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EU threatens legal action against UK over commissioner

The United Kingdom has until the end of next week to explain why it will not nominate a commissioner-designate - or face possible sanctions.

The ultimatum issued by the European Commission on Thursday (14 November) follows the flat-out refusal by the British government earlier this week to ...

today 08:41 open_in_new
Corruption in the Balkans: the elephant in the room

Over the years, both real and perceived levels of corruption in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia have remained high.

Corruption is still perceived as one the most important problems with which these countries are faced.

Short-term ...

today 08:41 open_in_new
Green MEPs unconvinced by Romanian commissioner

MEPs gave the green light to Romanian's new commissioner-designate for transport, Adina-Ioana Vălean on Thursday (14 November) - but she did not manage to convince MEPs from the Greens, who have requested to ask her additional questions concerning environment and consumer rights.

For ...

yesterday 16:56 open_in_new
Hungary's commissioner-to-be grilled over loyalty to Orban

Hungary's new commissioner-designate for enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi on Thursday (14 November) told MEPs he would not take instructions from any government, including prime minister Viktor Orban's.

A career diplomat, who most recently served as Hungary's EU ambassador in Brussels, ...

yesterday 12:44 open_in_new
EU states fell short on sharing refugees, say auditors

A mandatory 2015 scheme to dispatch people seeking international protection from Greece and Italy across the European Union did not deliver promised results, say EU auditors.

Although member states took in some 35,000 people from both countries, the EU auditors say at least 445,000 ...

yesterday 12:44 open_in_new
Widow's plea as EU diplomats debate Magnitsky Act

Ten years ago, on 16 November 2009 in a jail cell in Moscow, guards strapped Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year old father of two, to a bench and lashed him with rubber batons.

He was already suffering from pancreatitis, contracted due to the appalling conditions in the Butyrka prison where he ...

yesterday 08:32 open_in_new
Leftist MEPs call on EU to address crisis in Chile

MEPs from the leftist group GUE/NGL, who recently travelled on an observation mission in Chile, on Wednesday (13 November) accused the European Union of turning a blind eye to human rights being violated in Chile - a trade partner of the EU.

Following the mobilisations that have been ...

2019-11-13 18:47 open_in_new
Mustard gas and cod: Last chance to halt Nord Stream 2?

First, the Nazis, then the Soviet Union - shortly after World War Two - dumped tens of thousands of tonnes of chemical weapons 70m to 120m down in the Baltic Sea, near the Danish island of Bornholm.

Navigation equipment at the time was not very good and the Soviet Union did not record ...

2019-11-13 13:32 open_in_new
Cultural Battlefield

André Wilkins is the director of the European Cultural Foundation, an organisation created after the Second World War to help heal the continent's wounds.

Under Wilkins the foundation has stepped up grant-making to arts and media aiming to strengthen democracy at another pivotal ...

2019-11-13 10:23 open_in_new
Nationalists as much as threat to EU arts as resources

Europe's cultural narrative is increasingly dominated by the continent's new authoritarians.

Hungary under its autocratic prime minister Viktor Orbán spends around three times as much on culture as any other EU country compared to the size of its economy.

Small monthly ...

2019-11-13 10:23 open_in_new
Dear President Macron, being a migrant is not a crime

President Emmanuel Macron,

I am writing to convey my intense shock and horror at the wilful, remorseless neglect of universal human rights, the frank disregard for humanity and the wanton abuse of European law at your country's border with Italy.

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Our most ...

2019-11-13 10:23 open_in_new
Catalan MEP is 'elected', court advisor says

The advocate general of the EU Court of Justice's (CJEU) said on Tuesday (12 November) that the jailed former Catalan politician Oriol Junqueras is indeed an elected MEP - in a boost to the cause of several such jailed pro-independence MEPs.

In an advisory opinion, Maciej Szpunar said it ...

2019-11-12 19:41 open_in_new
Pro-Israeli group scores own goal on EU retail labels

Wine or food made by Israeli settlers on occupied land must be so labelled in European shops so that people can avoid buying it if they want to, the EU court has ruled.

The verdict, published on Tuesday (12 November), is likely to boost enforcement of EU guidelines on the subject first ...

2019-11-12 18:38 open_in_new
New commissioners clear 'conflict of interests' hurdle

All three new commissioner-designates were given the green light by the European Parliament's legal affairs committee on Tuesday (12 November), which is responsible for checking possible conflicts of interests.

However, France's nominee Thierry Breton only narrowly passed this initial ...

2019-11-12 17:35 open_in_new
Israeli labelling ruling lets consumers make choice

By its landmark decision today, the Court of Justice of the European Union has affirmed categorically, that products originating from a territory occupied by Israel should be correctly labelled in order to allow European consumers to make a free and informed choice when buying goods from the ...

2019-11-12 17:35 open_in_new
What does Macron really want on Western Balkans?

French president Emmanuel Macron's enlargement veto is not a ploy for concessions in other areas, his diplomats and MEPs say.

His calls for prior EU reforms are short on detail and if Europe gets it wrong, it could destabilise its closest neighbours, experts warn.

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2019-11-12 11:17 open_in_new
Far-right Vox celebrates, as Spain left without majority

Vox, the first far-right party in Spain since the death of dictator Francisco Franco, gained strong support in Sunday's elections (10 November), jumping from 24 to 52 seats in the 350-seat house, becoming the third-largest party in the country.

"We have changed the political landscape of ...

2019-11-12 11:17 open_in_new
EU 'climate bank' won't rule out carbon capture

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will not rule out funding carbon capture and storage technologies in its bid to become the world's premiere climate bank.

With plans to invest over a trillion euros in the next 10 years on climate projects, the Luxembourg-based institution says it remains ...

2019-11-12 10:14 open_in_new
New hearings for the von der Leyen commission This WEEK

This weekend Spaniards go to the polls to try to break the political deadlock that resulted in four general elections in four years, and the second already this year.

Prime minister Pedro Sanchez's socialists are leading in opinion polls but have lost some support, while right-wing parties ...

2019-11-08 18:02 open_in_new
Bosnia wants explanation for Macron's 'time-bomb' remark

The Croat member of Bosnian presidency, Zeljko Komisic, said he will request an interview on Friday (8 November) with the French ambassador to Sarajevo, Guillaume Rousson, for an explanation of the recent comments of French president Emmanuel Macron.

Macron said in an interview with The ...

2019-11-08 16:59 open_in_new
MEPs slam Commission over common charger delay

MEPs have slammed the EU Commission over its hands-off approach on a common charger for all smartphones.

Ten years ago, the European Union asked phone manufacturers to agree on a common standard for smartphone chargers. Most makers did. They now use micro-USB plugs to charge ...

2019-11-08 11:44 open_in_new