Wednesday, 8 July 2020: Coronavirus forces several pubs to close again, Foreign ministers warn Israel against annexing Palestinian territories, EU faces deeper recession than expected, Deutsche Bank hit with penalty for relationship to Jeffrey Epstein


Coronavirus forces several pubs to close again: Several pubs have closed their doors again after customers tested positive for coronavirus, dealing an early blow to the UK’s efforts to reopen its establishments. At least three establishments announced they had shut their doors again just days after reopening at the weekend. They were among hundreds of venues that welcomed customers after three months as lockdown measures were eased – most apparently with no problem. But crowds descending in some towns and cities prompted fears social distancing was being disregarded. Health Secretary Matt Hancock praised the venues for taking steps to close. Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged drinkers to behave responsibly, but footage over the weekend showed large crowds outside city pubs with no social distancing and few revelers wearing masks.,

Johnson under pressure to apologise for care home insult: Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under growing pressure to apologise for accusing care homes of failing to follow proper coronavirus procedures, with unions calling it an insult and Labour accusing the prime minister of trying to shift the blame for his own failures. Downing Street declined repeated suggestions that Johnson should apologise, saying only that the comments had been misinterpreted. His spokesman said care homes had done a brilliant job under very difficult circumstances. Dave Prentis, the general secretary of the Unison union, which represents many care home staff, said the lack of an apology was an insult. Mark Adams, who runs the charity Community Integrated Care, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the prime minister’s comments were cowardly and a travesty of leadership.,

Sunak targets youth unemployment with kickstart jobs scheme: This Wednesday, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak will announce a new scheme to stave off youth unemployment as he attempts to revitalise the economy following its lockdown. The 2 billion pound Kickstart Scheme will enable employers to hire unemployed young people aged 16-24, using government funds to pay them the national minimum wage for 25 hours a week. Sunak is also expected to announce a temporary stamp duty holiday to stimulate the property market.,

Yemen: UK to resume Saudi arms sales after humanitarian review
Stop-and-search of two Black athletes: London’s police force referred itself on Tuesday to an independent watchdog
Brexit: EU citizen registration scheme risks another Windrush scandal, MPs warned
Coronavirus: Conservative Party conference goes virtual
Eric Joyce: Ex-Labour MP faces jail after admitting child abuse image offence


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)


Foreign ministers warn Israel against annexing Palestinian territories: The foreign ministers of Germany, France, Egypt and Jordan on Tuesday said Israel should refrain from annexing parts of the Palestinian territories, warning that doing so could harm bilateral relations. In a statement, the ministers said they were unanimous in their view that any annexation of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 would be contrary to international law and would jeopardise the foundations of the peace process. The ministers instead offered their help in finding a constructive new beginning in the region, adding they would not recognise any change to the 1967 borders unless it was agreed to by both parties to the conflict. Israel declined to comment. But in a separate statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Israel was committed to the US peace plan for the region. Meanwhile in Israel, the parliament has passed a law allowing the government to impose coronavirus restrictions without having to seek parliament’s approval. Israel’s top public health official, Siegal Sadetzki, has quit in protest at the government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic., (Annexation); (Coronavirus restrictions); (Sadetzki)

EU countries cannot find solution for sea rescue: Germany will try to get EU members to reach at least a political deal on migration reform while Berlin holds the bloc’s rotating presidency, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Tuesday. The EU has failed for years to find agreement on overhauling its rules on the sensitive topic, which exposed severe strains among member countries during the 2015 migration crisis. At the heart of the disagreements over migration is how to deal with people who are rescued at sea or who arrive in the EU and seek asylum, usually in Southern Europe. A European Commission proposal on migration has been delayed multiple times. It was most recently expected last month but Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson announced it would come only after EU leaders reach a deal on the EU’s long-term budget. That likely means the proposal will be presented after the EU’s summer break, in September.

EU faces deeper recession than expected: The euro zone economy will fall into a deeper recession this year than initially thought, and the recovery in 2021 will be less robust, according to an updated economic forecast released by the EU Commission on Tuesday. The revised forecast predicts the economy of the 19 nations that use the euro will shrink 8.7% in 2020 before recovering by 6.1% next year. For the 27 countries that comprise the EU, a downturn of 8.3% is expected in 2020, before growing 5.8% in 2021. “The economic impact of the lockdown is more severe than we initially expected,” said Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis in a statement released with the updated forecasts.

EU will support wine sector amidst pandemic: The EU Commission has adopted an additional package of exceptional measures to support the wine sector, following the coronavirus crisis and its consequences on the sector. Producers will be exempt from certain EU antitrust rules for up to six months, allowing them jointly to plan production, storage or promotional activities. The Commission said it would also allow EU countries to provide advance payments to cover the costs of storage and to allow producers to distil wine further into alcohol for industrial or biofuel use.,

War crimes committed by all sides in Syrian conflict, UN says: Syrian and Russian planes have carried out aerial strikes on schools, hospitals and markets in Idlib province that amount to war crimes, UN investigators said on Tuesday. They said that indiscriminate bombardment by pro-government forces claimed hundreds of lives and forced one million civilians to flee. The Commissioners also maintained that the terrorist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) indiscriminately shelled densely populated civilian areas, spreading terror in government-held areas.,

Russia charges former journalist in treason probe: Russian security forces on Tuesday detained a former journalist who works as an aide to the head of Russia’s space agency and accused him of treason. Ivan Safronov, who committed his alleged crime when working as a journalist covering military affairs for the Kommersant newspaper, faces up to two decades in jail if found guilty. The FSB security service issued a statement accusing Safronov of working for an unnamed Nato foreign intelligence service and of handing over state secrets and information about military-technical cooperation and about the defence and security of the Russian Federation. Some of Safronov’s former colleagues and friends protested outside FSB headquarters before being detained.,

-Advertisement –
Prospects for EU reform and strategies for a new progressive agenda 2022+: Cerstin Gammelin in conversation with Wolfgang Schmidt. 2020 Progressive Governance Digital Summit with more than 2,800 fellow progressives from 70+ countries, 114 speakers, 25 partner organisations.

Environment Committee: Shipping industry must contribute to climate neutrality, say MEPs
European Central Bank may ask banks to withhold dividens for longer


The pandemic has also highlighted vulnerabilities to new and emerging forms of terrorism, such as misuse of digital technology, cyber attacks and bio-terrorism.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned Monday that the coronavirus pandemic provides new opportunities for extremist groups, white supremacists and hate groups.


Deutsche Bank hit with penalty for relationship to Jeffrey Epstein: New York state financial regulators said Tuesday that they have fined Deutsche Bank 150 million dollars for significant compliance failures in the bank’s dealings with accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, a now-dead investor, as well as with two client banks. The New York State Department of Financial Services said that Deutsche Bank had failed to properly monitor account activity conducted on behalf of the registered sex offender despite ample public information about Epstein’s earlier criminal misconduct. A Deutsche Bank spokesman said, “We acknowledge our error of onboarding Epstein in 2013 and the weaknesses in our processes, and have learnt from our mistakes and shortcomings.”

Italian cabinet approves reform package: The Italian government approved a package of measures on Tuesday aimed at cutting the complicated red tape that has long been blamed for crimping growth in the country’s economy. The legislation covers a raft of sectors such as public tenders, digitalisation, rules for corporate capital increases and the criminal responsibility of public officials. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told reporters the decree would form the basis for Italy’s Recovery Plan, a reform project it must present to the EU Commission in September to obtain EU financing for its economic recovery effort.

Serbia to reintroduce curfew after virus spikes: Thousands of protesters fought running battles with police and tried to storm the parliament building in Belgrade on Tuesday after the Serbian president announced that a coronavirus lockdown will be reintroduced in the Balkan country. Police fired several rounds of tear gas at the protesters, some chanting “Resignation! Resignation!” as they gathered in front of the downtown parliament building in the Serbian capital. Some of the protesters briefly managed to enter the parliament by force, but were pushed back by riot police.

Migrant children head from Greece to Portugal: Greek authorities have announced that 25 unaccompanied migrant children are travelling from Athens to Portugal, where they will be given shelter as part of a relocation programme worked out among several EU countries. Greece has repeatedly appealed to other EU member nations to help ease the burden on the country’s strained migrant reception system by agreeing to take in relocated minors. Germany, Luxembourg, and Finland are among the countries that have agreed to help.

North Sea countries vow closer cooperation on offshore wind: Ministers of the North Seas countries have called for an EU framework to tackle barriers to the deployment of multinational hybrid offshore wind energy projects. The potential for offshore wind deployment in the North Sea is still largely unexploited due to a range of technical and administrative barriers.

Germany: Courts in several cities cleared due to bomb threats
Austria: Chechen executed in Gerasdorf: Was it a contract killing?
Slovakia: Parliament President Kollar survives no-confidence vote
Belgium launches coronavirus app in September
Eurostar from Amsterdam to London is coming this year


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, (Inserat schalten)


“Brides” protest against virus restrictions in Rome: A group of women dressed as brides carried out a flash mob in Rome on Tuesday to protest against the coronavirus safety measures that prohibit large ceremonies like weddings. The event was organised by an Italian wedding association. Some 15 women held signs and posed in front of Rome’s famous sites like the Trevi Fountain.


Newsletter subscription
Subscribe to our free daily newsletter with a compact overview of European topics:
Previous editions

Other political briefings

Our digital news briefings