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Aid to Burundi stopped because of civil rights concerns

March 15, 2016 6:46 PM
By Peter Morris, European Movement

[T]he refugee crisis unfolding along the borders of the European Union has elicited a chaotic response, writes Nils Muiznieks, Council of Europe commissioner for human rights, in an op-ed in the New York Times. There is a clear danger that the union and its member states are losing their way, and are at risk of backsliding on fundamental commitments: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/15/opinion/stop-your-backsliding-europe.html?emc=edit_ee_20160315&nl=todaysheadlines-europe&nlid=74103272

Two days before Thursday and Friday's (17-18 March) summit, the lines on which EU leaders will agree to make a deal with Turkey on a plan to stop migration are still unclear, amid doubt and opposition from several member states, reports EUobserver. Spain on Monday said that the blanket return of refugees to Turkey from Greece was not acceptable, while Cyprus is blocking the opening of some chapters in the Turkey accession negotiations: https://euobserver.com/migration/132686

A consensus has emerged in Germany, France and Italy over the need to create a eurozone budget, according to Belgium's former Minister of Finance, Philippe Maystadt. But the popularity of anti-European parties is blocking progress. EurActiv France reports.

The Privacy Shield data transfer agreement with the US could go into effect this June, Digital Commissioner Günther Oettinger said yesterday (14 March), EurActiv reports: http://www.euractiv.com/section/digital/news/oettinger-privacy-shield-should-take-effect-in-june/

A new legal world is emerging around the EU's trade policy, reports EurActiv. Scrutiny over the compatibility of trade agreements with human rights is increasing under recent Ombudsman and Court of Justice moves regarding the new trade agreement with Vietnam, and a 2012 agriculture agreement with Morocco: http://www.euractiv.com/section/trade-society/news/uncertain-fate-of-trade-deals-in-human-rights-limelight/

The European Union, strife-torn Burundi's biggest aid donor, on Monday suspended all direct funding to the government for failing to meet EU concerns over its human rights record: http://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/eu-suspends-burundi-government-aid-over-violence/

The European Union voiced support on Monday (14 March) for temporary cuts in milk production by farmers in member states in a bid to reverse the plunge in prices that has shaken the dairy industry, reports EurActiv: http://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/news/eu-backs-milk-production-cuts-to-tackle-low-prices/

The European Commission has said it will let Europe's dairy sector manage its output to rebalance an oversupplied market, less than a year after the EU's milk quotas ended. The new scheme had strong French backing, but EUobserver reports that shortly after farm ministers met in Brussels on Monday (14 March) EU agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan questioned the effectiveness of the move: https://euobserver.com/economic/132680

Boston [Lincs.] residents who want to see Britain out of the European Union [told the Boston, Mass., Journal] they were prepared to give up any of the economic benefits the bloc provides to regain control over immigration: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/15/world/europe/boston-england-immigrants-brexit.html?emc=edit_ee_20160315&nl=todaysheadlines-europe&nlid=74103272&_r=0

Europe is going through turbulent times. The reaction of many Member States is to adopt individual measures, but there is no alternative to common European strategies, says Ludger Ramme, President of CEC European Managers, one of the six cross-industry European social partners, representing the managerial workforce throughout Europe, in a guest blog in EurActiv: http://guests.blogactiv.eu/2016/03/14/the-solution-to-the-many-crises-of-europe-can-only-be-found-in-europe/

With thanks to Peter Morris, European Movement in North East