[Ticker] Brexit summit in doubt over ‘future relations’ text

German chancellor Angela Merkel and EU commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis have said an EU Brexit summit Sunday could be cancelled unless Britain and the EU pre-agree on a declaration on future relations. "We'll need to have agreed beforehand ... and we are not there yet," Dombrovskis said. British PM Theresa May, who met EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels Wednesday, said she would come for a second pre-summit meeting Saturday.

[Ticker] UK shell firms at heart of Danske Bank scandal: whistleblower

Howard Wilkinson, the whistleblower who exposed a money-laundering scandal at Danske Bank, told MEPs in Brussels Wednesday that British shell firms, called LLPs, played a major role in wrongdoing. "The role of the United Kingdom is an absolute disgrace. Limited liability partnerships [LLPs] and Scottish liability partnerships have been abused for absolutely years," he said. Dankse Bank CEO Jesper Nielsen said he had reported 42 staff to Danish criminal authorities.

[Ticker] Google pledges transparency on EU political ads

US tech giant Google has said it will force advertisers to undergo a verification process to establish who they represent to avoid clandestine political campaigns in next year's EU elections. It will publish the details in an "EU transparency report", saying who paid for ads, how much they spent, and whom they targeted in a publicly-searchable database. Its move comes amid EU appeals for Facebook to follow suit.

[Ticker] EU urges Hungary to respect law on Macedonia PM ‘asylum’

Hungary's decision to grant asylum to Nikola Gruevski, a former Macedonian PM wanted on corruption charges, was "surprising," EU enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn said Wednesday. "Rule of law remains a fundamental principle for member states," Hahn said, after Gruevski appeared to get his wish, which flies in the teeth of Hungarian law that Macedonia is a "safe country", because he is a close friend of Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban.

[Ticker] Bannon’s EU campaign illegal in nine countries: report

US activist Steve Bannon's plan to help far-right parties contest next year's EU elections are illegal in nine out of the 13 EU jurisdictions in which he planned to take action, according to British newspaper The Guardian. Foreign "in-kind" donations are illegal in France, Belgium, Spain, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Finland and highly-limited in Germany and Austria. "There's certainly a problem," Bannon's man in Brussels, Mischael Modrikamen, said.

[Ticker] EU court overturns Austria’s anti-migrant law

The EU court in Luxembourg has said Austria broke EU law in 2015 by imposing curbs on welfare for asylum seekers, blocking their access to employment schemes, and taking away their mobile phones and valuables. The ruling comes the same day British newspaper The Telegraph published a report saying EU-funded and trained Moroccan police were systematically raping migrant women trying to transit to the EU via the north-African country.

[Ticker] Kosovo punishes Serbia with trade tariffs in Interpol row

Kosovo has increased tariffs on imports of goods from Serbia from 10 percent to 100 percent after accusing Belgrade of blocking its bid to join the international police agency Interpol. "We will not halt their trucks or automobiles ... because we want to show the difference between responsible behaviour from one side, and the irresponsible behaviour from the other," Serb president Aleksandar Vucic said in response.
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