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30th Nov 2022

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EU Commission proposes suspending billions to Hungary

The EU Commission has proposed suspending €7.5bn of EU funds, and froze an additional €5.8bn of recovery subsidies, to Hungary over long-running rule-of-law concerns. Prime minister Viktor Orbán's government has to implement 27 measures "fully and ...

EU: Russian assets to be returned in case of peace treaty

The EU on Wednesday (30 November) proposed a plan to confiscate frozen Russian assets — but has to navigate through difficult legal waters to make it work. Legally it is only possible to seize frozen assets if the holder of those assets has been criminally ...

Frontex leadership candidates grilled by MEPs

The three candidates seeking the leadership position at the EU's border police agency Frontex were grilled by MEPs on Wednesday (30 November). Terezija Gras from Croatia, Dutchman Hans Leijtens, and Frontex's current interim executive director, Aija ...

Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?

Despite Antonio Costa, the Portuguese prime minister's, announcement in early November that the country's so-called golden visa programme might have fulfilled its purpose and could be scrapped, an initiative to put an end to it was blocked in parliament ...

Opinion

Why the EU asbestos directive revision ... needs revising

The recent news that asbestos is two-to-three times as deadly as previously thought, reported here on EUobserver, has brought new — and needed — attention to an old and lingering problem: that of the silent killer, which continues to haunt us. It comes ...

Nato renews membership vow to Ukraine

Nato allies on Tuesday (29 November) reaffirmed their commitment to Ukraine that one day the country could become a member of the military alliance. "Nato's door is open," the alliance's secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said ahead of a two-day meeting of ...

Catalan spyware victims demand justice

Victims of the widening spyware scandal in Spain are demanding justice and reparations, following revelations that journalists, lawyers, civil society and politicians had been targeted. "We are seeking reparations and a clear commitment of the Spanish ...

Column

Is the overwhelming critique of Qatar hypocritical?

With the FIFA World Cup now in full swing, we hear less criticism of Qatar. Fortunately. Everyone rolled over each other to be as outspoken as possible about everything that is unacceptable in the tiny Arabian peninsula. The harshest comments came mostly ...

EU carbon-removal scheme dubbed 'smokescreen for inaction'

On Wednesday (30 November), the EU Commission will launch a plan to certify the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as part of its efforts to reach zero emissions by 2050. The so-called Carbon Removal Certification Framework (CRCF) will set the ...

Investigation

EU lawmakers under pressure to act on 90,000 asbestos deaths

Some 70,000 to 90,000 annual asbestos-related deaths in Europe — not including the growing number of cancers by exposure in homes, schools, hospitals, and offices — are putting EU lawmakers under pressure. Now the European Parliament, together with trade ...

Opinion

Post-COP27 optimism — non-Western voices are growing

COP27 in Egypt — which for many days looked poised to end in failure — ended with an historic breakthrough on long overdue action on loss and damage compensation for developing nations. The summit cannot be seen as a total triumph. There was a pronounced ...

Legal scholars: Prosecuting Putin 'legally problematic'

Legal scholars argued on Monday (28 November) that, without the backing of the UN general assembly, it would be legally challenging to set up a tribunal to prosecute Russian aggression against Ukraine. While the issue of setting up a tribunal will be ...

Opinion

A missed opportunity in Kazakhstan

The results of Kazakhstan's snap presidential election—where the tally has current leader Kassym-Jomart Tokayev with 81% of votes — surprises no one. What disappoints those in Washington, London, Brussels, and most importantly in Kazakhstan, is that they ...

Agenda

EU's Hungary funds, China, energy, and Frontex This WEEK

Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orbán last week was uncharacteristically quiet about "Brussels" and the EU as news emerged that the EU Commission plans to uphold its proposal to suspend parts of EU funds to his country over corruption and rule-of-law ...

Sweden says 'no' to EU asylum relocation pledges

Sweden won't make any pledges to relocate asylum seekers under a French-inspired EU agreement because it says there is no legal basis for it. "It is not possible for our government to commit itself to something which does not have a clear legal base," said ...

Opinion

The 'proof' problem with EU sanctions — and how to fix it

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen announced that crimes of corruption would be included in EU's sanctions regime, during her State of the Union speech in September 2022. That announcement was welcome and well overdue. Recent Panama and Pandora ...

The EU gas cap: will the bottle ever be 'uncorked'?

EU energy ministers entered a council meeting disgruntled on Thursday (24 November), where they were scheduled to discuss a widely derided EU Commission proposal to cap the gas price at €275 per megawatt-hour. The plan had been criticised by experts and ...

Opinion

Enough talk, only rights can eliminate patriarchal violence

Friday (25 November) is the UN's International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and we'll hear from world leaders and corporations espousing the virtues of equality through flashy campaigns and carefully-worded messaging calling for " ...

Swedish EU presidency: 'Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine'

Ukraine and a looming economic recession is set to dominate the upcoming Swedish EU presidency, which takes over at the start of next year. "Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine will be a very much on the forefront of our priority of our presidency," said Lars ...

EU Commission to keep Hungary's EU funds in limbo

The EU Commission will continue to propose to suspend some of the EU funds to Hungary as officials think prime minister Viktor Orbán's government has failed to implement all the previously agreed rule of law and anti-corruption measures, according to ...

'No substance' price ceiling for gas leaves everyone disgruntled

A European Commission proposal to limit the price of gas, which it presented ahead of a crucial meeting of energy ministers on Thursday (24 November), was immediately slammed by experts and politicians alike. A group of 15 countries, including Spain and ...

Ticker

'Pro-Kremlin group' in EU Parliament cyberattack

European Parliament president Roberta Metsola said Wednesday a pro-Kremlin group has claimed responsibility for a cyberattack against the institution. "Our IT experts are pushing back against it & protecting our systems. This, after we proclaimed Russia as ...

Opinion

Paying consumers who save most energy could tame gas prices

The saga of capping gas prices is far from over, and the EU is under pressure to balance high energy costs, maintain price signals, and meet its green transition targets — without any negative long-term impact on the energy market design. The increase in ...

MEPs formally declare Russia 'state sponsor of terrorism'

The European Parliament on Wednesday (23 November) designated Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism. MEPs, with 494 voting 'yes', 58 'no' votes and 44 abstentions, argued that Moscow's military strikes on civilian targets such as energy infrastructure, ...

EU leadership rehash old ideas to save migrant lives at sea

EU leadership on Wednesday (23 November) rehashed decade-old statements on the importance of saving lives in the Mediterranean Sea. "Saving life is always our first responsibility," EU home affairs commissioner, Ylva Johansson, told MEPs in Strasbourg. ...

Opinion

How the gas lobby is fuelling the cost-of-living crisis

This winter, times are tough for millions of Europeans. Three-in-four of us are cutting back on everyday items, including food. Protests are erupting as the energy and cost of living crises bite. This summer, one-in-10 small and medium-sized business in ...

Investigation

Asbestos — two to three times more deadly than known

"Clouds of dust were falling on us at every blow of the truncheon, but at that time we knew nothing about asbestos," recalled Jesús Ropero Calcerrada, a 73-year-old man who was tasked with scraping asbestos from railway carriages during his working life in ...

Tiny Kox: Russian spy in Strasbourg was 'no James Bond'

"He was sometimes there, he was smiling," said Tiny Kox, a Dutch politician, speaking of a Russian spy he used to see around in the corridors of the Council of Europe building in Strasbourg, France. "He was no James Bond," Kox added, referring to a British ...

Done 'asking nicely', EU adopts rules for more women on boards

The EU on Tuesday (22 November) adopted legislation to increase the number of women on the boards of big companies in the EU, in the fight against gender discrimination. MEPs backed the legislation — which took 10 years for lawmakers and EU member states ...

Socialists opposed parliament taking Qatar rights stand

The Socialists & Democrats group in the European Parliament are leading compromise talks on human rights in Qatar — despite most of their MEPs voting against putting the issue to a plenary vote. The move comes after the Left group on Monday (21 November) ...

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