EU national governments say harbouring dodgy money is wrong - unless you’re European. After months of intense negotiations, the 28 EU finance ministers finally published their much-awaited blacklist of tax havens this week. And it landed like a damp squib.
The EU-Africa summit in Abidjan confirmed the impression that for EU members from Central and Eastern Europe, Africa is not a big priority. The same can be said about those countries’ media, who paid little attention to the gathering.
Many saw the last German government as a tanker ship cruising stolidly and unswervingly through the stormy seas of world politics. But in the past few weeks, it has looked like the German ship and Captain Angela Merkel are about to start rolling and listing.
MEPs went all political this week, with debates in Strasbourg zooming in on the rule of law and tax evasion. We've heard indignation, anger, condemnation and calls for action but only time will tell how much of this will translate into tangible results.
Since Poland's ruling party came to power two years ago, the country dropped 36 places in the media freedom ranking. Journalists of public broadcasters have been losing their jobs and financial pressures are being exerted on commercial companies.
The EU's position that the referendum in Catalonia is illegal and that its independence drive is an internal matter for Spain did not go down well in Serbia. In fact, it irked the Balkan country so much that at one point it considered sending an official letter to the Commission to demand clarification.
The Czech Republic’s ‘pragmatic’ approach to the EU will not change significantly with the new government. But more unpredictability can be expected in the long term, with “Czexit” as the worst-case scenario being more likely than before.
A week full of debates and events about European regions and cities is over. Once again –for the 15th subsequent year- more than 6,000 participants around Europe gathered in Brussels to take part in what used to be a loose get-together and is now a well (maybe too well) structured multilevel event with thematic priorities and goals.
The cynicism of was undeniable. Just as the Commission announced it was taking the second step in an infringement procedure against Poland over the reform of its justice system, legal experts associated with the PiS government announced that the country could still demand reparations from Germany for its occupation during World War Two.
The Lega Nord has won the election. Or so one would be inclined to believe, surveying the stories on Italian politics published since August in the (mostly) UK press. A bit of Brexit projection, perhaps? Not exactly, but it can’t be excluded either.
He never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. So went the Abba Eban-penned 1973 slogan used to describe the late PLO chief, Yasser Arafat, who was routinely blamed for failing to secure peace with Israel.
Call it the Merkel tack. “For me, personally, marriage is a man and a woman living together. That is my concept, but I support civil partnerships,” she told YouTube vlogger Le Floid, AKA Florian Mundt, in July 2014.
Last month, Pedro Sánchez brought a new and unexpected result to the European ballot box. Sánchez returned to his post as secretary general of Spain’s Socialist Party (PSOE) after a bitter campaign against Susana Díaz, the powerful president of Andalucía who was supported by the barons of the party.
It was a wipeout. Failing to win a single contest in 1,004 local elections in Italy on Sunday (11 June), Beppe Grillo’s 5 Star Movement was quickly assigned to the list of declining populist parties that began with Geert Wilders’ defeat in March’s Dutch poll.
Even the strongest soft powers need defence capacities sometimes. This was not the highlight of the politically-oriented “growth and jobs” guidelines of Jean-Claude Juncker’s campaign for the European Commission presidency in the summer of 2014 though.
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