EU Observer (254)

New toxic incident in EU building ahead of summit

The EU Council building was evacuated Wednesday morning because of "noxious fumes in the kitchens", the institution said, one day before the EU summit on Thursday and Friday. The incident follows a similar one last Friday, which was caused by a mix of detergent products. "This incident will not ...

Murdered Malta journalist's family invited to Parliament

European Parliament president Antonio Tajani on Wednesday announced he has invited the family of murdered Maltese journalist to the plenary in Strasbourg next week. "Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed for seeking the truth. I invited her family to the EP plenary next week to join us in paying ...

The unbearable lightness of leadership

Politicians and civic leaders need a new sense of optimism if they are to avoid mere 'sticking plaster' solutions to migration.

EU food safety chief denies keeping studies 'secret'

European Food Safety Authority chief Bernhard Url said Wednesday that some MEPs' criticism on Efsa is "hypocritical." He said Efsa "would be very happy" to publish more of its studies, but that intellectual property rules limit it. "Sorry, we have to apply the law. If you don't like the law … ...

Europeans more positive about EU, survey shows

On balance, 55 percent of British respondents said the UK had benefited from EU membership. Among all European respondents, 47 percent said their voice counted in the EU.

EU states pledge 24,000 resettlement places so far

Twelve EU states have so far pledged 24,000 resettlement places for refugees as of Tuesday . The EU commission wants EU states to resettle 50,000 people by 2019. The pledging states are Belgium, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and UK.

Tusk summits to create new-model EU

Tusk has proposed a series of 13 top-level talks to take forward European reform, but his backing for a multi-speed Europe risks deepening divide.

Norway and Poland reach deal on €809m aid scheme

Negotiations were stalled for weeks, as Warsaw tried to capture funds earmarked for the civil sector.

US ready for arms sale to update Greece's F-16 fleet

The US State Department has approved the possible sale of upgrade kits from Lockheed Martin to the Greek F-16 fighter jet fleet. "This agreement to strengthen the Hellenic Air Force is worth up to $2.4 billion and would generate thousands of American jobs," president Donald Trump said during a ...

Austria's Green leaders step down following election failure

Green party leaders, Ulrike Lunacek and Ingrid Felipe, stepped down Tuesday, following catastrophic election results. The party didn't make it into the Austrian parliament after receiving only 3.8% in Sunday's vote. Less than a year ago, Green candidate Alexander Van der Bellen won the presidential ...

Icelandic journalists protest ban on reporting PM's finances

The Reykjavik district commissioner, on Monday, has prohibited Icelandic media outlets reporting on the financial dealings of prime minister Bjarni Benediktsson and his family with the collapsed Glitnir bank in the run-up to Iceland's economic collapse in 2008. The ruling has drawn sharp criticism ...

UK to begin registering EU nationals by end of 2018

UK home secretary Amber Rudd told MPs that the registration of three million EU nationals living in Britain will begin by the end of next year, the Guardian reports. She said 1,200 extra staff would be recruited by April to provide an "easy access" registration process. Troops could be deployed to ...

EU countries want compensation from Israel in Palestine

France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Luxembourg and Ireland are going to send a letter to Israel asking for €31,252, as compensation for destroyed Palestinian infrastructure, which had been built by a consortium funded by theses countries, according to a letter revealed by Le Monde. Denmark, ...

Member states eye agreement on posted workers

EU countries are trying to break a deadlock in discussions over the revision of a directive on posted workers before a crucial meeting next Monday.

Spanish Court declares Catalan referendum law void

Spain's Constitutional Court declared void on Tuesday Catalonia's referendum law, approved by the region's parliament to hold the independence vote. It said the law was against national sovereignty and "the indissoluble unity of the Spanish nation." A Catalan government spokesperson said he was not ...

EU rejects UK claim it's slowing Brexit talks

The EU is "not confident, but hopeful" that the UK will achieve sufficient progress for 'stage 2' by December, as Britain's Brexit negotiator blames the slow pace of negotiations on the EU ahead of a crucial summit meeting.

Nepal troops arrive in Libya to guard UN refugee agency

The UN is sending troops to Libya to provide security for staff working with the UN refugee agency. The agency's work in Libya is broadly funded by the EU.

EU to keep 'Dieselgate' letter secret

The European Commission has denied a request by EUobserver to publish the letter it sent to Volkswagen about its repairs of diesel cars equipped with cheating software. EU citizens normally have the right to access documents, but the secretary-general of the commission said an exception was made ...

No deal yet on Mediterranean alliance for EU agencies

Greek alternate foreign minister of foreign affairs Georgios Katrougalos told press on Tuesday that his proposal to Mediterranean EU members, to share votes about the relocation of London-based EU agencies, "was generally positively accepted." However, he admitted "we did not have a formal consensus ...

Is Banking Authority HQ the Brexit 'booby prize'?

Two EU agencies need a new home after Brexit - but member states have spent demonstrably less effort on their public bids to host the EBA.

EU Commission condemns Maltese journalist's murder

The European Commission condemned in the "strongest terms possible" the murder of a Maltese investigative journalist by a car bomb, a spokesman said Tuesday. "We are horrified that the well-known and respected Maltese journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia lost her life yesterday in what was seemingly a ...

Poland denies wrongdoing over forest logging

Polish environment minister Jan Szyszko has said the European Commission's complaint against logging in Poland's Bialowierza forest was unsubstantiated and that the terms of the EU's Natura 2000 conservation programme were unclear. "These are not primeval forests, untouched by the hand of man," he ...

EU-Russia trade bouncing back - despite sanctions

New figures for 2017 so far show a surprising uptick in EU-Russia trade relations, notwithstanding sanctions over Ukraine and Crimea.

Risk to asylum kids in EU increasing, says charity

A report out by the charity Save the Children on Wednesday says over 100,000 minors and children arrived in Europe last year. Many came alone or were separated from their families. "Today, national and EU policies have become even more restrictive, and many more children risk not having papers, or ...

No sign of Brexit speed-up after May-Juncker dinner

Hugs and kisses but no sign of "acceleration" in Brexit talks after British leader met the EU Commission chief in Brussels.

EU defence strategy 'outsourced' to arms industry

'Supporting the defence industry has become a goal in itself,' said a Belgian peace organisation about the European Defence Action Plan.

EU privacy rules tilt to industry, NGO says

EU reforms on confidentiality of online messages said to have swayed in favour of big tech firms amid intense lobbying.

US to help investigate murder of Maltese journalist

Maltese leader Joseph Muscat has told parliament he would invite US investigators from an FBI branch based in Europe to ensure justice was served in the case of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed by a car bomb Monday. But opposition leader Adrian Delia said Muscat should call an ...

Malta in shock after car bomb kills crusading journalist

Assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia called a "black day for freedom of expression" by Maltese prime minister.

Schroeder warns of Turkey and Russia drifting towards China

Germany's former chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, who now chairs Russian state oil giant Rosneft, has urged the EU to embrace Russia and Turkey in order to prevent them from drifting closer to China. "This is one reason why we need a viable relationship with Russia and Turkey," Schroeder said at a ...

EU parliament wants equal pay for posted workers

A large majority in the European Parliament's employment and social affairs committee agreed Monday that workers posted in another EU country must get the same remuneration as local workers - including bonuses. The proposal is part of a revision of the posted workers directive, which will be voted ...

Catalan independence leaders taken into custody

Two key members of the Catalan independence movement were sent to prison on Monday night by Spain's National Court. Jordi Sanchez, who heads the Catalan National Assembly and Jordi Cuixart, the leader of Omnium Cultural, are being held without bail while they are under investigation for sedition. ...

Report: EU defence strategy 'outsourced' to arms industry

'Supporting the defence industry has become a goal in itself,' said a Belgian peace organisation about the European Defence Action Plan.

New privacy rules tilted to industry, says NGO

The European Commission's reform of the e-privacy regulation to ensure confidentiality of online messages against industry interest has now swayed in favour of big tech firms, says NGO.

US to help investigate murder of Maltese journalist

Maltese leader Joseph Muscat has told parliament he would invite US investigators from an FBI special branch based in Europe to help hunt for those who murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed by a car bomb on Monday. But opposition leader Adrian Delia said Muscat should call an ...

Malta shocked after car bomb kills crusading journalist

Car bomb killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia called a "black day for freedom of expression" by Maltese prime minister.

May pleads for more as EU makes Brexit gesture

EU expected to make "turning point" gesture toward May, who will plead in Brussels on Monday night for movement to trade talks.

Spanish and Catalan leaders continue stand-off

In an exchange of letters, Mariano Rajoy and Carles Puigdemont called on each other to make the first step to defuse the crisis over Catalonia's independence.

EU gives softer line on Brexit

The UK and EU are heading for a "turning point", as the EU is expected to make a gesture toward British PM May, who will plead in Brussels on Monday evening for movement onto transition and trade talks.

EU united in backing Iran deal, after Trump criticisms

EU diplomacy chief Mogherini to fly to Washington next month, after foreign ministers unite in support of Iran nuclear deal at Luxembourg meeting.

Maltese opponent killed in car blast

Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed Monday by a bomb while she was driving from home. A fierce critic of prime minister Joseph Muscat, Caruana Galizia had written articles about corruption on the island, including on the Panama Papers, where it was revealed that companies had been ...

'Think of the patients!' cry warring EMA-host cities

Because of Brexit, the EMA has to leave London. Some health ministers lobbying to host it have made an emotional appeal, warning that patient safety could be at risk.

Juncker tells Kurz to form 'pro-European' government

European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker called on the likely next Austrian prime minister Sebastian Kurz to form a "stable and pro-European" government in the wake of Sunday's election, at a time of "important decisions about the future of the EU". Asked by journalists, Juncker's spokesman declined ...

EU Commission says May dinner not only about Brexit

"The policy menu is broader than Brexit," EU Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reporters on Monday about the working dinner planned for this evening between British PM Theresa May, EU advisor Oliver Robbins, and chief Brexit negotiator David Davis with Commission president Jean-Claude ...

Madrid gives new deadline to Catalan leader

The Spanish government gave Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont until Thursday at 10AM to give "clarity" on whether he has declared the region's independence. "Puigdemont has now an opportunity to rectify, to be clear and come back to legality," Spanish deputy prime minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria ...

In Iceland: Europe woos Arctic allies

The EU is requesting a status of observer at the Arctic Council, a regional forum in which Asian countries are already active.

EU calls for immediate end to Myanmar violence

The EU said Monday that "disproportionate use of force" by Myanmar's security forces against the Rohingya minority is "not acceptable and must end immediately." Foreign ministers decided to "suspend invitations" to Myanmar's army chief and other senior officers and "review all practical defence ...

EU 'not considering alternatives' to Iran deal

EU foreign affairs ministers are expected to give "strong united support for the EU position of a continued full implementation by all sides" of the nuclear deal with Iran, the bloc's diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini said before a ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday. She said she was "not ...

Austrian voters reject liberal pro-EU status quo

Counting continues, but after his victory in Sunday's election, conservative leader Sebastian Kurz is likely to form a coalition with the far-right and could become one of the most vocal critics of EU policies among the bloc's leaders.

Turkey urges EU not to break off ties

Turkey has said it wants to maintain EU accession talks, as leaders meet to discuss its human rights crisis.