If Scottish voters back the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) plans to break away from the United Kingdom and establish an independent nation, they would have to apply to join the European Union, the European Commission has formally told a committee from the UK House of Lords. Despite previous SNP claims to the contrary, the existing treaties, which cover the UK’s EU membership, will “cease to apply”.

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Brussels: separate Scotland must apply to join EU – The Scotsman

Interior ministers in Germany’s regional governments are preparing for a court action to have the extreme right NPD declared unconstitutional. The government will likely fall in step with this initiative. It will be the country’s second attempt to get rid of the party — a previous attempt was dropped in 2003 when it emerged that secret services had infiltrated the NPD.

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The Länder want to ban the NPD – Süddeutsche Zeitung

For the first time in the history of the country, the rate of interest on French 10-year bonds has sunk below the symbolic threshold of 2 per cent (the rate of interest on German bonds is 1.35 per cent). Some 62.7 per cent of French debt is held by foreign investors, of whom approximately 50 per cent are in Asia and the Middle East.

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France has never taken on debt so cheaply – Les Echos

According to the latest data from the Dutch socio-cultural policy unit, in 2011, 1.1 million people (7.1 per cent of the population of the Netherlands) were officially living in poverty — on incomes of less than €960 per month for a single person. The figure represents an increase of 180,000 in the numbers of the poor over the statistic for the previous year. At the same time, long-term poverty — the number people in poverty for more than four years — is on the rise for the first time since the year 2000, and now affects 2.5 per cent of the population (2 per cent in 2010).

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1m affected by poverty in the Netherlands – De Volkskrant

On a visit to Berlin, the Israeli Prime Minister criticised Germany’s abstention in the November 29 United Nations vote on recognition of a Palestinian state. Israel, however, will continue to maintain a special relationship with Germany.

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Netanyahou is disappointed by Angela Merkel – Die Welt

A group of Austrian students is planning to sue Facebook in an attempt to force the social networking site to raise the level of privacy protection available to users. The group, founded by Max Schrems, is accusing Facebook of unclear privacy policy and demanding that the social network comply with EU data protection regulations. Schrems estimates that suing the Internet giant may cost as much as €300,000, and so he has set up a website to help collect funds.

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Europe vs. Facebook – Gazeta Wyborcza

Peter Handke celebrates his 70th birthday. The most widely read Austrian daily pays homage to the famous writer: “a poet who has always been and who continues to be ahead of his time.”

“What is left of someone?” – “Everything” – Kleine Zeitung