Friday

26th Feb 2021

News in Brief

  1. EU leaders restate defence 'autonomy' plan
  2. Rights group exposes Ethiopia massacre
  3. US carried out airstrikes against Iran-backed militia in Syria
  4. Malta closes investigation into journalist murder
  5. Dutch parliament calls China treatment of Uighurs genocide
  6. Spain fined €15m by ECJ over data failures
  7. Belarus: Anti-government protester jailed for 10 years
  8. German charged with spying for Russia in Bundestag
Frontex chief: 'about time' MEPs probe his agency

Some 14 MEPs have created a group to probe allegations of rights abuse by the EU's border agency Frontex. Its head, Fabrice Leggeri, welcomed its creation and said it "is about time".

EUobserved

The trap of spreading ideas while attacking them

Ideas that are attacked are actually being promulgated. That has been the case for centuries, at least as far back as Thomas Aquinas. And that is certainly the case today with Facebook and Twitter.

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Green Deal

EU sets out plan to mitigate 'unavoidable' climate events

Extreme climate-related events cost the EU's economy €12bn annually. Brussels aims to reduce the so-called climate protection gap - the difference between insurance protection and total losses - which is widening due to more frequent extreme weather events.

Opinion

Questions for Germany on EU's Russia strategy

Suspension or cancellation of Nord Stream 2 does not call for a drawn-out search for unanimity by the EU's foreign ministers, nor complex ratification procedures in the European Parliament or member states' parliaments, write three former EU prime ministers.

Column

Why is new EU trade policy using WTO as a figleaf?

While producers in Europe need to live up to demanding labour standards, the European Commission does not make the slightest move to protect them against competition from countries that use forced labour on a massive scale.

Investigation

The story of the EU's plastic packaging conflict of interests

Recycling packaging-waste is largely in the hands of the industry itself, via 'Green Dot' organisations. This creates a conflict of interest - because the industry benefits from the sale of as many individual bottles, wrappers, cans and trays as possible.

Opinion

Georgia is facing the abyss, and calls on EU for help

Politically-motivated justice, the capture of state institutions by the private interests of oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili, rapid socio-economic decline, and increased corruption, all are making Georgians hopeless about their future, writes former Georgian ambassador to the EU.

Coronavirus

EU defends all vaccines, amid lower AstraZeneca take-up

The European Commission said that bloc's strict regulatory process for the evaluation and approval of vaccines is crucial to persuade citizens to get the jab, calling on member states to fight vaccine hesitancy with information.

Romania denies forcing migrant-boat back to Turkish waters

Romania's ministry of internal affairs wrote to Frontex claiming it did not engage in any illegal pushbacks of people on rubber boats into Turkish territorial waters. The country says it followed EU engagement rules and Greek orders.

Opinion

1914 vs 2021

Nobody says war will break out in Europe in 2021. But, just as in 1914, the imminent collapse of the multinational Habsburg Empire was the subject of much speculation, some now allude to the disintegration of the European Union.

Investigation

How Energy Treaty 'shadow' courts prolong EU's fossil age

The treaty enables companies to claim billions in compensation from states in front of international arbitration tribunals, if they feel unfairly treated by the states' energy or climate policies.

LGBTI fears over new Polish member at EU institution

A letter sent to the European Economic and Social Committee by a group of cross-party MEPs fighting for LGBTi rights expresses fears that a recently-appointed Polish member may try to undermine those rights.

Agenda

EU summit on vaccine problems This WEEK

EU foreign affairs ministers will meet in Brussels and are expected to agree to visa-bans and asset-freezes on Russian officials involved in the jailing of opposition figurehead Alexei Navalny.

Opinion

Two lessons worth learning from the Catalan elections

The stubborn fact is that, election after election - and it's already three consecutive absolute majorities - anti-independence forces cannot convince the majority of Catalans that our democratic rights and a better future can be attained within the Spanish kingdom.

Opinion

Myanmar: the EU needs to play the ASEAN card

The military coup seems to have inflamed and united a diverse and ostensibly depoliticised society. There seems to be an across the board rejection by the people of Myanmar of a return to military dictatorship.

Green Deal

EU pushes WTO reform and Paris agenda in new trade plan

The bloc's new trade strategy proposes making respect for the 2015 Paris Agreement an "essential element" of future trade agreements. Reform of the World Trade Organization is also a priority for the coming decade.