Friday, 3 July 2020: Merkel and Von der Leyen urge dialogue with China over Hong Kong law, Venezuela’s Maduro is denied control of gold in London bank, France condemned for its treatment of asylum-seekers


Merkel and Von der Leyen urge dialogue with China over Hong Kong law: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have said they will continue to discuss human rights and the rule of law with China after the Chinese government imposed the new security law on Hong Kong. The two Germans held a joint virtual press conference where they outlined the goals for Germany’s six-month presidency of the EU, which Germany officially took over on Wednesday. Stressing that ties with China were of strategic importance to the EU, Merkel said it was important to have a relationship of trust where opinions could be voiced with mutual respect. Von der Leyen said it was in both sides’ interests to maintain the special status of Hong Kong. On Europe’s coronavirus response, Merkel said the EU was in one of the most difficult situations in its history. She and Von der Leyen called for a rapid agreement on the EU coronavirus recovery programme. Meanwhile, US lawmakers approved new Hong Kong-related sanctions against China. Hong Kong pro-democracy activists are discussing a plan to create an unofficial parliament-in-exile. Prominent activist Nathan Law announced Thursday that he has fled Hong Kong., (Merkel and Leyen); (US); (Exile parliament); (Law)

Brexit negotiations stall: The UK and EU have said serious differences remain over a post-Brexit trade deal, following the latest negotiations in Brussels. Both, however, committed to another round of negotiations next week in London. The meetings in Brussels were the first held face-to-face since the first coronavirus-related shutdowns, with high hopes that progress would be made. EU negotiator Michel Barnier said the EU’s position needed to be better understood and respected by the UK if an agreement is to be found. His UK counterpart David Frost said significant disagreement remained on a number of important issues.,

Turkey wants French apology over Mediterranean warships incident: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday Turkey expects France to apologise after an incident between Turkish and French warships in the Mediterranean Sea prompted Paris to request a Nato investigation. “France should apologise to us instead of confronting Turkey with wrong information,” Cavusoglu said during a news conference in Berlin. France said that in June, Turkish ships had acted aggressively toward a French frigate after it tried to inspect a vessel off the coast of Libya, where the frigate was operating as part of a Nato naval mission. Turkey, a fellow alliance member, denied its ships had harassed the frigate. France this week suspended its involvement in the Nato mission.,

Euro zone unemployment edges up in May: The unemployment rate in the 19 countries that use the euro inched higher in May, to 7.4 % from 7.3% in April, official figures showed Thursday. Governments used labour market support programmes to cushion the impact of the virus outbreak on workers. Youth unemployment, those aged between 15 and 24, also increased to 16% in May, from 15.7% in April. Some economists are expecting much worse unemployment figures going forward as governments reduce benefit schemes. Germany and the Netherlands had comparatively low unemployment rates in May, while Greece and Spain had the highest rates in Europe.,,

European police infiltrate criminal phone network: European law enforcement infiltrated an encrypted communication platform used exclusively by criminals across Europe, leading to hundreds of arrests and the seizure of firearms, drugs and millions of dollars in cash. France and the Netherlands led the investigation into EncroChat, a “cryptophone” company selling encrypted communication services and devices that were used by criminal networks, many of which were involved in drug trafficking and organised crime. The data has so far led to more than 100 arrests in the Netherlands, Dutch authorities said, mostly of criminals involved in drug trafficking. It also led to arrests in the UK, Sweden, Norway and other countries.,

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Russia referendum: EU wants to investigate allegations
Alternative to Mastercard and Visa: European banks are working on new payment system
Common Agricultural Policy: Lawmakers agreed to delay post-2020 CAP by two years
European Fiscal Board: 60% debt ceiling is unrealistic
EU Council President Tusk favours Joe Biden as next US President


Today we know that a virus can be more deadly than a firearm, that a cyber attack can do more damage than a soldier, and that climate change threatens more people than most conventional weapons.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said that pandemics and other health risks should become the focus of global security policy.,


Venezuela’s Maduro is denied control of gold in London bank: A British judge on Thursday refused to give Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro control of over $1 billion in gold sitting in a Bank of England vault, ruling that it is unlawful to give it to the socialist leader since Britain does not recognise him as Venezuela’s president. Maduro demanded the gold to help his country fight the coronavirus pandemic. But the central bank for the UK, whose government recognises Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as his country’s legitimate leader, had refused to hand it over to Maduro’s socialist administration. In the meantime, Venezuela has reversed its decision to expel the EU’s ambassador to Caracas, a statement said on Thursday. Maduro on Monday gave the EU’s Isabel Brilhante Pedrosa 72 hours to leave the country in response to European sanctions against eleven Venezuelans. Venezuela’s electoral council has announced that the country’s parliamentary election will be held on 6 December. (Gold), (Ambassador), (Election)

France condemned for its treatment of asylum-seekers: The European Court of Human Rights has ordered France to pay compensation to three asylum-seekers who spent months sleeping on the street without any financial support. The court noted that the applicants, all single men, waited months for acknowledgement that they had lodged asylum claims. Without this recognition, they were not able to access housing or welfare payments, and were at risk of deportation. The court ruled that the applicants had been victims of degrading treatment, showing a lack of respect for their dignity.,

Germany tells Turkey travel warning will be regularly reviewed: Turkey is disappointed that the EU has excluded it, along with the US and others, from a list of countries deemed safe for non-essential travel. The Turkish government has called on the EU to correct its mistake. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday that Germany would keep reviewing travel advice for Turkey, saying decisions were coordinated with the EU and based on reliable infection data and the health situation.

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Swiss restrict entry from 29 countries to prevent coronavirus spread: Travellers to Switzerland from 29 countries will from 6 July have to register with the authorities and go into self-isolation to prevent a resurgence of the coronavirus, the government said on Thursday. The list includes the United States, Sweden, Brazil and Russia, which have been designated as countries with a high risk of infection.

Czech coal mining company shuts mines for 6 weeks: Czech state-owned hard coal mining group OKD will shut all its mining operations for six weeks from Friday as it battles an outbreak of coronavirus infections, it said on Thursday. The mines, in the country’s east near the Polish border, have been the Czech Republic’s main hot spot of new cases in the past weeks.

France: President Macron says next phase of his term will have new team
Portugal seals final deal with TAP’s private shareholders
Sweden is reviewing its crisis management
Spain: Holidaymakers only allowed to enter with QR code
Finland’s air force quietly drops swastika symbol


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)


EU campaigns for relaxed travel rules for lovers: In view of current EU entry restrictions, EU Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson has asked EU countries and travel companies to interpret the term “partnership” as broadly as possible. The partner or “sweetheart” with whom an EU citizen has a lasting and proven relationship should be exempted from entry restrictions, Johansson wrote on Twitter under the hashtags #loveisessential and #loveisnottourism.,


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