€500 note to be withdrawn from circulation over illegal use concerns

€500 note
The €500 note is to be removed from circulation because of concerns that it aided criminal activity. But the European Central Bank said the existing notes will continue to be legal tender and will retain their value. The ECB was "taking into account concerns that this banknote could facilitate illicit activities," and said that production of the notes would end in 2018. The €500 note...

Kosovo might be next to get visa-free travel to EU

EU Kosovo
Shortly after giving Turkish citizens the right to travel to the European Union without a visa, the European Commission announced Kosovo may be next on the list. Speaking at a press conference in Brussels, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said "Today we follow up on our commitment to propose visa-free travel to the EU for the people...

Schengen controls extend as calls grow for unified “European Border and Coast Guard”

France Schengen border
Internal Schengen border controls will be extended for six months, the European Commission announced on Wednesday. The Schengen Area provides passport-free travel amongst 26 European countries and was described by the commission as "one of the major achievements of European integration." Border controls between countries signed up to the agreement are not normally permitted to reinstate them, but are allowed to if...

NATO considers military buildup in Eastern Europe to counter Russian threats

military nato Ashton Carter
U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has said NATO will consider increasing its military presence in the border regions of Eastern Europe to counter increased Russian aggression. The announcement comes as the military alliance and Russia have seen a number of incidents, including the shooting down of a Russian jet by NATO member Turkey and Russian planes "buzzing" US warships. Tensions between the...

Visa-free travel for Turks going to Europe

Visa passport control Greece
The European Commission will press ahead with visa-free travel for Turkish citizens under conditions related to the migrant influx, as part of a controversial EU-Turkey deal. This Wednesday marks the deadline for Turkey to implement the conditions set forth in the deal. Several news outlets reported that the commission will approve the visa liberalisation scheme as part of the deal in which Turkey receives migrants who have...

Huge TTIP leak sparks environmental protection fears

TTIP environmental protest London
Greenpeace has obtained a report that suggests the European Union would weaken environmental regulations if the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) was adopted. The leak cover the 12th and 13th round of trade talks between the EU and US, which were held in New York City last week. The TTIP agreement aims to remove existing trade barriers between the EU and...

Belgium, Netherlands to distribute iodine pills for nuclear safety

Belgium Tihange Nuclear Power Station
Belgian Health Minister Maggie De Block has told local media that every Belgian is to receive iodine pills to safeguard against any potential nuclear incidents. Iodine pills (potassium iodide) are usually distributed only after nuclear emergencies, and sometimes as a general precaution to those close to nuclear plants. The iodine pills help to block radiation absorption from the thyroid, helping to protect against...

Eurozone growth unexpectedly doubles

Eurozone European Central Bank
Figures released by Eurostat show an unexpected increase in Eurozone economic growth in the first quarter of 2016. Compared to the last quarter of 2015, GDP in the Eurozone was up by 0.6%, and by 1.6% over the same time last year. Importantly, it is the first time the economic bloc has reached the same size it was before the global...

Human Rights Watchdog voices concerns over new Polish police powers

Polish parliament
A delegation from the European Commission for Democracy through Law is set to visit Warsaw after the Polish government adopted a law granting greater police oversight of online communications. The law generated some concern both within and outside of country, with thousands of Polish protesters taking to the streets earlier in the year to denounce what they saw as increased government censorship. Draginja...

US sends advanced warplanes to Romania

Romania F22 Raptor
Two of the most advanced warplanes on the planet have arrived in Romania alongside a refuelling plane, as the US seeks to reassure the region that it is committed to providing military protection. In April, a Russian jet "buzzed" a US warship in the Baltic Sea, making a close and threatening pass over the vessel. Commenting on the incident, US Secretary...