European Council

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...

Greek government moves to improve management of refugee crisis

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ATHENS – Amidst a major uptick in the number of migrant arrivals landing on Greece’s eastern Aegean Islands, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis summoned his cabinet on 30 September for talks on how to...

Zaev-Mitsotakis New York meeting – breaking the ice

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The prime ministers of Greece and North Macedonia held their first face-to-face meeting on the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) 24 September, ending a long period since the 7 July...

Britain submits written Withdrawal Agreement proposals

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Britain's Brexit minister Secretary Stephen Barclay is meeting the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier on Friday, only a day after the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker expressed the certainty that a...

Tusk makes final push in support of Western Balkans enlargement

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Outgoing European Council President Donald Tusk devoted his time on 16 September to make a final push in support of the EU accession aspirations of both Albania and North Macedonia, both of which remain...

Eurozone divided over stimulus policy

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Mario Draghi’s monetary policy package announced is being fiercely contested and may no longer be sufficient to stave off a recession across the whole of the Eurozone. Draghi has argued that the Eurozone’s economy is...

Italy requests a fiscal time-out to boost growth

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Following a meeting with the President-elect of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Italian premier Minister Giuseppe Conte asked for fiscal space to restart the Italian economy. Addressing the press, Conte said that the...

The EU rethinks the Fiscal Compact

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It appears that the consensus over a fiscally tight, export-driven EU economy is contested. The Finnish Council Presidency will table a proposal for the review of the fiscal compact on Saturday’s Eurogroup, Reuters reports. According...

Boris Johnson faces parliaments’ last-ditch attempt to avert no-deal Brexit on Tuesday

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Boris Johnson’s government is preparing to resist the parliaments’ last attempt to stop a no-deal Brexit. The two prevailing scenarios are that MPs will attempt to push the government to ask for an extension...

No-deal Brexit likely as Boris Johnson suspends parliament

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Boris Johnson landmark decision to suspend parliament has been nothing short of an earthquake for Britain's political establishment. Some MPs have called Johnson out violating the spirit of the UK's 800-year-old constitutional tradition. Johnson, however,...

Finland asks EU to utilise full toolkit on Amazon fires

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Ahead of Thursday’s Informal Foreign Affairs Council in Helsinki, Finland urges the EY to use all the tools at its disposal to stop fires in the Amazon rainforest. The Nordic nation, which currently holds the...

World Bank CEO Georgieva picked as Europe’s nominee to lead IMF

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After tapping IMF chief Christine Lagarde to head the European Central Bank, the EU has put forward another powerful woman's name to take the reigns at the International Monetary Fund with the official nomination...

BMW sponsorship of Finnish Council Presidency triggers EU probe

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The European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly is launching a probe on Finland’s BMW-sponsored six-month European Council Presidency. BMW will be providing 100 vehicles for EU delegations in Helsinki. Corporate sponsoring of the EU presidency is a...

Finnish presidency sets August 26 as MFF deadline for budget priorities 

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Informing the EU affairs ministers about plans for work on a multi-annual financial framework (MFF) for 2021-2027, the Finnish presidency has set a deadline for the other 27 members of the European Union to...

Timmermans says EU Commission under von der Leyen will be tough on rule of...

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European Commission First Vice-president Frans Timmermans said during a press conference following an EU affairs meeting in Brussels that he has no doubt that incoming Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen will be as...