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The foreign ministers of France, Germany and Italy have written a joint letter to EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini calling for a “fairer distribution” of refugees among EU member states and an overhaul of EU asylum rules. Meanwhile, Italian daily La Repubblica reports that the European Commission is working on a revamped plan for the relocation of 120,000 refugees across the EU. This would be done on a voluntary basis, as all EU member states would be given the possibility to opt out of the plan. The Commission’s proposal will be discussed by EU interior ministers at their extraordinary meeting on 14 September.
David Cameron yesterday defended his government’s line, saying, “We have taken a number of genuine asylum seekers from Syrian refugee camps and we keep that under review, but we think the most important thing is to try to bring peace and stability to that part of the world. I don’t think there is an answer that can be achieved simply by taking more and more refugees.” Italian Europe Minister Sandro Gozi told the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “The UK has a special status, but if you have a special status you cannot seek to shape policy in which you don’t want to participate.” Asked whether the refugee crisis could get “mixed up” with Cameron’s EU renegotiation, Germany’s Ambassador to the UK, Peter Ammon, told BBC Radio 4 World at One, “I can’t see that.”
Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn has suggested turning the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) into a fully-fledged European Refugee Agency – which would then be given the power to investigate whether the same standards for granting asylum are applied everywhere in the EU. Separately, Slovakia’s Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák told reporters yesterday that Schengen, Europe’s passport-free travel area, “has de facto fallen apart.”
Italian Foreign Ministry press release La Repubblica The Guardian The Times Süddeutsche Zeitung Handelsblatt Die Welt The Financial Times: Sutherland
The Government last night tabled amendments to the EU Referendum Bill to restore the ‘purdah’ rule – which bars the use of public money to promote one side in the final four weeks before a poll – following pressure from Labour and some Conservative MPs. However, critics warned the changes did not go far enough and left “too many loopholes” which ministers could exploit in order to use the government machine to campaign for a vote to remain in the EU. Labour has warned that it “may well” vote against the amendment, leaving the Government facing a possible defeat in the House of Commons.
The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph: Heath
The Financial Times
A new poll by GPO for Mega TV has put New Democracy ahead of SYRIZA for the first time during the campaign ahead of elections on September 20, Kathimerini reports. According to the survey, New Democracy is on 25.3%, against 25% for SYRIZA. Meanwhile, a Pulse survey for the Action 24 TV station suggested SYRIZA is on 26% and New Democracy just one point behind on 25%.
A new Ipsos Mori survey for STV has found that 53% of Scots would now vote for independence, compared to 44% who wanted to remain part of the UK and 3% who were undecided. More than half (52%) would back another referendum if the UK voted to leave the EU, 41% if Trident was renewed and 50% if the Conservatives’ plan for English votes for English laws at Westminster was approved.
The Daily Telegraph
Germany, the UK and France called on EU regulators to modify proposed trade transparency rules to avoid damaging securities markets. The European Securities and Markets Authority’s approach to determining the liquidity of securities that would see them covered by new rules for pre- and post-trade transparency could have an “unintended consequence,” according to the three countries’ finance ministries.
In a written response to German MEP Fabio De Masi, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström argues that “the [European] Commission does not intend to reopen the negotiations on CETA [EU-Canada free trade deal] already concluded in 2014”, but will “together with Canada consider how the concept [of Investor-State Dispute Settlement, ISDS] can be fine-tuned in light of the recent [public] debates in the EU.”