EU foreign ministers on Monday (16 November) referred Albania’s membership application, made on 28 April, to the European Commission for a formal opinion, a process that normally takes around a year. A Commission recommendation is required before accession talks can start.
Mission in Somalia
EU foreign ministers agreed on Tuesday (17 November) to start planning a new EU training mission for Somalia’s nascent security forces, to take place in Uganda.
Defence ministers from 14 EU member states, including France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain, signed a letter of intent on Tuesday to form a European air transport fleet. The European Defence Agency has now been tasked with planning the fleet. The EU’s 27 defence ministers agreed on the same day to hold twice-yearly exercises of EU helicopter fleets.
Far-right parties represented in the European Parliament launched a new grouping, the European Alliance of National Movements, on Thursday (12 November). The alliance has enough national parties in its membership to cross the threshold needed to secure EU funding. Far-right parties in the Parliament – including the British National Party, France’s National Front and Hungary’s Jobbik – are too weak to be able to form a Parliamentary grouping.
EU foreign ministers on Monday prolonged by a year the currently suspended travel ban on a number of Belarusian officials. The suspension of the ban was also extended by a year.
The Commission reported on Tuesday that national authorities have forced 213 websites selling mobile-phone ringtones either off the web or to bring their product into line with consumer-protection rules. National authorities investigated 301 websites on the basis of a Commission investigation published in May.
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