Latest news from EUobserver. Making sense of the EU.
Updated: 23 min 25 sec ago
The secretary-general of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, warned in New York on Tuesday that the world was suffering "a bad case of 'trust deficit disorder'". In his annual address to the UN, Guterres said "polarisation is on the rise and populism is on the march"
and pointed to Europe, adding "without strong multilateral frameworks for European-wide cooperation and problem-solving, the result was a grievous world war."
Sweden's acting prime minister Stefan Lofven lost a confidence vote in parliament on Tuesday, 204 votes to 142, in the wake of September's election. The opposition centre-right alliance, led by Ulf Kristersson, is now expected to try to form a new government, but would depend on the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD), something Kristersson has ruled out. "We will not allow SD .... to control the political orientation," he told STV.
The General Court of the European Union in Luxembourg argued that disclosure of how MEPs use their monthly €4,400 expenses allowance risks violating an MEP's data protection rights. Journalists behind the case will appeal.
The charity rescue ship Aquarius is planning to disembark 58 migrants in Marseilles, France, despite not having French permission to do so. SOS Mediterranee said that was its "only option" after Italy again refused to let it go there. The ship will have to end rescues when Panama shortly revokes its flag under Italian pressure. Italy Monday also passed a new law to make it easier to deport migrants.
A Russian national with a Maltese passport is reportedly part of a €10m international laundering racket in south-west Finland.
Five years and €10bn after its EU bailout, Cyprus is still a weak link in Europe's banking system - amid renewed fears on Russia money-laundering.
EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova has blamed the British tabloid media for spoiling the political climate around Brexit talks. "Media can build the culture of dialogue or sow divisions, spread disinformation and encourage exclusion. The Brexit debate is the best example of that," she said at a forum in Vienna on Monday. "Just last week, the EU leaders were called 'Dirty Rats' on another front page".
The UK has said EU airlines could continue to fly there even if there was no deal on Brexit and that it would unilaterally accept EU aviation rules in order to prevent a rupture if need be. It published the technical paper as the European Central Bank urged Dutch lender ING to return important staff from London back to Europe.
Greek police have detained the editor-in-chief and publisher of the newspaper Fileleftheros, after an article las week which alleged Panos Kammenos, the country's far-right defence minister had mishandled EU funds designed to help migrants in camps on Greek islands. Some of the EU money had been funnelled to Kammenos' business partners, the article alleged. The arrest came after Kammenos complained to police about it, AP reports.
Austria's far-right interior minister Herbert Kickl has instructed police chiefs that their officers should name the foreign nationality and asylum status of suspects and offenders in press interviews, according to leaked emails obtained by the Kurier and Standard newspapers. He also said police ought to send "pro-active" messages to media about related sex offences and complained that government critical media "ignore facts" on the problem.
A joint declaration on the Southern Gas Corridor project, which should deliver Azerbaijani gas to Europe by 2020, will remain secret - because the Turkish energy minister left before signing.
European Central Bank (ECB) chief Mario Draghi told MEPs on Monday that he will soon further clarify his role in the secretive 'Group of Thirty' banking group
. "The ECB will respond to the decision of the European Ombudsman in the coming days. As always in the past, the answer will be public," he said. The ombudsman recommended Draghi leave the group, following concerns of his independence as ECB president.
The European Commission said in a report
on Monday that 14 EU member states were at risk of failing to achieve a 2020 recycling target. EU legislation requires that by 2020 half of all municipal waste is prepared for re-use or recycling. The 14 countries are: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.
The European Commission on Monday referred Poland to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), over Warsaw's controversial legislation to force dozens of Supreme Court judges into early retirement. The widely-anticipated move
came after the commission said the law was "incompatible with EU law as it undermines the principle of judicial independence, including the irremovability of judges." Some 27 judges are affected by the rule, including the chief judge.
George Soros' Open Society Foundations have lodged a case with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, over the Hungarian government's crackdown on NGOs - often referred to as the 'Stop Soros' laws
. Viktor Orban's government has barred civil society organisations from helping with asylum or migration cases, leading the foundation to close its Budapest office. The Foundation's lawyers argue the legislation infringes on freedom expression and association.
Scottish judges have asked the EU court to rule whether the so-called Article 50 process, on the UK leaving the EU, can be "unilaterally revoked" if the British parliament voted to reject Britain's exit deal. Britain's opposition Labour Party will this week vote on whether to support a second Brexit referendum, but Dominic Raab, Britain's Brexit negotiator, warned Sunday that rejecting referendum results gave "rise to extremism and fringe politics".
The EU will end cross-border stock trading with Switzerland at the end of this year unless there is progress on a new bilateral treaty covering a broad swathe of relations, EU neighbourhood commissioner Johannes Hahn has told the Neue Zuercher Zeitung, a Swiss newspaper. "I honestly cannot imagine ... that we would extend the [stock-trading] exception [which expires in 2019] by another year," he said.
Migrants will not be eligible for a "basic income" to be guaranteed to Italian people by the country's new populist government, its deputy leader Luigi Di Maio has said. "It is clear that it is impossible not to restrict awarding the citizenship income to Italian citizens, given the flows of illegal immigration," he told Radio Anch'io. The basic income plan has caused EU concern on Italy breaking Europe debt limits.
A British financier, Jeremy Hosking, who previously donated €1.7m to the Leave campaign, has offered to fund a new political party for rebels from the ruling Tories if British PM Theresa May fails to deliver Brexit. May will face cabinet ministers on Monday, some of whom are calling for a Canada-type free accord with the EU, after EU leaders rejected her plan to keep EU rules on trade in goods.
The UK's former Brexit secretary, David Davis, along with a group of 'hard Brexit' Conservative MPs will Monday set out a plan for a no-deal scenario, backed by the Institute of Economic Affairs think tank. The proposal will up the pressure on prime minister Theresa May, who last week saw her 'Chequers' blueprint rejected at the EU's Salzburg summit. May will also hold a cabinet meeting on post-Brexit migration.