Monday

18th Jan 2021

News in Brief

  1. Navalny arrest prompts calls for EU sanctions
  2. Portugal's EU celebration caused corona risk
  3. Women's rights protesters 'evil', Poland's Kaczyński says
  4. Eurostar says government help needed for survival
  5. German party elects Armin Laschet to continue Merkel's line
  6. Vaccine-apartheid on show in EU neighbourhood
  7. Hacked EU files show pressure for quick vaccine approval
  8. EU court and Irish dog make history

Feature

EU Parliament: Strasbourg, or the climate?

A report of the European Parliament's environmental management unit proposes a treaty change to move the European Parliament's headquarters from Strasbourg to Brussels - in order for the institution to become climate-neutral by 2030.

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.

Portuguese presidency to focus on social rights and India

Social policies and the relationship between the EU and India will be at the heart of the next Portuguese EU presidency agenda, according to Portugal's secretary of state for European affairs Ana Paula Zacarias.

Opinion

The under-reported power struggle at the top of the OSCE

An internal power struggle has undermined the world's leading international security body since the summer. The OSCE is due to finally get new leaders in December but the unprecedented power vacuum has hit at a crunch time for hotspots worldwide.

EU parliament calls for feminist foreign policy

The European Parliament has called for gender-equal foreign and security policy. Sweden already has one. But will other EU institutions or member states follow their lead?

Exclusive

Frontex spent €94,000 on a dinner in Warsaw

The European Border and Coast Guard Day is held every May. The event includes movies, football and volleyball matches between Frontex and national border guards, shooting competitions and exercises to detect smugglers.

Opinion

EU name change masks new restrictions in development sector

This week the European Commission's Directorate for Cooperation and Development changes its name to the Directorate-General for International Partnerships - in a symbol of how early-industrialised countries seem to be losing influence to the benefit of some emerging countries.

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Exclusive

EU anti-fraud office launches probe into Frontex

EUobserver was tipped off about the investigation by an anonymous source, who said Olaf had raided the offices of Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri and his chef de cabinet in early December given alleged misconduct.

Opinion

The surprise return of the 'Weimar Triangle'

One little-discussed outcome of Berlin's six-months stint in the EU presidency hot seat is the reactivation of intra-EU consultations among France, Germany... and Poland.

Confusion over Gibraltar border controls in UK-Spain deal

Gibraltar is moving towards a new era after the UK and Spain reached a preliminary post-Brexit deal to avoid a hard border - but one which has triggered highly-sensitive border control issues on the peninsula Rock linked to Spain.

Future of Europe conference: one year on standby

12 months after the European Parliament and the European Commission gave their views on the Conference on the Future of Europe, member states are still fighting over who should chair the event - which has blocked the launch for months.

New EU lobbyist register not mandatory, critics say

The press conference held jointly this week by the three EU institutions declared a breakthrough agreement on a joint-transparency register for lobbyists. Not everyone is convinced.

Portugal will refocus EU on social rights, PM says

Portugal, which takes over the EU presidency next month, will play a key role in making sure the €750bn coronavirus recovery fund - which was unblocked by EU leaders last week - takes off.

Opinion

Montenegro's membership can inspire the European Dream

Today (15 December) I come to Brussels with a simple purpose: to present the credentials of my country, Montenegro, to become the next member state of the European Union, writes prime minister Zdravko Krivokapic.

Opinion

The rule-of-law deal that saved Merkel's legacy

Although the deal is much more a result of the unswerving positions of the Netherlands and the European Parliament than of the German presidency's negotiation skills, the success is an extremely important face-saving measure for Berlin.

EU Defence Agency chief turned lobbyist broke conduct rules

Jorge Domecq spent five years as the chief executive of the European Defence Agency before taking up a job as "Head of Public Affairs" at Airbus. He failed to properly notify the agency of his new job, breaching staff regulations.

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.

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".

Exclusive

Italian energy giant director advising EU foreign policy chief

Italian multinational oil and gas company ENI has a board member advising the EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell. The European Commission appears to have been kept in the dark over the affair until NGOs starting asking questions.

Von der Leyen tells Poland and Hungary to go to court

Poland and Hungary should ask the EU's top court to assess linking EU funds to the respect of the rule of law instead of blocking the budget and recovery package, the EU Commission chief said, most MEPs backed her up.

Green Deal

Ombudsman censures EU Commission on gas-projects list

The European Ombudsman said the climate risks from gas projects included on the EU Commission's list of priority energy projects were not properly assessed, urging the commission to address the "shortcomings" of its methodology.

Hungary and Poland unfazed by EU outcry over budget block

France's EU affairs state secretary Clement Beaune said his country and Germany are looking into "technical clarifications" on rule-of-law conditionality to resolve the issue, but floated the idea of doing the recovery fund without Poland and Hungary.

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

Three EU exits from Poland and Hungary 'hostage crisis'

The EU institutions and member states have hardly more than two fully-fledged and one half-baked strategic option to solve this institutional crisis - that may have more far reaching consequences for the EU than Brexit.

Opinion

Rule-of-law deal: major step for Europe of values

At the very moment when an incumbent president across the Atlantic was carrying out staggering attacks on the foundations of democracy, the European Parliament obtained a historic agreement to protect the rule of law in Europe.

Opinion

'Serious failings' at EU bank on development agenda

A new report published on Monday by NGO watchdogs Counter Balance and CEE Bankwatch Network exposes serious failures of the European Investment Bank in the development field.