Wednesday, 23 September 2020: China and US argue over how to deal with pandemic, Johnson’s Brexit law clears another hurdle, New EU plan to solve divisions over migration

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

China and US argue over how to deal with pandemic: Tensions between the US and China came to the fore of the annual UN General Assembly in New York. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday urged the world to prevent a Cold War and halt conflicts so it can focus on the coronavirus pandemic. In a video address from the White House, US President Donald Trump blamed China for the spread of the virus. He called for China to be held accountable for the pandemic, saying the country had “unleashed this plague” onto the world. In his speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country had “no intention to enter a Cold War with any country”. French President Emmanuel Macron said world leaders must not let themselves be dominated by a geopolitical power struggle between the US and China. He also demanded an immediate explanation from Russia over the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
bbc.com, dw.com, france24.com, uk.reuters.com

Johnson’s Brexit law clears another hurdle: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday moved a step closer to getting parliamentary approval for new powers to break the Withdrawal Agreement struck with the EU last year as lawmakers backed changes to the Internal Market Bill. Johnson’s plan has angered the EU and drawn heavy criticism from lawmakers who say that going back on an international agreement damages Britain’s reputation.
uk.reuters.com

New EU plan to solve divisions over migration: This Wednesday, the EU Commission will make new proposals on collectively managing immigration, an issue that has damaged the unity of its 27 member states in recent years. Masterminded by Germany, the plan aims to step up returns – including by cracking down on visas for citizens of countries that refuse to take their nationals back – and support foreign states in stemming migration before people reach Europe. It would also legally oblige all member states, in exchange for funding from the EU budget, to host their share of refugees. Italy will take in 300 migrants from the Greek island of Lesbos following a fire in the Greek refugee camp Moria.
reuters.com (EU plan), tagesschau.de (Moria)

Turkey and Greece agree to resume talks on Mediterranean dispute: Turkey and Greece have agreed to talks over disputed waters in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Both sides said on Tuesday they were ready to start exploratory talks after a three-way videoconference between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Council President Charles Michel.
france24.com

Four more states join EU medical reserve: Denmark, Greece, Hungary and Sweden have joined Germany and Romania as host states of the rescEU medical equipment reserve. The rescEU reserve constitutes the last resort layer of the Union Civil Protection Mechanism, which can be activated for all type of natural and man-made hazards. With financial support from the EU Commission, the six member states are building up common European stocks of lifesaving protective and other medical equipment that can be distributed across Europe at times of medical emergencies.
ec.europa.eu

European Court of Justice backs French law regulating Airbnb: Tourist hot spots may impose restrictions on short-term rentals if they suffer from a shortage of affordable housing, according to a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union that goes against Airbnb landlords.
politico.eu

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg: Trump critic Mitt Romney supports voting on Supreme Court nomination before US election npr.org
US presidential candidate Joe Biden wants to end trade war with the EU ft.com
Covid 1: Record new infections in Europe within one week tagesspiegel.de
Covid 2: Vaccine manufacturers rely on EU protection in event of possible lawsuits reuters.com
European Central Bank to accept and buy sustainable bonds reuters.com
Borrell concedes: Pandemic has derailed EU-Africa strategy euractiv.com

⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃

Migrants are like you and I. They are men and women, boys and girls; they have different opinions; they have difference experiences and they are human beings, and they have to be treated like that.
EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson spoke to Euronews about the EU’s migration pact. She advocated for solidarity towards migrants, asylum seekers and between EU member states.
euronews.com

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Threats against “Charlie Hebdo” HR chief: The HR director of the French magazine “Charlie Hebdo”, Marika Bret, has left her home because of precise and detailed threats to her security guards, French media reported. Bret said her guards, who have protected her for almost five years, received the threats on 14 September. The magazine was the target of a deadly terror attack in January 2015, in which twelve people were killed, after publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
bbc.com

Macron rejects isolating older people in pandemic: During a visit to a French nursing home, French President Emmanuel Macron said he did not believe that isolating the elderly from the rest of society was a solution to the pandemic. He said the country would not defeat the virus by locking in certain citizens. France on Tuesday registered more than 10,000 new confirmed coronavirus infections over 24-hours, for the sixth time in twelve days. Madrid’s regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso has warned of a lockdown in the entire capital region in light of increasing numbers of infections in Madrid. Sweden’s public health agency is discussing imposing new Covid restrictions on Stockholm. Although infection numbers are rising in the Czech Republic, the government has ruled out imposing another lockdown.
tagesschau.de (Macron), reuters.com (France), tagesspiegel.de (Ayuso); telegraph.co.uk (Sweden), welt.de (Czech Republic)

Spain’s home-working draft bill: The Spanish government has agreed with unions and business leaders that employers must cover home working expenses after the pandemic caused millions to work from their living rooms.
reuters.com

US troops to stay longer in Lithuania: A new contingent of US troops and armour will be deployed in Lithuania in November but their presence is not linked to the situation in neighbouring Belarus, Lithuanian Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis said on Tuesday.
reuters.com

Belarus: Athletes unite to oppose Lukashenko dw.com
Austria: Investigation into suspected illegal FPÖ party donations ends zeit.de
Hungary: Protest against mysterious dam construction in Budapest de.euronews.com
Denmark-Germany tunnel: Protesters rally at court hearing dw.com
FinCEN Files: Bringing big banks to justice dw.com

⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃

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⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃

EU summit postponed because of Covid scare: An EU summit planned for 24 and 25 September has been postponed by a week after European Council President Charles Michel went into coronavirus quarantine. Michel’s spokesman, Barend Leyts, announced the delay on Tuesday, saying the president had isolated because a security officer who had been in close contact with him last week tested positive for Covid-19.
twitter.com, euronews.com, politico.eu

 

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