Wednesday, June 19th 2019: Trump accuses European Central Bank of unfair practices, EU finds national climate plans insufficient, Merkel backs sanctions against Russia

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Trump accuses European Central Bank of unfair practices: Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank (ECB), effectively paved the way for more stimulus on Tuesday morning, saying the bank could cut interest rates again or provide further asset purchases if inflation doesn’t reach its target. The comments sent the euro down by a quarter of a percent against the US dollar while stocks erased early losses and bond yields fell further. US President Donald Trump criticized Draghi’s comments, saying that would spark unfair European competition against the United States. Trump has repeatedly criticized currency manipulation by other countries with which the US has large trade deficits, saying weaker currencies abroad give trading partners an unfair advantage and hurt American workers. In response to Trump’s criticism, Draghi reiterated that the ECB did not target the exchange rate.
cnbc.com, reuters.com

EU finds national climate plans insufficient: EU member states are not doing enough to meet their 2030 target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the EU Commission said on Tuesday. On the whole, the EU executive said the draft plans were insufficient in the areas of renewables and energy efficiency. Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Lithuania and Portugal offered significantly high contributions in reaching the renewable energy goal, but the bloc as a whole might miss its target. Germany, the EU’s largest economy, was found to be lacking in its plans to cut emissions in transportation, buildings, agriculture, heating and cooling. The Commission said that Germany’s plan was unclear because the government developed an energy efficiency target for 2050, making it not impossible to assess the country’s contribution to the 2030 energy efficiency target.
dw.com

Germany sees evidence that Iran was behind tanker attacks: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said there was strong evidence Iran carried out attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman. She also warned Iran of consequences if it violated the 2015 international nuclear deal. Merkel spoke of a very serious situation and called for a peaceful solution to tensions in the Persian Gulf. The United States has accused Iran of attacking the Japanese and Norwegian flagged tankers and released video and pictures purporting to show a Revolutionary Guard boat removing an unexploded limpet mine. Iran has denied it was behind last week’s twin tanker attacks and a similar attack on four vessels of the coast of the United Arab Emirates last month. Russia has criticized US plans to send an extra 1,000 troops to the Middle East amid rising tensions with Iran. US President Donald Trump has announced that Secretary of the Army Mark Esper will replace Patrick Shanahan as acting defense secretary.
dw.com (Merkel); cnbc.com (Russia); cbsnews.com (Esper)

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EU delays accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania: The EU has delayed the start of formal accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia until October. One major factor for the delay is Germany, which first needs to get parliamentary approval. There is also resistance from some states to adding new EU member states, particularly from France and the Netherlands. However, last week thirteen member states, mostly from Eastern Europe but also Italy and Austria, called for the immediate opening of talks with the two Balkan countries.
dw.com

New head of Socialists and Democrats faction in EU Parliament: Spanish MEP Iratxe Garcia Perez has been elected as president of the Group of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, the second biggest Group with 153 seats. Garcia is the second woman to chair the group in twenty years after former MEP Pauline Green. She took over the post from German MEP Udo Bullmann, who had withdrawn his candidacy on Monday, saying the conditions for a successful continuation of his work had not been given.
europeaninterest.eu, reuters.com, zeit.de

Renew Europe: Ex-Romanian PM set to lead Liberals in EU Parliament politico.eu
European Maritime and Fisheries Fund: Overfishing lurks in flagship EU subsidy scheme consilium.europa.eu, euractiv.com

⊂ QUOTES ⊃

Always in a trade agreement, when you are approaching the end, there are these really tricky issues on both sides.
EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has said that a trade agreement with the Mercosur countries could be concluded before the end of the current Commission’s mandate in October. But she also explained that some difficult areas remained unsolved, notably in agriculture.
euractiv.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Merkel backs sanctions against Russia: German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared unsteady and was visibly shaking Tuesday as she greeted the new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in the hot sun in Berlin, saying later that she had simply suffered a bout of dehydration. She told journalists that she drank three glasses of water and was now feeling much better. During a press conference with Zelenskiy, Merkel said western sanctions against Russia would not be lifted unless Ukraine’s sovereignty was restored. She reiterated that the sanctions related to Crimea could only be lifted if Crimea returned to Ukraine.
apnews.com, reuters.com

Romanian government survives no-confidence vote: Romania’s Social Democrat (PSD) coalition government survived a parliamentary no-confidence vote on Tuesday. The motion in parliament did not secure the 233 lawmakers needed to pass, as the Social Democrats and their junior partner Alde closed the ranks around Prime Minister Viorica Dancila. The result is an important victory for Dancila, who is trying to ease tensions with the EU created by her predecessor. Dancila, a protegee of long-time leader Liviu Dragnea, was appointed on an interim basis after he was jailed for corruption last month. The motion was brought by centrist opposition groupings which said that, despite Dragnea’s imprisonment, the PSD remained a big threat to the rule of law in one of EU’s most corrupt states.
reuters.com, bloomberg.com

Madrid suspends low-emissions zone: Madrid’s new rightwing city council has begun rolling back one of the flagship initiatives of the last mayor three days after taking office. The municipality, controlled by the conservative People’s Party (PP), said on Monday that it would suspend fines on cars entering a currently restricted area of around 5 sq km, while it conducts a review of the policy. The policy, known as „Madrid central“, was one of the most high-profile policies of the capital’s previous mayor, the leftwing former judge Manuela Carmena, and has proved popular with residents, visitors and environmental groups.
theguardian.com, reuters.com

Germany mulls requests to host rescued migrants: Around 60 cities and towns across Germany have offered to host 53 migrants who were rescued off the coast of Libya last week. They announced an alliance called „Safe Havens“ to coordinate their efforts. The German interior ministry has confirmed that it has received formal requests from more than 50 municipalities to host migrants rescued in the Mediterranean Sea by German NGO „Sea-Watch“. German authorities must first approve the requests before the migrants can be resettled in Germany. A ministry spokesman said that while a solution would not be ruled out, EU support was necessary.
dw.com

Germany: Berlin to freeze rents for five years dw.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 ⊃

Several meetings at G20 summit in Japan: The Russian ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, has announced that EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker may be interested in sitting down with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Osaka on June 28-29. Asked about Russia-EU relations, Chizhov called them “bad”, and added that there was also tensions between the US and the EU, and the US and China. He said however that Russia hoped for a meeting between Putin and US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the summit. Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to meet in Osaka as well, after they met twice at two Central Asian summit last week. Trump on Tuesday announced firmed-up plans to meet with Xi at the G20 summit as the countries potentially head toward further escalation of their trade war.
euractiv.com, politico.eu

 

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