Wednesday, 06 November 2019: UK accused of withholding Russia interference report, Poorer EU countries oppose budget cuts, EU regrets US exit from Paris climate accord, Poland’s judicial reforms broke EU law


UK accused of withholding Russia interference report: The government has denied claims it is suppressing a report on alleged Russian interference in UK democracy until after the general election. Foreign Minister Christopher Pincher said the report would be released in due course. This process could not be rushed at the risk of undermining national security. Emily Thornberry, the foreign affairs spokeswoman for the opposition Labour Party, said the decision not to publish the report was for utterly unjustifiable, unprecedented and clearly politically-motivated reasons. Dominic Grieve, the chairman of Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, said there was no legitimate reason for delaying the report and voters had a right to see it before going to the polls. Junior foreign office minister Christopher Pincher accused Thornberry and others of peddling reprehensible smears and conspiracy theories for party political reasons ahead of the election.,

Former UK chancellor Hammond to quit parliament: Former Chancellor Philip Hammond, who was kicked out of the Conservative party for opposing Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit strategy, announced he will stand down as an MP. Faced with the option of standing as an independent MP or leaving politics, Hammond chose the latter. He said he felt saddened at the decision after representing Runnymede and Weybridge for 22 years, but pledged to remain an active party member and continue to make the case for a close relationship between the UK and the EU on security and trade.

Rees-Mogg apologises for comment about Grenfell fire victims: Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the House of Commons, has apologised after he suggested that victims of the blaze at London’s Grenfell Tower should have used common sense to ignore firefighters’ instructions to stay in the burning building. Rees-Mogg said he had meant to say he also would have followed the fire brigade’s advice at the time, but with hindsight it was clear the advice went against common sense. Families of the victims and opposition lawmakers criticised Rees-Mogg’s remarks, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn labelling the comments crass and insensitive. The Grenfell United group called the MP’s comments insulting.,

Conservatives: Don’t sign pledges on NHS or climate, Tory HQ tells candidates
Treasury: Tories blocked from using Treasury to attack Labour plans
General election: Vote could deliver seismic change, says Swinson
Security Service: Power to commit crimes ‘critical’ for informants, MI5 lawyers say
Climate: Green party pledges to spend £100bn on tackling climate crisis


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Poorer EU countries oppose budget cuts: The EU’s eastern and southern countries on Tuesday rejected efforts to cap aid they receive from the EU budget and attach conditions. The Eastern European Visegrad states Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary are worried that the poorer countries will get less and the richer will get more. The group of countries signed a declaration calling for cohesion funds to stay at the same level, in real terms, in the next budget period, and for allowing EU member states to direct them where they see necessary rather than channeling them to pre-determined areas. Various proposals by Germany, the EU Commission and current EU president Finland would reduce the size of the cohesion funds by about 10% for the 2021-2027 budget and attach conditions which would predetermine areas where investments should go. The proposals come as one of the countries contributing to the cohesion funds, Britain, is set to leave the bloc.,

EU regrets US exit from Paris climate accord: The EU Commission said the decision by the Trump administration to officially begin its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement was a disappointment, but work against climate change would go on and Washington may one day want to rejoin the agreement. Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva the global deal signed in 2015 remained the most important international agreement on climate change and insisted the EU would continue to fight global climate change under this legal framework. Germany said the US government’s decision was regrettable but no surprise. Meanwhile, a worldwide coalition of scientists has declared a climate emergency, setting out key steps governments must take to avoid catastrophic consequences facing humanity. The Hungarian capital Budapest has declared a climate emergency, which means the city will prioritise the fight against climate change in its decisionmaking process., (Climate accord); (Scientists); (Budapest)

Barnier sees difficult talks on post-Brexit trade deal: The EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said on Tuesday that negotiations on a future trading relationship with Britain would be difficult and demanding, as the EU would not tolerate unfair competitive advantage. The UK should not think that zero tariff, zero quotas would be enough, he said, adding that time would also be extremely short to negotiate a new partnership. He listed state aid, social and environmental rights and taxes as top priorities for the EU Commission.

Romania proposes new EU commissioner: The new Romanian government will propose MEP Siegfried Muresan as its commissioner in the EU Commission, ruling National Liberal Party officials announced on Tuesday. Muresan has been a European lawmaker since 2014, and hails from the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP). He has been an EPP spokesperson and vice-chair for the group in the EU Parliament. A senior official said the official nomination letter will be sent to the EU this Tuesday or Wednesday.,

ECB to look into issuing digital currency: Alarmed by Facebook’s plans for a digital currency called Libra, an EU draft document has proposed that the European Central Bank ECB should consider issuing a public digital currency. According to “Reuters”, the draft text also urges the EU to develop a common approach to cryptocurrencies, including possibly banning projects deemed too high-risk. In its current form, the document – which could be adopted by EU finance ministers next month – would escalate an EU regulatory campaign against cryptocurrencies, which have so far been only partly regulated in some EU states.

Europol: EU terrorism experts fear imitators of Halle attack in Germany
Forest fires in the EU 2018: Area twice the size of Berlin destroyed
Industrial policy: Recommendations to support Europe’s leadership in six strategic business areas


The different life experiences in East and West are a fact.
Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall triggered the events leading to German reunification, Chancellor Angela Merkel said there was a need for a better inner-German dialogue between the two parts.


Poland’s judicial reforms broke EU law: The European Court of Justice has ruled that Polish judicial reforms aimed at lowering the retirement age of ordinary court judges violated EU law. The reforms in question had lowered the age of retirement for women to 60 and for men to 65, down from the current 67. Judges in Luxembourg ruled that the change — bringing in different retirement ages for men and women — equated to gender discrimination. The court also said the reforms introduced political influence over the judiciary by giving the justice minister the ability to retain certain judges beyond their retirement age. The judgment is likely to be privately welcomed by some EU member states, such as France and Germany, who have watched in alarm as Poland’s government has sought to increase control over the courts.,

Tusk won’t run for Polish president: European Council President Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, has announced that he will not run in next year’s Polish presidential election. Tusk said he felt that to win the election, a candidate was needed who was not weighed down by the baggage of difficult, unpopular decisions, and he was weighed down with such baggage from when he was prime minister.

Macron calls for Europe-China climate cooperation: Following the US decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, French President Emmanuel Macron said cooperation between Europe and China on reducing climate-warming emissions would be decisive. Speaking in Shanghai at a major trade fair, just after a keynote address by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Macron said commitments would need to be enhanced and the cooperation between China and the EU in this respect was decisive. Macron and Xi are due to hold a formal meeting in Beijing this Wednesday.

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Promoting rail transport operability in the Netherlands: The EU Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, 22.2 million euros of public support to upgrade traffic management equipment on freight locomotives in the Netherlands. The scheme will contribute to making railway systems more interoperable in the EU without unduly distorting competition.

Spain 1: Sanchez, Casado clash on Catalonia during TV debate
Spain 2: Thousands protest across Spain after men cleared of rape
Belgium: King appoints Paul Magnette as new informer for federal government
France: Government reaffirms military presence in the Sahel
Greece: Architectural remains dating back to Mycenaean civilization revealed during excavations

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Extremists plan protest near migrant camp: On Tuesday, Greek parliamentarians debated how to react to a nationalist group’s plans to hold a pork barbecue protest near a refugee camp. Attendees of the barbecue are to consume pork and alcohol in protest of the growing number of immigrants in Greece. Left-wing politician Christos Giannoulis called the planend event a disgrace and a provocation against people of other beliefs. Conservative politician Kostas Kiranakis argued that citizens from non-EU countries shouldn’t dictate how Greeks live.


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