Wednesday, 29 July 2020: EU responds to China’s actions in Hong Kong, Greece says tension easing in gas dispute with Turkey, Italy to extend state of emergency until end of October

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

EU responds to China’s actions in Hong Kong: The Council of the EU has expressed grave concern over China’s national security legislation for Hong Kong. The EU states have set out a coordinated response package of measures in various fields, including limiting exports of equipment China could use for repression in Hong Kong. The EU is also considering additional options for supporting civil society, such as scholarships and academic exchanges for students or easier EU protection for activists who are politically persecuted. The EU response package does not mention any sanctions for Chinese politicians who are responsible for the security legislation for Hong Kong. Meanwhile, China’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday that Hong Kong’s government would suspend agreements on mutual assistance for criminal matters, including extradition, with Britain, Canada and Australia.
consilium.europa.eu, wsj.com (EU response); reuters.com (Britain, Canada and Australia)

Greece says tension easing in gas dispute with Turkey: Turkey could pause energy-exploration operations in the eastern Mediterranean Sea for a while pending talks with Greece, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin announced on Tuesday. He said President Tayyip Erdogan had requested that operations be put on hold as a constructive approach to negotiations. Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said Monday that Turkey was withdrawing navy vessels from the area, adding that Athens remained ready to enter negotiations with Turkey within the framework of international law and good neighbourly relations.
reuters.com, dw.com

EU coronavirus aid for Kenya, Bangladesh, Ecuador and El Salvador: The EU continues its global deliveries of medical supplies and personal protective equipment. In response to a request from Kenya, Slovakia has sent 20,000 protective face masks, 50,000 coronavirus test kits, hand disinfectant and laboratory supplies to the country. Furthermore, France offered to send medical supplies and equipment to Bangladesh, Ecuador and El Salvador. During this ongoing pandemic, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism has coordinated the delivery of assistance to 24 countries, including seven EU member states.
ec.europa.eu

Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine tighten regional cooperation: The three countries have announced a new platform for increasing cooperation in security, economy, and political matters, as well as for fighting Covid-19. The foreign ministers of Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine launched the so-called Lublin Triangle during a meeting in the eastern Polish city of Lublin. It is meant to help their mutual ties as well as their ties with the EU and Nato.
apnews.com

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International Space Station: Elon Musk’s SpaceX to launch French astronaut into space next year politico.eu
Facebook gains temporary court reprieve on EU antitrust data demand reuters.com
Tech giants set to testify: EU eyes hearing for future competition challenges euractiv.com
European Central Bank tells eurozone banks not to pay dividends until January 2021 ft.com
Libya mission: Germany sends frigate to Mediterranean spiegel.de

⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃

I’m afraid you are starting to see, in some places, the signs of a second wave of the pandemic.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has suggested that some countries in continental Europe may be in for a second wave of coronavirus infections.
npr.org, politico.eu

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Italy to extend state of emergency until end of October: The Italian government plans to extend the country’s state of emergency, which allows it to rule by decree without needing parliamentary approval, despite protests from opposition parties. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has previously said that the possible extension simply meant that the government was then in a position to continue taking the necessary measures to fight the coronavirus. On Tuesday, the premier said the plan had been discussed at a cabinet meeting and would be decided on after the parliamentary debate, but did not give a specific date. Opposition parties said they would contest the move.
politico.eu, bloomberg.com

Masks mandatory in Greece, Madrid and Madeira: Greece has reopened six ports to cruise ships. The country will also make mask-wearing compulsory at more indoor public spaces to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The new measures come into effect from Wednesday and will require masks to be worn by everyone inside retail shops, offices, banks, food stores and bakeries. Churches are excluded for the time being. Spain’s capital Madrid will make face masks compulsory everywhere at all times, regional leader Isabel Diaz Ayuso said on Tuesday. Wearing masks in public will also be compulsory at all times on the Portuguese island of Madeira.
handelsblatt.com, reuters.com (Greece); nytimes.com (Madrid); reuters.com (Madeira)

Curfew in Antwerp: A curfew will be imposed on the entire territory of the province of Antwerp as authorities race to contain a steady surge in new coronavirus cases. Stopping short of imposing a new all-out lockdown, authorities decided that all residents in the province must be home from 11:30 PM to 6:00 AM.
brusselstimes.com

Arrest after arson attack on Belgian parliament: A man who threw a homemade bomb at Belgium’s federal parliament on Monday did so in an act of retaliation against the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The man was arrested on Monday afternoon after he threw a molotov cocktail at the gates of the parliament building in Brussels, damaging a few parked cars.
brusselstimes.com

Spain’s unemployment rises by 15%: Spain’s unemployment rate rose in the second quarter of this year. The number of jobless increased by 55,000 to 3.37 million workers. That lifted the unemployment rate to 15.33% from 14.4%. The increase in jobless reflects the fallout from the strictest part of the country’s lockdown to deal with the coronavirus.
bloombergquint.com

Austria: Number of new Covid-19 infections increased to over 100 afp.com
A different approach to Covid-19: Is Sweden’s image suffering? tagesschau.de

⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃

+++ Terre des Hommes Netherlands seeks EU Advocacy & Funding Officer (m/f/d) +++ European Platform for Electro-mobility seeks EU Representative (m/f/d) +++ EU-LISA seeks Intern (m/f/d) +++ Verband Kommunaler Unternehmen e.V. sucht eine/n Policy Advisor/ReferentIn (m/w/d) mit Schwerpunkt Energiewirtschaft +++ Europagruppe GRÜNE sucht ReferentIn Presse/Öffentlichkeitsarbeit (m/w/d) +++ Jobs at politjobs.eu +++ Don’t miss any jobs with the politjobs.eu job alert +++

⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃

Twitter suspends Donald Trump Junior: Twitter has banned the US president’s son from tweeting for 12 hours after Donald Trump Jr put out a tweet that contained a video with misleading information about the coronavirus. The video questions the efficacy of mask usage despite widespread and clear evidence to the contrary. It also promotes giving the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to coronavirus patients. The National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration have said the drug is not likely to be effective.
bbc.com, npr.org

 

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