Emmanuel Macron has called for a new European agency to fight against international cyber-attacks and the manipulation of election campaigns, as well as a ban on foreign powers funding European parties, as he set out plans to overhaul the EU in response to Britain’s vote to leave. Macron’s move comes weeks before the UK is scheduled to leave the EU, and months before European parliament elections in which nationalist parties are expected to increase their share of the vote. He said it was urgent to address the failings exposed by the Brexit vote.
The European Commission added Saudi Arabia, Panama and four U.S. territories to a blacklist of nations it considers a threat because of lax controls on terrorism financing and money laundering, the EU executive said on Wednesday. The move is part of a crackdown on money laundering after several scandals at EU banks, but it has been criticized by several EU countries, including Britain, that are worried about their economic relations with the listed states, notably Saudi Arabia. The United States has also disapproved.
Hours after Germany decided to tighten its southern border, Austrian leaders announced on Tuesday plans for similar actions which will further threaten Europe’s system of free movement. Austria fears that Germany’s stricter border laws could lead to Austria becoming the final destination for more migrants. Austria said it will ‘take measures to protect its borders.’
Following President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, EU leaders agreed Wednesday to keep the deal going and maintain their reviving economic cooperation with Tehran. EU Council President Donald Tusk sharply criticized Trump at the meeting. French energy company Total warned they may exit Iran, casting doubt on continuing the nuclear deal.
Lufthansa canceled 800 flights in response to a walkout by public sector workers, affecting 90,000 passengers as the discontent among Europe’s workers spreads to Germany. The strike by the German labor union Ver.di is planned for Tuesday at Frankfurt airport. The union is fighting for a 6% raise for 2.3 million public service workers.
The European Central Bank took a major step on Thursday toward ending a life support program for the eurozone economy. The Bank announced it will stop the form of money printing known as quantitative easing by December. The decision indicates the belief that the eurozone is now sufficiently robust after years of recession.
After 3 days of trans-Atlantic meetings, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has concluded that Donald Trump simply is not a reliable ally that her and her country have depended on in the past. Trump walking away from the Paris climate agreement upset many EU leaders.“The times in which we could rely fully on others they are somewhat over,” Angela Merkel spoke on Trump, “this is what I experienced in the last few days.”
On Thursday, leaders from Japan and the European Union announced a broad agreement that would lower the barriers on trade between them, challenging President Donald Trump on the eve of the G20 summit. The new agreement will rival the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), presently the world’s biggest free trade zone. The deal consists of allowing more Japanese cars into Europe and allowing Europe to export more of their food to Japan.
President Trump was abroad on his 9 day trip to various Muslim countries while the G7 summit had taken place in Italy. As he was unable to attend, his final word on whether or not he would be staying in the agreement has not been confirmed, Trump stated he would decide “next week.” In a final communique, the Group of Seven industrialized countries said that the United States “is not in a position to join the consensus.” The other six members reaffirmed their commitment to swiftly implement the 2015 accord to limit greenhouse gas emissions.