⊂ EUROPE ⊃
EU fines Hello Kitty manufacturer: The EU Commission has fined the Japanese company Sanrio, which licenses and produces the popular Hello Kitty products, for illegally restricting merchandise sales across the EU. From 2008 to 2018, the company’s terms forbade sales outside of the licensees’ national territories. That meant that consumers within the EU’s single market couldn’t shop for cheaper deals on branded mugs, toys, bags and bed sheets in other EU member states. The $7 million fine would have been much higher, had Sanrio not cooperated with the EU beyond its legal obligation to do so. The firm received a 40% discount for that.
EU urges Iran to reverse uranium decision: The foreign ministers of Germany, France, and the UK have urged Iran to reverse its decision to raise the level at which it enriches uranium beyond that allowed by the nuclear agreement. The 2015 deal offered Iran access to world trade through the lifting of most sanctions in return for agreeing to curbs on its nuclear program. The deal’s fate has come to a head in the past ten days, after Iran announced steps breaching its commitments. Iran has accused European powers of failing to protect its economy from the sanctions’ effects and insisted that its actions are in line with the deal. Diplomats from 35 countries want to discuss the situation in Vienna on Wednesday. The US government is planning an international coalition to protect ships in the Gulf of Oman. Buying and selling cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin is now illegal in Iran.
bbc.com, nytimes.com (EU); handelsblatt.com (Vienna); deutschlandfunk.de (Gulf of Oman); cointelegraph.com (Cryptocurrencies)
IMF chief Lagarde officially nominated to head ECB: EU finance ministers have backed France’s Christine Lagarde to become president of the European Central Bank ECB. The current International Monetary Fund IMF boss will face an EU Parliament hearing to vet her competence to succeed ECB chief Mario Draghi. France is still pushing for a European consensus around a candidate to run the IMF, denying reports of a Franco-German deal to back the Bank of England’s Mark Carney for the job. Other Europeans considered for the IMF job include EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager and former Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem. Meanwhile, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen is nominated as the next EU Commission president. She will meet with the Socialists and Renew Europe and the Greens on Wednesday, after failing to obtain the Greens’ support at a meeting on Monday.
politico.eu (Lagarde); reuters.com (Carney); euractiv.com (Von der Leyen)
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Labour would back Remain in Brexit referendum: Britain’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has announced that his party would back “Remain” if there was a new Brexit referendum, heralding a major shift in policy. After a shadow Cabinet meeting, Corbyn wrote to party members to spell out the plan following consultation with unions and policy officials. Corbyn acknowledged that the issue of Brexit had been a divisive one. He defended Labour’s position over the past three years, saying it had been right to respect the result of the 2016 referendum. The Council of the EU has adopted contingency measures on the implementation and financing of the 2019 EU budget in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
politico.eu, theguardian.com (Labour); consilium.europa.eu (Council of the EU)
⊂ QUOTES ⊃
“Those countries with more fiscal space could undertake a fiscal policy more expansive compared to those who will have to continue reducing its debt-to-GDP ratio.”
Spain’s Economy Minister Nadia Calvino has called on euro member states to carry out investments to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth.
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
France plans new tax on outbound flights: The French government will introduce an eco-tax of up to €18 on all tickets for flights flying out of French airports to fund less-polluting transportation projects. There will be no tax on transit flights. Flights within France or the EU will be taxed €1.50, economy flights out of the EU will be taxed €3, while €9 will be the price of the tax for business class flights within the EU and it will go up to €18 for business class flights outside the EU. A Paris court has acquitted French tycoon Bernard Tapie of fraud over a €404m payment linked to the sale of German sportswear company Adidas in the 1990s.
dw.com, cnbc.com, de.euronews.com (Tax); nytimes.com (Tapie)
UniCredit looks to ring-fence foreign assets: Italy’s biggest bank UniCredit plans to review its corporate structure and could ring-fence its foreign operations from its systematically risky home market, two sources told “Reuters” on Tuesday. The bank is seeking an adviser to help with the review. The newspapers „Il Sole 24 Ore“ and „Il Messaggero“ reported that UniCredit aimed to create a German holding company for its foreign assets, mainly covering operations in Germany, Austria, eastern Europe and Turkey.
Less rich people in the world: Millionaires and billionaires had a tough time of it in 2018. According to new research, the wealth of the world’s high-net-worth population fell by around $2 trillion in 2018. Higher US tariffs imposed on China and fears of rising interest rates sent stock markets tumbling last year, leading to a 3% slide in wealth for the world’s richest people, according to consultancy firm Capgemini. The Asia Pacific region was the worst affected last year, losing around $1 trillion in high-net-worth wealth.
Italy: Interior Minister Salvini shuts what was Europe’s biggest migrant center dw.com
Georgia: Russian President Putin rejects sanctions on Georgia dw.com
Greece: New cabinet under Prime Minister Mitsotakis zdf.de
France 1: Paris declares climate emergency france24.com
France 2: Government will end healthcare refunds for homeopathic drugs reuters.com
⊂ JOB-BOARD ⊃
politjobs.eu: Alfa Fellowship Program seeks Young German, British, and American Leaders *** FTA seeks Regulatory Affairs Advisor (m/f) *** Bayer seeks Trainee (m/f) *** ISN seeks Advocacy Officer (m/f) *** Politico seeks Lobbying Reporter (m/f) *** EGEC seeks Trainee (m/f) *** Facebook seeks Public Policy Manager (m/f) *** Google seeks Public Policy and Government Relations Manager (m/f) *** DEKRA offers Internship (m/f) *** European Friends of Amernia seeks Communications and Media Engagement Officer (m/f) *** International Crisis Group seeks Analyst (m/f)
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)
⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
Trump can’t block critics on Twitter: US President Donald Trump violated the American constitution by blocking people whose views he disliked from his Twitter account, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday. The latest ruling came in a case brought by the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. It had sued on behalf of seven individuals blocked by Trump after criticizing his policies. Meanwhile, Downing Street has reaffirmed its full support for the UK’s ambassador to the US, Kim Darroch, after Trump said he will no longer work with him. Darroch had called the president inept and insecure in memos leaked to the press over the weekend.
cnbc.com, cbsnews.com (Twitter); bbc.com (Darroch)