Georgia demands release of doctor detained by separatists

Georgia demands release of doctor detained by separatists

Georgia on Sunday (17 November) demanded the release of a doctor detained by separatists after crossing into breakaway South Ossetia, which is controlled by Russia after a war between two ex-Soviet republics in 2008. Vazha Gaprindashvili, president of Georgia’s Association of Orthopaedist and Traumatologists, was taken to South Ossetia’s regional center Tskhinvali on Wednesday and given two months of pretrial custody by the separatists, Georgia’s State security service has said. The separatists say he crossed over illegally. Georgia’s foreign ministry said Gaprindashvili’s detention “highlights the alarming situation of human rights…

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The need for a progressive EU-ACT partnership to tackle common global challenges

The need for a progressive EU-ACT partnership to tackle common global challenges

The international scenario is rapidly changing, but not necessarily in a positive way. That’s why there is a need for a progressive partnership between the European Union and the Africa-Caribbean-Pacific countries, writes MEP Carlos Zorrinho. Carlos Zorrinho is a member of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament as well as co-president of the Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP)-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly. The regrettable disengagement policy from the multilateralism context put forward by US President Donald Trump and summed up in the slogan ‘America…

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Auditors warn that progress in the fight against “superbooks” is too slow

Auditors warn that progress in the fight against “superbooks” is too slow

Despite some progress, the EU One Health approach to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has not yet delivered demonstrable results in reducing the rising ‘superbugs’ health threat, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) has found. In the past eight months, the EU Auditors conducted an audit of the EU’s action in fighting AMR, investigating in particular how the Commission and relevant agencies manage the key activities and resources in this domain. In the final report of the investigation published on Friday (15 November), they noted nonetheless little evidence that the health burden…

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Bulgarian dissident sums up 30-year “criminal” transition

Bulgarian dissident sums up 30-year “criminal” transition

Petar Boyadjiev, a Bulgarian dissident and political refugee living in France, has talked to EURACTIV Bulgaria about his “disgust” with people in power in his native country, who he says waste or misappropriate EU funds instead of using them to the benefit of society. He also revealed interesting facts about the relationship between the late communist leader Todor Zhivkov, in power from 1956 to 1989, and the current Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. Boyadjiev, born in 1941, distributed leaflets in 1966 together with a friend, calling for Bulgaria to leave the…

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The Commission is wary of the side effects of the Libra control

The Commission is wary of the side effects of the Libra control

The European Commission has called for a “proportionate” and differentiated approach to regulating digital currencies including Facebook’s Libra, as the EU needs to preserve is developing Fintech environment. EU finance ministers (Ecofin Council) agreed on Friday (8 November) on a draft statement calling for an EU approach to “appropriately tackle the challenges” raised by ‘stablecoins’, digital tokens backed by sovereign currencies. Regulators and decision-makers across the planet are looking into these digital currencies, powered by blockchain technology, after Facebook announced in June it would next year launch Libra, its own…

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“There is no way to avoid electrification,” says BMW

“There is no way to avoid electrification,” says BMW

Consumers are increasingly turning to electric vehicles – and they’re liking it, said BMW’s chief lobbyist in Europe, calling on policymakers to accelerate charging infrastructure deployment to support the roll-out of electric mobility on a mass scale. “Our customers, what do they do? The good news is that they are starting to buy electric vehicles,” said Andreas Klugescheid, head of external affairs at the BMW Group, referring to plug-in hybrids as well as fully electric vehicles. The EU’s newly-adopted CO2 emission standards for cars mean “there is no way around…

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Macron plays ‘European’ card on state visit to China

Macron plays ‘European’ card on state visit to China

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Shanghai on Monday (4 November), accompanied by a European Commissioner and a German minister. Europeans finally feel they have a card to play against China, while Washington remains opposed to Beijing. EURACTIV’s partner Ouest-France reports. Macron has promised to visit China every year. On Monday, he visited the country for the second time, following his first visit in January 2018. With a constant concern of having to play ‘European’, he was not only accompanied by the usual French business leaders (Orano, Sanofi, Safran, Schneider,…

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Germany condemns Iran’s move to accelerate nuclear work and calls for reconciliation

Germany condemns Iran’s move to accelerate nuclear work and calls for reconciliation

Iran’s announcement that it has developed advanced machines to speed up uranium enrichment jeopardises a 2015 accord with world powers, Germany’s foreign minister said on Monday (4 November), urging Tehran to return to the pact. Iran has been gradually shedding commitments under the deal since the United States withdrew from it last year and reimposed sanctions on Tehran, blocking its oil exports to try to force it into negotiating stricter limits on its nuclear programme. Under the agreement between Iran and world powers, Tehran is only allowed to enrich uranium…

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New scientific research gives hope for overcoming killer of the olive trees

New scientific research gives hope for overcoming killer of the olive trees

A number of promising results from innovative EU funded research presented at a recent scientific conference suggest that we might be one step closer to beating the olive tree killer Xylella fastidiosa. The conference, which was held in Corsica and involved around 350 plant health specialists from around the world, focused on ways in which science can help find solutions to the plant pest that is wreaking havoc across Europe. Xylella fastidiosa is a bacterial disease which is decimating olive groves across Europe. First detected in Italy in 2013, it…

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Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic “violated EU law” by denying refugees

Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic “violated EU law” by denying refugees

The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland likely broke EU law by refusing to take in asylum-seekers at the height of the refugee crisis in 2015, the top EU court’s legal advisor said Thursday (31 October). The opinion issued by the European Court of Justice’s advocate general, Eleanor Sharpston, does not determine what the court will end up deciding in the ongoing case, but her advice is often influential. “By refusing to comply with the provisional and time-limited mechanism for the mandatory relocation of applicants for international protection, Poland, Hungary and…

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