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About Maria
MARIA PSARA is a journalist based in Brussel, Belgium.
Greek English
Documentaries Feature Stories Research
Politics Current Affairs Investigative Reporting

Common Fate of Europe and Ukraine Say Liberals from Kyiv

28 Mar 2024  |  gr.euronews.com
Hayer, leader of Renew Europe, emphasizes the interconnected fate of Europe and Ukraine, advocating for increased European defense spending and support for Ukraine amidst ongoing Russian aggression. The article highlights the political and military realities in Ukraine, the importance of European solidarity, and the strategic moves by Renew Europe to bolster defense capabilities. The EU is moving quickly to use frozen Russian assets for defense funding and is considering integrating Ukrainian politicians into the European Parliament as observers. The article also notes the political landscape in the EU, with Renew Europe maintaining its position and the far-right ID gaining ground.

Far-right separatist party in Belgium promises Flanders' secession

28 Mar 2024  |  gr.euronews.com
A far-right separatist party, Vlaams Belang, leads the polls in Belgium ahead of the June elections, aiming to make Flanders an independent state. The party's success is attributed to its anti-immigration stance and the belief among many Flemish people that they would fare better independently from the French-speaking Wallonia. Vlaams Belang plans to collaborate with the New Flemish Alliance to achieve a majority in the Flemish parliament and declare Flanders a sovereign state. However, public opinion in Flanders is divided, with some residents preferring to remain part of Belgium. The party also aims to keep the new Flemish state within the EU and NATO while advocating for EU reforms.

Brussels proposes European degree but struggles to explain why

27 Mar 2024  |  gr.euronews.com
The European Commission has proposed a new initiative for universities in EU countries to collaborate on offering joint study programs at bachelor's, master's, or doctoral levels, leading to degrees with an EU label recognized across the EU. Despite enthusiasm from officials like Vice-President Margaritis Schinas and Commissioner Iliana Ivanova, who see it as a significant step for European integration and competitiveness, the Commission struggled to clarify the need for these new degrees or how they would function in practice. The program will be voluntary for universities and will not come with new funding, raising concerns about inclusivity and the perpetuation of elitism. The initiative is expected to complement the Erasmus+ program and will require students to study at registered universities in at least two different member states.

Taylor and her team: Brussels wants to attract trendy performers to mobilize youth for European elections

13 Jan 2024  |  ru.euronews.com
The European Commission is planning to contact popular musicians such as Rosalía, Måneskin, Angèle, and Stromae to mobilize young voters for the upcoming European Parliament elections. Following a direct appeal by Vice-President Margaritis Schinas to American singer Taylor Swift to encourage young Europeans to vote, the Commission aims to maintain a geographical balance among European celebrities to cover the 27 EU member states. The initiative comes as part of efforts to address historically low voter turnout in European Parliament elections, with a focus on increasing youth participation.

EU mulls sending warships to protect Red Sea vessels from Houthi attacks

12 Jan 2024  |  www.euronews.com
The EU is considering deploying at least three warships to the Red Sea to protect maritime security against Houthi attacks, which have disrupted trade flows into Europe. EU nations have been hesitant to join the US-led Operation Prosperity Guardian, with Spain rejecting a request to repurpose its Atalanta mission. Tensions increased after Houthi militants were killed by Prosperity Guardian officers, leading Iran to deploy a frigate. The US and UK, with support from other Western nations, conducted air and missile strikes in Houthi-controlled Yemen, claiming self-defense and the preservation of navigation freedom. Turkey and Russia criticized the strikes, with Turkish President Erdoğan condemning them as creating a 'sea of blood.'

Worrying gap between EU's human rights promises and actions, says observer

11 Jan 2024  |  gr.euronews.com
The latest annual report by Human Rights Watch highlights the European Union's repressive immigration policies, discrimination against marginalized communities, and democratic backsliding in some member states as key human rights shortcomings in 2023. The EU is also criticized for its double standards in foreign policy, supporting accountability for war crimes in Ukraine while avoiding similar efforts in Gaza. The report's Director of EU Advocacy, Philip Dam, specifically blames European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for the EU's human rights underperformance. The report also notes the EU's failure to exert diplomatic pressure on Gulf states, China, and India to address abuses, and the EU's ineffective foreign policy efforts, such as in the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The EU's immigration policy is condemned for contributing to death, torture, and abuse, with over 2,500 deaths of migrants attempting to reach EU shores by sea in 2023.

The artists the EU wants to recruit to mobilize young voters before the European elections

11 Jan 2024  |  euronews
The European Commission is considering reaching out to popular artists like Rosalía, Måneskin, Angèle, and Stromae to mobilize young voters for the upcoming European elections. The effort aims to achieve geographical balance across the EU's 27 member states. This initiative follows a public call to Taylor Swift by European Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, who highlighted her influence on young American voters. The participation rate in European elections is typically low, but the 2019 elections saw a slight increase, attributed in part to young voters.

Chair of the European Council Belgium advocates for financing Ukraine

10 Jan 2024  |  ru.euronews.com
Belgium, having assumed the presidency of the European Council at the beginning of the year, is confident that the EU will soon continue financing Ukraine after reaching a compromise with member states that are obstructing this process. In December, Hungary blocked the EU's proposal to allocate 50 billion euros to Ukraine over four years. Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib expressed Belgium's commitment to finding a compromise to assist Kyiv, highlighting Belgium's reputation for building bridges and reaching agreements. Negotiations within the EU are ongoing, with Hungary insisting on annual reviews of the financial aid, which could allow it to set conditions and potentially use its veto power. Lahbib also emphasized the importance of preventing the spread of conflict in the Gaza Strip and the urgency of resuming Middle East peace negotiations. The Belgian presidency of the EU Council will coincide with elections in the European Parliament, with the current assembly aiming to pass as much pending legislation as possible.

Borrell's warnings about the spread of conflict in the Middle East

03 Jan 2024  |  gr.euronews.com
Josep Borrell warned of the potential for the Middle East conflict to escalate following the assassination of Hamas senior member Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut by an Israeli airstrike. Israel has not claimed responsibility, but the incident raises concerns of regional escalation involving allies like Hezbollah. Tensions in the Red Sea are also increasing due to Houthi rebel attacks, prompting a US Navy response. Borrell expressed disappointment over the EU's inability to unanimously call for a ceasefire in Gaza, highlighting the EU's weakened position and the perception of double standards compared to its stance on Ukraine.

Agreement for the reform of EU fiscal rules after the Franco-German compromise

20 Dec 2023  |  es.euronews.com
After months of disagreement, France and Germany reached a compromise on EU fiscal rules reform, with Economy Ministers Christian Lindner and Bruno Le Maire announcing the agreement in Paris. The compromise paved the way for a preliminary deal among the 27 EU member states, with the reform needing to be negotiated with the European Parliament. The reform maintains the deficit and debt levels at 3% and 60% of GDP, respectively, but introduces significant changes in how to achieve them. Germany, supported by like-minded 'frugal' countries, insisted on numerical safeguards for debt and deficit reduction, while France, with a debt level above 90%, advocated for flexibility to encourage strategic sector investment and economic growth. The preliminary agreement includes many of Germany's demands, with two numerical safeguards and the possibility of fines through the Excessive Deficit Procedure. France secured provisions for a 'resilience margin' in the deficit safeguard and consideration of interest rate hikes before initiating an Excessive Deficit Procedure. Italy, sharing French concerns, gained an explicit reference to consider public spending from defense projects and the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

Finance ministers seal reform of EU fiscal rules after Germany and France find compromise

20 Dec 2023  |  euronews.com
Germany and France reached a compromise on the reform of EU fiscal rules, with finance ministers Christian Lindner and Bruno Le Maire announcing the agreement in Paris. The reform, proposed by the European Commission, maintains the deficit and debt targets but changes their practical application. Member states will create mid-term fiscal plans with specific adjustments over four to seven years. Germany secured numerical safeguards for debt and deficit reduction, while France gained provisions for economic resilience and a transition period until 2027. The reform aims to address post-pandemic realities and lessons from the financial crisis, with enforcement mechanisms including smaller, more credible fines. Negotiations with the European Parliament are expected to be swift to implement the new framework for upcoming budgets.

Finance Ministers Seal Reform of EU Budgetary Rules

20 Dec 2023  |  fr.euronews.com
After months of negotiations, Germany and France have reached a compromise on EU budgetary rules, with Finance Ministers Christian Lindner and Bruno Le Maire announcing the agreement in Paris. The reform maintains the deficit and debt limits of 3% and 60% of GDP but changes how these targets are achieved, requiring member states to create medium-term budgetary plans. The preliminary agreement, which includes most of Germany's demands, introduces two numerical safeguards based on debt and deficit, and states exceeding the limits will default to the excessive deficit procedure with progressive fines. France secured a 'resilience margin' in the deficit safeguard to maintain strategic spending during economic shocks, and Italy gained explicit consideration for defense spending and recovery facility funds.

EU finance ministers seal fiscal rules reform after compromise between Germany and France

20 Dec 2023  |  de.euronews.com
After months of negotiations, Germany and France have reached a compromise on EU fiscal rules reform, with finance ministers Christian Lindner and Bruno Le Maire announcing the breakthrough in Paris. The agreement paves the way for a preliminary deal among the 27 member states, which will still need to be negotiated with the European Parliament. The reform maintains the deficit and debt thresholds of 3% and 60% of GDP but changes how they are to be achieved, with each member state required to create a medium-term financial plan. The reform includes numerical safeguards for debt and deficit reduction and introduces penalties for non-compliance, while also allowing for fiscal buffers and a resilience margin for economic shocks.

Finance Ministers Approve EU Budget Rules Reform

20 Dec 2023  |  pt.euronews.com
The finance ministers of Germany and France reached a compromise on EU budget rules reform after months of negotiations, paving the way for a preliminary agreement among the 27 member states. The reform maintains the existing deficit and debt targets but introduces new measures for compliance. Germany insisted on strict safeguards, while France advocated for flexibility to support strategic investments. The agreement includes provisions for automatic deficit procedures and resilience margins to accommodate economic shocks, with the European Parliament expected to finalize the process swiftly.

EU foreign ministers condemn HAMAS for 'human shields', demand restraint from Israel

13 Nov 2023  |  ru.euronews.com
The European Union accuses HAMAS of using hospitals and civilians as 'human shields' and calls for Israel to exercise maximum restraint in its military operations. Josep Borrell, on behalf of the EU member states, condemned HAMAS and expressed concern over the poor condition of hospitals affected by bombings. HAMAS reports that hospitals in northern Gaza are non-operational due to fuel shortages. EU foreign ministers, including Luxembourg's Jean Asselborn, voiced concerns about the health crisis in Gaza. While the EU officially supports humanitarian pauses in combat, countries like Spain and Belgium are calling for a ceasefire, which German Minister Annalena Baerbock believes is insufficient for ensuring safety and peace. The EU maintains that civilians should be allowed to leave conflict zones and urges immediate implementation and adherence to humanitarian pauses by the warring parties.

The European Union's dual appeal for the Middle East

13 Nov 2023  |  fr.euronews.com
The European Union has issued a dual message in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, condemning Hamas for using civilians in hospitals as human shields and urging Israel to exercise maximum restraint. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell voiced concerns about the dire situation in Gaza's hospitals, heavily affected by bombings. He plans to visit the region to discuss humanitarian aid and a political solution to the conflict. The EU calls for humanitarian pauses to deliver aid, but member states are divided on the issue of a ceasefire, with Germany opposing it. The EU insists that civilians must be able to leave combat zones and that humanitarian pauses should be implemented immediately.

The EU condemns Hamas for using human shields while urging Israel for 'maximum restraint'

13 Nov 2023  |  es.euronews.com
Josep Borrell, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, urged Israel to exercise maximum restraint to save civilian lives while condemning Hamas for using human shields in hospitals. The EU expressed concern over the dire situation in Gaza's hospitals, which are severely affected by bombings and lack essential resources. Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn highlighted the critical conditions in Gaza's hospitals, supported by reports from Médecins Sans Frontières and the World Health Organization. The EU is divided on the response, with some countries calling for a ceasefire while others, like Germany, advocate for humanitarian pauses. The EU also demands that all civilians be allowed to leave the combat zone immediately.

Calls for more entry points for humanitarian aid in Gaza

10 Nov 2023  |  gr.euronews.com
Janez Lenarčič, European Commissioner for Crisis Management, called for safe and unrestricted access to provide humanitarian aid to all people in Gaza, emphasizing the need for more entry points. This comes a month after a devastating terrorist attack by Hamas, leading to an Israeli siege and bombing campaign that killed over 10,000 civilians. The European Commission coordinated a shipment of 45 tons of medicine and food to Gaza, with the aid being transported by an Egyptian plane to al-Arish, near the Rafah crossing. Despite the UN and other organizations stressing the need to open border crossings from the Israeli side, the humanitarian aid is entering at a glacial pace. The EU has quadrupled its humanitarian aid to Gaza and the West Bank to 100 million euros this year and initiated an air bridge for transporting supplies to Egypt, which controls the only open land border crossing to Gaza, the Rafah passage.

EU: Progress on New Fiscal Rules - Towards a Franco-German Compromise

09 Nov 2023  |  gr.euronews.com
An extraordinary meeting is scheduled for the end of the month to resolve differences between France and Germany over new fiscal rules. The discussions focus on debt and deficit reduction guarantees, with France opposing automatic rules and Germany advocating for strict controls. A compromise proposal from Spain, currently holding the EU Council presidency, aims to bridge gaps. Key figures, including Bruno Le Maire and Christian Lindner, express cautious optimism. The outcome of these negotiations is crucial for the credibility of the EU and the ability of member states to plan their budgets. The final agreement is expected by December, with further discussions involving the European Parliament.

EU leaders meet in Brussels to discuss Israel-Hamas war and issue call for 'humanitarian pause'

26 Oct 2023  |  www.euronews.com
EU leaders convened in Brussels to discuss a joint call for a 'humanitarian pause' in the Israel-Hamas conflict to facilitate emergency aid into Gaza. Despite the EU, US, and UN's view that aid delivery is insufficient, the likelihood of Israel or Hamas heeding the call is slim. The EU aims to present a unified stance after previous criticism for mixed messages. The council will also address the release of hostages, discourage regional violence escalation, and express support for a two-state solution. Additionally, the EU will reaffirm its commitment to Ukraine amid the Middle East focus. Other topics include migration, the economy, competitiveness, and budget review.

European diplomats call for a 'humanitarian pause' in Gaza, but not a ceasefire

23 Oct 2023  |  fr.euronews.com
European Union foreign ministers call for a 'humanitarian pause' in Gaza but stop short of advocating for a ceasefire, reflecting differing member state perspectives on the Israel-Hamas conflict. The official stance supports Israel's right to self-defense while emphasizing the need for humanitarian aid. The EU's position contrasts with the United Nations' call for a ceasefire, highlighting internal and external diplomatic nuances. The final stance will be determined at the upcoming EU summit in Brussels.

Romania and Bulgaria's Accession to Schengen in December

19 Oct 2023  |  gr.euronews.com
Spain, currently holding the rotating presidency of the EU Council, aims to facilitate Romania and Bulgaria's accession to the Schengen Area by December. The decision requires unanimous approval from the Council of Justice and Home Affairs Ministers. Despite meeting all criteria, Romania and Bulgaria face opposition from Austria, citing high numbers of irregular border crossings. The European Commission and its President, Ursula von der Leyen, advocate for their inclusion, while Austria remains a significant obstacle. The issue is sensitive, with Romania threatening legal action against Austria for its repeated vetoes.

There is a war in the information space waged against us, warns Vera Jourova

26 Sep 2023  |  fr.euronews.com
The European Commission is concerned about Russian interference threats as European and national elections approach. Vice-President Vera Jourova believes the Kremlin will attempt to influence voter choices and calls for digital platforms to act on their commitments against disinformation. She criticizes Elon Musk for withdrawing Twitter from the European code of practice and warns of the full enforcement of the Digital Services Act. The Commission also acknowledges the nightmare combination of artificial intelligence and disinformation. Experts, including Yiannis Kompatsiaris from CERTH, suggest that platform control is challenging and European rules are insufficient, emphasizing the need for critical media education from a young age.

Brussels calls on tech giants to help fight election disinformation

26 Sep 2023  |  www.euronews.com
The European Commission, with Vice President Vera Jourova speaking in Brussels, is urging tech giants like Google, Meta, Microsoft, and TikTok to combat election disinformation, particularly in light of potential interference from Russia in upcoming national and European elections. These companies, signatories of the Voluntary Code of Practice on Disinformation, have reported actions such as closing one million fake accounts and restricting misleading content. Twitter, having withdrawn from the code, was reminded by Jourova of its obligations under the Digital Services Act. The use of AI in spreading disinformation is also a concern, and experts like Yiannis Kompatsiaris suggest that education is a critical component in fighting misinformation, alongside technological solutions.

Research, on camera interviews and scenarios for the awarded documentary series on ERT (Greek public television) "Reportage Without Frontiers" .


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