Thursday, 1 October 2020: Penalties for rule of law violations in the EU, Turkey pledges military aid to Azerbaijan, Merkel to meet Belarus opposition leader Tikhanovskaya

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Penalties for rule of law violations in the EU: A majority of the EU’s 27 states have approved a proposal by current chair Germany over how to make EU handouts conditional on upholding the rule of law. That will underpin negotiations with the EU Parliament starting next month on measures governing 1.8 trillion euros in aid from the recovery fund and the EU’s next budget for 2021-27. Sources said Poland and Hungary opposed the proposal. Meanwhile, the EU continued its criticism of Hungary and Poland on Wednesday, this time in a report slamming democratic standards in the two countries. The assessment on the rule of law covered all 27 EU member states and expressed serious concern about judicial independence in Hungary and Poland. Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia and Slovakia were also criticised for shortcomings in ensuring their courts’ independence.
reuters.com, dw.com, ec.europa.eu

Turkey pledges military aid to Azerbaijan: Fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenian forces entered its fourth day on Wednesday in the biggest eruption in a decades-old conflict since a 1994 ceasefire. More than 100 deaths have been reported in the war over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. French President Emmanuel Macron condemned what he called Turkey’s “reckless and dangerous” statements backing Azerbaijan in its bid to take back the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey had said it was fully ready to help Azerbaijan recover Nagorno-Karabakh.
dw.com, france24.com, bbc.com

Merkel to meet Belarus opposition leader Tikhanovskaya: German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Wednesday that she plans to hold talks with Belarus’s main opposition leader, Sviatlana Tikhanovskaya. The meeting would take place soon, Merkel said during a speech as part of the government’s ongoing 2021 budget debates. Merkel also expressed admiration for the women protesters of Belarus, who have played a prominent role in the demonstrations, and their fight for a free life that is free from corruption. Meanwhile, Tikhanovskaya has started to form an alternative government from her EU exile.
dw.com, politico.eu, zeit.de

Norway reaches fisheries agreement with UK: Norway and Britain have reached a bilateral agreement on fisheries, the Norwegian government said on Wednesday, ahead of the UK’s full exit from the EU at the end of the year. The framework agreement, which takes effect on the 1st of January, will govern control measures, licences and research, and also facilitates a mutual exchange of quotas.
reuters.com

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EU Commission: Member states’ reports on Covid-19 still insufficient euractiv.com
ECB President Lagarde hints at a major tweak for the ECB’s inflation target cnbc.com
Refugee policy: What does EU aid do for refugees in Turkey? tagesspiegel.de
Trump-Biden debate: US President Trump refuses to condemn White supremacists cnn.com

⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃

Spontaneous meetings are what I miss the most.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on the German people to stick to coronavirus measures to avoid a second lockdown. She added that she emphasised with people’s weariness at the distancing rules.
dw.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Kaczynski appointed Poland’s deputy prime minister: Jaroslaw Kaczyński, the leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party and the country’s most powerful politician, will join the cabinet following a government reshuffle, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced Wednesday. The move means that Morawiecki, who was chosen by Kaczyński to lead the government in 2017, will now have his party boss as his theoretical subordinate as a deputy prime minister.
politico.eu

De Croo to be appointed Belgium’s prime minister: Alexander De Croo is set to be sworn in as prime minister on Thursday following a coalition agreement among seven parties that ends 16 months without a fully functioning government. De Croo is set to lead the country’s seven-party Vivaldi coalition of Flemish and Francophone socialists, liberals and greens (spa and PS; MR and Open Vld; Ecolo and Groen) and Flemish Christian democrats (CD&V).
politico.eu, brusselstimes.com

Merkel warns of tough months ahead in pandemic fight: The German government’s action over the budget helped to cushion the economic blow of the pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed on Wednesday, as she defended the 96.2 billion euros of extra debt the government would be taking on in 2021. Merkel also addressed the German people directly, warning people once again to stick to coronavirus measures to avoid a second lockdown. Merkel said she empathised with people’s weariness at the distancing rules. “This is a long-distance run; we have a long way to go,” she said.
dw.com

Four probed over Covid outbreak at Austrian ski resort: Austrian prosecutors said on Wednesday they have placed four people under investigation in connection with a quarantine and other restrictions imposed at the ski resort of Ischgl in March because of a massive coronavirus outbreak. Consumer advocates have charged that authorities shut down the resort too late and that the uncoordinated mass departure of guests led to the high number of infections linked to tourists at the resort.
reuters.com, dw.com

Germany accepts refugees from Greece: The first group of refugees from the burned down Moria camp arrived in Germany from Greece on Wednesday. A group of 139 people — unaccompanied children, children suffering from serious health problems and their immediate families — arrived in Hannover, in northern Germany.
dw.com

French court approves transfer of Rwanda genocide suspect: France’s top appeals court ruled Wednesday that alleged Rwandan genocide financier Félicien Kabuga should be transferred to a UN tribunal in Tanzania to stand trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. Kabuga was arrested near Paris in May after 25 years on the run.
france24.com

Spain seeks to impose tougher virus controls on Madrid ft.com
France: Paris faces closure of all bars and restaurants tagesspiegel.de
Czech Republic and Slovakia call state of emergency as coronavirus cases soar reuters.com, politico.eu
Italy: Senate halts after two members test Covid-positive de.reuters.com

⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃

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⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃

Paris rocked by fighter jet breaking sound barrier: A loud and sudden bang was heard across Paris on Wednesday, causing widespread fright and confusion. Players at the French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament paused play in astonishment. The sound was caused by a French military plane breaking the sound barrier, creating a noise known as a sonic boom, after it was scrambled to aid two commercial aircraft which had lost radio contact.
bbc.com, cnbc.com

 

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