In a letter to a coalition of transparency NGOs, the EU executive has repeated that a meeting between its former boss - now working for Goldman Sachs - and the current vice president was "fully in line" with the rules.
The EU will maintain pressure on the US to resolve a tariff dispute. On Monday, European Commission president Juncker, along council president Tusk, will discuss relations with Turkey's president Erdogan. Additional national measures against Russia are also expected.
The 28 EU government leaders said that "by the first quarter of 2019" the European Commission should propose "a strategy for long-term EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction in accordance with the Paris agreement". The aims to keep global warming below 2C by rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The EU already has a 80 percent reduction goal for 2050.
In 2017, 1,656 new cases were brought to the Court of Justice and the General Court, , but still more than the annual average in 2013-2015, according to figures published Friday. The Court of Justice, which interprets EU law when requested by national judges, received 739 cases, the highest in five years. The General Court deals mostly with cases from citizens and companies.
Spain's Supreme Tribunal on Friday charged 13 Catalan separatist politicians for rebellion, over the organisation of the 1 October 2017 independence referendum in Catalonia. Those indicted include the region's former leader Carles Puigdemont, deputy Oriol Junqueras, foreign minister Raul Romeva, and the former speaker of the Catalan parliament Carme Forcadell, as well as the deputy leader of the Republican Left party, Marta Rovira, who fled Spain this morning.
EU leaders on Friday (23 March) called for a "permanent" exemption from US tariffs on steel and aluminium, after the Trump administration granted an exemption until 1 May. They said they "regret" the US decision and "strongly support" the EU Commission's efforts to protect EU interests, including by taking countermeasures on US imports and challenging the tariffs at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
EU leaders at their summit on Friday (23 March) adopted the guidelines for negotiations on the future EU-UK relations. Talks on the relationship after Brexit will start in detail once the UK leaves the bloc in March 2019, but preliminary discussions kick off earlier. EU leaders also discussed how detailed the political declaration setting out that future relationship should be. The declaration will accompany the withdrawal treaty.
EU leaders at a Brussels summit demand social networks and digital platforms guarantee transparency and privacy. Their call comes amid growing backlash against Facebook and Cambridge Analytica over voter manipulation.
The European summit on Thursday officially appointed Spain's economy minister, Luis de Guindos, as vice president of the European Central Bank for a non-renewable 8-year term, starting 1 June. Next year, the position of ECB president will also be open, when Italy's Mario Draghi ends his mandate in November 2019. With a Spanish vice president at the ECB, many now expect that the presidential seat will go to a northerner.
The popularity of French president, Emmanuel Macron, has dropped to its lowest point so far in his presidency, according to a BVA poll by Orange, RTL and La Tribune on Friday. It comes a day after nationwide protests against Macron's labour and welfare reforms, with public sector workers, nurses and teachers taking to the streets in protest. Despite dropping three percent in March, Macron still has 40 percent support.
EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Thursday unanimously condemned Turkey's "illegal actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea" and underlined its "full solidarity with Cyprus and Greece". The at the summit "urgently calls on Turkey" to respect "the sovereign rights of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources". It comes after Turkish warships were ordered to prevent gas drilling commissioned by Cyprus's government.
The Catalan parliament failed on Thursday to elect Jordi Turull, a former Catalan government spokesman, as a new president, after a last minute decision by the far-left CUP party to abstain in the vote. The party has only four seats in the 135-seat Catalan parliament. Sixty-four lawmakers voted in favour, sixty-five against and four abstained. The parliament is set to hold a second vote on Turull's candidacy within 48 hours.