Brexit latest and religious slaughter | Europe briefing

Brexit latest and religious slaughter | Europe briefing
Copyright REUTERS
By Shafi Musaddique
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Take a look back at some of this morning's biggest stories from across Europe.


Good morning, Europe. Today we're watching:

1. WTO agrees terms to keep Britain in government procurement deal after Brexit

Britain has got agreement at the World Trade Organization to remain within the WTO's Government Procurement Agreement if it leaves the European Union with no-deal, securing a £1.3 trillion (€1.5 trillion) market for British contractors. 

Britain's trade department said overseas businesses will be able to bid for £67 billion (€78 billion) worth of public sector contracts in the UK every year.

2. Theresa May to face parliament as Brexit deadline nears

British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to update parliament on her progress towards securing a Brexit deal, giving lawmakers the chance to challenge her approach and vote on alternatives.

Lawmakers will debate a government statement which reads: “This House notes the Prime Minister’s statement on EU exit of 26 February, 2019; and further notes that discussions between the UK and the EU are ongoing.”

MPs will also put forward on amendments, which, if approved by a vote, could exert political pressure on May to change the course of Brexit.

_Get more on this story by clicking on the player above. _

3. Meat from animals slaughtered without being stunned first cannot be labelled organic, ECJ rules

Meat from animals that were slaughtered under religious practices without being stunned first does not comply with the EU’s organic label because the animal welfare standards are not met, said a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling. 

Ritualistic practices, allowed under freedom of religion laws in the EU, kill the animal by slitting its throat in one swift movement. But for the ECJ this practice doesn't minimise the animal's pain enough.

4. Suspected Russian spy arrested in Sweden

A suspected Russian spy has been arrested in Stockholm, the Swedish Security Police said on Wednesday. 

The suspect, who was arrested late Tuesday, is believed to have been engaged in criminal activity since at least 2017, the Security Police said.

The arrested person works in the Swedish high-tech industry and has information of interest to foreign intelligence services, the Security Police said.

5. EU tightens rules on London-based investment firms

European Union governments and lawmakers have reached a deal on tighter supervision of investment firms that offer "bank-like" services, including proprietary trading and underwriting of financial instruments.

The deal, reached late on Tuesday and which confirms an agreement in January by EU states, will boost the European Commission's powers in overseeing foreign financial firms operating in the EU, giving Brussels more clout over London-based financial firms after Britain leaves the EU.

6. Air pollution: the downside of Europe's exceptionally warm winter

A major downside of an exceptionally warm winter across Europe is air pollution. 

This week, a number of cities across Europe, including Paris, London and Madrid, have issued air pollution warnings. Northern Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands are also affected by fine particles and poor air quality.

_You can follow our live coverage every weekday between 6am and 12pm in the blog below. _

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