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UK report: short shrift for sceptics

19 December, 2014 - 17:38

A UK report designed to form the bedrock of efforts by Prime Minister David Cameron to renegotiate the position of the UK within the EU has made few recommendations for repatriation of laws.

The UK 'Review of the balance of competences' examined the country’s relationship with the EU following consultation with businesses, think tanks, academics and other bodies.

Cameron wants to renegotiate the position of the UK within the EU in the event that his Conservative party remains in power following the next general election, which will take place not later than 7 May 2015.

France cuts AIDS budget

19 December, 2014 - 17:35

Budgetary austerity and commitments to fight the Ebola epidemic have forced France to cut its contributions to UNITAID, the international organisation that provides access to AIDS treatments in poor countries. EurActiv France reports

Iran at its worst under the ‘moderate’ Rouhani

19 December, 2014 - 17:10

Today the Iranian people are facing one of the worst violations of human rights in contemporary times. Over 1200 executions in the past 15 months of Rouhani’s presidency, Government organized acid attacks against women for “mal-veiling” and the brutal hanging of 26-year-old girl Reyhaneh Jabbari, are terrible events that have shocked the world. 

China boosts investment in Central and Eastern Europe

19 December, 2014 - 16:36

At the third summit of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), held in Belgrade on 16 and 17 December, China announced new funds and ventures with the region, stressing that the cooperation will be in line with European standards. EurActiv Serbia reports.

Some see the strengthening of cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries as the making of a new “Silk Road,” while others believe it is a way for the Chinese to further their presence in the greater EU market.

Confidence in the EU on the rise

19 December, 2014 - 15:00

Citizens' confidence in the European Union has grown since the European elections in May 2014. The uncertain economic situation and immigration are among the main issues still causing concern for the electorate. EurActiv France reports

EEAS in Indonesia: It is logical to exit health programmes in middle income countries

19 December, 2014 - 14:45

In middle income countries, the EU will in the future focus its development aid efforts in fewer sectors. In Indonesia, this means that health will not be a priority, though the country still has huge problems with the spread of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, where the help of the Global Fund will not be enough. But concentrating EU efforts makes sense, says Franck Viault.

Franck Viault is head of cooperation at the Delegation of the EU to Indonesia. He spoke to EurActiv's Henriette Jacobsen in Jakarta, Indonesia. 

EU banks counter rising cybercrime as traditional hold-ups decrease

19 December, 2014 - 14:26

The EU Banking Authority (EBA) today (19 December) issued new regulations to beef up security of internet payments across the bloc to counter cybercrime, which is on the rise.

The guidelines require that payments service providers (PSPs) carry out stronger customer authentication before proceeding with online payments.

PSPs will also be required better to assist customers in relation to internet payment frauds and to initiate customer awareness programmes to ensure that users understand risks.

Achieving the extraordinary: A world without polio

19 December, 2014 - 12:37

It would be naïve to feel safe from the threat polio virus poses to children everywhere. Critical action is needed by European leaders now to protect the world from this threat and realise the promise of global eradication, writes Geeta Rao Gupta, John Hewko and Bruce Aylward.

Tehran’s egregious human rights record should not be overlooked for nuclear talks

19 December, 2014 - 12:23

The European Union cannot turn a blind eye to the horrors faced by the people of Iran, writes Soraya Post.

Soraya Post is a Member of European Parliament from Sweden, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats.

Court of Justice rejects draft agreement of EU accession to ECHR

19 December, 2014 - 10:37

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that the draft agreement on the accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is not compatible with EU law. The ruling deals a blow to efforts to make the Union accede to the ECHR as the Lisbon Treaty requires.

Tusk highlights need of EU unity vis-à-vis Russia

19 December, 2014 - 08:50

European Union leaders warned Moscow they were ready exercise their combined muscle over the long haul in a confrontation with an economically wounded Russia if President Vladimir Putin refused to pull back from Ukraine.

"We must go beyond being reactive and defensive. As Europeans we must regain our self-confidence and realise our own strengths," said Donald Tusk, the former Polish premier who chaired a brief EU summit in Brussels on Thursday.

EU leaders ready long confrontation with Russia

19 December, 2014 - 08:15

European Union leaders warned Moscow they were ready to exercise their combined muscle over the long haul in a confrontation with an economically wounded Russia if President Vladimir Putin refused to pull back from Ukraine.

EU leaders skip second day of summit – and escape protests

19 December, 2014 - 07:59

EU leaders finished their summit in the early hours of 19 December, avoiding major protests that have completely blocked the centre of Brussels Friday.

During the night, convoys of tractors from Walloon neighbourhoods reached the centre of Brussels. The European quarters around the flagship monuments of the Council and the Commission were completely blocked this morning, both by police and by tractors.

Divided EU leaders give nod to €315bn Juncker plan

19 December, 2014 - 07:58

European Union leaders endorsed a new €315 billion investment programme intended to kick-start economic growth at a summit in Brussels yesterday (18 December), despite deep differences over the substance of the plan.

"We agreed (on) three things,” European Council President Donald Tusk said in a video statement.

“One, we call for the urgent establishment of a European fund for strategic investments; two, a renewed commitment to intensify structural reforms; three, continued efforts to ensure sound public finances."

UN boss: Lima was a reality check, and leaders need to step up for Paris

19 December, 2014 - 07:30

The differences between how the developed and developing countries view their responsibilities will hinder agreement at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, unless top political leaders provide the momentum needed to drive the talks, says Achim Steiner.

Stylianides: We need strong bridges between humanitarian and development aid

19 December, 2014 - 07:18

As the world struggles to deal with crises, there is a need to change the way we think about managing them, while building stronger bridges between humanitarian aid and development assistance, Commissioner Christos Stylianides told EurActiv in an exclusive interview.

The consequences of a crumbling TTIP

19 December, 2014 - 07:07

A growing number of Europeans see TTIP as selling out Europe's social and environmental standards. Perhaps the EU and the US should have never undertaken this mammoth project, writes Axel Berger.

Axel Berger is a researcher at the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

Dutch car tax regime leaves Germany far behind in curbing CO2 emissions

19 December, 2014 - 07:04

The Netherlands had the lowest CO2 emissions from new cars in the European Union last year, thanks to its tax regime favouring fuel economy and low-carbon vehicles.

Germany and Poland are among the countries with the highest C02 emissions from new cars and the weakest national tax policies, a report by NGO Transport & Environment has found.

Luxembourg drops legal challenge to EU request for tax info

19 December, 2014 - 06:40

On Thursday evening (18 December), Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel announced that his country plans to withdraw two court challenges against the European Commission and will start handing over past tax rulings. 

In recent months, the European Commission's Competition unit requested a list of tax rulings from a limited number of member states, including Luxembourg.

NATO turns its gaze to the Baltic region

18 December, 2014 - 17:46

Sweden should make wise use of NATO's benevolent attitude to establish closer relations, writes Anna Wieslander.

Anna Wieslander is Deputy Director of the Swedish Institute of International Affairs.

For the first time ever, Sweden and Finland will be meeting with NATO a few weeks from now to discuss security in the Baltic region. The discussion will be the opening shot for a new kind of strategic dialogue.