• EU can become a circular economy superpower

      EU can become a circular economy superpower

      The European Union has every potential to become a circular economy superpower and key is to put an effectively functioning market for recycled materials in place, said Jyrki Katainen, EU Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness. He took part at the Friends of Europe's 'Cafe Crossfire' debate on “Sharpening EU leadership in plastics recycling”, held in Brussels.

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    • New tool to help Member States crack down on VAT fraud

      New tool to help Member States crack down on VAT fraud

      A new system, launched on Wednesday, will allow Member States to rapidly exchange and jointly process VAT data, leading to earlier detection of suspicious networks, the EU press service reported. The Transaction Network Analysis (TNA) tool comes as recent media investigations once again laid bare the huge costs of VAT fraud for public finances, with criminal gangs profiting at the expense of honest taxpayers. It is part of the Commission's sustained effort to put in place a modern and fraud-proof VAT system.

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    • Muslim headscarf banned in Austrian primary schools

      Muslim headscarf banned in Austrian primary schools

      Austria's parliament passed last week a law intended to ban Muslim girls from wearing the headscarf in primary schools, news wires reported. The bill was support by the governing centre-right People's Party (OeVP) and the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) MPs, while almost all of the opposition voted against it. The measure is likely to be challenged as discriminatory in the constitutional court.

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    • EU to grant Austria, Italy, Romania almost €300m

      EU to grant Austria, Italy, Romania almost €300m

      The European Commission has proposed on Wednesday €293.5m to Austria, Italy and Romania to help with extensive repairs in each country following a series of natural disasters that occurred last year that left each with extensive damage in certain regions, European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu announced on 16 May.

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    • Germany's Merkel welcomes EU unity over Iran

      Germany's Merkel welcomes EU unity over Iran

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Europe needs to "reposition" itself in a changing world and praised EU powers' unity over Iran, a contrast with their deep divisions over the Iraq war 16 years ago. In an interview with Germany's daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung published Wednesday, the chancellor insisted that Europe needs "forward-looking" arguments and reasoned that "simply pointing to seven decades of peace is no longer enough to justify Europe."

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    • Central Asia comes closer

      Central Asia comes closer

      The EU has outlined on Wednesday its strategy for a renewed partnership with Central Asia, updating its strategy on relations with the region first set out in 2007, the EU press service reported. The new Joint Communication adopted by the Commission and the High Representative sets out a fresh vision for a stronger partnership with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

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    • Eastern Partnership at 10

      Eastern Partnership at 10

      Officials of the EU and the Eastern Partnership countries - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine - met in Brussels on 13-14 May to celebrate its success and achievements so far, to reiterate the programme importance as well as to reflect on the future of the continued strategic and ambitious partnership. But the 10-year anniversary was overshadowed by a challenge.

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    • May to launch new Brexit accord push

      May to launch new Brexit accord push

      British PM Theresa May will make yet another attempt early next month to have her Brexit deal approved by parliament, news wires reported. She will try to get the deal approved before the summer break, setting a new deadline for her Brexit plan and a potential timetable for her own departure.

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    • Merkel vows to make Germany CO2 neutral by 2050

      Merkel vows to make Germany CO2 neutral by 2050

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel raised the prospect of backing an EU target for carbon neutrality by 2050, as she addressed the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin on Tuesday, news wires reported. Merkel said she asked ministers in her cabinet to find a way for Germany to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, though such a path would not mean eliminating all emissions. Instead, Germany would compensate some emissions through afforestation and carbon capture.

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    • Calls within EU become cheaper as of 15 May

      Calls within EU become cheaper as of 15 May

      A new maximum price will apply for all international calls and SMS within the EU as of 15 May, the EU press service reported. With the change consumers calling from their country to another EU country will pay a maximum amount of 19 cents per minute (+VAT) and 6 cents per SMS (+VAT). Following the end of roaming charges in June 2017, these new price caps are part of the EU-wide overhaul of telecoms rules.

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