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Whistleblower urges external probe into EU mission in Kosovo

EU Observer - 31 October, 2014 - 19:13
Maria Bamieh, a British prosecutor at the heart of Eulex corruption revelations, says the only way to restore faith in the EU mission is by an external enquiry.

'Better than Belgium', or the long goodbye

EU Observer - 31 October, 2014 - 19:09
You wanted a more political commission Mr Juncker. You might just be getting it.

[Agenda] Juncker commission starts this WEEK

EU Observer - 31 October, 2014 - 18:39
The new European Commission headed by president Jean-Claude Juncker kicks off this week while MEPs return to Brussels from their constituencies to discuss climate change and finance ministers tax laws.

EU lodges new WTO protest against Russia

EU Observer - 31 October, 2014 - 18:35
The EU lodged its fourth formal complaint against Russia to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on Friday in the latest round of the trade battle between the two blocs.

[Ticker] Dutch research team finds human remains at MH17 crash site

EU Observer - 31 October, 2014 - 18:29
Dutch researchers Friday recovered human remains from the site in Ukraine where the MH17 crashed in July, athough the team has limited access to the site. "One day it is relatively quiet, the next the area is on the front line and sees heavy fighting", prime minister Rutte said.

[Ticker] EU unemployment rate unchanged in September

EU Observer - 31 October, 2014 - 17:52
Unemployment in the EU remained at 10.1 percent in September, unchanged from the August. Meanwhile, joblessness in the 18 eurozone countries was also unchanged at 11.5 percent, according to data released Friday by Eurostat. The highest unemployment rates were in Greece and Spain, and the lowest in Germany and Austria.

[Ticker] UK's EU contribution up €3.5 billion in 2013

EU Observer - 31 October, 2014 - 17:52
The UK made a net contribution to the EU of £11.3bn (€14.2bn) in 2013, a £2.7bn (€3.5bn) increase on 2012, according to figures published Friday by the Office of National Statistics. Last week David Cameron was presented with a €2.1bn surcharge resulting from changes to the calculations of past contributions.

Romanians elect a new president in atmosphere of scandal

EU Active - 31 October, 2014 - 17:13

On Sunday, Romanian citizens will chose their next President from 14 candidates, many of which have done little, if anything, to promote themselves or their proposals and programs. EurActiv Romania reports.

This is the first presidential campaign in the last 20 years that will reach a first round of voting without any interactions between candidates.

After recognising Palestine, Swedish legislators spar

EU Active - 31 October, 2014 - 16:51

One day after the Swedish government officially recognised the state of Palestine, members of the Parliament, Riksdagen, disagreed on whether this decision was right or "immature".

The leftist government, which took office only a month ago after winning national elections in September, on Thursday (30 October) became the first European country to recognise the state of Palestine.

This prompted Israel to recall its ambassador to Sweden to Jerusalem on the same day. The country also threatened that further cuts to the two countries' diplomatic relations can be expected.

Barroso’s spokespeople say goodbye, Juncker team prepares to take over

EU Active - 31 October, 2014 - 16:39

The team of the outgoing European Commission's spokespeople said an emotional ‘goodbye’ to the Brussels press corps today, pending the commencement on Monday (3 November) of a revamped service working for the Juncker Commission.

Unsurprisingly, it was Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen, the Danish spokeswoman of the Commission, who delivered the farewell message of the 100+ Spokesperson service, as she has been the one who most frequently chaired the commission midday briefings over the last few years.

Italy names Paolo Gentiloni new foreign minister

EU Active - 31 October, 2014 - 15:12

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Friday named Paolo Gentiloni, a former communications minister, to be his new foreign minister after Federica Mogherini stepped down this week to become the European Union's new top diplomat, sources said.

Data protection tops the Commission's agenda

EU Active - 31 October, 2014 - 14:46

The ever-expanding flow of information, cloud computing and powerful search engines all come with the risk that personal data may fall into the wrong hands. A legislative package to improve the protection of European Union citizens' private data has been expected since 2011, but was delayed by the European Elections in May. reports.

[Ticker] German autobahn toll set to be introduced in 2016

EU Observer - 31 October, 2014 - 14:39
From 2016 onwards, every driver on the German Autobahn will have to pay for its maintenance. Foreign drivers will have to buy a ten-day pass for €10, a two-month pass for €22 or a year-pass for €130. The charge can be paid online or at gas stations.

[Ticker] Frontex-led operation Triton has enough money for 2 months

EU Observer - 31 October, 2014 - 14:35
The Triton border surveillance operation in the Mediterranean only has enough money to last two months. Triton will cost €2.9m a month but as the 2015 EU budget is not yet approved, its future is unclear.“I would personally doubt that the operation would stop in January,” said one EU official.

[Ticker] Eurozone inflation rate marginally up

EU Observer - 31 October, 2014 - 13:54
The eurozone's inflation rate moved marginally up to 0.4 percent in October, from 0.3 percent in September. The figures, released by EU statistical agency Eurostat on Friday, still leave the rate of price increases well below the European Central Bank's target rate of 2 percent.

[Ticker] Report: EU mission in Kosovo passed information to Serbian spies

EU Observer - 31 October, 2014 - 13:16
Kosovo daily Koha Ditore, citing leaked internal documents, reported Friday the EU rule of law mission, Eulex, passed confidential information to Serbian intelligence services. Lunacek, a senior Austrian MEP, said this and other corruption allegations must be investigated by an "external and independent body" and guilty officials "removed from office".

Reasons to be optimistic, despite modest EU climate targets

EU Active - 31 October, 2014 - 12:34

The EU's targets for emissions cuts, energy efficiency and renewables, agreed by EU leaders last week, were a disappointment, says Joris den Blanken. But there are reasons for hope that truly ambitious EU position can be set out ahead of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.

The EU’s unsresolved issue of the Russian embargo against Lithuania’s oil refinery

EU Active - 31 October, 2014 - 12:22

Many have correctly perceived the 8 year-old oil embargo against the Lithuanian oil refinery Orlen Lietuva as Moscow’s political vendetta against Vilnius. Nonetheless, the complete picture is more complex, writes Agnia Grigas.

Hungary will shelve Internet tax plan for now, Orbán says

EU Active - 31 October, 2014 - 11:31

Hungary will shelve plans to introduce a tax on internet data traffic that has generated big protests over the past week, and will revisit regulating and taxing money made online next year, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said today (31 October).

A provision that extended a telecommunications tax to online data traffic will be withdrawn, Orbán said.

[Opinion] Jailing Iran’s Internet, one user at a time

EU Observer - 31 October, 2014 - 10:55
It is time for European nations – who hold freedom of expression as a fundamental value – to take the lead on setting an agenda of concern on Iran.

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