EU, Libya deal on target
The European Union's policy of helping the Libyan authorities intercept migrants in the Mediterranean and return them to "horrific" prisons in Libya is "inhuman", the United Nations said last Tuesday. "The suffering of migrants detained in Libya is an outrage to the conscience of humanity," the UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein stressed. He warned that the situation in the chaos-ridden country has turned catastrophic. UN rights monitors this month have visited four facilities in Tripoli operated by Libya's Department of Combatting Illegal Migration. The monitors were shocked at the sight of "thousands of emaciated and traumatized men, women and children piled on top of each other, locked up in hangars with no access to the most basic necessities." Those detained are exposed to torture, rape and forced labour without possibility to challenge the legality of their detention, and no access to legal aid, a UN statement noted.
EU readies tax havens blacklist
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Tax dodging should be stopped, paradigm shifted, while proper sanctions and tax justice should be introduced, said MEPs who debated with the Council and Commission on the Paradise Papers in the plenary on Tuesday, 14 November. The next in a row scandal was revealed again thanks to media investigations carried out by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Defence pact: better value for money for EU countries
European Union countries have officially launched a new era in defence cooperation with a programme of joint military investment and project development to help the EU confront its security challenges. France, Germany and 20 other EU governments of the EU's 28 Member States signed up on 13 November to the programme, known as permanent structured cooperation, or PESCO.
Brexit next stage talks set for delay
Brexit talks are unlikely to move onto the future relationship before 2018, according to prominent German MEP and chair of the centre-right European People's party Manfred Weber. “In December, it doesn't look like negotiations are going to move onto the second phase to talk about the future,” he told journalists dealing a blow to British PM Theresa May and Brexit Secretary David Davis hopes.
Mandate for re-negotiating Dublin rules endorsed
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Discarding the criteria of the first country of entry, MEPs endorsed on 16 November at their plenary session in Strasbourg the EP mandate to enter into negotiations with national governments on the Dublin asylum revamping.
Speak up, Brussels
This has been a roller-coaster year for Europe. It opened amidst widespread despondency, chiefly over Brexit but also over the rising tide of populism, then perked up when euro-enthusiast Emmanuel Macron was elected to the French presidency, and now is drifting back towards the doldrums. The momentum for tackling outstanding issues like Eurozone reform is slowing. The outcome of Germany's Bundestag elections isn't helping, and nor are developments in Catalonia, Austria and the four 'Visegrad’ countries.
Why populism thrives in EU
John Springford, Simon Tilford
Can the wave of right-wing, nationalist populism sweeping the developed world be explained by legitimate economic grievances or does it have its roots in a cultural backlash against liberalism and immigration? There is no doubt that poor economic performance provides part of the explanation, but it does not alone explain what is happening. After all, some developed countries that suffered most during the downturn, and which still face serious economic pressures have not fallen under the populist spell.
Old rivalry weighs on Lebanon
Expectations that the turbulence in the Middle East, triggered by the strange resignation of Lebanon's prime minister, declared on 4 November from Riyadh, could end, evaporated last week, while speculation about what caused the crisis increased. France's Elysee palace announced on Thursday that Saad Hariri was invited to come to France and that he has accepted the invitation by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Europe's leadership on climate praised
The COP23 high-level talks were opened last Wednesday by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, who jointly called on other countries to match Europe's climate goals, news wires reported. As delegates entered the last stretch of the two-week conference, the EU was praised for its measures to battle climate change.
IMF: Europe is not fit for 'rainy day'
Although European economies have experienced a steady upswing in recent years, not enough has been done to prepare for "rainy day", the IMF has said in a fresh outlook. It cited a number of dangers to be aware of. The International Monetary Fund on 13 November encouraged European economies to use their relative strength to plan for long-term risks. The IMF said all EU economies were growing, turning the continent into an engine of global trade. It is partly driven by ECB stimulus and low interest rates, but also by improving fundamentals, as evidenced by a pick-up in investment across a broad range of economies.
New version of TPP agreed by 11 members
Countries in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal agreed last Saturday to push ahead with the pact without the United States, despite last-minute resistance from Canada that raised new doubts about its survival.
Airbus, Boeing battle for orders at Dubai Air Show
The biennial Dubai Air Show, held from 12 to 16 November, was once again used as a major order battleground by the world's biggest planemakers, Airbus and Boeing, news wires reported. The show was opened by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, VP and PM of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who pointed out that this year's exhibition is the largest one ever, with 1,200 civil and military aviation companies and 72,000 aviation specialists attending.
'Sami Blood' got LUX Film Prize
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Tuesday noon. Untypical silence rules at the European Parliament chamber in Strasbourg. EP President Tajani is slowly opening the envelope and in seconds will announce “The winner is…” The 11th LUX Film Prize has gone to “Sami Blood”, a Swedish/Norwegian/Danish co-production. It’s a debut of Swedish director Amanda Kernell. The film reveals the story of a young reindeer-breeding Sami girl - Elle Marja. Exposed to the racism of the 1930's and experiencing biology examinations at her boarding school, at 14 she started dreaming of another life.
I try to listen to the child in me more often
Gilberto Pereyra, a brilliant bandoneon player and the best performer of the Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by Astor Piazzolla in my opinion, is coming. This is the first time we will play the piece in its original version.
Mendes big winner at MTV Europe awards
The 19-year-old Canadian singer Shawn Mendes was the big winner at the annual MTV Europe Music Awards given out at a ceremony held at The SSE Arena in Wembley, London, newswires reported. The young singer managed to scoop three gongs – including Best Artist, Biggest Fans and Best Song for summer smash hit There's Nothing Holding Me Back.
Where miracles happen daily
Only 7.5km northeast of the centre of Sofia lies a place that many believe to be wonderworking. The Obradovski Monastery “St. Menas” is located in the Sofia Plain, a stone's throw away from the northern neighbourhoods of the Bulgarian capital. It is famous for keeping the wonderworking icon of the warrior saint, which is said to have the power to heal even incurable diseases.