Arguments over how to handle the Aquarius rescue ship carrying 629 migrants are causing tension in the EU.
Photo: Ra Boe / Wikipedia
Conte threatens to postpone Macron meeting over Aquarius row as Sebastian Kurz calls for support to curb illegal immigration. Delano’s breakfast briefing.
Italy and France clash over migration
Italy’s freshly installed prime minister Giuseppe Conte, was reportedly considering postponing a meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron on Friday as tensions between the two countries increased over migration policy. Macron had criticised the Italian government for turning away the Aquarius rescue ship carrying 629 migrants. The Guardian reports that Italy summoned the French ambassador on Wednesday. The paper cites interior minister, Matteo Salvini, the leader of the right-wing League party, as saying that Italy has “nothing to learn from anyone about generosity, voluntarism, welcoming and solidarity.”
Kurz calls for axis of willing
Meanwhile, Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz has called for a Berlin-Vienna-Rome “axis of the willing” to tackle illegal immigration. He has been supported by German interior minister Horst Seehofer from the Bavarian CSU, who on Wednesday cancelled his participation in an integration summit hosted by chancellor Angela Merkel.
Fed rate rise
The Federal Reserve raised US interest rates Wednesday, the seventh increase since 2015. The Guardian reports that the strong US employment rate and its solid economic activity played a role in the decision to increase the target for the fed-funds rate to a range of 1.75% to 2%. Addressing the possibility of future trade disputes and their impact on the economy, Federal Reserve chair, Jay Powell, said “right now we really don’t see that in the numbers at all.”
EAA amendment voted down
Despite 75 Labour MPs defying the party and voting in favour of a House of Lords amendment that would effectively have kept the UK in the European Economic Area, Theresa May’s government reversed that and 13 of 14 other defeats on the EU withdrawal bill. The vote highlighted strong divisions in the Labour party as 15 other MPs also defied leader Jeremy Corbyn and voted against the amendment.
Fresh Galileo row
UK firms are being blocked from bidding for contracts for the next round of the Galileo satellite programme, The Guardian reports. A majority of EU member states voted on Wednesday to proceed with the project rather than delay to allow further negotiations over British involvement post-Brexit.
Volkswagen has been fined €1billion over “dieselgate” by German prosecutors. They cited the company’s failure to prevent “impermissible software functions” from being installed in 10.7 million cars between 2007 and 2015.
United bid wins 2026 World Cup
As the 2018 World Cup kicks off in Russia on Thursday, world football organisation FIFA voted on Wednesday for the so-called United bid to host the 2026 tournament. Canada, Mexico and the United States beat a rival bid from Morocco. The 2026 tournament will be the first to feature 48 teams. Meanwhile, England is said to be conisdering a bid to host the 2030 World Cup.
Today's breakfast briefing was compiled by Duncan Roberts