⊂ EUROPE ⊃
Gentiloni wants to reform Stability and Growth Pact: The EU Commission announced Wednesday steps to update its fiscal rulebook. Currently, EU member countries should not have public debts above 60% of their annual gross domestic product nor government deficits above 3% of their GDP. The plan now is to discuss ideas with think tanks, academics and market participants until the end of the year, to form a picture on how to ramp up compliance with these rules — given that countries such as Italy and France have often disrespected them. EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said economic policies in Europe must address the challenges of today. While stability remained a key objective, there was an equally pressing need to support growth and in particular to mobilise the investments required to tackle climate change. EU Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said he was looking forward to an open discussion on what has worked, what has not, and how to build consensus for streamlining the rules and making them even more effective.
Less greenhouse gases from EU power plants: EU power plant emissions fell 12% last year, the sharpest drop since at least 1990, due to reduced coal-fired generation, a study has found. The drop in emissions was largely due to a sharp decrease in generation from hard coal and lignite-fired power plants which fell by 24% across the EU. The downward trend in coal generation is forecast to continue this year, with a total of 21 EU member states and Britain having announced phase out plans for coal.
EU lays out proposals for accession process: The EU Commission has put forward a proposal to improve the EU accession process. Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi said the EU enlargement to the Western Balkans was a top priority for the Commission. The EU wants to better define the conditions set for candidates to progress and provide clear and tangible incentives of direct interest to citizens. The proposal would also give existing EU members more powers to pause or reverse the process of admitting new nations, or even force countries to restart entry talks in some policy areas.
Trump acquitted on both impeachment charges: The US Senate has voted to acquit President Donald Trump of both counts in his impeachment trial. With a 53-47 Republican majority, the odds that Trump would be convicted were slim from the start. Republican senator Mitt Romney broke with his party to vote to convict Trump on the abuse of power count. He said in a speech on the Senate floor on Wednesday that he felt compelled by the oath he swore in Trump’s case to act on his conviction that the president’s actions were grievously wrong. After Trump’s State of the Union address, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up Trump’s speech for the world to see, tearing up each page as she stood behind the president.
cnbc.com, npr.org (Impeachment); politico.com (Pelosi)
EU funding: Czech government to sue Commission over PM’s alleged conflict of interest euractiv.com
European People’s Party: Centre-right MEPs pitch joint assembly with British parliament politico.eu
Human rights: Call for more EU pressure on Cuba de.euronews.com
Drinking water: Council approves provisional deal which updates quality standards consilium.europa.eu
Terrorism: Europe still reluctant to repatriate its foreign fighters and families euractiv.com
Syria crisis: UN Security Council to hold emergency meeting on Syria reuters.com
⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃
„While the threat of a trade war between the United States and China appears to have receded, the coronavirus adds a new layer of uncertainty.“
European Central Bank (ECB) President Christine Lagarde is concerned that the coronavirus‘ impacts on China will reverberate across the globe.
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
Romanian government collapses after no-confidence vote: Romanian lawmakers toppled the centrist minority government of Prime Minister Ludovic Orban on Wednesday, raising the possibility of an early election in the EU member state. The Social Democrats (PSD) and the Hungarian minority party UDMR initiated the no-confidence vote in protest at a government plan to change the way in which mayors are elected. Despite the ouster, the move is likely to benefit Orban’s National Liberal Party (PNL), which has been vying for an early election with its key ally, President Klaus Iohannis, to take advantage of the PNL’s rising approval ratings.
Poland votes on 10 May: Poland will hold the first round of its presidential election on the 10th of May, Elzbieta Witek, the parliamentary speaker, said on Wednesday. President Andrzej Duda is ahead in the polls, with a survey in the weekly Polityka giving him 41.7% in the first round. Opponents include Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska of the centre-right Civic Platform, and Robert Biedron of the Left grouping. The EU Commission has spoken out against towns in Poland that have labelled themselves „free“ from lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex communities (LGBTI).
reuters.com (Election), euobserver.com (LGBTI)
German state gets new governor, with far-right votes: Pro-business politician Thomas Kemmerich was unexpectedly elected Wednesday as the governor of the eastern German state of Thuringia after the far-right AfD party threw its votes behind him. The AfD is an ethno-nationalist party that is opposed to non-European immigration and reforms that tackle climate change. Protestors began gathering outside the parliament building only two hours after the vote in the state capital of Erfurt. Left party head Bernd Riexinger said it was a dark day for German politics and reminiscent of the way that mainstream parties had conceded ground to the Nazis in the 1920s.
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Greece passes new law to better monitor NGOs: A new Greek law is supposed to help the government regulate and control who takes part in migration crisis management. It provides a special registry for all non-governmental organisations (NGOs), their employees and partners. Deputy Migration Minister George Koumoutsakos has denounced the illegal networks of financial exploitation of immigrants involving NGOs, lawyers and doctors.
Finland: Same parental leave for mothers and fathers bbc.com
Bulgaria: Government warns Serbia over refusal to extradite banker euractiv.com
Ireland: Parliamentary election on Saturday time.com
Italy: Government wants code of conduct for NGO ships orf.at
⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃
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
politjobs.eu, politjobs.eu/submit (Inserat schalten)
⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃
Gang on trial for impersonating French minister Le Drian: Six suspected fraudsters went on trial in Paris on Tuesday accused of a bizarre scam that saw one use a mask to impersonate French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in order to extort millions of euros from the rich and famous. Over the phone, the fraudsters reportedly told their targets that the French state needed urgent financial assistance for „secret operations“ – usually a ransom to free hostages in Syria or an anti-terror mission.