Thursday

13th May 2021

Slovenia causing headaches for new EU anti-graft office

Slovenia was supposed to nominate a delegated prosecutor for the new European Public Prosecutor Office, in charge of cracking down on corruption of EU funds. Ljubljana finalised procedures in December but has yet to send nominations, causing headaches.

News in Brief

  1. No EUobserver newsletter on Friday 14 May
  2. Germany stops Facebook gathering WhatsApp data
  3. Italy rebuts reports of EU deal with Libya
  4. MEPs demand EU states protect women's reproductive rights
  5. At least nine dead in Russia school shooting
  6. Bulgaria interim government appointed until July election
  7. German priests defy pope to bless same-sex couples
  8. New EU public prosecutor faults Slovenia

Opinion

Is Turkey's crackdown on journalists starting to crack?

With the Biden administration and EU leaders both pressing the reset button on relations with Turkey, could press freedom begin to be restored? Ankara is currently one of the world's biggest jailers of journalists.

Exclusive

Hungary gags EU ministers on China

EU countries have shelved plans to issue a statement of moral support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong - due to a veto by Hungary, a major beneficiary of Chinese investment.

Opinion

Why Europe should stop worrying about 'sportswashing'

The UAE's international reputation is steadily being shredded by its own leadership, in moves so blatant that no amount of sporting spin can hide them. Like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Russia, China will also discover that sportswashing never works.

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Analysis

Hungary's power-grab to stay one step ahead of EU

Voicing their concerns, a dozen MEPs warned that EU funds would "disappear in opaque funding structures ... which have the purpose of further destroying academic freedom and institutional autonomy in Hungary".

Leading MEP: 'anti-democratic' to meet only registered lobbyists

Dutch liberal MEP Sophie In't Veld says MEPs should not be required to meet only registered lobbyists. "It is profoundly anti-democratic," she said. But Transparency International EU, an NGO, has described the lobby exemption for MEPs as "scandalous".

Opinion

Legal worries on EU's 'green certificates' for Covid travel

With the prospect of rolling non-lethal pandemics, and border-checks based primarily on vaccination status, the assertion in the EU's 'green certificate' memorandum that the proposal "cannot be interpreted as establishing an obligation or right to be vaccinated" seems disingenuous.

Arrested neo-Nazi Greek MEP will keep salary for now

Greek neo-Nazi MEP Ioannis Lagos was arrested and detained by Belgian police on Tuesday, after his immunity was lifted. The European Parliament says Lagos will continue to receive his salary until the Greek state terminates his mandate.

Von der Leyen: 'I felt alone as a woman'

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen blamed sexism for having been relegated to a sofa in Ankara during a meeting with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the presence of European Council president Charles Michel.

Albania's election: what is at stake?

Albanians will cast their vote in a general election on Sunday. Will it be a third mandate for the current government of prime minister Edi Rama, or he will be replaced by opposition nominee Lulzim Basha?

Merkel 'open' to EU treaty change on health

Angela Merkel also said that the EU should better take into consideration the different experiences of eastern European countries - which are becoming increasingly confident and do not necessarily want an 'ever-closer union'.

EU seeks global AI leadership with new rules

The European Commission unveiled the first-ever legal framework to regulate the use of artificial intelligence in Europe - banning 'social scoring' systems and facial recognition for law enforcement in public spaces, with narrow exceptions.

No trolling: EU launches platform to hear citizens' views

The Conference on the Future of Europe, thrown off-track by the pandemic and then by an intra-institutional fight over its leadership, will officially kick off on 9 May, but EU citizens can already start the debate online.

Opinion

How May election could see an independent Scotland by 2023

Between June 2020 and February 2021, 22 consecutive opinion polls indicated majorities in favour of Scottish independence. That kind of sustained support for statehood is unprecedented in modern Scottish history.

Frontex guilty of inflating legal fees against activists

A lawyer for Frontex billed too many hours in a case against transparency activists, the General Court of the European Union ruled. The agency had demanded a €23,700 legal bill from the activists - now reduced by over half.

Opinion

Why EU needs to be wary that AI will increase racial profiling

This week the EU announces new regulations on artificial intelligence. It needs to set clear limits on the most harmful uses of AI, including predictive policing, biometric mass surveillance, and applications that exacerbate historic patterns of racist policing.

Opinion

Just cancel the Future of Europe Conference

After spending an estimated €200m and countless months in meetings, the conference will likely release a grand statement along the lines of 'making the EU more inclusive, more competitive, sustainable, green',

Polish court pushes out critical ombudsman

The controversial Constitutional Tribunal ruled that legislation, setting out that the ombudsman stays in office until lawmakers pick a new one, was unconstitutional.

MEPs reject greater transparency in hidden vote

The European Parliament's constitutional affairs committee have curtailed efforts to make MEPs more accountable and transparent, by rejecting amendments in a report on lobbying. How each voted on the amendments was also kept in the dark.

Opinion

'Ethno-nationalism' is not way forward for Bosnia-Herzegovina

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, tempted by the allure of a 'deliverable', the EU, US, and UK are supporting a political process that would enhance the power of ethno-nationalist leaders, cement ethnic partition, and quite possibly lead to violence.

Opinion

Industry lobby to 'co-decide' on nearly €10bn EU public money

Several industry EU lobby groups are about to be entrusted again with the privilege of co-deciding how €9.6bn of public EU research funding should be used - in research areas as essential as healthcare, transportation, energy and IT infrastructures.