The EU will be on the list of countries that will be exempted from US tariffs on steel and aluminium, US trade secretary Robert Lighthizer said Thursday. Speaking in a House of Representatives committee meeting he said that the EU, South Korea, Australia, Argentina and Brazil may be exempted. The information still has to be confirmed by president Donald Trump.
The US administration is expected to publish on Thursday evening a list of countries that would be exempted from tariffs on steel and aluminium, EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem told MEPs Thursday, adding that she "hopes that the EU will be on the list". The tariffs, which would be applied on Friday, and a potential EU response, will be discussed by EU leaders meeting in Brussels in the afternoon.
The EU Court of Justice ruled on Thursday that the European Parliament "must in principle" grant access to documents related to the so-called trilogues - the behind-closed-doors legislative talks between MEPs, member states and the European Commission. It said that citizens "must be in a position to follow in detail the decision-making process" and "have access to all relevant information."
EU leaders will discuss Russian security threats in the wake of the UK attack, but will not adopt new sanctions at Thursday's summit.
An Austrian police unit headed by a far-right town councilor and tasked to tackle street crime was sent to raid the offices and homes of people working for Austria's domestic intelligence agency - prompting German counterparts to review cooperation.
Italy's new parliament reconvenes on Friday for the first time since general elections on 4 March with the initial task being to elect speakers of Italy's two parliamentary houses. In a statement issued on Wednesday the centre-right claimed the right to name the upper house Senate speaker and said the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) should name the speaker of the lower house Chamber of Deputies, reported Ansa.
Opposition parliamentarians set off teargas canisters in Kosovo's parliament chamber on Wednesday to prevent ratification of a border deal with Montenegro, which is a key condition for gaining visa-free travel through the European Union for Kosovars. "I strongly condemn the use of teargas. Such behaviour has no place in a democracy," commented EU enlargement commissioner, Johannes Hahn.
Antti Herlin, one of Finland's few billionaires, received last year €400,000 in agricultural EU subsidies, according to figures from the Agency for Rural Affairs (Mavi) on Wednesday, reported by Yle. In total €1.99bn were paid in agricultural and rural development subsidies to 60,000 entities in Finland last year. According to the agency about a third of a Finnish farm's profit is made up by subsidies.
Leaders of 44 African countries on Wednesday signed the African Continental Free Trade Area to gradually phase out taxes on trade between African nations. Currently only 16 percent of Africa's trade takes place between countries on the continent, but it could jump to more than 50 percent if all 55 African nations join, the African leaders hope. However, two of Africa's biggest economies, Nigeria and South Africa, have not signed.
Franco-Dutch company, Gemalto, is set to win a contract worth €560m on making blue British passports after the UK leaves the European Union, according to British media reports. The contract is close to being signed after the company undercut the price of it rivals, including a British firm. While in the EU, large public procurement contracts must be offered to companies across the the bloc.
The EU and US agreed on Wednesday to "launch immediately a process of discussion" over the tarrifs on steel and aluminium US president Donald Trump had threatened to impose from Friday (23 March). EU commissioner for trade Cecilia Malmstrom and US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said they want to "identify mutually acceptable outcomes as rapidly as possible." The issue will be discussed by EU leaders at a summit on Thursday.
A proposal by the European Commission will be discussed on Thursday night at the EU summit, with member states divided over the principle of taxing tech companies - amidst ongoing concerns of a trade war with the US.
The EU-Turkey deal was agreed two years ago in Brussels. Focus has largely been on reducing migrant flows across the Mediterranean and helping Syrian refugees in Turkey, while the plight of those on the Greek islands are ignored.
Jordi Sanchez, the leader of the separatist movement the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), will not be candidate to become president of Catalonia's regional government, the region's parliament speaker Roger Torrent said on Wednesday. Sanchez, who has been in prison since October on charges of sedition, was the candidate put forward by Junts per Catalunya, the party of former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who is in exile in Belgium.
The European Commission approved on Wednesday a merger between Bayer and Monsanto, but qualified it with "the divestiture of an extensive remedy package" to avoid overlaps in seeds, pesticides and data-based digital agriculture. Competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that the package, agreed in principle by the German and US multinationals, was "worth well over €6bn" and would meet her "competition concerns in full".
Poland has filed its response to EU objections to its judicial reforms, but European ministers did not take kindly to its previous paper on the affair.
US authorities have arrested the chair of the Maltese-registered Pilatus Bank for tax evasion. The bank facilitated political corruption in Malta but its whistleblower is now facing jail in Malta and fears for her life.
A hard Brexit would increase the cost of living in Ireland by 2 to 3.1 percent, or €892-€1,360 per household, a study from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) showed. Costs would affect lower-income households most. Following a hard Brexit, prices of bread and cereals could rise by up to 30 percent, while milk, cheese and eggs prices could increase by 46 percent.
Finland is hosting secretive talks between North Korea, South Korea and the United States, each represented by six delegates, at Koenigstedt Manor in Vantaa, close to Helsinki, reported Finnish public broadcaster Yle. Finland's role in the talks is limited, according to President Sauli Niinistoe. "There was a desire to come to Finland. We are happy to host and we hope that discussions will move things forward," he said.
The EU Commission will present plans on Wednesday for hitting digital companies such as Google and Facebook, who reap significant revenues in Europe while paying little tax, with a tax of around three percent. It would apply to companies with taxable revenues above €50m on services offered in the EU. Unanimous approval from all 28 EU countries is required, meaning one dissenting country, for example Ireland, could block it.