⊂ EUROPE ⊃
Britain and EU sign fishing deal: The European Union and the United Kingdom have concluded the negotiations on an agreement in principle setting out catch limits for jointly managed fish stocks for 2021. The deal closes the first ever annual consultations on fishing opportunities between the EU and the UK under the terms of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). It secures the fishing rights of both the EU and the UK fleets in both the EU and the UK waters until the end of 2021, as foreseen under the TCA. The agreement establishes the total allowable catches for 75 shared fish stocks for 2021, as well as for some deep-sea stocks for 2021 and 2022. It also provides clarity on access limits for non-quota species. The signing of the agreement, expected in the coming days, will also enable both parties to engage in quota exchanges. Meanwhile, Norway and Britain have reached an agreement on their post-Brexit trade relations, Norwegian state broadcaster NRK and news agency NTB said on Thursday, citing anonymous sources.
ec.europa.eu (Fish), reuters.com (Norway)
EU plans digital ID wallet for bloc’s post-pandemic life: The EU unveiled plans Thursday for a digital ID wallet that residents could use to access services across the 27-nation bloc. The European Digital Identity Wallet proposed by the EU Commission is a smartphone app that would let users store electronic forms of identification and other official documents, such as driver’s licenses, prescriptions and school diplomas. They will be able to access online services with their national digital identification, which will be recognised throughout Europe. Very large platforms will be required to accept the use of European Digital Identity wallets upon request of the user, for example to prove their age. All EU residents would be entitled to an e-wallet, but they won’t be mandatory, according to the Commission.
ECJ dismisses attempt by Hungary to reverse MEPs rule of law vote: The EU’s top court on Thursday rejected Hungary’s attempt to annul a European Parliament resolution meant to punish Budapest over rule-of-law concerns. The case was brought forward by the Hungarian government nearly three years ago after MEPs voted to trigger for the first time a procedure known as Article 7 in September 2018, which is used to determine whether a member state has breached the bloc’s founding values. Budapest argues that the vote in the Parliament should not have been counted due to abstentions by some MEPs not being factored into the two-thirds majority needed for the vote to pass. But the European Court of Justice has now rejected this notion, saying that abstentions „do not have to be counted“.
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Germany persistently broke air pollution rules, EU court rules: Germany persistently violated EU limits on air pollution by failing to limit poor air quality in 26 regions, including major cities like Berlin, Munich and Hamburg. The European Commission had filed the complaint in 2018, saying Germany „has systematically and continuously exceeded the annual and hourly nitrogen dioxide (NO2) limit values“ since 2010. The Commission accused German authorities of not taking enough action to comply with EU limits. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) shared this appraisal for the time period between 2010 and 2016. „Germany has clearly not adopted appropriate measures in good time to ensure that the time period during which the limit values for NO2 are exceeded is kept as short as possible in the 26 zones at issue,“ the court said in a press release.
Covid aid: This month, the EU Commission starts taking on debt tagesspiegel.de
Digital EU Covid certificate: Everything you need to know about the EU’s Covid travel pass euronews.com
Survey: EU citizens still have broadly positive image of EU but ask for reforms europarl.europa.eu
European Central Bank to help euro zone ‚well into‘ recovery, Lagarde says reuters.com
⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃
„We do a lot of work with member states already in the preparation phase of the plans. Overall, we are quite satisfied with the contents of the plans submitted.“
The EU Commission’s executive vice-president for economy, Valdis Dombrovskis, told a group of media that overall, the EU executive is satisfied with the recovery plans submitted by 23 member states.
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Denmark passes a law to send its asylum seekers outside of Europe: Denmark has passed a law enabling it to process asylum seekers outside Europe, drawing anger from human rights advocates, the United Nations (UN) and the EU. The legislation – which was approved by 70 votes to 24 on Thursday – is the latest anti-migration measure passed by the Danish parliament and aims to discourage migrants from ever setting foot in the country. The EU Commission questioned the law’s compatibility with Denmark’s international obligations. “External processing of asylum claims raises fundamental questions about both the access to asylum procedures and effective access to protection,” said Adalbert Jahnz, a commission spokesperson. “It is not possible under existing EU rules or proposals under the new pact for migration and asylum.” Denmark maintains one of Europe’s harshest stances on immigration and aims to accept refugees only under the UN’s quota system.
Norway summons US embassy official over spying claims: The Norwegian government summoned a US embassy official on Thursday over spying reports. Danish broadcaster DR revealed on Sunday that Danish spies collaborated with their US counterparts to eavesdrop on political leaders and officials in Germany, France, Sweden and Norway. Those targeted reportedly included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, then German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and former German opposition leader Peer Steinbrück. The revelation came to light from a 2014 internal investigation by the Danish Defense Intelligence Service (FE) on its cooperation with US National Security Agency (NSA).
Queen Elizabeth to meet President Biden at Windsor Castle: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth will welcome US President Joe Biden to Windsor Castle on 13 June for their first one-on-one meeting, Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday. The monarch’s meeting with Biden and first lady Jill Bide n will come during the President’s visit to the United Kingdom for the upcoming G7 summit, his first trip abroad since taking office. The Queen had met former President Donald Trump during his state visit to the United Kingdom in 2019.
US troops accidentally raid sunflower oil factory in Bulgaria: The US military has issued an apology after soldiers accidentally stormed a factory in Bulgaria that produces processing machinery for olive oil during a training exercise last month. Swift Response 2021 was a US army-led multinational exercise held across Estonia, Bulgaria and Romania and involving more than 7,000 paratroopers from 10 Nato countries. During the drill, members of the Italy-based 173rd airborne brigade simulated seizing and securing the decommissioned Cheshnegirovo airbase in southern Bulgaria by clearing bunkers and other structures, a US army statement said. On 11 May, American soldiers entered and cleared a building next to the airfield that they thought was part of the training area but turned out to be occupied by Bulgarian civilians operating a private business.
German economy has put worst of Covid crisis behind it: The German economy has put the worst of the coronavirus crisis behind it and could achieve faster-than-expected growth of 4% this year, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Thursday. The government now has to work out how to phase out its massive emergency and stimulus measures in a responsible way, Altmaier said, adding that he was in favour of extending coronavirus state aid for companies until the end of the year.
France: No explosive device aboard the Air France flight from Chad euronews.com
Bulgarians welcome US graft sanctions, EU nods approval reuters.com
France: Orange boss under pressure over French telecoms outage reuters.com
Slovakia: Head of police offences department arrested himself deutschlandfunk.de
⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃
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⊂ LAST BUT NOT LEAST ⊃
EU lawmakers reluctantly decamp to France for first pandemic session: Hundreds of European lawmakers and staff travel to Strasbourg next week for the European Parliament’s first session since the Covid-19 pandemic struck, though many think it is too early to return. Iratxe Garcia, president of the Socialists and Democrats, parliament’s second largest group, said earlier this week it would have made more sense to wait until July. A member of another grouping said the quarantine on return had made the trip unpalatable. Under EU law, parliament must hold 12 sessions per year in the French city, but it last decamped in February 2020. Critics complain at the 114 million euro per year cost, but the city and French President Emmanuel Macron have long sought the lawmakers’ return.