Latest news from EUobserver. Making sense of the EU.
Updated: 1 week 5 days ago
Dutch European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans wants to become the Party of European Socialists' candidate to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the commission. His candidacy was reported by Dutch media on Tuesday, as well as by Politico, which published a letter
from the German Social Democrats supporting Timmermans' candidacy. Timmermans is currently Juncker's right-hand man, and in charge of rule of law issues.
Italy's 5 Star Movement, which has 14 MEPs, has ruled out an alliance with the far right after next year's EU elections.
EU interior ministers are meeting in Luxembourg this Friday to discuss migration. The Austrian EU presidency is hoping to reach a consensus on Dublin reforms and a concept of 'mandatory solidarity' after briefing 27 EU states bilaterally over the summer.
Non-governmental organisations saving migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian film director jailed for 20 years by a Russian court following the annexation of Crimea, and Nasser Zefzafi, a jailed Moroccan political activist leading protests in the Rif were shortlisted for the European Parliament's 2018 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought on Tuesday. The parliament's president and political group leaders will select the final laureate on 25 October.
EU ambassadors will meet on Friday evening to hear from the EU Commission the latest developments in Brexit talks, as the crucial negotiation enters its final stage. The EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier will brief commissioners on Wednesday. The EU is reluctant to start laying down the future relationship with the UK until London agrees to an Irish "backstop" to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.
The leader of the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist party, Arlene Foster, in Brussels on Tuesday restated her absolute opposition to checks between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK - ruling out any regulatory differentiation. Foster, the informal coalition ally of British prime minister Theresa May, met EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier. Brexit talks have entered their last phase with the unresolved Irish border issue blocking the withdrawal agreement.
Italian and EU officials are attempting to diffuse tension between Rome and Brussels, as Italy's populist government aims to boost spending - risking breaching EU rules. On Tuesday Jean-Claude Juncker met Italy's president of the chamber of deputies, Robert Fico. A commission spokesperson said "it was a moment to cool down the temperature." Juncker told Fico it was up to Italy to find measures that adhere to agreed budgetary targets.
A Dutch court of appeal confirmed on Tuesday a 2015 ruling
by a lower court, which ordered the Dutch government to take more action to limit climate change. Climate activist Marjan Minnesma told broadcaster NOS that the government's arguments had been "swept away", and that she expected activists in other countries to be inspired by the ruling. Similar cases are underway in Belgium, Ireland and elsewhere.
The European Parliament will take down a poster depicting Muslim migrants, branded "Islamophobic" by a UK MEP. Conservative Sajjad Karim raised concerns over the giant ad recently put up in Brussels ahead of the May 2019 European elections. It showed a headscarfed woman with the words: "Because we need to work together to manage migration." In a letter, parliament president Antonio Tajani said the parliament apologised for "any offence caused".
France and Germany will be among the hardest hit by a global trade slowdown created by US protectionism, the IMF has warned.
Greek Supreme Court prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou on Monday ordered an investigation of how €570m of EU funds for migrant aid was spent after the sacked head of hotspot reception centres, Andreas Iliopoulos, indicated in a newspaper interview that EU funds for migration were being mismanaged. Iliopoulos was responsible for reception centres on Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos and in Evros, northern Greece. He was dismissed last week.
The European parliament elections in May will see "the emergence of a Europe of nations," French far-right leader Marine Le Pen declared, after meeting her Italian counterpart, Matteo Salvini, in Rome on Monday. She also downplayed the role of Donald Trump's former advisor Steve Bannon in the campaign, saying "Bannon is not European. He is American". His movement would offer studies, surveys and analysis for the campaign, she added.
The murder of 27-year-old reporter Jan Kuciak in February tarnished Slovakia's image, prime minister Peter Pellegrini has said. "We have to produce deeds, not words, to restore trust," he told Reuters. The killing highlighted corruption allegations, including in the office of then prime minister, Robert Fico. It also put attention on Italian businessmen in Slovakia with suspected mafia links. Police have made arrests, but not brought any charges to court.
What happens when a difficult deadline hits? This is precisely what is being played out in EU fisheries as we approach the landmark legal commitment under the Common Fisheries Policy to end overfishing by 2020.
Italy's deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini on Monday described European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and economy commissioner Pierre Moscovici as enemies of Europe. "The enemies of Europe are those sealed in the bunker of Brussels. It's Juncker and Moscovici who have brought fear and job insecurity to Europe," Salvini said at a joint press briefing with French far-right leader Marine Le Pen.
Commissioners voiced "shock" and pledged help after the killing of Bulgarian journalist who reported on alleged fraud in European funds.
Limiting global warming to 1.5C would require "unprecedented" changes in society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said on Monday in a special report
ahead of the Katowice climate change conference in Poland in December, where governments meet to review the Paris Agreement on tackling climate change. "The next few years are probably the most important in our history," said Debra Roberts, co-chair of IPCC Working Group II.
French far-right leader, Marine Le Pen, kicks of a European tour on Monday, meeting Italy's far-right leader Matteo Salvini in Rome. The meeting is the first in a larger tour, where Le Pen aims to meet populist leaders in Europe ahead of May's European Parliament elections. "It [Italy] shows not only that we can implement our policy, but in addition that it is effective," Le Pen told Le Figaro.
Pro-Russia Bosnian Serb nationalist leader Milorad Dodik is set to become a member of Bosnia-Herzegovina's inter-ethnic presidency, winning 56 percent in Sunday's elections, with his opponent Mladen Ivanic taking 44 percent. Once officially confirmed, Dodik will share the post with a Muslim and a Croat member. The Bosnian Muslim party SDA declared victory for their candidate, Safik Dzaferovic, while Social Democrat Zeljko Komsic won the Croat seat.
Mainstream parties lost out to new anti-establishment parties in elections on Saturday in Latvia. The left-leaning Harmony party - which has a cooperation agreement with Russia's ruling party, United Russia - and advocates the interests of Latvia's Russian-speaking citizens, became the biggest party, with 19.8 percent of the vote, according to country's central election commission. About a quarter of Latvia's 2.2 million population are Russian-speaking.