Christine Lagarde, David Sassoli, Ursula Von Der Leyen, Charles Michel at the House of European History in Brussels. The EU leaders gathered to mark the start of the new European Commission and the 10th anniversary of the Treaty of Lisbon. Photo: European Union, 2019
Trump no to hearings; London Bridge victim named; SPD elects co-leaders; Babiš conflict of interest; “Day-O” composer dies. Delano’s breakfast briefing
VdL Commission takes over
New European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen took up her post on Sunday. She was joined in Brussels by new EU Council president Charles Michel, the president of the European Parliament David Sassoli and the president of the European Central Bank Christine Lagarde at a ceremony to mark 10 years of the Lisbon Treaty. Euronews has video of the event. This week von der Leyen will attend the climate summit in Madrid and travel to Africa, Reuters reports. Meanwhile, Deutsche Welle looks back at the five years that Jean-Claude Juncker had at the helm of the EU.
Maltese PM steps down
The murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia by car bomb in 2017 has claimed its highest profile victim as prime minister Joseph Muscat announced on Sunday that he will resign. Caruana Galizia had exposed corruption at the highest level in Muscat’s government, says The Guardian. Muscat said he will step down as soon as a new leader of his ruling Labour party was elected in January, but the BBC reports that demonstrators have demanded his immediate resignation. On Saturday tycoon Yorgen Fenech was charged with Caruana Galizia’s murder. The Times of Malta reports that justice minister Owen Bonnici has said in a tweet that the governments wants “the truth to come out and prevail over this case.”
Trump won’t take part in hearings
Citing a lack of “fundamental fairness” the White House has told Democrats that president Donald Trump and his lawyers would not participate in impeachment hearings this week, CNN and Reuters report. Fox News said the letter was “fiery” and that it accused Jerry Nadler of “purposely” scheduling the proceedings to clash with the president’s visit to London for a NATO leader summit. The Washington Post has five questions that could be crucial in the impeachment story. And in an op-ed in The Guardian, Robert Reich argues that Trump will not be removed from office, but provides three reasons why the impeachment hearings are important.
Iraqi PM resigns
Adel Abdul Mahdi has resigned as prime minister of Iraq amid violent unrest that has left 400 dead since the beginning of October. The BBC has insight into the current situation and the cause of the troubles.
2nd London Bridge victim named
23-year-old Cambridge University graduate Saskia Jones has been named as the female victim of Friday’s terror attack at London Bridge, the BBC reports. Jones and Jack Merritt were killed when Usman Khan attacked them with a knife as they took part in a Cambridge University event on prisoner rehabilitation. The Guardian reports that Merritt’s father has displayed distaste at prime minister Boris Johnson’s attempt to blame Labour for the policy that allowed convicted terror plotter Khan to be freed early. “Don’t use my son’s death, and his and his colleague’s photos – to promote your vile propaganda. Jack stood against everything you stand for – hatred, division, ignorance.” Writing in The Mail on Sunday, Johnson vowed to end the early release of violent offenders and terrorists.
SPD’s new leaders could spell trouble for Merkel
The election of left-leaning co-leaders Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken to head the centre-left SPD may well bring the reign of German chancellor Angela Merkel to a premature end, says the FT. They have threatened to withdraw the SPD from the coalition government led by Merkel, who has said she will not fight another election for her CDU party.
Babiš has conflict of interest says audit
Reuters reports that a European Commission audit has concluded that Czech Republic prime minister Andrej Babiš is in conflict of interest over former businesses that he has put into trust funds. But Xinhua reports that Babiš has defended his actions as legal and that he said “it is totally absurd that Brussels interprets Czech law.”
US-China, firms lack contingency plans
A survey by DHL Resilience360 indicates that over 25% of multinational companies have not made contingency plans for a worsening of the US-China trade conflict, Reuters reports. Most of the firms surveyed were from the US and EU.
“Day-O” composer dies
Composer Irving Burgie, who wrote Calypso hit “Day-O”, has died at the age of 95, the BBC reports. Harry Belafonte’s version of the song, also known as “The Banana Boat Song”, was a hit in the 50s and again when featured in an iconic scene in Tim Burton’s film “Beetlejuice”. More recently, it has been sampled by rapper Lil Wayne and singer Jason Derulo.
Today’s breakfast briefing was written by Duncan Roberts