European Council

Croatian PM Plenković tells Michel he wants MFF negotiations concluded during the country’s Presidency

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Negotiations on the bloc's long-term budget should be concluded within 2020's first half, said Andrej Plenković, the Prime Minister of Croatia during a meeting with Charles Michel, EU Council's President. Croatia took over the EU Council Presidency...

European Council President meets with Bulgaria’s PM Borissov

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Boyko Borissov, Bulgaria's Prime Minister met with EU Council President Charles Michel, at the institution's headquarters in Brussels on Thursday. EU funds from the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2021-2027 topped the discussion ahead of the...

France scores victory on Enlargement rules

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The EU Commission released new proposed rules on February 5 which substantially modify the current Enlargement process but also allow EU member states to stop any accession aspirant seen as unreliable in accession negotiations...

EU, Armenia to further develop bilateral relations

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European Council President Charles Michel and Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan had a phone conversation on Monday, during which, they decided to further develop EU-Armenia relations. The communication took place, following an initiative by the Armenian...

EU adds 7 to sanctions list for Russia holding elections in Crimea

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The Council of the EU decided on Tuesday to add 7 individuals of former USSR descent, to the bloc's sanctions list over undermining the territorial integrity of Ukraine. As of Tuesday, the list published in...

EU Council President calls for special summit on the bloc’s budget

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In a letter sent to EU leaders on Saturday, European Council President Charles Michel has called for an emergency EU summit to be held on 20 February, in an effort to resolve the bloc’s...

Von der Leyen, Michel, Sassoli pledge to fight anti-Semitism in Europe

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The European Commission's chief, Ursula von der Leyen, along with EU Council President Charles Michel and EP President David Sassoli, travelled for the first time to Israel since they took office, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of...

Brexit bill passes first EP test, gets signed by von der Leyen, Michel

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Ursula von der Leyen, EU Commission's chief and Charles Michel, EU Council President formally signed on Friday the Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) that paves the way for UK’s divorce from the EU on 31 January. “Things...

EU-Kazakhstan to deepen ties

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The European Union and Kazakhstan pledged on 20 January mutual commitment in deepening ties, partnership, political dialogue and strengthening the contact between their citizens. The Cooperation Council between the EU and Kazakhstan held its...

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...

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...

Austria to reject Mercosur deal

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The new Austrian government will not support the trade deal between the EU and South American nations. The EU and the South American trade bloc Mercosur whose members are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, concluded...

EU extends economic sanctions against Russia for six months

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The European Union extended economic sanctions against Russia by six months until 31 July, the European Council announced on 19 December. “Given that the Minsk agreements are not fully implemented, the European Council unanimously took...

Poland asks for more time to align with EU’s climate objectives

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Last week's Council meeting found EU countries but Poland signing up to the bloc’s 2050 net zero carbon target, Ursula's von der Leyen ambitious green plan to make Europe the first climate neutral continent by 2050. "In...

Greece’s Balkan diplomacy currently a sideshow

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While keeping up the appearances of an active diplomatic campaign in Southeast Europe, the net impact of Athens’ recent initiatives will yield next to nothing in the struggle against neighboring Turkey over potential energy...

Mounting concerns over Europe’s ‘digital sovereignty’

Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron have independently expressed reservations about Europe’s reliance on American and Chinese for data storage. Merkel made the point last week that companies outsource data storage to the US...

The new EPP presidency shaped in Zagreb

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The European People’s Party Congress saw Donald Tusk take over the party’s presidency as the sole candidate. “Tusk is the face of a modern Poland. A true Christian Democrat, he stands for a democratic...

Fury in Italy over Eurozone debt-restructuring reform

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Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte aims to postpone the reform of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) at December’s EU summit, ANSA reported on Tuesday. A draft of the reform was agreed by eurozone finance ministers...

Eurozone edging towards recession without policy response consensus

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According to data released this week, the Eurozone hovers over the prospect of a recession, and there is no policy consensus over how to react. Europe's biggest economy, Germany, narrowly escaped recession, technically defined...

Zaev-Mitsotakis Thessaloniki meeting explores EU Enlargement delays

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The prime ministers of Greece and North Macedonia met on the sidelines of the Thessaloniki 2019 Summit on November 14. This was their second meeting since Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis assumed power in...

Brussels casts Zaev a thin lifeline

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Brussels cast a thin Italian-flavoured political lifeline to North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev over the last ten days, something sorely needed after Zaev had badly managed his public reactions in the period immediately...

EU and China to sign geographic indication agreement

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The EU and China will sign in Beijing an agreement to protect geographic indications, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday in Shanghai. Geographic indications are locally made products protected by EU law President Macron arrived in...

Zaev fumbles after EU Enlargement let-down

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North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev fumbled badly this week when discussing the relationship between his country’s now-frozen EU accession bid and the standing legal requirement to fully implement the solution to the Name...

Enlargement is not Eurovision, Zoran

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Enlargement boosters across Europe were stunned by the third failure of the European Council to announce a decision on 18 October on a date for beginning EU accession negotiations for Albania and North Macedonia,...

Johnson asks for clear “yes” or “no” from Parliament on Brexit deal

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Although UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson managed to secure a new deal with the EU on 17 October, the British Parliament had other plans after a narrow vote of 322 to 306 saw the...

Action needed on migration, before it’s too late

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The most recent European Council meeting was all about Brexit and saw the EU and the UK come to an agreement at the 11thhour on 17 October. Later it was all about the European...

EU Council finds agreements, disagreements, and relief

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With major issues to resolve, the EU Summit kicked off on 17 October with few doubts that Brexit would dominate the discussions; and it did. The EU’s current challenges, however, extend beyond the conundrum...

Johnson defies parliament and refuses Brexit delay negotiations

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Britain will leave the European Union on October 31 despite an unsigned formal letter that Prime Minister Boris Johnson submitted on Saturday. The House of Commons amended the government’s bill for an EU agreement on...

France unyielding on EU Enlargement, elections triggered in North Macedonia

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The scenario that emerged late last week with multiple reports that France would oppose immediate decisions on EU Enlargement has come to pass. EU European Affairs ministers (General Affairs Council) discussed the Enlargement matter again...

DUP stands in the way of a Brexit deal

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A tentative, technical Brexit deal between the European Union and Britain was nearing conclusion on Wednesday evening, which appeared to have the backing of the British cabinet. By late evening, the deal seemed less...

France defies EU majority on enlargement

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Only days after the leaders of the European Union's main institutions put pressure on the bloc to start accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania by "no later than this month”, France pushed back...

EU braces for no-deal Brexit while Johnson faces cabinet rebellion

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While the EU braces for a no-deal Brexit, British prime minister Boris Johnson is faced with the prospect of a rebellion by his own cabinet. Political leaders in the UK and the EU appear resigned...

Brussels tells budget surplus states to spend more

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With Eurozone economic growth in negative territory and inflation subdued, the European Central Bank and the European Commission are putting pressure on countries to match a fiscal stimulus with an expansionary budget. The European Central...

EU fails to seal migrant redistribution deal

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An EU interior minister meeting on migrants in Luxembourg does not appear to have yielded a final deal on migrant redistribution. Earlier on Tuesday, French EU Minister Amélie de Montchalin said 10 countries were ready...

UK markets plummet as Brexit deal appears “impossible”

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The UK stock market nosedived on Tuesday as the UK government appears to be politically ready for a no-deal Brexit. The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, took to Twitter to publicly asked the...

Eurozone unemployment continues to slide even as growth decelerates

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Unemployment is falling even as the economy is slowing down in the eurozone. The biggest decline in countries with the highest jobless rate:  Spanish unemployment went from 13.8% in August from 13.9% in July and...

Italy seeks expansionary budget

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The political parties supporting Premier Giuseppe Conte's coalition government have come to a consensus over budgetary policy. Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri of the Democratic Party (PD) has drafted the 2020 budget law that averts a...