Norway announced on Wednesday that it will be offering a record number of 102 blocks for oil and gas exploration on the Norwegian continental shelf, despite environmentalists’ concerns over drilling in the Arctic. Out of the 102 blocks, 9 are in the Norwegian Sea, and 93 in the Barents Sea. Norway aims to award the new exploration licenses in the first half of 2018.
EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday will be discussing shoring up defence cooperation among EU states, as France and Germany give the political green light to roll over sanctions on Russia.
The British PM will try to calm EU nerves over her fragile cabinet, as EU leaders discuss Brexit, migration, security, defence, sanctions and trade at the two-day summit.
Libya's naval coastguard is likely to get a big boost following a meeting on Friday in Brussels among EU heads of state and government.
The EU court ruled on Wednesday that courts could consider vaccines to be the reason for an illness, despite the absence of any concrete evidence to support the link. If the development of a disease corresponds in time with the person receiving a vaccine and if a significant number of disease cases are reported by people receiving a certain vaccine, this may serve as enough proof.
Three key centrist ministers have resigned over suspicions of fake assistant jobs in the European Parliament.
EU leaders will get their first chance at the summit to assess whether the Franco-German motor of European integration has been refuelled by the election of French president Emmanuel Macron.
Leaders of the EU institutions, as well as German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron, will speak at a ceremony to honour former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, who died on 16 June, age 87. Kohl, as chancellor, pushed for Germany to adopt the euro. Former US president Bill Clinton will also speak at the ceremony, which will be held on 1 July at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The Netherlands is hosting a meeting for nine small EU member states on the eve of this week's European summit. After Brexit, the Dutch will lose one of their key allies.
The European Commission on Wednesday proposed new transparency rules for intermediaries after mounting pressure from media leaks, such as the Panama Papers. Intermediaries - tax advisers, accountants, banks and lawyers - design and promote tax planning schemes for their clients. If approved, as of January 2019 EU countries will automatically exchange information on tax planning schemes through a centralised database to block harmful arrangements.
Sorin Grindeanu, Romania’s social democrat prime minister since January, lost a confidence vote in parliament on Wednesday that was initiated by his own PSD party members. The vote is the culmination of a power struggle with PSD party leader Liviu Dragnea, who is barred from office after a vote-rigging conviction, but is still in control behind the scenes. Any new PM would need approval by president Klaus Iohannis.
The European Parliament's committee on internal market and consumer protection elected centre-right Belgian MEP Anneleen Van Bossuyt as its new chairwoman on Wednesday morning. The post had become available after the previous chairwoman, British MEP Vicky Ford, was elected into the House of Commons in the UK. Van Bossuyt was the only candidate. Both Ford and Van Bossuyt belong to the mildly eurosceptic European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group.
US coffee giant Starbucks announced on Tuesday that it is set to hire some 2,500 refugees in Europe, Reuters news agency reports. The company, which is the world's largest coffee chain, said the hiring spree in Europe is part of a larger global drive to recruit 10,000 refugees in 75 countries.
The Guardian newspaper reports that the UK government is preparing to ask EU citizens in Britain to register as part of a wider effort to legalise their status. The fate of some 3 million EU citizens in the UK is one of the trickier Brexit issues, and the registration plan is aimed at gauging their interest in remaining in the country after it leaves the bloc in 2019.
The justice minister of France, Francois Bayrou, said on Wednesday that he would resign over allegations he had abused EU parliament money to pay assistants. Bayrou had denied media reports earlier this month that his centrist Democratic Movement (Modem) party had committed any wrongdoing. His departure follows that of Sylvie Goulard, who stepped down on Tuesday as France's defence minister over similar allegations.
A suspected suicide bomber was shot dead by armed soldiers at Brussels Central train station on Tuesday. Belgian media are reporting that the man had been wearing a bomb belt. He had also managed to detonate a device, which did not harm anyone. Investigators are treating it as a terrorist incident.
The EU is paying out large sums of money to Turkey amid a government led crackdown on opposition and constitutional changes that concentrate power into the presidency.
Outgoing MEP Mariya Gabriel made mostly general remarks about the need to “complete the digital single market”, but did not bump into any trouble.
EU ministers are due to discuss the “objective criteria” for where to relocate the two London-based EU agencies after Brexit, but there is nothing to prevent horse-trading.
Sylvie Goulard - as well as two other former centrist MEPs, who are now ministers - is suspected of having paid party members with European Parliament money.