European commissioner  Pierre Moscovici is asking the member states to allow voting on tax issues to move from unanimity  to QMV. Photograph: Costas Baltas/Reuters

Europe Letter: Commissioner at loggerheads with Dublin over taxation of digital giants

Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, speaking  at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France,  during the debate on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.  Photograph:  EPA/Patrick Seeger

Analysis: Barnier says if UK is willing to go back on its red lines the EU would be prepared to look again at its own position

European Council president Donald Tusk:  “If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?”  he tweeted. Photograph: AFP Photo/Ludovic Marin/Getty Images

EU diplomats call for clarity from UK amid ongoing efforts to minimise Brexit fallout

A copy of a joint letter from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and EU Council President Donald Tusk sent to British prime minister Theresa May. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Illustration/Reuters

Analysis: Extension of article 50 negotiation process would be one off and not to be repeated

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Romanian prime minister Viorica Dancila. Photograph: Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images

EU leaders hope nation’s politicians will put aside differences for duration of presidency

Members of the European Parliament: it is a genuine co-legislator in many areas of EU policy and budgeting.  Photograph: Frederick Florin/AFP

Europe Letter: Danger looms of populists and Eurosceptics inducing legislative gridlock

Sinn Féin leader, Mary Lou McDonald, and Deputy Leader, Michelle O’Neill , arrive for a meeting with EU Chief Brexit Negotiator, Michel Barnier. Photograph: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

Sinn Féin leader pushes unity poll in case of no deal at meeting with EU Brexit negotiator

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán. Photograph: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images

Authoritarian populism is coming to define the politics of this era – and it could have staying power

Euro sign in Frankfurt: the euro is the currency of choice in some 36 per cent of international payments to the dollar’s 40 per cent. Photograph: Bernd Kammerer

Battle for global dominance between the euro and dollar is entering a new global era

British prime minister Theresa May and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker: Mrs May is not the first EU leader to confront the challenge of wrestling an unamendable EU treaty unacceptable to her people into a form she and the rest of the EU can sign off on. Photograph: Yves Herman

Europe Letter: Has British PM not considered asking Corbyn to cough up Brexit solution?

The European Commission building in Brussels: The commission commits to continuing Irish peace process programmes and their funding. Photograph: Stephanie Lecocq/EPA

Commitment included in papers published by Brussels in preparation for no-deal Brexit

Charles Michel: had being trying to put together a working majority in parliament since the right-wing nationalist New Flemish Alliance (NVA) walked out nine days ago. Photograph:  Piroschka Van De Wouw/Reuters

PM Charles Michel resigns after motion of no-confidence in his minority government

Rwanda’s president and African Union chairman Paul Kagame, centre, chats with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Photograph: Florian Wieser/EPA

Issue is ‘not what Europe can do for Africa but ‘what Europe and Africa can do together’

British prime minister Theresa May at the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels. The latest negotiations illustrate again, observers say, the political naivety that has characterised British Brexit diplomacy. Photograph: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

PM is looking for clarifications, but she needs to guarantee that parliament will accept them

European Council President Donald Tusk: Trying manfully to suggest that the EU summit was not simply preoccupied with Brexit. Photograph: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP

Donald Tusk says although withdrawal agreement is inviolable he is at Theresa May’s disposal

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker: said “it is up to the British government to say what they want”, during his press conference in Brussels. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

Danish prime minister says it is now up to House of Commons to do its ‘homework’

 European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker  and president of the European Council Donald Tusk at a press conference at the end of first day at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

‘We don’t want the UK to think there can be any form of renegotiation whatsoever,’ says Juncker

France’s Emmanuel Macron expressed disappointment at Moscow’s continuing failure to meet obligations in Ukraine line with the 2015 Minsk agreement. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

Taoiseach understood to have said Ireland would agree to give more to EU if it is reformed

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani arrives at the European Council in Brussels. Photograph: EPA

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani appeals to EU leaders to back plan

British prime minister Theresa May arrives for a meeting at an EU summit in Brussels. Photograph: AP Photo/Alastair Grant

PM tells European leaders she can get exit deal through parliament with ‘right assurances’

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker talks to UK prime minister Theresa May. Photograph: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg

Europe Letter: Brexit will get a look-in, but is by no means leaders’ main preoccupation

An anti-Brexit demonstrator in London. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Analysis: An extension is possible with the agreement of all 28 member states

British prime minister Theresa May and  European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. Photograph: Reuters/Yves Herman

Juncker says there is ‘no room whatsoever’ for renegotiation of the withdrawal treaty

German chancellor Angela Merkel shakes hands with Britain’s prime minister Theresa May in Berlin on December 11th, 2018. Photograph: Odd Andersen

Best UK prime minister can hope for is help to ‘clarify’ aspects of her Brexit deal

Theresa May in the House of Commons on Monday following a statement where she told MPs that tomorrow’s ‘meaningful vote’ on her Brexit deal had been deferred. Photograph: Parbul/PA Wire

Analysis: Clear explanation of role of arbitrators could answer ‘hostage’ fears of some of May’s critics

UK prime minister Theresa May in the House of Commons. Photograph: HO/various sources/ AFP

Can the EU come up with a clarification in language more palatable to May et al?

European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans:  is  adamant the adoption of a definition of anti-Semitism  will not mute criticism of Israel.  Photobrexit: John Thys/AFP

Survey finds perception of anti-Jewishness in social media, public, media and politics

Former minister for foreign affairs Eamon Gilmore has been working as the EU special representative to the Colombian peace process in recent years. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Simon Coveney proposes former Labour Party leader for Brussels-based post

Simon Coveney says the backstop was ‘fair and balanced, a ‘middle ground measure’ that is a fallback position as a last resort. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne

Backstop should not be seen as a concession by one side to the other, Tánaiste says

The court ruling comes ahead of Tuesday’s crunch vote on the British prime minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Photograph: Photograph Andy Rain/EPA

Revocation exists as long as withdrawal agreement has not come into force - CJEU

Belgian prime minister Charles Michel: met King Philippe on Sunday morning to seek a royal decree to allow him to reorganise his government. Photograph: Stephanie Lecocq

Members of nationalist Flemish N-VA step down over UN declaration on migration

Migrants intercepted off the coast in the Mediterranean Sea line up after arriving on a rescue boat at the port of Malaga in Spain. Photograph: Jon Nazca/Reuters

In face of populist movement surge, UN seeks to project positive view of migrants

Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan:  called for “continued efforts to tackle the people-smugglers who exploit vulnerable migrants”. Photograph: Garrett White/Collins

Reforms in stalemate for past two years, as leaders unable to agree on key elements

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty: “Ireland has been in the vanguard of promoting equal rights for the LGBTIQ community.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Poland and Hungary accused of attacking core EU values by opposing LGBTIQ reference

 Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban: “In effect Hungary set the direction without serious consequences.”  Photograph: Daniel Kasap/EPA

Europe Letter: Standing up to illiberal states

As a first step the commission will target the energy market. Photograph: iStock

About 36% of the value of international transactions are conducted through euro

A general view of the entrance of the Court of Justice of European Union. Photograph: Julien Warnand/EPA

EU advocate general says UK can still change its mind on leaving EU

Google and Facebook will be the big firms captured by any EU-only measure.

New proposal is a levy of 3% on digital advertising

Internal market commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska said the EU significantly lags behind the US in productivity terms. Photograph: Getty

New report finds up to 30 services needed to produce single loaf of bread

Rock of Gibraltar: Spain is trumpeting what it sees as  a major diplomatic coup. Photograph: Jon Nazca

Europe Letter: Madrid has exposed need for EU to shift from disinterested neutrality

The traditional printed press has had a fraught relationship with digital giants like Google and Facebook who have used their material without payment.

Printed press lobbying EU to protect draft copyright legislation

Targets can be met through strong development of renewable and nuclear energy to drive large-scale electrification of the EU’s energy systems, the European Commission said. Photograph: iStock

Announcements makes EU first major economic bloc to declare environmental intentions

The EU, in response to Russian and other election interference, is discussing a directive to require such transparency. Photograph: iStock

EU study finds disinformation and buying of elections a major concern for Irish electorate

European Council president Donald Tusk and British prime minister Theresa May at the summit  in Brussels on Sunday. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Alternative to non-negotiable agreement is ‘no-deal, cliff-edge Brexit’, Taoiseach says

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker arriving for a special meeting of the European Council in Brussels on Sunday. Photograph: Sascha Steinback/EPA

Leaders agreed text of UK withdrawal from EU warning deal is best Britain will get

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker welcomes British prime minister Theresa May at the commission the day before a summit of the European Council on Brexit in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Key gathering of EU27 will definitely proceed in morning after Spain lifts objections

British prime minister Theresa May will be in Brussels on Saturday to meet European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council  president Donald Tusk. Photograph: Will Oliver/Bloomberg

Officials finalise treaty and declaration texts ahead of meeting of leaders in Brussels

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez: “My government will always defend the interests of Spain. If there are no changes, we will veto Brexit,” he tweeted. Photograph: Juanjo Martin/EPA

Spanish threat to derail meeting appears to have been averted by agreed statement

British prime minister Theresa May. “The DUP has set the bar high, but May  reached for it, albeit implausibly.” Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Joint UK-EU document drafted to help May sell withdrawal agreement

Theresa May told the House of Commons that preparatory work on alternative arrangements to avoid implementing a border backstop would begin before Britain leaves the EU. Photograph: Will Oliver/Bloomberg

Dublin willing to consider ‘sensible and realistic’ solutions proven effective

The declaration pledges to administrative co-operation in customs matters and mutual assistance, including for the recovery of claims and the exchange of information to combat customs fraud and other illegal activity

Negotiators agree extensive potential UK participation in EU programmes in areas such as science, education and overseas developme(...)

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and British prime minister Theresa May before  their meeting in Brussels on Wednesday. Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

Document ticks many boxes for the British PM – but doesn’t undermine the backstop

British prime minister Theresa May with  European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels.  Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Varadkar facing limited options if EU’s draft withdrawal deal with UK cannot be ratified

Among the challenges seen in recent times by the EU is evidence of Russian sponsoring of far-right and far-left parties. Photograph: iStock

Europe Letter: Hybrid war is never declared or ended. Countering it requires new tools

British prime minister Theresa May and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker meet to discuss Brexit draft agreements  in Brussels on Wednesday. Photograph: Yves Herman/Reuters

May and Juncker to meet again on Saturday in effort to agree contentious political declaration

Italy’s deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, said the European Commission couldn’t seek to “massacre Italians” over budgetary measures. Photograph: Getty

Populist Italian government wants to allow deficit to rise beyond approved levels

Pierre Moscovici said Greece’s plan to run a surplus of 3.5 per cent of GDP would allow the government to cancel much-feared pension cuts. Photograph: Stephanie Lecocq/EPA

Italy warned of risks of ‘particularly serious non-compliance’ over expansionary budget

The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier. The full European Commission briefed by chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Wednesday. Photograph: Eric Vidal/Reuters

EU sources say text of full withdrawal agreement will not be discussed as it is ‘settled’

Michel Barnier: his focus this week will be solely on completing the draft.  Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Coveney welcomes solidarity on withdrawal agreement but focus now on finalising text

EU Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly said the report covered cross-Border topics inlcuding trade, animal health, tourism, the environment and cross-Border fraud.

EU Ombudsman O’Reilly believes it is in the public interest for documents to be released

UK prime minister Theresa May will travel to Brussels this week ahead of the summit to meet European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

May hints she will focus on changing political declaration, not the withdrawal agreement

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, left, delivers the draft withdrawal agreement to European Council president Donald Tusk. Photograph: Francisco Seco/AP

By its own ‘concessions’ yardstick, the United Kingdom has not much to boast about

Port officers inspect vehicles at a harbour checkpoint in Larne. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Physical checks by customs would probably only be carried out based on tip-offs

French president Emmanuel Macron’s post-nationalist Europe narrative is very simplistic. Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

Europe Letter: The EU needs to prove it can help resolve problems that feed nationalism

British prime minister Theresa May delivering a Brexit statement at 10 Downing Street on Wednesday. Photograph:  Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Protocol on Northern Ireland provides backstop guarantee that will safeguard a soft border

 Michel Barnier, EU chief negotiator, gives a press briefing in Brussels as the British cabinet  backed the draft Brexit withdrawal agreement. Photograph: EPA/ Olivier Hoslet

EU ambassadors to begin process of calling a special summit to approve the deal

 A demonstrator holds a sign outside the Houses of Parliament in  London on Tuesday. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

Special protocol on Northern Ireland provides a backstop guarantee that will safeguard soft Border

Dogs with leads bearing European Union  flags are pictured as anti-Brexit demonstrators protest outside the entrance to Downing Street in London on Wednesday. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty

Analysis: Negotiators tacitly accept that customs union will form basis of future EU relationship

The European Commission continues to meet EU state representatives weekly to co-ordinate national and EU contingency planning for Brexit. Photograph: Getty Images

Officials say no-deal contingency planning should not be seen as undercutting talks on deal, but necessary to plan for all eventua(...)

Tánaiste Simon Coveney  and the EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels on Monday. Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

Coveney says talks intensifying as Boris Johnson accuses May of nearing ‘total surrender’

Manfred Weber: has been an MEP for 16 years but has no state or federal ministerial experience. Photograph: Markku Ulander/Lehtikuva

Pragmatic 46-year-old Bavarian and EPP leader is close ally of Angela Merkel

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar  delivers a speech during the European People’s Party (EPP) congress in Helsinki, Finland. Photograph: Roni Rekomaa/Bloomberg.

Varadkar says a November summit on a Brexit deal will be impossible

Manfred Weber, German head of the Christian Democrats in the European Parliament,  after being chosen as the EPP’s candidate for the European Commission presidency. Photograph:   Roni Rekomaa/Bloomberg

European People’s Party backs Manfred Weber to become EU commission president

At its party congress in Helsinki, the European People’s Party, to which Fine Gael is affiliated, saw a final debate, chaired by Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness, for the nomination between runaway favourite, pragmatic MEP Manfred Weber, the leader of the EPP in the European Parliament (left), and former Finnish PM, Alexander Stubb (right). Photograph:  Heikki Saukkomaa / Lehtikuva / AFP

More than 2,000 participants from 41 countries are at the European People’s Party congress, including some from Fine Gael, led by (...)

Belgium’s former king, Albert II: has been asked to undergo a DNA test to determine paternity. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Europe Letter: Artist Delphine Boël claims abdicated King Albert II is biological father

Taoiseach  Leo Varadkar: hospitals should “match peak demand with peak resources”.  Photograph: Antti Aimo-Koivisto/Lehtikuva

Taoiseach criticised over remarks about flawed winter rostering of staff in hospitals

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Finland’s Prime Minister Juha Sipila (right)  at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Helsinki. Photograph: Antti Aimo-Koivisto/Lehtikuva via AP

Taoiseach says possibility of special Brexit deal summit in November becoming less likely

Taoiseach   Leo Varadkar, speaking in Finland, said his comments should not be seen as  controversial . Photograph: Reuters

Varadkar said he did not have authority to issue directive as this was a matter for HSE

European commissioner  Pierre Moscovici,  Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and Spain’s minister for finance Nadia Calvino at the  meeting of Eurogroup finance ministers  in Brussels, on Monday.  Photograph:  Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Minister reiterates Ireland’s stance at meeting of finance ministers in Brussels

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar made clear to British prime minister Theresa May  his “consistent” position that a unilateral withdrawal from the Border backstop by the UK was unacceptable. Photograph: Tom Honan

Taoiseach underlines ‘consistent’ stance on Border in call with British prime minister

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe: Ireland is among member states calling for reforms to the ESM, the EU’s loan bailout fund. Photograph: Tom Honan

Hanseatic League wants ESM to get controls like IMF to guarantee loan sustainability

An all-UK customs backstop would have to stay in place until a new “better” deal is agreed in the context of the permanent future relationship deal. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

British and EU negotiators prepared to re-enter ‘tunnel’ amid talk of legal ‘bridge’

EU and Irish sources say the original EU plan for the Irish backstop must also remain in the withdrawal agreement as a final fail-safe.

Assurances involve prospect of UK staying in customs union for post-Brexit period

British prime minister Theresa May: Ultimately, the withdrawal and Belfast agreements are reconcilable. They will have to be if the no-hard-border backstop, to which the UK has already committed itself, is to be agreed. Photograph: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Europe Letter: Acceptance of Belfast Agreement logic can bring solution to backstop

President Michael D Higgins ‘is committed to establishing an audit committee’, a spokesman said. Photograph: Martial Trezzini/EPA

President is expected to make scrutiny proposal to Government following inauguration

A Russian tactical nuclear-capable Iskander missile launches during the Zapad military exercises on the Luga range in the St Petersburg region. Photograph: Russian defence ministry

US president’s actions are reversing continent’s move away from arms proliferation

Bruno Le Maire. Photograph: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images

Europe Letter: France’s Bruno Le Maire is mobilising for a cause Dublin is dead against

Giuseppe Conte, Italy’s prime minister. The European Commission has formally rejected Italy’s draft budget. Photograph: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg

‘Excessive debt is an enemy of the people,’ says economic affairs commissioner

Central Bank deputy governor Sharon Donnery

Council to meet on Monday week to decide nomination

Senators Orrin Hatch and Ron Wyden, of the US Senate Finance Committee, warn of “significant and growing concerns” in the US about the tax. Photograph: Getty Images

US committee says tax could almost certainly give rise to double-taxation issues

 Chinese premier Li Keqiang, Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe and German chancellor Angela Merkel, who delivered a blistering critique on Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ vision.   Photograph: Reuters/Yves Herman

Brussels summit champions global co-operation in face of US protectionism

Britain’s prime minister Theresa May leaves after a news conference at the European Union leaders summit in Brussels on Thursday. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Merkel and Macron turn up heat on May to find a political solution to impasse

British Prime Minister Theresa May walks off the podium after a media conference during the EU summit in Brussels on  Thursday. Photograph: Alastair Grant/AP

A better deal may not come, no matter how many extra months are allowed to discuss it

Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson has warned of a no-deal Brexit. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

DUP and Arlene Foster ‘determined to wreck Belfast Agreement’

The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and British prime minister Theresa May during a bilateral meeting in Brussels. Photograph: Taoiseach Government/PA Wire

British PM asserts commitment to backstop while Varadkar says time limit unworkable

 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Brussels, on Wednesday ahead of the EU summit dinner. Photograph: AP

Leo Varadkar attending EU summit dinner in Brussels as May comes under pressure

Frans Timmermans: “The independence of the judiciary is essential for the functioning of the EU as a community of law.” Photograph: Georg Hochmuth/AFP/Getty Images

European Commission’s Frans Timmermans ‘not optimistic’ Poland will pull back

British prime minister Theresa May arrives for the European Council summit in Brussels. There is backing  for the idea of extending the UK transition period by a year – although the UK would have to ask for it. Photograph: EPA

Summit consigned to Sisyphean task of rolling huge boulders endlessly uphill

Anti-brexit protestors wave flags outside the Houses of Parliament in London. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

Fianna Fáil leader seeking ‘no election’ assurance from Leo Varadkar before Brexit deal struck

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and European Council president Donald Tusk. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Tánaiste ‘confident deal can be done’ as European Council president sounds gloomy note

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