EU Observer (192)

Openness over Brexit is 'political play', says EU ombudsman

Emily O'Reilly said she does not think that the EU institutions have suddenly "fallen in love with transparency".

Le Pen's EU group in fresh spending scandal

An internal audit seen by EUobserver shows a half million euro hole in the Europe of Nations and Freedom group's accounting records.

New EU right to data portability to cause headaches

Next year, companies will be required to move personal data to competitors if consumers decide to switch. Yet one year before the new rules go into force, a lot is still unclear.

Cyber threats are inevitable, paralyzing impact is not

Following the recent devastating WannaCry cyberattack, which affected over 200,000 people globally, there needs to be a joint effort to ensure Europe's systems are secure.

Transparency complaints keep EU Ombudsman busy

Most complaints were about the European Commission, followed by EU agencies.

EU sets out criteria for relocating UK agencies

EU drug and banking regulators to relocate from London after Brexit, with over 20 countries showing interest.

EU states back bill against online hate speech

An EU bill that aims to tackle online hate speech took a step closer to becoming a law after receiving a wide endorsement from member states.

Dutch coalition talks collapse again

"We looked each other deep in the eyes, and said: 'No, this is pointless',' one of the negotiators said.

Pressure grows on climate impact of EU timber harvesting

Forest management has become a hot issue ahead of an EU environment council meeting on 19 June, with France, Austria, Sweden and Finland fighting to water down EU carbon accounting rules and to allow countries to harvest more trees for bio-energy or toilet paper without recording climate impact. ...

US goes after Fiat Chrysler over emissions cheat

The US government filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, alleging that nearly 104,000 Ram pickups and Jeep Grand Cherokees, from 2014 to 2016, had software that enabled them to cheat on emissions tests. Fiat Chrysler stock sank 4.1% following the news. Meanwhile, German ...

Would-be US envoy calls EU a 'failure'

Malloch, who wants to be Trump's envoy to Brussels, said EU should become a trade bloc of strong nation states to win US support.

Munich police break up Europe-wide burglar clan

Munich police have cracked a large burglary clan, active across Europe and responsible for up to one fifth of German break-ins. The investigation began when three women were caught trying to break into a property in Munich in January 2016. Their forged identification papers showed links to the ...

Malta chairs 'awkward' EU talks on tax dodging

Maltese finance minister Scicluna claimed there were "no offshore companies in the EU", rejecting what he called media "lynching" of his country on tax dodging.

Malta chairs 'awkward' EU talks on tax dodging

Maltese finance minister Scicluna claimed there were "no offshore companies in the EU" in defence of what he called media "lynching" of his country on tax dodging.

Germany is black spot in Nato solidarity

Fifty three percent of Germans would not want to defend Poland or Estonia against Russia, but pro-Nato feeling has bounced back overall.

Report: VW threatened with €19.7 billion French fine

German automaker Volkswagen could be fined up to €19.7 billion by France over the Dieselgate scandal, according to Le Monde. The newspaper, which had access to a report by French anti-fraud authorities, said the sum would amount to 10% of VW's average turnover in France between 2012 and 2014, ...

Children among dead in UK bomb attack

Children are among the victims after a suspected suicide bomber detonated at the Manchester Arena on Monday, the latest in a string of terror attacks to hit Europe.

No debt relief or bailout money yet for Greece

The EU and IMF could not agree on Greek debt relief, despite seven hours of talks and side talk in Brussels. Athens now hoping for a deal by mid-June.

Fight club: Russian spies seek EU recruits

Russian intelligence services are using martial arts clubs to recruit potential troublemakers in Germany and other EU countries, security experts have warned.

Merkel's CDU consolidates lead in polls

German chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives widened their lead over the Social Democrats , according to a poll published Tuesday. CDU had 39 percent, 14 points ahead of SPD, which is led by former European Parliament president Martin Schulz. The liberal Free Democrats are in third place for the ...

Turkey begins mass trial of suspected coup leaders

The trial of 221 high-ranking military officers – accused of trying to oust Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in last July's failed coup – began Monday, amid heavy security in Turkey. Outside the courthouse, the crowd called for the death penalty, which was banned in Turkey in its bid to ...

An open letter to ministers on the audiovisual directive

The ongoing revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive is a key opportunity to reduce exposure of Europe's children to advertisements of health-harmful products – an opportunity that should not be missed.

EU gives mandate for Barnier to take on Brexit

In its final preparatory act before Brexit talks begin, the EU has officially given the negotiating mandate to Michel Barnier. The French politician said he would like to start negotiations on the week of 19 June.

EU wary over Ukrainian weapons in South Sudan

Ukraine, which had signed an EU arms embargo on South Sudan, has since sold attack helicopters used by the government forces in Juba against civilians and hospitals.

Trump descends into 'hellhole' This WEEK

Trump, Erdogan, and Macron will all meet in Brussels this week among other Nato leaders, as the US president makes his debut in the European Union.

France to host Russian president

French president Emmanuel Macron will host his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, for a round of talks on 29 May at the Versailles palace outside of Paris. The two are set to discuss Syria and Ukraine, among other issues. The scheduled meeting follows reports of Russian attempts to obstruct the ...

Portugal held up as symbol of EU recovery

Portugal to sail out of troubled waters after eight years of financial crisis, EU commission predicted, amid broad but "fragile" recovery in European economy.

Hungarians march against Orban crackdown

Thousands of protesters, on Sunday, called on Hungarian leader to repeal laws against foreign funded NGOs and a top university in Budapest.

Switzerland votes against nuclear power

In a Swiss referendum on Sunday, people voted in favour of phasing out energy generated by nuclear power plants. Some 58 percent voted for greener and more renewable forms of energy to replace nuclear. Switzerland's five current nuclear power plants generate around a third of the country's energy ...

Malta surprised by sudden interest in its tax regime

The smallest EU nation has come under extra public scrutiny because of leaked documents dubbed "the Malta Files".

Swizterland votes against nuclear power

In a Swiss referendum on Sunday, people voted in favour of phasing out energy generated by nuclear power plants. Some 58 percent voted for greener and more renewable forms of energy to replace nuclear. Switzerland's five current nuclear power plants generate around a third of the country's energy ...

Facebook's internal rules on sharing revealed

The Guardian newspaper, in an investigation, has revealed the inner workings of social media giant Facebook, and how it attempts to monitor and moderate what is posted. The probe has discovered, among other things, that Facebook reviews some 6.5 million reports of fake accounts each week.

France urges EU migration reform

French president Emmanuel Macron urged swifter action on EU migration policies in a meeting with Italy's prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, on Sunday. Macron said EU member states need to better share the burden of incoming migrants and refugees in Italy. In this year alone, some 45,000 people have so ...

Socialists in Spain re-elect Pedro Sanchez

The Socialists in Spain have re-elected Pedro Sanchez to lead the party. Sanchez had stepped down last October after he refused to abstain from a vote that aimed to break a nine-month political deadlock, which eventually led to Mariano Rajoy, from the conservative People's Party, becoming prime ...

Malta surprised by sudden interest in its tax regime

The smallest EU nation has come under extra public scrutiny because of leaked documents dubbed the Malta Files.

Money causes schism in sharing economy

The sharing economy started out with a few people opening their homes, lending some tools, sharing cars - all for free. Monetising sharing practices has created a giant that some "original" sharers refuse to associate themselves with.

Nordic tax collectors set sights on new economy

The sharing economy is set to grow a stunning 1200 percent in Finland, posing a challenge to tax systems in Nordic welfare states.

Brexit has uprooted Britain's traditional party system

Traditional party politics seems to be up in the air in Britain, with Brexit potentially having provided the sparks for an explosive realignment.

Lithuania helps gay Chechens flee Russia

Linas Linkevicius, foreign minister of Lithuania, said his country issued visas to two persecuted Chechens and that an international effort was underway to protect others.

Nordic countries look to tax sharing economy

The sharing economy is set to grow a stunning 1200 percent in Finland, posing a challenge to tax systems in Nordic welfare states.

Why the EU doesn't get China's Belt and Road

It is not enough for European officials to simply tell the press that they do not understand the Belt and Road – the vision is clear enough, the point is to decide how to engage with it.

Greece passes new austerity measures, hopes for debt deal

The Greek parliament adopted pension cuts and tax increases ahead of a Eurogroup meeting on Monday. The EU and IMF will have to agree to debt relief measures before Greece gets a new loan.

Lack of solidarity dogs EU asylum reform

Malta's latest ideas on solidarity in the Dublin asylum reforms failed to convince fellow EU states at Thursday's meeting.

Clock ticking for EU to fix the digital single market

The EU's digital single market strategy is becoming a regulatory burden for new technologies.

Cost of obesity outweighs war and terrorism

Despite the expanding costs – and waistlines – caused by rising levels of European obesity, little is being done to remedy the epidemic.

Germany tightens asylum laws

Germany's Bundestag passed tighter rules on asylum on Thursday. The new rules, criticised by rights groups, allow for deportation orders to be imposed on rejected asylum seekers without any assurances that the person concerned will be repatriated within three months. It will also permit the ...

Ireland might ask for EU help to offset Brexit costs

Ireland will likely ask the EU for specific help, such as a potential exemption from EU state aid rules, in dealing with the economic fallout from Brexit, said outgoing prime minister Enda Kenny on Thursday. The assistance would be used to mitigate a "serious disturbance" to Ireland's economy from ...

MEPs decry Israeli settlers and Palestinian 'terrorism'

MEPs said Israel's decision in February to legalise thousands of settler homes on Palestinian land served to "undermine the two-state solution". It also condemned "acts of terrorism against Israelis, and incitement to violence," which was welcomed by pro-Israeli pressure group, the AJC Transatlantic ...

Cyprus peace talks stalled

The Cyprus peace talks appear to have reached a stalemate on Thursday , after meetings held by UN special envoy Espen Barthe Eide with Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci failed to make substantial progress. The two sides blamed each other, with ...

May promises hard Brexit in Tory manifesto

In her party's platform ahead of the 8 June elections, the British prime minister has asked voters to let her negotiate Brexit without guaranteeing a final deal.