Latest news from EUobserver. Making sense of the EU.
Updated: 32 min 56 sec ago
The European Commission want to triple the amount of money for migration in the next EU budget. Earlier this week, EU agencies, NGOs, and the mayor of Athens gave their views at a European parliament public hearing.
It is very unlikely that the climate target of the Paris agreement can be met without a system that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – we need negative emissions.
The Facebook CEO will brief MEPs on data protection - but only behind closed doors. Meanwhile EU leaders are scratching their heads on how to deal with US president Trump's erratic decisions on trade and the Iran deal.
Most refugee-related services are outsourced to the private sector and NGOs, which are not adequately monitored and evaluated. When governments and EU institutions provide funding for refugee projects, they should scrutinise the NGOs and private players they work with.
Greece and Italy have a duty to better control migration into Europe, said Boyko Borisov, whose country holds the EU presidency.
The EU starts enforcing its general data protection regulation on 25 May - but Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania and Slovenia won't be ready. The delay will cause legal uncertainty.
Italy's would-be populist new rulers plan to pile on debt, posing questions for eurozone stability and monetary union.
The EU parliament's budget rapporteur complained the Commission is using numbers with a "desire to confuse". According to parliament estimates, the cohesion fund could suffer as much as a 45 percent cut.
A previously-unseen internal paper by the European Commission warned that a French ban of the bisphenol A chemical was "fully disproportionate". However, there was no consensus on starting an infringement procedure against France.
Only three EU countries, Estonia (2.4 percent), Greece (2.1 percent) and UK (2.0 percent), meet Nato's target of spending at least two percent of GDP on defence, 2016 figures released by Eurostat
on Friday showed. On average EU member states spent 1.3% of GDP on defence. In absolute figures UK spent the most (€47bn), which was almost a quarter (24 percent) of the total EU public expenditure on defence.
US president Donald Trump on Thursday criticised European defence budgets, telling Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg in Washington that members not meeting commitments would be "dealt with". Nato members have agreed to spend at least two percent of GDP on defence by 2024; only three EU countries meeting that target today. "And two percent is a very low number. The number really should be four percent," Trump said.
At the first summit in 15 years with Western Balkan leaders, EU chiefs made it clear that enlargement is not at hand - but offered economic incentives to keep the region close to the bloc.
The European Commission will begin the process on Friday of applying a 'blocking statute' against potential US extraterritorial sanctions on EU companies that operate in Iran, commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said Thursday at an EU summit in Sofia. The 1996 regulation allows companies to ignore penalties issued by certain non-EU jurisdictions. Juncker also said the European Investment Bank will "facilitate investment between Europe and Iran".
Relations between Macedonia and Greece are "even stronger" after the two countries' leaders met in Sofia, Macedonian PM Zoran Zaev said Thursday. He said that he and Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras "looked at possible options for creative solutions" to their dispute over Macedonia's name
. He said he hoped an agreement can be found in June, but that it will depend on "relevant political factors" in both countries.
The European Commission on Thursday referred six member states to the European Court of Justice for repeated failures to tackle air pollution. The six are Germany, France, United Kingdom, Hungary, Italy and Romania. Environment commissioner Karmenu Vella said: "The member states referred to the court today have received sufficient 'last chances' over the last decade to improve the situation." The six are accused of failing to tackle nitrogen dioxide levels.
Quim Torra, the new president of Catalonia's regional government, was sworn in at the Catalan parliament on Thursday. He pledged to be "loyal to the will of the Catalan people and its representatives in parliament". The oath did not mention loyalty to the Spanish king nor to the country's constitution, as it was the tradition until Torra's predecessor, Carles Puigdemont. Torra was elected by the parliament on Monday
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg's EU charm tour has gone awry before it began over plans to hide from public scrutiny.
Russian president Vladimir Putin and German chancellor Angela Merkel will meet for the second time in just one month in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi on Friday to discuss current global issues of Iran, Syria and Ukraine. The meeting could signal a shift in EU-Russia relations, amid a deepening US-European crisis of confidence, Russian state broadcaster RT reported.
"With friends like that, who needs enemies?" European Council Donald Tusk asked on Wednesday, as EU leaders were trying to come up with a reply to the US president's questioning of the transatlantic relationship.
French energy giant Total said on Wednesday it might quit a $2bn natural gas project in Iran if it could not secure a waiver from US sanctions. It follows a decision on Monday by Danish shipping operator Maersk Tankers to wind down business in Iran by November. German insurer Allianz said on Tuesday it was also prepared to curtail Iran-related business to avoid US sanctions.