While Italy's government signs memorandum to join China's Belt and Road Initiative, its traditional allies in Europe and the US are worried about its implications.
EU heads of state and government at their summit in Brussels on Friday demanded more "enhanced coordinated efforts" to tackle disinformation ahead of elections. The issue had been broadly overshadowed by Brexit and other discussions on China. The leaders will revisit the topic again in June in the hope of developing a long term strategy.
At EU summit in Brussels, EU leaders said it was important that the EU create a long-term climate action strategy - but refrained from going into details.
The UK parliament will likely hold a third vote on the Brexit withdrawal deal next week, determining the UK's departure from the bloc. In the meantime, the controversial copyright reform will be on the EU parliament's agenda.
The UK Labour opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has said he will meet prime minister Theresa May on Monday morning for 11th hour talks. In an interview with The Mirror Corbyn said: "We're the responsible party here. We're not running down the clock, we're looking for solutions". EU-27 leaders on Thursday offered to delay the date of Brexit - if British MPs approve Theresa May's deal next week in parliament.
Over 2.4 million people have signed an online petition within its first 48 hours to stop Brexit and remain in the EU. The petition was uploaded Wednesday on the parliament's website and attracted so many signatures that it temporarily crashed. House of Commons officials say the high rate of sign ups for the petition is unprecedented.
Citizens in EU countries (excluding the UK) would have to bear income losses of €40bn per year with a hard Brexit while British citizens would lose €57bn per year (around €900 per capita), a study from the German Bertelsmann Stiftung has found. After the UK, Germany would suffer the most losing around €10bn per year, while the US and China could benefit from the British withdrawal.
A dozen Yemeni and international NGOs on Thursday demanded France stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and help put an end to the war in Yemen. Amnesty International France said the country should follow Germany's example of stopping the sales. France is the third-largest weapons exporter to Saudi Arabia, after the United States and the UK.
The German government is refusing to back a call for an EU-wide net-zero emissions target by 2050, according to a leaked document obtained by Unearthed, a media outlet funded by Greenpeace UK. The EU emissions target is set to be discussed by EU summit leaders in Brussels on Friday (22 March).
12 April is the new deadline for the UK to decide how it wants to leave the EU. Revoking Article 50 and a long extension also remain on the table.
Former European Commission secretary-general Alexander Italianer has been hired by US law firm Arnold & Porter, the company announced on Thursday in a statement which said Italianer "brings extraordinary insight into the key issues facing today's global economy and an unparalleled knowledge of the workings of the European Commission". The firm specified Italianer's new job was in accordance with commission rules, which required Italianer to ask authorisation.
Draft conclusions of the EU summit in Brussels circulating online said that EU leaders are willing to agree to an extension of the Brexit deadline until 22 May, just ahead of the EU elections. "Given that the United Kingdom does not intend to hold elections to the European Parliament, no extension is possible beyond that date," the text said. The UK had asked for an extension until 30 June.
EU commissioners campaigning for a national post have to take a leave of absence - while those running for an EU job do not. This distinction undermines the effort to close the gap between EU and national politics.
Smer, Slovakia's ruling party, wants the country's media to give politicians a right-of-reply, or face stiff fines. Advocates of a free press are alarmed, and it poses a problem for the European Commission, whose vice-president is a Smer presidential candidate.
EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker explicitly stated there may have to be an emergency Brexit next week, as he arrived at Thursday's EU summit in Brussels. Commenting on the likelihood of British MPs voting down prime minister Theresa May's deal for a third time, ahead of the Brexit date of 29 March, Juncker said: "In the event of no-deal...we'll be back here next week".
French president Emmanuel Macron struck the strongest note yet of the consequences of British MPs not approving Theresa May's Brexit deal as he arrived at the EU summit in Brussels on Thursday. Macron told reporters: "We can discuss and agree an extension - if it is a technical extension. In case of 'no' vote ... directly, it will guide everybody to a no-deal for sure. This is it".
German chancellor Angela Merkel warned that the days after Thursday's EU summit could be vital to avoid a no-deal Brexit next week. Arriving in Brussels, she said the UK parliament may not approve British prime minister Theresa May's deal on a third vote. "In that situation we may also, day by day after the summit, decide what we can do". Merkel called the deal well-negotiated and warned options were limited.
The European Court of Justice on Thursday ruled 44 Italian landfill sites to be in breach of the EU's landfill directive, which stipulates that waste must be treated before it is landfilled to not harm human health and the environment. If, despite the court's judgment, Italy still does not rectify the situation, the commission may refer the country back to the court for a second time proposing financial penalties.
The Dutch anti-EU, anti-immigration party Forum for Democracy is expected to enter the 75-seat upper-house senate with 12 representatives, after provincial elections Wednesday. The three-year-old party, which began as think tank opposed to an EU-Ukraine treaty, is however unlikely to unseat the four-party centrist-centre-right coalition led by Liberal PM Mark Rutte, which lost its senate majority. Rutte will look to the Greens, Wednesday's other winner, or centre-left, for support.
The European Commission on Wednesday doled out a €1.49bn fine against Google over its market dominance in online search adverts and for imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites. "This is illegal under EU anti-trust rules," said European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager. The fine is the third imposed upon the internet giant in two years.