Wednesday, 11 July 2018: Transparency International reveals MEPs’ additional income, Italy stops ship with migrants, German interior minister reveals migration master plan

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Transparency International reveals MEPs’ additional income: A report by anti-corruption NGO Transparency International published on Tuesday revealed that Euroskeptic members of the European Parliament receive the highest earnings from secondary jobs and private activities. According to Transparency’s report based on publicly available disclosures, nearly one third of the EU Parliament’s 751 members (MEPs) disclosed private income that surpassed their monthly 8,400 euro net salary and 4,000 euro allowances. The practice of legislators having a second job has been dubbed „moonlighting“ which TI says has the potential for negative consequences, as it can create conflicts of interest and prevent lawmakers from dedicating themselves fully to their elected duties. French MEPs win the prize for the highest additional income in the parliament. Of the 30 MEPs with the highest income from outside their legislative and parliamentary activities, eight are French. The winner of the highest income contest is the Lithuanian MEP Antanas Guoga. With a monthly income of 200,000 euros per month mysteriously extracted from his cryptocurrency banking activity using blockchain technology, the MEP alone raises the average income of all Lithuanian MEPs in the EU Parliament.
dw.com, euractiv.com

EU holds accession talks with Western Balkans: At the London Summit on the Western Balkans on Tuesday, the EU continued to strengthen cooperation with the region, with a clear commitment and concrete measures, focusing on the three key areas of cooperation: economy, security and reconciliation. The UK government pledged to almost double its Western Balkans‘ funding ahead of the summit. Britain welcomed leaders of Austria, Poland, Croatia, Bulgaria and other EU nations for the meeting. Heads of government, foreign ministers and interior ministers from the Western Balkans together with their counterparts from several EU Member States and high-level EU representatives met to continue strengthening regional cooperation between the six partners of the Western Balkans, as well as between the region and the EU, to further advance the European integration process of the Western Balkans.
europa.eu, dw.com

Trump blasts Nato ahead of European visit: US President Donald Trump has criticised Nato once again in a pair of tweets on Tuesday, ahead of his seven-day European trip this week, accusing US allies of exploiting America on defence spending. Trump will attend the Nato summit in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday, then travel to England, where he will meet Prime Minister Theresa May and Queen Elizabeth II before heading to Scotland. He will cap it off with a summit on Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, European Council President Donald Tusk and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker met in Brussels on Tuesday to sign a new Joint Declaration on cooperation between Nato and the EU. The day after he was nominated to become a US Supreme Court justice, Brett Kavanaugh visited Capitol Hill, where his possible future on the high court will be determined. Lawyers for former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort are now asking that he not be moved from a rural Virginia jail, the same day that a judge granted his request to be moved, according to court documents filed Tuesday.
nbcnews.com, nato.int, cnn.com (Kavanaugh), nbcnews.com (Manafort)

ECB defends stimulus scheme from German court challenge: The European Central Bank defended its 2.6 trillion-euro bond-buying programme before the EU’s top court on Tuesday from accusations it was bankrolling governments and endangering taxpayer money. The case, brought by a group of eurosceptic politicians and academics from Germany, aims to stop the ECB’s current stimulus programme, which is nearing its end, and is likely to set a precedent for any future scheme. It was referred to the Luxembourg-based General Court of the European Union by Germany’s constitutional court last year, with a number of questions about whether the ECB broke EU rules with its debt purchases.
reuters.com

EU court asks Jehovah’s Witnesses to protect personal data: Jehovah’s Witnesses must obtain consent from people before they take down their personal details during door-to-door preaching in order to comply with EU data privacy rules, Europe’s top court ruled on Tuesday. The judges ruled that the group was responsible for organising with the purpose of preaching, and therefore was „a controller“ for the processing of data. The case arose after Finland in 2013 banned Jehovah’s Witnesses from collecting personal data during door-to-door visits. The US-based Christian denomination challenged the decision. A Finnish court subsequently asked the Luxembourg-based Court of the Justice of the European Union (ECJ) for advice, which said on Tuesday that such religious activity is not covered by exemptions granted to personal activity.
euobserver.com, reuters.com

Task force: EU’s ‚Doing Less‘ task force calls for new methods euobserver.com
US and Russia: Trump says summit with Putin ‘may be the easiest’ of European meetings politico.eu
Eurozone: Bulgaria makes bank pledges in bid to join euro waiting room reuters.com
Investment: Can Europe’s new 500 billion euro target of investments help the sun shine on the economy? euronews.com

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

Dear America, appreciate your allies, after all, you don’t have that many. And Europe spends more on your defence because everyone respects an ally that is well prepared and equipped. Money is important but generally, solidarity is more important.
On the eve of the Nato summit in Brussels, European Council President Donald Tusk has rebuked US President Donald Trump for his attitude towards US allies.
euronews.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Italy stops ship with migrants: Italy has refused to allow a commercial vessel flying an Italian flag to bring ashore rescued migrants, sticking to a hardline policy on new arrivals as it presses European allies to share the burden of hosting an influx of displaced people. A commercial ship that supplies oil platforms off the coast of Libya pulled 66 migrants to safety on Monday, but it was told not to bring them to Italy, an Interior Ministry source said. Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli, who oversees the coast guard and the country’s ports, said the migrants had been transferred to an Italian coast guard vessel on Tuesday after some of them threatened the lives of the Italian crew. The commercial ship picked up the migrants though it had been told Libyan patrol boats were coming to retrieve them, the interior ministry source said. Toninelli said on Twitter that he was proud of the Italian Coast Guard for taking the migrants „who were endangering the life of the Italian cruiser Vos Thalassa“.
uk.reuters.com, euronews.com

German interior minister reveals migration master plan: Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer unveiled scores of measures aimed at limiting immigration Tuesday, in the latest sign of a backlash against the arrival of 1.5 million refugees since 2015. Seehofer emphasised that this was not a master plan of the ruling coalition, but a master plan of the interior ministry. Perhaps most provocatively, Seehofer’s plan still contained the term „transit centres,“ which the SPD had vetoed in favour of „transit procedures,“ and which has already been ditched by the government he represents. Seehofer’s plan included so-called transit centres situated at the German-Austrian border, in which asylum seekers would be held if another country was found to be responsible for their applications. Other measures include tougher sanctions against asylum-seekers, especially those who return to their countries of origin while their cases are still being decided, as well as those who do not attend integration courses.
wsj.com, dw.com

Merkel sees progress in May’s Brexit struggles: German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed British Prime Minister Theresa May’s new Brexit proposals, saying there had been progress in the negotiations between the UK and the EU. Speaking alongside May in London on Tuesday following the Western Balkans Summit, the German chancellor declined to comment on the resignations this week of May’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, and her Brexit Secretary David Davis. However, Merkel welcomed the imminent publication of a white paper by the UK government, outlining its plan in detail following a summit at May’s country residence Chequers last Friday. Meanwhile, two vice-chairs of the Conservative Party have quit their posts in protest at May’s Chequers Brexit compromise plan. Maria Caulfield and Ben Bradley warned the PM her plan would not capitalise on the opportunities of Brexit.
politico.eu, bbc.com

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British man exposed to Novichok is now conscious: A man who was exposed to the nerve agent Novichok has regained consciousness after a small but significant improvement, Salisbury District Hospital has said. Charlie Rowley is now conscious and in critical but stable condition. Rowley’s partner, 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess, died after being exposed to Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent produced in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Police have said the working theory is that their exposure was linked to the earlier Novichok attack in March on ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the city of Salisbury. Samples taken from Sturgess and Rowley found that the two had been exposed to the nerve agent after touching a contaminated item, police said.
nbcnews.com, bbc.com

Spain: Court orders Puigdemont suspended as lawmaker yahoo.com
Germany: Minister jokes as Afghan migrants deported bbc.com
Greece: Riots in refugee camp Moria on Lesvos n-tv.de

⊂ 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 ⊃

US embassy warns Americans in London to keep a low profile during Trump visit: Americans in the UK have been warned to keep a low profile during this week’s visit of their president, Donald Trump, as the US embassy in London says demonstrations against the event could turn violent. On Tuesday, officials said the demonstrations would probably be focused on the centre of the UK capital, but added others had also been planned over the three days from Wednesday.
theguardian.com

 

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