Roger Torrent, from the separatist Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) party, was elected speaker of the Catalan parliament on Wednesday, during the assembly's first session following the 21 December regional elections. The parliament is expected to elect the government's president on 31 January. ERC and the other separatist party, Junts per Catalunya (JxCat), have , who is in exile in Belgium.
The minority government under Czech prime minister Andrej Babis resigned on Wednesday after losing a confidence vote. The billionaire prime minister is a decade ago. "The government approved its resignation and I will ask for an appointment with the president so that I can deliver the resignation personally," said Babis, who became prime minister in December.
The European Parliament on Wednesday voted in favour of to countries outside Europe. "We must not be complicit in human rights violations abroad," said Klaus Buchner, the German MEP heading the file. The vote aims to amend an EU regulation on dual-use technology. EU states must now formulate their positions for negotiations to begin.
The European Commission and the EU's national governments pass each other the buck on who should move first on a heavily-criticised proposal on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food.
Annual inflation in the eurozone was 1.4% in December, Eurostat said Wednesday. This is down from 1.5% in November, but up from 1.1% a year before. The aim of the European Central Bank policies is to have inflation "below but close to 2 percent". For the whole of the EU, annual inflation was 1.7% in December, compared to 1.8% in November and 1.2% a year before.
The leader of the centre-right European People's Party group in the European Parliament has called for the creation of a "European Netflix", referring to the American online streaming service. "A 'European Netflix' can promote the unique European creativity and variety and encourage a common understanding of the unity in diversity. It's either a Europe sticking to its cultural richness or no Europe at all," Manfred Weber said on Wednesday.
Sylvie Goulard, a former MEP who resigned as Emmanuel Macron's defence minister over fraud allegations, is set to become the next deputy-chief of France's central bank. Goulard was accused last summer of using EU funds to pay her workers. Goulard at the time denied any wrongdoing. The French media outlet Canard Enchaine now reports she will be touted for a post at the Bank of France.
A new from Aaborg University estimated the consequences of Brexit in four Danish fishing ports and their communities at costing up to 1bn kroner (€1.3m) annually and the loss of 800 jobs. "A hard Brexit, closing of access to British waters, will have major financial consequences for Danish fishing," , hoping for a 'Norwegian deal' preserving access to fishing in British waters post-Brexit.
Luxembourg foreign minister Jean Asselborn has urged European recognition of Palestine as a state. Speaking to the he said: "We Europeans have to show that even the Palestinians have a right to their own state." Asselborn regretted there is currently no common EU position on Palestine, saying that "if France went ahead with the recognition of Palestine, more states would follow, including Luxembourg".