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African leaders unveil continent-wide plan to buy medicines

African leaders have promised to establish a continent-wide regime to buy medicines at this weekend's annual African Union summit in Addis Ababa, but momentum towards a pan-African medicines agency remains stalled. In a statement on Monday (19 February), ...

EU urban-rural divide not bridged by cohesion policy, report finds

The EU's cohesion policy has not proved effective enough in tackling the widening gap between cities and regions — fuelling a growing discontent that is boosting eurosceptic parties. "The European project will not fully succeed if some places, some regions ...

Column

Impending Rafah disaster shows up politics of humanitarian aid

Once hailed as a beacon of hope for vulnerable people across the world, humanitarian assistance is on a dangerous slippery slope. The international response to the situation in Gaza, where "every single person is hungry" — but food, water and shelter ...

Sweden heading into Nato, after Orbán-Kristersson deal

Sweden could join Nato as early as next week after Hungary finally tabled a ratification vote for Monday (26 February) and the Swedish prime minister said he would travel to Budapest. Kocsis Máté, a senior MP from prime minister Viktor Orbán's Fidesz party ...

Opinion

EU-Israel trade agreement must be on table to stop Rafah attack

As Europe awaits an Israeli assault on Rafah that could deliver anything from a massacre to mass ethnic cleansing, it has an important choice to make. Will it signal that its values and interests are best served by playing Washington's good cop or will it ...

'Nightmare' 2024 sees Orbán struggle ahead of EU elections

With less than four months to go before the European Parliament elections, Hungary's ruling Fidesz party has lost two of its most important European figures — but the country's fragmented opposition might struggle to capitalise on these losses. Hungarian ...

Opinion

'Crying wolf' win for chemicals lobby at Antwerp EU meeting

EU politicians will cosy up with Big Toxics at a secretive event on Tuesday (20 February) to discuss a new 'European Industrial Deal' — a blatant showcase of corporate capture and an attempt to shift the political agenda in a more profit-minded direction. ...

Hungary blocks EU appeal for Israel not to strike Rafah

Hungary has stopped fellow EU foreign ministers from formally asking Israel not to attack Rafah, even as Czech backing for Israel melts away. The "Foreign Ministers of 26 Member-States of the European Union" published an informal joint declaration anyway ...

France's Le Maire 'goes German' with austerity budget

The French ministry of finance announced on Monday (19 February) that it would cut another €10bn out of this year's budget, amid weak growth and ongoing monetary tightening. "The savings announced will allow us to stay on course for debt reduction," ...

EU banks in Russia after Navalny: business as usual

EU banks still operating in Russia are squirming to show they're abandoning their ever-more toxic client — but actions speak louder than words. Austria's top lender, Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), which made €1.8bn in pre-tax profit in Russia last ...

Frontex to far-right, Leggeri epitomises EU contradictions

Almost 10 years ago, Fabrice Leggeri, the disgraced former head of the EU's border agency Frontex, parroted the technocratic language of human rights. "Those people [migrants] are not criminals. It is not a criminal offense to cross the border illegally," ...

New EU social security coordination rules hit a dead end

The modernisation of the EU's social security coordination rules is once again at an impasse, with time running out in the current mandate and the Council still unable to find a compromise between member states. In December 2016, the European Commission ...

Opinion

EU plan to let 17-year olds drive trucks is crazy

The European Parliament's transport committee is poised to adopt a position on EU driving licence rules that would permit 17-year-olds to operate trucks and 16-year-olds to drive 2.5-tonne SUVs. It's an astonishing proposition rooted in political interest ...

Analysis

A second von der Leyen term at EU helm 'not a done deal'

German conservative Ursula von der Leyen is hoping to steer Europe through the next four-year chapter of its story, as she seeks reappointment for European Commission president after the June European elections. Her announcement at a congress of the centre ...

Inquiry launches into Polish ex-government's 'Pegasus' spying

Electronic political spying moves centre-stage in Poland on Monday (19 February), as a parliamentary investigation opens an inquiry into the use of Israeli Pegasus spyware, purchased by the country's former nationalist-populist Law & Justice government in ...

Agenda

New Red Sea mission and more Russia sanctions This WEEK

Foreign affairs ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday (19 February) will announce the launch of the EU's new Red Sea naval mission — Aspides — aimed at protecting EU-linked commercial ships from attacks by the Houthi rebel group in Yemen.  German, French ...

Navalny: Putin's 'evil' takes centre-stage at Munich talks

The death of Russia's best-known dissident, Alexei Navalny, caused little surprise in EU circles in Brussels, but saw the Russian regime branded "evil" in Munich, Germany, where top diplomats and security officials were gathered for an annual security ...

Opinion

Navalny executed by Putin — another sacrificial victim

It happened. The Kremlin has finally managed to kill Alexei Navalny, the major political opponent of the regime run by Vladimir Putin for the last quarter of the century. Whatever the official explanation of Navalny's death the Russian administration or ...

EU deal on new gig-workers rules unlikely before June elections

No EU deal on platform work directive was reached on Friday (16 February), as four member states decided not to support the latest agreement to improve conditions for gig workers in Europe — making the chances of a directive before the elections unlikely. ...

Chinese train firm subject to first EU probe for foreign subsidies

The EU Commission has launched its first in-depth investigation into foreign subsidies deemed potentially market distortive. The company under investigation is a Chinese train manufacturer called CRRC Qingdao Sifang Locomotive, a subsidiary of CRRC ...

Analysis

Divided African Union needs muscle to match ambitions

The African Union's credibility will be in the spotlight at its annual leaders' summit, which starts in Addis Ababa on Saturday (17 February) — as it faces up to another political crisis in a key member state. With ambitions to become more like the ...

Opinion

The elephant in the room at this weekend's African Union summit

This weekend (17-18 February), African leaders will meet in Addis Abada for their 37th African Union summit. European leaders should pay serious attention, in particular those who put the relation with Africa on top of their foreign and development policy, ...

European elections: What’s at stake for EU humanitarian aid?

Editor's note: We've partnered with the newsletter Brussels Dispatches, launched by Wilf King and Pierre Minoves, respectively working for the European Parliament and Commission. The newsletter provides an accessible, personable, high-level overview of why ...

EUobserved

MEPs' favourite topic — their seats, and how they get elected

Few things interest politicians more than the way they are elected. But finding a system that most can agree on continues to elude MEPs. One of the innovations in the Lisbon Treaty was that MEP seats are divided between the EU-27 according to the principle ...

Greece becomes first Orthodox state to legalise gay marriage

The Hellenic parliament passed a bill to legalise same-sex marriage on Thursday (15 February), by 176 votes in favour, 76 against and two abstentions [46 lawmakers were not present at the vote] — making Greece the first Orthodox Christian country to adopt ...

EU states embedded 'Rwanda clause' into new asylum rules

A so-called 'Rwanda clause' slipped into the overhaul of EU asylum law will undermine the UN refugee convention, say critics. Coined after failed efforts by the UK to offshore asylum to Rwanda, the EU Council, representing member states, embedded the ...

Ukraine 'closer than ever' to joining Nato, despite war

When the political timing is right, Ukraine will go into Nato as swiftly as Finland and Sweden are doing, Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said in Brussels on Thursday (15 February). "We are moving Ukraine closer to membership so that when we take ...

ECB keeps rates high, despite flagging economy

Despite wages barely having contributed to inflation over the past years, European Central Bank (ECB) president Christine Lagarde warned against lowering interest rates too soon because wages might drive up inflation again later this year. "Wages are ...

Opinion

COP29 host Azerbaijan escapes Munich Security scrutiny

The Munich Security Report released this week is very thorough in outlining some of the most pressing challenges to international security, ahead of the annual conference. However, there is a topic central to democracy that is missing from the report and ...

Analysis

Is geothermal energy the climate fix everyone forgot?

In an upcoming session on Thursday (15 February), the European Parliament will see the EU commissioner for climate action, Wopke Hoekstra, defending the bloc's climate targets. These recommend member states cut emissions by 90 percent by 2040. Green groups ...

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