G7 fiasco deepens uncertainty
The G7 summit held the weekend of 9 June in Canada turned into a complete fiasco after US President Donald Trump refused to sign a joint statement, leaving European leaders aghast at another diplomatic snub. That statement had sought to overcome deep disagreements, notably over trade. Since Trump's election in November 2016, the EU has been scrambling for a strategy to deal with the unpredictable leader in the White House who has shattered old certainties about the transatlantic alliance.
€13bn defence fund makes EU safer
The European Commission proposed last Thursday a €13bn European Defence Fund within the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027. It will provide the financial firepower for cross-border investments in state-of-the-art and fully interoperable technology and equipment in areas such as encrypted software and drone technology, the Commission said.
Migration, border management funding almost triple in next MFF
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Addressing the future challenges ahead and dragging lessons from the past few years, the Commission proposed on 12 June a beefed up budget for the management of borders and migration for the next programming period after 2020.
Brexit inches closer with parliament vote
The UK is largely on track to leaving the EU on schedule as last Wednesday PM Theresa May defeated the final challenges to her Brexit blueprint in parliament, news wires reported. MPs supported the government's position to reject amendments to the EU withdrawal bill that challenged May's commitment to leave the EU's customs union and single market. With the vote, the overall shape of her Brexit strategy was left intact, and that will transform Britain's trading relationships for decades.
New alerts to step up counter terrorism and boost returns
Maria Koleva, Brussels
An informal deal for three new regulations on the use of the Schengen Information System (SIS), concretely dedicated to boosting the fight against terrorism, cross-border crime and irregular migration, was struck by the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council and the European Parliament on Tuesday. It concerns the fields of police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters, border checks and the return of illegally staying third-country nationals.
Co-player of Bulgarian Madoff - Kremlin's spearhead
A close associate of the Bulgarian Madoff Tsvetan Vassilev is Nikolay Malinov, who is a liaison officer of his Russian oligarch friends like Konstantin Malofeev. He assumed the role of Kremlin’s spearhead for imposing Russian influence over Bulgaria. Businessman and ex-MP, who is a longtime Chair of the National Russophile movement is officially considered the main mouthpiece of the Kremlin in Bulgaria. Last week he made appearance on the international scene after taking part in the 4th International Livadian Forum that took place in the Crimea, a peninsula Russia annexed from Ukraine. The forum was held under the auspices of the Upper House of the Federal Assembly of Russia and was attended by the world Russophile organizations.
A leopard can't change its spots
The past week once again demonstrated the symbiotic relationship existing between Ivo Prokopiev and Tsvetan Vassilev, manifesting itself in joint action against Peevski. The topic this time around were documents from the ongoing court case against Vassilev, which the weekly Capital published in several consecutive issues, without explaining how those documents came into the newspaper’s possession.
Rules-based trade made world rich
Amitrajeet A. Batabyal
Nations sell goods and services to each other because this exchange is generally mutually beneficial. It’s easy to understand that Iceland should not be growing its own oranges, given its climate. Instead, Iceland should buy oranges from Spain, which can grow them more cheaply, and sell Spaniards fish, which are abundant in its waters.
Italy's migration approach risks messy repercussions
Stefano M. Torelli
Just days after its formation, the Italian government has become the protagonist of yet another heated debate on migration. Having caused a diplomatic crisis with Tunisia by claiming that “Tunisia exports convicts”, newly appointed Interior Minister Matteo Salvini declared on 9 June that he would prevent the Aquarius – a ship carrying 629 sub-Saharan African migrants rescued off the Libyan coast – from accessing Italian ports. Italy argued that responsibility for hosting the migrants fell on Malta, which rejected the claim on the grounds that the rescue took place in Libyan territorial waters under Italian oversight. In the day or so it took to resolve – with the Spanish government's decision to allow the Aquarius to dock in Valencia – the dispute produced a series of reactions and controversies.
Ukraine, Russia fail to agree
Foreign ministers from the countries of the so-called “Normandy format” - France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine - met in Berlin on 11 June for talks on bringing an end to the fighting between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. The focus of the meeting was implementing an unfulfilled peace accord reached in the Belarus capital of Minsk in 2015 and the possibility of bringing United Nations peacekeepers to the region where the armed conflict has killed more than 10,000 people since 2014.
Trump, Kim claim victory at historic Singapore summit
Last week's summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in Singapore undoubtedly deserved to be called “historic”. It marked the first meeting between an incumbent US President and a North Korean leader, and the whole world watched closely as Trump lurked Kim out of the cold like none of his predecessors ever attempted.
TANAP ready to bring gas to Europe
The Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), which will bring gas to Europe, bypassing Russia, was inaugurated last Tuesday by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in the presence of the Presidents of Serbia Alexander Vucic and Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, news wires reported. “With this project, gas from Azerbaijan will be carried to Europe for the first time,” said Erdogan, cited by Turkish media. He added that the project would make a great contribution to peace and stability in the region.
Swiss reject radical banking overhaul
A radical plan to transform Switzerland's financial landscape by barring commercial banks from electronically creating money was last Sunday overwhelmingly voted out by Swiss citizens, news wires reported.
CeBIT 2018 revamps to regain its former glory
World's largest trade fair for information technology, CeBIT, held between 11-15 June, showed its potential to get back in the game after years of failure. Once, thousands of technology connoisseurs from all over the world were coming to the German city of Hanover to take part in the exhibition.
Europe and the Sea
From a geographic perspective, Europe is a maritime continent. In terms of length of coastline relative to its overall size, Europe is the most sea-bound of all the five continents. Nevertheless, central and eastern Europe in particular can often seem very remote from the sea. At first glance, the sea for many nations only plays a role in the daily lives of those who live on the coast, or as a holiday destination. How fundamental the sea has been in shaping Europe's development, and the role it continues to play right up to the present day, is highlighted in a new special exhibition entitled Europe and the Sea.
A poster must cry out
One of the programmes in this action of ours, comprising over 100 exhibits, is called Poster Appeal. And it is not by chance. To me, “appeal” means provocation, something that really cries out. I have visualised this idea in one poster featuring a huge shouting mouth.
Bacon, Giacometti in joint exhibition
A solo retrospective show of Francis Bacon (1909-1992) or Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) is alone enough to draw in big crowds. But Switzerland's Fondation Beyeler in Basel is banking on a Bacon and Giacometti double impact for its blockbuster this year, which will be on till 2 September during Art Basel art fair.
Sanctuary by the sea
Most of the Bulgarian monasteries are built in hard to reach places in the folds of the mountains in order to be inaccessible for enemies and highway robbers. This tradition dates back to the Middle Ages and is kept alive during the Ottoman rule.
Bulgarian Madoff dyes his Russian ties
Fugitive banker Tsvetan Vassilev tried to hide his Russian ties recently, much like he hides his white hair with henna. In the spirit of our article “A leopard can’t change its spots”, Vassilev had a frenetic video session on the internet, an interview with which he subjected viewers to a lowly propaganda treatment of lies and yet the only thing he undeniably managed to show is that he has dyed his hair. Aside from sporting a new hair colour, which quickly turned into the main topic of internet forum comments, Tsvetan Vassilev also unsuccessfully tried to don an anti-Russian camouflage.