EU Affairs Daily Briefing – 25 June 2020
Today, the coronavirus still takes a spotlight. Germany takes over the presidency to facilitate economic recovery as the migrant crisis continues. EU and China trade tensions escalate and Polish Duda visits White House.
Germany assumes EU presidency with renewed sense of purpose, The Financial Times
On 1st of July, Germany will be assuming EU presidency. The Financial Times (UK) reports that in these unprecedent times, Chancellor Angela Merkel has two main tasks: facilitate the recovery from the ravaging pandemic and prevent the single market from unravelling. Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. She told the Bundestag that there is a risk that “economic prospects of the EU member states will drift apart and the internal market, Europe’s core element, will be weakened”. That cannot, she said, be allowed to happen.
Poland’s Duda goes in search of the Trump effect ahead of presidential election, The Financial Times
Poland is to hold presidential election this Sunday (28 June). As the date is fast approaching, the Financial Times (UK) reports that the current incumbent, Adrzej Duda has travelled amidst the pandemic to visit US President Trump in hope of boosting his prospects. Despite this, the meeting brought little results. Few warm words have been exchanged, but no significant statements or commitments were agreed on. “Expectations were pretty high for this visit. Even critics of President Duda were withholding judgment, hoping that what he would bring back would be consequential . . . for Poland’s security. In that sense it seems that the visit is below expectations,” said Michal Baranowski from the German Marshall Fund of the US, a think-tank.
Six migrant boats intercepted off Kent coast, BBC
Six boats carrying 82 migrants have been intercepted by Border Force vessels off the Kent coast, reports BBC (UK). The immigration crisis continues and poses new-found risks as the pandemic continues. Chris Philp, minister for immigration compliance and the courts, said he is determined to dismantle the criminal gangs responsible. Mr Philp said: “We are bringing those responsible to justice and earlier this month two people smugglers were jailed, bringing the total jailed this year to 21.” At least 2,282 people have successfully crossed the Channel in 2020.
Sudan Partnership Conference to take place on 25 June: a global effort to support #Sudan, EU Reporter
The EU Reporter (Brussels) published an article stating that today the EU, along with the UN and Germany will co-host a virtual high-level international conference. This conference is meant to strengthen the international community’s political support for the ongoing transition in Sudan. It will also aim at mobilizing financial support for the democratic transition, economic recovery and humanitarian needs, as the coronavirus pandemic added another strain to the country’s economic situation and increased the humanitarian needs. The conference will also provide a platform for the country’s authorities to present the reforms undertaken so far.
EU-backed court wrecks US plan for Kosovo summit, EU Observer
On 23rd of June we mentioned that the EU and US were going to resume Kosovo-Serbia peace talks. Now, the EU Observer (Brussels) reports that the talks may take a hit. An EU-backed war crimes tribunal has publicly stigmatised Kosovo president Hashim Thaçi, wrecking US plans for a Western Balkans summit. Thaçi and others were “criminally responsible for nearly 100 murders” of “victims of Kosovo Albanian, Serb, Roma, and other ethnicities and … political opponents,” according to a statement by the Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC) in The Hague on Wednesday (24 June).
EU and China trade blows over trade, what’s the latest? Euro News
As EU and China hold summits to resolve trade imbalances, Euro News (France) reports that the block has made one of the firmest trade responses yet. For the first time ever, Brussels has imposed tariffs on Chinese companies based abroad. “This is a clear message that Brussels is sending, that such kinds of subsidised goods, even if they are not subsidised by their home country, Egypt in that case, but by a third country indirectly, won’t be allowed on the European market,” says Agatha Kratz, associate director at Rhodium Group. In response, China lashed out at the EU decision saying it violated World Trade Organization rules.