Just frank exchange of views
The US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tried to reassure European allies in Brussels last Tuesday that the United States remains committed to Europe, but their concerns about President Donald Trump’s foreign policy have created a rift on a host of issues, news wires reported. “The partnership between America and the EU is based upon shared values, shared objectives for security and prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic and we remain committed to that,” Tillerson said before a lunch with 28 EU foreign ministers. The US Secretary of State and Federica Mogherini, HR for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, addressed hot issues on the international agenda later in a bilateral meeting. On the Middle East peace process Mogherini stressed that the EU support the resumption of the talks.
Better tracking cash flows in-out Europe
Maria Koleva, Brussels
To put an end to the exploitation by criminals of different national rules related to cash controls, and to tackle money laundering and financing of illegal activities such as terrorism, Civil Liberties and Economic Affairs committees MEPs approved on 4 December tougher checks on cash entering or leaving the Union that are repealing regulation of 2005.
EU names 17 tax havens to counter unfair practices
The European Union has blacklisted 17 countries and territories as part of a crackdown on tax havens in an unprecedented step to counter worldwide tax avoidance. South Korea, Barbados, Saint Lucia, Bahrain, Panama and the United Arab Emirates are among the countries named on 5 December as "non-cooperative tax jurisdictions", agreed by the Finance Ministers of EU Member States during their meeting in Brussels.
EU, UK reach deal to move talks forward
Britain and the EU struck a deal on 8 December to move the Brexit talks on next stage - trade and transition period, after agreeing the outline of their divorce, news wires reported. The two sides worked through the night to end an impasse over the status of the Irish border that had scuppered an earlier attempt to clinch a deal. As a result, the Commission said enough progress had been made, thus easing the pressure on PM Theresa May.
All internet firms to partake in curbing terrorist content
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Reinforcing the work against terrorist content on the internet and making automatic the detection of terrorist propaganda online were the key items on the agenda of the third Ministerial meeting of the EU Internet Forum held in the European Commission’s Berlaymont Building in Brussels on 6 December. Representatives of major internet companies, among them Google/Youtube, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, officials from Member States, Europol, the EU Radicalisation Awareness Network, the European Strategic Communications Network, UNCTED, ambassadors, researchers from VOX-Pol, played part in the discussion.
Brexit deal final barrier
Last Monday, a draft deal Theresa May brokered with Commission President Jean Claude Juncker on the Irish border issue was torpedoed by the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which props up her minority government in Westminster. The UK Prime Minister is now trying to pick up the political pieces from this humiliation before going back to Brussels for a last-gasp attempt to salvage “sufficient progress” from the first phase of the Brexit negotiations.
German politics at a crossroads
The collapse of talks to form a coalition government in Germany has left an unsettling sense of uncertainty in Europe’s biggest democracy. In a country where stability is valued above all else, no-one is sure what comes next. The election in September produced a fragmented result. The radical-right AfD made big gains and the two major parties, Angela Merkel’s Christian-democratic CDU/CSU and the social-democratic SPD suffered significant losses.
Trump's tax plan triggers mistrust
Russia was banned from participating in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) found evidence of an “unprecedented systematic manipulation” of the anti-doping system that has led to a series of suspensions for the country’s athletes in recent months, news wires reported. The IOC said last Tuesday that the evidence unearthed by a special commission made the doping situation impossible to dispute. It therefore suspended Russia from next year's Games in South Korea that run from 9 to 25 February.
Trump buries the hope of peace in the Middle East
The US President Donald Trump opened the Pandora's box last Thursday and triggered a wave of sharp reactions from all world players, including UN, EU, NATO, the Vatican and others. He ignored all warnings from Western and Arab allies by announcing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, an act which will be followed by the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to this city.
Trump's tax plan triggers mistrust
The Republican-led effort to reform the US tax code, which would cut the corporate rate to 20% from 35%, has caused jitters beyond Europe’s borders, with Chinese officials expressing worries that a sweeping policy shift could negatively impact domestic markets. The topic was added to the EU finance ministers meeting's agenda last Tuesday after the US Senate approved the tax reform on 3 December. They expressed concern that the legislation would affect transparency and asked if the US would continue to share tax information.
Canada, China free trade talks fail to start
The widely anticipated start of formal free trade talks between Canada and China failed last week, despite being on the agenda of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau's visit in the Asian country. China cancelled a planned press conference after Trudeau's meeting with Premier Li Keqiang, news wires reported on Monday.
Apple agrees to pay back Ireland €13bn in lost tax
The US tech giant, Apple, will start paying Ireland up to €13bn in back taxes in the coming months, news wires reported, quoting Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe. In his words, Apple will start sending money into an escrow account in the first quarter of 2018.
Spirit of Europe takes over Sofia
In the first hours of 2018, Hall 1 of the National Palace of Culture in Sofia will once again become a gathering place for classical music fans thanks to “The Spirit of Europe” New Year’s Day Gala Concert. The 31st edition of the festival will combine the glamour of tradition with the magical violin of Svetlin Roussev and the brilliant sound of the Festival Symphony Orchestra.
Sometimes we drop our heroes
When we started again at the end of 2008, we played our first NO MORE show after 22 years in Poznan in Poland. We've been on the road across Europe ever since.
Visegrad Quartet focal point of literary festival
The countries of the Visegrad Group (V4) - Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic, will be in the focus of the Sofia International Literary Festival, which will take place from 12 to 17 December at the National Palace of Culture.
Masterpieces of gold and silver
The ancient Thracians undoubtedly had loved luxury, as evidenced by the many gold and silver treasures found in the Bulgarian territories. Among the most impressive examples is the so-called Borovo Treasure dating back to the 4th century BC.