Refugee Crisis: The refugee crisis: Dutch EU presidency’s main priority (NewEurope)                                                                                                                                 The Dutch government presented last week the program of the country’s EU presidency: migration and security; innovation and job creation; a strong Eurozone; and environmental sustainability are the main priorities.
The Dutch EU presidency comes at a time of major challenges facing Europe at its borders, as well as internally. The refugee crisis, the difficulties in keeping together the Schengen area of free movement, the risk of a possible Brexit, the referendum on the EU Association Agreement with Ukraine, the threat of terrorism in Europe, and the debate on sanctions against Russia are the main issues the Netherlands will have to face […]

 UK & Europe: Cameron: ‘I hope the answer will be “stay”’ (EurActiv)           Prime Minister David Cameron angered Eurosceptics on Sunday (10 January), saying for the first time in an interview that quitting the European Union was “not the right answer” to Britain’s problems.
Cameron told BBC’s Andrew Marr Show he was “close” to agreeing deals to reform the union, and was open to alternative solutions to the sticky issue of welfare payments to migrants from the EU, which he wants to tighten.
Assuming agreements are reached, Cameron will campaign to stay in the union, saying “I don’t think that [leaving] is the right answer”

See also: Cameron asks Germans to help keep Britain in EU (EuObserver)         UK prime minister David Cameron appealed to Germany on Thursday (7 January) to support his proposed changes to the EU, arguing they would help to persuade Britons to stay in the bloc.
Cameron is on a visit to Germany, where he met with chancellor Angela Merkel in Bavaria on Wednesday and will outline his reform ideas on Thursday at the annual conference of the sister party of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, the Christian Social Union.
The UK prime minister campaigned in the EU’s largest economy to enlist its support for his reform proposals ahead of EU leaders’ meeting next month in Brussels […]

Migration: Merkel:euro and open borders ‘directly linked’ (EuObserver)        Open borders and the eurozone are “directly linked”, German chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday (11 January) in response to the largest refugee crisis Europe has faced since World War II.“Nobody should pretend that you can have a common currency without being able to cross borders reasonably easily,” Merkel said according to German media.
She added that if countries were to close their borders again, the single market would “suffer massively”.
Europe’s open borders, as laid down in the 1985 Schengen agreement, pre-date the introduction of the single European currency in 2002.
All EU members are part of the single market. And while not all EU countries have the euro, all eurozone members in mainland Europe are part of Schengen […]

Migration: EU urges Turkey to do more, amid fresh talk of mini-Schengen (EuOberver)                                                                                                                                            EU commission vice-president Frans Timmermans has urged Ankara to do more to stop migrants, as the Netherlands revives talk of mini-Schengen.
“The numbers are still way too high in Greece, between 2,000 to 3,000 people [arriving] every day. We cannot be satisfied at this stage,” he told reporters on Monday (11 January) following a meeting with Turkey’s EU affairs minister, Volkan Bozkir […]

Justice & Home Affairs: Ministers call for boosting intel sharing to thwart ‘Terrorism2.0′ (EurActiv)                                                                                                                    Ministers demanded greater intelligence sharing to stop extremist groups slipping across borders to carry out attacks, urging concrete commitments at talks Monday to stem dangerous intel lapses. In the wake of the November 13 Paris attacks allegedly masterminded by a Belgian-born extremist, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders admitted more must be done. “Intelligence services must get used to not only collecting information, but to sharing it,” he told AFP on the sidelines of talks on how to thwart terror groups, attended by more than 50 countries […]

Justice & Home Affairs: Warsaw dismisses European criticism as German (NewEurope)                                                                                                                                       The European Commission will review a controversial Polish media law on Wednesday; but for Warsaw the enemy is in Berlin, not Brussels. The law envisages that the Treasury Minister is solely responsible for appointing heads of public media outlets, rather than a media supervisory committee. Following a meeting with the German Ambassador to Poland, Wilelm Nikel, the Polish Foreign Minister extended an invitation to German politicians and journalists to witness Polish democracy in action. Witold Waszczykowski summoned Ambassador Nikel on Monday, following critical comments by German politicians on the Polish Law and Justice (PiS) administration. However, the (German) criticism came mostly from Brussels, not Berlin […]

 Political Affairs: Revenge attacks in Cologne, alleged cover-ups in Sweden (EuObserver)                                                                                                                                  Gangs attacked groups of foreigners in Cologne on Sunday (10 January), in what looks like revenge for New Year’s Eve. Meanwhile, police in Sweden are accused of covering up sexual assaults by mostly migrant youths at a festival.On Monday (11 January), Cologne police said that the victims were a group of Pakistanis, two Syrians and a group of Africans in four separate incidents. Two were taken to hospital.A group of around 20 attacked Pakistani people near the Cologne railway station, and, later, a group of five assaulted a Syrian man. No arrests have been made, according to Reuters. The attacks came after dozens of complaints of sexual assault during the city’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, perpetrated, reportedly, mostly by men of north African or Arab origin […]

Foreign Affairs: Riots in Pristina over EU-backed deal (EuObserver)                     An EU-brokered agreement to give ethnic Serbs more autonomy in Kosovo sparked protests and rioting in its capital Pristina over the weekend.Thousands demonstrated on Saturday (9 January) in opposition to recent agreements with Serbia and Montenegro, designed to normalise relations between the Balkan country and its former masters in Belgrade. The protests were, for the large part, peaceful but turned ugly when a small group launched molotov cocktails and set fire to the main government seat in Pristina […]






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