Governments interfering with courts or failing to tackle fraud and corruption will risk suspension of EU funds, according to a draft law endorsed by MEPs on Thursday, by 397 votes to 158 and 69 abstentions. The draft says that the EU Commission, assisted by a panel of independent experts, would be tasked with establishing “generalised deficiencies as regards the rule of law” and decide on measures that could include suspending EU budget payments or reducing pre-financing. The decision needs to be approved by the European Parliament and Council in order to be implemented. Once the member state remedies the deficits identified by the EU Commission, Parliament and EU ministers could unlock the funds, according to the EP’s press release. The European Commission may establish that the rule of law is under threat, if one or more of the following are undermined: proper functioning of the authorities of the member state implementing the EU budget; proper functioning of the … [Read more...] about European Parliament: Member states jeopardising the rule of law will risk losing EU funds
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A victorious post-bailout Alexis Tsipras, a defiant Viktor Orbán backed by far-right colleagues and an exhausted Jean-Claude Juncker. This week’s EP plenary showed, even more than Juncker’s tired annual address, what the actual state of the Union is and the contradictions Europe is facing. When Tsipras took office in early 2015, many worried if the new Greek government was a threat to the very existence of the EU, or at least to the eurozone. Now Tsipras no longer looks so scary, Syriza is closer to social-democracy than to the far-left and Athens has become an ally, rather than enemy, of the institutions. “The real threats are the forces that want to kill Europe, not the forces that want to change Europe,” Tsipras told reporters after his speech on future of Europe in Strasbourg. While Europe was looking at Greece, far-right Eurosceptic forces were on the rise in a dozen EU countries. Some are already in office, contesting the core values of the Union not … [Read more...] about Trans-Europe Express – The True State of the Union
In preparation of his annual State of the Union address on September 12, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker offered a preview on Monday of what he plans to cover in a speech that will unofficially signal the kick off of the 2018-19 political season. This year’s State of the Union speech will be Juncker’s last and comes ahead of next May’s European elections and is expected to focus on a host of new measures that the EU executive is expected to table in the coming weeks. European Commissioner for Migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, recently hinted at that the Commission would focus on voters’ main concerns as EU citizens are increasingly turning towards alt-right and far-right. “Nationalism has never solved, but only created problems,” Juncker told the German agency DPA. “Those who withdraw into their national shells can assume that outsiders are responsible and can be blamed for all of their problems. They … [Read more...] about Juncker puts migration in spotlight ahead of annual State of the Union speech
Press play to listen to this article By FLORIAN EDERwith ZOYA SHEFTALOVICH PRESENTED BY THE EUROPEAN PRESS Send tips here | Tweet @florianeder | Listen to today’s Playbook and view in your browser Who is Anonymous? Everyone in Washington and beyond wants to know: Who is the anonymous “senior official” who penned the New York Times op-ed about the “quiet resistance” working in the White House to thwart Donald Trump’s “more misguided impulses?” Twitterworld reckons it could be someone very high up indeed. Trump, for his part, accused the author of “treason” and demanded the paper reveal their identity for “national security reasons.” POLITICO’s U.S. team writes that it is “open season on the president.” AMBASSADORS BRIEFED FIRST, Playbook readers second: Ambassadors in the Coreper I grouping were served dinner on the 13th floor of the Berlaymont on Wednesday … [Read more...] about POLITICO Brussels Playbook, presented by the European press: State of the Union preview — EU election games begin — Who is Anonymous?
Negotiations about the UK’s orderly exit and future relations with the EU did not feature in the discussions the European Commission’s top echelons held in preparation for President Jean-Claude Juncker’s last state of the union speech before next year’s European elections. An EU source told EURACTIV.com that Brexit was not “a topic of discussion” during the two-day seminar held by the college late last week, ahead of Juncker’s address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 12 September. Commissioners had briefed Juncker about the main concerns for their compatriots in member states and expressed their views on the big topics the EU is facing. Among the issues raised, they mentioned ‘subsidiarity’ (the distribution of competences between Brussels and member states), trade, migration, nationalism, energy and climate change. A deal on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union is “within reach” and will … [Read more...] about Brexit absent from Commissioners’ input for state of the EU speech