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15th Nov 2019

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Agenda

Key moments for new commission This WEEK

The new EU Commission is almost ready to go, but there are still two pending issues that will need to be sorted out next week for resident-elect Ursula von der Leyen to finally take office on 1 December. Hungary's replacement commissioner-designate Oliver ...

Ticker

Catalan politicians extradition hearing postponed

The hearing over the arrest warrant issued by Spain for the extradition of two Catalan ex-ministers, Toni Comín and Lluis Puig, was postponed until 16 December by a Brussels court on Friday, conjoining their case with the one of ex-president of the Catalan ...

EU threatens legal action against UK over commissioner

The United Kingdom has until the end of next week to explain why it will not nominate a commissioner-designate - or face possible sanctions. The ultimatum issued by the European Commission on Thursday (14 November) follows the flat-out refusal by the ...

Opinion

Corruption in the Balkans: the elephant in the room

Over the years, both real and perceived levels of corruption in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia have remained high. Corruption is still perceived as one the most important problems with which these countries are ...

Ticker

Germany: EU banking union deal possible in December

German finance minister Olaf Scholz said at a press conference in Berlin that the idea of a banking union is moving forward and that an agreement might be possible in December, Bloomberg reports. "The time of the new presidency and the new commission of ...

Ticker

EIB: no more funding of fossil-fuel projects

In a landmark decision, the European Investment Bank has decided it will stop funding fossil-fuel projects by the end of 2021. Some low-emission gas projects will still be possible. The implementation date was postponed from 2020 to 2021 after pressure ...

Ticker

UK defence chief: Russia could trigger World War III

The UK's chief of the defence staff, Nick Carter, said increasing threats from Russia could lead to miscalculations and that it could inadvertently trigger a third world war, Bloomberg reports. Carter warned that new Russian techniques including " ...

Green MEPs unconvinced by Romanian commissioner

MEPs gave the green light to Romanian's new commissioner-designate for transport, Adina-Ioana Vălean on Thursday (14 November) - but she did not manage to convince MEPs from the Greens, who have requested to ask her additional questions concerning ...

Ticker

Hungary's Varhelyi will face more questions

Hungary's commissioner-designate for enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, will face further written questions from MEPs, parliament sources said Thursday. Party coordinators in the EU parliament's foreign affairs committee failed to approve him after their ...

Ticker

Police put former Berlusconi MEP Comi under house arrest

Lara Comi, a former MEP for Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party (2009-2019), was Thursday put under house arrest by Italian police in relation to a corruption probe, Italian news agency ANSA reported. In 2015 she demanded an investigation from the ...

EU states fell short on sharing refugees, say auditors

A mandatory 2015 scheme to dispatch people seeking international protection from Greece and Italy across the European Union did not deliver promised results, say EU auditors. Although member states took in some 35,000 people from both countries, the EU ...

Hungary's commissioner-to-be grilled over loyalty to Orban

Hungary's new commissioner-designate for enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi on Thursday (14 November) told MEPs he would not take instructions from any government, including prime minister Viktor Orban's. A career diplomat, who most recently served as Hungary's ...

Ticker

MEPs criticise Poland for criminalising sex education

In a resolution approved on Thursday, the majority of MEPs voiced their concerns over a Polish draft law that criminalises sex education. This initiative could put teachers who provide sex education in prison for up to three years. MEPs called on the ...

Ticker

UK will not name new commissioner before election

Britain will not name a new candidate for the EU Commission at least until a new government is formed after elections on 12 December, British officials said Thursday. The move is a snub to the EU, which hoped that the new commission can take office on 1 ...

Feature

Widow's plea as EU diplomats debate Magnitsky Act

Ten years ago, on 16 November 2009 in a jail cell in Moscow, guards strapped Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year old father of two, to a bench and lashed him with rubber batons. He was already suffering from pancreatitis, contracted due to the appalling conditions ...

Ticker

Trump expected to delay EU car tariff decision

US president Donald Trump is expected to announce this week that he is delaying for six months a decision on putting tariffs on cars and auto parts imported from the EU, Reuters reported. Washigton has a Thursday deadline on deciding to impose 'national ...

Ticker

Tusk: Post-Brexit UK will be a 'second-rate player'

The UK will lose influence in international affairs and become a "second-rate player" after it exits the EU, European Council president Donald Tusk warned on Wednesday. "Only as part of a united Europe can the UK play a global role, only together can we ...

Ticker

Police end Catalan separatist blockade of France-Spain road

Police on Wednesday managed to reopen the road linking Spain and France after more than 48 hours of intermittent blockages organised by Catalan separatist group Democratic Tsunami. Although French and Spanish police unblocked the motorway on Tuesday, ...

Ticker

Poland arrests extremists for 'planning attacks on Muslims'

Polish authorities arrested two people accused of planning violent attacks against Muslims inspired by Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik and suspected white supremacist Brenton Tarrant in New Zealand, the security forces said on Wednesday. "The ...

Leftist MEPs call on EU to address crisis in Chile

MEPs from the leftist group GUE/NGL, who recently travelled on an observation mission in Chile, on Wednesday (13 November) accused the European Union of turning a blind eye to human rights being violated in Chile - a trade partner of the EU. Following the ...

Ticker

Controversial commission portfolio name changed

The controversial name of the commission portfolio "protecting our European way of life" (previously "migration") will be changed to "promoting our European way of life", the Socialist and Democrats group in the European parliament said. Commission ...

Feature

Mustard gas and cod: Last chance to stop Nord Stream 2?

First, the Nazis, then, the Soviet Union - shortly after World War Two - dumped tens of thousands of tonnes of chemical weapons 70m to 120m down in the Baltic Sea, near the Danish island of Bornholm. Navigation equipment at the time was not very good and ...

Podcast

Cultural Battlefield

André Wilkins is the director of the European Cultural Foundation, an organisation created after the Second World War to help heal the continent's wounds. Under Wilkins the foundation has stepped up grant-making to arts and media aiming to strengthen ...

Feature

Nationalists as much a threat to EU arts as resources

Europe's cultural narrative is increasingly dominated by the continent's new authoritarians. Hungary under its autocratic prime minister Viktor Orbán spends around three times as much on culture as any other EU country compared to the size of its economy. ...

Ticker

Catalan party to support new Spanish coalition

Spanish pro-independence party the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) announced on Tuesday that it will help socialist caretaker prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, to unblock the deadlock if negotiations about the Catalan issue start. The Socialist PSOE and ...

Ticker

Russia jails six Crimean Tatar activists for terrorism

A Russian court has sentenced six Crimean Tatar activists to jail terms between seven and 19 years on charges of organising terrorist activities and plotting a violent overthrow of the Russian government, the Moscow Times reports. "This decision brings to ...

Ticker

Venice flooded by highest tide in 53 years

The Italian city of Venice is being hit by flooding as high waters peaked up to 1.87 meters. Since records began in 1923 the water crept higher only once, in 1966. Venice's mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, said he would declare a state of emergency, blaming climate ...

Ticker

Border controls 'the norm' in some EU states since 2015

Despite the guarantee of free movement of people within the 26 countries of the Schengen area, some countries have introduced permanent border controls since 2015, Yves Pascouau, a senior adviser at the European Policy Centre (EPC) notes in a new study. ...

Ticker

Netherlands plan to reduce speed limit to 100km/h

The Dutch government has agreed to reduce the speed limit on highways from 130km/h to 100km/h in order to cut emissions, NRC Handelsblad writes. The reduced limit would only be in place during the day, while cars can still drive at up to 130km/h from 1900 ...

Letter

Dear President Macron, being a migrant is not a crime

President Emmanuel Macron, I am writing to convey my intense shock and horror at the wilful, remorseless neglect of universal human rights, the frank disregard for humanity and the wanton abuse of European law at your country's border with Italy. During my ...

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