Sunday

13th Jun 2021

Pressure builds on EU to back WTO vaccine-patent waiver

MEPs have backed a motion demanding the temporality lifting of intellectual properties rights of Covid-19 vaccines - a symbolic move that puts pressure on the European Commission to change its position on the issue of global access to vaccines.

News in Brief

  1. EU top court fast-tracks rule-of-law case to October
  2. Hungary's Fidesz wants to ban LGBTIQ content for under-18s
  3. MEPs join EU citizens on farm-animal cage ban
  4. Council of Europe urges Russia to release Navalny 'immediately'
  5. China's anti-sanctions law alarms EU businesses
  6. Airlines seek to water down EU passengers' rights
  7. EU leaders join call for further probe into Covid origins
  8. Liberal MEPs under fire over Babiš abstention

Exclusive

MEP office expenses kept secret on dubious evidence

It would require between 40 to 75 additional staff to oversee how MEPs spend their monthly €4,500 lump sum on office supplies, according to the European Parliament. An EUobserver Freedom of Information request reveals those calculations are flawed.

Opinion

What the EU public think of EU pesticide regulation

The EU is committed to reduce "the risk and use of pesticides by 50 percent" by 2030. However, given the level of controversy and public distrust surrounding EU pesticides regulation over the last decade, which reforms could garner public support?

EU takes legal action against Germany on bonds ruling

The European Commission on Wednesday (9 June) launched legal action against Berlin, after determining that last year's landmark decision on bond-buying by Germany's Constitutional Court "constitutes a serious precedent" that puts at risk the EU's legal order.

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Feature

How Italy's passion for fish is destroying its seas

This is bad news for all countries in the area, but especially Italy, which has the largest fleet in the EU by number of vessels. Many coastal towns and the welfare of hundreds of thousands of Italians depend on fishing.

EU sends mixed message on Turkey as 'safe' haven

Greece has declared Turkey a safe country for asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Syria and Somalia. But the European Commission appears to have shed doubt on the claim, saying individual cases still need to be assessed.

Commission to approve first Covid-recovery plans next week

This means that, following council approval, and after the financing agreement has been signed with EU governments, the first countries can receive pre-financing from the recovery fund, of up to 13 percent of their allocated funds.

Analysis

The EU's Covid-19 certificate - how it will work?

As some member states start issuing the EU's Covid-19 certificate, EUobserver takes a look at what the bloc is doing to restore unrestricted travel in the bloc - a right that has been restricted, even prohibited, during the pandemic.

Frontex 'own worst enemy', says EU auditor

A special audit on how Frontex supports member states in cracking down on "illegal migration and cross-border crimes" has painted a bleak picture of an EU agency, whose annual budget rocketed from €19m in 2006 to €900m in 2021.

Opinion

Why is Serbia not going to join EU sanctions on Belarus?

As a membership candidate, Serbia is expected to join foreign policy declarations and restrictive measures of the EU. However, Serbia is unlikely to join the EU measures against Belarus for both international and domestic reasons.

Opinion

The glowing embers of Nagorno Karabakh

Our investigation reveals war crimes were committed by all parties to the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Thousands of civilians have borne the brunt of the conflict. None of the key decision-makers are being held to account.

Agenda

First return to Strasbourg for EU Parliament This WEEK

There will be still a very limited number of people traveling to Strasbourg. Many think it is an early return: those travelling will have to respect the French curfew and will need to quarantine upon their return to Belgium.

EU counters Biden's vaccine patent-waiver with WTO plan

The EU has submitted to the World Trade Organization a plan aimed at expanding the production of Covid-19 vaccines - seen by Brussels as a quicker and more targeted solution than the intellectual property right-waiver proposal backed by the US.

'There are no clean countries', EU chief prosecutor says

"For the first time, the offenses against the financial interest of the EU will be investigated in an integrated strategic manner by a prosecutorial body with supranational jurisdiction," EU chief prosecutor Laura Kövesi said.

Best to keep Frontex in Greece, new rights officer suggests

Greece has drawn criticism and scrutiny for alleged widespread pushbacks of migrants in the Aegean Sea, along with the reported complicity of the EU's border agency Frontex. Critics say the agency should pull out of Greece.

First glimpse of EU's new 'digital identity wallet'

The European Commission unveiled its plans for an EU 'digital identity wallet' - an app that will allow citizens to store their national digital identification or driver licence on their phones to access public and private services across the EU.

Top EU court rejects Hungary's challenge to sanctions probe

Hungary has lost a legal challenge against a European Parliament vote that opened the way for the Article 7 sanctions probe into the erosion of democratic standards under prime minister Viktor Orbán's rule in the country. Budapest queried the abstentions.

More trust in EU than national governments amid pandemic

Europeans' support in their national governments has plummeted since the pandemic began, while the image of the EU and trust in the 27-nations bloc remains strong and steadily increasing, according to two new surveys.