Weekly News 14th- 18th November

Monday 14th

Bulgaria: Bulgaria enters an unknown territory Monday after the resignation of its prime minister, the pro-Europe Boyko Borissov, and the election Sunday of a new Russian friendly president. Bulgarian Conservative Prime Minister Boïko Borissov, a declared admirer of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, resigned on Monday two years before the end of his term and the day after the presidential election. The winner of Sunday’s voting, Roumen Radev, 53, will not take office until 22 January.  (Le Figaro)

Turkey: Justice and Development ruling party in Turkey is considering including between 50 and 100 new articles in the new constitution. The new articles will include a complete presidential system and abolishing of ministry of defense, military justice system and higher education council. Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that according to the new constitution, the president is commander of armed forces and runs the internal and foreign policies. The president will also have the power to approve and veto the parliament’s decisions. He will also have to declare the name of the vice president before the elections, similar to the system of the U.S. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

War on terror: A Tunisian terrorist thought to be a major recruiter in Italy for the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) extremist group has been captured in Sudan, Italian anti-terrorism sources said Monday. Moez Ben Abdulgader Ben Ahmed al-Fezzani, also known as Abu Nassim, was part of a Milan-based group called the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat that recruited fighters for conflict zones between 1997 and 2001. Italian intelligence services tracked him down in Sudan since he was being sought on an international arrest warrant after he was handed a definitive conviction for terrorist criminal association in 2014 and sentenced to five years eight months in prison. (Ansa)

Tuesday 15th

EU: Renzi said Italy had vetoed the EU budget to stop Italian money being used to erect walls to keep out asylum seekers. “They wanted to leave the Sicilians to take the burden of immigration, of saving thousands of lives and finding solutions to a complex problem,” he said at Catania University. “And then they fill with money European countries that, not only do not respect an agreement that they have signed, but use our money to erect walls”. (Ansa)

France: The former Minister of Economy, Emmanuel Macron, will announce his candidacy for the presidential elections on Wednesday morning. He will speak at a press conference at 10:30 am at the training center of the Chamber of Arts and Crafts of Bobigny, Seine-Saint-Denis. He will then gather his parliamentary supporters at midday. (Le Figaro)

Wednesday 16th

Greece: The outgoing US president, Barack Obama, has used his final trip to Europe to call for action to put Greece on a path to “durable” economic recovery, including the possibility of debt relief.  Making his first stop in Athens in a farewell tour aimed at safeguarding his legacy, Obama made the strongest case yet for the debt-stricken country to be given some slack. He said: “To the rest of Europe I will continue to emphasise our view that austerity alone cannot deliver prosperity.” (The Guardian)

Thursday 17th

Germany: President Obama is stressing a message of solidarity and trans-Atlantic cooperation on his final visit Thursday to Germany — a top trade partner, key NATO ally and home to thousands of American troops, as well as a nation critical to solving Europe’s migrant crisis and debt woes. In Berlin, Mr. Obama will also meet Friday with the leaders of France, Italy, Spain and Britain. He’s expected to address Mr. Trump’s election and the direction the U.S. might take in the next four years. (CBS)

Italy: Premier Matteo Renzi reiterated on Thursday that Italy was ready to veto the European Union budget unless there is more emphasis on promoting growth and tackling the asylum-seeker crisis. Following a long night of negotiations, an agreement was reached early Thursday between the European Parliament, Council and Commission on the 2017 budget that will focus on the migration crisis and creating jobs. The deal set total commitments for 2017 at 157.88 billion euros and payments at 134.49 billion euros, equal to a 1.7% increase and a 1.6% decrease, respectively, compared with 2016. Italy abstained from voting on the agreement for the first time ever. (Ansa)

Friday 18th

France: France votes this weekend to choose the right-wing candidate likely to face the far-right Marine Le Pen in next spring’s presidential election – just as Donald Trump’s US win has thrown the spotlight on France as the next possible shakeup of the political system. Polls have consistently shown that Le Pen, head of the far-right Front National, will make it to the French presidential final-round run-off next May, but that it would be difficult for her to win. The three leading contenders in the open primary race to choose the right’s candidate on Sunday are all establishment figures – two former prime ministers, Alain Juppé and François Fillon, and the former president Nicolas Sarkozy. (The Guardian)

Turkey: Turkish prosecutors ordered the detention of 103 academics at an Istanbul university on Friday in an investigation targeting followers of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Ankara of orchestrating an attempted coup in July, NTV said. (The Jerusalem Post)

War on Terror: Theresa May has been holding talks with Barack Obama and European leaders in Berlin about Nato and the risk of the fight against Islamic State in the Middle East spreading to neighbouring countries. The British prime minister is also trying to get in a few words on Brexit during a one-on-one with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. The leaders – Merkel, May, Obama, France’s François Hollande and Italy’s Matteo Renzi – agreed that they needed to keep working together as part of multilateral bodies like Nato and to press ahead with the transatlantic agenda, the White House said in a statement. (The Guardian)

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