The Council held a strategic policy debate on relations with Russia
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Migration, trade and Russia were the major items of discussion during the exhaustive agenda of the Autumn European summit that took place in Brussels on 20 and 21 October. For a starter, EU leaders had on the meeting menu an analysis of the first outcome of the Bratislava roadmap, adopted at EU 27 informal meeting in the Slovakia capital in September that was mastered to conduct the Union’s course over next months.
LIBE committee expressed concerns about the rights of sent back Syrians
Maria Koleva, Brussels
The implementation of the EU-Turkey Statement has continued to deepen and to accelerate. This way Maarten Verwey, EU coordinator for the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement on migration, outlined the progress of the deal during a discussion at the EP Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.
Anti-dumping duties to be uncapped to tackle overcapacity
The Commission called on Member States last Wednesday to support its efforts to provide the EU with stronger and more robust defence instruments against unfair trade, the EU press service reported.
Put governance on right track: auditors
Governance at the European Commission is functional but in several areas it lags behind international best practice and is in need of an update, the European Court of Auditors said in a report dated 18 October.
Fitness check on European consumer and marketing law
European and national policymakers, researchers and industry experts met last Monday in Brussels at the 2016 European Consumer Summit to discuss how EU consumer and marketing legislation can be streamlined, the EU press service reported.
Boosting cooperation on climate action
The first ever Eastern Partnership (EaP) formal ministerial meeting on environment and climate change took place last Tuesday in Luxembourg with the participation of Commissioners Karmenu Vella and Johannes Hahn, the EU press service reported.
Intensifying efforts to tackle human beings trafficking
The Commission marked last Thursday the 10th EU Anti-Trafficking Day urging a reinvigoration of joint efforts across the Union to eradicate trafficking in human beings, the EU press service reported.
Ruling coalition reaches agreement on Electoral Code
Teodora Tsekova
Parties in the ruling coalition arrived at a compromise version of changes to the Electoral Code on 17 October. After a special meeting in parliament GERB, the Reformist Bloc and the Patriotic Front shook hands on a deal and agreed to continue governing together.
500 SMEs financed under Juncker Plan
Over 500 small and medium Bulgarian enterprises have been financed so far under the European Investment Plan, also known as the Juncker Plan.
How Europe alienated people
Nadia Ilieva
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is shaping up as the new rebel in the European Union. He has adopted an ominously sharp rhetoric ahead of the October meeting of the European Council, diagnosing the bloc with “frenetic immobility” a week ago and slamming the lack of results at the last informal meeting in Bratislava.
Why BRICS will live on
Oliver Della Costa Stuenkel
For years, Western newspapers have depicted the BRICS grouping - comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - as either nonsensical or threatening. Indeed, after Brazil and Russia entered recession and growth in China slowed in recent years, Washington-based observers predicted the initiative’s imminent demise.
Roadmap to revive Minsk deal
The leaders of Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia agreed to draw up a road map by the end of November to carry out the Minsk peace agreement for eastern Ukraine, news wires reported. But German Chancellor Angela Merkel said "no miracles" were achieved during six hours of talks on 19 October in Berlin, despite the decision for the creation of a roadmap was a progress. "It's urgently necessary to keep having such talks in order not to lose momentum," she said. "There's much work left to do," Merkel added. The leaders of the Normandy contact group also discussed creating zones of disengagement between the warring parties in eastern Ukraine, she said.
Noose around Mosul tightens
The offensive to seize back Mosul from Islamic State is going faster than planned, Iraq's PM Haider al-Abadi said, as Iraqi and Kurdish forces launched a new military operation to clear villages. Abadi updated senior officials who met in Paris to discuss the future of Iraq's second-largest city via a video conference call. There is evidence that Islamic State fighters are pulling out of the city, French President Francois Hollande, who hosted the meeting, said and underscored the need to make every effort so that these forces are prevented from regrouping.
Fewer hours worked in Europe than in US
Europeans work up to 19% fewer hours annually compared to those working in the US, according to a transatlantic study cited by the DW. According to economists at universities in Frankfurt, Arizona and Ontario, who released their joint study last Wednesday, for Americans that is 258 hours extra per year, or about an hour per working day.
BRICS countries eye deeper cooperation
The world's major emerging econo­mies, grouped under the BRICS acro­nym, held their eighth annual summit on 15-16 October in the western Indian state of Goa, aiming to further put their footprint on global economy and politics, news wires reported.
Volkswagen teases rivals with China-only model
Volkswagen is to launch a top-end sedan in China aimed at competing directly with luxury brands such as Audi, news wires reported.
Books come alive
Virtual reality tailored to art, an interactive classroom, 3D prin­t­ing... This year the Frankfurt Book Fair, the world’s largest literary forum, places a special focus on new technologies destined to revolutionise the publishing business. The organisers’ aim is to explore the interconnection between art and technologies so that the approximately 275,000 visitors of the event could immerse themselves in a world that was hitherto accessible exclusively through the reading experience. For example, Taiwanese author Jimmy Liao’s book All of My World Is You suddenly acquires real dimensions when its readers put on a pair of glasses for virtual reality. They allow the reader to interact with the heroine of the book - a mysterious young girl that must be enticed to smile.
We are governed by Google and Facebook
Lora Rizova
The sequence about Nazis and Jews refers to the L’Ideal enterprise, which was a true historical event. And that is why I decided to make this reference, as if I was alluding to such real enterprises.
Welcome to Acapulco storms global market
Nadezhda Popova
An unassuming software engineer boards a flight to a Baltic country where he is supposed to get married. His life, however, is thrown into a tailspin when he wakes up in Mexico and finds a mysterious package in his luggage, only to gradually realise that he has turned from a groom to a CIA target.
Scent of ripe grapes and mature wine
Adelina Lozanova
The smallest Bulgarian town, Melnik, lies in the southwesternmost corner of the country, and on official record has not more than 200 inhabitants.
In Brief
Balticconnector agreement signed
Estonian PM Taavi Roivas (L) and his Finnish counterpart Juha Sipila (R), flanked by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (C), signed last Friday the Balticconnector pipeline project agreement. Photo: EPA

60th anniversary of Hungarian revolution
Deputy Mayor Gabor Bagdy (R) and charge d`affaires ad interim Michal Andrukonis of Poland put flowers on the memorial stone in Budapest on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Hungarian revolution. Photo: EPA

France police protest
Hundreds of police officers have been protesting in Paris and other French cities against the rising anti-police violence in France and the lack of equipment. Photo: EPA

G6 interior ministers to strengthen EU security
Ministers of internal affairs of G6 met in Rome on 20 and 21 October with top representatives from Europol, Interpol, Frontex, UNHCR and IOM to strengthen cooperation on pressing problems like migration, security and terrorism, and cybersecurity. The talks were attended by EU Commissioner for Security Union Sir Julian King, EU Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos and US Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano (pictured) opened the discussions.

Draghi hints at policy review in December
The ECB left its key policy rates steady, as widely expected, but raised the prospect of changing its policy measures in December by underscoring that risks to economic growth “remain tilted to the downside” and it will continue to use all available instruments to ensure that inflation continues to rise. The bank’s President Mario Draghi suggests ECB could extend its QE programme in December, and suggests ECB might taper its asset-purchase scheme.

Up to €2.5bn to be available for Erasmus+ in 2017
Funds available for 2017 Erasmus+ will be increased by almost €300m, compared to 2016, and will reach up to  €2.5bn under the Call for Proposals, published last week by the Commission. This will benefit Erasmus students, teachers, apprentices, volunteers, etc., while also supporting cooperation between education institutions. “Ahead of its 30th anniversary next year, Erasmus+ is at cruising speed and offers more opportunities than ever before,” Education Commissioner Tibor Navracsics said.

Group specialised in VAT fraud busted
In a joint action against tax fraud, prosecution and law enforcement authorities from 10 Member States, Switzerland and Norway, with the help of Eurojust, dealt a further blow to an organised criminal group responsible for defrauding EU citizens of approximately €320m in VAT. The group used a sophisticated infrastructure to facilitate money laundering. During the action, 18 suspects were arrested, several accounts were frozen in Switzerland, while more than GBP 570,000 were seized.

EUROPOST Sixth anniversary
EUROPOST celebrated its sixth anniversary on 22 October. The publication’s team would like to thank all the readers who sent their well-wishes and congratulations on the occasion.

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