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EU goes on holiday as new UK PM arrives This WEEK

After the parliament (narrowly) approved Ursula von der Leyen as the new president of the European Commission, the EU effectively goes on holiday from next week, as Brussels empties out with thousands of officials and politicians leaving for a summer holiday.

But work will still go on in ...

2019-07-19 15:41 open_in_new
Von der Leyen vote the focus This WEEK

All eyes turn to Strasbourg next week, when on Tuesday (16 July) MEPs will vote on whether German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen should become the next EU commission president.

European lawmakers will hear from von der Leyen at 9am, then the heads of political groups will speak, ...

2019-07-19 15:41 open_in_new
Survey: 50% of EU staff 'don't know' internal ethics rules

EU staff need to be better informed about their institutions' rules on ethical behaviour, the European Court of Auditors said in a report published Friday (19 July).

Only about half of staff said in a survey they had either good or in-depth knowledge of their own institution's ethical ...

2019-07-19 13:35 open_in_new
Von der Leyen signals soft touch on migrants, rule of law

Countries who rejected non-European migrants or raised concern on rule of law, such as Poland, could expect more sympathy from the European Commission, its new president, Ursula von der Leyen, has indicated.

Italy could also expect flexibility on budgets and the UK on its exit date, she ...

2019-07-19 11:29 open_in_new
Timmermans: von der Leyen will be tough on rule of law

The EU Commission's vice-president for rule of law, Frans Timmermans, said on Thursday (18 July) he has "no doubt" the new commission under Ursula von der Leyen will be just as tough on the breaches of rule of law as the current EU executive.

"I have no doubt whatsoever that [the ]next ...

2019-07-18 18:41 open_in_new
Timmermans trolls 'idiot' Brexit negotiators

Britain's Brexit negotiators behaved "like idiots", a senior EU figure has said, amid both comical and "terrifying" scenes in London.

The self-admittedly "harsh" language came from Dutch European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans in a BBC interview recorded earlier this year, ...

2019-07-18 11:20 open_in_new
Rudderless Europe: Will real Germany please stand up?

As the events since the recent European elections have shown credibility is slowly earned, but very quickly ebbs away. Just ask Angela Merkel.

Securing a female German-elect president of the European Commission should have been a major political victory for Berlin. Wrong.

Small ...

2019-07-18 10:17 open_in_new
PiS & Fidesz claim credit for von der Leyen victory

Poland and Hungary have both claimed their votes were crucial to the election of new EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, in the hope of getting benefits from the new executive.

Poland's prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters on Tuesday (16 July) evening von der Leyen ...

2019-07-17 19:35 open_in_new
Von der Leyen faces gender battle for commission posts

It seems almost inevitable that Ursula von der Leyen will have a tough fight with the governments of the EU member states over the gender balance of their nominations for EU commissioners.

Von der Leyen, approved as the new president of the European Commission by the European Parliament on ...

2019-07-17 17:29 open_in_new
EU proposes yearly rule-of-law 'reviews'

EU states ought to undergo a yearly "Rule of Law Review Cycle" to help stop countries such as Hungary, Poland, and Romania from backsliding on EU norms, the European Commission has said.

The process would see EU officials take information from national institutions, international ...

2019-07-17 16:26 open_in_new
What did we learn from the von der Leyen vote?

Counting the votes. That is what everybody did the entire day before the real vote started in the European Parliament on the candidacy of Ursula von der Leyen to become president of the European Commission.

It was the first time in decades that the vote on the commission presidency was ...

2019-07-17 10:08 open_in_new
Is Golden Dawn's MEP head of a criminal organisation?

The recent European elections have been marked by the alarming rise of far-right; seen from the outside, one could feel more reassured for the percentages in Greece, with Golden Dawn scoring 4.87 percent, and the newly founded far-right party Greek Solution scoring a similar 4.18 percent; ...

2019-07-17 10:08 open_in_new
MH17 five years on: when will Russia be punished?

On this day five years ago (17 July 2014) 298 passengers of the Malaysian flight MH17 were heading to Kuala Lumpur when suddenly a Russian BUK missile launched from the not by the Ukrainian government controlled part of Donbas hit the plane, killing everyone on board.

It is impossible to ...

2019-07-17 10:08 open_in_new
Poland 'optimistic' despite new EU law checks

The European Commission is to propose annual rule-of-law checks on all EU states amid tensions with Hungary, Poland, and Romania.

Its proposal, to be unveiled in Brussels on Wednesday (17 July), is to model the legal screening on the annual fiscal reviews carried out by EU officials on ...

2019-07-17 10:08 open_in_new
Finland rejects call to end sponsorship of EU presidency

The new rotating president of the EU Council, Finland, is not planning to discuss with other member states the issue of EU member states accepting corporate sponsorships to cover part of the costs of the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU.

"We do not foresee any discussions of ...

2019-07-17 10:08 open_in_new
European Commission has first ever woman president

On Tuesday (16 July), the majority of MEPs at the Strasbourg plenary agreed to support Ursula von der Leyen, a long-standing German cabinet minister, for the presidency of the European Commission.

With 383 votes in favour, just over the minimum of 374 required, von der Leyen secured a ...

2019-07-16 20:29 open_in_new
Son: Malta trial for murdered journalist 'not enough'

Malta has said it has enough evidence to put on trial the three men accused of killing Daphne Caruana Galizia, its best-known journalist, a year and a half ago.

But the trial will do nothing to shed light on who ordered the killing, her family says, amid international calls for an ...

2019-07-16 18:23 open_in_new
Farmers among new MEPs deciding on EU farming money

At least eight MEPs who have joined the European Parliament's agriculture committee as a member (or substitute member) have declared that they plan to continue earning money from farming activities - creating potential conflicts of interest.

The eight come from all across the EU and from ...

2019-07-16 16:17 open_in_new
Von der Leyen's final appeal to secure top EU post

For some 40 minutes, the European Commission presidential-hopeful Ursula von Der Leyen delivered a speech at the European Parliament in the hope of securing her post.

In a packed plenary chamber in Strasbourg, von der Leyen on Tuesday (16 July) first shook the hands of the group leaders ...

2019-07-16 13:08 open_in_new
EU talks tough on Turkey, but arms sales go on

EU relations with Turkey hit a new low on Monday (15 July), but European arms sales to its Nato ally continue unabated.

The low came when EU foreign ministers imposed diplomatic and financial sanctions on Turkey over its "illegal" gas drilling in Cypriot waters in the eastern ...

2019-07-16 11:02 open_in_new
The Abortion Exodus - more Poles and Croats going abroad

"The fact that I had to terminate the second pregnancy was terribly sad," said Warsaw-based Anna, now 39.

She was in her tenth week, and her doctors advised her to take a test to check for chromosomal abnormality, which discovered Down's Syndrome.

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2019-07-16 09:59 open_in_new