EU Observer (177)

Rome summit tries to restart EU momentum

EU 27 leaders in Rome to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of Treaty of Rome, in bid to counter rising challenges after Brexit. But new ideas are scarce.

McCain: World 'cries out' for US and EU leadership

At a conference in Brussels, the US senator said he "trusted the EU" and that the transatlantic alliance was necessary for the "titanic struggle" against radicalism.

The Union under threat

The effect of Brexit will be much more profound on Northern Ireland than on Scotland. Some kind of border controls with Ireland seem inevitable.

Bulgaria's election test

Sunday's general elections will be a test for the country's relations with the EU, Russia, and Turkey, as well as for the political future of former leader Borisov.

'Mr Putin steps into French elections'

Putin treated France's anti-EU firebrand, Le Pen, as if she had already won the elections. "I have my own viewpoint ... identical to Russia's", she said.

SMEs lack support in EU financial plan

The European Commission's plan for a capital markets union is said to be aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises, but many could end up being left out in the cold.

German parliament paves way for road toll

MPs in the German Bundestag approved a bill on Friday that would introduce a road toll, a week after members of the European Parliament said the plan was discriminatory. The bill would allow German drivers to deduct the toll from their vehicle tax, an option unavailable to non-German EU citizens ...

Putin meets Le Pen, speaks out on French election

Russian president Vladimir Putin held a surprise meeting with French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen in Moscow, Friday. He told press "we are not trying in any way to influence the French election", according to the French language website of Russian state-sponsored media company ...

MEPs urge Juncker not to renew glyphosate licence

Lawmakers say the EU agency on food safety used a study written by an expert with industry links to assess the weedkiller's safety.

Poland and Greece talk tough before Rome summit

The two countries flex their muscles ahead of the Rome summit of 27 EU leaders, designed to show unity in the face of many challenges.

Birthday wishes to the European Union

With the EU soon to celebrate its 60th birthday, there are still lingering questions about the bloc's future and whether there can be a change in fortune.

Russian ex-MP killed in Ukraine

Denis Voronenkov, a former member of the Russian parliament, was killed on Thursday in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, Ukrainian police have said. Voronenkov was a member of Russia's communist party, and a critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin. He had fled to Ukraine, where he was due to testify ...

French candidate Fillon accuses president of leaks

The right-wing candidate for the French presidency, Francois Fillon, on Thursday accused outgoing socialist president Francois Hollande of orchestrating leaks to the media that put him in a bad light. The president's office condemned in the "strongest terms the untruthful allegations". Meanwhile, a ...

Merkel: no countries will follow UK out of EU

German chancellor Angela Merkel does not think other countries will follow the UK's example of leaving the European Union, she said in an interview published on Thursday by Passauer Neue Presse. "Individual member states of course have different ideas about how we shape the future, but the overall ...

Danish Europol deal ready for signature

Danish justice minister, Soeren Pape Poulsen, on Thursday passed a draft agreement on Denmark's future relations with Europol to the Danish parliament for approval. The deal ensures that the Danish police can still operate closely with the Hague-based EU police agency after 1 May 2017, when Europol ...

MEPs set out to give posted workers equal pay

A revision of the posted workers directive aims to make the single market fairer, but critics see efforts to root out "social dumping" as disguised protectionism.

EU looks set to ban all bee-harming pesticides

Draft proposals seen by The Guardian newspaper suggest the EU commission wants to impose a total ban on all bee-harming pesticides. A temporary ban on three neonicotinoids, chemical insecticides, had been imposed in 2013 but was limited only to certain crops. The latest proposal aims to extend the ...

Aid group fears hundreds dead in Mediterranean

A Spanish aid organisation said it found five bodies floating near two capsized boats in the Mediterranean. Because each boat can hold more than 100 people, Proactiva Open Arms said it thought that around 240 may have died. This year, 559 migrants are estimated to have died or gone missing, ...

Hohe Cyber-Bedrohung für Frankreichs Wahlen

Frankreichs Präsident Francois Hollande kündigt an, alle notwendigen Massnahmen zu treffen, um Cyberattacken vor den Präsidentschaftswahlen im April und Mai zu verhindern. Die politischen Parteien sind jedoch weiterhin anfällig.

'No zero terror risk', EU security commissioner warns

Julian King said it was not an accident that the London attacks happened on the anniversary of the Brussels bombings, while other politicians in Europe advocated for tougher immigration laws and border controls in the wake of the attack.

UN could step in where EU fails in child migrant protection

With the European Union failing to protect migrant and refugee children, it could be up to the United Nations to make a positive impact.

Man arrested in Antwerp after trying to mow people down

A man was arrested on Thursday after trying to drive into a crowd of people on Antwerp's main shopping street at around 11 AM, the Belgian police said. The driver, a French national, was wearing a camouflage uniform and was arrested after a chase in the centre of the city, said Serge Muyters, ...

Marine Le Pen goes to Russia

Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen will travel to Russia on Friday , where she will meet with Russian lawmakers. The visit was announced shortly after Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, called Le Pen and US president Donald Trump realists, if you want, or anti-globalists' and said ...

May: London attacker was known to the police

The British prime minister said "we are not afraid" after the terrorist attack on Wednesday that left four people dead. Eight arrests have been made, while the Islamist attacker seems to have carried out the attack alone.

Dutch post-election talks prioritise green-right coalition

Four parties in the Netherlands have decided to enter a new phase in coalition talks, in an attempt to form a green-right coalition. PM Mark Rutte's centre-right Liberals, centre-right Christian-Democrats, centrist D66, and the GreenLeft parties will try to form a government. There is no guarantee ...

EU summons Turkish envoy over threats to Europeans

The EU foreign service, the EEAS, has summoned Turkey's EU envoy "to receive an explanation" over comments made by Turkish president Erdogan on Wednesday that "no European in any part of the world can walk safely on the streets," a European Commission spokeswoman said on Thursday. Erdogan's threat ...

Ending the migrant deal with Turkey may save the EU

With the right approach, the end of the migrant deal might just benefit EU leaders in their fight against right-wing populism across the continent.

Poland unlikely to face EU discipline on rule of law

EU commission's Timmermans told MEPs he was tempted to be "the biggest hero for a day" by calling for sanctions on Poland, but that this wouldn't solve anything.

British police make first arrests in London terror probe

British police confirmed on Thursday morning that they had made seven arrests in the city of Birmingham the night before, in connection with Wednesday's terrorist attack in London. The UK prime minister, Theresa May, said in a statement on Wednesday evening that Westminster, one of the world's ...

Rutte courted Wilders' voters, now he must deliver

Without incorporating some of the more legitimate and palatable concerns of voters concerned with immigration, centrist parties will be unable to maintain power.

EU commission has received Facebook reply on WhatsApp

US social media giant Facebook has sent its defence to the European Commission in an anti-trust case opened last December. "We have now got the reply from Facebook and we are now analysing it," EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager told MEPs on Wednesday. The commission suspects that ...

Rome expects thousands of protesters at summit

Police in the Italian capital, Rome, expect around 25,000 people to attend both pro-EU and anti-EU rallies during Saturday's summit, news agency Ansa reported on Wednesday. The report said the police are especially vigilant against possible violent infiltrators during a left-wing protest. EU leaders ...

Dijsselbloem says his comments had 'Dutch directness'

Dutch finance minister and Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Wednesday his style is "direct" and that he was "sorry of course" for suggesting southern Europeans spend "money on drinks and women". "I regret it if one is offended by the remark. It was direct, and can be explained from strict ...

Ukraine spy agency bars Russian Eurovision singer

On Wednesday, Ukraine's domestic intelligence agency barred Russian singer Yulia Samoylova from entering the country for three years, two months ahead of the Eurovision song-contest, where Samoylova was to represent Russia. In 2015 Samoylova had toured in Crimea, a Ukrainian region annexed by ...

Turkish president Erdogan threatens Europeans

Turkey's leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, made more harsh comments towards Europe on Wednesday, amidst diplomatic rows with the Netherlands and Germany about campaigns in their countries for a Turkish referendum - granting Erdogan more powers. "If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of ...

Barnier to UK: trade talks will come after settling accounts

The EU's top Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier says the UK will have to pay its financial obligations before leaving the union and that a "no-deal" scenario would have "serious consequences" for Britain.

Russia invites EU diplomats to occupied Crimea

The Russian foreign ministry on Wednesday invited EU diplomats to "see with their own eyes" how Russian occupation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula for the past three years has led to "positive changes in the lives of people" there. It spoke after the EU foreign service and the European Parliament ...

Terror attack shuts down UK parliament

 Westminster, and its surrounding areas, has been sealed off after a car drove into several people and one policeman was stabbed. At least three people have been killed.

EU declaration to voice unity in troubled times

The EU's draft Rome Declaration, seen by EUobserver, pledges a "common future" for the 27 countries left behind by Brexit and vexed by Trump.

Russia invites EU diplomats to occupied Crimea

The Russian foreign ministry Wednesday invited EU diplomats to "see with their own eyes" how Russian occupation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula for the past two years has led to "positive changes in the lives of people" there. It spoke after the EU foreign service and the European Parliament voiced ...

Apparent 'terrorist incident' closes UK parliament

The whole area around Westminster was sealed off after a car ran over people, killing at least two people, and one policeman was stabbed.

UK parliament in lockdown after reported attack

The British parliament has been locked down on Wednesday afternoon, following a report of shootings outside the building. According to police, cited by the media, a policeman was stabbed and another man was shot. A car was also reported to be running people over on Westminster Bridge next to the ...

Catalonia and Scotland at core of Europe's geopolitical conundrum

Europe is going through an unstable time, which may benefit Catalan's independence claims. However, breaking away now might leave the region and its government without a viable alternative.

La présidentielle française sous cyber-alerte maximale

Le président francais Francois Hollande a mobilisé "tous les moyens nécessaires" pour contrer d'éventuelle cyber-attaques avant l'election présidentielle d'avril et mai. Mais les partis politiques restent vulnérables.

EU doing well in global energy ranking

The majority of countries in the top-20 of the Global Energy Architecture Performance Index are members of the European Union, with Switzerland leading the list.

Child migrants endure 'abysmal conditions'

The Council of Europe's special representative on migration and refugees released a report that says minors in Europe are enduring "abysmal conditions".

Eurozone chief in 'drinks and women' row

The Netherlands' Jeroen Dijsselbloem faces calls for resignation after saying that crisis-hit countries in southern Europe spent "money on drinks and women" before being helped by others.

Eurozone chief in 'drinks and women' row

The Netherlands' Jeroen Dijsselbloem faces calls for resignation after saying that crisis-hit countries in southern Europe spent "money on drinks and women" before being helped by others.

Ukraine's IT boom could speed up EU integration

Ukraine's IT sector could play a critical role in fighting corruption, building confidence in the country and easing the concerns of critics in the EU.

Brussels attacks remembered with minute of silence and noise

Belgium remembers the Brussels attacks committed a year ago. King Philippe, alongside government officials, rode the metro Wednesday morning to commemorate the victims of the terrorist attacks, which claimed the lives of 32 people. "Today we honor the victims of the attacks last year. We stand ...