Germany’s Schäuble condemns anti-Semitism at pro-Palestinian protests

The president of the Bundestag described the recent incidents as 'unbearable.'

Germany’s Schäuble condemns anti-Semitism at pro-Palestinian protests

Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble on Monday condemned the “unbearable” anti-Semitism on display at many pro-Palestinian protests in Germany over the weekend.

Israel’s politics can be “sharply criticized,” but “there is no justification for anti-Semitism, hatred and violence,” Schäuble told Bild, adding that violence ought to be punished with “the full force of the law” and that Germany needed to provide “the greatest possible protection for Jewish communities and institutions.”

His comments come after attacks on synagogues and anti-Semitic incidents at several German demonstrations meant to show solidarity with Palestinians in the wake of escalating violence between Israel and Gaza. While many protested peacefully, some burnt Israeli flags and shouted anti-Semitic slogans.

“Whoever does not clearly distance themselves in their protest when Israel’s right to exist is attacked is complicit,” Schäuble said.

Senior figures across Germany’s political landscape — among them Chancellor Angela Merkel, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer as well as opposition leaders — have similarly condemned the surge in anti-Semitic incidents and attacks in recent days.

Source : Politico EU More   

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‘Way too soon’ for second coronavirus recovery plan, Vestager says

The goal isn't to spend the most money, says Commission vice president.

‘Way too soon’ for second coronavirus recovery plan, Vestager says

“It’s way too soon to consider” a second coronavirus pandemic recovery plan, Executive Vice President of the European Commission Margrethe Vestager told French daily Les Echos in an interview published Monday.

“I find it strange to discuss a new plan we’re not sure we need, when we already have so much to do,” Vestager said, when asked whether U.S. President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion plan, announced in March, could push the EU to bulk up its €750 billion pandemic recovery effort. “The goal, by the way, is not to spend the biggest amount of money, but to yield the best results,” she added.

Asked why the EU is reluctant to get on board with Biden’s proposal for waiving patent rights for COVID-19 vaccines, Vestager said: “Patents are not the problem. The difficulty is in increasing production capacity to speed up vaccination, and for people to register to be inoculated.” She added that it’s “simpler to negotiate with a handful of players who own patent rights rather than letting them be accessible for everyone, with no one feeling really responsible for production levels.”

“I won’t go into American motivations. I’ll just note that they’re not exporting any vaccine,” Vestager said.

On the EU’s handling of the pandemic, Vestager said the bloc “could have avoided many pitfalls if the deals we signed with pharmaceutical firms were more transparent.”

The Commission vice president also addressed resistance among some EU countries against Biden’s 21 percent global minimum tax proposal. Asked whether the EU’s unanimity requirement for tax rules was a problem, Vestager acknowledged that “decisions on taxation are still too slow in Europe. But a lot has been done in recent years, despite the unanimity rule. What matters is the momentum that creates the change … Now that the United States is more ambitious, we’re able to move forward and find an agreement by this summer.”

Vestager also discussed the Commission’s proposal to tackle unfair competition from companies receiving state aide from countries like China. “Of the 10 to 15 takeovers that have taken place recently, some would have fallen within the scope of this regulation,” Vestager said. On when she expects the proposal to enter into law, Vestager said: “The draft is ready, it just needs to be adopted. The ball is in the European Parliament’s court.”

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Source : Politico EU More   

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