British prime minister Theresa May:  “The UK thinks everything has to change on the EU’s side so that everything can stay the same for the UK,”  a senior EU official said. Photograph: Will Oliver/EPA

UK proposals to maintain regulatory alignment with EU for limited time are a ‘fantasy’

Border at Newry: Prof Federico Fabbrini says the EU could “declare the entire territory of Northern Ireland to be a frontier zone to the EU customs union; thereby removing the need for customs controls (at least on the EU side)”. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty

Europe Letter: Article XXIV of GATT could keep NI in customs union and single market

European semester 2018: EU vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis and commissioners Marianne Thyssen and Pierre Moscovici at the launch of the spring package. Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty

Government urged to use ‘windfall gains’ to pay down debt and broaden tax base

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg  at the European Parliament in Brussels: “We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibilities.” Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Social media group’s founder admits it has not done enough to stop abuse on its network

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Minister of State  Helen McEntee meeting British PM Theresa May and her chief of staff Gavin Barwell  in Sofia. Photograph: Virginia Mayo/AP.

UK expected to put customs proposals in written form to EU negotiators in weeks

EU-Western Balkans summit:   German chancellor Angela Merkel, Bulgarian prime minister Boiko Borissov, French president Emmanuel Macron and British prime minister Theresa May, in the second row. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Breakdown in relations with US will test EU self-reliance, warns Donald Tusk

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arrives at an informal European Union  summit with Western Balkans countries at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria. Photograph: Vassil Donev/EPA

‘We need to seriously question whether we’re going to have a Withdrawal Agreement at all’

Bulgarian prime minister Boyko Borissov welcomes president of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani during the European People’s Party summit in Sofia, Bulgaria on May 16th, 2018. Photograph: Borislav Troshev

Europe Letter: EU leaders gather in Sofia to reassure western Balkan states of future

The case before the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights  (ECHR) arose after the group’s application for a licence to put the play on in 2007 had been denied. Photograph: Frederick Florin/AFP/Getty Images

Maltese authorities claimed that play showed contempt for Auschwitz victims

Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is welcomed by Belgium’s foreign minister Didier Reynders  at the Egmont Palace in Brussels on May 15th, 2018. Photograph: Eric  Lalmand/AFP/Getty

Mohammad Javad Zarif optimistic Tehran’s interests will be preserved despite US pullout

European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and Minister for Foreign Affairs  Simon Coveney attend an EU’s general affairs council in Brussels, Belgium on Monday. Photograph: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

‘There will be no withdrawal treaty if there isn’t a backstop dealing with the Irish Border,’ says Coveney

Attempts to conserve the Irish branch of the European eel have been complicated by Brexit

Talks about Irish issues aren’t just about the Border – they also cover trade, tourism and nature

European chief negotiator on Brexit Michel  Barnier  speaking to media in Derry during a visit to Northern Ireland in May. Photograph: Trevor McBride

Brussels adamant withdrawal agreement must be approved by UK in June for talks to go on

Jean-Claude Juncker speaking at the European University Institute in Florence: “We want all Europeans to be full-time Europeans, not fair-weather Europeans.” Photograph: Claudio Giovannini

European Commission president underlines role of solidarity in formulation of policy

Federica Mogherini, vice-president of the European Commission: the European University Institute’s conference debated  the proposed multi-annual budget. Photograph: Claudio Giovannini

Forum hears burden-sharing and solidarity are key principles of EU’s legal order

Syrian refugee Hossam Eldin (55) looks around to his grandchildren after crossing the Evros river between Greece and Turkey: a forum in Florence heard EU public attitudes to migration have remained stable. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

While right-wing groups focus on migrant debate, left appears to be ignoring issue

President Michael D Higgins attends the State of the Union conference, Solidarity in Europe – Authenticity in the European Street, for which  he gave an address  at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy. He is pictured with Prof Renaud Dehousse, EUI president. Photograph: Maxwell’s

EU speech: President sets out distinctly left-wing vision, critical of obsession with markets

Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, recently  reiterated his objections saying the EU’s migration policies threaten the “sovereignty and cultural identity” of Hungary. Photographer: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg

Europe Letter: EU compromise on asylum seeker rules will be hard to broker

An Iranian woman walks past a mural on the wall of the former US embassy in the Iranian capital Tehran on Tuesday. Photo/ AFP PHOTO / ATTA KENAREATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images

Reaction: Trump demand that allies fall into line could cause a considerable rift with EU

Just one in nine voters say Ireland should quit the EU, down from nearly three times that level five years ago, a new poll for the European Movement in Ireland has found. Photograph: Yves Herman

Red C survey shows slight rise in Irish support for joining EU defence structures

 Marco Buti of the  European Commission: The commission’s projections for the Republic say   ‘the domestic economy is expected to remain robust, supported by positive labour market trends and investment in construction’.  Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Spring forecasts see Brussels raise 2018 growth projection to 5.7%

A statue of German philosopher, economist, political theorist and sociologist Karl Marx is placed on its plinth in his birthplace of Trier, Germany. Photograph: Harald Tittel/AFP/Getty

Two centuries later, the ‘father of communism’ should not be judged on disciples’ excesses

European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan said that small farmers’ pockets should not be hit by the proposed farm budget cutbacks.

Rural development fund to be cut by 10 per cent

The European Commission is suggesting raising the legal amount it can ask member states contribute to the EU budget – from 1.2 per cent of GNI to 1.29 per cent. Photograph: iStock

Budget bill to require higher national contributions and cuts to funding for agriculture

On Wednesday budget commissioner Gunther Oettinger will set out his proposals for the next EU budget – running from the end of 2020 for seven years. Photograph: iStock

Budget commissioner Oettinger to set out proposals for next EU budget to run from 2020

European Union negotiator Michel Barnier visiting to the EU subway station in Sofia: talks of the Belfast Agreement as a European agreement. Photograph: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images

Skilled European negotiator who insists on backstop Border provision set to visit Ireland

France’s Minister for the Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire, left,  and German finance minister Olaf Scholz give a joint press conference after an informal Ecofin meeting of EU finance minister in Sofia on April 28th. Photograph:  AFP PHOTO / STRSTR/AFP/Getty Images

Germany, UK now opposed to measure proposed by European Commission - sources

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: ‘The threat on our doorstep today is Brexit.’ File photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Taoiseach makes case for integration on several issues but reiterates resistance on tax

The European Commission policy paper proposes sharply increased investment in artificial intelligence by both the EU and the private sector.

European Commission policy paper sets out three-pronged approach

UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney: Ireland diluted the EU’s expression of support for the military strike against Syria. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty

Europe Letter: Realpolitik and principle make for uncomfortable bedfellows

Brexit warning to Theresa May: “The UK has to face up to the fact that decision time is here.” Photograph: AFP/Getty

EU commissioner to take aim at Theresa May’s ‘red lines’ opposing customs union

UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief co-ordinator Mark Lowcock  at a news conference with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini during an international conference on the future of Syria, in Brussels, Belgium, on Wednesday. Photograph: Francois Walschaerts/Reuters

Ireland brings aid in region to €100m since 2012 as €3.6bn pledged at EU-UN summit

 European Parliament Brexit co-ordinator Guy Verhofstadt: “It remains a priority . . . to ensure that citizens, whether UK citizens in the EU or EU citizens in the UK, can continue to lead their lives as they do now.” Photograph: Patrick Seeger

Concerns grow about transition and post-Brexit reality for EU citizens in UK

European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans:  “There should be no punishment for doing the right thing.” Photograph: Eric Vidal/Reuters

Move aims to bolster safety from retaliation for employees across union

The report criticises social media platforms for not protecting users’ data, a nod to   the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal. Photograph: Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images

Commission to call for self-regulation rather than legislation to fight ‘disinformation’

A woman takes pictures of Humanoid “Sophia The Robot” of Hanson Robotics  at the 2017 Web Summit in Lisbon. Photograph: Patricia de Melo Moreira/AFP/Getty Images

What ‘rights’ have artificial intelligence objects, and can you embed a conscience?

Martin Selmayr: has been appointed commission’s new secretary general in manner criticised as “secretive”. Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty

Selection of Martin Selmayr for European Commission job deemed ‘coup-like action’

European Council President Donald Tusk before his speech at the European Parliament on Wednesday. Photograph: Patrick Seeger/EPA

UK has not produced proposals on how it will fulfil commitment to a ‘backstop’ solution

EU high commissioner for foreign affairs Federica Mogherini: “The western Balkans countries are European, and will be part of the European Union.” Photograph: Virginia Mayo/AP

Commission wants Albania and Macedonia to start talks on joining EU

An RAF Tornado takes off from a base in Akrotiri, Cyprus, to participate in joint operational strikes  by the US, France and Britain in Syria. Photograph: Mod via AP

British PM defends decision to launch action against Assad without parliamentary approval

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney (right) speaks with British foreign secretary Boris Johnson during a  meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monda. Photograph: Virginia Mayo/AP

Luxembourg meeting condemns ‘repeated use’ of chemical weapons by Syrian regime

Surface-to-air missile defences light up the sky over Damascus during  US-led air strikes on Syria. Photograph: AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

There are worries by some EU states about legality of air strikes without UN approval

French Rafale warplanes preparing for take off at the Saint-Dizier aerial military base in eastern France on Friday. Photograph: EPA

Union ‘supportive of all efforts’ to prevent the use of chemical weapons, Mogherina says

Photograph: iStock

Reforms would outlaw taking longer than 30 days to pay suppliers of perishable products

Brexit: the UK’s departure has led to a renewed spirit of togetherness among the remaining EU members. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty

Europe Letter: The union is a political project with equality as its guiding principle

The new fund is aiming to bridge the gap between venture capital in the EU and the US; in 2016 VCs invested about € 6.5 billion in the EU compared with € 39.4 billion in the US.

Venture EU hopes to trigger €6.5 bn of new investment in innovative start-ups across Europe

EU commissioner Phil Hogan on UK: “You might say it doesn’t want to change its EU outfit, just its shoes.”   Photograph: Alan Betson s

Irish EU commissioner believes UK will find ‘huge gap between hope and experience’

Christine Lagarde: a rainy-day fund could halve the size of a downturn for “the relatively modest cost” of 0.35 per cent of gross domestic product a year. Photograph: Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters

Europe Letter: IMF head wants EU to set up rainy-day fund for next crisis

European Commission vice president Valdis Dombrovskis announcing cheaper cross-border payments and fairer currency conversions for consumers. Photograph: EPA

European Commission says transfers will now be charged as domestic transactions

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker at  a news conference at Euxinograd residence near Varna, Bulgaria on Monday. Photograph: Stoyan Nenov/Reuters

Donald Tusk cites ‘long list’ of concerns after summit meeting with Erdogan in Bulgaria

European Council president Donald Tusk arriving on Monday in Varna, Bulgaria, where he announced that 14 EU member states are to expel Russian diplomats following the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in Britain. Photograph: Bulgarian government press office via Reuters

Ireland ‘considering position’ as US, Canada and EU announce large-scale expulsions

The talks which began last June, widely described as “phase one” or the “divorce settlement”, concerned only the political underpinnings of the Withdrawal Agreement. Photograph: Getty Images

Discussions between EU and UK now proceeding along several strands towards multiple deadlines

EU summit: Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, with Jean-Claude Juncker, head of the European Commission.  Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty

EU leaders to assess in June ‘if the Irish question has been resolved’

President of the European Council Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker (right) after a press conference  in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Trump seeks more ‘reciprocal’ trading relationship amid concern over levies on metals

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar: “There is no point in Europe proposing a tax on itself that may only hand an advantage to countries that are not in the European Union or even countries that are leaving the European Union.” Photograph: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty

Leo Varadkar highlights need to not weaken EU competitiveness with ‘flawed’ taxation

US president Donald Trump embraces Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the White House during their St Patrick’s week meeting. File photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Donald Trump’s move weakens Ireland’s line of attack on proposed tax on digital firms

Steel smelting. The EU has suggested to the US that there is a problem with excess steel capacity on world markets and that it is prepared to work with Washington on the issue.

EU leaders had earlier been briefed on the prospect of a dangerous escalation of trade retaliation

Pierre Moscovici, European commissioner in charge of economic and financial affairs: “The digital economy is a major opportunity for Europe, and Europe is a huge source of revenues for digital firms.” Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Leo Varadkar to say timing of tax initiative is ‘poor’ given US-EU trade tensions

British foreign secretary Boris Johnson speaking to the press before   a meeting of EU foreign ministers  in Brussels on Monday, March 19th. Photograph: Virginia Mayo/AP

Europe Letter: Some member states feel beholden to foreign powers above and beyond the solidarity that should be due first and for(...)

EU taxation commissioner Pierre Moscovici: “This win-win situation raises legal and fiscal concerns.” Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters

Tax could raise €5 billion for member states, commission says

Digital companies are growing far faster than the economy at large, and this trend is set to continue.

According to the Commission, digitalised businesses face an effective tax rate of only 9.5%, compared to 23.2% for traditional bus(...)

Tax overhaul: the EU will argue that digitalised businesses such as Amazon, which has warehouses (above) across the continent, face an effective rate of 9.5 per cent. Photograph: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty

Ireland wary of any changes that seem to favour larger countries

  Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney:  insisted the issue of ensuring an open border on the island of Ireland was not “being kicked into the long grass”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

‘Backstop’ deal will keep North under EU rules in the event of no-deal Brexit

Minister for Foreign Affairs  Simon Coveney after   a meeting with  EU Brexit  negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels on Monday.  Photograph: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg

We now return to the pre-Withdrawal Agreement treaty text and the ‘fudge’ that was December’s agreement

David Davis (left) and EU  Michel Barnier address a press conference in Brussels on Monday. Photograph: Emmanuel Dundand/AFP/Getty Images

Fate of Northern Irish Border among disagreements to be dealt with in negotiations

Salisbury nerve-agent attack: emergency services at the grave of Liudmila Skripal, wife of the poisoned former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal. Photograph: Peter Nicholls/Reuters

Foreign ministers to press for enforcement of chemical weapons convention

Members of the European Movement in Scotland demonstrate against  Brexit  outside the Scottish Labour Party Conference  in Dundee in recent days. File photograph: by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Differences on transition and Withdrawal Agreement still unresolved, sources warn

A market in the  Brussels suburb of Molenbeek.  Muslins make up 25% of the population of Brussels.   Photograph: Getty Images

The man’s anger showed he had absorbed some of the spirit of Brussels’ alienated young Muslims

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe (right) with Greek finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos (left) and  Luxembourg’s finance minister Pierre Gramegna at a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Ireland among seven states denying policies undermine integrity of single market

Minister for Finance  Paschal Donohoe, who was in Brussels on Monday for a meeting of the eurogroup. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Ministers also press ahead with internal reforms of European Monetary Union

Dutch professor Madeleine de Cock Buning welcomed the extent to which the giant social media companies such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter engaged with and supported the work. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Report is part of commission’s consultation process on controlling ‘disinformation’

Brexit has also changed the calculation for Ireland by increasing the importance of attempts to demonstrate Irish commitment to the EU in all its aspects.   Photograph: iStock/Getty

Fine Gael MEPs look for a new definition of what it means in practice

Italy’s Five Star Movement founder Beppe Grillo with party leader Luigi Di Maio in Rome ahead of elections where they took a 32 per cent share of the vote. Photograph:  Tony Gentile/Reuters

Italian left is the latest casualty in the meltdown of a once-dominant movement

Clocks connected to national grids will try  to catch up six minutes with their faster clockwork or radio-signal-based counterparts

Clocks using national grids went out of sync in January due to dispute between Serbia and Kosovo

European Council president Donald Tusk speaking to the press in Senningen, Luxembourg. A draft of the broad principles of a post-Brexit free trade agreement between the EU and UK was sent out  by Mr Tusk to member states for their approval. Photograph: Reuters

Only free trade agreement left, adds European Council president

New secretary-general of the commission Martin Selmayr has come under fresh attack after suggesting tripling the “transition allowance” for commissioners after they leave office. Under the reported plans officials could receive €13,500 per month for up to five years, an office in the commission, and an official car with a driver and two assistants. Photograph: EPA

Europe Letter: Brussels backlash over Martin Selmayr’s appointment

Brian Hayes: “The parliament’s call for an ‘association agreement’ could serve as the basis for a possible solution for the future relationship with the UK”

Resolution insists UK must keep to commitments to ensure there is no harder border

EU president Donald Tusk   in Senningen on March 7th,  during which he laid out draft guidelines for negotiations on post-Brexit ties. Photograph Emmanuel Dunand/Getty Images

Only remaining possible model is ‘free trade agreement’, says EU

European Council President Donald Tusk speaks during a press conference in Senningen. Photograph: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty

Europe warns Britain against ‘cherry-picking’ of EU rules

DUP leader Arlene Foster   with the EU’s  chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday. Photograph: Reuters

Arlene Foster also highlights alleged rewriting of the scope of North-South bodies

Luigi Di Maio, the Italian Five Star Movement leader: party is ready to “talk to all parties” about its government agenda. Photograph:  Alessandro Di Meo

Europe concerned at rise of Eurosceptic and anti-immigrant political forces

 Lega leader Matteo Salvini: the party represents Italy’s wealthy north and taxpayers who resent corruption. Photograph: Daniel Dal Zennaro

Both Five Star and alliance of centre-right and right claim status of largest party

Five Star Movement founder Beppe Grillo (L) speaks next to leader Luigi Di Maio during the finally rally ahead of the March 4th elections in downtown Rome. Photograph: Tony Gentile

Widespread anger over poverty, unemployment and migrants hits Democratic Party

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s leader on Brexit,  welcomed as ‘reassuring’ what he saw as Ms May’s ‘re-confirmation of our December agreement on the Irish border’. Photograph:  Dominic Lipinksi/PA Wire

‘Cherry-picking’ will not help Britain’s plans to access the EU market – warns Barnier

US president Donald Trump listens during a meeting with steel and aluminium executives in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, on Thursday. Photograph: Bloomberg

Series of early-morning tweets by the president defended his move to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminium imports

The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier leaving  a business conference in Brussels on Thursday after delivering a speech. Photograph: Francois Lenoir/Reuters.

Michel Barnier happy to hear if Britain has ‘better ideas’ on how to avoid a hard Border

European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier: London’s priority is to negotiate a future relationship with the EU allowing it to trade freely without any borders. Photograph: Reuters/Francois Lenoir

Political undertakings at the end of phase one talks included safeguards on North

British prime minister Theresa May: with the publication of the EU’s draft withdrawal agreement, slow-moving chickens have come home to roost over Irish Border. Photograph: PA

British leader signed up to set of binding commitments

Chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier:  a protocol sets out specific measures to prevent a hard border in the North. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet

EU chief Brexit negotiator insists controls would not be border on island of Ireland

European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier: Said there would be “no surprises” in the withdrawal agreement. Photograph:  John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

EU set to publish draft withdrawal agreement, with focus on text dealing with Border

Diane Dodds, a DUP member of the European Parliament, has criticised proposed North-South regulatory alignment after Brexit. Photograph: David Young/PA Wire.

Diane Dodds (DUP) says North-South regulatory alignment would be ‘economically catastrophic’

The phone call between the two leaders, organised at the request of Downing Street, comes two days before the EU releases the draft withdrawal agreement.

Call comes days before release of withdrawal deal providing ‘backstop’ for no hard border

The EU’s new top civil servant Martin Selmayr arrives for a meeting in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

Martin Selmayr’s elevation to EU’s top civil service post has had a significant fallout

French president Emmanuel Macron, German chancellor Angela Merkel and Italy’s prime minister Paolo Gentiloni at the informal meeting of the 27 EU heads of state  in Brussels on Friday. Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

Patrick Smyth: Officials insist no sign of divisions opening up in ranks of the EU27

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker:  the budget discussion was “less conflictual” than expected. Photograph: Patrick Seeger

Upbeat summit talks revolve around Brexit deficit of €7bn, border controls and migrants

European Council president Donald Tusk: said British Brexit proposals for “managed divergence” from EU regulations along with preferential access to EU markets show that Boris Johnson’s “cake philosophy” lives on. Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

Varadkar says Ireland will pay more but will not sign up to common corporation tax base

Burkina Faso’s president Roch Marc Christian Kabore, Chad’s president Idriss Deby, King Philippe of Belgium and Mali’s president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita during an audience between the Belgian king and the heads of state of the G5 Sahel organisation at the Royal Palace in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday. Photograph: Stephanie Lecocq/EPA

Taoiseach among 24 EU chiefs to commit €50m to battle poverty, terror in Sahel G5

Martin Selmayr: the European Commission’s new secretary general claimed recently to have 5m of books on Ireland on his shelves.  Photograph: John Thys/AFP/Getty

Martin Selmayr replaced as president’s chief of staff by Clara Martinez Alberola

Britain’s Brexit secretary  David Davis   after his meeting with the Greek  minister for foreign affairs in Athens on Wednesday. Photograph:  Louisa  Gouliamaki/Getty Images

Analysis: London and EU negotiators believe agreement on transition text straightforward

Central Bank governor Philip Lane welcomed the opportunity to participate in the process to recruit the ECB vice-president. Photograph: Eric Luke

Minister says he made decision in interests of consensus for ECB vice-president role

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