Rules for revolving doors must be followed

Rules for revolving doors must be followed

The latest case of an EU banking official taking a lobbying job in the financial sector underscores the need to uphold rules to prevent revolving doors, write Luis Garicano and Paul Tang. Luis Garicano and Paul Tang are MEPs for Renew Europe and the Socialist and Democrat group A key lesson of the Financial Crisis was that the “capture” of regulators by financial sector players costs taxpayers dearly. Prior to the crisis, banks were able to lobby governments to avoid necessary regulation. During and after the crisis, they were allowed…

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Russia’s ruling party approves that Putin’s pick Mishustin as a new PM

Russia’s ruling party approves that Putin’s pick Mishustin as a new PM

Russia’s ruling party on Thursday (16 January) unanimously backed President Vladimir Putin’s surprise choice for prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin, a man with almost no political profile. Mishustin’s elevation is part of a sweeping shake-up of the political system announced by Putin on Wednesday, which led to the resignation of Dmitry Medvedev as prime minister along with his government. The changes are widely seen as giving Putin, 67, scope to extend his grip on power once he leaves the presidency in 2024. He has dominated Russian politics, as president or as…

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Macron and Sahel leaders meet to strengthen campaign against jihad

Macron and Sahel leaders meet to strengthen campaign against jihad

French President Emmanuel Macron will on Monday (13 January) host counterparts from five Sahel countries seeking more backing in the fight against a murderous jihadist uprising even as France’s military role is being questioned. Recent tensions between France and Sahel governments could make for a tricky exchange at the six-way talks in the southwestern city of Pau, to be attended also by the heads of the UN, African Union, and EU Council. Macron insists his counterparts from Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania and Chad must use the occasion to express…

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Experts say Europe should go beyond empty words about Iran

Experts say Europe should go beyond empty words about Iran

As EU foreign ministers gather tomorrow (9 January) to discuss Iran, they should be mindful of a changed domestic situation in the country, experts warn. Scholars predict that the Iranian parliamentary elections due to take place next month will reward those less critical of the state and strengthen the regime weakened by internal unrest at the end of last year. Iranian legislative elections, to be held on 21 February, are important because they give account of “the balance of forces in the regime, and also about the popularity of policies…

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Eurozone growth driven by services weighed down by industrial decline

Eurozone growth driven by services weighed down by industrial decline

While the eurozone’s private sector stagnated until December 2019, the manufacturing sector has seen more of a prolonged slump. It is the services sector that continues to drive the eurozone’s growth. The European economy remains at a standstill. According to the latest Markit composite indicator published on Monday (6 January), the eurozone’s growth still disappointed by the end of 2019. The final composite index went from 50.6 in November to 50.9 in December. On 16 December, Markit announced that the index would stagnate at 50.6, knowing that activity increases whenever…

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EU climate trust depends on solving the problem of methane emissions from gas

EU climate trust depends on solving the problem of methane emissions from gas

EU methane legislation is not just a nice-to-have. Europe cannot meet its 2030 and 2050 targets, nor ensure the success of the Paris Agreement without it, writes Poppy Kelesi. Poppy Kalesi is Global Director for Energy at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), an NGO. The recently published European Green Deal showed political honesty by focusing on high-impact, actionable priorities where the EU has leverage to curtail climate-damaging emissions. The ambition is notable. Turning that ambition into action is now the next critical step. Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is one…

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EU plans “big increase” in green gas to achieve climate goals

EU plans “big increase” in green gas to achieve climate goals

Production of biogas, biomethane and “green” hydrogen will have to skyrocket by at least 1,000% over the next three decades in order to reach the EU’s climate neutrality objective for 2050, an EU official has said. Renewable gases today already represent around 7% of gross inland energy consumption in the EU, said Antonio Lopez-Nicolas, deputy head of unit at the European Commission’s energy department, making them “an important part” of the bloc’s energy mix. But with Europe now aiming to reach climate neutrality by mid-century that percentage will need to…

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EU foreign ministers to hold emergency talks about Iran on Friday

EU foreign ministers to hold emergency talks about Iran on Friday

EU foreign ministers will hold emergency talks on the Iran crisis on Friday as tensions rise after US forces killed an Iranian general in a drone strike, diplomats said on Monday (6 January). The announcement came as Europeans, fearing the fallout from the killing of Iran’s General Soleimani, had called for de-escalation. The EU’s diplomatic chief Josep Borrell voiced regret at Iran announcing another step away from the fragile 2015 nuclear deal, as Tehran seethes over the killing of Qasem Soleimani, head of the Revolutionary Guards’ covert Quds Force. He…

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Prime Minister of Northern Macedonia Zaev leaves before April polls

Prime Minister of Northern Macedonia Zaev leaves before April polls

North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev resigned Friday (3 January) ahead of a vote in April called after the EU blocked the start of membership talks with Skopje, the key policy goal of his cabinet. European Union leaders in October failed to agree on opening accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania, mostly because of opposition from France. The issue is now on hold until spring. Skopje’s leader agreed in October to hold early elections on 12 April. Zaev, who earlier labelled the EU’s decision a “historic mistake”, tendered his…

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2020: A critical year for EU-China relations

2020: A critical year for EU-China relations

2020 will be a decisive year for the EU’s relations with China and its success will largely depend on the fate of the long-running bilateral investment treaty negotiations, writes Fraser Cameron. Fraser Cameron is a former EU civil servant, currently Director of the EU-Asia Centre 2020 will be a decisive year for the EU’s relations with China. The two sides are struggling to conclude an investment treaty while there are continuing disputes over human rights and whether to allow Chinese tech giant Huawei to exploit Europe’s 5G market. 2020 will…

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