Wednesday, 05 June 2019: EU praises Romanian U-turn on controversial reforms, Fidesz wants to stay in the EPP group, Biggest Czech protest since 1989


EU praises Romanian U-turn on controversial reforms: The European Commission has welcomed Romania’s pledge to renounce controversial judicial reforms that had triggered criticism and threats of sanctions from Brussels. Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila met with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and his number two, vice president Frans Timmermans, in Brussels. The two EU officials said they were pleased with the Romanian government’s commitment to abandon the contested judicial reforms. On Twitter, Dancila welcomed a constructive dialogue with Juncker and Timmermans. Last week she disavowed the reform of the criminal code initiated by political strongman, Liviu Dragnea. Though not in high office, Dragnea was dictating policy to the Romanian government, before being sentenced to three and a half years in prison in a fake public jobs case and immediately incarcerated.

Fidesz wants to stay in the EPP group: Hungary’s Fidesz MEPs will continue to be members of the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), despite the fact that the EPP suspended their membership in the spring. Tension between Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and German MP Manfred Weber went public back in February, when the German MEP said he did not want to become EU Commission president with the support of Fidesz. Orban has repeatedly said Weber violated Hungarians and is, therefore, not suited to lead as EU Commission president. A European Parliament source has now announced that Fidesz MEPs will support the re-election of Weber as the head of the EPP group in a vote on Wednesday.

Juncker rejects concerns about North Macedonia’s EU accession: EU member states will discuss North Macedonia’s bid to join their ranks at talks in Luxembourg later this month, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Tuesday. Juncker, at a joint news conference with Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, admitted some capitals have doubts, but that they would meet on 18 June to discuss them. Some members, notably France and the Netherlands, are cautious about admitting new members too quickly.

EU mourns Tiananmen crackdown victims: The European Union continues to mourn the victims of the Chinese government’s deadly crackdown on protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square thirty years ago, the EU’s top diplomat Federica Mogherini said in a statement on Tuesday. She reiterated it was important to acknowledge the events of 1989, expected due process for those detained then, and called for the immediate release of human rights defenders and lawyers connected with Tiananmen.

Summit: EU to focus on trade tensions at G20
Agricultural reform: Meeting of European agriculture ministers in Bucharest
Job market: Unemployment in the euro area at its lowest level since 2008


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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended her government in the face of criticism from the Federation of German Industries.


Biggest Czech protest since 1989: The Czech Republic witnessed its biggest political protest since the fall of communism after an estimated 120,000 people gathered in Prague to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who is accused of fraudulent use of EU subsidies. Protesters held up pictures of Babis with the simple message „resign“. After police recommended in April that he face fraud charges over alleged misuse of EU funds, he responded by sacking the justice minister in his coalition government and installing a close ally, Marie Benesova. An EU Commission draft report that was leaked last Friday concluded Babis should return millions of euros in subsidies.,

Italy’s Di Maio ready to back League’s proposals: Italy’s ruling 5-Star Movement wants the coalition government to survive and is ready to back two measures which are a top priority for coalition partner the League, 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio said in an interview on Tuesday. Di Maio said the 5-Star Movement was ready to discuss the League’s proposals for a flat-tax measure and more powers to local governments. On Monday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte had threatened to resign if his two coalition partners did not end their constant feuding.

Poland’s cabinet reshuffled: Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has shuffled his cabinet following a landslide victory in the European elections. He has sworn in several new cabinet members, most of them replacements for ministers who were elected to the EU legislature. Several of his potential rivals, including his predecssor Beata Szydlo and Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski, quit the cabinet after winning seats in the EU Parliament. Finance Minister Teresa Czerwinska was also replaced as part of the reshuffle. She did not run for an EU Parliament post, but was reportedly skeptical of new social spending programmes the government has promised to introduce this year.,

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Greece calls on Germany to negotiate over war reparations: Greece has sent a diplomatic note to Germany urging it to discuss Athens’ claim for war reparations. The Greek parliament voted in April to launch a diplomatic campaign to press Germany to pay billions of euros in damages for the Nazi occupation of the country in World War Two, an issue Berlin said was settled long ago. Greece suffered hugely under Nazi German rule and the reparations issue resurfaced during its debt crisis, which erupted in 2010.

Austria: Former vice-chancellor Strache renounces party functions – if he accepts EU mandate
Denmark: Centre-left set to win election with anti-immigration shift

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Franco’s exhumation is delayed: Just days before the scheduled exhumation of General Francisco Franco, the Supreme Court of Spain ordered the country’s government on Tuesday to suspend its reburial plan for the former Spanish dictator and give his relatives more time to pursue their appeal. The Socialist government was planning to transfer Franco’s remains next Monday to the cemetery of El Pardo, on the outskirts of Madrid, where Franco’s wife was buried. His family has argued that the exhumation would amount to profanation of a burial site, and said the only alternative resting place for Franco should be inside the crypt of the Madrid cathedral, a suggestion that the government found unacceptable.



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