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EU greenlights €1 billion in aid for Ukraine, Euro drops to 20-year low, Hackers posing as Merkel target ECB’s Lagarde
European Circle in week 28, 2022
curated by Nina von Schweinitz

EUROPE

EU greenlights €1 billion in aid for Ukraine: The Council of the European Union, which represent the bloc’s 27 individual member states, has agreed to send €1 billion in financial aid to Ukraine as Russia’s invasion intensifies. It will be provided in the form of loans, building on an initial €1.2 billion loan package from February. Ukraine will also receive another $1.7 billion in aid from the United States and the World Bank to pay health care workers’ salaries and provide other essential services. dw.com, politico.com

EU to tighten Russia sanctions enforcement: The EU has so far frozen 13.8 billion euros worth of assets held by Russian oligarchs, other individuals and entities sanctioned for Moscow’s war against Ukraine, the bloc’s top justice official said on Tuesday. The EU says it is working to improve compliance with and enforcement of its six rounds of sanctions against Russia as the 27-nation bloc seeks to tighten the economic pressure on the Kremlin for its war in Ukraine. reuters.com, wsj.com

UN Security Council agrees to extend Syria aid deliveries: The UN Security Council reached an agreement to extend a key aid delivery program from Turkey to rebel-held Syrian territories. The aid scheme’s mandate expired on Sunday, and two Security Council members with veto powers — Russia and the US — had failed to agree on the details of extension. But the council ultimately agreed to Russia’s plan of extending the program for six months, instead of the initially proposed yearlong extension. dw.com

Lithuanian government approves €10 million package to help rebuild Ukraine. euractiv.com

Euro drops to 20-year low: The euro and the US dollar are exchanging at a nearly 1-to-1 rate for the first time in nearly two decades, when the European currency was in its infancy. The euro has been losing ground against the dollar amid concerns that an energy crisis will tip the region into a recession, while the US currency was boosted by expectations that the Federal Reserve will hike rates faster and further than peers. reuters.com, washingtonpost.com

Croatia gets final approval to adopt euro in 2023: EU finance ministers have given Croatia the final green light to adopt the euro single currency on 1 January. Croatia’s switch from the kuna to the euro in 2023 will come less than a decade after the former Yugoslav republic joined the EU. Other EU countries yet to adopt the currency include Poland and Hungary. Sweden abandoned plans to join the eurozone after a referendum failed to receive the public’s support. dw.com

Hackers posing as Merkel target ECB’s Lagarde: Unidentified hackers attempted to trick European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde into letting them open a messaging app account in her name by posing as former German chancellor Angela Merkel, a German source said. A source familiar with the matter told Reuters hackers pretending to be Merkel messaged Lagarde asking her to disclose an authentication code that would have enabled them to open a WhatsApp account linked to the ECB chief’s phone number. reuters.com

Include the right to abortion in EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, demand MEPs. europarl.europa.eu
Campaign groups warn of major uncertainties in agri stats reform. euractiv.com
European cloud providers call not to give in to the pressure over sovereignty requirements. euractiv.com
EU citizens trust traditional media most, new Eurobarometer survey finds. europarl.europa.eu

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

“A new asylum system is finally needed throughout Europe. The way it has been cannot and must not continue. It is unacceptable that economic migration and refugees are mixed up.“

The EU Commission must take immediate action to fix the migration system as the burden on Austria is higher than in other member states, Chancellor Karl Nehammer said. euractiv.com

NATION

France PM survives no-confidence vote in parliament: French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne on Monday comfortably survived a motion of no-confidence brought against her by a broad alliance of left-wing opponents. An official vote count showed 146 lawmakers voted in support of the motion. The motion required an absolute majority of 289 votes to precipitate the government’s fall. After enjoying a comfortable majority in the lower house during his first mandate, newly-reelected President Emmanuel Macron lost his absolute majority in parliament in June’s legislative elections and can no longer count on the chamber to rubber stamp his reform agenda. reuters.com

Judge drops rape probe against French Interior Minister Darmanin: A Paris investigating judge on Monday ordered the closure of a five-year rape investigation into French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, his lawyers said. Darmanin’s lawyers said the interior minister himself would not comment on the investigation into claims by plaintiff Sophie Patterson-Spatz of rape, sexual harassment and abuse of trust dating back to 2009. france24.com

Germany bolsters defenses against Russian cyber threats: The German government on Tuesday announced plans to shore up cyber defenses in light of possible new threats from Russia. Several major cyberattacks around the world have been traced to Russian intelligence-linked hackers in recent years. dw.com

No 10 blocks Labour no confidence vote on government and Boris Johnson: Labour’s plan to hold a „no confidence“ vote in Boris Johnson and the government has been blocked by ministers, who control the House of Commons timetable. Meanwhile, eight candidates have made it through to the first round of Tory leadership race, as Sajid Javid suffered a shock knockout. Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss and Penny Mordaunt have secured the most declared nominations in the contest, ahead of the first ballot of MPs this Wednesday. Home Secretary Priti Patel ruled herself out of the Conservative leadership race just hours before the nominations closed on Tuesday evening. bbc.com, independent.co.uk, news.sky.com

BBC reports that UK soldiers killed civilians in Afghanistan: A BBC investigation alleged that British special forces killed dozens of detainees in suspicious circumstances during counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan a decade ago. Citing newly obtained military documents, the broadcaster alleged that one SAS unit may have unlawfully killed 54 people in the southern Helmand province in 2010 to 2011. It also alleged that the former head of UK special forces knew about the alleged killings, but didn’t pass on the evidence to a murder inquiry. bbc.com, washingtonpost.com

Heathrow asks airlines to stop selling summer tickets: Heathrow Airport is asking airlines to stop selling any more tickets for travel this summer, as it announces a cap on passengers allowed to fly from the airport. The London airport will limit passengers to 100,000 a day until 11 September, as it struggles to cope with high demand and a lack of resources. cnn.com

France: President Macron stands by past dealings with Uber. politico.eu
Czech EU presidency: Health one of the most important issues, minister says. euractiv.com
Srebrenica massacre: Netherlands apologises after 27 years. dw.com

NUMERS

The four largest political groups in the European Parliament have united behind proposals to raise the EU’s energy efficiency target for 2030, saying this will help ease energy prices for consumers and eliminate imports of Russian fossil fuels. The main highlight is a higher energy efficiency target of 14.5% by 2030 compared to the 2020 reference scenario. euractiv.com

AT LEAST

Tour de France disrupted by climate protesters: Stage 10 of the Tour de France cycling race was interrupted for around 15 minutes due to a protest staged by nine climate activists on Tuesday. The demonstration was claimed by Dernière Rénovation, a French climate activist group whose main demand is that the French government commit itself to renovating all buildings to be more energy efficient by 2040. politico.eu