EU privacy rules tilt to industry, NGO says

A pro-transparency group has documented intense industry lobbying in the lead up to a vote on digital privacy at the European Parliament this week.

Brussels-based Corporate Europe Observatory, an NGO, on Tuesday (17 October) said over 800 amendments had been tabled on a bill designed to ...

2017-10-18 08:23 open_in_new
EU-Russia trade bouncing back - despite sanctions

Earlier this year, I published an academic research paper on EU-Russia trade relations after sanctions were imposed in July 2014.

The article showed a drastic decline in both import and export in sectors affected by sanctions as well as other economic sectors that were suffering from the ...

2017-10-18 08:23 open_in_new
No sign of Brexit speed-up after May-Juncker dinner

There was little sign of "acceleration" in Brexit talks despite the friendly body language at a dinner in Brussels on Monday (16 October).

British prime minister Theresa May and European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said they had "reviewed the progress made in the Article 50 ...

2017-10-18 08:23 open_in_new
Malta in shock after car bomb kills crusading journalist

Daphne Caruana Galizia, Malta's best known journalist, was killed by a car bomb on Monday (16 October) in what Malta's leader called a "black day for freedom of expression."

The blast, at about 3pm near her home in Bidjina, tore apart the Peugeot 108 that she was driving and threw her body ...

2017-10-18 08:23 open_in_new
Spanish and Catalan leaders continue stand-off

In an exchange of letters, Mariano Rajoy and Carles Puigdemont called on each other to make the first step to defuse the crisis over Catalonia's independence.

The Spanish and Catalan leaders stuck to their guns on Monday (16 October) while buying time before escalating the crisis over ...

2017-10-18 08:23 open_in_new
May pleads for more, as EU makes Brexit gesture

The EU-27 is to make a gesture but also toughen its language towards the UK ahead of the EU summit later this week, as British prime minister Theresa May makes a final plea at a dinner on Monday night in Brussels to begin trade talks.

The EU-27 are still signalling that internal ...

2017-10-18 08:23 open_in_new
EU circles the wagons around Iran deal

The EU confirmed its commitment to support the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and major world powers during the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg on Monday (16 October), in spite of the repeated complaints about the deal made by US president Donald Trump.

Quoting a joint ...

2017-10-18 08:23 open_in_new
'Think of the patients!' cry EU agency contenders

Does the future home of the European Medicines Agency matter to patient safety?

The cry '...but think of the children!' has often been used seriously in politics - but also satirically, in TV series like the Simpsons.

Now, a variation on the theme has been used in earnest in the past ...

2017-10-18 08:23 open_in_new
In Iceland: Europe woos Arctic allies

First minister Nicola Sturgeon of Scotland was seeking new friends in the Arctic last week in Reykjavik, Iceland's capital, as were other high-profile Europeans - including the EU's first-ever 'ambassador to the Arctic'.

"Scotland is closer to the Arctic than to London," Sturgeon said, ...

2017-10-18 08:23 open_in_new
Austrian voters reject liberal status quo

In the end, the Austrian election outcome offers no big surprises, but one small one.

As predicted by the polls, the People's Party (OVP) is projected to win with over 31% of the votes, propelled to victory by its slick new leader, 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, who has adopted key themes of ...

2017-10-18 08:23 open_in_new
Turkey urges EU not to break off ties

Turkey has said it wants to maintain EU accession talks, as foreign ministers and leaders meet to discuss its human rights crisis.

"We are determined to maintain this process [EU accession talks] regardless of all obstacles. We do not have any intentions to withdraw our bid", Bekir ...

2017-10-18 08:23 open_in_new
Catalan leader ignores Madrid on independence question

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has not answered the Spanish government's question on whether he declared independence last week.

In a letter sent to Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy on Monday (16 October), Puigdemont called for dialogue, but did not shed light on a confusing ...

2017-10-18 08:23 open_in_new
Rights charter in limbo during Brexit spats

British PM Theresa May is visiting the EU capital on Monday (15 October) for an impromptu dinner with European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker and Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier.

Her last-minute initiative comes before an EU summit on Thursday in which EU leaders are unlikely to bow ...

2017-10-18 08:23 open_in_new
Interpol and the EU: don't play politics

On 5 October, EUobserver reported that EU member states were in talks with Interpol to help stop political abuse of the police agency.

This report followed a debate at the European Parliament on 4 October, during which the chairperson of the Council of the EU, Matti Maasikas, warned MEPs ...

2017-10-18 08:23 open_in_new
EU rejects UK claim it's slowing Brexit talks

The EU hit back at British suggestions that the bloc is slowing down Brexit talks, saying it is ready to unlock trade talks at soon as the UK delivers on the divorce issues.

"I am ready to accelerate the rhythm of the talks but it takes two to accelerate," the EU's chief negotiator Michel ...

2017-10-18 08:23 open_in_new
Nepal troops arrive in Libya to guard UN refugee agency

UN troops from Nepal have arrived in Libya as part of a security detail to keep staff safe from harm.

The 59 troops will be guarding people working for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR). The troops arrived last week with another 41 waiting for deployment.

"There is still some technical ...

2017-10-18 08:23 open_in_new
Is Banking Authority HQ the Brexit 'booby prize'?

Ministers for EU affairs met in Luxembourg on Tuesday (17 October) to discuss the future location of two London-based EU agencies, both of which will have to find a new home after Brexit.

However, while countries offering to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have been very actively ...

2017-10-18 08:23 open_in_new
EU defence strategy 'outsourced' to arms industry

Europe's defence industry has had a strong influence in the development of the European Union's new defence strategy, according to a report by a Belgian peace organisation published on Tuesday (17 October).

"The European Defence Action Plan was closely modelled on proposals made by the ...

2017-10-18 08:23 open_in_new
EU in diplomatic push to save Iran deal

EU leaders have pledged to protect the Iran nuclear deal after US president Donald Trump put its future in doubt.

"We encourage the US administration and Congress to consider the implications to the security of the US and its allies before taking any steps that might undermine the JCPoA," ...

2017-10-15 07:21 open_in_new
EU can still end Rohingya ethnic cleansing

"A textbook example of ethnic cleansing" is how the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights described the ongoing campaign of rape, murder and exile of Rohingya Muslims by the Burmese military.

At best silent observers, and at worst facilitators, European leaders must choose whether to use ...

2017-10-15 07:21 open_in_new
Catalonia crisis tears at fabric of the EU

Many in EU circles have dealt with their shock at the situation in Catalonia by accepting that it is worrying - but only an internal Spanish matter, after all.

In reality, one can hardly conceive of a more direct challenge to the very fabric of the Union.

The EU is a political ...

2017-10-13 20:49 open_in_new