EU Observer (169)

Nato using extra funds to buy 'more armour'

EU states in Nato and Canada spent $46 billion more on defence in the past three years in money that is partly being used to buy more armour'.

EU mulls post-Brexit budget options

EU seeks novel ways to plug a Brexit-based budget hole of up to €11 billion, but income from fines, such as the one on Google, cannot be relied on.

Slovenia and Croatia reignite border dispute

Croatia said it would not apply a ruling to be delivered by the international arbitration court on Thursday. Slovenia appeals to the EU to pressure its neighbour.

EU extended Russia sanctions until 2018

Economic sanctions against Russia, introduced in 2014 in response to Russia's actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine, were prolonged on Wednesday by the EU Council for another six month until 31 January 2018. The sanctions include limiting acces for large Russian state-owned financial ...

EU ringed by human trafficking offenders

The EU is encircled by a ring of the world's worst offenders on human trafficking, a US state department report has said.

Netherlands partially liable for Srebrenica massacre, court rules

A Dutch appeals court ruled Tuesday that the government is partially liable for the deaths of over 300 Muslim men killed by Bosnian Serb forces in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. Had Dutch UN peacekeepers not handed them over to the forces, their chances of survival would have stood at around 30 ...

Cyprus reunification talks resume in Switzerland

UN-mediated Cyprus reunification talks will resume on Wednesday, when Greek-Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades meets his Turkish-Cypriot counterpart, Mustafa Akinci, at a Swiss ski resort, in an attempt to seal a deal to unite the island. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and foreign ...

Taking back control at home, not from EU

A year after British voters chose to leave the EU, "taking back control" from the bloc is firmly on the back-burner, as May government's main ambition is its immediate survival.

Cyberattack cripples Europe, spreads worldwide

Ukraine was hit hard in a global ransomware attack on Tuesday, affecting its international airport, the old Chernobyl nuclear plant and closing ATMs in Kiev. Spreading fast, global shipping firm A.P. Moller-Maersk and the world's biggest advertising agency, WPP Group, were hit, as well as Russia's ...

Luxembourg not a tax haven, claims PM

The prime minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, maintains that his country had broken no rules and committed no crime when issuing rulings that slashed global tax bills for the big firms.

Nordics consider alternative to EU emissions trading system

If the European emissions trading system is not reformed to work efficiently, a Nordic carbon price floor could be introduced to secure future green investments in the region.

EU parliament should befriend transparency

Despite many MEPs in the EU parliament striving for more openness and transparency, others don't appear to see it that way.

'USB condoms' and migration on Estonia's EU agenda

Baltic nation of 1.3 million inhabitants plans to use its EU presidency to showcase its stats as a digital frontrunner.

EU parliament should be friend of transparency

Despite many MEPs in the EU parliament striving for more openness and transparency, others don't appear to see it that way.

Scotland puts second referendum on hold

First minister Nicola Sturgeon, speaking on Tuesday at Scotland's parliament in Holyrood, confirmed that the Scottish government has put plans on hold for a second referendum on independence from the UK. The last vote took place in 2014, with 55.3% of voters rejecting a separation. Sturgeon, leader ...

EU fines Google €2.4 bn over online shopping

Brussels says Google has abused a near-monopoly position in online searches to favour its shopping service, but the US company said Brussels cannot prove the charges.

EU commission fines Google €2.4 bn

The European Commission fined Google €2.42 billion on Tuesday for breaking antitrust rules. "Google abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors," said EU competition commissioner Margrethe ...

EU Commission could get say on Russia gas pipeline

EU states have given initial backing for the Commission to negotiate the legal future of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with Russia.

EU commission fines Google €2.4 billion

The European Commission fined Google €2.42 billion on Tuesday for breaking antitrust rules. "Google abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors," said EU competition commissioner Margrethe ...

EU Commission to get say on Russia gas pipeline

Member states backed initial ideas for EU Commission to negotiate the legal future of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline with Russia.

EU warns US over steel tariffs

EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said Monday that the EU would "retaliate" if the US imposes controls on European steel. "Exactly how and when I will not answer now, but we are making preparations," Malmstroem told reporters. US president Donald Trump's administration has launched an ...

G20 is 'test run' for Trump-era climate governance

With US president Trump's withdrawal from the Paris agreement, the future of climate governance will depend on how the other major emitters react.

French court orders water for Calais migrants

A court in Lille, in northern France, on Monday ordered French authorities to give migrants living in Calais access to drinking water, showers and sanitary facilities. The court however did not order the creation of a camp to accommodate 400 to 600 people, despite a request from NGOs. The government ...

Romania names new PM

Romanian president Kaus Iohannis named economy minister Mihai Tudose as prime minister on Monday. Tudose was picked by his social-democratic party to succeed Sorin Grindeanu, who lost a vote of confidence last week after falling out with party leader Liviu Dragnea. Iohannis, a centre-right ...

Political conditions for EU funds prompt debate

Ahead of negotiations for the 2021-2027 EU budget, the question of linking funds to EU policies and values has come to the forefront.

May defends proposal on EU citizens' rights

We want you to stay', British leader Theresa May told EU nationals on Monday, but the UK's "settled status" plan lacked "ambition", the EU said.

UK visitors to pay into EU budget after Brexit

The EU Commission says extra revenue generated from a new visa-free travel scheme, to launch in 2020, would go to the EU budget, reducing member state contributions.

Duda project could trump Visegrad Group

The US president's visit to Warsaw, ahead of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, puts a spotlight on a new EU eastern region initiative.

Merkel opens up to gay marriage

Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, said on Monday that she "hopes" that the German parliament will debate gay marriage, and that a vote could serve as a "question of conscience," as her christian-democratic party, the CDU, would not give instructions to its MPs. The CDU, the main party in the ...

Political conditions for cohesion funds create debate

Ahead of negotiations for the 2021-2027 EU budget, the question of linking funds to EU policies and values has come to the forefront.

UK defends proposal on EU citizens' rights

We want you to stay', British leader Theresa May told EU nationals on Monday, but the UK's "settled status" plan lacked "ambition", the EU said.

UK visitors set to pay into EU budget after Brexit

The European Commission says any extra revenue generated from a new visa-free travel scheme, set for launch in 2020, would go to the EU budget and reduce member state contributions.

China's 16+1 foray into Central and Eastern Europe

Half a decade after it was launched, the network of cooperation between China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries has brought uneven economical and political fruits so far.

New initiative could trump the Visegrad Group

The US president's visit to Warsaw, ahead of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, puts a spotlight on a new EU eastern region initiative.

Seasoned finance minister takes over Dutch coalition talks

Former Dutch politician Gerrit Zalm has been announced on Monday, the 103rd day since the elections, as the new intermediary to steer coalition talks between four political parties. The parties are Zalm's centre-right Liberals, the centre-right Christian Democrats, centrist D66, and the orthodox ...

China's slow foray into Central and Eastern Europe

Half a decade after it was launched, the network of cooperation between China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries has brought uneven economical and political fruits so far.

British PM closes government deal with Northern Irish party

UK prime minister Theresa May and the leader of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party , Arlene Foster, reached a government agreement on Monday. The DUP will support the Conservative government, which has no majority in the House of Commons. In exchange, London will increase funding for ...

Estonia presidency and Google fine This WEEK

The EU commission will likely impose a massive fine on Google this week as Estonia gears up to take over the EU presidency.

UK previews offer on EU nationals' rights

EU nationals in the UK could get almost the same rights as British people after Brexit, but an EU deal might not happen, the British government has said.

Merkel on collision course with US at G20 summit

Germany signalled that climate change, free trade and migration management are key themes when it hosts next week's G20 summit in Hamburg. The agenda will likely pit German chancellor Angela Merkel against US president Donald Trump, who rejected the Paris climate agreement. It will also be the first ...

Schulz outlines German election strategy, hits out at Merkel

German Social Democrat leader Martin Schulz hit out at chancellor Angela Merkel, accusing her of arrogance' and for systematically refusing debate on the future of the country' at a special party election congress Sunday. Schulz also pledged to secure gay marriage rights in any new coalition ...

EU approves rescue of Italian banks

The European Commission gave the green light to a €17-billion plan by the Italian government to save Banca Popolare di Vicenza and Veneto Banca.

Cohesion policy for a stronger Europe

City partnerships and other new initiatives are good examples of how EU cohesion policy funds benefit European citizens.

Berlusconi's party sees comeback in Italian local votes

Former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party and the Northern League did well in mayoral elections in 110 municipalities on Sunday, according to exit polls, whereas the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement performed very badly. The vote is an important test ahead of national elections due ...

Low turnout in Albanian election set to mandate EU future

Only 44.90 percent voted in Albania's elections on Sunday, according to exit polls, marking the lowest voter turnout this century. Religious festivities at the end of Ramadan and hot temperatures reaching 39 degrees are among the reasons thought to have discouraged voters. The Socialist Party gained ...

Cheap meat is a bigger problem for climate and health

A leading scholar of sustainability issues has called on the EU to introduce protectionist food policies that impose tough health and environmental standards in order to stop the imports of cheap and poor quality meat.

Ministers to reject minimum parking spaces for electric cars

The EU commission wants to increase the number of charging stations, to convince consumers to switch to electric cars.

Macron's investment screening idea watered down by leaders

EU leaders have put the brakes on a proposal by French president Macron to hand the EU more powers to screen Chinese and other foreign investments into strategic sectors in Europe.

Leaders unimpressed by May's offer to EU citizens

Leaders await further details about British prime minister Theresa May's offer for EU citizens' rights, as they express concern over possible "pitfalls".

New Irish PM praises unscripted nature of EU summits

Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar had his first EU summit this week, and said it was much more informal and dynamic than expected.