Wednesday, 22 September 2021: Taliban seeks to attend UN General Assembly, Germany criticises cancelled submarine deal with France, France and India vow to act jointly after subs dispute

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Taliban seeks to attend UN General Assembly: The Taliban wants to send a high-ranking official to a gathering of world leaders this week at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, according to a UN official. The Taliban sent the request to UN Secretary General António Guterres on Monday in a message that named Mohammad Suhail Shaheen as the group’s permanent representative, UN spokesman Farhan Haq said. Around five weeks after taking power in Afghanistan, the Taliban brought some outsiders into their new Afghan government – but the government still excludes women and politicians who were active in the Afghan republic that was deposed on 15 August. In a speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden framed the US withdrawal from Afghanistan as ending „a period of relentless war“ and starting a new era of diplomacy. Biden also said that the US would provide more than $11 billion of climate aid annually by 2024 to assist poorer countries vulnerable to extreme weather and rising temperatures. Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke about the importance of the global vaccine efforts.
washingtonpost.com, wsj.com, npr.org, politico.com, theguardian.com

Germany criticises cancelled submarine deal with France: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has called the AUKUS submarine deal between the US, the UK and Australia „irritating“ as he addressed reporters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. France was infuriated last week when Australia cancelled a multi-billion-dollar contract for conventional submarines, saying it wanted to upgrade to US-made nuclear versions as it entered a new alliance with the United States and Britain. The EU expressed support and solidarity with France. European Council President Charles Michel said that he found it difficult to understand the move by Australia, Britain and the US. The EU’s Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton urged Europe and the US to „pause and reset“ their „broken“ relationship. Breton warned there was a growing feeling in Europe over past few weeks and there had been a lack of trust and confidence between allies.
news.yahoo.com, reuters.com, politico.eu, cnn.com

EU Commission signs contract for another Covid drug: Eli Lilly on Tuesday announced a pact with the European Commission to supply up to 220,000 doses of its COVID-19 dual antibody cocktail to European countries for patients aged 12 years and older who are at a high risk of progressing to severe disease. The treatment, a combination of bamlanivimab and etesevimab, is meant for use in patients who do not require supplemental oxygen for COVID-19.
reuters.com

-Advertisement-
Welted men’s footwear: Superior craftsmanship in shoemaking. Buy directly from our manufactures avoiding expensive middlemen. Experience true shoe freedom, handcrafted and custom made from the finest Italian leather. No matter the occasion; be it for the office, leisure or weddings – we have the appropriate pair of shoes
shoepassion.com

European court rules that Russia is responsible for Litvinenko’s assassination: Russia was responsible for killing Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian agent turned Kremlin critic who died in London by polonium poisoning in 2006, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said Tuesday. The court found in particular that there was a strong prima facie case that, in poisoning Litvinenko, the two Russian agents Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun had been acting as agents of the Russian state. The Russian government failed to provide domestic documents central to the investigation, the court said. The ECHR verdict supports the findings of a 2016 British inquiry that found that the two Russian agents poisoned Litvinenko at a London hotel bar in 2006 by spiking his green tea with the highly radioactive polonium-210.
cnn.com, apnews.com, politico.eu

UK charges another Russian for poisoning of Skripal: British police said on Tuesday a third Russian had been charged in absentia with the 2018 Novichok murder attempt on former double agent Sergei Skripal, saying they could also now confirm the three suspects were military intelligence operatives. Denis Sergeev is the third officer to be charged in the poisoning of Skripal. Months after the poisoning, British authorities charged two officers, identified by the aliases Ruslan Boshirov and Aleksandr Petrov, with carrying out the attack by applying the nerve agent, known as Novichok, to the doorknob at Skripal’s home in Salisbury. All three are members of Unit 29155, a division within Russia’s military intelligence agency, known as the GRU, that specialises in sabotage and assassination. British police said they would not seek the three men’s extradition because the Russian Constitution does not permit the extradition of its own nationals.
reuters.com, nytimes.com, rferl.org

US increases pressure on Sofia over Skopje’s EU integration: Washington is putting more pressure on Bulgaria, urging it to drop its veto on North Macedonia’s EU integration and quickly approve Skopje’s EU membership negotiating framework.
euractiv.com

European Central Bank (ECB) policymakers acknowledge growing inflation risk reuters.com
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD): Strong policy support and vaccinations lift eurozone growth outlook politico.eu
International Energy Agency (IEA) says Russia could do more to boost Europe’s gas supply bloomberg.com
Erasmus going digital: Upgrade to app for students studying abroad on EU-funded scheme euractiv.com
Energy ministers to hold first exchange on EU’s 2030 climate laws euractiv.com

⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃

It is wrong for Bulgaria to use a bilateral dispute to stop North Macedonia’s aspirations for the EU. They are turning it into a multilateral issue that affects us all.
The new US Special Envoy for the Western Balkans, Gabriel Escobar.
euractiv.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Face mask killing sparks radicalisation fears in Germany: Senior lawmakers in Germany expressed fears over the radicalisation among people who oppose coronavirus restrictions following the killing of a gas station employee. The 20-year-old clerk was killed in the western town of Idar-Oberstein on Saturday for asking a customer to wear a face mask. A German national has been arrested and is being held on suspicion of murder. The Green candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor, Annalena Baerbock, said she was very concerned about the radicalisation within Germany’s „Querdenker“ movement, which includes people who oppose masks and vaccines. Paul Ziemiak, the general secretary of Merkel’s CDU, said the clerk’s slaying was the result of „an inconceivable level of radicalisation.“ The SPD candidate to replace Merkel, Olaf Scholz, wrote on Twitter that he was „shocked that someone is killed because they wanted to protect themselves and others.“ CDU candidate Armin Laschet said that all people who claim that there is no coronavirus should go to intensive care units to see for themselves what was happening.
dw.com

France and India vow to act jointly after subs dispute: French President Emmanuel Macron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday vowed to act jointly in the Indo-Pacific region. Macron’s telephone talks with Modi were timed conspicuously as French anger appears undiminished after Australia pulled out of a submarine contract in favour of US submarines as part of an alliance with Washington and the UK. During the phone call, Macron assured Modi of France’s continued commitment to the strengthening of India’s strategic autonomy, including its industry and technology base, as part of a close relationship based on trust and mutual respect.
france24.com

Budapest mayor: cyberattack halting primaries came from China: The Hungarian capital’s mayor and joint PM candidate of green Párbeszéd and socialist MSZP, Gergely Karácsony, said on Monday that the cyber attack that halted the primaries on Saturday for two days came from China, Telex reported. On Saturday, independent candidate Péter Márki-Zay said they had expected an attack, but not as big as the one that happened. The primaries, which will decide a single challenger to PM Viktor Orbán in the 2022 parliamentary elections, restarted on Monday morning.
euractiv.com

Slovak journalists charged for revealing classified information: Police charged two reporters of the Denník N media outlet for disclosing what they said was classified information in the notorious murder case of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fianceé Martina Kusnírová. “Charging journalists for a truthful and accurate story is absurd and outrageous. However, we are not surprised and they can’t intimidate us,” Denník N editor-in-chief Matús Kostolný wrote in a commentary.
euractiv.com

BioNTech founders win top German medicine award: Three scientists from BioNTech, the German biotechnology company behind one of the main COVID-19 vaccines, will receive Germany’s most prestigious medical award in 2022. Ugur Sahin, Özlem Türeci and Katalin Kariko are being awarded the Paul Ehrlich- and Ludwig Darmstaedter-Preis 2022. Sahin and his wife, Türeci, founded BioNTech, headquartered in Mainz, Germany, in 2008. The award winners were initially aiming to develop and advance new cancer therapies. When the Covid pandemic began in January 2020, Sahin and Türeci focused their work on finding a vaccine against the previously unknown viral infection. At the time, it was unlikely anyone believed it would take BioNTech less than a year to develop a promising mRNA vaccine.
dw.com

Toulouse chemical factory explosion: France pays tribute to victims: On Tuesday, France marked 20 years since the deadly explosion at the AZF chemical factory in Toulouse. 31 people were killed that day, and thousands injured in what’s been described as France’s worst industrial accident since World War II.
france24.com

Pegasus surveillance software: Journalist who tracked Viktor Orban’s childhood friend infected with spyware theguardian.com
Ireland: Varadkar signals Irish openness to OECD tax deal politico.eu
Italy launches national hub to fight disinformation euractiv.com
Africa: Hundreds storm Namibia parliament ahead of German genocide deal vote reuters.com
Netherlands to spend billions on climate subsidies amid economic boom reuters.com
Volcanic eruptions on La Palma and Sicily: Is there a connection? rnd.de

⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃

Die GIZ sucht für den Standort Bien Hoa/Vietnam, eine:n Digital Ambassador: Entwicklungshelfer:in als Berater:in für eine Berufsschule in Vietnam (m/w/d)+++Die GIZ sucht für den Standort Neu Delhi/Indien, eine:n (Junior-)Berater:in im Bereich internationale Wirtschaftskooperation mit Indien (m/w/d)+++Das Verbindungsbüro Kärnten in Brüssel sucht zum frühestmöglichen Zeitpunkt (spätestens 1. Oktober 2021) eine:n Referent:in für Kommunikation und Organisation (m/w/d)+++Science Europe is looking for a Communications Manager (m/f/d)+++Transparency International EU is looking for an Intern Communications/Editorial Assistant (m/f/d)+++Jobs at politjobs.eu +++ Don’t miss any jobs with the politjobs.eu job alert +++

⊂ LAST BUT NOT LEAST ⊃

Emmanuel Macron’s Covid vaccine certificate circulates online: The French president’s coronavirus vaccination certificate, which includes his name, date of birth and a personalised QR code, is circulating on social media. The Elysee presidential palace said on Tuesday that misconduct – either accidental or on purpose – had led to the private document being passed around online. Whether a new QR code will be issued is still unclear, the palace said. French health authorities have access to a centralised system of coronavirus vaccination certificates. Someone among the staff had distributed Macron’s certificate, although the intent was unknown, the Elysee said.
dpa-international.com

 

Newsletter subscription
Subscribe to our free daily newsletter with a compact overview of European topics:
Previous editions

Other political briefings

Our digital news briefings