Friday

27th Nov 2020

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.

News in Brief

  1. Brexit talks pick up pace once more
  2. MEPs back US trade detente
  3. Iran diplomat to stand trial in Belgium over 'France bomb plot'
  4. Trump says he'll leave if Biden wins Electoral College vote
  5. EU Parliament: Polish abortion ban risks womens' lives
  6. UN experts warn against racial profiling
  7. EU auditors raise red flag over maritime protection
  8. Four students charged in France's beheading case

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

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.

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us

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.

Opinion

China's supply chains and 're-shoring' under Covid-19?

Some in Europe are calling for re-shoring or near-shoring supply and industrial chains of such critical sectors as medicine and pharmaceuticals, to reduce dependence on China's supply chains and market. Minister Xia Xiang sets out the opposite case.

Green Deal

Watchdog slams Commission on BlackRock 'green rules' deal

The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, concluded the European Commission did not adequately assess potential conflict of interests when it granted a contract to the US giant BlackRock, a global investment manager, to work on environmental rules for banks.

German minister predicts rule-of-law solution in 'days'

German foreign minister Heiko Maas said the will be "able to take decisions" in the next few days on the budget and coronavirus recovery fund. Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki will travel to Budapest on Thursday.

EU red-flags Israel's Givat Hamatos settlement

New Israeli settlements around Jerusalem could do more harm to Middle East peace than Israel's recent deals with Arab states did good, EU foreign relations chief Josep Borrell has indicated.

Column

US economic nationalism will be subtler - but it will persist

The more the US comes to face economic headwinds, because of the corona pandemic, but also because of the stagnating productivity, growing external debt, and an increasingly unbalanced growth model, the more the tendency of economic nationalism will become manifest.

Opinion

Georgia's 'rigged' elections? Takeaways for the EU

The parliamentary elections took place amid the Covid-19 pandemic but sparked hopes among Georgia's western allies that the electoral deal reached with the help of US and EU officials could pacify the deeply-polarised political actors. But actually the opposite happened.

Analysis

There is 'no Russia-Turkey alliance'

Talk of a grand Turkey-Russia realignment is premature, Nato and Russia experts say - despite Putin and Erdoğan's friendly ties.

Green Deal

EU air quality improves, but pollution levels still high

The last decade has seen air quality improvements across the continent, but many European citizens are still exposed to illegal and dangerous levels of pollution, according to a new report from the European Environment Agency.

'Golden Passports': Malta takes 67 days to respond to EU

The European Commission exchanged 24 letters with Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta over their 'Golden Passports' schemes between October 2019 and October 2020. Malta took 67 days to respond to the commission's first letter, followed by Cyprus (42) then Bulgaria.

Coronavirus

Covid-19: Romania's rural kids hit hardest by pandemic

The Romanian study reveals that over 60 percent of parents in the countryside have not worked during the pandemic, and close to half are unable to provide adequate food, medicine, hygiene products or school supplies for their children.

Letter

'We call on the EU to appoint a Horn of Africa envoy'

The UNESCO world heritage site in Aksum, Ethiopia, other heritage sites and religious centres are now under threat. This tragedy is compounded by a terrible loss of innocent lives, sexual violence and a destabilising refugee crisis.

Stakeholder

Berlin Foreign Policy Forum 2020

On Tuesday (24 November), the Körber-Stiftung in cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office will host the 10th Berlin Foreign Policy Forum, under the overarching topic "Turning Crisis into Opportunity? Europe in a (Post-) Pandemic World Order".

Coronavirus

EU stands by anti-Covid drug, despite WHO doubts

A panel at the World Health Organisation said the antiviral drug remdesivir was 'ineffective' in treating Covid-19. But tens of thousands of doses have already been distributed throughout the EU and a €1bn contract signed with Gilead.

Agenda

MEPs prepare for another virtual plenary This WEEK

Ahead of the next European summit in mid-December, MEPs will address the EU's long-term budget and rule-of-law conditionality in another virtual plenary session. Discussions will also focus on consumer rights, pharmaceutical strategy and the pandemic.

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.

Opinion

South Caucasus needs West to stop greater conflicts

The Nagorno-Karabakh war shows the West needs to rebuild relations with Turkey and put forces in Georgia to prevent still greater conflicts, the former head of US forces in Europe says.

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.

Exclusive

New EU sanctions to hit Belarusian oligarchs

Regime-linked Belarusian tycoons are to face new sanctions, while EU-Belarus relations are being cut to a minimum, according to an internal EU paper, seen by EUobserver.

EU migration system relies on despots, Schäuble says

German parliament president Wolfgang Schäuble outlined a vision on migration that included possibly sending people to "facilities outside Europe" while at the same time acknowledging that the EU is reliant on "dubious powers and regimes".

Opinion

Buyer beware! Online pet sales in EU need better regulation

While online is becoming the main method for buying pets, the lack of rules on the responsibilities of platforms regarding pet advertising has severely compromised consumer protection, fair competition, and animal health and welfare.

EU unveils €800bn offshore renewables plan

The European Commission aims to increase the bloc's wind energy production at sea massively, reaching at least 300 GW by 2050 - a 25-fold increase from the bloc's current offshore wind capacity of 12 GW