Cyprus ranks fifth among top 10 EU sto­ries in 2018

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - CYPRUS -

Cyprus ranked fifth among Europe’s top ten news sto­ries of the year compiled by EUOb­server, an in­de­pen­dent on­line news­pa­per re­port­ing on the EU with cor­re­spon­dents in all 28 mem­ber states.

In 2018 - the fi­nal full year of the Juncker Com­mis­sion, ahead of next year’s stormy­look­ing Euro­pean elec­tions - was ul­ti­mately dom­i­nated by three is­sues: Brexit, mi­gra­tion, and the in­creas­ingly “il­lib­eral” poli­cies of some eastern mem­ber states, most no­tably Poland and Hun­gary.

“With all three is­sues in­ter­linked and un­re­solved, they look like set­ting the agenda for the May 2019 Euro­pean Par­lia­ment elec­tion. With the far-right for­mally in power-shar­ing gov­ern­ments in Rome and in Vi­enna, and au­to­cratic and na­tion­al­ist regimes en­trenched in War­saw and Bu­dapest, it looks like be­ing a bumpy year for who­ever the next Euro­pean Com­mis­sion pres­i­dent may be,” said the EUOb­server.

Al­though more attention went on Hun­gary and Poland, the EU’s soft un­der­belly of cor­rup­tion, pass­port-sell­ing, as­sas­si­na­tions and dodgy oli­garchs in Malta and Cyprus did not es­cape An­drew Rettman’s attention.

Un­der the ti­tle “Cyprus: Rus­sia’s weak link?” Rettman’s “nearly 4,000 word ex­pose of the Cypriot bank­ing sec­tor and its Rus­sian links reads like a John le Carre thriller” notes the on­line news­pa­per.

“(Cyprus) Its lax at­ti­tude to sus­pi­cious Rus­sian money posed a threat to other coun­tries’ banks in the sin­gle mar­ket and cre­ated haz­ards for Euro­pean democ­racy, ex­perts said,” read the ar­ti­cle.

Last on the list, at num­ber scan­dal of for­mer Com­mis­sion 10, is the

Pres­i­dent José Manuel Bar­roso hav­ing se­cret and un­doc­u­mented meet­ings with cur­rent com­mis­sion­ers, de­spite now work­ing as a lob­by­ist for Gold­man Sachs.

In at num­ber 9 is the scan­dal of MEPs re­ceiv­ing so-called ‘ex­penses’ which are, in fact, a monthly lump sum paid, no questions asked, no re­ceipts needed, no un­der­spend re­quired to be re­paid.

Num­ber 8 is the no­table re­cruit­ment of for­mer Bri­tish Chan­cel­lor Ge­orge Os­borne from Black Rock and the EUR 2.1 trln spent on the pan-Euro­pean pen­sion fund.

Sev­enth best story of the year is the “an­ti­Semitic” cam­paign of Hun­gar­ian Prime Minister Vik­tor Or­ban against Ge­orge Soros and his threats to the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment: “Ac­cept me or I will cre­ate a pop­ulist, an­ti­im­mi­grant party.”

In at num­ber 6 is the pub­li­ca­tion of Kerte Dee­b­eff’s book, “Why the War Comes”, and the EUOb­server Re­port on the Achilles’ heel of the EU, air traf­fic safety.

At No 3, the news of how Morocco lob­bies the EU for its Western Sa­hara claim.

Num­ber two on the list is oc­cu­pied by Turkey’s Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan and his ‘tor­ture cham­bers’.

Topping the list is the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion’s Sec­re­tary Gen­eral slips up to dis­close the EU com­mis­sion­ers’ pri­vate mo­bile phone num­bers in a photo of his pro­mo­tion.

EUOb­server’s “ea­gle-eyed Niko­laj Nielsen spotted that Martin Sel­mayr had ac­ci­den­tally left the en­tire list of EU com­mis­sion­ers’ pri­vate mo­bile phone num­bers vis­i­ble, quickly mak­ing this story go viral and our most-read story of 2018. Not a good first day in the of­fice”.

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