This Week in Europe: Catalonia, Theresa May, Turkey and more

, by Eva Jovanova, Juuso Järviniemi, Radu Dumitrescu

This Week in Europe: Catalonia, Theresa May, Turkey and more
Design by Samuel Mork Bednarz.

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 !

Constitutional crisis over Catalan independence continues

The Catalan government has vowed to soon declare independence after the “Yes” vote in a referendum marked by a police crackdown. The implications of a declaration, less than likely to be recognised by the Spanish government, remain to be seen. What is certain, though, is that the constitutional crisis over Catalan independence is far from over.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May faces authority problems

British Prime Minister Theresa May struggles to keep the thin Conservative parliamentary majority organised, amid tensions with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. The Prime Minister’s chaotic performance at the Conservative Party Conference further undermined her legitimacy. Questions are being posed about her future at the helm of the party and the country.

Turkey withdraws intention to join EU

Last Sunday, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey no longer wants to become a member of the European Union. Even though Turkey has been a candidate country for the EU for 12 years, this statement does not come as a surprise. Turkey has been criticising the EU for a long time now, a rhetoric which gained most momentum as EU heads of states banned Erdogan’s referendum campaigns in their countries earlier this year. In his State of the Union speech last month, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker shared pessimism about Turkey’s EU aspirations, chiding the country for its lack of media freedom.

EU tax crackdown forces Amazon to pay out

Luxembourg and Ireland are under the scope of the European Commission after failing to collect back taxes from Amazon, respectively Apple. As a result of having wrongfully received tax benefits, three quarters of Amazon’s profits were not taxed by Luxembourg. In turn, Ireland lost €13bn in taxes from the tech giant Apple.

EP approves the creation of the European Public Prosecutor Office

The European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) will investigate and prosecute EU fraud and other crimes affecting EU’s financial interests. With prosecutors from all participating countries (20), the EPPO will increase the Union’s cooperation across borders.

Germany rejects European intelligence agency

While president Macron and the EU Home Affairs commissioner called for a more unified European intelligence system, the head of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency rejected the idea, saying that “intelligence is better organized on the national level.”

Commission requests Western Balkans for progress reports

On Wednesday, the European Commission asked the ministries in the Western Balkan states aspiring for EU membership to fill out questionnaires to report for their work. This used to be an annual practice until 2005 and helped the Commission draft its annual progress reports. Whereas some Western Balkan states (Serbia and Montenegro) have opened negotiations with the EU, Macedonia received its last positive recommendation to open negotiation talks by the EC in October 2014. It remains to be seen whether the governmental change in the country will help Macedonia get another positive recommendation by the EC later this year.

Nobel Prize for literature goes to Britain

British writer Kazuo Ishiguro has won the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature. The novelist was praised by the Swedish Academy for his “novels of great emotional force.”

Santa Claus found in Turkey

The tomb of Saint Nicholas, or Santa Claus, has been found by Turkish archaeologists in Antalya. They claim that the tomb has not been damaged and that its discovery will attract more tourists to the region.

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