Mounting calls to reverse Brexit
Top EU officials made a series of remarks last week showing that a Britain move to reverse its Brexit decision would be welcomed. The remarks came after floating speculations about possibility for a second referendum in the UK. The idea of a new vote following the June 2016 Brexit referendum was emitted a week ago by Nigel Farage, a leading Brexit campaigner.
EU targets recycling as China bans plastic waste imports
The environmental impact of plastic is finally receiving the EU attention it deserves. Following China's decision to ban imports of “foreign garbage” from the start of 2018, Brussels on 16 January launched a plastics strategy designed to change minds in Europe.
May, Macron reach new border deal
Britain will pay tens of millions toward border security in France and support French military missions as part of moves to bind the countries closer together after Brexit.
EU needs resilience to Russian propaganda
In a topical debate at the plenary last Wednesday, MEPs voiced an alarm about Russia's increasing propaganda influence on Member States, and suggested strengthening The East Stratcom, EU's strategic communication team, the EP press service reported.
Propping up SMEs, innovation projects
Maria Koleva, Brussels
The EIB, the bank owned by the EU countries, in the last year approved a record number of 901 projects, supporting SMEs, emboldening innovation, propping up crucial infrastructure construction works and tackling climate change. In digits, practically €30bn went to small businesses and about €14bn were infused into innovation undertakings.
Europe must follow its own way on Iran
The past week of nationwide demonstrations in Iran, the largest in almost a decade, surprised many of the country's political leaders and elites. The endurance and repercussions of the protests are uncertain, but they have already shined an unwelcome spotlight on widespread domestic frustrations at a delicate time for President Rouhani's foreign policy legacy.
Nord Stream 2: More hot air than gas in the pipeline
Gazprom, the state-owned Russian gas giant, wants to build a new gas pipeline, known as Nord Stream 2, in the Baltic Sea between Russia and Germany. Critics correctly point out that Western Europe would benefit from cheaper gas, while Central and Eastern Europe would still be too reliant on gas delivered through Ukraine. But Europe is less vulnerable to “the Russian gas weapon” than ever, and the threat to some Member States can be mitigated if the EU continues to build a better-integrated, better-connected gas market. If built, Nord Stream 2 would follow the path of Nord Stream 1, doubling the route's capacity, and enabling Western Europe to import more gas as indigenous production declines. The backers of the project are Gazprom, the state-owned Russian company, and five energy companies from Germany, France, the UK, and the Netherlands.
Turkey readies anti-Kurd war
The Trump administration is backtracking on its description of a planned new security force in north-eastern Syria amid escalating threats by Turkey to launch a cross-border assault against the Kurdish group involved. It is clear now that the US is not wholesale leaving the country, but instead planning to train up a 30,000-strong force to assist local Kurds in keeping a grasp on the land they now control northeast of the Euphrates River. US officials had originally described it as a Border Security Force that would guard the perimeter of the self-proclaimed Kurdish enclave taking shape in north-eastern Syria. With the fight against Islamic State winding down, the US envision that the establishment of the force would be stationed eastward, policing the militants' traditional smuggling route between Iraq and Syria, as well as passageways with Turkey to the north.
Prominent Serb politician in Kosovo brutally assassinated
The leader of the Serbian Civic Initiative party in Kosovo, Oliver Ivanovic, was last Tuesday murdered in front of his office in Kosovska Mitrovica, news wires reported. The 64-year-old moderate Serb politician, a rare voice for coexistence of ethnic Albanians and Serbs, was shot six times with a Zastava M70A pistol and later died of his wounds in the local hospital. There were no witnesses to the shooting and Ivanovic was found lying in the street. According to a prosecutor in Kosovo, he was shot from a passing-by car.
France to block data, AI takeover
France plans to expand a law protecting its “strategic” industries from foreign takeovers by adding technologies such as artificial intelligence to the list, economy minister Bruno Le Maire said last Monday. “Make no mistake, France is an open country and we want to make France attractive” to foreign investors, he said, but noted that “openness does not mean pillaging of our technologies, our know how, our talents.” In 2014 France passed the so-called Montebourg law, setting strict oversight of foreign bids for companies in key industries such as energy, telecoms, transport, water and the health industries. The decree requires foreign companies to get permission from the French state before taking control of firms in such sectors.
Japan strikes pact with Baltic countries
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe toured last week six Eastern European countries in order to boost economic and political ties with that part of the world, news wires reported. His visit started on 12 January with a Baltics stop and continued through Bulgaria and Serbia to finish last Tuesday in Romania.
Last-minute sales help Airbus to win 2017 race
Active selling in the closing weeks of 2017 helped Airbus overhauling Boeing's recent lead in the global jet market to win their annual order contest for the fifth year in a row, news wires reported. The European planemaker announced last Monday net orders after cancellations rose 52% to 1,109 aircraft in 2017, placing it ahead of Boeing's 912 net orders. Airbus posted 1,229 gross or unadjusted orders, compared with Boeing's 1,053.
Major flashback of Pink Floyd run in Rome
A Pink Floyd Exhibition, titled “Their Mortal Remains”, opened the doors for visitors on 19 January at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, known as MACRO. The move to the Italian capital is the exhibition's first international event on the global landscape following the earlier highly-successful debut at London's Victoria and Albert Museum. The exhibition continues the first collaboration in decades of Pink Floyd's remaining members and is produced and promoted globally by Concert Productions International B.V. in association with MondoMostre and Live Nation. The Rome exhibit will runs to 1 July.
Funnycross with Christo Guelov
Christo Guelov is living out his dreams. He has always had the feeling that the brush and the paints will be his instruments of changing the world. “I remember that when I was young, perhaps at the age of 10, I won a competition for asphalt drawings. I had drawn a monastery with a piece of chalk.
Small artistic revolution
Penka Momchilova, BTA
The production with which Bulgarian director Galin Stoev took over the position of director of Theatre National de Toulouse has been described by the French media and critics as a small artistic revolution. The Delhi Dance tour of the National Theatre cast became an undeniable triumph with the very first shows before the French audience.
Bulgaria's wonders on UNESCO list
Despite its small size Bulgaria is well represented in the UNESCO World Heritage List with a total of 17 items. The collection includes 10 tangible sites, of which seven cultural and three natural, as well as seven practices on the Intangible Cultural Heritage List. The first Bulgarian sites were inscribed into the list back in 1979 and the latest one - in 2017.