Wednesday, December 16th: European border and coast protection, Last hurdles for data protection reform, Serbia’s EU accession negotiations begin

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

European border and coast protection: The EU Commission has adopted a set of measures to manage the EU’s external borders. The Commission is proposing to establish a European Border and Coast Guard which in crisis situations would be able to take action even against the will of member states. Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans spoke of a safety net to deal effectively with crisis situations where a section of the external border is placed under strong pressure. The Commission also proposed to grant Sweden a one-year suspension from its obligations under the EU relocation scheme. Denmark will introduce border controls with Germany on January 4th, Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen announced.
europa.eu, euractiv.com, europa.eu

Last hurdles for data protection reform: Teenagers under the age of 16 could be banned from Facebook, Twitter or Instagram if they don’t have parental permission, under last-minute changes to EU laws. The EU is on the verge of pushing through new regulations that would raise the age of consent for websites to use personal data from 13 to 16. The law, due to be negotiated between member states on Tuesday, would cause a major headache for social media companies.
telegraph.co.uk

Serbia’s EU accession negotiations begin: Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic has often said that Serbia’s strategic goal is to join the EU, often repeating that he sees no other future for the small Balkan nation. He also promised that reforms would be pushed through quickly. At the moment, recognition of Kosovo is not an official prerequisite for Serbian EU membership, but it is no secret that several member states, including Germany, would like to create that obligation. According to polls, 46.8 percent of Serbs are for and 41.5 percent are against EU accession.
dw.com

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EU Parliament rejects lax diesel car limits: Members of the European Parliament’s environment committee have rejected a decision by national governments to allow diesel car manufacturers to exceed emission limits. They said a decision by EU member states would result in a “de facto blanket derogation” from applicable emissions limits. Despite the Volkswagen scandal, EU countries had decided in a closed-door experts‘ meeting in October to give car makers leeway to bridge the gap between test results and reality.
euobserver.com

EU ambassadors against strict US entry rules: In the debate about stricter rules for visa free entry to the United States, EU ambassadors spoke out against excessive restrictions. The diplomats warned they could respond in kind if the US makes good on plans to end visa-free entry for some EU nationals. After the terror attakcs in Paris, the US House of Representatives voted in support of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act of 2015, a measure the White House supports.
euractiv.de

WTO conference in Nairobi: Starting in Nairobi on Friday, the four-day ministerial meeting is intended to unblock the Doha round of talks on free trade and development that was started in 2001. The Nairobi meeting comes two years after ministers from WTO member countries reached a landmark deal in Bali on overhauling global customs procedures – the first multilateral agreement concluded by the WTO since its inception in 1995.
dw.com, consilium.europa.eu

Language: Irish to be given full official EU language status euractiv.com
Protecting trade secrets: MEPs strike a deal with Council europarl.europa.eu
Human Rights: 3rd EU-South Africa Structured Dialogue Forum eeas.europa.eu
Migration: Progress Reports on Greece, Italy and the Western Balkans europa.eu

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

These types of comments – and this is not the first time that president Schulz uses such a tone – concerning Poland and Polish affairs, are unacceptable to me.
Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło demands an apology after European Parliament chief Martin Schulz compared the political situation in Poland to a coup.
euractiv.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

TV debate in Spain: If someone won the TV debate between the top candidates of the traditional parties, Mariano Rajoy and Pedro Sanchez, then it was hardly anyone who was present for it. Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy sustained the most intense attack of his career as opposition leader Sanchez hammered him over corruption allegations during almost two hours of live debate on prime-time television on Monday night. A red-faced Rajoy angrily rejected his charges.
bloomberg.com, cnbc.com

Marine Le Pen acquitted of inciting hatred: French National Front leader Marine le Pen has been acquitted of charges of inciting hatred on the December 2010 campaign trail in Lyon, France. The charges relate to her comments comparing Muslims praying in the streets to the Nazi occupation of France in World War Two. Prosecutors said she had exercised her right to free speech and was not referring to all Muslims.
bbc.com

New suspect arrested after attacks in Paris: French police arrested a 29-year-old man on Tuesday in connection with last month’s attacks in Paris. The unidentified suspect in the November 13th attacks was nabbed Tuesday as he planned to travel to Syria. Two other suspects are being questioned for allegedly helping arm the man who attacked a kosher grocery almost a year ago, according to reports.
nypost.com

Russia to ignore European Court of Human Rights: President Vladimir Putin has signed a law allowing Russia’s Constitutional Court to ignore rulings of international courts. The new law enables Russia’s top court to overturn decisions of the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) if it deems them unconstitutional. Human Rights Watch warned that the new bill could have wide spread consequences, making it impossible for victims of human rights violations in Russia to go in front of international courts.
dw.com

Another Srebrenica mass grave unearthed: Experts say they found a mass grave in northeast Bosnia most likely containing victims‘ remains from the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. It seems to be a grave where victims of the massacre were buried in July 1995 and then some of them relocated to another site in September in order to hide the crime. So far, incomplete remains from around a dozen different bodies were found.
uk.reuters.com

France: Parcel firms fined millions for price fixing bloomberg.com
Italy: Armando Cossutta, Moscow’s man in Italy’s Communist party, dies at 89 europeonline-magazine.eu
Lithuania: Country to welcome first refugees n-tv.de

⊂ DATA ⊃

80 percent of Spaniards participate in Spain’s “El Gordo” annual Christmas lottery. On December 22nd, prize money totalling 2.2 billion euros will be paid out.
tagesspiegel.de

⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃

politjobs.eu: Fundacio Barcelona Promoció seeks Brussels Liaison Officer (German Speaker) *** Verband öffentlicher Versicherer sucht Policy Advisor (m/w) *** Kellen AGEP seeks Stagiaire Consultant *** Inclusion Europe seeks an Executive Director *** VDMA sucht Referent (m/w) Handelspolitik/Wirtschaftsrecht *** Bayer seeks EU Policy Manager *** POLITICO seeks Policy editor/Account Manager *** RISE Foundation seeks Researcher *** ECDHR offers Advocacy & EU Public Affairs Internship
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)

⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃

Putin, the gunslinger: A long-standing peculiarity in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s walk – with his right arm held almost immobile, while his left arm swings freely – has sparked speculation about its origins. According to a new study by a group of neurologists, Putin’s gait is the result of training he received while he was in the Soviet Union’s KGB. The researchers discovered that several other prominent Russian officials displayed a similar gait, which they say could also be linked to KGB training intended to keep a man’s „gun arm“ close to his holster, ready to draw a weapon at a moment’s notice.
huffingtonpost.com

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