Western Balkan countries should become EU members via a new, step-by-step process, France has said in a detailed proposal seen by EUobserver.
MEPs will decide on Monday if they want the Hungarian commissioner-designate to come back for a second hearing, as commission president-elect Ursula von der Leyen hopes to finally take office on 1 December.
The hearing over the arrest warrant issued by Spain for the extradition of two Catalan ex-ministers, Toni Comín and Lluis Puig, was postponed until 16 December by a Brussels court on Friday, conjoining their case with the one of ex-president of the Catalan government, Carles Puigdemont. However, the decision of the Court of Justice of the EU on Puigdemont and Puig's immunity as an elected MEP could change the date.
The European Commission has started an infringement proceeding against the United Kingdom for failing to nominate a commissioner-candidate. The new commission, which wants to launch on 1 December, first requires a commissioner from each of the 28 EU states.
German finance minister Olaf Scholz said at a press conference in Berlin that the idea of a banking union is moving forward and that an agreement might be possible in December, Bloomberg reports. "The time of the new presidency and the new commission of the European Union is the time to get all the necessary agreements and to start with the work on that question," Scholz said.
Over the years, both real and perceived levels of corruption in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia have remained high. The necessary reforms in those countries, to put it mildly, are not yet effectively carried out.
In a landmark decision, the European Investment Bank has decided it will stop funding fossil-fuel projects by the end of 2021. Some low-emission gas projects will still be possible. The implementation date was postponed from 2020 to 2021 after pressure from some member states and the European Commission. Greenpeace applauded the decision and called on the European public and commercial banks to follow the EIB's example.
The UK's chief of the defence staff, Nick Carter, said increasing threats from Russia could lead to miscalculations and that it could inadvertently trigger a third world war, Bloomberg reports. Carter warned that new Russian techniques including "disinformation, subversion, manipulation, assassinations and of course the use of mercenaries, which are very easily undeclared and non-attributable" could easily lead to escalation, miscalculation and therefore also war.
The answers of Romanian's new commissioner-designate for transport, Adina-Ioana Vălean, did not manage to convince MEPs from the Greens group, who will ask her additional questions concerning environment and consumer rights.
Hungary's commissioner-designate for enlargement, Oliver Varhelyi, will face further written questions from MEPs, parliament sources said Thursday. Party coordinators in the EU parliament's foreign affairs committee failed to approve him after their hearing, with only the centre-right EPP, conservative ECR, and far-right ID supporting him. The Socialist S&D, the liberal Renew Europe, the Greens and far left GUE/NGL wanted to see further questions.
Lara Comi, a former MEP for Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party (2009-2019), was Thursday put under house arrest by Italian police in relation to a corruption probe, Italian news agency ANSA reported. In 2015 she demanded an investigation from the European Commission into the sale of Maltese citizenship after a hike in residence permits issued to Libyan nationals. In May she was investigated in Milan for illegal party funding.
A two-year scheme to send asylum seekers from Greece and Italy to other EU states fell short of its potential, say EU auditors. Some 35,000 were helped - but auditors say 445,000 in Greece alone could have also potentially benefited.
In the first of three commissioner-designates hearings on Thursday, prime minister Viktor Orban's EU ambassador said he would defend EU interests against any government - including Hungary's.
In a resolution approved on Thursday, the majority of MEPs voiced their concerns over a Polish draft law that criminalises sex education. This initiative could put teachers who provide sex education in prison for up to three years. MEPs called on the Polish parliament to avoid adopting the bill, which follows recent attempts of the government in Poland to limit sexual and reproductive rights, including the right to abortion.
Britain will not name a new candidate for the EU Commission at least until a new government is formed after elections on 12 December, British officials said Thursday. The move is a snub to the EU, which hoped that the new commission can take office on 1 December. Under EU rules all member states need to nominate a commissioner. Britain is due to leave the EU on 31 January.
"If evil is not defeated, it tends to expand", Natalia Magnitsky, the widow of a Russian anti-corruption activist, has said, as EU diplomats discuss human rights sanctions 10 years after his death.
US president Donald Trump is expected to announce this week that he is delaying for six months a decision on putting tariffs on cars and auto parts imported from the EU, Reuters reported. Washigton has a Thursday deadline on deciding to impose 'national security' tariffs of 25 percent. EU officials expect the tariff threat will remain for the US to use as leverage in trade talks with the EU.
The UK will lose influence in international affairs and become a "second-rate player" after it exits the EU, European Council president Donald Tusk warned on Wednesday. "Only as part of a united Europe can the UK play a global role, only together can we confront, without any complexes, the greatest powers of this world," Tusk said. Brexiteers claim the UK needs to leave the EU to become a global power.
Police on Wednesday managed to reopen the road linking Spain and France after more than 48 hours of intermittent blockages organised by Catalan separatist group Democratic Tsunami. Although French and Spanish police unblocked the motorway on Tuesday, protesters moved some 65km south, where the motorway passes through the city of Girona. According to the Catalan regional police, protesters torched barricades and hurled stones at security forces.
Polish authorities arrested two people accused of planning violent attacks against Muslims inspired by Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik and suspected white supremacist Brenton Tarrant in New Zealand, the security forces said on Wednesday. "The arrests are the result of information collected earlier by the Internal Security Agency (ABW) about an extremist group whose aim was to intimidate Muslims living in Poland," the statement said.