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Only half of EU staff claim good knowledge of their workplace's ethics rules, while 82 percent of staff at the European Parliament have never attended any ethics trainings, according to a report by the European Court of Auditors.
The new conservative Greek government on Thursday nominated the European Commission's chief spokesperson Margaritis Schinas as Greece's next European commissioner. Schinas served as an MEP from 2007 to 2009 with New Democracy. The previous premier Alexis Tsipras insisted on retaining the migration portfolio in exchange for supporting commission president-elect Ursula Von Der Leyen. The new government is believed to have set its eye on an economy-related portfolio.
Sea-Watch rescue ship's German captain, Carola Rackete, said Thursday she hoped the new EU commission would work to let boat-rescued migrants enter Europe. Rackete is under investigation in Italy for docking her boat containing migrants at risk of drowning. "I sincerely hope that the European Commission now, after the new election of the parliament, will do its very best to prevent situations like that happening [again]," she said.
Russia has indicated it could join the EU payments channel designed to circumvent US sanctions banning trade with Iran. Moscow called on the bloc to expand the mechanism to cover oil exports. "Russia is interested in close coordination with the EU on Instex [payment channel]," the Russian foreign ministry told the Financial Times. The scheme is part of an effort to salvage the Iran nuclear deal, snubbed by the US.
EU regulators imposed a €242m fine on US chipmaker Qualcomm, the second penalty in 18 months, for breaching antitrust rules. Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said on Thursday that Qualcomm, which disputes the allegation, had abused its dominant position to drive a competitor out of business in the so-called baseband chips market, which connects smartphones and tablets to cellular networks. In 2015 a British chipmaker alleged that Qualcomm used "predatory pricing".
The members of the European Parliament's employment committee elected Slovak MEP Lucia Duris Nicholsonova as chairwoman on Thursday. Nicholsonova was put forward by the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group after their Beata Szydlo, former Polish PM, was twice rejected, leading to a spat where Szydlo's PiS party initially refused to back Commission president candidate Ursula von der Leyen. Nicholsonova received 38 votes in favour and 14 against.