Belgium supports Ukraine to become EU candidate (as a symbolic measure)

Belgium supports Ukraine to become EU candidate (as a symbolic measure)

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo made a phone call this afternoon with Ukrainian president Zelensky. He assured him that our country supports Ukraine to become a candidate member of the European Union. That candidacy will be discussed tomorrow at a European summit of heads of state and government. But De Croo has made it clear to Zelenski that real membership, as far as Belgium is concerned, is not yet in sight. The European Commission last Friday made the formal recommendation to offer Ukraine a European perspective and grant the country…

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Irish protocol can only be supplemented, there is no way to withdraw from it – EU Parliament

Irish protocol can only be supplemented, there is no way to withdraw from it – EU Parliament

The European Parliament’s UK Contact Group co-Chairs David McAllister, Bernd Lange and Nathalie Loiseau have reacted angrily to the latest Brexit impasse on the Irish Protocol. They have issued a statement after a meeting with Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič. The statement reads, “We are deeply concerned with the UK’s unilateral action, which constitutes a serious and unacceptable breach of international law.” It goes on, “The Northern Ireland Protocol Bill puts into question the credibility of the UK Government to comply with its international obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement and the…

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Tropical deforestation should be a EU’s concern

Tropical deforestation should be a EU’s concern

A new report says that industrial rubber plantations in West and Central Africa have been linked to an area of tropical deforestation 16 times the size of Brussels since 2000. This, it is claimed, establishes it as the leading European driver of deforestation in the region – despite being left out of proposed rules to tackle the EU’s role in global deforestation. “The rubber industry is threatening the land, livelihoods and rights of local communities and destroying a crucial carbon sink”, says the report. It goes on, “However, rubber is…

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Belgium is “fully prepared” to live without the Russian gas (for a while)

Belgium is “fully prepared” to live without the Russian gas (for a while)

Russia has suspended gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria. What is the impact on our country? According to Energy minister Tinne Van Der Straeten (Green), Belgium is “fully prepared”. Our country, too, will feel the effects of Putin’s threat, while our energy prices are already at record highs. For the time being, according to Van Der Straeten’s cabinet, there is no impact on the Belgian supply of natural gas. Belgium is a hub for the European Union’s gas supply, but has a very small share of Russian gas for its…

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EU expert group on multilingualism and translation highlights the need for more recognition for translators

EU expert group on multilingualism and translation highlights the need for more recognition for translators

The EU Expert Group on Multilingualism and Translation has published its report on the role of translators for the cultural and creative sectors and proposed recommendations to improve the translators’ working conditions and professional developments. They focus on literary translation, but also give key recommendations for the audio-visual and theatre sectors. The report recommends making the translation profession more attractive by providing more training opportunities for translators, reinforcing their (professional) associations and improving remuneration and working conditions through the opportunities offered by the new Digital Single Market Directive. The experts…

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French EU Presidency kicks-off in Paris with common vision of priorities

French EU Presidency kicks-off in Paris with common vision of priorities

After France took over the EU Presidency at the start of the new year it welcomed the European Commission on 6 – 7 January in Paris for working meetings to prepare legislative deadlines and to agree on key joint priorities for the months to come. The meetings marked the formal start of the French Presidency. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and her college of Commissioners met the French President Emanuel Macron and the Presidents of the French Senate and the National Assembly. The visit allowed for discussions between…

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Internal issues aside, Slovenia’s EU presidency a ‘success’

Internal issues aside, Slovenia’s EU presidency a ‘success’

During its six-month EU presidency, Slovenia successfully led the process of adopting European legislation, but that has been somewhat overshadowed by concerns from Brussels about the rule of law in Slovenia, particularly the government’s attitude towards the media and its failure to appoint the European delegated prosecutors. “Slovenia’s presidency has seen a number of achievements – successful coordination among EU member states and negotiations with the European Parliament on behalf of the Council,” said Sabina Lange, senior lecturer at the European Institute of Public Administration and Associate Professor of International…

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“Climate crisis and its consequences are happening here”

“Climate crisis and its consequences are happening here”

Youth For Climate Luxembourg is organising its next climate strike on Friday, 24 September.  Zohra Barthelemy, who oversees the movement’s public relations and logistical support, speaks about the movement, its goals and how it is wary of being used by local politicians. Teodor Georgiev: Youth For Climate (YFC) Luxembourg has no president but only members. Why was a hierarchy not established? Zohra Barthelemy: We see ourselves as a movement and as something that’s really dynamic, and that is open. And we think that hierarchies are harmful to this. Hierarchies for…

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Three ways G20 countries can set an example ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit

Three ways G20 countries can set an example ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit

In the recently adopted Matera Declaration, the world’s largest economies committed to addressing global food security and nutrition. But as the latest Food Sustainability Index (FSI) shows, this effort must begin at home. A new assessment of the G20, which includes among others the UK, the US, France and Italy, found room for improvement on food sustainability not only for their own sakes but also to set an example for the rest of the world as the UN prepares to host the first Food Systems Summit. With the latest figures…

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Portuguese government to review legislation against racism

Portuguese government to review legislation against racism

Portugal has said it will review its anti-racism laws, including those concerning fines and sanctions, the government announced in its national plan against racism published on Wednesday. In the National Plan to Combat Racism and Discrimination 2021-2025 – Portugal against racism, the government has committed to “assess the possible revision of the legislation on combating discrimination and hate speech […] in the scope of administrative offences.” The government has also announced the goal of “strengthening the system of sanctions for misdemeanours, reviewing the framework of fines and sanctioned conducts.” Article…

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