Wednesday, 30 September 2020: Armenia accuses Turkey of shooting down fighter jet, UK and Canada impose sanctions on Lukashenko, Catalonia in turmoil after Supreme Court removes president

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Armenia accuses Turkey of shooting down fighter jet: Armenia said on Tuesday that one of its fighter jets was shot down by a Turkish jet in an escalation of the conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Armenian Defence Ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanyan said the Armenian SU-25 was shot down on Tuesday morning and the pilot had died. Turkey denied the claim and spoke of “cheap propaganda tricks”, and Azerbaijan also denied it. Azerbaijan said it does not receive any military support from Turkey. Nearly 100 people, including civilians, have died as battles between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces continue. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for an immediate ceasefire in the conflict during a phone call with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
bbc.com, reuters.com, bbc.com, bloomberg.com

UK and Canada impose sanctions on Lukashenko: Britain and Canada have announced sanctions on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, his son and six other officials. They will be subject to an immediate travel ban and asset freeze, in response to the disputed recent elections and crackdown on protesters. “We don’t accept the results of this rigged election. We will hold those responsible for the thuggery deployed against the Belarusian people to account and we will stand up for our values of democracy and human rights,” UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.
euronews.com, euractiv.com

Germany’s Maas attacks Russia in UN speech for Navalny poisoning: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called the poisoning of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny a problem for the entire international community, in a pre-recorded speech for the United Nations general debate on Tuesday. Maas criticised the attack as a violation of chemical weapons law and called on Russia to do more to investigate this case. Laboratories in Germany, France and Sweden found that Navalny was targeted using the Soviet-developed nerve agent Novichok.
dpa-international.com

Orban calls for removal of EU Commissioner Jourova: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has written to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen calling for Vera Jourova, the EU commissioner for values and transparency, to step down. The right-wing leader wrote that the Hungarian government had ended bilateral political contacts with Jourova, who also serves as vice president of the European Commission, following her “latest derogatory public statements.” Jourova had said in an interview that she found the media landscape in Hungary to be alarming. According to Jourova, there is little critique of the government in the country’s local media and the majority of Hungarians have no room to express their free opinion.
dw.com

EU parliament could block Covid rescue fund: In their fight for a stronger response to rule of law violations within the EU, MEPs could block the EU rescue fund that is intended to help member states in the pandemic. The parliamentary group leaders of the four large pro-European groups recently made it clear that budget proposals as they had now been put on the table were not acceptable to parliament, said MEP Rasmus Andresen. He said it would be the responsibility of the EU member states if this leads to delays in the negotiations on the long-term EU budget and the recovery fund.
tagesspiegel.de

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Brexit: EU won’t accept Britain going back on Brexit deal, Germany’s Roth says reuters.com
Italy: Giorgia Meloni elected president of European Conservatives and Reformists politico.eu
UN Migration Organisation (IOM): Europe attractive for highly qualified immigrants tagesspiegel.de
Covid-19: EU countries exchange data from Covid apps zdf.de

⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃

The European Union is standing by Georgia in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. We will continue to do everything we can to alleviate the effects of the pandemic on the lives of the people and businesses.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi, who signed two financing agreements with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia worth 129 million euros to assist Georgia in coping with the Covid-19 outbreak and its impact on the country’s economy.
ec.europa.eu

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Catalonia in turmoil after Supreme Court removes president: The Spanish Supreme Court upheld a regional court ruling on Monday that Catalonia’s regional president Quim Torra violated electoral law, paving the way for his immediate removal as the region’s separatist leader. Last year’s regional court ruling found that Torra was guilty of disobedience for taking three days to remove banners and yellow ribbons draped on public buildings in support of jailed pro-independence leaders. Torra’s lawyers plan to take the fight to the country’s Constitutional Court and eventually to the European Court of Human Rights, arguing that it is a breach of Torra’s fundamental rights to freedom of expression and to an impartial tribunal. Thousands of people across Catalonia protested against Torra’s removal from office. According to media reports, up to 1000 people gathered in Barcelona. They pelted police officers with firecrackers, garbage bags, stones and pigs’ heads, and set dumpsters on fire.
politico.eu, zeit.de

Merkel unveils new coronavirus measures: German Chancellor Angela Merkel outlined new measures to fight the virus on Tuesday, following an emergency meeting with the heads of all 16 federal states as infections rise across the country. In areas that register more than 35 infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days, public parties will have a limit of 50 people. The states will now have the option to impose time restrictions or temporary bans on the sale of alcohol in restaurants and bars, in an effort to curb infections. Merkel and the heads of the state governments urged citizens to refrain from travel to risk areas in the autumn.
dw.com

French police clear migrant camp: French police have dismantled a camp of 700 to 800 migrants and refugees in the port city of Calais, the biggest such operation since the sprawling “Jungle” shantytown was broken up four years ago. About 150 of the evacuated people will be brought to reception centres in Pas-de-Calais, another 150 to other departments in northern France, and the remaining 500-odd to other regions of the country.
france24.com

Paris knife attack suspect wanted to set Charlie Hebdo offices on fire: A man who injured two people in a knife attack outside the former offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris last week admitted that he wanted to set its offices on fire, the lead prosecutor in the case said Tuesday. Meanwhile, French police arrested 29 people in a sting operation targeting a network of terror financing for jihadists in Syria.
france24.com (Charlie Hebdo), france24.com (Sting operation)

Early closing for some Polish bars: Restaurants and bars will have to close at 10 pm at the latest in areas of Poland worst affected by the coronavirus, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said, adding that there would be no nationwide lockdown. There will also be further limits on the number of people who can attend weddings and the wearing of masks will be obligatory outside home in badly hit places.
reuters.com

Spain: Right-wing populists submit motion of no confidence in government zeit.de
Romania: Mayor elected in Romania despite dying of Covid-19 a week earlier euronews.com

⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃

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⊂ MALFUNCTION ⊃

EU Parliament continues to meet in Brussels: French President Emmanuel Macron complained in a letter to the president of the European Parliament last week about the assembly’s decision to hold sessions in Brussels only for the time being as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. “If we accept that the European Parliament only gathers in Brussels, we’re screwed, because in ten years time everything will take place in Brussels and people will only speak amongst themselves in Brussels,” he said. In normal times, the parliament’s lawmakers convene in Strasbourg for one week every month and in the Belgian city of Brussels for the remainder. But EU Parliament President David Sassoli wrote on Twitter that due to the recent increase in the number of Covid infections in France, it was in the interests of health to reconsider the trip to Strasbourg for the plenary session.
euractiv.de, reuters.com

 

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