EU Affairs

MEPs want global CO2 binding targets to save biodiversity

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Members of the European Parliament want the upcoming global biodiversity conference COP 15 to agree on legally binding targets, as was the case for the Paris agreement on climate change. On 15 January, the European...

EU to assess if US-China deal is compatible with WTO rules

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The EU will assess whether the newly signed US-China Phase One deal is compatible with WTO rules. The deal opened a new, quieter phase in the trade war between Beijing and Washington, as it...

European companies ask EU to toughen its approach to China

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The business organization BusinessEurope complained that China was the most restrictive of the EU’s trading partners. The EU is China’s biggest trading partner. The organisation consists of business groups from 35 countries. It warned that...

Commission asks EU’s top court to suspend chamber disciplining Polish judges

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The European Commission decided on Tuesday to ask the European Court of Justice (CJEU) to temporarily suspend the functioning of the disciplinary chamber of Poland’s Supreme Court, after CJEU ruled in December that the...

Turkey lifts ban on Wikipedia after 3 years

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After nearly three years, a Turkish court has lifted the government’s ban on the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. The ban was imposed when Turkey accused Wikipedia of participating in a campaign against the country, after the...

Commission says Portugal fails to meet EU fiscal targets

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The EU Commission told Portugal that its draft budget for 2020 was at risk of breaking EU fiscal rules because of insufficient progress in reducing its structural deficit. Even though the country’s debt is falling,...

Sale of Piraeus Bank’s Bulgarian subsidiary to Eurobank did not breach EU state aid...

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After examining a complaint received in January 2019 that led to the opening of a formal investigation procedure, the European Commission confirmed on Wednesday the compliance of the sale of Piraeus Bank's Bulgarian subsidiary...

Former EU diplomat suspected of spying for China

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German prosecutors said they were investigating three people suspected of working as secret agents and spying for China. The suspects include a former EU diplomat. “We can confirm an investigation into suspected espionage” for Chinese...

Many countries likely to miss global education and nutrition goals

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Despite global progress in education access and participation as well as in the tackling of malnutrition, current trajectories in many countries show that the relevant United Nations’ Sustainable goals are likely to be missed. According...

Former Google executive raises concerns about tech giant’s human rights policies

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Ross LaJeunesse, a former Google executive has expressed his concerns about the human rights policies that the firm follows as it moves to expand into China and other countries where civil and human rights...

CoE experts say Italy must do more to protect women from violence

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Gender equality is facing resistance in Italy despite some progress that has been made to promote women’s rights, according to GREVIO, the Council of Europe’s group of experts on violence against women, during its...

Nordic countries disagree with EU over minimum wage

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Nordic nations were not happy about the European Commission’s plans to introduce an EU-wide minimum wage framework. As they do not have a minimum wage, Denmark, Sweden and Finland fear the measure could undermine their...

EU supports Poland in its dispute with Russia over WWII

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Commissioner Vera Jourova told the EU parliament that she rejects claims that paint Poland as a perpetrator instead of a victim of World War II, which lasted from 1939-1945. “Organized and targeted dissemination of distortions...

Cambodian opposition leader goes on trial for ‘treason’

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A Cambodian court opened a trial against the prominent Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha, accusing him of “conspiring with foreign powers” to overthrow the government. Based on a video of a speech he gave in...

US, Japan and EU target China with new WTO subsidy rules proposals

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The European Union, Japan and the United States proposed new global subsidy rules on Tuesday, clearly pointing at China's state-supported economic model. During a Trilateral meeting held in Washington, D.C., Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade Representative, Hiroshi Kajiyama, Japan's...

Ukraine to boost renewables, energy efficiency with EU help

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Ukraine can focus in developing the country’s renewable energy sector and improve the much-delayed energy efficiency now that the former Soviet republic has concluded the gas transit agreement with Russia, the European Union’s energy...

European judges join Polish colleagues in protest against controversial law

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Hundreds of judges dressed in formal robes took to the streets on 11 January in Poland’s capital, Warsaw, to protest a controversial law. The protesters held Polish and EU flags, as well as banners reading...

EU Commission provides €8.5 million to VET pilot projects in Africa and the Western...

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The European Commission allocated on Monday €8.5 million for two pilot projects with Africa and one with the Western Balkans in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector. The projects are expected to start their...

Soldier confesses to murdering Slovak journalist

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Miroslav Marcek, one of the suspects in the 2018 murder of Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak and his partner, Martina Kusnirova, admitted to the killing in the country’s court on 13 January. "I am guilty. I...

Commissioner urges EU to build up its digital sector

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The European Union’s Commissioner for the internal market, Thierry Breton, said that, in order to not fall behind on its rivals, Europe needs to help its companies with their production and management of industrial...

UK Security Service ‘not worried’ about Huawei impact on intelligence sharing

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Andrew Parker, the chief of the UK Security Service - MI5, said in an interview that he had 'no reason to think' the intelligence partnership with the US would suffer if ministers allow involvement...

Kazakhstan and EU to discuss cooperation prospects in Brussels this month

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NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan – Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi will discuss new areas of cooperation with the European Union, Foreign Ministry spokesman Aibek Smadiyarov said on 13 January. “On January 20-21, the Kazakh delegation, headed by...

Less than half of EU travellers are aware of passenger rights

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The European Commission published on Monday the results of an Eurobarometer survey on passenger rights in the European Union, which found that only 43% of EU citizens who have travelled by air, long-distance rail, coach, ship...

Mitsotakis draws praise for DC visit, little response from EU

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Washington is probably not the place to be as a guest these days. Amidst vast political pressure over Donald Trump due to the impeachment process, which is under way, and the debate sparkled after...

In Abu Dhabi, Simson to discuss global efforts to deploy renewable energy

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On 11-12 January, EU Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson is expected to travel to Abu Dhabi to attend the 10th session of the IRENA Assembly. The Commissioner will hold a number of bilateral meetings with regional...

Climate Action: EIB finances 40 new electric trains in Italy

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The European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided a €68 million loan to Ente Autonomo Volturno (EAV), Campania Region's railway management authority, to purchase 40 new electric trains, the European Commission said on 10 January....

From the Revolution of 2020 to the Evolution of 2050

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European societies are already on the move and 2020 will shape the direction that they go in. Within 30 years, in one way or another, the new world’s political condition will be settled. The potential...

An alpine role-model for Europe?

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Austria’s newly-inaugurated ‘Turquoise-Green’ coalition government of Christian Democrats (ÖVP) and Greens has high hopes of pioneering a different kind of politics in Europe. Hammered out over weeks of secret talks, the new government’s programme...

Make Europe Relevant Again

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It is increasingly clear that the European Union was not built to be a global actor. The EU is a strictly European idea, designed to bring peace and prosperity to a region ravaged by...

EIB funds to help finance electric and CNG buses in Spain

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The European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided €27.5 million in financing to Spanish transport company Grupo Ruiz to replace its more polluting diesel buses with 32 electric and 141 compressed natural gas alternatives, the...

Putin, Erdogan launch TurkStream to Turkey, Southern Europe

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Russia and Turkey launched the TurkStream gas pipeline on 8 January in a ceremony attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and Serbian President Aleksandar...

Private sponsorships of Council presidencies ruin EU’s reputation, ombudsman warns

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The European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly announced it had launched an investigation into the private company sponsorship of the rotating presidencies of the Council of the EU. The move follows a complaint filed in June by...

EU and Belarus sign visa and readmission agreements

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On Wednesday, the European Union and Belarus signed an agreement on visa facilitation and readmission, after six years of negotiations, marking an important step in bilateral relations. The agreement was signed in Brussels by the...

UK parliament approves Brexit deal

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Britain’s parliament gave final approval to Brexit on 9 January, paving the way for the country's departure from the European Union on 31 January, and making it the first nation ever to exit the...

Croatia takes over EU Presidency, faces “challenging” 2020

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Croatia officially assumed for the first time since it joined the bloc, the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU on 1 January 2020 for a six-months period, succeeding Finland. In what national media...

EU vows to try to save nuke deal as Iran steps away after Soleimani...

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The European Union said it will "spare no efforts” to keep the 2015 nuclear deal preventing Iran from developing atomic weapons. The head of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said its foreign policy...

Von der Leyen, Lagarde say 11 months is not enough for a EU-UK deal

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The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, warned that the timeframe for a deal defining the post-Brexit relationship with the EU by the end of 2020 is too short. Britain leaves the...