EU closes excessive deficit procedure against Greece

EU closes excessive deficit procedure against Greece

The European Union (EU) announced on Monday that it was closing the excessive deficit procedure it had imposed on Greece since 2009, thus rewarding the country for its efforts to reform its economy. Three countries – France, Spain and the United Kingdom – remain under the excessive deficit procedure, down from 24 in 2011. An excessive deficit procedure enables the European Commission to place under surveillance any country that fails to respect the EU’s convergence criteria. They can ultimately receive fines, but, for now, that has never happened. The Commission…

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Theresa May asks EU for two-year Brexit transition period

Theresa May asks EU for two-year Brexit transition period

Speech calling for a pause to full exit until 2021 described as ‘constructive’ by Michel Barnier, the bloc’s chief negotiator. Theresa May has proposed delaying a full Brexit until 2021 by asking EU countries to agree to a two-year transition period during which the UK would continue to enjoy unfettered access to the single market. The prime minister said the government would be prepared to accept EU rules in that time, including allowing EU citizens to live and work in Britain, submitting to European laws and continuing to pay into…

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European Muslims have more confidence in democracy than their fellow Europeans

European Muslims have more confidence in democracy than their fellow Europeans

European Muslims have more confidence in institutional democracy than the European average. Moreover, more than three-quarters feel a strong attachment to the country in which they live. This emerges from a study by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (“EUFRA”). Last year, the organisation questioned more than 10,500 Muslim immigrants belonging to first and second generation groupings, originally from Turkey, Africa and Asia living in fifteen European Union countries. The Director of the EUFRA, Michael O’Flaherty, stressed, “The results of our survey entirely undermine the credibility of the assertion that Muslims…

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Referendum on independence in Iraqi Kurdistan goes ahead without EU support

Referendum on independence in Iraqi Kurdistan goes ahead without EU support

The Kurdish Regional Government in Iraqi Kurdistan is organising a referendum on independence on 25 September. For the Kurds the referendum is a first step towards fulfilling an old dream of national self-determination and a state of their own but Iraq and neighboring countries, with significant Kurdish minorities, oppose the referendum. EU on its part is concerned that the referendum may result in further destabilization of a region already in turmoil after civil wars and the still on-going fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria which have claimed…

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Europe working on common cybersecurity agency

Europe working on common cybersecurity agency

The European Union (EU) is working on the creation of an agency that will be tasked with helping member States to prevent and adequately react to cyberattacks. The European Commission presented details of the proposal on Tuesday. The EU also plans to establish a certification system to guarantee the digital safety of goods and services. In his state of the union address last week, Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Juncker had noted that Europe was not adequately protected against cyberattacks. Some 4,000 such attacks per day were registered in 2016. Eighty percent…

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Dieselgate: Emissions cheating on vehicles could cause 5,000 deaths a year in Europe

Dieselgate: Emissions cheating on vehicles could cause 5,000 deaths a year in Europe

Emissions from vehicles fixed by their manufacturers to appear more ecologically sound than they really are, could be responsible for 5,000 deaths per year from air pollution in Europe, notes a study published on Monday in the Environmental Research Letters magazine. These figures are in line with earlier estimates of the number of deaths from the Dieselgate scandal that erupted when Volkswagen admitted in 2015 that it had cheated on emissions tests on its vehicles. Since then, many other carmakers have been suspected of doing the same. The new study…

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Brexit: London wants a new security treaty with the EU

Brexit: London wants a new security treaty with the EU

On Sunday, the British government said it wanted a new security treaty with the EU. This would allow the EU and UK to continue working together to fight crime and terrorism after Brexit. “A treaty would be a legal basis for the continuation of police, security and penal cooperation after we leave the EU”, the executive body said in a press release. This press release was sent out before a document on the subject was published on Monday. A treaty would prevent the apparition of “operational gaps” after Brexit, in…

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WiFi4EU: New EU scheme for free internet access

WiFi4EU: New EU scheme for free internet access

A financial scheme for local wireless access points in the EU, free of charge and without discriminatory conditions, is on its way. A budget of €120 million for this new scheme was approved with 582 votes to 98 against, with nine abstentions, by the European Parliament on Tuesday. The funds will be used in a “geographically balanced” way in more than 6,000 communities in the Member States, on a first-come, first-served basis. As part of the initiative, municipal administrations, libraries and other public bodies will be able to apply for…

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Merkel rejects Schulz’s plea for second TV election debate

Merkel rejects Schulz’s plea for second TV election debate

Rival’s request viewed as late bid to rally support with German chancellor widely expected to secure fourth term. Angela Merkel has flatly rejected an appeal by her Social Democrat rival, Martin Schulz, for a second prime-time TV debate just days before Germans go to the polls. With Merkel widely expected to secure a fourth term in office on 24 September, Schulz’s plea to the German chancellor is being viewed as little more than a last-minute bid to claw back support. In his written request to Merkel, Schulz said he had…

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Polish MEPs in Brussels want to change the narrative of the European history museum

Polish MEPs in Brussels want to change the narrative of the European history museum

The Polish government feels that Poland’s history has been unfairly treated in the newly opened House of European History in Brussels. At a debate last week historians argued that the museum has an ideological bias against nationalism and that inaccuracies and gaps in its permanent exhibition should be corrected. The debate was organized (5 September) in the European Parliament by the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) Group and hosted by MEP Anna Fotyga on behalf of the Polish Law & Justice delegation in the parliament with the participation of historians…

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