Wednesday

8th Dec 2021

EU to announce new mandatory rules on child sexual content

The European Commission is set to propose new legislation requiring companies to detect, report and remove child sexual abuse content. The rules come amid other moves by the EU's police agency Europol to develop AI targeting encryption.

News in Brief

  1. Russia to lose Swift access, pipeline if it invades Ukraine
  2. EU urban population exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution
  3. Record rise in UK alcohol deaths during Covid
  4. EU agencies back 'mix-and-match' vaccine approach
  5. Slovak centre-right MEP joins Renew
  6. Suspected hitman in Khashoggi murder arrested in Paris
  7. EU agrees to sanction Russian mercenaries
  8. Germany asks Iran for realistic nuclear proposals
Consultancies pocketing EU millions prompts MEP grilling

The European Commission spent €542.4m between 2016 and 2020 for studies written by external private contractors. The findings are part of a larger probe into how large consultancies are increasingly landing lucrative contracts, amid questions on possible conflicts of interest.

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Denmark and Hungary oppose EU rules on minimum wages

Work ministers reached a common position over EU draft law on minimum wages in Europe, without the support of Denmark and Hungary. The agreement comes after months of negotiations - and strong opposition led by Scandinavian countries.

Slovenian corruption estimated at 7.5% of GDP

Slovenia's anti-corruption commissioner Robert Šumi said the country misses out on €3.5bn a year due to corruption, while the EU chief corruption prosecutor Laura Kövesi visited the country.

Opinion

Using Istanbul Convention to stop online abuse of women

Although legal instruments have been developed, no universally-agreed definition of gender-based violence against women online or via technology exists - and this Council of Europe recommendation aims to fill that gap.

Hungary and Estonia blocking EU tax reform

Hungarian and Estonian diplomats have blocked a revised set of tax rules, potentially derailing an effort to curb the race for ever-lower corporate taxes in the EU.

Opinion

How to 'Europeanise' the upcoming French EU presidency?

France will take over the EU presidency on 1 January. If Emmanuel Macron wants to make it a stepping stone in European integration, he should make additional efforts to Europeanise its objectives and seriously engage with EU partners beyond Germany.

EU warned against making 'Future EU' conference a one-off

Former European Council president Herman van Rompuy plus local authorities warned EU policymakers against making the Conference on the Future of Europe a one-off exercise, arguing that democracy will continue to be under pressure after 2022.

Ombudsman launches probe into Commission tobacco lobbying

The EU Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly has launched an inquiry to assess if the European Commission complies with transparency obligations over tobacco lobbying – ahead of upcoming revisions of rules targeting tobacco consumption.

EU to open up 'black box' of political ads

Paid political ads will have to show how much was spent on the ad, the sources of funds, the name of the sponsor. "Without providing this information, political advertisement will be illegal," commission vice-president Věra Jourová said.

Opinion

This 'Black Friday' is a turning point in corporate accountability

Much supply-chain abuse remains hidden from plain sight – not only to consumers but to the companies themselves, who have built increasingly longer, more complicated, and more opaque supply chains, which have become harder to monitor, control and account for.

Germany's new leaders want to reform the EU

Germany's SPD, the Greens and the pro-business FDP on Wednesday unveiled their 177-page coalition government programme - agreed after two months of behind-the-scenes wrangling.

Column

Biden's 'democracy summit' is a risky venture

"America is back" may have soothed souls in the past but today's world is a 'mix and match' one where nations don't want a binary choice between aligning with the US, or becoming part of Beijing's orbit.

Opinion

Is EU serious about human rights in Kazakhstan?

Kazakhstan has never had an election deemed free-and-fair by credible international observers. Kazakh authorities show unwavering intolerance towards any group, movement, or party critical of the government, and have arbitrarily applied abusive 'extremism' accusations against political opponents.

Opinion

Have the Polish people finally had enough?

Sitting justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro down on the same bench as Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga or Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir might seem like a longshot, if not overkill - but shows just how desperate the Polish people have become.

Experts warn MEPs on tracking ads: 'Don't be fooled'

EU lawmakers have agreed not to ban tracking-based advertising, after a lobby campaign. But experts have warned MEPs these techniques pose a risk for users' privacy rights and the EU's digital sovereignty.