This week in Europe: Transnational lists, coalition deal in Germany and more

, by Juuso Järviniemi, Lorène Weber

This week in Europe: Transnational lists, coalition deal in Germany and more

Members of the TNF team recount big events from Europe from the past week, and point attention to news that may have passed notice. What did we miss? Comment on our Facebook page at http://facebook.com/thenewfederalist.eu !

European Parliament rejects transnational lists

With 368 votes against 274, the European Parliament rejected the proposal to include an EU-wide constituency of 46 in the European elections of 2019, as the UK’s 73 seats are vacated with Brexit. Notably, the centre-right European People’s Party voted against the proposal. However, the Parliament accepted reallocating 27 seats to member states which are currently underrepresented in the Parliament.

At last, a coalition deal in Germany

After months of political deadlock since the legislative elections last September, the CDU/CSU of Angela Merkel and the Social Democrats of Martin Schulz finally reached a coalition agreement on 7 February. However, the deal still needs to be approved by SPD members, despite key ministries have been given to the party. On 10 February, Martin Schulz gave up his ambition to become Minister of Foreign Affairs, as his party reminded him he had previously declared he would not serve in a coalition government under Angela Merkel.

Northern Ireland to stay in single market, says EU Brexit proposal

According to the European Union’s Brexit negotiating papers, Northern Ireland should stay in the European Single Market after Brexit. The European Commission’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, said that leaving the Customs Union and the Single Market would make border checks unavoidable, unless new solutions are found for the border. The proposal is expected to spark concern among Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, on which the Conservative UK government depends for its parliamentary majority.

The European Parliament bans geo-blocking for e-commerce

On 6 February, the European Parliament voted a legislation which requires websites to sell their goods throughout the EU regardless of the country the buyer resides in. This means that geo-blocking is now banned for online purchases in the EU. This legislation could apply to online cultural content like music streaming and ebooks within two years.

Macedonia considers renaming the country to end name dispute

Greece has welcomed Macedonia’s announcement that the country is considering other names, including New Macedonia, to bring an end to the famous name dispute between the countries. The dispute over whether Macedonia can bear said name, despite the historical region of Macedonia spanning across different countries, including Greece.

Emmanuel Macron visits Corsica as demands for more autonomy increase

In reaction to demands by Corsican nationalists, holding a majority of seats in the regional assembly, French President Emmanuel Macron visited Corsica to make his offer for the island. While Macron offered to include a special mention of Corsica in the French constitution, he rejected a number of other demands such as granting official status to the Corsican language.

Kosovo war crimes tribunal to convene

Kosovo has dropped its objections to an EU-supported war crimes tribunal examining allegations about Kosovar guerrilla leaders’ actions in the 1998/1999 war. The Prime Minister and the President, as well as the speaker of the Parliament, proclaimed that they would not oppose the law establishing such a court in the Hague. The move was warmly welcomed by the French, German, Italian and British embassies.

EU off to a strong start in Winter Olympics

The 2018 Winter Olympics began in Pyeongchang, South Korea this weekend, and the European Union got off to a strong start. 16 medals have been won by athletes from the EU at the time of writing, while other countries (sic) have won 17 medals altogether.

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