EU activated mutual defence clause following Paris attacks
France made an unprecedented demand for its European Union allies to support its military action against the Islamic State group as it launched new airstrikes on the militants' Syrian stronghold, days after attacks in Paris linked to the group killed at least 129 people. The country invoked a never-before-used mutual defence clause of the EU's Lisbon Treaty obliging members of the 28-nation bloc to give "aid and assistance by all the means in their power" to a member country that is "the victim of armed aggression on its territory".
More funds for refugees, jobs and competitiveness foreseen
Maria Koleva, Brussels
More money for tackling the refugee crisis and promoting growth and jobs were ensured for the next year after the compromise on the EU budget 2016 reached by the Council and the European Parliament on Saturday, 14 November.
Citizens should benefit from new technologies, competiveness to reduce their bills
Maria Koleva, Brussels
The Commission adopted on 18 November the first ever State of the Energy Union, that from now on will be released each year.
Pact for European youth launched
The Commission together with business launched last Tuesday at the Enterprise 2020 Summit the European Pact for Youth, a mutual engagement of business leaders and the EU to create a culture of business-education partnerships to improve the chances for young people of getting a job, the EU press service reported.
Social partners must be fully on board for TTIP
Maria Koleva, Brussels
A high level conference with main focus on ‘TTIP - what’s in it for the social partners’ was held at the EESC in Brussels on 17 November. It was jointly organised by the Luxembourg Presidency, the European Parliament and the Commission. Representatives of business federations and trade unions from across Europe were able to express their views, expectations, fears and concerns about the diverse aspects of TTIP.
Paris special forces find, battle attackers
After a nearly eight-hour-long police operation in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, which began at dawn on 18 November, a spokesman for the French government announced that all the terrorists were neutralised, three days after the bloody attacks in the French capital that shocked the world.
Bulgaria: First seven years in the EU
Nearly 80% of public investments in Bulgaria are funded by European programmes, reported Deputy Prime Minister for EU Funds Tomislav Donchev during The First Seven Years in the EU conference. Interestingly enough Bulgaria is not a leader in this respect, trailing behind Slovakia (92%) and Hungary (88%), BTA notes. The net effect of the use of European funds on the Bulgarian economy is positive, said Donchev.
First digital marketing awards presented
The best digital campaigns of 2015 were celebrated during an international festival, organised by the Bulgarian branch of Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and held on 12 November in Sofia.
Paris terrorist attacks unite global players
Prof. Vladimir Chukov
When analysing the recent tragic events in Paris, it is necessary to go back a little further in time and distinguish between the latest attacks and the Charlie Hebdo shooting at the beginning of the year. The former was an act of aggression physically aimed at a satirical newspaper but symbolically at one of the basic tenets of democratic government, freedom of speech. It was also part of the Islamic World’s drawn-out response to the publication of cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed, started by Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.
War comes home
John Keane
War in the heart of Paris, screams the headline of Le Figaro. Scenes of carnage, troops on the streets, politicians speaking, sirens in the background, terrified people in tears. The unfolding state of emergency triggers strange thoughts in my political head, but I try to pause. In exceptional moments like these, I remind myself, old-fashioned virtues are vital. Emotional distance, clear-headed thinking and prudent judgements become indispensable. So I ask: Setting aside all the media chatter and clatter, what do these local Paris events mean for the wider world? Will they have unintended effects? Might the cruel attacks have a broader historical significance? We can’t yet be sure of the answers, or even whether these are the right questions, but already some things ought to be clear. The attackers knew well what they were doing. Their violence was neither “mindless” nor “irrational” nor “mediaeval” nor somehow based on or guided by the Qur'an. In style and substance, the Paris violence was thoroughly 21st-century.
Riots in Kosovo over Serbia deal
Riots erupted in Kosovo with several hundred protesters running battles with police, who used tear gas and armored vehicles to try to disperse them. The revolt, headed by the opposition, demands that the government scrap an EU-brokered accord offering minority ethnic Serbs greater local powers and the possibility of some financing from Belgrade. Many among Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority are opposed to concessions made to Serbia. A week ago Kosovo's Constitutional Court has suspended the agreement with Serbia and it was due to rule on the constitutionality of the accord on Wednesday.
Paris climate summit limited to core talks due to security
France will limit a UN climate summit in Paris starting on 30 November to core negotiations and will cancel planned marches and concerts after the terrorist attacks last week that killed 129 people, PM Manuel Valls said last Monday.
UK phases out all coal plants by 2025
The UK will shut down by 2025 all still remaining coal-fired power stations, Energy Secretary Amber Rudd announced in a speech last Wednesday. The latest still working will be restricted by 2023, while at the same time investment in gas will provide the UK with a more secure long-term energy supply, she pointed out. In her words more gas-fired stations should be built since relying on “polluting” coal is “perverse”.
Multinationals claim they pay a lot of taxes
Eleven multinational companies were grilled last Monday by MEPs from the special tax rulings committee on their corporate tax practices in a five-hour debate, the EP press service reported.
Marriott buys rival Starwood for $12.2bn
Marriott International is buying Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide for $12.2bn to create the world's largest hotel chain with top brands including Sheraton, Ritz Carlton and the Autograph Collection.
Bulgaria welcomes The Voices of Italy
Young musicians following in the footsteps of the great Pavarotti – from 26 to 30 November the Italian musical theatre show Belcanto – The Luciano Pavarotti Heritage will tour Bulgaria. The tribute to the legendary tenor has six dates in its Bulgarian visit, starting on 26 November at Hall 1 of the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, followed by Rousse and then the Palace of Culture and Sport arena in Varna.
My strength lies in my ability to listen
Ekaterina Tomova
Yes, that will be the end of my film career, exactly. No, that’s a joke. I’ve been in a dark room with no windows for thirty years. It’s time to go and see a little bit more.
Meeting place: Lovers' Bridge
Nine photographers and more than 50 Bulgarian and global celebrities joined together to promote passion for reading with the Book Lovers’ Bridge exhibition.
Return of the King
The legendary boyars and brothers Peter and Asen were brought back to life a week ago at the Church of St. Demetrius of Thessaloniki, Veliko Tarnovo and once again led their people in a revolt against the Byzantine Empire.
In Brief
ECB aims at boosting inflation
The ECB is ready to act quickly to boost inflation in the Eurozone, President Mario Draghi said, offering the strongest hint yet that the bank will soon unveil fresh stimulus measures. Photo: EPA

Atlantic Council Summit held
Ministers of energy representing the member countries of the Atlantic Council met in Istanbul, Turkey on 20 November to discuss the changing geopolitical picture regarding energy security. Photo: BGNES

Rousse designated 2016 European City of Sport
Rousse was designated 2016 European City of Sport at the annual meeting of ACES Europe in Brussels on 19 November. Bulgarian Anatoli Iliev (R) was elected as a member of the organisation’s Governing Council. Photo: BNR

EU citizens to be checked at Schengen borders
Member States called on 20 November for re-imposing systematic checks of EU citizens at the Union's external borders and for full use of all available technology to counter terrorism inside the Schengen area. “There is urgency,” French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said, while arriving at the meeting. “We will be unwavering in order that necessary decisions are taken.” The decision means EU citizens entering the Schengen area will have their identity checked to ensure they are not wanted.

Balkan countries start filtering migrants
Balkan countries have begun filtering the flow of migrants, granting passage to those fleeing conflict in the Middle East and Afghanistan but turning back others from Africa and Asia, the UN agencies said last Thursday. Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia seek to impose selection criteria and close their borders to all but Syrian, Afghan and Iraqi asylum seekers. New border controls in the western Balkans are leaving thousands in limbo as winter sets in, aid agencies alert.

Creation of EU intelligence agency proposed
The European Commission calls for the establishment of an EU-wide intelligence agency in the wake of the Paris attacks, it was clear from the interior ministers` emergency talks on 20 November. The proposal for the creation of a counter-terrorism centre at Europol was made by EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramo­poulos. But German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has expressed concerns it would infringe on the sovereignty of European countries.

Attack in Mali capital, 170 taken hostage
Islamist gunmen stormed a luxury hotel packed with foreigners in Mali's capital Bamako on 20 November morning, taking 170 hostages in a former French colony. A senior security source said some of the hostages had been freed after being made to recite verses from the Qu'ran. Le Monde quoted the Malian security ministry as saying at least three hostages had been killed. Radisson Blu hotel lies just west of the city centre near government ministries and diplomatic offices.

Metal Christmas tree set in Madrid
View of a metal Christmas tree set at Puerta del Sol as part of the Christmas decoration in Madrid, Spain, 19 November. The city will procede to lighting the tree on 27 November. Photo: EPA

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