Wednesday, 24 June 2020: Pubs, hotels and museums to reopen, 2-metre rule relaxed, France criticises Turkish intervention in Libya, Europol warns that lockdowns could fuel radicalisation, US Republicans urge Trump against drawing down US troops in Germany


Pubs, hotels and museums to reopen, 2-metre rule relaxed: Pubs, restaurants, cinemas and hotels can reopen in England from 4 July, when social distancing rules will be eased. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that people should remain 2m apart where possible but a “one metre plus” rule would be introduced. The reopening of venues will be accompanied by strict guidelines on making them Covid-secure. Two households in England will also be able to meet indoors and stay overnight – with social distancing. Indoor gyms, swimming pools, nail bars and indoor play areas will remain closed for the moment. Johnson said task forces were being established to work out how they too could reopen.,

MPs support formation of independent bullying complaints panel: MPs have voted in favour of supporting the formation of an independent panel of experts to deal with bullying and harassment allegations against them. The panel, made up of eight members, will have the ability to impose sanctions including suspensions and exclusions of MPs in serious cases.

Government to act on all 30 Windrush recommendations: Home Secretary Priti Patel has promised significant cultural and systemic reform of the Home Office, as she accepted all 30 recommendations of the independent review into the Windrush scandal. The report criticised the Home Office after those who came to the UK from Commonwealth countries were wrongly told they were in Britain illegally. Patel also acknowledged that compensation payments to those who had suffered had been far too slow. Her decision to implement the recommendations in full comes two days after the author of the Windrush Lessons Learned review said there was a grave risk of something similar happening again if ministers decided not to implement the measures set out in the report.,

Health care: MPs mount bid to ban abortion protesters from intimidating women outside clinics
Planning row: Labour push for Commons vote on Robert Jenrick
Horse racing industry: Health Secretary Hancock tried to block plan to build 400 homes in Newmarket


Association of Directors of Children’s Services seeks Policy Officer *** The Royal Society seeks Senior Policy Adviser (Education) *** ITV Cymru Wales seeks Public Affairs Manager *** Independent Age seeks Public Affairs Officer *** Dogs Trust seeks European Policy Advisor (Publish your job ad)


France criticises Turkish intervention in Libya: Turkey is playing a dangerous game with its military intervention in Libya that will not be tolerated by France, French President Emmanuel Macron has warned. Macron said Turkey’s actions went against commitments it made during Berlin peace talks in January. Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy shot back at Macron and blamed France for allegedly dragging Libya into chaos. He accused Macron of losing reason and of making unfounded accusations against Turkey. Air support and weapons from Turkey over recent months have helped change the tide in Libya’s civil war. Turkey backs the United Nations-recognised government in Tripoli. The Tripoli administration’s forces, with Turkish military support, gained the upper hand in the war this month after retaking the capital’s airport, all main entrance and exit points to the city and a string of key nearby towns. France has previously given military support to General Khalifa Hifter’s eastern-based forces to fight Islamist militants. Meanwhile, research by Report Munich and the “Stern” newspaper shows that both sides in the Libyan civil war use military equipment from German manufacturers – despite a United Nations arms embargo. (Macron), (Aksoy), (Foreign weapons)

EU leaders will meet in person to discuss virus recovery package: The leaders of the 27 EU member states will meet in Brussels on 17 and 18 July, their first physical summit since the coronavirus lockdown began, to discuss an economic recovery package and the EU’s next seven-year budget. The two-day meeting — which will unusually run into a Saturday — was confirmed by a spokesman for European Council President and summit host Charles Michel, while capitals wrangle over the terms of the huge rescue plan.

EU countries agree deal on class action lawsuits: The European Parliament and the 27 EU countries have reached a deal on the first EU-wide rules on collective redress. The new rules introduce a harmonised model for representative action in all member states that guarantees consumers are well protected against mass harm, while at the same time ensuring appropriate safeguards from abusive lawsuits. “We have sought to strike a balance between the legitimate protection of consumer interests and the need for legal certainty for businesses,” lawmaker Geoffroy Didier said in a statement. The move to boost consumers’ rights gained pace following Volkswagen’s diesel cheating scandal which has led to thousands of regulatory investigations and lawsuits.,

Europol warns that lockdowns could fuel radicalisation: Coronavirus lockdowns could radicalise more terror suspects, the EU’s police agency has warned, saying both right- and left-wing violence were on the rise. The pandemic’s worldwide economic and social impacts could escalate existing discontents, Europol said. These developments had the potential to further fuel the radicalisation of some individuals, regardless of their ideological persuasion. Activists both on the extreme left and right, and those involved in jihadist terrorism, attempt to seize the opportunity the pandemic has created to further propagate their aims.

Europe is violating international law: For years, Europe has been violating international law, international treaties signed by the community or its members and even its own rules in the Mediterranean Sea. This is the conclusion drawn by Nora Markard, a professor of international law, in an assessment of sea rescue in the Mediterranean since 2015. Markard cited, among other things, the violation of the 1980 UN Law of the Sea Convention and the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR). EU regulations such as the Frontex regulation and the Sea External Borders Regulation were also not being complied with. Markard points out that there is an obligation to report emergencies, intervene and take in rescued people.,

German EU Presidency: Influenced by lobbyists? Large lobbying associations have a strong influence on the German government and there are concerns that this might impact its EU Council presidency, which starts on 1 July, warned a study conducted by NGOs LobbyControl and Corporate Europe Observatory. The study highlighted the influence of lobbyists on the work of the German government. It is based on a series of case studies which range from legislation for the financial markets to fisheries, the chemical and pharmaceutical industries and more.

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Borders opening: EU may bar American travellers
Brexit talks hit by row over EU subsidies for farmers
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): EU pushes UK for high degree of convergence in GDPR review
European car sales forecast to drop by record 25% this year
European Central Bank: Pandemic creates room for mergers between euro zone banks
Social media companies are better managing hate speech, EU says


It is not possible to shape the world of tomorrow without a strong EU-China partnership.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has stressed it was time to accelerate negotiations on several areas of the EU’s relationship with China.


US Republicans urge Trump against drawing down US troops in Germany: A group of House Republicans is urging US President Donald Trump against drawing down the number of US troops in Germany. In a letter, they argue that reducing the number of US troops in Germany will negatively impact Nato’s ability to deter Russian aggression. The lawmakers go on to express concern about the lack of coordination with key US allies about the decision to implement a substantial reduction of US military personnel stationed in Germany. The letter follows a similar request from more than 20 Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee earlier this month asking the White House to reconsider its plan to withdraw troops from Germany.

Germany bans neo-Nazi group “Nordadler”: A neo-Nazi group called “Nordadler” (“Northern Eagles”) was banned by Germany’s interior ministry on Tuesday. Police made four raids targeting the group in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony, Brandenburg and Lower Saxony. The ministry said the group pursued a national socialist ideology and operated mainly online. Members of the right-wing extremist group professed their allegiance to Adolf Hitler and other representatives of the Nazi regime and used the symbols and language of the Nazi regime. Interior Ministry spokesman Steve Alter announced the ban on Twitter. “Right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism have no place on the internet either,” he said.

France’s coronavirus app fails to engage: France’s new phone app for tracking coronavirus cases has only alerted 14 people that they were at risk of infection since its launch three weeks ago, Digital Affairs Minister Cédric O said Tuesday, while almost half a million chose to uninstall the app. The minister nevertheless defended the usefulness of the app, arguing that the numbers reflected a decrease in the virus’ prevalence. But he admitted the number of downloads in France paled in comparison with Germany, where 10 million people downloaded the app versus almost 2 million in France. This probably had more to do with cultural differences and differing attitudes to the coronavirus, he said. It could also be linked to a difference in perspective towards respective governments’ behaviour during the pandemic.

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Finland to open for some travellers: The Finnish government announced plans on Tuesday to scrap a 14-day quarantine period for leisure travellers arriving from most other European countries from 13 July, provided Covid-19 infection rates do not rise. Countries that qualify for the easing of restrictions will be those where infections do not pass a maximum of eight cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a period of two weeks, Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo said.

Belgium’s Prime Minister Wilmès says probe underway into claim of police violence against black MEP
France: Police officer sentenced for beating 62-year-old woman
Germany: Finance minister Scholz slams Wirecard oversight
Austria: Chancellor Kurz to face “Ibiza” investigation committee this Wednesday


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Boris Johnson’s father applies for French passport: The father of the British prime minister is in the process of applying for a French passport to maintain his ties with Europe after Brexit. Stanley Johnson, a former MEP who voted Remain in the referendum, has requested to become a French citizen as his mother Irene was born in Versailles.


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