Wednesday, 20 February 2019: Isis teenager to lose UK citizenship, EU backs cuts to greenhouse gas emissions from trucks, French rallies against antisemitism, EU rebukes Hungary’s media campaign as fake news


Isis teenager to lose UK citizenship: The British government has told the family of Shamima Begum, a 19-year-old woman who travelled to Syria to marry an „Islamic State“ fighter four years ago, that it intends to revoke her citizenship, according to a family lawyer. In a letter sent to Begum’s mother and obtained by the broadcaster ITV News, the British Home Office said the decision had been made by Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Tuesday. He has made an order and believes the fact Begum’s parents are of Bangladeshi heritage means she can apply for citizenship of that country, which she says she has never visited. Begum was found in a Syrian refugee camp last week after reportedly leaving Baghuz and gave birth to a son at the weekend. Stella Creasy, a Labour member of Parliament, said Javid was trying to burnish his anti-terrorism credentials as he made a bid to become leader of the Conservative Party.,,

Eighth lawmaker quits Labour: Joan Ryan, a Labour member of parliament, has become the eighth lawmaker to resign from the main opposition party. Ryan tweeted on Tuesday that she was resigning over concerns about antisemitism allegations within the party. Seven other Labour lawmakers had already quit on Monday. One of them, MP Chuka Umunna, said he hopes a new party will be created by the end of the year. Umunna hinted that he expected more MPs, including some from the Conservative party, to depart in the coming days and weeks. Umunna – who quit the party alongside Luciana Berger, Mike Gapes, Chris Leslie, Angela Smith, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey – said moderate Conservatives had become demoralised by the Ukip-isation of their party and their position on Europe. Labour and Conservative parliamentarians are anxious that the new breakaway group has increased the chances of Prime Minister Theresa May calling an early election. Labour MP Ruth George has apologised for claiming the breakaway group may be backed by the Israeli government.,,,

Hammond says no-deal Brexit would be mutual calamity: A no-deal Brexit would be a mutual calamity for Britain and the European Union that would deliver a sharp blow to the British economy, Finance Minister Philip Hammond said on Tuesday. He added that lawmakers should stop seeking legal changes to the Northern Irish backstop that the EU would not accept at short notice, and instead focus on supporting Prime Minister Theresa May’s preferred Brexit plan. May will present the EU with new legal proposals to solve the Irish backstop issue on Wednesday, which Downing Street hopes will be enough to convince Eurosceptics to back her Brexit deal. Environment Secretary Michael Gove has promised that the government will apply tariffs to food imports in the event of a no-deal Brexit, to provide specific and robust protections for farmers.,,

Dog meat: MP introduces bill to ban dog meat consumption
Prosecution: Soubry protester James Goddard charged with harassment


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EU backs cuts to greenhouse gas emissions from trucks: The European Parliament and the Council have struck a compromise that will reduce average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions compared with 2019 levels. The EU decided on Tuesday to reduce CO2 emissions from new trucks and buses by 30% by a 2030 deadline. If formally approved, the rules would be the first-ever standards governing truck pollution in the bloc. EU Commissioner Arias Canete said implementing truck pollution standards would help tackle emissions, as well as bring fuel savings to transport operators and cleaner air for all Europeans. Heavy trucks are responsible for around 6% of the bloc’s total CO2 emissions, and they are also used to transport some two-thirds of freight across the EU. Curbs on the transport sector, the only one in which emissions are still rising, aim to help the EU meet its overall goal of reducing greenhouse gases by at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 under the Paris climate accord.,,

Germany and France agree industrial policy plan for Europe: Berlin and Paris have agreed a joint plan for industrial policy in Europe, aiming to support local companies to compete with foreign rivals and better protect key technologies from overseas takeovers. The proposals, presented by German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier and his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire after talks in Berlin, call for more investment in innovative technologies and an overhaul of the EU’s competition rules. In a strategy paper, France and Germany propose giving the European Council, the forum representing European Union governments, the right to override some antitrust decisions by the EU Commission in certain well-defined cases. The two countries also suggested updating merger guidelines to take greater account of competition at the global level rather than at the European level.

Banking watchdog probes regulators over Danske Bank: The EU’s banking watchdog, the European Banking Authority (EBA), has opened a formal investigation into a possible breach of EU law by the Estonian Financial Services Authority and the Danish Financial Services Authority regarding money-laundering activities linked to Danske Bank. Estonia has taken centre stage since Danske Bank’s Estonian branch was found to have helped funnel some 200 billion euros in suspicious payments from Russia, ex-Soviet states and elsewhere. Estonia’s financial regulator has taken the unexpected step of demanding Danske Bank close its local branch and repay customers‘ deposits within eight months, overturning the bank’s plans to scale back but maintain some business in the country.,

EU raids salmon farmers in suspected cartel inquiry: Antitrust regulators raided salmon farms in several European Union countries owned by companies including Norway’s Mowi on Tuesday in a suspected cartel inquiry. The EU Commission said in a statement it had concerns that the inspected companies may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices. While the Commission did not name the companies involved, Mowi, the world’s biggest producer of farmed Atlantic salmon, told „Reuters“ that the EU regulators had raided two of its businesses, in Scotland and the Netherlands. The Commission is not subject to any time limits when it comes to antitrust investigations. In some cases investigations can take years to complete.

Data privacy activists are worried: Fingerprints in ID cards will be mandatory in the EU
Better controls: Citizens‘ initiative against misuse of EU funds


We have more types of helicopters in Europe than governments that buy helicopters.
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has argued in favour of strengthening the European defence union and improving coordination of military procurement policies between EU member states.


French rallies against antisemitism: In Paris and dozens of other French cities, ordinary citizens and officials across the political spectrum have marched against antisemitism, following a series of antisemitic acts that shocked the nation. Ahead of Tuesday’s gatherings, French President Emmanuel Macron headed to a Jewish cemetery in a small Alsace town that was vandalised overnight. Photos showed tombstones spray-painted with blue and yellow Nazi symbols and other graffiti. Macron condemned the attack during his visit Tuesday. He said the government would use existing laws to punish those who committed antisemitic acts. Macron later visited the Paris Holocaust Memorial on Tuesday evening. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was shocked at the vandalism and called on leaders in France and Europe to take a strong stand against antisemitism. His immigration minister, Yoav Galant, sent a tweet calling on French Jews to quit France and „come home“ to Israel.,,

EU rebukes Hungary’s media campaign as fake news: The EU Commission has condemned a new Hungarian media campaign as fake news and ludicrous conspiracy theory. European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said the campaign had no basis in reality. He said most of what the Hungarian government claimed in its campaign was wrong and that there were no plans for humanitarian visas at EU level. EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said it was shocking that such a ludicrous conspiracy theory had reached the mainstream to this extent. Schinas said it was not true that the EU undermined national border protection, quite the contrary. He also reiterated that member states themselves decided to what level they want to accept legal migration.,

Council of Europe slams Greece over refugee camp conditions: The Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture has raised concerns over the inhuman and degrading conditions in Greece’s refugee camps. The committee’s report said there was a lack of doctors, medicines, food and drinking water in several camps along Turkey’s land border, in Athens, and on the Aegean islands. In the northeastern town of Fylakio, up to 95 migrants were being housed in a single room. Many migrants were suffering from scabies because of the poor state of washing facilities, clogged toilets and dirty mattresses and blankets. Hundreds of unaccompanied minors were being housed with single men and at risk of sexual violence.

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UK criticises German halt in Saudi arms sales: Britain has urged Germany to exempt big defence projects from its efforts to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia or face damage to its commercial credibility, German magazine „Der Spiegel“ reported on Tuesday. Germany said last November it would reject future arms export licenses to Saudi Arabia over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In a letter to his German counterpart Heiko Maas, British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt wrote that he was very concerned about the impact of the German government’s decision on the British and European defence industry and the consequences for Europe’s ability to fulfill its Nato commitments. Hunt said British defence firms would not be able to fulfill several contracts with Riyadh including the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Tornado fighter jet, both of which are made with parts affected by the halt in deliveries to Saudi Arabia.

Holocaust debate: Poland awaiting Israel’s apology for minister’s comments
Maidan revolution: EU Council President Donald Tusk pledges support to Ukraine
Italy: 2019 growth forecast lowest in the EU

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Vestager ranked best EU Commissioner: EU antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is the clear favourite to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as the next president of the European Commission, according to the results of a Europe-wide online survey unveiled on Tuesday. With an approval rating of 50.2%, Vestager was the only Commissioner on Juncker’s team of 28 to achieve a score above 50%. She came just ahead of EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini (49.6%), Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans (46.9%), and EU trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström (44.7%). Juncker himself came fifth, with a score of 44.4%.



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