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Today โ€” April 20th 2018EuObserver

ECJ ruling set to end 10-year 'mouth tobacco' lobbying saga

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.

  • April 20th 2018 at 17:44

[Agenda] Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK

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.

  • April 20th 2018 at 17:38

[Investigation] MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes

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.

  • April 20th 2018 at 14:43

[Ticker] Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher

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.

  • April 20th 2018 at 09:28

Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform

France and Germany have pledged to forge a joint position on euro reform by June, despite German reluctance on deeper monetary union.

  • April 20th 2018 at 09:28
Yesterday โ€” April 19th 2018EuObserver

[Ticker] MEPs urge better protection for journalists

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.

  • April 19th 2018 at 17:27

[Investigation] Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups

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.

  • April 19th 2018 at 17:06

[Analysis] New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability

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.

  • April 19th 2018 at 16:19

[Ticker] Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals

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.

  • April 19th 2018 at 13:49

[Ticker] European parliament adopts new organic farming rules

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".

  • April 19th 2018 at 13:44

[Ticker] EU granted protection to half million people in 2017

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).

  • April 19th 2018 at 12:48

[Ticker] Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law

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.

  • April 19th 2018 at 09:44

Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group

Eurozone bank chief Mario Draghi will stay part of an opaque "lobbyist" group despite transparency complaints.

  • April 19th 2018 at 09:25

[Opinion] Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists

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.

  • April 19th 2018 at 09:11

[Ticker] Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland

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.

  • April 19th 2018 at 09:05

[Ticker] Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit

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.

  • April 19th 2018 at 09:00

[Ticker] Merkel and Macron meet to finetune eurozone reform plans

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.

  • April 19th 2018 at 08:54

Getting secret EU trilogue documents: a case study

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.

  • April 19th 2018 at 07:49
Before yesterdayEuObserver

Selmayr case scars Parliament and Commission

A resolution condemning the appointment of the EU executive secretary general has left frustrated MEPs and a bruised EU executive.

  • April 18th 2018 at 17:59

[Ticker] Turkey snap elections set for 24 June

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.

  • April 18th 2018 at 15:46
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