After Beijing, High Representative Federica Mogherini will pay visits to Delhi and Moscow
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Cooperation on glo­bal challenges, regional and security issues as well as the preparation of the upcoming in June EU-China Summit were the main topics of discussion of the 7th EU-China Strategic Dialogue that Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and VP of the European Commission held in Beijing with State Councillor Yang Jiechi.
The change aims to identify ways to alleviate the administrative burden for Member States
The Commission launched last Wednesday a consultation on how excise duties are applied to alcohol and alcoholic beverages, as it eyes a revision of tax rules to support small drinks producers, the EU press service reported.
 
Internet of Things Summit in Brussels focuses on security, privacy and connectivity
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Connected cars, free of congestion streets and avenues in the big towns, non-polluted air and e-healthcare will be simple things of our day-to-day life in the near future thanks to Internet of Things technologies.
 
UK snap vote not to delay Brexit
The rights of European citizens living in the UK and those of British citizens residing in the EU will be prioritised by the European Parliament (EP) in the Brexit talks.
How low oil prices might be named elephant in the room
A prominent event on the new narratives of energy and energy policies for “debunking myths” was convened in Brussels on 20 April by the Joint Research Centre, which is known as the EU science hub, and MAGIC project.
Erdogan fulfils ambition, but at cost
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has finally fulfilled his long-held ambition to expand his powers after the 16 April referendum handed him the reins of his country’s governance.
Betting further on blue economy
The Commission launched last Wed­nesday a new initiative aimed at supporting the sustainable development of the blue economy in the Western Mediterranean region, the EU press service reported.
Tusk testifies in Polish probe
European Council President Donald Tusk testified for eight hours last Wednesday in his native Poland in an investigation into former heads of military counter-intelligence (SKW) suspected of cooperating with foreign intelligence services without the permission of the then-PM Tusk, news wires reported.
Food in EU is free of pesticides
Food consumed in the EU continues to be largely free of pesticide residues or to contain residues that fall within legal limits, according to new data.
Germany to cut funding for its one-euro job refugees scheme
The German government plans to cut its one-euro job programme for refu­gees’ employment, according to Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily. Citing Labour Ministry sources, the paper claims that the promised 100,000 jobs will soon cease to exist as from 2018 funding for the project would fall from €300m to just €60m.
France avoids violent terrorist attack ahead of elections
French police arrested two men in Marseille last Tuesday, suspected of planning a violent attack ahead of the presidential elections.
MEPs consider new rules to safeguard online privacy
The EU could soon have new privacy rules to take account of new practices such as internet-based messaging and allow users better control of their privacy settings, especially when it comes to cookies as EP civil liberties is currently working on such rules, the EP press service reported.
Organic products imports get electronic certification
A new system of electronic certification to better monitor imports of organic products became applicable last Wednesday, making the EU a global leader in traceability of such products, the EU press service reported.
EU signs nuclear safety agreement with Iran
Iran and the European Commission have signed the first-ever project for nuclear safety cooperation within the framework of a landmark nuclear agreement between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany in July 2015.
End to fiction of Ankara's bid to join EU
Western European political leaders have expressed grave disquiet about alleged voter fraud at the polls and urged Turkish President Erdogan to be restrained as he assumes near absolute power.
In Brief
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Monitoring of Romania for graft may soon end
 
Romania's government is committed to judicial and other reforms that would end a decade-long monitoring process of the EU member, a top EU official said on 20 April. Frans Timmermans, European Union First Vice President and European Commissioner for the rule of law, said Romania is "in the final, final metres of this long marathon," after talks with Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu and Justice Minister Tudorel Toader. However, Timmermans added that Romanians are "the best guarantor" of the anti-corruption fight, alluding to massive protests that erupted after the government in January moved to decriminalise official misconduct which it eventually dropped.

Moldova urged to respect commitments with EU
 
The EU expects that the Republic of Mol­dova, like all countries that have assumed legal obligations towards the EU, fully respects these obligations within the framework of the Association Agreement (entered into force in July 2016) and Free Trade Agreement. So an EC spokesperson commented in Brussels the decision made last week in Kyrgyzstan by the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) to approve Moldova's application for observer status, presented by President Igor Dodon (pictured).

Spain PM called to testify in major corruption trial
 
Spain's National Court last Tuesday called PM Mariano Rajoy (pictured) to testify as a witness in a major corruption trial. He will take the stand as part of the so-called Gurtel trial, which centres on a vast network that allegedly saw companies shower former lawmakers and civil servants from his ruling Popular Party (PP) with bribes in exchange for contracts. Altogether, 37 defendants face justice including two former party treasurers and businessman Francisco Correa, the alleged head of the network.

Health Commissioner tweets against anti-vaccine lobby
 
Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis (pictured) last Thursday twee­ted, "In today's new­s­papers: measles epidemic in Italy, first death from measles in Portugal and increase in measles cases in Germany. Deplorable. Shame on you, anti-vaccine lobby!" Vaccines are a hot-button issue in Italy with anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) leader Beppe Grillo slammed for past statements against them and a RAI State broadcaster programme under fire for highlighting adverse reactions of the human papillomavirus (HPV), ANSA reported.

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