Wednesday, 23 November: EU lawmakers call for end to Turkey EU membership talks, EU set to ask Ukip to pay back funding, Talks on reuniting Cyprus fail to strike deal


EU lawmakers call for end to Turkey EU membership talks: The EU Commission and member states should impose a temporary freeze on EU accession talks with Turkey, urged a majority of political group leaders and MEPs on Tuesday. But the door for dialogue should remain open, unless Turkey introduces capital punishment, some added. A resolution will be put to a vote on Thursday. Manfred Weber, head of the European People’s Party MEPs, voiced dismay over British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s offer to assist Ankara in its negotiations to join the EU. Weber said Johnson’s comments were unbelievable given his warnings about Turkish migrants during the UK’s EU referendum. Weber urged Johnson and the UK, which has voted to leave the EU, to butt out of the discussions with Turkey.,,

EU proposes insolvency rules: Companies in Europe would be given more breathing space to restructure their debts in times of crisis under an EU draft law unveiled on Tuesday. In a bid to encourage risk-taking start-ups, the proposal would make it easier for entrepreneurs in Europe to get a second opportunity after a business failure. The rules proposed by the EU Commission would allow troubled firms to stop paying suppliers and banks while restructuring their debt during a four-month breathing period.

EU Parliament backs plans to create a defence union: Parliament has backed plans to create a defence union which will secure structured cooperation between nations as well as a new EU military operational headquarters. Terrorism, hybrid threats and cyber- and energy insecurity leave EU countries no choice but to step up their security and defence cooperation efforts, said MEPs in a resolution passed on Tuesday. They suggest devoting 2 percent of GDP to defence, establishing multinational forces and EU headquarters to plan and command crisis management operations, and enabling the EU to act where NATO is unwilling to do so. Although the vote is not legally binding it does represent support for the proposition before the European Council meets in December to discuss Europe’s defence capabilities.,

EU must fight corruption in order to beat populism: Reacting to the publication of the Europe edition of the 2016 Global Corruption Barometer last week, Carl Dolan, the director of Transparency International EU Office, said that the most striking things about the Donald Trump and Nigel Farage narratives was the railing against corrupt elites. Dolan noted that Americans and Europeans are more concerned about corrupt government officials than they are of terrorist attacks or economic collapse.

Holiday season: US warns of heightened risk of terror attacks in Europe
Strasbourg: Britain’s Brexit Secretary Davis visits EU Parliament
EU Commission: New Deputy Directors-General to three departments
Tax evasion: MEPs back automatic exchange of bank data to track account owners
Cleaner air: MEPs vote on tougher emission limits for key air pollutants
Eurozone: Consumer confidence rises in November


Whatever it might happen I think it’s our duty as members of this parliament to speak out when our colleagues are in jail, on 145 of your colleagues are in jail and where tens of thousands of people are affected without any form of legal remedy.
Kati Piri, the rapporteur for Turkey at the EU Parliament, sees it as the task of the Parliament to openly criticise the events in Turkey.


EU set to ask Ukip to pay back funding: The UK Independence Party (Ukip) may have to repay 170,000 euros after spending EU grants on its successful campaign to take Britain out of the EU. The Electoral Commission has opened an investigation into Ukip after allegations the party misspent taxpayer-funded EU cash. The report said the money, meant to support the party’s fuctions at a European level, was used as indirect financing of a national political party and a referendum campaign, both of which are prohibited.,

Talks on reuniting Cyprus fail to strike deal: Talks on reuniting the divided island of Cyprus have failed to strike a deal, the United Nations said on Tuesday. The negotiations ended after two days of meetings between Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Mustafa Akinci at Mont Pelerin on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. Anastasiades and Akinci could not agree where to draw the boundary between the two entities that would form the reunited country. The boundary is a particularly touchy issue for the Turkish Cypriot side because it would require it to give up land it has held since the island was divided by a UN-enforced buffer zone in 1974.,,

Spain arrests suspected mastermind in Petrobras case: Spanish police have arrested a man suspected of being a financial mastermind in a corruption network at Brazil’s semi-public oil company Petrobras, the Interior Ministry said on Tuesday. The man is of dual Brazilian and Spanish nationality and had been on the run from Brazil since April, the ministry said, traveling first to the US and then Spain. He was detained under an international arrest warrant.

Portugal repays IMF loan early: Portugal’s government says it has made an early reimbursement of two billion euros to the International Monetary Fund, which was one of the contributors to the eurozone country’s 78 billion-euro bailout in 2011. The finance ministry says it will save 41 million euros in interest by repaying the amount, which was due by February 2019. Analysts viewed the announcement as part of an ongoing effort to allay lingering investor fears about the country’s debt levels.

Germany: Talks with IMF officials on Greece’s debt crisis
Great Britain: Borrowing falls unexpectedly but debt remains high

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German army under scrutiny for recruiting teenagers: German MP Özcan Mutlu has expressed his anger after his 16-year-old daughter received a recruitment letter in the post from the German military. The Bundeswehr has been criticised in the past by the United Nations for advertising to people too young to join the army. Mutlu said it was scandalous that under-aged people are being targeted. The brochure received by Mutlu’s daughter was one of 1,033,043 dispatched in 2016. Many have noticed the Bundeswehr’s increased attempts to target teenagers, not least because the German army is still getting used to being a fully voluntary force since national service ended in 2011.

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