Wednesday, 03 July 2019: Von der Leyen to lead European Commission, Brexit Party MEPs turn backs in EU Parliament, House arrest order for German rescue ship captain lifted

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Von der Leyen to lead European Commission: The European Council proposed German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen to become president of the EU Commission. She would be the first female Commission president if confirmed by the European Parliament. Charles Michel was elected European Council president. He is currently serving as acting Belgian premier. Christine Lagarde was nominated for European Central Bank president. She previously served as France’s finance minister and is currently the managing director of the International Monetary Fund IMF. EU lawmakers criticised von der Leyen’s nomination, since it disregards the lead candidate system whereby each bloc picks a nominee for Commission president. The Greens parliamentary bloc said the nomination failed to respect the lead candidate process and the results of the European elections. The European Peoples Party (EPP) lead candidate Manfred Weber withdrew his name from the running as talks on Tuesday crystallised on picking von der Leyen.
dw.com, politico.eu

Brexit Party MEPs turn backs in EU Parliament: Lawmakers from the British Brexit Party turned their backs on the European anthem on Tuesday at the opening of the EU Parliament. The Pro-Brexit lawmakers acted in unison in the parliament chamber as “Ode to Joy” was played by a jazz band as part of the chamber’s opening ceremonies. Massing on the other side of the parliament, the British Liberal Democrats trumpeted their arrival by walking into the chamber together wearing yellow T-shirts emblazoned with their campaign slogan „Bollocks to Brexit“. The party has a record 16 MEPs, while Labour and the Conservatives have been reduced to all-time lows. Protests were also held against the decision to deny a seat to Catalan separatist Carles Puigdemont.
bbc.com, foxnews.com, irishtimes.com

House arrest order for German rescue ship captain lifted: An Italian court has ruled that „Sea-Watch“ captain Carola Rackete had not acted against the law when she refused to comply with a ban on entering Italy’s territorial waters. The judge said Rackete was doing her duty saving human lives. Rackete captained a vessel carrying more than 40 migrants. After weeks at sea, she decided to port in Lampedusa, dismissing a military order banning her vessel from entering Italian territorial waters. While attempting to dock her ship, she rammed into a police boat that was trying to block her maneuvers. Germany has agreed to take in about a dozen of the migrants from the ship.
dw.com, uk.reuters.com

France casts doubt on Mercosur trade deal: France will not sign up to the EU’s trade deal with the Mercosur group of South American countries at any cost, French ministers said on Tuesday. The EU and Mercosur agreed a free trade treaty on Friday. But growing uproar among the country’s agricultural community and lawmakers since the deal was announced has put the government under increasing pressure before the agreement goes to parliament for ratification. Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said while the draft trade deal provided opportunities for European exporters, it remained to be seen whether it met France’s demands.
uk.reuters.com

Macron urges Iran to abide by nuclear deal: French President Emmanuel Macron said EU leaders were extremely concerned by Iran’s apparent breach of the 2015 nuclear agreement, as Israel said it was preparing for possible involvement in any confrontation between Iran and the United States. The European signatories to the accord have sought to pull back the two longstanding foes from direct confrontation, fearing a mistake could lead to war accidentally. A diplomat said Britain, France and Germany would focus on bringing Iran back into compliance and that they wanted to gain more time for dialogue.
reuters.com

Driving bans in Austrian state of Tyrol: EU Commission steps in merkur.de

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

Our partnership has overcome challenges and we have now turned the page.
The EU’s foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini appeared optimistic after talks with Morocco’s Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.
euractiv.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Hungary tightens state grip over scientists: Hungary’s National Assembly has adopted a controversial bill to vastly restructure the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The new law strips the 200-year-old Academy of its network of research bodies and hands them over to a committee with a chairman appointed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban and half its members from the government. The government will manage research institutes separately, and could add new ones or close existing ones. Additionally, the Academy could lose its grant, enshrined in law, to finance its running costs. The changes are expected to come into force at the beginning of September. The plans have repeatedly provoked protests from researchers and academics at home and abroad.
dw.com, reuters.com

Germany fines Facebook: German authorities have fined Facebook 2 million euros for under-reporting complaints about illegal content on its social media platform. Germany’s Federal Office of Justice said that by tallying only certain categories of complaints, the web giant had created a skewed picture of the extent of violations on its platform. The Network Enforcement Act, which took effect last year in Germany, requires social media platforms to publish reports every six months detailing the number of complaints of illegal content they have received.
reuters.com, cnn.com

Austria bans weedkiller glyphosate: Austria’s lower house of parliament passed a bill on Tuesday banning all uses of the weedkiller glyphosate. It is the first time that an EU country has taken such strong action against the chemical over concerns that it can cause cancer. Other EU countries have only passed partial bans of glyphosate. If the small upper house raises no objection, as appears likely, the bill will become law once it is signed President Alexander Van der Bellen. Austria has the highest proportion of organic farmland in the European Union – roughly 23%, far above the EU average of 7%. Glyphosate was developed by Monsanto under the brand Roundup. Concerns about its safety emerged when a World Health Organisation agency concluded in 2015 that it probably causes cancer.
reuters.com

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Italy announces less borrowing: Italy’s public deficit is perfectly on track to reach 2.04% of gross domestic product in 2019, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Tuesday, a level that would cut short any EU disciplinary procedures. The EU and Italy had initially agreed on the 2.04% figure in December, but the Italian government was forced to raise the forecast to 2.4% in March given the deteriorated economic outlook.
france24.com

Germany: Suspected killer recants confession in murder of politician dw.com
Austria: Parliament doing everything to appease voters euractiv.com
Italy: Mafia is said to have earned money for migrant care faz.net

⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃

politjobs.eu: 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 ⊃

Protest in front of oil companies‘ headquarters in London: The climate protest group „Extinction rebellion“ is set to target major oil companies in a series of protests this week. The group’s headline-grabbing tactics have helped it become a major protest movement in the UK, with 130 Extinction Rebellion groups across the country. In April this year, it held one of its biggest demonstrations yet, occupying parts of central London for eleven consecutive days.
standard.co.uk, france24.com

 

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