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21st Feb 2017

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Ticker

Romanian parliament buries controversial corruption decree

The Romanian parliament voted on Tuesday to abandon a controversial ordinance that decriminalised official misconduct if the financial damage amounted to less than €44,100. The decree, seen as a way for politicians from the ruling Social-Democratic Party ...

Opinion

Should Europeans spend more on defence?

That European allies should spend more on defense instead of relying on America’s military might is the standard refrain of most US administrations, regardless of political party. Last week in Brussels, the new secretary of defense James Mattis warned that ...

Ticker

Dozens drown off Libyan coast

The Libyan Red Crescent aid organisation said it had recovered some 74 bodies on Monday that had washed ashore on the Libyan coast. The Red Crescent says the deceased had attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Italy on a rubber boat. More are ...

Ticker

EU ministers approve anti-tax avoidance directive

EU finance ministers approved on Monday the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive II, which aims at fighting tax avoidance by targeting loopholes, known as "hybrid mismatches", where companies exploit differences between tax systems of member states and non-EU ...

Interview

Dieselgate: EU disappointed with VW's treatment of customers

The EU's highest official in charge of consumer affairs is “disappointed” that Volkswagen is unwilling to give even a non-financial compensation to consumers who had bought a diesel car equipped with cheating software. “My optimism is decreasing since last ...

Ticker

Poland rejects EU criticism of court changes

Poland's foreign ministry said on Monday in a formal reply to Brussels that changes to the country's constitutional court are in accordance with European standards. The European Commission is worried that the reforms undermine judicial independence of the ...

Ticker

German nationalist leader met with Putin allies in Moscow

Germany's nationalist AfD party leader, Frauke Petry, met with senior Russian politicians in Moscow on Monday following an invite from the Russian government. Accompanied by a delegation of party members, Petry discussed collaboration between Russian and ...

Ticker

German housing market overheated, says Bundesbank

German real estate is overvalued by up to 30 percent, Germany's central bank, Deutsche Bundesbank, said on Monday. Its monthly report for February singled out seven cities which were particularly affected by overheated markets - Berlin, Cologne, ...

Ticker

France invites three EU leaders for Versailles summit in March

French president Francois Hollande announced after a meeting with Spanish PM Rajoy in Malaga on Monday that there will be a summit in Versailles with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Spain on 6 March in preparation of the EU summit in Brussels on ...

French police raid Le Pen's party office

Police in France raided the offices of presidential candidate Marine Le Pen on Monday (20 February) as part of a fraud investigation. The leader of the far-right National Front is suspected of using fake EU parliament contracts to swindle the EU taxpayer ...

Interview

The Armenia-Azerbaijan war: A refugee's story

“I saw a naked girl running through the field. She was acting crazy, like dancing or something. The men surrounded her and started beating her, punching and kicking her. They pulled back and then they came at her again. They came back and forth, back and ...

Greece and creditors break bailout deadlock

The Greek government agreed on Monday (20 February) to make new reforms to cut up to 2 percent of GDP in spending in the coming years. Greece accepted budget cuts worth up to €3.6 billion that it had previously refused as the only way to break the deadlock ...

Internal EU report exposes Libya turmoil

An internal report from the EU's border mission for Libya provides a bleak account of the country's misfortunes, casting a long shadow over EU aims to control its migration flows towards Italy. The assessment broadly echoes statements made by the UN's ...

EU commissioner condemns 'delay' in post-Dieselgate reform

EU industry commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska has expressed her frustration towards member states' “delay” in moving forward with a reform of how car types are approved in Europe. “There is no time to lose. We really need a robust new type approval system. ...

Focus

Sweden fights back as foreign leaders make up bad news

Donald Trump bashed Sweden over the weekend, but he wasn't the first foreign leader to promote his own restrictive migration policies by painting a dark picture of the Nordic state. Speaking at a political rally on Saturday (18 February), the US president ...

Ticker

Greece agrees on new bailout reforms

Greece and its creditors agreed on Monday on the return to Athens of EU and International Monetary Fund experts to negotiate "an additional package of structural reforms", Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem said after a meeting of eurozone finance ...

Column / Crude World

Nordstream 2: Alternative pipeline facts

In my previous column, I wrote an analysis on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, and some of the outstanding issues after the release of the second State of the Energy Union by the European Commission on 1 February. In response, Sebastian Sass – an EU advisor to ...

US vice-president on goodwill mission in Brussels

[UPDATED at 19.00 on Monday 20 February] The US vice-president Mike Pence gave Europeans what they wanted to hear during a visit to Brussels on Monday (20 February), but disagreements are likely to remain. "Today it is my privilege on behalf of president ...

Ticker

EU commission denies Juncker resignation rumour

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker will "complete his term with much energy and determination", commission spokesman Alexander Winterstein said Monday after an article in Italian daily La Reppubblica said he was about to resign. Last week, ...

Ticker

US "strongly committed" to cooperation with EU, says vice-president

US vice-president Mike Pence said in Brussels on Monday that president Donald Trump and his administration have a "strong commitment ... to continued cooperation and partnership with the EU". He added that the EU and US "share the same heritage, values and ...

Ticker

Wilders pulls out of second Dutch election TV debate

Dutch anti-EU politician Geert Wilders has cancelled his participation in an election debate, after rejecting as "disgusting" that one of the broadcasters that organised it interviewed his brother, who does not support Wilders' views. He had already pulled ...

Malta anger over plans for web crackdown

A draft bill which aims to regulate online news in Malta has worried opposition politicians and added a motive for several thousands of Maltese to take to the streets on Sunday (19 February). A protest organised by opposition centre-right Nationalist Party ...

Agenda

Pence, Greece and Brexit This WEEK

With Greece, the US and Brexit, three of the EU's main challenges will be on the agenda this week. On Monday (20 February), the new US vice-president Mike Pence is paying his first visit to Brussels, which is also the first visit to the EU institutions by ...

Ticker

Russia to recognise passports from breakaway Ukraine regions

Russia will recognise passports issued by the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics in eastern Ukraine, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced on Saturday. People from the eastern regions will be able to travel into Russia without applying for ...

Ticker

Pro-refugee marchers swarm through Barcelona

Barcelona police estimated 160,000 people took to the streets on Saturday demanding that Spain’s conservative government accept more refugees. Spain has pledged to take in about 16,000 asylum seekers from other EU countries under a quota system agreed in ...

Ticker

Renzi seeks party's support

Matteo Renzi resigned on Sunday as leader of the Italian Democratic Party, but only to seek a stronger mandate within the party. Renzi stepped down as prime minister in January after losing a referendum on constitutional reform. He wants to run for the top ...

Ticker

EU probes China-funded rail project

A planned 350km high-speed railway between Belgrade and Budapest is being investigated by the European Commission. The project, financed with the proceeds of a Chinese loan, will be assessed to see that EU rules on public tenders were followed. No contract ...

Analysis

Why Romania erupted in protest

In recent weeks hundreds of thousands of Romanians poured out to the streets to stop what they had seen as corrupt politicians trying to get away with more corruption. Not since the revolution in 1989 that overthrew communism have Romanians taken to the ...

Feature

Referendum to create 'Republic of Artsakh' on Europe's fringe

Some 100,000 ethnic Armenians are voting on a new name for their territory and new powers for their leader on Monday (20 February) in the crosshairs of Azerbaijan’s artillery and missiles. The referendum, in what used to be called the Republic of Nagorno- ...

US reassures Europe on Nato and Russia, again

US vice-president Mike Pence crowned a week of American diplomacy in Europe on Saturday (18 February) by promising to stick by Nato and to take a tough line on Russia. "The president [Donald Trump] asked me to be here today to convey a message, a ...