Tuesday, 2 June 2020: Protests against police violence after George Floyd’s death in the US, London mayor calls for Brexit extension, Lufthansa accepts terms of EU-Germany rescue deal

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Protests against police violence after George Floyd’s death in the US: Tens of thousands of protesters across the United States once again took to the streets on Sunday to protest racist police violence. In Minneapolis, a semi-truck drove into a George Floyd demonstration of thousands of people on a bridge. Officials said no protesters appeared injured. The Minnesota state patrol said in a tweet that the action appeared deliberate. Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed on Monday, saw its sixth consecutive day of protests on Sunday. Floyd was captured on video pleading for air as a police officer kneeled on his neck while he was handcuffed. Four Minneapolis officers have been fired and one has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Protests across the US turned violent at times, with protesters setting fire to and looting businesses, and clashing with law enforcement officers dressed in riot gear who deployed tear gas and opened fire with rubber bullets in an effort to break protests apart. US President Donald Trump on Monday lashed out at governors during a White House videoconference, telling them that “most of you are weak”. Trump called the governors “fools” and expressed anger with Democratic mayors in particular over the protests and unrest ravaging cities nationwide. Attorney General William Barr said the justice department would be using joint terrorist task forces to track instigators at the protests. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said reports of police misconduct during the protests would be immediately investigated. In an essay on “Medium”, former US president Barack Obama called for political solutions to address protesters’ grievances about criminal justice. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner released a new autopsy report Monday, ruling Floyd’s death was a homicide.
theguardian.com, cbsnews.com (Minneapolis); nbcnews.com, politico.com (Trump); cnbc.com (De Blasio); medium.com, cnn.com (Obama); npr.org (Autopsy)

London mayor calls for Brexit extension: The UK is still part of the EU’s internal market and the customs union during a transition phase following Brexit. Once this transition phase is over, tariffs and other trade restrictions will have to be introduced if the UK and EU haven’t been able to agree on a trade deal. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, broke ranks with the Labour party on Monday to call for a postponement of Brexit past the end of the year, given the lack of progress in negotiations and disruption caused by the coronavirus crisis. The government should stop putting dogma ahead of the national interest and extend the Brexit transition period, Khan said. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has refused to sign up to a longer transition despite it being an option under the treaty he negotiated. This Tuesday, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier will meet with his British counterpart David Frost to try and negotiate a trade agreement. Johnson also plans Brexit talks with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for June, according to the “Financial Times”.
independent.co.uk, ft.com

Merkel rebuffs Trump’s invitation to G7 summit: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has rebuffed US President Donald Trump’s invitation to attend a G7 summit at the end of June in Washington. Considering the overall pandemic situation, Merkel could not agree to a journey to Washington, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said. The chancellor would of course continue to monitor the development of the pandemic. Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada did not support Russia’s return to the G7, proposed by Trump over the weekend, because Russia continued to flout international law. “Russia was excluded from the G7 after it invaded Crimea a number of years ago, and its continued disrespect and flaunting of international rules and norms is why it remains outside of the G7, and it will continue to remain out,” Trudeau said during his daily news conference.
politico.eu, reuters.com

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EU Transport Commissioner Valean: “Social distancing is recommended but not compulsory in airplanes” france24.com
Hong Kong will not hold a mass vigil commemorating the Tiananmen square massacre; China warns US it will retaliate on moves over Hong Kong cnn.com; reuters.com

⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃

We will have perhaps some slight corrections, but not substantial.
EU Economic Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni expects only minor changes to the billion dollar coronavirus reconstruction plan for Europe.
politico.eu

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Lufthansa accepts terms of EU-Germany rescue deal: Lufthansa’s supervisory board said on Monday it had accepted an agreement reached with Germany and the European Union to rescue the struggling German airline. Part of the deal involves ceding take-off and landing rights to competitors at major hubs in Frankfurt and Munich, as well as giving up aircraft to competitors. The €9 billion rescue package sees the German government take over 20% of shares in the airline. It makes the German government the company’s biggest shareholder. The deal between Berlin and Brussels took so long to hash out because German Chancellor Angela Merkel was keen to minimise federal control of the group. The bailout still needs to be approved by regulators and Lufthansa investors, who are due to meet virtually at an extraordinary general meeting on 25 June, Lufthansa said, adding that the rescue funds would have to be repaid as soon as possible.
dw.com, reuters.com

Spain courts foreign tourists with health guarantee: Swimmers and sun-bathers turned out in droves on Monday as Spain reopened nearly all its beaches as part of government steps to revive a devastated tourist industry. Spain also reported no new coronavirus deaths for the first time in months on Monday. Emergency health response chief Fernando Simon said the development was very encouraging. He told a news conference there were only 71 new infections over the past 24 hours. The official death toll now stands at 27,127, with 240,000 confirmed cases. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is seeking a two-week extension of the country’s state of emergency, which will take the lockdown up to 21 June.
reuters.com, nbcnews.com, theguardian.com

France and Netherlands ease restrictions: Starting this Tuesday, for the first time since France was put under lockdown in mid-March, people will be able to travel more than 60 miles from their homes, parks will open and restaurants, cafes and bars will be allowed to serve food and drinks again to customers onsite. In a speech on Thursday, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the country is entering phase two of lifting its lockdown, and the government will be removing more and more confinement measures because the situation is evolving positively since the lockdown ended on 11 May. In the Netherlands, terraces filled quickly on Monday as bars and restaurants were allowed to open for the first time in almost three months. Museums, cinemas and theatres were also allowed to open their doors, as long as they follow strict social distancing rules to prevent a new rise in infections. In Slovakia, almost all primary schools reopened under strict hygiene requirements. Estonia and Lithuania have opened their borders for citizens from European countries with low coronavirus infection rates.
npr.org (France), nytimes.com (Netherlands), tagesschau.de (Slovakia), handelsblatt.com (Estonia and Lithuania)

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Italy launches virus tracking app despite privacy concerns: Coronavirus deaths in Italy climbed by 60 on Monday, against 75 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new cases fell to just 178 from 355 on Sunday. The total death toll now stands at 33,475, the agency said, the third highest in the world after those of the United States and Britain. Meanwhile, Italy has launched an app based on Apple and Google’s security and privacy-focused Exposure Notifications to offer digital contact tracing for coronavirus.
nytimes.com, handelsblatt.com

Swedish PM to appoint coronavirus inquiry: Sweden will launch an inquiry into the country’s handling of the pandemic before the summer, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in a newspaper interview on Monday, amid growing criticism over nursing home deaths and the lack of testing. Lofven, whose Social Democrats rule in coalition with the Greens but also depend on backing from two centre-right parties, had previously said a commission would be appointed once the crisis was over but was under pressure to act sooner.
reuters.com

Greece: Thousands of asylum seekers face eviction, sparking fears over homelessness; Protest against refugee camp euronews.com; welt.de
Armenia: Prime Minister Pashinyan tests positive for coronavirus reuters.com
Belgium: Prince apologises for lockdown party in Spain theguardian.com
Austria: Anti-semitic dedication by former vice chancellor Strache has surfaced sueddeutsche.de
Belarus: Dozens of opposition members arrested neweurope.eu

⊂ 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 ⊃

Romania’s Orban breaches own coronavirus rules, pays fine: Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban paid a 3,000 lei fine on Saturday for breaking his own coronavirus restrictions by not wearing a face mask and smoking indoors. A picture which went viral on social media shows Orban in his office, sitting around a table with several other cabinet members, smoking a cigarette while none of them wore masks. In Romania, wearing masks is mandatory in public transport and in closed public spaces due to the coronavirus pandemic. Smoking indoors has been banned in Romania since 2016.
euractiv.com

 

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