Thursday, 10 June 2021: EU Parliament approves digital Covid certificate, UK-EU ’sausage war‘ talks, Greece defends use of anti-migrant sound cannons

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

EU Parliament approves digital Covid certificate: The European Parliament has endorsed a new travel certificate that will allow people to move between European countries without having to quarantine or undergo extra coronavirus tests. The certificate will be issued free of charge by national authorities and be available in either digital or paper format containing a QR code. The document will certify that a person has been vaccinated against Covid-19, has a recent negative test result or has recovered from the infection. Several EU countries have already begun using the system, including Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Poland. EU lawmakers highlighted the importance of nondiscrimination, saying that the certificates should facilitate travel — but not end up as a backdoor to requiring vaccination.
europarl.europa.eu, apnews.com, dw.com

UK-EU ’sausage war‘ talks: Britain and the EU failed on Wednesday to agree any solutions to ease post-Brexit trade with Northern Ireland. Since Britain completed its exit from the EU late last year, its relations with Brussels have soured further, with each side accusing the other of bad faith over a part of their Brexit deal that covers goods movements to Northern Ireland. The row has been dubbed the “sausage war” by British media because it affects the movement of chilled meats from Britain to Northern Ireland. British officials are considering extending the grace period covering chilled meets to prevent the EU from blocking shipments of products such as sausages and ground beef on 1 July. The EU has warned that it could advance its legal action, a step that could end in tariffs and quotas.
euronews.com, apnews.com

EU countries could soon be required to take biodiversity seriously: On Tuesday, the EU Parliament adopted the resolution “EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030: Bringing nature back into our lives” with 515 votes to 90 and 86 abstentions addressing the current biodiversity crisis in Europe and the rest of the world. MEPs strongly regret that the EU has not achieved its 2020 biodiversity objectives and say the new strategy must adequately tackle all five main drivers of change: changes in land and sea use; the direct exploitation of organisms; climate change; pollution; and invasive alien species. MEPs said that threatened species must continue to be protected and the ‘favourable conservation status’ of all protected species and habitats must not deteriorate by 2030.
europarl.europa.eu, euronews.com

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EU court annuls approval of aid for German airline Condor: A top European Union court on Wednesday annulled the EU’s approval of 550 million euros in state aid for German airline Condor, backing a challenge by budget carrier Ryanair but suspending the application of the ruling because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision by the General Court was in many ways similar to rulings last month in which it annulled EU approval of 3.4 billion euros in state aid for the Netherlands’ KLM and a potential total of 1.2 billion euros for Portugal’s TAP. In both of those cases, as with Condor, the application of the rulings was suspended pending new EU decisions. The Luxembourg-based General Court said the European Commission had to come up with a more complete reasoning.
apnews.com

EU court annuls sanctions against Yanukovych: The General Court of the European Union has annulled the bloc’s 2019 decision to extend asset freezes imposed on former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his son Oleksandr over the alleged embezzlement of Ukrainian state funds and assets. The Luxembourg-based court ruled on June 9 that the European Council “failed to demonstrate that the rights of the defence and the right to effective judicial protection were respected in the criminal proceedings” by the Ukrainian authorities.
rferl.org

Russian Football Union complaints to UEFA over Ukraine’s Euro 2020 jersey: Russia has officially complained over Ukraine’s kit for Euro 2020, which Moscow says has “political motives.” In the letter of complaint to UEFA, European football’s governing body, the Russian football federation reportedly said: “We draw attention to the use of political motives on the Ukrainian national team’s jersey, which goes against the basic principles of the UEFA kit regulations.” The Ukrainian national team had unveiled a new jersey featuring a map of Ukraine which includes the Russian-annexed Crimea, and emblazoned with patriotic slogans. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, meanwhile, came out in support of the new kit on Tuesday, saying it contained „important symbols“.
euronews.com, politico.eu

US President Biden focuses on strengthening alliances as he arrives in Europe for first overseas trip washingtonpost.com
Dispute over rule of law: EU Parliament set to sue EU Commission over rule-of-law inaction reuters.com
Climate: Europe’s offshore wind industry is taking off euronews.com
LUX Audience Award: Romanian documentary Collective wins European film award euronews.com
EU foreign policy chief Borrell defends agreement with Cuba in EU Parliament euractiv.com

⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃

Strasbourg is a symbol of European unity, peace and diversity.
The EU Parliament convened in Strasbourg after a 15-month absence due to the Covid pandemic. EU Parliament President David Sassoli opened the session on Monday.
europarl.europa.eu

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Greece defends use of anti-migrant sound cannons: Greece’s minister for migration and asylum on Wednesday defended his country’s use of sound cannons to deter irregular migrants. “What the police does they have to do it in their own way,” Notis Mitarachi told journalists in Brussels after a meeting with the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson. The EU, however, is uneasy with Athens’ plan to deploy two truck-mounted Long Range Acoustic Devices to blast high-decibel sound waves at migrants at its Evros border post, in a bid to prevent river crossings there from neighbouring Turkey. Johansson gave voice to those concerns, declaring alongside Mitarachi that she found the use of the cannon strange. “This is an odd way to protect your borders. This is nothing that has been funded by the European Commission. And I do hope that this is in line with fundamental rights — but that of course has to be clarified,” she said.
euractiv.com

Armenia’s premier offers son for prisoners of war: Campaigning in Armenia’s parliamentary elections is turning personal as rivals play one-upmanship with the fate of soldiers held as prisoners of war by Azerbaijan to attack one another. When acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told a campaign rally the captives would “forgive” a delay of one or two months in securing their return, ex-President Serzh Sargsyan retorted that he should offer his son to Azerbaijan in exchange for some of the prisoners. Pashinyan hit back at Sargsyan, whom he ousted in Armenia’s 2018 “Velvet Revolution,” by accepting the proposal. “I officially declare to Aliyev, I offer my son in exchange for all the war prisoners,” the Armenpress news service cited him as saying on Tuesday, referring to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. His son Ashot, 21, who served in last year’s war, later backed the trade on Facebook.
bloomberg.com

EU launches proceedings over top German court’s ECB ruling: The EU on Wednesday launched proceedings against Germany over a ruling by the top German court last year on a European Central Bank bond-buying programme that broke with a verdict from the EU’s own top court. The underlying dispute broke out last year when the German constitutional court ruled that the European Central Bank’s 2015 bond-buying program would be illegal under German law unless the central bank could prove the purchases were justified. The German government said it had taken note of the EU’s move but was otherwise tightlipped.
apnews.com, politico.eu

Nine months after fire, reconstruction work has still not started at Greek migrant camp: Essential work to restore Europe’s largest refugee centre has still not started after a fire nine months ago, according to Greece’s migration minister. The rebuilding of the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos was supposed to have been finished before winter this year, but Notis Mitarachi confirmed that work had still not started during a trip to Brussels on Wednesday.
euronews.com

Germany pledges solidarity with Ukraine – but not arms: Ukraine’s foreign minister said Wednesday that he hoped allies such as Germany won’t regret turning down his country’s request for arms deliveries should Russia launch an attack. Dmytro Kuleba broached the sensitive subject with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas during a meeting in Berlin, where both men insisted on the need for a political solution to the long-running conflict between Kyiv and Russia-backed separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. Germany has ruled out supplying arms to Ukraine, a stance that Maas reiterated Wednesday during a news conference, stressing his county’s desire to act as a mediator between Ukraine and Russia over the conflict.
apnews.com

Germany: Volkswagen’s ex-CEO pays company $14 million over his role in the diesel scandal cnn.com
Switzerland: Swiss to vote on whether to become first European nation to ban synthetic pesticides reuters.com
Germany: 20 police officers investigated over far-right chats dw.com
Poland: Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki’s head of office claims to have been hacked faz.net

⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃

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⊂ LAST BUT NOT LEAST ⊃

„Mount Recyclemore“ sculpture to stare down Biden and other G7 leaders: A sculpture of the G7 leaders shaped like Mount Rushmore made of electronic waste has been erected in Cornwall ahead of the G7 Summit. The „Mount Recyclemore“ sculpture by artist Joe Rush is intended to demonstrate the harm caused by the huge amount of e-waste festering around the world, and the need for it to be more easily recyclable.
bbc.com, cbsnews.com

 

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