Austria is sending soldiers to stop migrants coming from Italy, while Bulgaria has said the EU should “defend” its borders by “force of arms”.
Irish finance minister Paschal Donohoe told Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine (FAZ) newspaper that the European Commission's demand for Dublin to collect up to €13bn in back taxes from Apple was unjustified. "We are not the global tax collector for everybody else," he said. Last year, the EU ruled that Apple has to repay taxes to Ireland after finding the company had paid so little that it amounted to state aid.
UK premier Theresa May's ally in Northern Ireland, the unionist DUP, welcomed a position paper on managing the Irish border after Brexit as a "constructive step", while Sinn Fein called it "delusional". Sinn Fein's leader, Michelle O'Neill, said Britain's government cannot deliver on preventing the return of a hard border, noting "it will be the other European member states, who clearly think and believe we need to see customs controls".
There are signs of EU economic recovery, with Eurostat reporting 2.2% euro-area growth and 2.3% growth in the EU-28 over the second quarter of 2017, up from last year's 0.6%. Central/Eastern Europe was growing fastest: Romania (5.7%), Latvia (4.8%), Czech Republic (4.5%) and Poland (4.4%). The weakest growth was in Belgium (1.4%), Italy (1.5%), Finland and UK (1.7%), and France (1.8%). Data for seven EU states was not available.
Behind all the money coming to Europe from China's 'New Silk Road' lurks a potentially explosive cocktail.
Climate change and the Islamic State (IS) are a bigger threat in the world than Russia, a fresh PEW survey showed. Globally, 31% said Russian power poses a major threat to their nation, compared to 62% for IS, 61% for climate change and 51% for cyberattacks and for the global economy. Europe is the region least confident in Russian president Vladimir Putin, with 78% expressing a lack of confidence.
Unemployment in the UK has fallen from 4.9% to 4.4%, its lowest level since 1975, according to official figures from the UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS). There were 1.48 million unemployed in April-June 2017 - 57,000 fewer than for January-March 2017. The number of workers born elsewhere in the EU has continued to increase, but the annual rate of change has slowed markedly, the ONS added.
"Europe is possibly facing an explosive cocktail of political (Russia, Turkey) and financial (China) meddling in its backyard," warns a new report on Geo-economic Implications of China’s New Silk Road by the Hague Centre for Strategic Studies. It recommends that the EU increases influence over its neighbourhood, particularly mentioning Serbia, Bosnia and Albania as countries that are vulnerable to economic shock and have a negative trade balance with China.
Danish police have been asked to investigate the public administration of EU fishing rules after national auditors found examples of fishermen who, in reports to the ministry, pretended to own vessels and quotas. This practice may have led to Danish fishing quotas being in reality concentrated on just a few owners. Fisheries minister Esben Lunde Larsen and two leading ministerial officials were already removed from office last week.
"Unique” Irish border deal to maintain free flow of people and goods, but UK ideas on future EU trade branded a “fantasy”.
Just a few weeks before Norway's parliamentary elections on 11 September, a fresh Norstat poll, out on Tuesday, showed four-year-low support (27%) for Norway's opposition labour party. The party was, until recently, tipped to win but the poll now indicates a strong chance for incumbent conservative prime minister Erna Solberg to retain power. "These are bad figures and far too low", labour leader Jonas Gahr Stoere admitted.
Slovakia should be part of a deeply-integrated core EU, driven by Germany and France, prime minister Robert Fico said. He didn't, however, provide details on a deal struck Tuesday to keep the nationalist and eurosceptic Slovak National Party as a junior partner in his three-party ruling coalition. "I am very much interested in regional cooperation within the Visegrad Four, but Slovakia's vital interest is the EU," Fico said, Reuters reported.
Italy's interior minister, Marco Minniti, said Tuesday that he sees light at the end of the tunnel for curbing migrant flows from Libya. His ministry's figures showed that 97,293 people reached Italy in 2017, down 4.15% compared to 2016. EU border agency Frontex confirmed the trend, saying migrants arriving in Italy through the Central Mediterranean route had dropped to the lowest level for the month of July since 2014.
Germany's constitutional court decided Tuesday to refer a case about the legality of the European Central Bank's (ECB's) Public Sector Purchase Programme to the European Court of Justice for advice. "Significant reasons indicate" that the ECB, led by Mario Draghi, overstepped its mandate and harmed member states' competences with the programme, under which the ECB has purchased bonds since 2015 for more than €2tn to stimulate the eurozone economy.
Euro-area industrial production fell by 0.6% in June and by 0.5% in the EU28 compared to May, according to flash estimates from Eurostat. Compared with June 2016, industrial production has however grown 2.6% in the euro area and 2.9% in the EU28. The highest increases in industrial production this June were registered in Estonia (+14.5%), Romania (+11.5%) and Sweden (+8.9%). Ireland recorded the largest decrease (-8.1%) .
Opening the German election campaign, Merkel has refused to link distribution of refugees in Europe with the EU budget.
Britain wants to keep its EU customs privileges after Brexit but also wants the freedom to negotiate other trade deals.
Italy has endorsed Libya’s decision to chase NGOs out of coastal waters in what one charity called “an unacceptable assault on people’s lives and dignity”.
France, Germany, Italy, UK and the US in a joint statement on Sunday called on political groups in Kosovo to end a two-month long deadlock on forming a functioning government, reports AP. The winners of elections on 11 June, who are former leaders of Kosovo's war of independence from Serbia, have 39 out of 120 seats in parliament and need backing from other political groups to form a new government.
Portugal has requested assistance from European partners to fight over 200 daily forest fires mainly in the central and northern parts of the country that threaten to spread further with more hot weather in the coming days. Spain immediately offered to send aircraft from an EU "buffer capacity" as well as ground forest fighting modules to aid the Portuguese forces.