⊂ EUROPE ⊃
EU-China investment deal put on ice over sanctions: A diplomatic spat between the European Union and China has jeopardised a major investment agreement, officials said on Tuesday. EU Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis told AFP news agency that efforts to win approval for the deal were effectively on ice. Brussels and Beijing signed a new investment agreement in 2020 intended to guarantee a stable framework of conditions for trade and investment in each other’s markets. The EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment was signed in December after seven years of negotiation. To enter into force, it must still be ratified by EU member states and the European Parliament, where it faces massive opposition. Meanwhile, G7 foreign ministers have urged China to refrain from ramping up tensions in the East and South China Seas, amid concern about open conflict with Taiwan.
dw.com (Deal), politico.eu (G7)
UK sends patrol ships to British island amid row with France over fishing rights: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged France and Jersey to find a solution to an increasingly bitter row over fishing, hours after Paris threatened to cut electricity supply to the British crown dependency. French fishermen are struggling to obtain licenses allowing them to keep working in UK waters, including in Jersey. They must show they have been fishing in these waters from 2012 to 2016 using GPS data, which some don’t have. Retaliatory protests in France have included threats to block the port of Calais, as well as blocking fish arriving from British waters. French maritime minister Annick Girardin condemned the breach of the Brexit agreement, warning the Jersey move „would set a dangerous precedent for access elsewhere.“ Two British offshore patrol vessels will be sent to the island of Jersey as a precautionary measure, a Downing Street spokesperson said on Wednesday. In the meantime, the UK government has agreed to give the EU ambassador in London full diplomatic status.
politico.eu, cnn.com (Fishing); bbc.com (Ambassador)
European climate law: Council and Parliament reach provisional agreement: Negotiators of the Council of the EU and the European Parliament have reached a provisional political agreement setting into law the objective of a climate-neutral EU by 2050, and a collective, net greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990. Regarding the 2030 target, negotiators agreed on the need to give priority to emissions reductions over removals. In order to ensure that sufficient efforts to reduce and prevent emissions are deployed until 2030, they introduced a limit of 225 Mt of CO2 equivalent to the contribution of removals to the net target. They also agreed the EU should aim to achieve a higher volume of carbon net sink by 2030.
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EU gives green light to bloc’s first edible insect: Dried yellow mealworms have become the first edible insect to get the go-ahead for marketing authorisation in the EU after receiving the approval of member states in a landmark decision. The decision came after a positive risk assessment of yellow mealworm – which refers to the larvae of the beetle Tenebrio molitor – that the EU food safety agency (EFSA) gave in January. This scientific assessment of yellow mealworm either as a whole dried insect or in the form of powder was required after the application submitted by the French company EAP Group Agronutris back in 2018.
Microprocessor shortage: Brussels wants to cut down EU’s dependence on key imports euronews.com
Social Europe: Job retention schemes are keeping millions in work, what happens once they end? euronews.com
Summit: European Parliament’s participation in the Porto Social Summit europarl.europa.eu
One year after the ECB ruling: Why von der Leyen is not taking action against Berlin rnd.de
⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃
„We have … for the moment suspended some efforts to raise political awareness on the part of the Commission.“
European Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis has said that efforts to win approval for a proposed massive investment deal with China were effectively suspended after tit-for-tat sanctions were imposed by both sides.
⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃
200th anniversary of Napoleon’s death: French President Emmanuel Macron, in an unusual gesture on Wednesday, marked the bicentenary of the death of Napoleon, the warrior-emperor who famously bequeathed France its civil code, among other major reforms, but whose legacy remains tarnished in the eyes of many. In the current zeitgeist, Napoleon’s decisive role as founder of the modern French state tends to pale beside his record as coloniser, warmonger and enslaver. Macron said Napoleon Bonaparte’s reinstatement of slavery was a “betrayal of the spirit of the Enlightenment.” But in his speech under the dome of the Institute of France, he said that “Napoleon is part of us” and France “must look our history straight in the eyes.” Macron later laid a wreath at the foot of Napoleon’s grandiose tomb at Les Invalides.
Bulgaria to hold fresh parliamentary elections in July after coalition talks fail: Bulgaria will hold another election on 11 July after the three largest political parties failed to form a coalition government. Last month’s vote resulted in a political deadlock and fragmented parliament. President Rumen Radev said on Wednesday that he expects a new electoral commission to be appointed by 11 May, when he would appoint a caretaker government and call a new election. At April’s election, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov’s GERB party won the most seats with an estimated 26% of the vote. However, the centre-right party lost votes amid widespread protests against corruption and failed to find any coalition partners.
Oscar and Grammy winners to be offered fast track UK visas: Oscar, Grammy and Nobel Prize-winners will be among those able to get visas to live and work in the UK more easily under point-based immigration reforms. The Home Office has announced its decision to „fast track“ the process for those winning coveted arts awards. It is part of the government’s bid to attract the „best and brightest“ from around the world.
Italian and German police carry out raids on ’ndrangheta mafia operations: A joint operation carried out by police in Italy and Germany on Wednesday resulted in the arrest of 31 individuals suspected of being part of the ’ndrangheta mafia, Europol said in a press release. Around 800 police officers and tax officials in both countries took part in the large-scale operation against international drug trafficking and money laundering. The suspects are believed to have smuggled hundreds of kilograms of cocaine from the Netherlands to Italy.
Greek reporter after death threats: journalism targeted by business-politics ties: Greek journalist Kostas Vaxevanis recently heard someone was trying to have him killed. Days later, another well-known investigative journalist was assassinated in a mafia-styled execution in Athens. „Euractiv“ spoke to Vaxevanis to find out if press freedom is in trouble in Greece.
Germany: Ministers propose more ambitious climate goals dw.com
Spain: Pablo Iglesias leaves Spanish politics theguardian.com
France bans short domestic flights spiegel.de
Greece: Glimmer of hope for the tourism industry de.euronews.com
Italy: North-south divide poses challenge for Covid recovery plan de.euronews.com
⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃
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⊂ LAST BUT NOT LEAST ⊃
Serbia to offer cash to those who get Covid vaccine: Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic said on Wednesday his country would pay each citizen who gets a Covid jab before the end of May, in what could be the world’s first cash-for-jabs scheme. Vucic said the country wanted to reward people who showed responsibility. But he added that public employees who did not receive a vaccine would not get paid leave if they contracted the virus. Serbia is hoping to further boost its rollout on Thursday by offering vaccines in shopping centres and rewarding volunteers with vouchers.