EU leaders meeting in Brussels on Friday were upbeat on Ukraine, saying that Russia could not block the country's European future. But above all they looked relieved as they looked back on a year winding down without a homegrown crisis.
EU and UK Brexit negotiators have paused talks until after this week's EU summit. Amid some speculation that officials would confirm a provisional Brexit deal on Sunday, the Northen Irish issue got in the way, again.
Even just a few months before the UK exits the EU, there's no clarity as to what future trade ties between the two sides will look like. German industry bodies warn a hard Brexit would be disastrous for businesses.
The British prime minister has told lawmakers that a Brexit deal is still "achievable." Yet German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned time was running out over the Irish border question.
French President Emmanuel Macron has grand plans for the EU, but he has to get eastern Europe on board. If he wants to succeed, he must address that region's concerns, writes Romanian analyst Radu Magdin.
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