British people decided to leave the EU after 43 years of membership, PM Cameron to step down by autumn
In a historic referendum last Thursday, the UK citizens voted to leave the EU after 43 years of tumultuous and often problematic membership. After weeks of arduous campaigning, the Leave camp won by approximately 52% to 48% with a turnout of 71.8% - the highest at a UK-wide vote since 1992. Significantly, England, with the exception of London, and Wales voted strongly for Brexit, while Scotland and Northern Ireland backed staying in the EU. The Leave vote instantly cast doubts on the political future of PM David Cameron, with UKIP leader Nigel Farage calling on the PM to quit immediately, while Labour members said Cameron “should seriously consider his position”. However, pro-Leave Conservatives such as Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have signed a letter urging Cameron to stay on whatever the result.
Several European policymakers and businesses are sceptical, Hungary is most critical
The EU's envoys on 21 June decided to prolong sanctions against Russia through January 2017, Reuters reported, citing diplomatic sources. They targeted Russia’s financial, energy and defence sectors, as well as a number of government officials, businessmen and public figures. The decision has yet to be formally approved by the bloc's ministers but diplomats said there was no doubt they would. EU leaders are expected to meet in Brussels this week. France and Britain asked for time to receive comments from their parliaments, though they have no power to block the decision.
The reinforced agency is set to become operational already this summer
The European Border and Coast Guard (EBCG) came a step closer to life after last Wednesday the Council endorsed an agreement already reached with the Parliament and the Commission. According to the deal, the reinforced agency is to be up and running already this summer.
Corporate tax cheat crackdown agreed
Member States finally agreed last Tuesday on measures aimed at cracking down on corporate tax cheats. The measures, proposed by the Commission in January, are part of a wider battle against multinationals that use loopholes to cut their tax bills.
Enhancing rail freight in Europe
The Netherlands took the opportunity of their presidency of the Council to co-organise with the Commission a business confe­rence on Rail Freight Corridors (RFC) and the development of rail freight in Europe, in the margins of the Trans-European Transport Network or TEN-T Days in Rotterdam.
Increasing energy efficiency, renewable goals by 2030
Maria Koleva, Brussels
During the plenary session in Brussels on 23 June, MEPs backed a proposal to increase targets for energy efficiency and renewable energy by 2030. The Renewable energy resolution steered by Paloma Lopez Bermejo (GUE/NGL, ES) was supported by 444 votes to 103, with 23 abstentions.
Europe goes digital
Maria Koleva, Brussels
Inspired by Forum Europe, the Digital Festival 2016 that took place in Brussels on 21 June was a vibrant meeting place of ideas and innovation where the digital community had opportunity to showcase Europe’s achievements and to debate on the hot topics that come together with the digital transformation.
Sofia, Berlin deepen strategic partnership
Accepting Bulgaria and Romania into the Schengen area soon is crucial to maintaining Europe’s security, said President Rosen Plevneliev during his joint press conference with the President of Germany Joachim Gauck, who was on a three-day official visit to Bulgaria. President Gauck noted that in the conducted meetings he was apprised of Bulgaria’s quick strides in developing a border mechanism in compliance with the European requirements. “Bulgaria is striving to become a member of the Schengen area and I was very interested to hear the efforts and actions undertaken as part of the government’s commitment towards that goal and the results recorded,” said President Gauck.
Borisov: Europe should avoid double standard
I am grateful for many of the things that have been achieved thanks to our membership of the European Union but I hope that the double standard evidenced in Europe’s governance will be moderated because no one stood up for Bulgaria on the South Stream issue, commented Prime Minister Boyko Borisov during the general assembly of the German-Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Sofia.
Legitimate anger lashes at the EU
Simon Tilford
Unlike national institutions, whose legitimacy can survive long periods of poor performance, the legitimacy of the EU rises and falls with its record at making people's lives better. There is no doubting the scale of disillusionment with the EU. We've seen profound shifts in popular attitudes to it across the continent. Countries that used to be overwhelmingly pro-EU, such as Italy, are now as eurosceptic as Britain.
How neoliberalism's order feeds fraud and corruption
Joerg Wiegratz, David Whyte
Corporate fraud is not just present, but is widespread in many neoliberalised economies of both income-rich and income-poor countries. Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal is perhaps the most recent and most startling example, but the automobile industry is only one of many sectors, including banking and the arms industry, where scandals have become commonplace. Certain practices and norms that many people in the global North considered shocking only a while ago have become routine in public life. The financial industry, whe­ther in the US, UK, or Germany, has become characterised for years now by extensive and escalating fraud. Arguably, ban­kers have never been as unpopular as they are right now. It is not difficult to see why. The most vulnerable in society have suffered the most as a result of public sector cuts in western Europe.
Revolt erupts in US Congress
Democrats in the US House of Representative initiated last Wednesday an unprecedented demonstration aimed to convince the Republican majority to remain in session and to vote on gun control legislation. Earlier on Monday the US Senate rejected a string of Republican and Democrat proposals to restrict guns, days after mass shooting in an Orlando nightclub.
'Colourful revolution' rages in Macedonia
Tens of thousands of angry people showed up last Mon­day at an anti-government rally in Macedonia's capital Skopje demanding fair ele­ctions and investigations into politicians' murky affairs, news wires reported. During the protest, groups of demonstrators broke several windows of the Ministry of Justice.
WTO concerned about G20 trade restrictions
In a monitoring report, issued on 21 June, WTO warned that G20 trade restrictions have reached the highest monthly level since the global economic crisis. In the period under review (mid-October 2015 to mid-May 2016), G20 economies applied 145 new trade-restrictive measures, or an average of almost 21 new measures a month. In the same period, G20 economies implemented 100 measures aimed at facilitating trade, averaging just over 14 per month.
Poland to be EU gate for Chinese business
China's President Xi Jinping`s visit to Poland last week indicates that the Asian giant seeks to boost ties with the EU largest eastern economy. Warsaw claims to act as a gateway for China in eastern Europe.
Boeing signs agreement to sell 100 jets to Iran
Boeing Co. said on 21 June it signed an agreement with Iran Air “expressing the airline’s intent” to buy its aircraft - the Islamic Republic’s first major deal with an American company following its landmark nuclear accord last year with world powers.
Elegy for the Arctic
Greenpeace presented a historic performance by acclaimed pianist Ludovico Einaudi in the Arctic Ocean, part of the Save the Arctic campaign, announced organisers from the environmental group. Einaudi performed Elegy for the Arctic, a new piece he composed specifically for the occasion on a grand piano pe­rched on a floating platform in the Arctic Ocean near Svalbard, Norway on 21 June. The musician travelled on board of the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise.
I must have been born under a lucky star
Penka Momchilova, BTA
It was Matthias’ idea. After our enormous success last year with Schubert’s Die Winterreise at Bulgaria Hall in Sofia and at the March Music Days Festival in Rousse, Mathias Goerne was thrilled by the invitation to return to perform in Bulgaria.
Rota conducts Gran Gala Opera
In July, the summer stages of four Bulgarian cities will host the Gran Gala Opera - a spectacular series of concerts featuring recognised performers of the Italian bel canto.
Feast of sun and flowers
Adelina Lozanova
The summer solstice is a time for celebration in all cultures. In Bulgaria the holiday handed down from early pagan times is called Enyovden and is marked on the eve of 24 June.
In Brief
We regret but respect this decision
In a free and democratic process, the British people have expressed their wish to leave the EU. We regret this deci­sion but respect it.

This is an unprecedented situation but we are united in our response. We will stand strong and uphold the EU's core values of promoting peace and the well-being of its peoples. The Union of 27 Member States will continue. The Union is the framework of our common political future. We are bound together by history, geography and common interests and will develop our cooperation on this basis. Together we will address our common challenges to generate growth, increase prosperity and ensure a safe and secure environment for our citizens. The institutions will play their full role in this endeavour.

We now expect the UK government to give effect to this decision of the British people as soon as possible, however painful that process may be. Any delay would unnecessarily prolong uncertainty. We have rules to deal with this in an orderly way. Article 50 of the Treaty on EU sets out the procedure to be followed if a Member State decides to leave the EU. We stand ready to launch negotiations swiftly with the UK regarding the terms and conditions of its withdrawal from the EU. Until this process of negotiations is over, the UK remains a member of the EU, with all the rights and obligations that derive from this. According to the Treaties which the UK has ratified, EU law continues to apply to the full to and in the UK until it is no longer a Member.

As agreed, the “New Settlement for the UK within the EU”, reached at the European Council on 18-19 February 2016, will now not take effect and ceases to exist. There will be no renegotiation.

As regards the UK, we hope to have it as a close partner of the EU in the future. We expect the UK to formulate its proposals in this respect. Any agreement, which will be concluded with the UK as a third country, will have to reflect the interests of both sides and be balanced in terms of rights and obligations.

Joint Statement by EP President Martin Schulz, EU President Donald Tusk, Mark Rutte, Holder of the Presidency of the EU Council, EC President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Cameron throws the towel
British PM David Cameron, who campaigned for the UK staying in the EU, was fast to throw the towel mere hours after the final results of the referendum were announced. Photo: EPA

Johnson eyes Downing Str. 10
Former London Mayor Boris Johnson, one of the main inspirers of Britain`s Leave Campaign and a likely future PM, expresses his delight with the outcome of the referendum. Photo: EPA

Stay campaign kisses
Members of the public take part in a kiss chain at a stay in, pro-EU Referendum event in Parliament Square, Central London, Britain, 19 June. Photo: EPA

Leave campaign celebrates
Vote Leave supporters celebrate their victory as they walk by the Parliament in London, although Britain enters uncharted waters with the vote result. Photo: EPA

Pound has dramatically fallen down
A currency information board shows how the pound has dramatically fallen against the euro, US dollar and Australian dollar. Photo: EPA

Stocks across the globe plunged
Following the `Brexit` vote, Tokyo stocks plunged sharply, marking the largest fall in 16 years, to close the week down 1,286.33 points, or 7.92 percent, at 14,952.02.  Photo: EPA

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