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Latest News

EU sanctions on Russian, Chinese 'cyber attackers'

EU sanctions on Russian, Chinese 'cyber attackers' EU sanctions on Russian, Chinese 'cyber attackers'
The European Union imposed its first ever sanctions against alleged cyber attackers on Thursday, targeting Russian and Chinese individuals...
Read More...

'Alarm' at Poland's plan to leave treaty protecting women

'Alarm' at Poland's plan to leave treaty protecting women 'Alarm' at Poland's plan to leave treaty protecting women
The EU and the Council of Europe on Sunday voiced regret and alarm over the Polish right-wing government's move to withdraw from a landmark...
Read More...

EU, UK warn of big differences as Brexit talks head to London

EU, UK warn of big differences as Brexit talks head to London EU, UK warn of big differences as Brexit talks head to London
A round of intensified Brexit talks ended on Thursday with both sides warning of big remaining differences but committing to more negotiations...
Read More...

EU racism pledge clouded by 'blackface' controversy

EU racism pledge clouded by 'blackface' controversy EU racism pledge clouded by 'blackface' controversy
A pledge by the EU to make its 30,000 strong civil service more diverse was overshadowed on Wednesday by the blackface-wearing past of its...
Read More...

US top court in landmark ruling to protect LGBT workers

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The US Supreme Court delivered a landmark victory for the gay and transgender communities Monday when it ruled that employers cannot discriminate...
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EU must play global role in virus crisis, says Merkel

EU must play global role in virus crisis, says Merkel EU must play global role in virus crisis, says Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday said the European Union should take more global responsibility in the coronavirus crisis, especially...
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EU needs 'more robust' China strategy: Foreign policy chief

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The European Union must adopt a "more robust" strategy to deal with an increasingly assertive China, the bloc's foreign policy chief said Monday...
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IMF approves $2.77 bn emergency virus loan for Egypt

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The IMF board approved $2.77 billion in emergency aid for Egypt on Monday, to help the country deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic,...
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EU to reassure Balkan hopefuls they are not forgotten

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With the coronavirus crisis hardening Europe's borders and draining the continent's resources, Brussels is trying to reassure its Balkan neighbours...
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The EU's top leaders said in a joint statement Thursday it is "time to start accession talks" with North Macedonia and Albania for them to join the European Union.

The combined call was issued by outgoing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and his successor Ursula von der Leyen, as well as the EU Council chief and the head of the European Parliament.

The statement represented the strongest backing yet for the two western Balkan countries to be put on the path to EU membership. But not all EU member states agree.

Some, notably France and the Netherlands, are reluctant to open the door to new members while problems with corruption or rule of law in existing eastern members such as Romania and Hungary gnaw away at EU unity.

Still, the EU leaders noted that member states had agreed in principle more than a year ago that negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania should begin, and that they had promised a formal decision by this month.

"Whether the EU decides now to open accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania is a test of the Union?s ability to deliver on its promises and look to the future," the joint statement said.

It highlighted that "North Macedonia and Albania did what we asked them to do" in terms of reforms to prepare themselves for one day joining the EU. 

North Macedonia, for instance, changed its name from Macedonia to settle a festering row with neighbouring Greece.

The EU leaders warned that even if accession talks started, "there is no guarantee of success" and more reforms would have to be enacted. 

"Membership will not happen overnight," they said.

North Macedonian Deputy Prime Minister Radmila Sekerinska told AFP last month that, while she was "very optimistic", another disappointment would "empower autocrats and populists".afp

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