Eurozone inflation eases to 10 percent in November
Madrid/Brussels (Europa Press) – The eurozone’s year-on-year inflation rate stood at 10 percent in November, down six tenths of a percentage point from the all-time high recorded in October. It is the first slowdown in 17 months, according to Eurostat. Spain is the eurozone country where prices rose least sharply, at 6.6 percent.
The Spanish Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation highlighted that inflation in the country was almost 3.5 percentage points below the eurozone average in November, with the consequent further improvement in competitiveness for companies and the Spanish economy.
For her part, the president of the European Central Bank (ECB), Christine Lagarde, assured that the institution will raise interest rates as much as necessary to achieve stability and reach the “right stage”, after inflation in October accelerated to 10.6 percent, a level that Lagarde does not yet consider a ceiling for rising prices. (November 28/30)
EU aims for visa-free travel for Kosovo from 2024 at the latest
Brussels (APA) – EU member states want citizens of Kosovo to be exempt from visa requirements when travelling to the European Union by 1 January 2024 at the latest. After a six-year delay, the EU Council decided on November 30 that negotiations on visa-free travel can begin. The EU Commission had first proposed a visa waiver scheme for Kosovo back in 2016.
On the basis of the negotiating mandate, the Czech EU Council Presidency wants to start talks with the European Parliament. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky spoke of an important step towards implementing the promise of visa liberalisation for Kosovo. “Visa liberalisation has been made possible by Kosovo’s efforts to strengthen its border controls, migration management and security, and we trust that this good cooperation will only be strengthened in the future,” Lipavsky said.
Kosovan passport holders could thus travel to the EU without a visa for a period of three months. One of the conditions for this was Kosovo’s accession to the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), which is due to come into force in November 2023. (November 30)
European Commission recommends Bosnia and Herzegovina be granted EU candidate status
Sarajevo (FENA) – The European Union Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi has paid an official two-day visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), following the European Commission’s decision to recommend the granting of candidate status to BiH. Commissioner Várhelyi met with the new members of the Presidency of BiH Željka Cvijanović, Denis Bećirović and Željko Komšić and other officials in BiH, where he discussed the next steps and necessary reforms on BiH’s path towards EU membership.
“The recommendation is to grant BiH candidate status without delay, but it comes with high expectations. The EU path for BiH is open, but results are expected from BiH, which should be achieved without further delays, and it is up to the political leadership to make it a reality,” said Várhelyi.
He noted that it is crucial for BiH to provide tangible and clear results, which will need to be presented to the Council of the European Union. In order for this to happen, he added, the outgoing Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina is expected to fulfil everything related to the adoption of key laws, and the newly elected Presidency of BiH is expected to have the 14 priorities of the European Commission as the backbone of their future work.
At the meetings with Várhelyi, BiH officials expressed the expectation that the European Council will confirm the granting of candidate status in mid-December, adding that such a decision would relax relations within BiH and direct the focus of all political actors to the path towards EU membership and the necessary reforms. (November 29)
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