Friday

4th Dec 2020

Coronavirus

EU defends its slower vaccine authorisation

After the UK approved the use of the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNtech, the pressure is mounting on the EU. But how are these vaccines approved in the bloc - and what is the legal liability?

Podcast

Showdowns over the rule of law

Brussels is increasingly expected to serve as the European Union's sheriff on rule of law - but its ability to enforce adherence to democratic norms and values remains weak.

Green Deal

EU Commission could pull out of controversial energy treaty

Brussels is now considering withdrawal from the controversial Energy Charter Treaty, if negotiations to modernise it fail. A leaked European Commission proposal, dated October, revealed that loopholes remain regarding the protection of fossil-fuel investment.

EU Commission plans sanctions on disinformation

In part of a series of planned measures, the EU Commission plans to better protect free elections in a digital age, strengthen independent media, and counter disinformation.

Hungary legal challenge on rule of law 'unfounded'

Disgraced former Hungarian MEP József Szájer tried to derail a European Parliament resolution against Hungary over rule of law in 2018, but an EU court official has said his case was likely "unfounded".

Opinion

Google, Fitbit, and a big decision for EU Commission

In the coming days the European Commission seems poised to green-light the acquisition of Fitbit by Google. The deal is a major threat to human rights and must be stopped in its tracks.

EU keen to repair damage of Trump years

The EU has set out how to undo the damage caused by four years of US president Donald Trump's rule, by trying to "make multilateralism great again".

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Coronavirus

Revealed: Hit to EU mental health services during Covid-19

The pandemic has both hampered access to mental health services, while increasing demand for psychological support, particularly in countries with the most severe coronavirus lockdowns. Meanwhile, experts warn that 'teletherapy' is not a universal fix.

MEPs seek parliament inquiry into Frontex

Some MEPs now want a formal inquiry into Frontex, plus member states, and the European Commission over allegations of illegal pushbacks. Dutch MEP Tineke Strik says she has so far received backing from the Greens, liberals and far-left GUE.

Stakeholder

2020 Prague European Summit: 'Real solutions, acting together'

The EU will rise more united and stronger than ever, Alexander Schallenberg, Austria's Europe minister, told the 2020 Prague European Summit. Although national instincts drove the initial reaction to Covid-19, he said, the shift toward solidarity among members occurred quickly.

Opinion

Nationwide protests reveal awakening of Poland's youth

The impact of Covid-19 on the scale, demography and length of current protests cannot be underestimated. Newspapers have hailed them "the biggest demonstrations since the fall of communism in 1989".

EU law needed to protect free press, NGOs say

More than 60 NGOs and media, including EUobserver, have signed a call for an EU-wide law to stop the rich and powerful from silencing critics with malicious litigation.

Green Deal

Legal battle over oil giant Shell's emissions begins

Environmental organisations have brought the multinational Shell to court, arguing that their current policies violate human rights by knowingly undermining international climate goals.

Frontex takes transparency activists to EU court

The EU border agency Frontex's annual budget for 2020 is €460m. Now they are launching court proceedings against two pro-transparency campaigners for not paying them €24,000 in legal fees after losing a case last year.

Opinion

EU's opportunity to curb online politics ads

Beyond privacy, the EU should equalise political party access to online ads and improve the oversight of digital campaigning. It can borrow from how governments have curbed big money in politics.

Fish complicates last push for post-Brexit deal

"If the UK wants a deal here, there's a deal to be done. If the UK wants to use fish as an excuse not to have a deal, then that could happen too," Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney warned.

Green Deal

EU emissions down 24% on 1990 - but still off 2030 target

Emissions regulated under the EU's carbon market fell by 9.1 percent in 2019, although aviation emissions continued to increased. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to lead to "an unprecedented fall in emissions" in 2020.

Investigation

EU taxpayers in the dark on US corona-drug deal

The EU recently signed a huge contract for a US anti-corona drug which, the WHO says, might not work, but there's little transparency on how the deal was made.

Interview

Lithuania bids to host EU cyber-centre

Lithuania wants a new EU cyber-security centre to hang its flag in a historic TV tower in Vilnius, on one of Europe's modern front lines.

Coronavirus

Amnesty exposes Amazon staff conditions on 'Black Friday'

Attempts by Amazon staff to unionise were met with court action in Poland, while in the UK the online giant checked workers' Facebook profiles for union activity. Meanwhile, extra coronavirus risk-pay for staff ended in May in most countries.

Agenda

Unblocking Brexit and budget in focus This WEEK

With only five weeks to go before the UK severs all ties with the EU, chief negotiator Michel Barnier warned that the "same significant divergences persist" between the two sides in post-Brexit talks.