Friday, 8 October 2021: Ireland to join global pact on corporate tax, Austrian leader hopes to stay on amid bribery allegations, Polish court rules EU laws incompatible with its constitution


Ireland to join global pact on corporate tax

  • Ireland will join global accord on boosting multinationals’ tax bills after winning assurances that EU Commission won’t try to push Irish headline rate above 15%
  • Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe: „Some countries wanted higher minimum tax rates, and our position moderated those ambitions and views. This provides certainty in the agreement.“
  • The shift means Ireland has committed to charge 15%, rather than its prevailing 12.5%, starting in 2023 on profits of more than 1,500 subsidiaries of mostly American multinationals as well as 56 Irish-owned multinationals

New NI Protocol proposals to be brought by EU

  • EU will bring forward new proposals for Northern Ireland Protocol next week, EU Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic said
  • He said he hopes they would form the basis for intensive talks with the UK
  • The protocol avoids hard border on island of Ireland by keeping Northern Ireland in EU’s single market for goods
  • But unionists argue it creates a trade border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland

EU Parliament calls for increased EU cybersecurity capacity

  • MEPs called for comprehensive set of measures and coherent IT policy, as well as improved military cyber defence coordination, to strengthen EU cyber resilience
  • Progress on countering online hate speech is declining in Europe, with lowest figures in number of years reported in latest evaluation of Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech Online
  • Several independent journalists in Hungary had e-mail accounts hacked and were spied on by government agency

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Search engines push for opening default positions: DuckDuckGo, Qwant, Ecosia, and Lilo sent an open letter to EU lawmakers on Thursday, urging them to take action against their dominant rival Google in the upcoming legislative proposal on the Digital Markets Act (DMA). While endorsing the objective of the proposed act, the search engines argue that “the DMA fails to address the most acute barrier in search: Google’s hoarding of default positions.”

EU says states should take in Afghan refugees,

  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, asked EU to take in more than 40,000 Afghan refugees over the next five years, but the plea failed to receive backing of EU countries
  • Ylva Johansson, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs: „It’s our moral duty to also give protection to Afghans at risk.“
  • She warned about a „huge risk of famine“ and a near „total collapse of the economy“ inside the country
  • Russia will invite the Taliban to international talks on Afghanistan scheduled for 20 October in Moscow

Submarine dispute: Australia hopes for detente as France plans to send back ambassador
Disability rights: A European Disability Card to harmonise status across the EU
Tech: Nvidia offers EU concessions over $54 billion Arm deal
European Central Bank’s brain trust spars over inflation outlook
Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to Abdulrazak Gurnah


If you look at a single tree when it’s burned then, of course, it’s Co2, but if you see what’s happening on a global scene, you see that biomass is growing fast.
Finnish MEP Nils Torvalds on the use of biofuel as renewable energy.


Austrian leader hopes to stay on amid bribery allegations,

  • Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz denied wrongdoing and made clear he did not plan to step down after anti-corruption prosecutors said he is target in bribery investigation
  • Prosecutors said Wednesday they were investigating Kurz, nine other people and three unidentified organisations on suspicion of breach of trust and bribery
  • The case centres on allegations that finance ministry money was used to pay for manipulated polls that were favourable to Kurz and published in a newspaper without being declared as advertising
  • Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler of the Green party, Kurz’s junior coalition partner, tweeted that “the impression is disastrous” and the allegations must be cleared up thoroughly
  • President Alexander Van der Bellen scheduled meetings Thursday and Friday with Kogler, Kurz and opposition leaders
  • All three opposition parties have called for Kurz’s resignation and are preparing motion of no confidence against him in parliament
  • Special session of lower house of parliament will be held on Tuesday

Polish court rules EU laws incompatible with its constitution,

  • Poland’s constitutional tribunal has ruled that some EU laws are in conflict with the country’s constitution
  • The ruling said: „The attempt by the European Court of Justice to involve itself with Polish legal mechanisms violates … the rules that give priority to the constitution and rules that respect sovereignty amid the process of European integration.“
  • EU Commission said the decision raised serious concerns. The Commission reaffirmed that “EU law has primacy over national law, including constitutional provisions.”

Violent migrant pushbacks at Croatian border exposed by media

  • Special investigation by several European media partners uncovered evidence of brutal efforts to push back migrants along border of Bosnia and Croatia
  • According to the report, special Croatian police units, called „intervention police“ were involved in illegal effort to force migrants back into Bosnia
  • Video evidence and police sources said the beatings, delivered mostly by police batons, were ordered by the Croatian government
  • EU’s Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson called the report „shocking“ and said she expected a thorough investigation into the matter
  • Moroccan police have thwarted an attempt by several hundred migrants to force their way into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta on the northern African coast, officials said Thursday
  • Human Rights Watch released a report on France’s „degrading“ treatment of migrants around Calais

Germany’s CDU leader poised to step down after election defeat,

  • Armin Laschet, leader of Germany’s conservative Christian Democratic Union, signalled that he will step down after disastrous general election result last month
  • Laschet said he will convene party conference in coming weeks in order to solve what he referred to as the party’s “question of personnel.”
  • Laschet: „If it works better with other people then that’s fine.“

Merkel and pope talk climate change, child abuse

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Pope Francis and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi as part of a farewell trip to Italy and the Vatican on Thursday
  • The outgoing chancellor also met with German Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, the Vatican’s expert on measures to protect minors from abuse
  • Merkel: „I wanted to emphasise through my visit that the truth must be exposed and that the issue of child abuse must be dealt with.“

Ukrainian lawmakers vote to remove parliament speaker Razumkov: Ukrainian lawmakers have voted to remove parliament speaker Dmytro Razumkov. He was a member the Servant of the People party until he assumed the post of parliament speaker in 2019, months after President Volodymyr Zelensky was elected. Razumkov has openly opposed the quick passing of legislation intended to limit the influence of oligarchs on politics and business. On 3 October, Zelensky publicly criticised Razumkov, saying that he was „not a member of our team anymore,“ and the ruling party started the process to remove him from his post.

Germany finds more people got Covid vaccine than thought,

  • Germany vaccinated millions more people against COVID-19 than previously thought
  • Almost 80% of adults in Germany are fully vaccinated and about 84% have received at least one shot, according to the country’s disease control centre, the Robert Koch Institute
  • That’s some 3.5 million people higher than previously stated
  • The Ukraine will make Covid vaccines mandatory for government officials and teachers

Belgium mulls four-day work week
Spain 1: Government drafts ambitious housing bill
Spain 2: Outrage after gay woman diagnosed at Spanish hospital with ‘homosexuality’
Hungary: Prime minister Orban launches new effort to gain control of Budapest airport
France: Climate change: French winemakers turn to foreign grapes
Spain 3: La Palma struck by new quake and more destruction from erupting volcano


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Over 100 NGOs want EU to end use of biofuel as renewable energy: A network of over 100 NGOs is calling on the EU to end the use of biofuel as renewable energy. The Forest Defenders Alliance, an initiative to amplify the voices of NGOs in Europe and in countries with forests that are threatened by EU policies, wants Brussels to protect forests, rather than encourage more logging in order to produce biomass fuel that is burned in power plants.


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