A former Austrian interior minister and Euro MP, Ernst Strasser, has been sentenced to four years in jail after being convicted of bribe-taking. The conservative Austrian People‘s Party MP, was exposed by reporters from the UK‘s Sunday Times, who secretly filmed him while posing as lobbyists. They showed him being offered a 100,000 euro annual payment in exchange for influencing EU legislation in the European Parliament. (BBC.CO.UK)
The British government has said that David Cameron, the UK prime minister, will make a speech on the UK‘s future relationship with the rest of the European Union on Friday in the Netherlands. Cameron is expected to outline the powers he wants to claw back from the EU and say that he will hold a referendum on that position after renegotiation. (EUROPEANVOICE.COM)
According to the EU Employment and Social Situation Quarterly Review released by the European Commission, against the backdrop of persistent difficulties on labour markets, ever higher unemployment at EU level and rising divergence between Member States, the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU now accounts for nearly one-fourth of the EU population. The most affected group consists of working-age adults.
In November 2012 compared with October 2012, seasonally adjusted industrial production fell by 0.3% in both the euro area and the EU27, according to estimates released by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In October production decreased by 1.0% and 0.8% respectively. In November 2012 compared with November 2011, industrial production dropped by 3.7% in the euro area and by 3.3% in the EU27.
An Italian court has denied the request of former PM Silvio Berlusconi to halt a trial where he is accused of having sex with an under-age prostitute. The court in Milan also decided it did not need to hear testimony from Karima El Mahroug. (BBC.CO.UK)
Silvio Berlusconi‘s centre-right coalition is gaining ground ahead of next month‘s elections, which could make it harder for Italy‘s left to form a stable parliamentary majority, new polls show. Days after Berlusconi‘s appearance on a critic‘s television show attracted almost 9 million viewers, a survey by the Tecne research institute for SkyTG24 showed the former prime minister‘s alliance on 26% overall on Sunday, up 1.6 points from a day earlier. (EURACTIV.COM)
The day after France decided to intervene in Mali by providing military assistance to the country’s government in containing rebel and extremist groups in the North, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso expressed his support to the French mission. (EUROPOLITICS.COM)