Tuesday, March 2

Tag: European Commission

Russia Says It Is Ready To Cut Ties With The European Union
News

Russia Says It Is Ready To Cut Ties With The European Union

Russia has said it is ready to cut ties with the European Union, according to a fragment of an interview published on Russia’s foreign ministry website Friday morning. The comments mark yet another escalation in tensions between the two sides. When asked if Russia was heading for a break with the European Union, Russia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov said: “We proceed from the fact that we are ready (for that). In the event that we again see sanctions imposed in some sectors that create risks for our economy, including in the most sensitive spheres,” according to a translation of the comments by Reuters. “We don’t want to isolate ourselves from global life, but we have to be ready for that. If you want peace then prepare for war,” Lavrov added. Neither the Russian for...
Macron And Merkel To Present Joint EU Recovery Plan
News

Macron And Merkel To Present Joint EU Recovery Plan

The French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel will present a joint plan to spur EU recovery from the coronavirus crisis, after weeks of debate over how to deploy billions of euros needed to quickly end a painful recession. Europe is just beginning to emerge from the lockdowns to halt the outbreak, which has taken a huge bite out of national economies and raised the prospects of damaging recessions that could last for months. But despite widespread recognition that the hardest-hit countries will be unable to repair the economic damage on their own, divisions among EU members on how to craft an overall response have hampered comprehensive action so far. The bloc has pledged to muster €500bn in emergency funding, and the European Commission is hoping to...
Europe Will Experience Worst Recession Since Great Depression, European Commission Tells
News

Europe Will Experience Worst Recession Since Great Depression, European Commission Tells

Europe will experience a recession this year of a depth unmatched since the Great Depression and the UK will be one of the hardest hit, the European commission has said. Economic forecasts provided by commission on Wednesday suggest that the UK will experience an 8.3% drop in gross domestic production by the end of the year, with investment down by 14% and a doubling of unemployment. In terms of the drop in GDP – the total value of goods and services produced in a country in a year – only Italy, Greece, Spain and Croatia among the EU member states will endure a bigger loss to the economy. The commission said that the coming recession will be of historic proportion. The EU economy is forecast to contract by 7.5% in 2020 and grow by around 6% in 2021. But countries will be impac...
Google’s Android Apps Are No Longer Free
News

Google’s Android Apps Are No Longer Free

Google has announced changes in how European smartphone and tablet makers can use Google’s Android apps in response to the EU’s $5 billion fine. Going forward, EU manufacturers will now have to pay Google a license fee to bundle Google’s suite of mobile apps. In July, the European Commission fined Google for breaching EU antitrust rules by allegedly forcing EU manufacturers to pre-install Google search and their suite of bundled apps, paying manufacturers to make Google the exclusive search app, and by obstructing the development of competing mobile software. As part of this ruling, Google was told they needed to stop this behavior. Google has stated that the bundling of Google Search and Chrome funded the development of the Android operating system. Without the pre-installation ...
Climate Change: Gates Foundation Pledges $300 Million To Help Farmers In Africa, Asia
News

Climate Change: Gates Foundation Pledges $300 Million To Help Farmers In Africa, Asia

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $300 million (about N108 billion) in grants to support agricultural research which would help poor farmers to adapt to the consequences of climate change. The foundation announced the commitment, which will run between 2018 and 2020, at the One Planet Summit in Paris on Monday. The announcement is contained in a statement which was e-mailed to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos. The foundation said that the grants would assist farmers to address challenges of rising temperatures, extreme weather patterns (droughts and floods), diseases, poor soil fertility and attacks from crop pests. Farmers in Africa and Asia are targeted to benefit from the grants. “Two-thirds of the world’s poorest people live in Africa and ...
Spaniards Take To Streets As Catalonia Independence Tensions Rise
News

Spaniards Take To Streets As Catalonia Independence Tensions Rise

MADRID/BARCELONA (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of people gathered in Madrid and Barcelona on Saturday morning as Catalonia prepared to declare independence, many dressed in white and calling for talks to defuse Spain's worst political crisis for decades. The wealthy northeastern region of Catalonia, with its own language and culture, has long claimed to be distinct from the rest of the country and on Sunday held a referendum on leaving Spain, a vote the constitutional court had banned. The Catalan authorities say that a majority of those who voted supported a split from Spain. Madrid says secession is illegal under the country's 1978 constitution. The political stand-off has divided the country, pushed banks and companies to move their headquarters outside Catalonia and shaken market co...
Brexit Progress Insufficient – Michel Barnier
News

Brexit Progress Insufficient – Michel Barnier

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Tuesday that Brexit talks had not made enough progress to unlock the next phase as MEPs prepared to vote on a motion criticising Britain. Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Barnier said “serious differences” remained on Britain’s divorce bill, the rights of EU citizens living in Britain, and the fate of Northern Ireland. MEPs, meanwhile, took the opportunity to put the boot into British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative party, which is holding its annual conference, over its deep divisions on Brexit. “Today we have not yet achieved sufficient progress to begin in full confidence the second phase of negotiations,” Barnier, a former French minister and European Commissioner, told MEPs. “There are still serious diverg...
Merkel Calls For Extension Of EU Border Controls
News

Merkel Calls For Extension Of EU Border Controls

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday called for an extension of EU border controls in the passport-free Schengen area beyond a planned end in November. Austria, Denmark, Germany, Sweden and non-EU Norway introduced the ID checks in 2015 and have been allowed to repeatedly prolong them at set intervals in response to a massive migrant influx. Asked about the European Commission’s plan announced in May not to continue the controls beyond November, Merkel said she would call for their extension during talks with its chief Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday. “Given what the situation is at the moment, I believe we need these border controls,” she told reporters. The five countries first introduced the checks as a record wave of refugees and migrants from Syria and other Middle ...
EU’s Barnier Urges UK To Start Negotiating Seriously
News

EU’s Barnier Urges UK To Start Negotiating Seriously

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday warned Britain to start “negotiating seriously” as London and Brussels kicked off a third round of tense Brexit talks. “To be honest I’m concerned. Time passes quickly… We must start negotiating seriously,” Barnier said as he greeted his British counterpart David Davis at the headquarters of the European Commission. Barnier, a former French foreign minister and EU commissioner, sharply warned his counterpart that a recent flurry of British position papers fell short of clearing up differences. “The sooner we remove the ambiguity, the sooner we will be in position to discuss the future relationship and a transitional period,” Barnier said in reference to the papers. Both sides are still sharply divided over what must be agreed first ...
Brexit Talks To Resume In Brussels
News

Brexit Talks To Resume In Brussels

Formal Brexit talks are due to resume in Brussels later, with British negotiators urging the EU to show “flexibility and imagination”. Brexit Secretary David Davis wants to broaden discussions to include trade. But the EU says there has to be progress on the issues of citizens’ rights, the Irish border and the “divorce bill” before talks can widen. Both sides have said there is no real prospect of a breakthrough in this third round of talks. BBC’s Kevin Connolly said the mood for the talks had been set by a series of briefings “that betray a good deal of mutual exasperation”. The EU has accused the UK side of “magical thinking” on the issue of the Irish border. And the UK has said the Europeans are “massively over-egging” their financial demands. Davis is expected to s...
Poland Criticises EU ‘Blackmail’ Over Court Overhaul
News

Poland Criticises EU ‘Blackmail’ Over Court Overhaul

Poland's ruling conservatives have criticised as "blackmail" threats from the European Union "immediately" to halt the country's voting rights in the bloc if it pushed through a court overhaul that could see a mass dismissal of supreme court judges. Article 7 is a never-before-used EU process designed to uphold the rule of law, a so-called nuclear option that can freeze a country's right to vote in meetings of EU ministers. The EU's threats came after Polish President Andrzej Duda signed into law two of four pieces of legislation that give the Polish government vast powers over the appointment of judges, prompting concerns about judicial independence and rule of law. "We won't accept blackmail on the part of EU officials, especially blackmail that is not based on facts," Rafal Boc...
EU Divided Over US Sanctions Against Russia – Diplomats
News

EU Divided Over US Sanctions Against Russia – Diplomats

Diplomats said the European Commission is divided over how to answer U.S. sanctions against Russia that could affect European firms. A bill agreed by U.S. Senate and House leaders foresees fines for companies aiding Russia to build energy export pipelines. EU firms involved in Nord Stream II, a 9.5 billion euro (11.1 billion dollars) project to carry Russian gas across the Baltic, are likely to be affected. Both the European Union and the U.S. imposed broad economic sanctions on Russia’s financial, defence and energy sectors in response to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and its direct support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. However, northern EU states in particular have sought to shield the supplies of Russian gas that they rely on. Markus Beyrer, Dir...
Poland President Andrzej Duda Vetoes Judiciary Reform
News

Poland President Andrzej Duda Vetoes Judiciary Reform

Poland's President Andrzej Duda has announced he will veto two contentious bills that are widely seen as assaults on the independence of the judicial system and are part of a planned legal overhaul by the ruling party that has sparked days of nationwide protests. In announcing his decision on Monday, Duda broke openly for the first time with Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS). Duda is closely aligned with the party and has supported its agenda since taking office in 2015. "I have decided that I will send back to Sejm [lower house of parliament], which means I will veto the bill, on the Supreme Court, as well as the one about the National Council of the Judiciary," Duda said after days of mass street protests. Duda was hand-picked by Kaczynski a...
EU, Britain Kickstart First Big Divorce Session
News

EU, Britain Kickstart First Big Divorce Session

The British and EU Brexit negotiators met on Monday, pledging to “get down to work” in a first full round of talks on Britain’s divorce terms from the European Union. “We made a good start last month but we are now getting into the substance of the matter,” British Brexit Secretary David Davis told reporters as he was welcomed at the European Commission in Brussels by the EU negotiator Michel Barnier. “For us, it’s incredibly important we now make good progress,” added Davis, who held a first day of talks a month ago to agree an agenda, a year after Britons voted to leave the EU. “Now it’s time to get down to work and to make this a successful negotiation,” he added. Barnier said: “We will now delve into the heart of the matter. We need to examine and compare our respective positi...
Polio: Global Leaders Pledge $1.2bn To Protect 450m Children – UNICEF
News

Polio: Global Leaders Pledge $1.2bn To Protect 450m Children – UNICEF

In its effort to completely eradicate polio, countries and partners have pledged $1.2 billion to protect 450 million children from the disease every year. According to a statement by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF, Monday, the pledges came from governments, health workers, donors and the partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), at a Rotary convention in Atlanta. Major pledges include: $75 million from Canada, $61.4 million from the European Commission, $55 million from Japan, $30 million from Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, $30 million from the Dalio Foundation, $25 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies, $15 million from an anonymous donor, $13.4 million from Australia, $11.2 m...
WHO, UNICEF Laud $1.2bn Polio Eradication Fund For Nigeria, Others
News

WHO, UNICEF Laud $1.2bn Polio Eradication Fund For Nigeria, Others

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have commended the 1.2 billion dollars funding initiative to eradicate polio disease in Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake, and WHO Director-General, Margaret Chan, gave the commendations as global health leaders reaffirmed their commitment to fund the eradication of polio in the countries. The major pledges included 75 million dollars from Canada, 61.4 million dollars from the European Commission, 55 million dollars from Japan, and 30 million dollars from Sheikh Mohamed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. Others pledges were 30 million dollars from the Dalio Foundation, 25 million dollars from Bloomberg Philanthropies, 15 million dollars from an anonymous donor, and 1...
London Bridge: World Leaders Condemn Deadly Attack
News

London Bridge: World Leaders Condemn Deadly Attack

British and world leaders have condemned an attack in London that killed at least six people and wounded 48, only days before the UK's general election. A van on Saturday night ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge before three men with knives went on stabbing spree in the nearby Borough Market, before being shot dead by the police. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Prominent figures, including celebrities, across the globe expressed in unison expressed their solidarity after the attack. Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed that the "terrible incident in London" was being treated as "a potential act of terrorism" and said she would hold emergency ministerial talks. A spokesman for May later said that the ruling Conservative Party had suspended national campai...
Donald Trump Withdraws US From Paris Climate Accord
News

Donald Trump Withdraws US From Paris Climate Accord

The US is withdrawing from the Paris agreement on climate change, President Donald Trump has announced at a White House Rose Garden speech. Before the announcement, Trump informed Congress about his decision preparing Republican legislators with arguments and lines to take in the face of an expected blowback. Trump said it was his solemn duty to protect "America and its citizens" and that the US would "withdraw from the Paris climate accord, but begin negotiations to re-enter the Paris accord or a new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States". He said: "So we are getting out, but we will start to negotiate and see if we can make a deal that's fair." Trump described the Paris climate accord as an "agreement that is disadvantageous to the US to the exclusive benefi...
US Explanation Of Yahoo Not Enough: EU
News

US Explanation Of Yahoo Not Enough: EU

The United States has not satisfied the European Union's concerns about Yahoo's scanning of all customers' incoming emails for US intelligence purposes, says the bloc's justice chief. The European Commission, the EU executive, asked the United States in November for clarifications on the secret court order served to Yahoo as part of its monitoring of a new transatlantic pact facilitating the exchange of personal data by businesses. To clinch an agreement on the EU-US Privacy Shield, as the data transfer framework is known, Washington pledged not to engage in mass, indiscriminate surveillance. That allayed Commission concerns for the privacy of Europeans' data stored on US servers raised by disclosures of intrusive US surveillance programs in 2013 by former National Security ...