifth, and Tenerife North Airport came in ninth.


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