Thursday

28th Jan 2021

Cyprus: a heavy caseload for new EU prosecutors office

The new European Public Prosecutor's office will become operational in March. It is tasked to carry out criminal fraud investigations of the EU budget. But of the 140 required European delegated prosecutors, only nine have so far set up office.

News in Brief

  1. Putin holds out olive branch to Europe
  2. US snatched Russian anti-air system from Libya warlord
  3. UK to extradite alleged trafficker to EU despite Brexit
  4. EU puts trust in Boeing 737s after post-crash ban
  5. EU animal-export trade under harsh spotlight
  6. City of London wants to set rules for EU
  7. MEPs want 2030 targets to reduce consumption footprint
  8. Coronavirus cases worldwide pass 100m

Vietnam jails journalist critical of EU trade deal

A journalist who had demanded the EU postpone its trade deal with Vietnam until human rights improved has been sentenced to 15 years in jail. The EU Commission says it first needs to conduct a detailed analysis before responding.

Opinion

A digital euro - could it happen?

"Banknotes are still to stay," European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde said at a recent conference, "but I think we will have a digital euro."

Italy's 2021 G20 presidency - a transatlantic reset?

The three pillars of Italy's G20 presidency - "people", "planet" and "prosperity" aimed at building a more sustainable future, as well as digital innovation - are shared by Joe Biden, which raises hopes of a positive EU-US dialogue.

Opinion

EU should not rush investment deal with China

Concluding an investment agreement between the EU an China now is a symbolical victory for China and makes it harder for Europe to engage it on critical matters in the future, experts on EU-China relations argue.

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Opinion

Italy's return to statism spells trouble for the eurozone

There are profound questions about whether the windfall of cash from the EU coronavirus recovery fund will truly help Italy recover or whether it will cause more problems than it solves, for Rome and the rest of the eurozone.

Opinion

The EU-Asean dance: an EU diplomat's account

Why did it take so long for the EU-Asean Strategic Partnership to be concluded? The answer is simple: the EU should have been quicker and more forward-looking in recognising Asean's geo-strategic strength. Still, better now, than never.

Orbán says rule-of-law deal 'centimetres' away

One possibility for a compromise could be a declaration, attached to the rule-of-law conditionality, on how it will be used - that alleviates the concerns of Hungary and Poland.

Warsaw and Budapest seek EU funds despite national veto

A senior EU diplomat said Poland and Hungary should lift their veto or give a signal they are willing to do by Tuesday - otherwise there will be alternative plans for a recovery fund with the other 25 member states.

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.

Opinion

EU corporate due diligence: new rules, or businesses rule?

The Brussels rumour mill has it that the EU Commission is being pressured to put forward a weaker proposal than what civil society organisations, trade unions, and the European Economic and Social Committee say is needed.

Opinion

EU minimum wage directive undercuts Scandinavian model

Imposing minimum wages and interfering in collective bargaining through binding legislation, not only means breaching EU treaties - there is also a serious risk that this will undermine successful labour market models that have delivered real wage increases for decades.

Opinion

We need to call Orbán's bluff by going ahead without him

You hear voices already calling for the European Council to give in to the Hungarian and Polish demands, by coming up with supposedly 'technical' solutions allowing them to veto any corruption case or breaches of the rule of law .

Opinion

German presidency's broken promises on 'fair tax'

At the start of the German presidency of the EU Council it committed itself to a "fair taxation" agenda. But as we enter the final leg of its six-month term, time is running out to make good on this promise.

Budget deal struck, with Hungary threat still hanging

Ultimately, the European Parliament managed to squeeze an extra €16bn in total - which will be financed with competition fines the EU Commission hands out over the next seven years, plus reallocations within the budget.

Stakeholder

The Mediterranean is a hotspot of climate change

Today the temperature is rising 20 percent faster in the Mediterranean region than the rest of the world. This is one of challenges to be discussed by the Interreg MED conference on Friday (6 November).

Opinion

Uzbekistan not even close to meriting EU's trade scheme

Uzbekistan applied for the EU's highly-prized 'Generalised Scheme of Preferences' trade tool in June this year - but despite some improvements the central Asian country still falls woefully short of these requirements.

EU Commission unveils 'adequate minimum wage' plan

The European Commission proposed minimum standards to ensure adequate minimum wages all across the EU. But the proposal does not oblige member states to harmonise their systems, nor does it set a common minimum wage level.

Germany asks capitals to give a little in EU budget impasse

European Parliament negotiators are demanding €39bn in new funding for EU programmes such as Horizon research and Erasmus, in talks with the German EU presidency on the budget. Meanwhile, rule-of-law enforcement negotiations have only just begun.

Nine-in-ten EU regions face revenue plunge, report finds

The decrease of revenues in 2020 of subnational authorities in France, Germany and Italy alone is estimated to be €30bn for the three countries, a new report by the European Committee of the Regions says.

EU budget talks suspended in fight for new funds

MEPs are requesting additional, new funding of €39bn for 15 EU programs. The German presidency argues that budget ceilings, agreed by EU leaders at a marathon summit in July, will be impossible to change without a new leaders' meeting.

EU Parliament sticks to demands in budget tussle

The parliament wants €38.5bn extra for key programmes, which is less than their previous request of around €100bn. Negotiations continue on Thursday, but the budget and recovery could still get stuck on the rule-of-law issue.

EU countries stuck on rule of law-budget link

Divisions among EU governments remain between those who want to suspend EU funds if rule of law is not respected, and those who want to narrow down conditionality.

EU tells China to prove investment deal is worthwhile

"China has to convince us that it is worth having an agreement," EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said, telling China to move on key reciprocity issues on the planned bilateral investment agreement.