As Donald Trump urged, all allies agreed to share more fairly the pact’s financial burden
Maria Koleva, Brussels
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to join the ranks of the Global Coalition fighting against terrorism, although all its members are individually already in, and the allies to share more fairly the financial burden of the pact, decided the leaders of the NATO 28 member countries during their meeting in Brussels on 25 May. It was the first summit in which the US President Donald Trump took part. The event was held for the first time at the new NATO headquarters, a modern 254,000 square metres building, which is worth about €1.12bn. During the forum, Belgium officially handed over to NATO the new headquarters, as its Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg name it “a 21st century home for a 21st century alliance”.
New project launched at the European Business Summit
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Employers together for integration is the name of the Commission’s new project on boosting migrant integration kicked off at the European Business Summit, held in Palais d’Egmont in Brussels on 22 and 23 May. This year the European Business Summit gathered over 2,000 participants, policy makers and influential business leaders to debate on the pressing issues in Europe. In its sessions took part 9 EU commissioners.
 
The economic recovery gives Member States an opportunity to pursue structural reforms
Member States should use the window of opportunity offered by the economic recovery to pursue structural reforms, boost investment and strengthen their public finances, the Commission said last Monday while presenting its 2017 country-specific recommendations, the EU press service reported. While priorities vary across the EU, further efforts are essential to achieve robust and sustainable growth.
 
Brexit talks set to kick off on 19 June
First Brexit talks are expected to take place in the week starting on 19 June, the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier said last Monday after he received the legal mandate to lead the Article 50 negotiations with the UK. The first set of negotiating directives was approved by EU ministers.
European Investigation Order to help authorities fight crime
A new tool to help European authorities fight crime and terrorism came into force last Monday, simplifying the work of judicial authorities when they request evidence located in another EU country, the EU press service reported.
Terror attack bloodies concert in Manchester
At least 22 people, including children and youngsters, have been killed, while more than 50 were injured last Monday evening in a suicide bombing at a crowded pop concert in Manchester, news wires reported.
Pragmatic sheikh reformer wins
Iranians yearning for more freedom at home and less isolation abroad have emphatically re-elected President Hassan Rohani, throwing down a challenge to the conservative clergy that still holds ultimate sway. The architect of Iran's still-fragile detente with the West led with 57% of the vote, compared with 38% for his main challenger, hardline judge Ebrahim Raisi.
Mogherini courts Western Balkans
Federica Mogherini, EU foreign policy chief, encouraged leaders of six Western Balkans states to accelerate the necessary work in order to meet their citizens' expectations and move closer to their EU future, EEAS press service reported last Wed­nesday.
Germany, France agree to further reinforce Eurozone
The finance ministers of Germany and France agreed last Monday to further strengthen the Eurozone, giving a new impulse to stalled reforms and warning that if they fail, political extremists will take power, news wires reported.
Spain PM accuses Catalan regional leader of blackmailing state
Spain's PM Mariano Rajoy last Monday accused Catalonia's separatist government of blackmailing the state after El Pais newspaper reported it drafted secretly a law to declare independence unless Madrid lets the region hold a referendum on secession.
Greece fails to secure deal on getting next cash tranche
Greece and its European creditors failed last Monday to clinch a deal that would have given the cash-strapped country a chance to get its next batch of bailout loans ahead of huge repayment of some €7bn due in July, news wires reported. It also failed to secure an agreement on debt relief measures it can expect to get when its current bailout programme ends next year.
New system to resolve double taxation disputes agreed
European finance ministers agreed last Tuesday on a new system intended to help resolve disputes which arise between Member States from the interpretation of agreements on the elimination of double taxation, news wires reported.
Ombudsman deals most with transparency cases
European Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly closed over 250 complaints last year with 86 of them dealing with transparency, the institution said in an annual report published last Wednesday.
Britain raises threat, deploys military
British authorities deployed last Wednesday troops and security officers on high-risk locations across the country after raising terror threat level to its highest in a decade, news wires reported. Intelligence officials were continuing to investigate whether the bomber has acted alone.
France to extend state of emergency until November
France’s President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement he will ask parliament to extend the state of emergency.
In Brief
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EC debates on future of European defence
 
Feeding into the discussion on the future direction of the EU at 27, the Commission last Wednesday  held an orientation debate on the future of European defence. “Security and defence are priorities for the EU because they are priorities for all our citizens. Since last year, we are stepping up our European defence to be more and more effective as a security provider within and beyond our borders,” VP Federica Mogherini said. A strong European defence requires a strong European defence industry, the debate said. As Member States begin to increase their defence budgets, the EU can help them to spend these funds more efficiently.

Hungary sees no reason to change law affecting CEU
 
Hungary's government said last Thursday it sees no reason to alter the recently amended education law which could force a university founded by billionaire George Soros to leave the country. PM Viktor Orban's chief of staff said the conflict over Budapest-based Central European University (CEU) was “political hysteria”. “The European Commission was unable to present a single, normal legal argument which could be taken seriously,” Janos Lazar said adding that the government's position was included in a reply to legal proceedings launched in April by the EU.

Poland criticises once again EU policy on migration
 
Poland's PM Beata Szydlo last Wednesday cited the attack in Manchester in which a Polish couple died to reinforce her government's opposition to the EU plan to share migrants. She spoke ahead of a parliament vote in which the opposition sought to oust Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz. Citing security reasons, her government rejects EU pressure for Poland to take in a number of migrants, even at the price of facing sanctions. The previous government, in 2015 agreed to take in up to 10,000 refugees fleeing armed conflict, but Szydlo's team reversed that decision.

European beaches enjoy excellent bathing water
 
More than 85% of bathing water sites monitored across Europe in 2016 met the most stringent quality standards, meaning they were mostly free from pollutants harmful to human health, according to the annual bathing water quality report. Over 96% of bathing water sites met minimum quality requirements set out under EU rules. Cyprus (99% of all sites), Malta (99% of all sites), Greece (97% of all sites) enjoy the cleanest water. The report confirms a positive 40-year trend of increasingly cleaner water at beaches and swimming spots across Europe.

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