Thursday

1st Dec 2022

Editorial

Editor's weekly digest: Sorry, lost track of time

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Sometimes you get so wrapped up in working on exciting new projects, that other projects suffer. Or at least, I do. Oops.

End of year is always a fraught time, when one is both working on the day-to-day and on plans for next year. Silly, actually, that it happens at a somewhat arbitrary point in our rotation around the sun, but who am I to challenge the Gregorian calendar.

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Anyway. Just parting the kimono a little and hopefully earning some forgiveness, I'm working on plans for partnerships with other organisations to do more structured deep dives into the issues European citizens are facing, and the policy ideas to fix them.

Next year, we'll be launching what I guess you could call verticals that focus on specific topics. The first will deal with the rise of illiberalism in Europe, the second with labour crises Europe might be facing in the near future.

These will be pages with dedicated journalists reporting exclusively on EU stories within the theme.

Also, we'll be doing a number of themed weeks, in which we publish a number of articles all revolving around an idea, problem or opportunity — or all three.

If you're curious about the topics, reach out to me, I always value feedback.

Apart from that, this week I'm afraid I'll just be sharing the articles you should have read this week. On the bright side, my negligence saves you time. I promise I'll be back with a better newsletter next week.

Onwards.

Hungary and EU approach year-end showdown on rule of law

Hungary and the EU are approaching a year-end showdown over rule of law, with billions of euros and key EU policies, such as financial aid to Ukraine, at stake.

Hungary has until Saturday (19 November) to put in motion the 17 measures that the EU Commission asked for in September as a prerequisite for not suspending an estimated €7.5bn from the long-term EU budget over corruption and rule-of-law concerns.

Read it.

How EU banks underwrote the Qatar World Cup

European banks and investors have invested heavily in Qatari sovereign bonds and construction and hospitality companies active in Qatar, paying scant attention to the well-documented human rights violations being perpetrated in those sectors.

Fair Finance International's new report shows that almost half (47 percent) of the financing to construction and hospitality companies active in Qatar is provided by European banks, pension funds and insurance companies.

Read it.

COP27 deal still needs a 'tremendous amount of work'

As talks at the COP27 climate summit in the Egyptian seaside resort of Sharm el Sheikh enter the final stretch, negotiators from nearly 200 countries are scrambling to turn a draft deal into something they can agree on.

"I think it's going to be a long and difficult journey," EU climate chief Frans Timmermans said during a press conference in Sharm el Sheikh on Thursday (17 November).

Read it.

Russia targeting Germany with anti-West narrative, report says

Russian disinformation efforts in Germany aim to divide public opinion, boost anti-Western sentiment, and exploit political debates over sanctions and inflation, a report published last month by Budapest-based Political Capital has found.

The disinformation efforts pushed various pro-Kremlin narratives with the help of fake, or stolen Facebook profiles targeting broadcast and tabloid media, and the webpages of mainstream and far-left and far-right politicians, in an effort to sow division.

Read it.

Women hardest hit by energy price hike

Women are hit harder by the energy crisis than men, due to their lower average income, a survey on the cost-of-living crisis by Eurofound said.

The figures reflect the impact of the 13 percent average European gender pay gap, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) said on the EU's Equal Pay Day on Tuesday (15 November).

The research, done by the EU agency on improving the living and working conditions in Europe, and published last month, said that women are at a greater risk of energy poverty than men.

Read it.

Spain accused of Melilla migrant death cover up

Spanish authorities are being accused of a cover up over the deaths of dozens of refugees at its Melilla enclave with Morocco.

Some 23 young men were confirmed dead and another 77 remain missing after around 1,500 tried to enter the enclave from the Moroccan side on 24 June. Experts from the UN human rights body say at least 37 were killed.

Spain claims the deaths took place on the Moroccan side, a view sharply contested by human rights organisations.

Read it.

Gender equality least-included goal in EU budget, auditors find

Gender equality is the EU priority which is least well covered across different programmes in the bloc's budget, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) concluded in a new report published on Monday (14 November).

The auditors checked how the EU Commission incorporated the bloc's overarching goals, such as fighting climate change, digital transition, biodiversity preservation, sustainable development, and gender equality, in its spending programmes.

It was the first time auditors had investigated such goals as a whole, and found major differences in how these priorities were incorporated into the current 2021-2027 budget.

Read it.

As always, thank you to all new subscribers to this newsletter, and also as always, my various inboxes are open for feedback, suggestions, tips, leaks, ideas and gossip — now also on Mastodon.

See you next week,

Alejandro

Editor's weekly digest: Pushback pushback

The Olaf report on Frontex published in full this week highlights once again one of the cruelest euphemisms used in talking about people wanting to cross borders.

Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs

Terezija Gras from Croatia, Dutchman Hans Leijtens, and Frontex's current interim executive director Aija Kalnaja, are all competing for a job left vacant by the resignation of Fabrice Leggeri.

Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?

Over the last 10 years, Portugal has given 1,470 golden visas to people originating from countries whose tax-transparency practices the EU finds problematic. But unlike common practice in other EU states with similar programmes, Portugal has not implemented "due diligence".

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