Germany and France urged US Congress not to reimpose sanctions on Tehran
The EU vowed last Monday to defend a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and urged US lawmakers not to reimpose sanctions after President Donald Trump chose not to certify Tehran's compliance with the accord, news wires reported. Germany and France led a chorus of warnings to the US that any weakening of the agreement to prevent Iran obtaining nuclear weapons could have serious consequences for peace. “As Europeans together, we are very worried that the decision of the US president could lead us back into military confrontation with Iran,” German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told reporters at a meeting with his EU counterparts.
PANA MEPs shore up measures to counter tax frauds
Maria Koleva, Brussels
The EP special committee investigating the 'Panama Papers' revelations on money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion (PANA) adopted on Wednesday evening its conclusions and recommendations in the final report. The voting session as a whole took more than four hours.
 
The 'new' EU states are opposing the proposal as it doesn’t solve the fundamental issue
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Employment Committee MEPs adopted new measures for workers who are sent temporary to carry tasks in another Member State that aim to introduce ‘equal pay for equal work’ model, putting an end to social dumping and countering unfair competition between companies.
 
Madrid is ready to restore rule of law
The Catalan crisis nears a breaking point as the Spanish government last Thursday announced it will hold an extraordinary cabinet meeting on 21 October to trigger procedures to suspend home rule in the province. "The Spanish government will continue with the procedures foreseen by Article 155 of the Constitution to restore legality in the self-government of Catalonia," a statement said.
Opinions matter: listening and understanding them
A­ survey commissioned by the European Parliament shows that a clear majority of European citizens (57%) believes that EU membership is beneficial to their country. The rate is close to the figures registered in 2007 before the onset of the financial and economic crisis.
Meteoric rise of chancellor
Rumyana Kotchanova
At 31 years old, Sebastian Kurz is set to become the world's youngest leader. The conservative People's Party leader is poised to be the next Chancellor of Austria, the latest European country to take a sharp turn to the right in 15 October election, won as a result of his hard-line position on immigration.
Stepping into digital era
Maria Koleva, Brussels
For two days, on 17 and 18 October, the European Parliament sheltered a vibrant exhibition named “Generation Code: Born at the Library”.
Mission Althea in Bosnia to continue
The EU foreign ministers last week confirmed the EU's readiness to continue the executive military role of Operation Althea, which supports Bosnia and Herzegovina's authorities to maintain the safe and secure environment, under a renewed UN mandate. Operation Althea was launched in 2004.
EU derivatives market worth €453 trillion, ESMA says
The European Union's derivatives market is worth a notional €453tn, and there are around 33m transactions still open, the Paris-based European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) said in its first overview of it.
Lower Saxony's slap on Merkel
German Social Democrats (SPD) defeated last Sunday Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) in the northern state of Lower Saxony regional election, news wires reported.
French Senate voted new restrictive anti-terror bill
The French parliament last Wednesday adopted a controversial anti-terror bill that gives the authorities permanent new powers to search homes, shut places of worship and restrict freedom of movement, news wires reported.
Malta shocked as car blast kills prominent journalist
A Maltese investigative journalist who exposed the island nation's links to offshore tax havens through the leaked Panama Papers was killed last Monday when a bomb exploded in her car, news wires reported.
Challenge of heading UNESCO today
For the second time ever, a woman, this time from France, will be the head of UNESCO. The 58 members of the Executive Board of the United Nations' cultural agency, based in Paris, on 13 October selected France’s former Minister of Culture Audrey Azoulay for the position of director-general of the organisation, after five rounds of voting that began on 9 October. Her candidacy was put forward last, amid wide expectations that it is the turn of a representative of an Arab nation to lead UNESCO.
In Brief
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New measures to better defend citizens on focus
 
The Commission presented last Wednesday a set of operational and practical measures to prevent terrorism and better defend EU citizens. Security Commissioner Julian King (pictured) said that "terrorists don't stand still. They change and adapt their methods. We need to be ready to adapt our response." The proposed measures include strengthening cooperation between Europol and third countries. The Commission will recommend opening negotiations for agreements on the transfer of personal data between Europol and Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey. 

EIB endorses €4.7bn of new investment for 30 projects
 
The board of the EIB approved a total of €4.7bn of new financing for 30 projects across Europe and around the world at its meeting in Luxembourg on 18 October, including €530m for natural disaster recovery in Italy. Other approved operations included backing for road and rail transport, renewable energy and electricity interconnectors, industrial innovation, healthcare, education and off-grid solar energy. Financing for 11 projects will be backed by the Investment Plan for Europe and support overall investment totalling €1.6bn in 15 EU countries. 

ESSN programme reached 1 million refugees in Turkey
 
The EU funded Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) prog­ramme has now reached one million re­fu­gees living in Tur­key, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides said in Ankara. The €348m programme provides monthly transfers of around €30 per person plus quarterly top-ups to the most vulnerable refugees. Launched by the Commission in September 2016, and implemented by the World Food Programme and the Turkish Red Crescent in collaboration with the Turkish government, the flagship programme is the largest ever humanitarian aid operation funded by the EU.

EU approves €100 million in financial assistance for Jordan
 
The EU has approved on 18 October the disbursement of a €100m loan to Jordan under its Macro-Financial Assistance programme. This disbursement marks the launch of the second MFA programme for Jordan with a total worth of €200m, which follows a first package of €180m approved in 2013 and fully disbursed in 2015. Macro-Financial Assistance to Jordan is intended to strengthen the country's foreign exchange reserve position and to help Jordan meet its balance of payments and budgetary financing needs. 

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