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[Focus] Chinese diplomat voices sympathy for Russian 'security concerns'

EU Observer - 28 February, 2015 - 18:13
China’s ambassador to Belgium has said the West should pay more heed to Russia’s “security concerns” in order to solve the Ukraine crisis.

Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov shot dead near the Kremlin

EU Active - 28 February, 2015 - 08:42

Boris Nemtsov, a Russian opposition politician and former deputy prime minister who was an outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, was shot dead metres from the Kremlin in central Moscow late on Friday (27 February).

Nemtsov, 55, was shot four times in the back, the Interior Ministry said. A police spokeswoman on the scene said he had been walking on a bridge over the Moskva River with a Ukrainian woman.

EU chair Latvia calls for 'answers' on Nemtsov killing

EU Observer - 28 February, 2015 - 02:04
The murder of Boris Nemtsov, a Russian opposition leader, in central Moscow has prompted strong statements from some EU capitals and the US.

Velux VP: Policy must push home renovation for health and efficiency

EU Active - 27 February, 2015 - 17:16

It’s time for policymakers at both the national and European level to incentivise the renovation of homes, Ingrid Reumert said in an interview with EurActiv.

[Analysis] Which fuels are favoured in the Energy Union?

EU Observer - 27 February, 2015 - 17:13
What does the Energy Union strategy paper reveal about the European Commission's preferred energy mix?

Bulgarian President says Putin wants to ‘blow (up) the EU from inside’

EU Active - 27 February, 2015 - 17:09

During a visit to Brussels, the President of Bulgaria, a country which depends on Russia for over 90% of its gas supplies, accused Vladimir Putin of planning to destroy the EU from the inside.

Speaking at a conference organised by the Centre of European Policy Studies (CEPS), Bulgaria’s Rossen Plevneliev said that Putin’s propaganda machine was attempting to split the member states of the European Union.

The leaders who rule by force across the world have one thing in common - breaking the rules, Plevneliev said, as quoted by Vesselin Zhelev, the correspondent of ClubZ.

Ed Miliband: Leaving EU not in Britain’s interest

EU Active - 27 February, 2015 - 16:27

Speaking at the EEF National Manufacturing Conference in London, Miliband said yesterday (26 February) that “There is no greater threat to the long-term stability and prosperity of Britain and British business than leaving the European Union.”

Leaving the European Union is not in Britain’s national interest, the UK opposition leader added.

Taking aim at the Conservatives, Miliband said it was, “wrong to play fast and loose with our membership of the European Union.”

[Ticker] Switzerland first country to submit climate goals to UN

EU Observer - 27 February, 2015 - 16:04
Switzerland on Friday became the first country to submit to the UN a text outlining what its national contribution to limit climate change will be, ahead of climate talks in Paris in December. Switzerland is promising to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% in 2030.

Dan Mulhall: Ireland will do 'all we can' to keep the UK in the EU

EU Active - 27 February, 2015 - 14:33

EXCLUSIVE: UK membership of the EU was in “fundamental Irish national interest”, and would adversely affect the whole EU, the Irish Ambassdor in London told EurActiv.

Ireland will do “all that we can” to ensure the UK remains in the EU, stated Dan Mulhall.

“A British exit would inevitably weaken the Union, which is something that cannot be in Ireland’s interests,” said the diplomat.

The UK shouldn’t expect other member states to be “indifferent” or “tight-lipped” on the referendum debate because “it concerns the future of a Union to which we all belong”.

German parliament approves Greek bailout extension

EU Active - 27 February, 2015 - 13:47

Germany's parliament approved an extension of Greece's bailout on Friday after Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble, who has voiced doubts about whether Athens can be trusted, promised it would not be allowed to "blackmail" its euro zone partners.

With 542 lawmakers voting in favour, including almost all of Chancellor Angela Merkel's right-left coalition plus the opposition Greens, it was the biggest majority for any euro zone rescue package so far in the 631-seat chamber.

Bulgaria scraps incentives for new renewable energy installations

EU Active - 27 February, 2015 - 13:30

Bulgaria's parliament scrapped preferential prices for new renewable energy installations on Thursday as the country is struggling to cut deficits in the energy sector and keep a lid on consumers' utility bills.

Wind power farms and photovoltaic parks mushroomed in 2011, after Bulgaria introduced generous subsidies for renewable energy, guaranteed for 20 years and committed to buy all the energy produced by them.

[Ticker] German chancellor to visit European Commission

EU Observer - 27 February, 2015 - 12:15
German chancellor Angela Merkel is next Wednesday (4 March) to visit the European Commission in Brussels, where she will meet the entire team of commissioners and president Jean-Claude Juncker.

[Ticker] German parliament overwhelmingly approves Greek bailout extension

EU Observer - 27 February, 2015 - 11:33
The German parliament on Friday approved a four-month extension of Greece's bailout, which would have otherwise run out on Saturday (28 February). A large majority - 542 MPs - voted in favour of the extension while 32 voted against and 13 abstained, reported Spiegel Online.

[Ticker] Belgian ex-senator denies taking bribe to help Kazakh oligarch

EU Observer - 27 February, 2015 - 09:31
A Belgian former senator has denied receiving €734,346 to speed up the introduction of a law which benefited a Kazakh oligarch. French magazine Le Canard Enchaine connected him to a scandal involving ex-president Sarkozy, who allegedly promised Kazakh leader Nazarbayev he would pressure Belgian lawmakers in exchange for a helicopter-deal.

EU demands WTO ruling on Russian trade tariffs

EU Observer - 27 February, 2015 - 09:28
The European Commission accused Russia of breaking its trade commitments on Thursday, urging the World Trade Organisation to arbitrate on illegal import duties on a range of products.

Anti-government clashes in Greece as bailout extended

EU Observer - 27 February, 2015 - 09:28
Greek protesters have turned against the government for the first time since the far-left Syriza party came to power.

Parliament gearing up for European Citizens' Initiative review

EU Active - 27 February, 2015 - 08:57

MEPs discussed Thursday (26 February) reforming the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), whose three-year review is planned for this year.

During a public hearing organised by the Constitutional Affairs and Petitions committee,  a number of stakeholders criticised the ECI as flawed.

Citizen participation initiatives brought by the Lisbon Treaty, like the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), have struggled with a number of organisational and technical glitches.

Energy Union: The road ahead for more efficient transport

EU Active - 27 February, 2015 - 08:47

Climate and energy crises are looming and only ambitious action can make the EU more environmentally friendly, energy secure and innovative at the same time, writes Nuša Urbančič. 

Nuša Urbančič is Transport & Environment’s energy programme manager

Coal industry stands for progress and prosperity

EU Active - 27 February, 2015 - 08:44

Outlawing coal, as EU policymakers seem intent on doing, would be a divisive and backwards step for humanity, writes Brian Ricketts.

​Brian Ricketts is the secretary-general of Euracoal, the European Association for Coal and Lignite

Patient organisation: Unacceptable differences in member states for people with rare diseases

EU Active - 27 February, 2015 - 08:42

There are huge differences when it comes to access to therapies for patients with rare diseases. The Commission could do more to make member states aware that this is unacceptable, says Terkel Andersen.

Terkel Andersen is the president of Eurordis, a non-governmental patient-driven alliance of rare disease patient organisations. He spoke to EurActiv's Henriette Jacobsen ahead of Rare Disease Day on 28 February.

What are some of the challenges for people with rare diseases in the EU?

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