Friday, 20 October 2017: EU leaders seek greater reductions in immigration, EU supports Madrid in escalating Catalan crisis, EU leaders seek Brexit talks progress


EU leaders seek greater reductions in immigration: On the first day of the European Union summit, EU leaders agreed on Thursday to provide stronger support to Italy for its work in Libya and replenish their Africa fund to further curb immigration to Europe. Leaders also showed their support for the Iran nuclear agreement, despite US President Donald Trump’s opposition to it. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for the EU to cut funding for Turkey linked to its bid to join the bloc. While raising concerns about the rule of law in the country, she praised Ankara’s support for refugees.,,

EU supports Madrid in escalating Catalan crisis: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have thrown their weight behind Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in the escalating standoff over Catalonia’s independence drive. The standoff over Catalonia intensified significantly on Thursday as the Spanish government said it would take emergency measures to halt the secessionist drive in the economically vital and politically restive northeastern region. The government said ministers would meet to activate Article 155 of the constitution, allowing it to take over running of the region.,

EU leaders seek Brexit talks progress: EU leaders have urged British Prime Minister Theresa May to do more to break the deadlock in the Brexit negotiations. Britain and Europe have still not narrowed fundamental differences over guaranteeing the rights of EU and UK citizens after Brexit.

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Some EU members obstructing money laundering fight: Some EU members are obstructing the fight against money laundering, tax avoidance and evasion. That is the conclusion of the EU Parliament committee of inquiry into the Panama Papers leaks. The setting up of the committee was triggered by the leak of personal financial information, collectively known as the Panama Papers, which revealed that some offshore business entities had been used for illegal purposes, including fraud and tax evasion.

EU Parliament: EU migrant quotas do have a future
Sweden: Foreign Minister Wallström highlights sexual harassment in politics
Forest fires: EU Commission offers help to Portugal and Spain
Murdered Maltese journalist: Car bomb triggered by mobile phone signal


I can confirm that it exists at the highest political level and I, too, have experienced that.
Swedish Foreign Minister Wallström joined the #MeToo movement highlighting sexual violence against women.


Greece plans billion euro handout for poor: Greece plans to offer handouts worth one billion euros to poor Greeks who have suffered during the seven-year debt crisis after beating its budget targets this year, the government said on Thursday. Greece expects to return to nearly 2 percent growth this year and achieve a primary surplus – which excludes debt servicing costs – of 2.2 percent of gross domestic product, outpeforming the 1.75 percent bailout target.

Controversial new labour reforms in France: French President Emmanuel Macron is set on reforming France’s labour laws. He wants to make it easier, particularly for small companies, to hire and fire employees. The unions however remain unconvinced. Thousands of people protested the labour reforms on Thursday.

Italy’s Lombardy and Veneto autonomy referendums: Italy’s wealthiest regions, Lombardy and Veneto, are holding referendums on October 22 to try to obtain more autonomy from the central government. The votes, however, bear little similarity to the Catalan referendum on October 1, judged unlawful by the Spanish Constitutional Court. The two bordering regions, led by the right-wing Northern League, are not asking for independence but for greater autonomy on a variety of issues.

Czechs tipped to join populist surge in Europe: The Czech Republic is poised to join Europe’s lurch towards anti-establishment populism by electing as its prime minister a controversial billionaire who faces criminal fraud charges and accusations of communist-era secret police links. Andrej Babis could become the latest politician to drive a wedge between the continent’s east and west if he wins the parliamentary election this week.

Germany: Domestic intelligence agency warns of Isis sympathisers
Poland: Amnesty criticises restriction of human rights

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Putin accuses EU of double standards: Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the EU of having double standards by rejecting Catalan independence but supporting independence for Kosovo. He also suggested that European support for Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 had bolstered separatist movements elsewhere.



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