The Commission will present a new proposal in an attempt to reconcile the warring parties
The Member States and Parliament failed last week to reach a last-minute agreement for the Union's 2015 budget, forcing the Commission to draw up a new proposal, news wires reported. “No deal on EU budget, EU Commission to present new draft budget 2015,” a spokeswoman for the European Parliament's budget committee said in a tweet last Monday. If no deal is agreed on by a 2300 GMT Monday deadline, the EU treaties stipulate that the Commission is to come up with a new proposal, which it will do in the coming days.
Top officials will be obliged to declare meetings with stakeholders to boost transparency
EU top officials must make public on the Commission's website as of 1 December all contacts and meetings with lobbyists and stakeholders under a new plan aimed at boosting transparency at the Union's high levels, news wires reported. “All contacts will have to be made public,” European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said. “We have moved from a time when governments had an attitude to the public of 'trust me' to the public saying 'show me'.”
 
The Commission head is accused of tax avoidance schemes
Jean-Claude Juncker's mandate as Commission president set off to a rocky start amid the recent 'LuxLeaks' revelations, which allege that Luxembourg helped companies save billions of euro through questionable tax deals, during the time when Juncker was prime minister.
 
More 'Made in Europe' needed
Maria Koleva, Brussels
A prototype of an 'ambulance' drone is flying over in one of the big halls of the European Parliament in Brussels.
Not-very-fresh air for Europeans
More than 90% of Europeans who live in cities breathe air high in pollutants, according to the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) annual report published last Wednesday. “
Basic social protection to all EU citizens eyed
Maria Koleva, Brussels
The 4th Annual Convention of the European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion, held in Brussels on 20-21 November and hosted by the Commission, put social innovation high on its agenda.
Bird flu returns to UK and Netherlands
The Commission adopted protective measures last week to try to contain a bird flu outbreak after new cases were reported in the UK and the Netherlands, the EU press service reported.
Government seeks to find BGN 3bn
Parliament has entrusted the government to lead talks on a new figure for the state’s foreign debt to the amount of up to BGN 3 billion. On 19 November, the MPs from GERB, the Reformist Bloc, the Patriotic Front and Alternative for Bulgarian Revival (ABV) voted ‘in favour’, while the representatives of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and Ataka voted ‘against’. The MPs from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms abstained. The new debt has to provide for the payment of the guaranteed deposits by CorpBank, which had been stripped of its license. Preliminary estimates show that the amount of the guaranteed deposits in CorpBank is a little less than BGN 3.7 billion.
Over 3,000 farmers opt for organic farming
Paulina Yorgova
The number of organic farmers and manufacturers in Bulgaria increased by 1,107 last year alone to reach a total of 3,123. In the five years since the new European Union regulations on organic farming took effect, the number of farmers employing conventional techniques to manage their lands has grown eightfold, reveals the Ministry of Agriculture’s 2014 Agrarian Report.
Hard talks on EU-US trade deal ahead
Jan Schmitz
There are a lot of discussions about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in the public, also some fears, some misunderstandings, so, I would like to give you an overview of what the TTIP actually is and of where we actually stand in the process of the negotiations. You can basically put the agreement into three boxes. The first box is a classical market access trade negotiation box. The second is relatively new, it is the regulatory cooperation box where we look into regulations and how much they hamper trade. And thirdly, there is a trade rules part, where we look into things like minimum labour rights, minimum environmental rights, and trade facilitation for small and medium-sized enterprises.
How to motivate employers to create safety at work
Ivan Neykov
When we talk about occupational safety, and work-related accidents and diseases, we usually witness a mountain of reproaches at the Labour Inspectorate. We start asking questions such as why did they not carry out an inspection in the given enterprise, or why, once the inspection was carried out, was the employer in question not sanctioned? Or why, in the event of an imposed sanction, was the fine so small? On the other hand, when the Inspectorate shuts down the operations of a hazardous enterprise because of the risk to the life and health of the workforce, then it is reproached for depriving people of incomes. Such statements aim at changing work conditions by introducing more rigorous sanctions. However, ‘brandishing the stick’ doesn’t always work and is often not enough to improve the situation in any given enterprise. The analyses of good practices related to the introduction of safe and healthy work conditions reveal another more efficient method. In the old Member States there has been a growing interest in economic incentives as tools for motivating employers to invest in occupational safety and health.
World nutrition system is broken
The United Nations urged political leaders from around the world to up their game in the fight to wipe out malnutrition, a global scourge which afflicts poor and rich alike. Representatives from 190 countries gathered 22 years after the first malnutrition meeting for a three-day conference organised by the UN food agency (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), and boasting appearances from leaders including Pope Francis.
Jerusalem in terrorism's horrific stranglehold
Jerusalem was last week the scene of the deadliest terror attack since 2008. Two Palestinian cousins wielding a gun and butcher knives attacked a synagogue in west Jerusalem last Tuesday during morning prayers.
G20 pledges 2.1% growth by 2018
The leaders of the world's 20 most powerful nations concluded their two-day summit in Brisbane, Australia, agreeing on plans to boost economic growth by the adoption of "extra" reforms that would add $2 trillion to the world economy and create millions of new jobs. The OECD calculated that the 620-odd pages of reforms could add 2.1% to global economic output by 2018. The host of the event, Australian PM Tony Abbott, said the plans would make the whole planet "better off". He stressed those reforms would create millions of jobs.
Japan back to recession as tax hike takes toll
Japan’s economy unexpectedly slipped back into a recession as housing and business investment dropped following a sales tax hike. The world’s third-largest economy contracted at a 1.6 percent annual pace in the July-September quarter, the government said on 17 November.
Actavis to spend $66bn on Botox maker Allergan
Allergan Inc agreed to be bought by Actavis Plc for $66 billion, more than $12 billion above the value of a hostile bid from Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., backed by activist investor Bill Ackman.
Fashion journey at Parlamentarium
Maria Koleva, Brussels
The Parlamentarium, the European Parliament's Visitors Centre in Brussels together with the Fashion Art Institute Association offer an exciting art and fashion parcours. Sylvie Guillaume, EP vice president, opened the vernissage of Fashion Art EU on 20 November, a unique exhibition that features 28 artists from 28 EU countries telling 28 stories in 28 dresses. ‘United in diversity’ has been the leading viewpoint of the famous Spanish fashion designer Manuel Fernandez, inspirer of the project presenting dresses on which artists put their individual art touch.
Ballet is magic
Aglika Georgieva
Little girls simply adore the style of Sleeping Beauty, which is the most princess-like, the most royal-like that could ever be. That was our inspiration to create the ballet, which in its original version lasted 4 hours. That was typical of the Russian ballet school of the time. They used to stage these lavish productions so that each of the ballerinas of the enormous company of Mariinski Theatre could have her turn on the stage. We are hopeful that the Bulgarian audience will get hooked on the magic of the fairytale without imposing any big moral on the spectators.
European Month of Photography
The third experimental edition of the European Month of Photography in Sofia is taking place from 6-26 November, the organisers announced, as quoted by the BTA news agency.
Martyrs' cloister
Adelina Lozanova
The Vracheshki Monastery “Sveti Chetirideset Ma­che­nitsi” (“The Forty Holy Martyrs”) is located at the foot of the Murgash peak (1,687m) in the western Stara Planina Mountain, only 60km east of Sofia.
In Brief
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General Affairs Council on trade
 
High Representative Federica Mogherini (L) and Belgium Foreign Minister Didier Reynders (R) welcome each other at the start of a General Affairs Council in Brussels on 21 November 2014. Photo: EPA

Anti-terrorism exercise
 
Arete 2014, one of the largest anti-terrorism exercises ever organised by the European Commission, took place on 20 November in Ranst, Belgium. Photo: EPA

Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived!
 
Miss Bourgogne 2013 Marie Reintz and wine maker Thibault Garin pour the 2014 Beaujolais Nouveau wine into a 'wine bath' in Hakone, Japan, on 20 November, the day of the new wine official release. Photo: EPA

Milestones for regional investment announced
 
Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu announced important milestones last week for investing in Europe's regions for the 2014-2020 budgetary period, the EU press service reported. The first of Europe's cross-border INTERREG programmes, worth some €444m, will invest in making the Dutch-German border region's SMEs more innovative and will help in greening the economy. “These programmes embody the true spirit of the reformed Cohesion Policy,” Commissioner Cretu said.

Organised groups bet on environmental crimes
 
A new report by the EU's judicial cooperation body, Eurojust, reveals that organised crime groups are behind most of the cross-border environmental crime. At the same time, despite huge profits from these crimes, statistics show that environmental crime is seldom prosecuted by authorities. “One of my priorities is to build the citizens' trust in the judicial systems of the EU. And one of the elements in building this trust is to make sure that serious criminals are put behind bars,” Commissioner Vera Jourova commented.

Warsaw security forum 2014 seeks platform
 
Warsaw hosted Security Forum 2014 - an international conference focusing on military security, economy and energy issues in Europe. The main topics covered the future of NATO and transatlantic relations, cybersecurity, terrorism, immigration, the European energy solidarity and relations between the European Union, NATO and Russia. Organizers emphasized that the purpose of the Warsaw Security Forum 2014 is to create a platform for experts and decision-makers dealing with issues of international security.

Commission steps up broad cartel investigation
 
The Commission sent formal charge sheets to several manufacturers it suspected of price fixing in a next phase of a complex cartel investigation that began with raids on a number of companies' headquarters in 2011. Companies can be fined up to 10% of their annual revenue if the Commission concludes that there is sufficient evidence of an infringement of EU rules barring cartels and the abuse of market dominance. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager declined to identify the companies.

International Highrise Award
 
Bosco Verticale, the unusual highrise building with gardens in Milan, Italy, has won the Interna­tional Highrise Award worth 50,000 euro. The award has been given out every two years by the city of Frankfurt and the German Architecture Museum since 2004. Photo: EPA

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