Global Europe

15-12-2017

EU leaders hope for migration breakthrough by June

EU leaders are preparing for a difficult start to 2018 when heads of state weigh new measures to deal with illegal migration. But the European Commission and European Council leaders agree that they want to avoid putting migration proposals to a vote that could divide member states.

The Brief: Money can’t buy you friends

Migration was confirmed to be the most divisive issue in European politics at the final 2017 EU summit. The Visegrad group (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia) will pay €35 million, but calling this “solidarity” is ludicrous.

Enlargement 15-12-2017

Serbia judges want more transparency, independence, higher pay

There is a widespread lack of trust among judges and prosecutors in Serbia in the process of electing judiciary officials and climbing the career ladder, with eight out of ten believing that those processes are steered by connections and nepotism as much as by objective criteria.

Czech PM wants to convince Juncker to abandon refugee quotas

The Czech Republic insists that it will not accept any refugees under the EU relocation system, despite a legal case brought by the European Commission.

15-12-2017

EU leaders agree to roll over Russia sanctions ‘after intense discussion’

EU leaders yesterday (14 December) agreed to extend tough economic sanctions against Russia over its meddling in Ukraine for six months, EU Council President Donald Tusk said.

Energy 15-12-2017

UK gets Russian gas for Christmas, despite US sanctions

The United Kingdom will take direct delivery of Russian gas for the first time this month, after fears of a winter supply crisis pushed prices up. The deal is controversial because the provider is a Russian gas project that is the subject of US sanctions against Moscow.

Defence policy 15-12-2017

‘Bad news for enemies’: EU leaders officially launch defence pact

Flanked by soldiers in combat dress, European leaders inaugurated on Thursday (14 December) a landmark defence cooperation pact that EU Council President Donald Tusk said was "bad news for our enemies".

14-12-2017

Migration row mars EU summit, exposes divides

EU leaders ended the first day of the end-of-year European Council summit with no sign of tensions thawing amid recent disagreements on migration, which have once again exposed divides between eastern members and 'old Europe'.

Future EU 14-12-2017

New Polish PM Morawiecki makes summit debut

Poland's newly appointed Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki will attend his first  European summit in Brussels on Thursday (14 December), where leaders and policymakers hope he will be more cooperative than his predecessor Beata Szydło, who resigned this week.

Economy & Jobs 14-12-2017

Mongolia vows action to get off EU tax haven blacklist

Mongolia needs to take action at "all levels of government" to get itself removed from a European Union blacklist of tax havens, its foreign minister said, following talks with European counterparts.

Romania’s lower house passes judicial overhaul bills

Romania’s lower house of parliament approved yesterday (13 December) legislation to overhaul its justice system, legislation that the European Commission, the US State Department and the country’s president have criticised as threatening judicial independence.

14-12-2017

UN’s Guterres warns against ‘sleepwalking’ into war over North Korea

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, warning against the danger of “sleepwalking” into war, said today (14 December) that Security Council resolutions on North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs must be fully implemented by Pyongyang and other countries.

Circular economy 14-12-2017

Chinese ban on plastic waste imports could see UK pollution rise

A ban on imports of millions of tonnes of plastic waste by the Chinese government from January could see an end to collection of some plastic in the UK and increase the risk of environmental pollution, according to key figures in the industry. EURACTIV's partner The Guardian reports.

14-12-2017

Putin must nudge Syria into UN peace deal, mediator says

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura urged Russia yesterday (13 December) to convince its ally the Syrian government of the need to clinch a peace deal to end the nearly seven-year-old war.

Freedom of thought 13-12-2017

Press freedom in Bulgaria under attack ahead of EU Presidency

Bulgarian opposition parties exposed on Tuesday (12 December) what they see as an attempt to silence and close down media considered unfriendly to the government of Boyko Borissov. Bulgaria will take over the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU from 1 January.

13-12-2017

US, EU want cuts to UN budget

The United States is seeking a $250 million cut to the core budget of the United Nations for 2018-2019, on top of $200 million in savings already proposed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, diplomats said on Tuesday (12 December). The EU also asked for cuts to the tune of $170 million.

Africa 13-12-2017

Africa, Europe hope to rally support for Sahel anti-terror force

French President Emmanuel Macron hosts Germany's Angela Merkel and five African presidents today (13 December), hoping to bolster the fledging G5 Sahel force fighting jihadists in an area the size of Europe.

Economy & Jobs 13-12-2017

EU stalls on new Mercosur trade offers, delaying deal

Trade talks between the European Union and South America’s Mercosur bloc will likely extend into next year after European negotiators said they needed more time to respond to improved offers, a source close to Mercosur negotiators said yesterday (12 December).

13-12-2017

Tillerson: Russian vote meddling was ‘hybrid warfare’

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson yesterday (12 December) branded Russia's alleged meddling in last year's American presidential election an act of "hybrid warfare".

Energy 13-12-2017

EU bank delays decision on mega pipeline loan

The European Investment Bank on Tuesday (12 December) delayed a decision on whether to grant a multi-billion-euro loan to a controversial pipeline, after the bank’s board insisted it needs more time to assess the project.

Development Policy 13-12-2017

EU and Gates Foundation pledge €500 million for innovations in agriculture

The European Union together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged on Tuesday (12 December) more than €500 million over the next three years for research and innovation in agriculture.

Tensions arise between Tusk and Commission over migration

The Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos described on Tuesday (12 December) European Council President Donald Tusk’s proposals on migration intended for the EU leaders’ summit later this week as "unacceptable" and  "anti-European".

12-12-2017

Stoltenberg reappointed as NATO chief until 2020

NATO today (12 December) reappointed Jens Stoltenberg as secretary general to serve until 2020, as the alliance undergoes its biggest revamp since the Cold War to counter the perceived threat posed by Russia.

Development Policy 12-12-2017

Commission finally tables mandate for post-Cotonou negotiations

The European Commission presented on Tuesday (12 December) a recommendation to the Council including a long-awaited proposal for how to proceed in new trade negotiations with the countries of Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP).