Years of heavy-duty and expensive lobbying, including of a European commissioner for health, has not opened the way for mouth tobacco sales in the EU. The EU court in Luxembourg last week refused to lift the ban.
The European Commission will present proposals to protect whistleblowers, combat fake news and organise the digital single market. The international community will gather in Brussels to discuss how to help Syrians in the current war and after.
MEPs are using so-called 'friendship groups' to cater to foreign governments without oversight and little public scrutiny. Initially set up to promote cultural exchanges, some have become lobbying platforms to push state views from governments with poor human rights records.
The UK's actual 'divorce' bill from the EU could be billions of pounds higher than the current estimated figure of £35-£39bn (€39.8-€44.4bn), the UK's official government National Audit Office warned in a report on Friday. The spending watchdog said London could be responsible for an extra £3bn in EU budget contributions plus an additional £2.9bn to the European Development Fund.
France and Germany have pledged to forge a joint position on euro reform by June, despite German reluctance on deeper monetary union.
The EU must better protect journalists and whistle-blowers, MEPs said in a resolution Thursday. The non-legislative decision said that Slovakia must ensure an independent and international investigation into the murder of Jan Kuciak, a journalist murdered last month. MEPs also urged the creation of a permanent EU scheme to support independent investigative journalism, a draft EU directive to protect whistle-blowers and better monitoring of media ownership concentration in the EU.
Two groups are meant to provide expert advice on how to spend EU money on a new military research programme - but much is unclear about how and even if they operate.
The EU's latest funding rules for European political parties and their think tanks fails to address the underlying problems of abuse. Instead of tackling the loans and donations culture, it has simply made access to EU funds a lot easier.
The European Parliament on Thursday voted in favour of a reform of the system of car approvals, proposed after the emissions cheating scandal Dieselgate. The new rules give the European Commission the right to carry out tests if member states are unwilling to do so. It will also be able to hand out fines. The majority was large, with 547 in favour, 83 against, and sixteen abstentions.
The European Parliament adopted a regulation on Thursday that lays down new rules for organic farming, with 466 votes against 124. Lead MEP Martin Hausling, a German organic farmer himself, said the rules will deliver "significant benefits for both consumers and farmers". The lobby group for organic farmers IFOAM however told EUobserver that the regulation's text, which was agreed behind closed doors after 19 months, was "not ideal".
The EU granted protection to 538,000 people in 2017, a decrease of 25% compared to 2016, Eurostat said Thursday. The largest group, 33%, were Syrians, ahead of Afghans (19%) and Iraqis (12%). Some 50 percent were granted refugee status, 35% subsidiary protection, 14% authorisation to stay for humanitarian reasons. Germany accepted the most requests (325,400), ahead of France (40,600), Italy (35,100) and Austria (34,000).
Facebook plans to restrict the coverage of a new EU data privacy law, the GDPR, to European users only by changing the legal terms at its international headquarters in Ireland, the Reuters news agency reports. The change will see the GDPR, which comes into effect on 25 May, cover 370 million Europeans, but not stretch to Facebook's 1.5 billion users in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America.
Eurozone bank chief Mario Draghi will stay part of an opaque "lobbyist" group despite transparency complaints.
Fundamental freedoms are under attack across the EU but the case of Bulgaria presents unique challenges, and opportunities to learn, for left-wing forces throughout Europe.
Greek courts ruled on Wednesday that migrants stranded on Greek islands should be free to travel to the mainland while their asylum claims are assessed. Asylum-seekers have been prohibited from traveling beyond Greek islands, such as Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Leros, Kos and Rhodes, since March 2016, amid an EU-Turkey deal to control migration to Europe. More than 15,000 asylum-seekers are estimated to be living in camps on the islands.
Interest in trading with former colonies is on the rise as the UK exits the European Union. "In an era when some big economies are turning back to protectionism, the Commonwealth can be an organisation to champion free trade," City of London's policy chairman Catherine McGuiness told Commonwealth leaders in London. The 53-nation Commonwealth includes Australia, Canada, India and South Africa and is home to 2.4 billion people.
Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron meet on Thursday in Berlin to seek agreement on how to reform the eurozone, ahead of an EU summit on 28-29 June. Macron is pushing for bold changes while Merkel is under pressure from within her own ranks - with leading CDU/CSU politicians arguing that the plans are not in Germany's interest. Merkel's coalition partner, the SPD, sympathises with Macron on the need for reforms.
On Thursday, the European Parliament will vote on a political deal on organic farming, following 19 months of behind-closed-doors negotiations. EUobserver here details a five-month odyssey to get access to the secret documents that led to the deal.
A resolution condemning the appointment of the EU executive secretary general has left frustrated MEPs and a bruised EU executive.
Snap elections will take place in Turkey on 24 June, president Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Wednesday. "Developments in Syria and elsewhere have made it urgent to switch to the new executive system, in order to take steps for our country's future in a stronger way," Erdogan said. His powers were already extended through a constitutional referendum last year, amid a massive crackdown following a 2016 failed coup attempt.