All EU-related News in English in a list. Read News from the European Union in French, German & Hungarian too.

You are here

European Union

Rutte: new EU sanctions are informal 'Magnitsky law' - 14 min 30 sec ago
New human rights sanctions ought to be named after a Russian dissident Sergei Magnitsky - but only informally, the Dutch prime minister has said, in what some see as a pattern of EU "appeasement" of Putin.
Categories: European Union

Priority dossiers under the Romanian EU Council Presidency

Written by Lucienne Attard (The Directorate-General for the Presidency),

Official logo Romanian Presidency ©

Romania will hold the EU Council Presidency from January to July 2019. Its Presidency comes at the end of the European Parliament’s current legislative term, with European elections taking place on 23-26 May 2019. This is the first time that Romania holds the EU Council Presidency since joining the European Union on 1 January 2007.
Romania has a bicameral legislature. The Parliament consists of the Senate (the upper house) having 137 seats and the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house) with 332 seats. The members of both houses are elected by direct, popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms. The executive branch of the Government is directly or indirectly dependent on the support of the parliament, often expressed through a vote of confidence.

The Social Democratic Party (PSD) heads the current governmental alliance with the centre-right Liberal-Democrat Alliance (ALDE). Romania is a semi-presidential republic, with Klaus Iohannis as President in office since November 2014, and the current Prime Minister, Viorica Dancila (PSD), in office since January 2018.

Political priorities of the Romanian Presidency

This note looks at the Romanian Presidency priorities, with those dossiers which figure in the Joint Declaration agreed by the three institutions as priorities up to May 2019 marked with an asterisk (*).

Romania will focus on the over-arching principle of cohesion as a common European value, and as an expression of the unity between EU Member States and regions. To this end, it has announced that its Presidency programme will focus on four main pillars:

  • ensuring fair and sustainable development through an increased level of convergence, cohesion, innovation, digitalisation and connectivity;
  • maintaining a safe Europe;
  • strengthening the EU’s global role; and
  • a Europe of shared values.

Read the full briefing here: Priority Dossiers under the Romanian EU Council Presidency.

The Directorate-General for the Presidency (DG Presidency) plays a key role throughout each parliamentary procedure, from its launch until its conclusion through the adoption of an EP resolution or legislative act, in particular in ensuring the smooth running of the plenary sessions. The staff of the DG play a key coordination role across the different services of the Parliament, and support Members in a wide range of activities. The Interinstitutional Relations Unit within DG Presidency, amongst other tasks, prepares a broad range documents concerned with strategic programming, such as on activities of the Commission and the Council.

Categories: European Union

EU summit hits asylum fatigue as deadlock continues - 3 hours 59 min ago
Leaders at the EU summit are unlikely to discuss migration, preferring instead to rubber-stamp pre-cooked conclusions. Recent proposals by the European Commission to get some of the reforms finalised are also unlikely to get broad support. The two-year deadlock continues.
Categories: European Union

Borissov takes pride in crushing Bulgaria’s passport-for-bribes scam - 4 hours 13 min ago
The passports-for-bribes scam may look like an embarrassment for Bulgaria, but Prime Minister Boyko Borissov turned it around on Thursday (13 December), saying he had  received compliments for the way Bulgarian law enforcement had put an end to the practice.
Categories: European Union

ECB chief Draghi downgrades economic forecast as risks persist - 4 hours 22 min ago
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi presented on Thursday (13 December) the bank's downgraded economic forecast for the eurozone for this year and next, as uncertainties and risks remain prominent in the region.
Categories: European Union

Battered May seeks Brexit 'assurances' from EU - 4 hours 25 min ago
Having just survived a leadership challenge 24 hours ago in London, Theresa May is back in Brussels for the EU summit in a hope of getting 'guarantees' from the EU on the Irish backstop. But could they be enough?
Categories: European Union

Huawei $2 billion security pledge followed walkout by British official: sources - 4 hours 28 min ago
Huawei’s relations with British authorities hit a low last month when a top official walked out of a meeting with the Chinese company over its perceived failure to fix security holes in its products, sources familiar with the talks told Reuters.
Categories: European Union

[Ticker] Tajani: Italy budget row 'wasted money' - 4 hours 59 min ago
European Parliament president Antonio Tajani said on Thursday that the budget row between the European Commission and Italy was a "needless power game" which "wasted an awful lot of money", with investors fleeing Italy and losses at the stock market. "I don't know whether to laugh or cry," said Tajani, a centre-right Italian politician. He said the Italian coalition of two eurosceptic parties "should have been a bit more serious".
Categories: European Union

The Brief – Games without frontiers - 5 hours 11 min ago
Contrary to what we may believe, European political parties are no different than the ones we have at home. They are just as prone to tactical games, diversions, manipulation and pointing the finger at someone else.
Categories: European Union

[Ticker] MEPs demand end to EU funds for Czech PM company - 5 hours 17 min ago
A broad majority in the European Parliament called on Thursday on the EU Commission to suspend all EU funding to Agrofert, a business empire linked to Czech prime minister Andrej Babis, until any conflict of interest is fully investigated and resolved. The resolution was backed by 434 votes to 64 ,with 47 abstentions. The MEPs also demanded the commission recover any funds paid out irregularly.
Categories: European Union

Enhanced cross-border access to online content: EU agrees new rules

European Council - 6 hours 1 min ago
The Council and the European Parliament reach provisional agreement on a directive that facilitates cross-border online transmissions and retransmissions of TV and radio programmes within the EU.
Categories: European Union

European Citizens' Initiative: Council and Parliament negotiators reach agreement on a set of improvements

European Council - 6 hours 1 min ago
The Council presidency and the Parliament reached a provisional agreement on a revised European Citizens' Initiative.
Categories: European Union

US ethanol producers: We are oil’s biggest competitor, cleaner too - 6 hours 6 min ago
Increasing ethanol use will help countries around the world meet their Paris Agreement climate goals in a cheaper way, US producers told, staking their claim to a higher role for the fuel, alongside electricity, in decarbonising transport.
Categories: European Union

COP24: Return of king coal - 7 hours 4 min ago
Poland is hosting lobbying for coal and fossil fuels of a scale that has rarely been seen during an annual UN conference on climate (COP). The EU is turning a blind eye to this new facet of its ‘enfant terrible.’ EURACTIV France reports.
Categories: European Union

[Ticker] May: 'I don't expect immediate breakthrough' - 7 hours 45 min ago
Britisih prime minister Theresa May said on arriving at the EU summit in Brussels that "I don't expect an immediate breakthrough but I do hope that we can start to work as soon as possible on the assurances that are required". May was referring to the 'backstop' agreement on the Irish border under the Brexit withdrawal vote she postponed this week, before fighting off a leadership challenge on Wednesday night.
Categories: European Union

Galileo satellite navigation: many benefits back on earth, but challenges remain

Written by Nera Kuljanic,

Satellite navigation (satnav) helps us locate ourselves based on signals provided by a constellation of satellites. Probably the best-known satnav is the American GPS, but China (BeiDou) and Russia (GLONASS) have also developed their own global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). All these systems are under military control.

© Shutterstock / Designua

Since the early 1990s, the EU has been exploring the potential of developing its own satnav. Setting up the foundation of the Galileo programme in 1999 achieved this ambition. After years of drawbacks, delays and increased costs, Galileo started providing what are known as ‘initial services’ in December 2016, and is set to become fully operational for 2021.

Satnav and other services enabled by GNSS, like Galileo, have found their way into a large number of applications in our daily life, in areas such as aviation; Location Based Services (LBS); timing and synchronisation (e.g., for mobile phone networks); surveying; road, rail, and maritime transport; agriculture; and public authority and military operations. For land surveys and civil protection, particular advantages stem from combining Galileo and Copernicus, the EU’s earth observation programme. Besides the benefits to European citizens and public authorities, Galileo enables innovation, contributing to the creation of new products and services, creating jobs and allowing Europe to own a greater share of the €175 billion global GNSS market.

Overall, compared to other GNSS, Galileo offers several unique features and provides other benefits to the EU, as well as globally:

  • Developed as a civil system under the civil governance of the EU, Galileo allows Europe to remain autonomous, compared to relying on foreign-owned satnav, whose signals could be shut down or degraded for civil and/or foreign use (for example during conflicts). Civil governance also allows an open communication policy on system design specifications, which enables development of additional applications and technologies, and facilitates their certification.
  • Interoperability between different GNSS is particularly important to avoid costly adaptations to single-satellite navigation systems. Galileo provides access to more satellites and frequencies, resulting in better user service, especially in challenging urban scenarios.
  • Galileo will also provide the signal authentication feature for open, free-of-charge signals available to civilians. Signal authentication is a technical mechanism that verifies that the signals received actually originate from the source stated, which is particularly important for security sensitive applications. Galileo will also provide improved accuracy and coverage, with a unique return link capability for search and rescue (SAR) operations.
  • Galileo is also the European contribution to the worldwide SAR service Cospas-Sarsat. Galileo helps increase the coverage and the localisation accuracy of the entire system, and adds a unique feature: a notification for the person in distress that their call has been detected and that help is on its way.

On the other hand, Galileo also faces a number of challenges. On the technical side, for example, the susceptibility of GNSS to radio frequency interference is a major threat for all domains. Furthermore, even though the open communication policy is much appreciated, some experts would prefer certain detailed technical information needed for their domain to be more readily available, particularly for safety-critical applications, which would also facilitate certification. From the organisational point of view, Galileo still suffers from its overly optimistic early schedules and past promises. Reliable schedules are crucial for private business investment in Galileo-related technologies. Finally, with the parallel modernisation of GPS, Galileo has missed the opportunity to be the first operational system with modern features for civil users and is today mostly considered an additional source of measurements to be used in conjunction with other GNSS. Nevertheless, Galileo remains the first and only GNSS under civilian control, and represents a strategic advantage for the EU.

The above points are the main conclusions of the recently published STOA study on the Galileo satellite navigation system. Requested by STOA Second Vice-Chair, Evžen Tošenovský (ECR, CZ), the study was carried out by experts from the Institute of Flight Guidance of the Technical University Braunschweig, Germany, under STOA management. A list of sources complements the study, which draws on information and feedback collected during 13 interviews with various experts in the field of GNSS. Based on the key advantages provided by Galileo and some of the challenges identified, the study offers a set of policy options to maximise the impact of the European satnav system both in the near future and in the long term.

If you read the study, please get in touch via email to let us know what you think. Your opinion counts for us.

Categories: European Union

[Opinion] Lost in Brexit chaos - abortion rights in Northern Ireland - 7 hours 57 min ago
Labour MP Diana Johnson has brought a private members bill to Westminster that proposes to decriminalise abortion in the whole of the UK, which means that, if successfully passed, current provisions for Northern Ireland will also be repealed.
Categories: European Union

[Analysis] Court confirms EU illegally relaxed diesel emission rules - 9 hours 11 min ago
An EU commission official already worried in 2015 that a more lenient emissions limit could be illegal - but the EU went ahead anyway.
Categories: European Union

Debate: Bitter victory for May in no-confidence vote - 9 hours 25 min ago
Theresa May won yesterday's vote of no-confidence by 200 votes to 117. But the number of votes against her was still high in view of the fact that previously the talk had been of there being 60 to 80 Brexit hardliners among the Tory MPs. This, coupled with her party's slim majority in the House of Commons, doesn't bode well for May's political future. Has the vote nonetheless strengthened her position?
Categories: European Union


the old site is here

Copy & Drop - Can`t find your favourite site? Send us the RSS or URL to the following address: info(@)europavarietas(dot)org.