Big gap remains over citizens' rights and financial settlement
Brexit negotiators found little common ground at the end of a first full round of Brexit talks, while both Michel Barnier and David Davis acknowledged that big differences remain over citizens' rights, the financial settlement and the Irish border. At the end of four days of talks in Brussels, which focused on setting out positions on key issues, the EU chief negotiator said there was “a fundamental divergence” on how to protect the rights of EU citizens living in Britain and of Britons in the EU.
Joint WTO proposal addresses promotion of food security that does not distort the market
The EU and Brazil, two of the world's biggest producers of agricultural products, submitted last Monday a joint proposal on support for agricultural production and food security measures to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the EU press service reported. The objective is to limit market distortions, to ensure a global level-playing field for farmers while taking into account particular needs of developing countries.
 
Public hearing on sustainable finance took place in Brussels
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Looking ahead to the low-carbon future, one of the main priorities of the Juncker's Commission is strengthening the EU's global leadership on sustainable finance.
 
Smart specialisation aids regional growth
To take up the challenge of economic modernisation in the era of globalisation, Europe needs to empower its regions and help them create value. This means embracing innovation, digitisation, decarbonisation and developing people's skills.
More information, more money per capita, more opportunities
Maria Koleva, Brussels
It is a very simple old type of idea: more information leads to more opportunities. You realise where there are holes; you realise where there are problems and begin to think about what can be done.
Positive labour market, social trends continue
The Commission published last Monday the 2017 edition of its yearly Employment and Social Developments in Europe (ESDE) review, which confirms positive labour market and social trends and continued economic growth, the EU press service reported.
Getting the bioeconomy going
A new Bioeconomy Knowledge Centre that sets together all pieces of the puzzle of this vast area and will fully prop up policymakers and stakeholders with science-based evidence, was kicked off on 20 July by the Joint Research Centre, the Commission's in-house science service, in cooperation with DG Research and Innovation.
Bulgaria joins Turkish Stream
Sofia is awaiting a letter from the European Commission, approving a direct connection from the Turkish Stream pipeline to Bulgaria, and the goal is to overcome energy dependency. This was revealed by a comment made by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov during the annual ambassadors’ meeting hosted by Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva on 19 July in Sofia.
Sarafovo terror case to be heard in Israel
Maria Kadiyska
The case involving the Sarafovo Airport terrorist attack may be heard at the Bulgarian Embassy in Israel, if problems stemming from subpoenaing affected people continue. The news came from Georgi Ushev, head of the specialised criminal court, on 18 July, which marked the fifth anniversary from the deadly attack on a bus full of unsuspecting tourists.
Data economy as main priority
Mariya Gabriel
Data lies at the core of the 4th Industrial Revolution. This is an essential resource for economic growth, competitiveness, innovation, creation and society's progress in general. The European Data Economy is now truly taking off. The value of the EU data economy was €300bn in 2016, representing 1.99 % of GDP. In 2016, there were 254,000 data companies, 661,000 data user companies and 6.16 million data professionals employed.
Putin's opening gambit in new Great Game outfoxes Trump
Gregory Stiles
The budding relationship between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit in Hamburg was the crowning image of a fractious gathering of world leaders. Yet the promise that an historic agreement has been reached over Syria is a hollow one.
Rebels want to efface Ukraine
Separatists in Eastern Ukraine proclaimed last week a plan to create a new state in place of present Ukraine, but most observers regarded the declaration as frivolous. The leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic ("DPR") Alexander Zakharchenko announced on 18 July that “representatives of regions of former Ukraine, with the exception of Crimea, have agreed that the new state shall be called Malorossiya, as the very name of Ukraine has discredited itself.”
Kurdish referendum infuriates Ankara
Turkey reiterated its opposition to an independence referendum in northern Iraq’s Kurdish region on 19 July following media reports that Ankara had softened its stance. In a statement, a foreign ministry spokesman stressed Ankara’s “unambiguous views that preservation of Iraq's territorial integrity and political unity is among the irrevocable principles” of its foreign policy.
EU agrees to more Ukraine imports
Foreign affairs ministers of the EU agreed at a meeting on 17 July to grant Ukraine preferential trade terms from the end of September, for a period of three years. The measure comes in recognition of reform efforts taken by Kiev to bolster the country's fragile economy. Ukraine will have the opportunity to export more industrial and agricultural goods to the bloc free of tariffs. "We are allowing more Ukrainian products to be exported to the EU," said Sven Mikser, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Estonia.
New NAFTA deal to cut US trade deficit
The Trump administration unveiled last Monday its goals for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), issuing a broad plan for how it hopes to rewrite the terms of trade and transform the US economy for decades to come, news wires reported.
Total and partners pour $1.15bn in Argentina
France's Total, Argentina's state-run oil firm YPF, Wintershall Energia and BP unit Pan American Energy announced last Tuesday a $1.15bn investment in a joint shale gas project in Argentina.
Exhibition closed because of fakes
Authorities in Genoa have seized 21 artworks supposedly authored by Amedeo Modi­gliani, after suspicions were raised that they were fakes. Earlier this week, the foundation sponsoring the exhibition at the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa decided to close the show three days earlier than planned to cooperate with the investigation. “They did the right thing. This was absolutely shameful,” said Carlo Pepi, the 79-year-old Tuscan art critic and collector who alerted authorities about the suspected fraud. “A Michelangelo is a Michelangelo. A Picasso is a Picasso. But when a painting is a fake, it is missing its soul, and these were missing that three dimensional elegance of Modigliani - even a child could see these were crude fakes,” he told the Telegraph.
Young people are woefully entangled in the online web
Yana Yordanova
This book is a natural product of my fascination with identity problems, the way people structure their lives and invest it with meaning. There is homo faber (the working man), homo ludens (the playing man) and then there is homo bibens (the drinking man)... These three categories, work, play and drinking, have given different things to people.
Brazilian cinema descends on Varna
Brazilian Cinema Week is being held from 22 to 28 July in Varna, with all screenings subtitled in Bulgarian and taking place in Hall Europe of the Festival and Congress Centre, free of admission charge. Xingu directed by Cao Hamburger will open the forum on 22 July.
Bulgaria's seaside capital
Adelina Lozanova
Varna, Bulgaria's third largest city, is often referred to as the country's 'seaside capital' and is famous worldwide for its splendid sand beaches and hot geothermal waters.
In Brief
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Happy birthday, dear Irena!
 
Happy Birthday to the Chief Executive Officer of New Bulgarian Media Group Holding, Irena Krasteva, who is an inspiration to all staff. 
Dear Irena, we congratulate you on the competence and motivation with which you lead your big media family!
The EUROPOST team wishes you never-ending strength, joy and happiness! Have a fantastic birthday and celebrate your life every day! Stay true to your persistence in pursuing the goals that are important to you and that make you the remarkable person and professional you are!
May God bless you and protect you!

ECB keeps interest rates low, hints stimulus end
 
The ECB expectedly left last Thursday its interest rates on hold and maintained its current pace of bond purchases, but in a statement, the bank stressed that stimulus will remain in place “until the end of December 2017, or beyond”, and until inflation is on a clear upward path. At a press conference, ECB President Mario Draghi hinted that the central bank may start to pull back from its purchasing policy next year.

IMF approves €1.6bn loan to Greece in principle
 
The International Monetary Fund's board last Thursday approved a €1.6bn loan to Greece, but it will only release the money if the country gets debt relief from its European creditors. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said she expects "a plan to restore debt sustainability to be agreed soon between Greece and its European partners." She praised Greece for taking steps to reduce its budget deficits, including expanding its tax base and cutting spending on pensions. 

Austria urges Italy to stop migrants reaching mainland
 
Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz called on Italy last Thursday to stop migrants from reaching the mainland by halting the ferry services from the islands where they first land. Kurz told his Italian counterpart Angelino Alfano that “rescue missions in the Mediterranean cannot be seen as a ticket to central Europe.” Nearly 90,000 migrants have arrived in Italy so far this year, up over 10% compared to 2016.

NATO members stage military drill in Georgia
 
Eight NATO member and partner countries will launch joint war games in Georgia on 30 July, the Georgian Defence Ministry announced. “Noble Par­t­ner 2017” will be held at the Vaziani military base near Tbilisi for two weeks, with the aim to strengthen Georgia's defence capability. Armenia, the UK, the US, Germany, Slovenia, Turkey and Ukraine will participate in the drill.

Earthquake kills two on Aegean island, sends tourists panicking
 
A powerful earthquake sent a building crashing down on tourists at a bar on the Greek holiday island of Kos early Friday, killing two and striking panic. Some 200 people were injured in the tumult. The quake damaged churches, an old mosque, and the port's 14th century castle. It hit also Turkey`s Aegean coast near Bodrum.

Carmen on floating stage
 
Cast perform on stage during a photocall of Georges Bizet`s opera Carmen at the Seebuehne (floating stage) of the Bregenz Festival, in Bregenz, Austria. Photo: EPA

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