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Wednesday, 13 April 2022: Ukraine investigates claim that phosphorus munitions were dropped in Mariupol, Boris Johnson fined over lockdown-breaking parties, Sarkozy calls to vote for Macron
13. April 2022

⊂ EUROPE ⊃

Ukraine investigates claim that phosphorus munitions were dropped in Mariupol: Ukraine investigated a claim that a poisonous substance was dropped on besieged Mariupol, as Western officials warned Tuesday that any use of chemical weapons by Russia would be a serious escalation of the already devastating war. “There are reports of the use of chemical weapons, we have not been able to verify those ourselves,” the UK’s Armed Forces Minister James Heappey told Sky News in an interview. “But let’s be clear — if they are used at all then [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin should know that all possible options are on the table in terms of how the West might respond.” pbs.org, politico.eu

  • Slovakia in talks over possible transfer of MiG jets to Ukraine politico.eu
  • C5 foreign ministers fail to agree on Russia sanctions de.euronews.com
  • Russian oil embargo could be part of next EU sanctions package, ministers say reuters.com
  • EU blacklists 21 Russian airlines cnn.com
  • Finland and Sweden could soon join NATO cnn.com

Ukraine rejects visit by German President Steinmeier: German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who’s currently in Warsaw, said a trip to Ukraine suggested by his Polish counterpart „wasn’t wanted“ by Kyiv. Ukraine has previously been highly critical of the German president over his connections with Russia and the leading role he played as former foreign minister in improving relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. dw.com

Austria’s leader says meeting with Putin was ’not a friendly visit‘: Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer held „very direct, open and tough“ talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin near Moscow on Monday, in Putin’s first meeting with a European Union leader since the invasion of Ukraine started more than six weeks ago. „This is not a friendly visit. I have just come from Ukraine and have seen with my own eyes the immeasurable suffering caused by the Russian war of aggression,“ Nehammer was quoted as saying in a statement issued by his office after the meeting outside Moscow. reuters.com, edition.cnn.com

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Heated EU debate on energy sanctions against Russia: EU countries have decided to ban all imports of Russian coal, marking the first time the bloc has agreed to directly target energy products in retaliation for the war in Ukraine. Coal imports, which amounted to €5.16 billion in 2021, represent a small fraction of the almost €99 billion the bloc spent last year on fossil fuels. All eyes turn now to oil and gas, two products for which the EU pays a much loftier bill and that are more expensive to replace. euronews.com

Senior EU officials were targeted with Israeli spyware: Senior officials at the EU Commission were targeted last year with spy software designed by an Israeli surveillance firm, according to two EU officials. Reuters was unable to determine who used the Israeli spyware to target the officials, whether the attempts were successful, and, if so, what the hackers might have obtained as a result. The Commission became aware of the targeting following warnings issued by Apple to thousands of iPhone owners in November telling them they were „targeted by state-sponsored attackers.“ Security researchers have said the recipients of the warnings were targeted between February and September 2021 using ForcedEntry, an advanced piece of software that was used by Israeli cyber surveillance vendor NSO Group to help foreign spy agencies remotely and invisibly take control of iPhones. reuters.com

Armenia and Azerbaijan agree on peace treaty mediated by the EU: Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to start preparations for peace talks to resolve three decades of conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met in Brussels on Wednesday alongside European Council President Charles Michel, who said in a statement that both leaders „have expressed their willingness to move quickly towards a peace agreement“. euronews.com

Member states can leave the EU, but can the bloc kick one of them out? Over the past few years, Brussels has launched punitive proceedings against Poland and Hungary for rule of law breaches and it is now getting ready to use a new mechanism to withhold funds. But if these fail to rein them in, could the European Union ever kick a member state out? The short answer is: no. The long answer is: it would take years of haggling and then most probably fail. euronews.com

Music streaming probe: Apple faces extra EU antitrust charge reuters.com
Council of Europe issues guidelines: Tackling the risks for democracy of digital political campaigning coe.int
EU court: Non-EU airlines liable for compensation for delays reuters.com
Digital Services Act (DSA): Big online firms face 0.1% supervisory fee under new EU rules reuters.com

⊂ QUOTE OF THE DAY ⊃

I was ready to do this, but apparently — and I have to take note of this — this was not wanted in Kyiv.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed disappointment that Ukraine had refused his visit.
politico.eu

⊂ COUNTRIES ⊃

Germany’s Baerbock visits Mali as EU ends training mission: German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock arrived in Mali in early Tuesday morning, hours after the European Union said it would halt its mission training troops there. Baerbock said Germany’s military operations in Mali were „enormously important,“ adding that the mission was a „great challenge“ for the Bundeswehr. Berlin is deciding on whether to keep its soldiers in the country as concerns mount about operations involving Russian private mercenary firm the Wagner Group and Mali’s post-coup military government. dw.com

Boris Johnson sorry as police fine him over lockdown-breaking parties: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered a “full apology” as he confirmed he has paid a police fine for attending rule-breaking parties while coronavirus restrictions were in place. But Johnson batted away calls for his resignation after both he and his most senior minister, Rishi Sunak, were issued with fine notices by police investigating the so-called Partygate scandal that has rocked Westminster for months. politico.eu

Sarkozy calls to vote for Macron: The former right-wing president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, has called on citizens to vote for Emmanuel Macron in the second round of the presidential election on 24 April, in contrast with the position of his former party. Sarkozy praised the qualities of Macron, who he said has the “necessary experience in the face of a serious international crisis […] his economic project puts the value of work at the centre of all his priorities […] his European commitment is clear and unambiguous”. euractiv.com

Slovenia: Election front-runners yet to face off in debates. euractiv.com

Salmonella outbreak in chocolate eggs due to bad milk: European health officials investigating an outbreak of salmonella linked to chocolate Easter eggs that has sickened at least 150 children across the continent said Tuesday they suspect it is due to bad buttermilk in a Belgian factory. In an assessment of the continuing outbreak, experts at the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control and the European Food Safety Authority said they had matched the same salmonella strain currently infecting people to samples taken from a factory in Belgium last December. apnews.com

China makes semi-secret delivery of missiles to Serbia: Russian ally Serbia took the delivery of a sophisticated Chinese anti-aircraft system in a veiled operation last weekend, amid Western concerns that an arms buildup in the Balkans at the time of the war in Ukraine could threaten the fragile peace in the region. Media and military experts said Sunday that six Chinese Air Force Y-20 transport planes landed at Belgrade’s civilian airport early Saturday, reportedly carrying HQ-22 surface-to-air missile systems for the Serbian military. apnews.com

Greece uses other migrants to expel asylum seekers: According to a Human Rights Watch report, Greek security forces are employing third country nationals, men who appear to be of Middle Eastern or South Asian origin, to push asylum seekers back at the Greece-Turkey land border. None are apparently being properly registered in Greece or allowed to lodge asylum claims. Meanwhile, the Council of Europe has denounced the fact that an increasing number of asylum seekers are being illegally turned back at European borders. hrw.org (Human Rights Watch), n-tv.de (Council of Europe)

Germany: Over 1 in 4 people have ‚migrant background‘ dw.com
Spain: High Court jails man who threatened to kill PM Sanchez reuters.com
Romania: €3.5 billion support package for citizens euractiv.com
North Macedonia: Former prime minister faces US sanctions euractiv.com
Czech Republic: Parliament recognises Holodomor famine in Ukraine as genocide rferl.org

⊂ POLITJOBS ⊃

The European Youth Forum is looking for a Policy Officer (m/f/d) +++ The International Trade Union Confederation is looking for a Migration Policy Advisor (m/f/d) +++ Clean Clothes Campaign is looking for a Lobby & Advocacy Coordinator (m/f/d) +++ Education International is looking for a Research, Policy and Advocacy Coordinator (m/f/d) +++ Pantarhei Advisors is looking for Consulting Associate (Assistant) / Junior Consultant (m/f/d) +++ NATO is looking to recruit a Head of Talent and Organisational Development (m/f/d) +++ CEMR – Council of European Municipalities and Regions is looking for an Adviser – Research and Studies (m/f/d) +++ Ecorys UK is looking for a Senior Research Manager European Social Policy (m/f/d) +++ NATO – North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is looking for a Senior Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Advisor (m/f/d) +++ Enhesa is seeking a German speaking Junior Legal Consultant (m/f/d) for its Brussels’ team  +++ Jobs at politjobs.eu +++ Don’t miss any jobs with the politjobs.eu job alert +++

⊂ LAST BUT NOT LEAST ⊃

Ukraine issues stamps immortalising soldier’s defiant words to Russia: Ukraine’s postal service announced Tuesday it had issued a postage stamp with the slogan, „Russian warship, go ****!“ that was put into circulation on Tuesday. Roman Hrybov — the Ukrainian soldier who uttered the phrase, „Russian warship, go f**k yourself!“ on the opening day of the war when ordered by a Russian warship to surrender — was invited to the ceremony unveiling the stamp. The phrase has become a popular Ukrainian slogan during the war with Russia. edition.cnn.com