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18th Jan 2018

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Nato prepares to take in Macedonia

Macedonia could be invited to join Nato as soon as it solves its name dispute with Greece, Nato has indicated. Jens Stoltenberg, Nato's top official, gave the upbeat assessment on his first-ever visit to Skopje on Thursday (18 January). "The allies agreed ...

Opinion

Taking full benefit of supercomputers in Europe

Companies able to take full advantage of digital infrastructures, process and disseminate digital products and services will be the ones who will benefit the most of today's data economy and society. However, among today's digital industry giants (Google, ...

Interview

Spitzenkandidat system 'difficult to get rid of', hopes lead MEP

The example of Jean-Claude Juncker becoming European Commission president in 2014 is a strong precedent to keep the controversial 'Spitzenkandidat' system, says the lead MEP in charge of constitutional affairs ahead of a likely battle with the national ...

Rights NGOs face fresh threats across the EU, agency says

Counterterrorism, anti-moneylaundering measures, shrinking budgets and threats curtail the work of civil rights' groups in the EU, a new report published on Thursday (18 January) by the EU's Vienna-based Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) has found. Civil ...

EIB 'more sensitive' to fraud after Dieselgate, chief insists

President Werner Hoyer of the European Investment Bank (EIB) had little of substance to say on Thursday (18 January) when asked to explain what the bank learned from its experience with a €400 million loan to German carmaker Volkswagen. Last year, the EU's ...

EU 'hypocrisy' condemns people to Libya, says NGO

The EU is condemning people to "nightmarish conditions" in Libya by training its coastguard to prevent them from fleeing towards Europe, according to Human Rights Watch. Kenneth Roth, the NGO's executive director, said at a press conference in Paris on ...

Ticker

EU Parliament to investigate glyphosate-decision process

The European Parliament's conference of presidents decided on Thursday to create a special committee to investigate the assessment process for pesticides, including the glyphosate weedkiller. The committee, which has a nine-month mandate, will in ...

Ticker

'Mutagenesis' falls outside EU's GMO rules, says EU top lawyer

The breeding method called mutagenesis is exempt from EU law regulating the authorisation of GMOs, the European Court of Justice's advocate general said on Thursday, in a non-binding opinion. Unlike GMOs, "mutagenesis doesn't entail the insertion of ...

Ticker

Decision on Polish MEP's Nazi-era slur postponed

The leaders of political groups in the European Parliament on Thursday postponed a decision on whether to schedule an 'impeachment vote' on Polish MEP Ryszard Czarnecki. Four group leaders want to remove his title of parliament vice-president because he ...

Ticker

Bad loans in EU decrease to 2014 levels

The amount of non-performing loans (NPL) - loans that individuals or companies cannot repay to the banks - has reached its lowest level since the end of 2014, the European Commission said. According to a report published on Thursday, the ratio of NPLs was ...

Ticker

UK demand for EIB loans dropped in 2017

European Investment Bank president Werner Hoyer said Thursday that in 2017 UK-based demand for loans dropped, compared to the remaining EU-27 - even though UK projects remain eligible until Brexit. Hoyer also said he believed the UK will not be able to ...

Ticker

EIB president: Juncker fund has worked

Werner Hoyer, president of the European Investment Bank, said Thursday the bank was "well on track" to generate €315bn of additional investments from a guarantee of €21bn through the Juncker fund. At its launch there was scepticism that the bank could ...

Ticker

Moscovici calls for more transparency on tax havens list

EU tax commissioner Pierre Moscovici has called "formally and solemnly" on EU member states to publish as soon as possible the letters of commitment they have received from entities on the EU lists of tax havens. He asked finance ministers to take the ...

Ticker

Commission proposes VAT overhaul

The European Commission proposed on Thursday changing VAT rules in the EU, to allow member states to decide reduced rates on some products without needing an unanimous agreement with other member states. It also proposed simplifying the rules for small and ...

Ticker

Council of Europe slams Romania's anti-corruption record

Romania has made "very limited progress" in reforms to fight corruption, the Council of Europe has said. In a report published on Thursday, the institution's anti-corruption body, the Greco, said that Romanian authorities have implemented only two of the ...

Next year's EU election at risk of Russian meddling

EU elections in 2019 are likely to be the next big target for Russian propaganda, MEPs have warned. "Next year the citizens of Europe will elect a new European Parliament. This raises an uncomfortable question: how many seats will Russia get?", Danish ...

Ticker

Macedonia's president blocks Albanian language law

Macedonian president Gjorge Ivanov on Wednesday vetoed a law that would make Albanian a second official language. "This law introduces an expensive parallelism to all levels of administration and leads to their total blockade and dysfunctionality," he said ...

Ticker

Sweden threatens army use to fight gang crime

Sweden's prime minister Stefan Lofven on Wednesday threatened to deploy the army to fight a flare-up of gang violence in the country. "It would not be my first option to bring in the military, but I am prepared to do whatever is necessary to make sure that ...

Ticker

Poll: Germans prefer Gabriel to Schulz for vice-chancellor

More Germans would prefer Sigmar Gabriel as vice-chancellor than SPD chief Martin Schulz, according to a YouGov/DPA survey published on Thursday. It found that 33 percent wanted Gabriel to remain deputy to chancellor Angela Merkel in a new coalition ...

Ticker

UK to pay for beefed up Calais security

The United Kingdom is set to pay an extra €50 million to beef up security around the French port city of Calais. The move comes ahead of a meeting on Thursday between French president Emmanuel Macron and British prime minister Theresa May. The two are set ...

Ticker

Italy deploys troops to Niger

The Italian parliament on Wednesday backed measures to send 470 troops in Niger as part of a campaign to clamp down on irregular migration and trafficking. Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni said the measures were needed to "guarantee stability in the ...

Ticker

Merkel and Kurz align conservative positions on Europe

Germany and Austria want to reduce illegal migration and strengthen the external borders of the European Union, Germany's conservative chancellor Angela Merkel agreed with Austria's new conservative chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, in Berlin on his first ...

Hungary to tax NGOs that 'help' migration

The Hungarian government on Wednesday (17 January) said it would propose a set of new laws that would tax and possibly sanction Hungarian groups which "assist illegal migration" and receive foreign funding. The package was named 'Stop Soros', referring to ...

Ticker

Catalan parliament elects separatist speaker

Roger Torrent, from the separatist Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) party, was elected speaker of the Catalan parliament on Wednesday, during the assembly's first session following the 21 December regional elections. The parliament is expected to elect ...

Cyprus, Malta, and Russia gang up on whistleblower

Cyprus has put out an EU arrest warrant against a whistleblower on high-level corruption in Malta. The Cypriot authorities acted "recently" on a criminal complaint against Maria Efimova, the Malta whistleblower, the Cyprus Business Mail reported on ...

Ticker

Czech government resigns

The minority government under Czech prime minister Andrej Babis resigned on Wednesday after losing a confidence vote. The billionaire prime minister is under fire following charges he defrauded the EU budget a decade ago. "The government approved its ...

'No backsliding' on Brexit promise, Irish PM warns

There can be "no backsliding" on the UK's guarantee to avoid a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar told the European Parliament on Wednesday (17 January). "The breakthrough achieved before ...

Ticker

MEPs back tighter export rules on cyber tech

The European Parliament on Wednesday voted in favour of imposing tighter rules on the export of cyber surveillance technology to countries outside Europe. "We must not be complicit in human rights violations abroad," said Klaus Buchner, the German MEP ...

Commission and council dig in on GMO opt-outs

The European Commission and the EU's national governments have passed each other the buck on who should make the first move on a heavily-criticised proposal on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food. The proposal would allow EU member ...

Ticker

Annual eurozone inflation at 1.4 percent in December

Annual inflation in the eurozone was 1.4% in December, Eurostat said Wednesday. This is down from 1.5% in November, but up from 1.1% a year before. The aim of the European Central Bank policies is to have inflation "below but close to 2 percent". For the ...