All posts tagged: Luxembourg

In the safe hands of Sweden, here comes Eurovision 2024 – POLITICO

In the safe hands of Sweden, here comes Eurovision 2024 – POLITICO

The ESC now takes a full week to unfold, with two semifinals, set to be held today and Thursday, before a grand final is broadcast worldwide on Saturday, May 11. Just like last year, 37 countries will take part, with 26 competitors due to participate in the final. And just like last year, there’s been intense debate in the run-up to the competition about the dividing lines between music, art and politics. But unlike last year, no clear favorite has yet emerged during rehearsals. Bookmaker Paddy Power currently has Croatia, Switzerland, Ukraine, Italy and the Netherlands with the shortest odds to win. Croatian singer-songwriter Marko Purišić, known as Baby Lasagna, is representing with “Rim Tim Tagi Dim,” an ethno-dance banger with Balkan Adam Ant vibes. Switzerland, meanwhile, seems to have finally learnt its lesson after what feels like a decade of boring ballads and sent Nemo with “the Code” — a number with a lot of dramatic strings that could work very well with the right staging. Ukraine has sent alyona alyona & Jerry Heil …

Has the EU really just found €400B it could spend on defense? – POLITICO

Has the EU really just found €400B it could spend on defense? – POLITICO

As governments increasingly see the need to put the continent on a war footing, the plan would offer a way out for Europe’s policymakers who are desperately trying to find cash down the back of the sofa. They know they have to pay for it; they just don’t want to. Other options could see the ESM shift to respond to Russia’s aggression more broadly, four of the people said, such as by helping to pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine or by providing cheap loans to countries like the Baltic states which may find their borrowing costs rising. Russia’s war in Ukraine — a country harboring EU membership ambitions — is grinding into a third year and Donald Trump’s potential return to the White House risks leaving Europe in the lurch, as he demands all NATO countries to hit the target of 2 percent of gross domestic product spent on defense. But soaring debts in the bloc’s most powerful capitals, messy domestic politics, and tight spending rules enforced by the European Commission are limiting the …

EU agrees to tackle Russia’s shadow oil fleet, Sweden says – POLITICO

EU agrees to tackle Russia’s shadow oil fleet, Sweden says – POLITICO

However, analysts warn that drastic actions such as blocking ships from EU waters could be construed by Moscow as escalation. According to Billström, the European Commission and the EU’s diplomatic arm will now “sit down and make a thorough run through of all the elements of the shadow fleet and what can be done.” This will be followed by a Commission report to the European Council. Flag and harbor states would be approached, according to the Swedish minister, and there could be “actions against owners, operators, insurance companies in [any] third country that Russia today uses to make the shadow fleet possible.” It would be the first time the EU has looked into this sanctions loophole since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Billström said “the time has now come to end that,” adding: “The shadow fleet has been has been so useful by Russia because it has flown — or rather floated — below the radar.” Source link

Relieved by US progress on Ukraine aid, Europe grapples with its own support for Kyiv – POLITICO

Relieved by US progress on Ukraine aid, Europe grapples with its own support for Kyiv – POLITICO

A senior Ukrainian officer greeted the news of the vote with a monosyllabic “great.” But when asked how long replenishments would take to reach the frontlines, he said it depended on many factors. “Implementation could take weeks and delivery months,” said the official, who was granted anonymity to speak freely. Ukrainian leaders and military officials suspect Russia will launch an offensive in June or July and they say the recent targeting of Ukraine’s infrastructure has been a pre-offensive campaign. “We’re grateful to the House of Representatives for this historic decision,” Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, a former Ukrainian deputy prime minister and now opposition lawmaker, told POLITICO. “I hope the Senate will not hesitate and protract, as every day of failure to provide Ukraine with assistance brings the catastrophe of Western civilization closer,” she added. “I hope the U.S. won’t let it happen!” Klympush-Tsintsadze said. The marathon exercise to pass the U.S. bill, which still requires Senate approval, has over the last few weeks prompted Europe to explore additional military aid for war-torn Ukraine. “Thank you, America!” tweeted …

Germany’s cannabis law comes into effect – POLITICO

Germany’s cannabis law comes into effect – POLITICO

Medical associations, police organizations and judges have misgivings about the law, arguing that marijuana can have a negative effect on the brain, which is still developing up until age 25 — or that the rules are not clear enough. The legislation was part of an agreement by the country’s three-party coalition government. It allows the possession of cannabis possession (up to 25 grams) and home cultivation for adults (up to three plants). Cannabis consumption may “now come out of the taboo zone,” posted German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach on X (formerly Twitter) Monday morning. He’d argued that legalization would help shut down the black market. VIDEO: Berlin holds ‘smoke-in’ as recreational cannabis use law comes into force. Several hundred cannabis enthusiasts gathered at midnight under the Brandenburg Gate to smoke marijuana in public as the new law legalising its recreational use comes into effect on April 1 pic.twitter.com/gULtOS5P55 — AFP News Agency (@AFP) April 1, 2024 Further parts of the legislation will allow “cannabis social clubs” to supply up to 500 members with a daily maximum …

Georgia one step closer to Euro 2024 after 2-0 win over 10-man Luxembourg

Georgia one step closer to Euro 2024 after 2-0 win over 10-man Luxembourg

TBILISI : Two goals from Budu Zivzivadze gave Georgia a 2-0 home win over Luxembourg in their Euro 2024 playoff semi-final on Thursday, when the visitors had a player sent off and a goal disallowed in controversial circumstances. Neither side has ever reached the finals of a major tournament and on a rainy night in Tbilisi it was Georgia who took a step closer. They will host one of Tuesday’s three playoff finals against either Greece or Kazakhstan, who play later on Thursday. Luxembourg were unable to get a foothold in the game early on as Georgia, backed by a noisy home crowd, kept possession and probed for a breakthrough, while the visitors failed to register a single shot on goal in the opening half. The first goal came five minutes before the break when a poor attempt at a headed clearance by Mathias Olesen from a corner fell to Zivzivadze who rifled his first-time shot from close range into the roof of the net. Luxembourg thought they had equalised in the 53rd minute through …

5 questions about the EU Parliament suing the Commission over Hungary cash – POLITICO

5 questions about the EU Parliament suing the Commission over Hungary cash – POLITICO

“As a law professor, I’d say at best it’s 50/50, there’s a higher standard of proof that has to be met,” said René Repasi, a German social democrat MEP. “I find it hard to say but I’m not overly optimistic [about the Parliament’s chances],” said Nguyen of the Jacques Delors Centre. What are the next steps? After a majority of group leaders — apart from the right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists and far-right Identity and Democracy — gave their consent last Thursday for the Parliament to pursue the lawsuit, the institution has a green light and no plenary vote will be needed. The Parliament has until March 25 to bring the case before the Court in Luxembourg, according to the institution’s press service.  After a majority of Parliament group leaders gave their consent to pursue the lawsuit, the institution has a green light and no plenary vote will be needed | Photo-illustration by POLITICO (source images from Getty) Repasi said the fastest a decision could come from the Court would be December — which would be around the …

Von der Leyen’s Ukraine ammo plan is facing resistance – POLITICO

Von der Leyen’s Ukraine ammo plan is facing resistance – POLITICO

The debate centers on whether to use this money — over €4 billion in 2024 — simply to support Ukraine’s budget or, more controversially, to purchase ammunition for the war-torn country. It is separate from an ongoing push from the U.S. to convince the EU to use money from a wholesale confiscation of Russia’s assets frozen in the West — worth over €250 billion — rather than merely profits from their investments. European capitals have largely shied away from this debate because of legal and financial risks. Capitals have red lines Von der Leyen’s seemingly impromptu proposal in February to use the profits for weapons for Kyiv has complicated the talks within the bloc because governments had previously agreed that this funding should go towards non-military spending, an EU official said. A statement from European leaders following their summit in October refers to the funds being used to support Ukraine’s recovery and reconstruction, without mentioning military needs. The Commission is expected to formally put forward its preferred option shortly before leaders meet next Thursday — and …

Europe’s Socialists scramble for ideas to fight far-right surge – POLITICO

Europe’s Socialists scramble for ideas to fight far-right surge – POLITICO

“The very soul of Europe is at risk,” warned Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. During the two-day meeting in Rome, politicians cast around for ideas and strategies to reverse the curve. “We should respond to the worries of our citizens,” Belgian Socialist Party lead candidate Elio Di Rupo told POLITICO, noting that the far right is polling highest in the Flemish region of his country. “The first worry is purchasing power,” he said, adding that the EU should help raise minimum salaries. The other two main topics for the campaign should be security and the environment, he said. Another strategy is to broaden the parties in their camp. In the Netherlands, the Labor party is fighting the election in tandem with the Greens, while there was favorable chatter among MEPs behind the scenes at the congress about Italy’s 5 Star Movement sitting with them in the European Parliament at some point, regardless of questions about the party’s stance on Ukraine. Lars Klingbeil, co-leader of the German Social Democrats, said the campaign priorities should be on …

Socialists’ top EU election candidate demands ‘immediate cease-fire’ in Gaza – POLITICO

Socialists’ top EU election candidate demands ‘immediate cease-fire’ in Gaza – POLITICO

“This government was ready to abolish the Israeli democracy and those who are in this government also killed the peace process in ’95, and I have to say they killed the peace process by first killing our friend Labor Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin,” Schmit said. “I’m a great friend of Israel, but I never forget that this government … is a far-right, extreme-right government,” he said. “We cannot turn a blind eye [to] the level of violence and destruction for which the citizens pay the highest price,” he said. “We do not forget to free the [Israeli] hostages” in the Gaza Strip, he added, backing calls for an international peace summit. He compared the “terrible human tragedy” unfolding in Gaza to his own family’s experience of conflict during the Second World War, recounting how his father watched his own father being shot and killed in front of him as Germany invaded Luxembourg in 1940, clashing with French troops. “What happened to my father, my father’s father, happens every day, every day in Ukraine, every day …