Friday, 19 November 2021: Albania denies it would process asylum seekers for UK, EU law targeting Big Tech, Google signs 5-year deal to pay for news from AFP


Germany won’t admit refugees from Belarus-Polish border: Germany will not take in refugees stranded on the Belarus-Polish border, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said on Thursday after talks with his Polish counterpart. Seehofer dismissed as “misinformation” a report by the Belta news agency that Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko had presented German Chancellor Angela Merkel with a plan to solve the crisis that would include the EU taking in 2,000 migrants. Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has called on Europeans to rigorously protect their borders and accused Merkel of failing in her refugee policy. Merkel’s policy of five to six years ago had „endangered the sovereignty of many European states“ and created „an artificial multiculturalism,“ Morawiecki told German media. „That was a dangerous policy for Europe and for the world.“,,

  • Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis criticised Germany for initiating talks with Lukashenko, saying „talks with Lukashenko are talks with a dictator“
  • Belarus clears migrant camps at Polish border
  • First repatriation flight leaves for Iraq
  • Belarus says it will return 5,000 migrants to their countries
  • Poland detains 100 migrants
  • One-year-old Syrian child dies in forest on Poland-Belarus border

Ukraine conflict: Russian President Vladimir Putin says West taking Russia’s ‚red lines‘ too lightly.

Albania denies it would process asylum seekers for UK: The Albanian ambassador to the UK, Qirjako Qirko, has denied reports that the UK Home Office is planning to fly asylum seekers who have crossed the Channel to Albania to be processed. A report in the „Times“ suggested Albania would be willing to host an offshore processing centre for people arriving in the UK from France in small boats. Justice Secretary Dominic Raab declined to deny on Thursday that ministers are hoping to reach a deal to send migrants to Albania and appeared to give credence to the report by telling Times Radio: “We are looking at international partnerships that can take the processing out of the UK in order to try and reduce the pull factor which means people think they can successfully take advantage of these routes.”,

EU lawmakers reach agreement on law targeting Big Tech: MEPs have reached a compromise on the most controversial aspects of the EU regulation that will introduce strict obligations for internet giants. The Digital Markets Act (DMA) is designed to regulate gatekeepers, online platforms so large that they have a systemic role in the internet economy. The proposal is now expected to be adopted by the European Parliament’s internal market and consumer protection committee on 22 November, with then voted on during the December plenary session.

Global chip shortage: EU opens door to giving aid for semiconductor production.

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ECB to develop digital euro prototype in 2023: The European Central Bank (ECB) is still in the early phases of experimenting in-house with virtual money and expects to start working on a prototype by the end of 2023 — at the earliest. „The value of crypto assets today is larger than the value of the securitised assets before the global financial crisis [in 2008],“ ECB Executive Board member Fabio Panetta told MEPs Thursday as part of a European tour to tout the central bank’s message. „If we don’t satisfy this demand, then others will do it.“

Firms must be exposed to competition, says Vestager in blow to ‘EU champions’: EU Competition chief, Margrethe Vestager argued on Thursday that strong businesses would not emerge by shielding them from competition, but by exposing them to it, as she presented the bloc’s competition policy review. She also called for more competition enforcement. In doing so, the EU Commission appears to be pushing back against positions taken by the French and German governments who think that competition policy should be less strict in some regards to allow for the emergence of “European champions”.

EMA reviews approval of Pfizer/Biontech’s Covid vaccine for children five years and older: The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is expected to decide on the approval of Pfizer/Biontech’s COVID-19 vaccine for children five years and older as early as the end of next week. The review of the data is progressing very well, the EMA said on Thursday.

  • Two Austrian regions to go into full lockdown next week
  • Italy: Call for border controls and lockdown for the unvaccinated
  • Trauma of Bergamo: Italy’s experience with triage in Covid times
  • Hungary returns to mandatory mask use indoors
  • Greece toughens vaccine rules as coronavirus cases mount again

South Caucasus: Armenia and Azerbaijan clash over shooting at border
Fishing licences: France slams Jersey as Channel fishing tensions rise again
Record amounts of waste: Germany produces the most packaging waste in the EU
OECD inequality study: Majority of people concerned about gap between rich and poor
Market infrastructure overhaul: Brussels plans central databases to boost capital markets
ECB board member: Bank’s policy may lead to inequality


Many of the measures we are announcing would not be necessary if more people were vaccinated.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on more people to get vaccinated.


Germany introduces new measures to curb the pandemic: Chancellor Angela Merkel and the 16 state premiers have decided on fresh restrictions. The leaders stressed the necessity of vaccinations for all employees of hospitals and nursing homes. They also agreed on the introduction of „2G“ restrictions for the unvaccinated in those regions where a certain hospitalisation rate is exceeded. „2G“ refers to a system only allowing free movement for leisure activities for the vaccinated or recovered. Meanwhile, the German parliament saw a heated debate over how best to respond to the dramatic increase in Covid infections.

Former Austrian Chancellor Kurz loses immunity: Austrian lawmakers voted in parliament Thursday to lift the immunity of former Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, clearing the way for an investigation into corruption allegations to proceed. Kurz resigned last month as chancellor but remained an MP after a police raid on his office over accusations that he used public money to bribe pollsters and journalists. He has denied the allegations and questioned the integrity of the prosecutors behind the investigations.

Google signs 5-year deal to pay for news from AFP: Alphabet Inc’s Google will begin paying Agence France-Presse for its news content as part of broad five-year partnership announced Wednesday. The AFP accord follows France enacting a copyright law that creates “neighbouring rights,” requiring big tech companies to open talks with news publishers that want a licensing payment.

Taiwan opens representative office in Lithuania: Taiwan opened a representative office, a de facto embassy, Thursday in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. It is the first time Taiwan has done so in Europe. Elsewhere in Europe and in the United States, Taiwan represents itself under the name Taipei to avoid a reference to the island which China claims as its territory. China has stepped up its campaign against Taiwan by pressuring other nations to halt interactions and sending sorties of fighter jets into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone.

Tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean: Green electricity from Egypt is to flow through submarine cables via Cyprus and Greece to Europe. But Turkey opposes the idea
France could soon force smartphone and computer manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung and Huawei to give parents the option to restrict their kids‘ internet access
France announces new high tech measures to stop school bullying
Spain to allow UK artists to tour without visas


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Trial of refugee activists postponed: Sean Binder, an Irish defendant among 24 aid workers accused of espionage in Greece has said he has been left in a legal “limbo” after their trial was postponed. A three-member panel of judges on the Aegean island of Lesbos, where the alleged crimes are said to have occurred, referred the case to a court of appeals citing lack of jurisdiction. It is unclear when the higher tribunal will convene.


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