Brussels Playbook: Scholz lets the Leos out — Ambos talk EU subsidy fund — Migration – POLITICO


EUROPE TO SEND LEOPARDS TO HELP UKRAINE’S DEFENSE: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is at the moment anticipated to announce that Berlin is not going to simply authorize tank exports by allies — but additionally ship its personal firm of Leopard tanks to assist Ukraine’s anticipated spring offensive. The transfer ought to put an finish to a different weeks-long combat about Western navy assist for Kyiv.

Leopard modifications his spots: Scholz is predicted to make the official announcement this afternoon at 1 p.m. in the Bundestag, as our colleague Hans von der Burchard studies. Pressure had mounted sky-high forward of the chancellor’s debate with parliamentarians, significantly after Poland on Tuesday pressured Scholz’s hand (extra on that beneath). The resolution is a big U-turn for Scholz and will show a decisive second, paving the means for a broader coalition of nations to ship battle tanks to assist Ukraine combat again towards the Russian invaders.

Poland’s victory: After loudly pushing for tank shipments for weeks, Warsaw on Tuesday lodged an official request for an export authorization of Leopards — forcing Scholz to lastly decide. As senior officers in Berlin mentioned, permitting Poland to export whereas not sending tanks itself would have made little sense politically for Germany.

Focus on Washington: Scholz, in the meantime, seems to have had a victory of his personal: The U.S. is predicted to ship Ukraine some 30 Abrams battle tanks, our Stateside colleagues Alex Ward and Lara Seligman report. Suddenly, Washington’s arguments for why the tanks supposedly couldn’t be supplied (be it the kind of gas they use or their extra difficult upkeep in comparison with the Leopards) don’t appear fairly so insurmountable.

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Tanks for the birthday presents: All these Leopards and Abrams make fairly good birthday presents for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who turns 45 at the moment. Suffice to say, Team Ukraine is over the moon. Some of the memes doing the rounds on social media have been high notch — right here’s our favourite.

Senior EU official in Washington: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s cupboard chief Björn Seibert landed in Washington final night time, Playbook can report. He was anticipated to debate the safety scenario in Ukraine with U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines. Officials informed Playbook Seibert can also be planning to satisfy U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and the Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese for discussions on the Inflation Reduction Act.


EU COUNTRIES TALK NEW EU CASH: EU ambassadors will check the urge for food for a brand new EU fund (financed with joint borrowing) at their weekly Coreper assembly at the moment. EU leaders had thus far postponed the dialogue on recent EU money, arguing nations ought to first spend the billions nonetheless accessible in the COVID restoration fund. But they are going to debate the query at their subsequent summit on February 9-10, the place they need to put together a counter-strike to America’s industrial subsidies.

EU loans: A draft of the conclusions for the summit, seen by POLITICO, makes express reference to the SURE program of widespread EU borrowing, for example to construct on for a brand new fund that will permit nations to take low cost EU loans to match U.S. subsidies on equal phrases.

Rutte not satisfied: But Dutch PM Mark Rutte argues his fellow leaders ought to give attention to reforming their programs to make them extra aggressive, fairly than asking for an additional spherical of EU money. “There’s so much money at this moment in the system,” Rutte informed our colleague Jacopo Barigazzi and a bunch of journalists in an interview on Tuesday after assembly with Ursula von der Leyen and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

He’s you, Paris: Rutte argued for deeper reforms, pointing out that some European nations spend a lot on pensions programs — “all money you cannot spend on innovation and green tech.” Jacopo has the story.

NETHERLANDS PUSH MIGRATION TALKS: Italy and Greece are unlikely to take kindly to a brand new Dutch non-paper on migration, Jacopo additionally writes in to report. The Dutch proposal calls on Brussels to observe that nations apply the so-called Dublin regulation, which dictates that the first EU nation to document an individual’s fingerprints or obtain an asylum software is liable for processing the asylum declare. While Council President Charles Michel’s draft EUCO conclusions appear eager to keep away from a combat on migration at the subsequent EU summit, a dialogue is brewing.

Keep the migrants in Europe’s south: The European Commission ought to “put together periodic studies with suggestions on Dublin implementation, together with on the asylum and reception scenario” in member nations “to ensure full application of the Dublin regulation,” says the textual content. Countries comparable to the Netherlands, but additionally Austria, France and Belgium, insist the Dublin guidelines needs to be utilized strictly and don’t need arrival nations comparable to Italy to let migrants cross borders into EU nations additional north.

Schinas’ homework: The non-paper additionally units out some homework for Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas: The Commission “is called upon to present additional proposals to use EU-instruments comprehensively and effectively, including political dialogues, trade, visa, development cooperation and temporary legal and circular migration pilots, to decrease irregular migration and foster return,” the paper notes. “We call for the Commissioner for Promoting our European Way of Life [Schinas] to be designated to develop a strategy for the coming months to ensure swift implementation of the migration partnerships as part of a whole-of-Commission approach.”

Team challenge: Of course, Schinas could be working “in close cooperation” with different commissioners like EU High Representative Josep Borrell, Home Affairs chief Ylva Johansson and Neighborhood boss Olivér Várhelyi (in addition to with member nations). 

Migration-trade hyperlink: And there’s additionally a name to maneuver ahead with linking commerce and migration utilizing the former as leverage to extend returns. “We also emphasize the importance of an integral use of EU-instruments,” the paper reads, mentioning EU commerce preferences for growing nations and asking the Commission to report again on these plans earlier than the March summit. Read extra by Jacopo.


COZZOLINO FIGHTS BACK: On Tuesday, Italian Socialist MEP Andrea Cozzolino — who’s dealing with corruption costs in the ongoing Qatargate investigation — rejected he had executed something unsuitable in a listening to with the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI), as his attorneys claimed he has been topic to “a violent media campaign.”

Denial: Cozzolino was the chair of the Parliament’s delegation for relations with Maghreb nations, and is accused of getting favored Morocco’s pursuits in change for cash. His attorneys briefed Italian media to say Cozzolino had by no means acquired any type of compensation from overseas powers, including that the MEP backed amendments criticizing Qatar and had by no means put ahead an pressing decision favoring Morocco, as he’s accused of doing. Cozzolino’s attorneys additionally mentioned he renounced his parliamentary immunity in the assembly with JURI — a symbolic gesture with no sensible impact, as Parliament’s plenary must vote in February on whether or not to strip him of his immunity. 

GREENS’ NEW STARS? In a media briefing following his assembly with Ursula von der Leyen at the Berlaymont on Tuesday, Italy’s former PM and now chief of the 5Star Movement Giuseppe Conte indicated his social gathering may be part of the Greens in the European Parliament. “We’re considering joining their group,” mentioned Conte, who held a two-hour assembly with the Greens’ management and referred to the 5Stars’ erstwhile alliance with UKIP and different far-right teams in the European Parliament as an “error of youth.”

HERZOG IN TOWN: Israel’s President Isaac Herzog is in Brussels for a two-day journey. Today, he’ll meet with Ursula von der Leyen; on Thursday, he’ll ship an handle to the European Parliament for International Holocaust Remembrance Day and meet with NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.

Ahead of the go to, Herzog has penned an opinion piece for POLITICO arguing that the Iranian regime is “at this point, one of the greatest threats to the free world. The Ayatollahs’ policy of ‘exporting the revolution’ has meant exporting the same brutal oppression it applies against its own citizens. In arming violent proxy forces throughout the Middle East, Iran has spread extremism to every place it touches — from the Gaza Strip to Lebanon, from Yemen to Syria. And the same cruelty with which the regime in Tehran is now trying to crush protestors demanding dignity and basic freedoms, it is also inflicting on its neighbors.”

EU’S RESPONSE TO BELT AND ROAD GETTING REAL: The EU’s riposte to China’s internet of commerce and infrastructure initiatives spanning the globe is lastly getting actual, writes our colleague Barbara Moens. (ICYMI — a digital cable underneath the Black Sea or a dam and hydroelectric plant in Cameroon are simply a few of the 70 initiatives that the EU is prioritizing this 12 months underneath the Global Gateway, based on a doc Barbara obtained.)

DONOHOE WOE: Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe on Tuesday admitted receiving company donations that breached Ireland’s tight authorized limits, deepening a scandal that’s straining the stability of the coalition authorities. Shawn Pogatchnik has the story.

GREEK SPYING SCANDAL LATEST — GOVERNMENT VS. PRIVACY AGENCY CHIEF: Greece’s conservative New Democracy authorities goes after the boss of the nation’s privateness watchdog, Christos Rammos. Government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou late on Tuesday accused Rammos of performing “activism” and “overstepping” his mandate, Nektaria Stamouli writes in to report.

Naming names: Rammos beforehand despatched a letter to parliament, describing his watchdog’s newest findings. The letter describes (with out naming them) senior authorities officers whom the company alleges the nation’s intelligence service spied on. Rammos final week sought to temporary parliamentarians on the outcomes of a current audit on the wiretapping scandal, however New Democracy blocked the briefing. Today, parliament will debate the newest in the saga, and opposition Syriza chief Alexis Tsipras is predicted to publicly identify these listed in the report.

UK LABOUR BORROWS FROM THE TRUMPY PLAYBOOK: Britain’s Labour Party is raiding the Donald Trump and Brexit playbooks — stealing populist slogans to broaden its attraction — as energy beckons in 2024, report Annabelle Dickson and Esther Webber.

**Yesterday, the European Parliament commenced discussions on Euro 7 automobile pollutant laws. Our mobility consultants hold you on the first row of the debates, request a demo of POLITICO Pro at the moment to not miss something.**


— Weekly European Commission College assembly.

— Commission President Ursula von der Leyen receives Israeli President Isaac Herzog at 4 p.m.

— Commissioners Thierry Breton and Jutta Urpilainen in Namibia; meet President Hage Geingob at 6:30 p.m.

— Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas participates in the EPP inside ministers’ assembly; receives President of the European Jewish Congress Ariel Muzicant; receives CEO of the American Jewish Committee Ted Deutch.

— Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi receives Swedish Minister for International Development Johan Forssell; receives Minister of Ecology of Montenegro Ana Novaković Đurović; receives former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.

European Economic and Social Committee plenary. European Parliament President Roberta Metsola delivers handle at 11 a.m. Watch. Agenda.

— NATO Deputy Secretary-General Mircea Geoană to satisfy with Sweden’s Defense Minister Pål Jonson, at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

— fifteenth European Space Conference continues.


BOOZE BURN: “Politicians should decline not declare alcohol hospitality,” was the sober verdict from the European Alcohol Policy Alliance after European Parliament President Roberta Metsola belatedly disclosed her induction into an elite French wine society.

THALYS BECOMES EUROSTAR: The merger between Eurostar and Thalys has entered a brand new part, with the Thalys model to be retired by the fall, as BRUZZ studies. Check out the new brand, unveiled in Brussels on Tuesday and to be rolled out to all trains in the subsequent few months. The firm goals to move 30 million passengers per 12 months by 2030 — twice as many as in 2022. But it’s getting off to a sluggish begin: Trains are working greater than a 3rd empty throughout the morning peak due to post-Brexit delays attributable to new border preparations, the rail service’s new Chief Executive Gwendoline Cazenave informed the FT in an interview.

WHAT TO SEE IN BRUSSELS THIS WEEK: The Bozar is presently internet hosting the See Festival, dedicated to South Eastern European up to date tradition. It runs via until Saturday. Check out the full program.

NEW JOB: Thibault Jacobs-Boutherin has been promoted to senior vice chairman, director at FleishmanHillard Brussels. He’ll stay the head of media. Congrats!

BIRTHDAYS: MEP Ryszard Czarnecki; Finnish MP Merja Kyllönen, a former MEP; Former MEP Roger Helmer; Former French PM Jean-Marc Ayrault; and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy turns 45.

THANKS to Jacopo Barigazzi, Gregorio Sorgi, Sarah-Taïssir Bencharif, Playbook reporter Ketrin Jochecová and our producer Grace Stranger.

 **A message from Amazon: We’re demystifying how Alexa works forward of International Data Protection Day, together with widespread misconceptions about how info shared with Alexa isn’t safe, and hackers can acquire entry to your information via your gadget. That’s not the case. Data encryption, rigorous safety opinions, and common computerized updates to your Alexa-enabled units work collectively to assist guarantee your gadget operates as securely as attainable. Beyond designing all our units and companies with safety in thoughts, we dedicate vital sources and other people energy to check and keep the security of our units. This consists of setting and validating the {hardware} necessities of our units; performing software safety opinions; automated safety scanning to rapidly determine vulnerabilities and roll-out updates; conducting rigorous safety testing; and ongoing verification to make sure Amazon software program updates are genuine. Find out extra, as we bust 4 of the greatest myths about Alexa.**

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