Wednesday, 29 May 2019: EU leaders launch hunt to fill Brussels’ top jobs, EU plans to sanction Italy, Juncker against renegotiation of Brexit deal

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

EU leaders launch hunt to fill Brussels’ top jobs: European leaders met in Brussels on Tuesday to launch the hunt for a new generation of top EU officials in the wake of the European Parliament elections. EU Council President Donald Tusk will consult with the EU Parliament and national leaders to come up with names for the key EU institutions by June – after Sunday’s election results left the EU without a clear majority for any political force or figure. Tusk announced that he plans to fill at least half of all EU top jobs with women. The key job to be filled is that of president of the European Commission, a post currently held by Jean-Claude Juncker. France and Germany have disagreed on who should become the next EU Commission President, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel supporting centre-right candidate Manfred Weber. French President Emmanuel Macron has said he did not want to talk about names, but also mentioned three, none of them Weber. Macron met with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Belgium’s Charles Michel, Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, and Antonio Costa of Portugal on Tuesday to develop an alliance of liberals and social democrats.
euractiv.com, euobserver.com, reuters.com, bbc.com, bloomberg.com

EU plans to sanction Italy: The EU Commission is preparing to launch a new excessive deficit procedure against Italy as a response to the government’s lack of efforts to control public spending. The EU and Italy are at loggerheads over the country’s national budget, after the Italian government refused to follow the EU’s indications to rein in public spending. Italy’s public debt is seen as a big problem, sitting at 132% of the country’s GDP in 2018 – way above the 60% EU ceiling. Commission forecasts for 2019 and 2020 show that Italy’s debt will go up to 133.7% of GDP this year and to 135.2% in 2020. Officials said that when the Commission reviews Italy’s public finances on 5 June, it is likely to declare that the country is in breach of the rules, and that EU finance ministers should start a disciplinary process.
euractiv.com, reuters.com

Juncker against renegotiation of Brexit deal: The EU will not renegotiate the Brexit deal that British Prime Minister Theresa May agreed, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday, as concerns grew that a successor to May could trigger a confrontation with the bloc. Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, a candidate to succeed May, had said he would try for a new agreement that would take Britain out of the EU customs union while respecting legitimate concerns around the Irish border. The EU, though, said there would be no renegotiation. Juncker said he would have a short meeting with May, but reiterated he had already been crystal clear on the issue: There would be no renegotiation.
reuters.com

Raid in northern Kosovo results in tensions: Kosovo police raided Serb-populated areas on Tuesday, arresting dozens of people and briefly detaining a Serbian and a Russian working for the United Nations. Authorities said Tuesday’s operation targeted organised crime and smuggling. Russia denounced the raid as a provocation and Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic announced he had put the army on full alert to protect the country’s ethnic diaspora if necessary. Kosovo split from Serbia after a Nato intervention in 1999, and formally declared independence in 2008. Serbia still claims sovereignty over the region, and Russia has also refused to recognise Kosovo independence. The government in Pristina has only limited control over the Serb-dominated north of the country.
nbcnews.com, theguardian.com

Venezuela: EU foreign policy chief Mogherini appoints former Uruguayan foreign minister Iglesias as Special Adviser for Venezuela europeaninterest.eu
Study: Differing opinions on digitalisation across Europe handelsblatt.com
Human rights: War crimes being committed in Egypt, says Human Rights Watch bbc.com

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

It may very well be that the new Commission will not be in office on 1 November and that the old Commission will therefore stay in office longer.
European Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger has doubts that the new EU Commission will start its work on 1 November.
politico.eu

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

France says planned Renault-Fiat merger must protect jobs: French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has demanded that no factories in the country be closed down and that jobs for French workers be preserved if a proposed merger between Renault and Fiat Chrysler takes place. The French government owns 15% of Renault’s shares, meaning merger hinges on its approval. Le Maire described the merger as a great opportunity for Renault and the European automotive industry but added that he had requested assurances that French interests would be well represented. He said the French government would seek four guarantees on the Renault/Fiat deal, including the protection of French jobs, ensuring France was well-represented on the board of the new entity, and ensuring Renault/Fiat was a leader in the development of electric batteries.
theguardian.com, cnbc.com

Romania’s most powerful politician goes to jail for corruption: Romania’s most powerful politician, Liviu Dragnea, was ordered on Monday to begin serving a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for abuse of power. Dragnea, who is also the speaker of the lower house of parliament, was convicted last June for having two party workers paid by a public agency for fake jobs. He appealed, but the conviction was upheld on Monday. Dragnea had sought to portray the corruption accusations against him as politically motivated. The Supreme Court has now settled the matter, siding with a lower court in finding Dragnea guilty of intervening to keep two of his party’s employees on the public payroll from 2006 to 2013 even though they did no state work. Romania has been rocked over the last two years by protests over politicians’ attempts to decriminalise some corruption offences and weaken the judiciary.
euronews.com, independent.co.uk

Catalan separatists suffer setback in court decision: The European Court of Human Rights has delivered a blow to the Catalan secessionist movement, ruling that in 2017 Spanish judges legally suspended a regional parliamentary session in the wake of a controversial independence vote. The session was planned so that Catalan President Carles Puigdemont could evaluate the result of a referendum on Catalonia’s independence held days before. The Spanish authorities had deemed the plebiscite illegal and moved to block it. Puigdemont and Oriol Junqueras were elected to the EU Parliament on Sunday.
bloomberg.com, faz.net

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Germans urged to wear Jewish yarmulke in solidarity: Germany’s antisemitism commissioner Felix Klein has said people should wear Jewish skullcaps in a bid to show solidarity with Jews ahead of an anti-Israel protest on Saturday. He also called on people to take part in pro-Israel rallies on the day instead. His call comes amid arise in the number of anti-Jewish attacks in Germany. Klein made headlines last week when he warned Jews not to wear the yarmulke in public, citing safety concerns.
dw.com

Ukraine: Former Georgian president Saakashvili gets Ukrainian citizenship back washingtonpost.com
France: Notre Dame restoration law will preserve monument’s design dw.com
Germany: Head of conservative CDU party Kramp-Karrenbauer accused of calling for censorship during election campaign dw.com

⊂ 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 ⊃

Schwarzenegger teams up with Thunberg at climate summit: Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Swedish youth activist Greta Thunberg have called on leaders to inform the public about climate change without sugarcoating the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced. Most people had no clue about the scale of the climate emergency because they had not been told, or more importantly, told by the right people, said Thunberg, who has inspired millions of young people across the globe to participate in the Fridays for the Future school strikes. Schwarzenegger praised Thunberg as a dreamer who had created a grassroots youth movement to hold those in power accountable for their pledges to roll back climate change.
dw.com

 

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