Wednesday, 21 October 2020: Greece questions EU customs union with Turkey, EU takes action against “golden passport” scheme, Donors pledge 1.4 billion euros for Sahel region


Greece questions EU customs union with Turkey: Greece has asked fellow European Union countries to halt military exports to Turkey, the country’s foreign minister Nikos Dendias said Tuesday. The minister has also written to EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi to complain that Turkey is violating its customs union with the EU. Dendias said he had asked his EU counterparts to halt the export of military equipment to Turkey given that this equipment was being used in actions that destabilised the region. Turkey is also facing headwinds in the Arab world with its aggressive foreign policy: Two weeks ago, the head of Saudi Arabia’s Chambers of Commerce called for a boycott of Turkish products.,

EU takes action against “golden passport” scheme: The European Commission launched infringements procedures Tuesday against Cyprus and Malta over their “golden passport” programmes, in which wealthy people can acquire EU citizenship in exchange for an investment. The EU’s executive said the lucrative schemes are in violation of EU law and undermine the essence of EU citizenship. Cyprus recently announced that it was ending its programme amid allegations that a top state official and a veteran lawmaker were trying to bypass vetting rules.

Donors pledge 1.4 billion euros for Sahel region: Conflict and hunger have turned Africa’s Sahel region into the scene of one of the world’s fastest-growing humanitarian crises. On Tuesday, the United Nations held a virtual donor conference which raised more than 1.4 billion euros to support the countries of the African Sahel region. Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and representatives of the Danish government and the European Union took part too.,

Council agrees on 2021 catch limits: The Council of the EU has reached an agreement on next year’s fishing opportunities in the Baltic Sea, focusing on fish stock recovery. Ministers agreed to continue decreasing the fishing opportunities for several fish stocks in the Baltic Sea to help them recover. Ministers decided to continue the closure of the Eastern Baltic cod fishery and to provide only a by-catch quota, which was again significantly reduced compared to last year’s. The EU agriculture ministers’ negotiations on the reform of the common agricultural policy went into the night on Tuesday.

Trump urges Barr to probe Hunter Biden business dealings: US President Donald Trump on Tuesday said Attorney General William Barr needed to act and appoint somebody after nearly a dozen House Republicans urged him to tap a special counsel to investigate alleged revelations coming from a laptop purported to have belonged to Joe Biden’s son Hunter. Trump also said Tuesday that he would support a coronavirus relief package with an even bigger price tag than Democrats’ $2.2 trillion proposal. The Supreme Court will allow Pennsylvania to count mailed-in ballots received up to three days after the presidential election, rejecting a Republican plea in the presidential battleground state. (Biden), (Relief package), (Pennsylvania)

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The coronavirus crisis has certainly caused a major economic upheaval, but it is not the only crisis we are experiencing. The climate emergency, the destruction of biodiversity, soil erosion and water pollution are just as serious. All of these issues, which were of little or no concern a few years ago, have become essential.
In an interview with Euractiv France, German Green Party politician Harald Ebner spoke about how crucial it was to integrate the European Commission’s “Farm to Fork” strategy into the new CAP, which according to him, should be greener and fairer.


Murdered teacher to be awarded France’s Highest Honor: Samuel Paty, the teacher who was beheaded in a Parisian suburb last week, will posthumously receive France’s highest award, the “Legion d’Honneur”. A national ceremony in honor of Paty will be held at Paris’ Sorbonne university this Wednesday. A parent accused of organising a campaign against the teacher exchanged text messages and phone calls with the killer, French media have reported. “The enemy is here,” Prime Minister Jean Castex told parliament on Tuesday shortly after lawmakers held a minute’s silence in the National Assembly. “Radical Islam has infiltrated our society founded on tolerance.” Castex told lawmakers France was in need of a law against endangering the lives of others via social media networks. French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Tuesday that the “Cheikh Yassine Collective” is to be dissolved due to its direct implication in the terror attack against Paty.,,,

Police racism study in Germany: The German government will commission a study of institutional racism in society, the interior ministry said on Tuesday, after a series of scandals in which police officers and soldiers were found to be harbouring far-right sentiments. The study will include a component specifically examining racism in the police, as part of a compromise between the Social Democrats, who have long demanded such a study, and conservative interior minister Horst Seehofer, who was opposed.

Hungarian MPs appoint new top judge despite warnings: Hungarian MPs on Monday appointed Zsolt Andras Varga as the Supreme Court president for the next nine years, despite senior judges rejecting his nomination over his lack of experience, and concerns over the judicial independence. The EU Commission said in a report last month that lowered eligibility criteria for the top legal post in Hungary gave President Janos Ader, an Orban ally and former head of Fidesz, greater discretion over the appointment.,

Belgium and Switzerland see increase in Covid cases: Belgium will need to postpone all non-essential hospital procedures to deal with a surge in Covid-19 infections, the health minister Frank Vandenbroucke told lawmakers on Tuesday, days after warning of a Covid tsunami hitting the country. The nation of 11 million people had 816 new Covid-19 infections per 100,000 residents over the past week, according to official figures, second only to the Czech Republic in Europe. Swiss health authorities reported 3,008 new coronavirus infections in a day on Tuesday as hospitalisations continued to mount. (Belgium), (Switzerland)

Ukraine: President Zelenskyj sees reason for hope for peace
Sweden bans Huawei, ZTE from upcoming 5G networks
Germany and Denmark are moving closer together on wind energy


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Portugal’s unemployed numbers jump: The number of people registered as unemployed in Portugal jumped 36% in September from a year ago, with the tourism-dependent Algarve region suffering the hardest blow as the coronavirus wiped out thousands of seasonal jobs, data showed on Tuesday.


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