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Romanians elect a new president in atmosphere of scandal

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

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

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

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

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. EurActiv.fr reports.

Reasons to be optimistic, despite modest EU climate targets

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

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

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.

EPP warns Bulgaria’s Borissov not to include nationalists in coalition

31 October, 2014 - 08:57

EPP chief Joseph Daul has warned the leader of the Bulgarian sister party Boyko Borissov, who emerged as victor of the 5 October election, not to include the nationalist “Patriotic Front” in the future governing coalition.

On a visit to Bulgaria, Daul held meetings with the main political forces and said the country needs to form a centre-right government with Boyko Borissov as Prime Minister. He added that the future cabinet should be based on EPP values and that it should not be a promoter of populism or extremism.

Rethinking hunger

31 October, 2014 - 08:52

Despite gains in expanding the food supply, at least 805 million people still go hungry every day, of whom some 791 million live in developing countries, writes Jomo Kwame Sundaram.

Jomo Kwame Sundaram is Assistant Director-General and Coordinator for Economic and Social Development at the Food and Agriculture Organisation.    

Eurozone 'a problem' for the world economy

31 October, 2014 - 08:50

The eurozone is struggling to revive itself, and may slip into recession in the next two years, slowing down the global economic recovery, according to the French Economic Observatory (OFCE). EurActiv.fr reports

Outgoing Digital Commissioner: A lot more work is needed to clarify the ‘right to be forgotten’

31 October, 2014 - 08:45

The EU has to do quite a lot more work to make the “right to be forgotten” clear, says Neelie Kroes. In a wide-ranging interview, she also reflects on the new Juncker Commission and what’s missing from Europe’s digital economy.

Turkey prepared to join Europe in the fight against IS

31 October, 2014 - 08:35

The Turkish Minister for European Affairs raised the issue of Turkey's accession to the EU and reaffirmed the Turkish position on the fight against Islamic State militants during a meeting in the French Parliament. EurActiv.fr reports

EU Kosovo mission shaken by corruption allegations

31 October, 2014 - 08:32

The European Union mission in Kosovo, meant to help the state develop its justice system, urged Kosovars yesterday (30 October) not to lose trust over allegations at least two senior staffers took bribes to drop criminal charges.

The mission, known as EULEX, is the EU's biggest and most expensive and the affair threatens to undermine its goal of promoting law and order in the young country.

Burkina Faso falls prey to anarchy

31 October, 2014 - 08:20

Burkina Faso's military dissolved parliament and announced a transitional government on Thursday (30 October), after violent protests against President Blaise Compaoré, but it was not immediately clear who was in charge.

Army chief General Honoré Traoré said the new government would be installed after consultating with all political parties, and would lead the country to an election within 12 months. He also announced a curfew from 1900 to 0600 GMT (1500 to 0200 ET).

Spanish government moves against Catalonia’s ‘pseudo vote’

31 October, 2014 - 08:15

The Spanish state adviser yesterday (30 October) backed a veto of a watered-down Catalan vote on independence planned for 9 November, making it likely the government will try and have the "consultation of citizens" blocked by the courts.

Spain's Council of State on Thursday unanimously decided the government should ask the Constitutional Court to declare the vote illegal, a spokeswoman for the consultative body said.

EU unblocks ‘unprecedented levels’ of cash to secure gas for Ukraine

31 October, 2014 - 08:12

Ukraine, Russia and the European Union signed a deal Thursday (30 October) that will see Moscow resume vital supplies of gas to its ex-Soviet neighbour over the winter in return for payments funded in part by Kyiv's Western creditors.

After several failed rounds of talks in recent weeks as conflict rumbles on despite a ceasefire with pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, the accord also eases concerns that a new "gas war" could disrupt winter supplies if energy to EU states, notably through pipelines shut down across Ukraine since June.

Germany's new road toll to cost foreign drivers up to 130 euros

31 October, 2014 - 08:08

The German government introduced a controversial road toll on Thursday which will force foreign car drivers to pay up to 130 euros a year for using Germany's Autobahn motorways. The plan, intended to help Germany fund the upkeep of its transport infrastructure, which is used by millions of foreign vehicles, may yet face a legal challenge in Brussels for discriminating against foreign motorists.

EU millions go to gas infrastructure, despite regulation

31 October, 2014 - 08:04

More than half of the first funding round of the EU’s flagship energy infrastructure project will go to gas, ignoring the Connecting Europe Facility’s underpinning regulation that calls for the majority of money to go to electricity.

EU, US say hard to imagine trade deal without investor protection

31 October, 2014 - 08:02

A trade deal between the United States and Europe is hard to imagine without strong investor protection, US Trade Representative Michael Froman said on Thursday (30 October), hours after outgoing Commissioner Karel De Gucht said the US may break off talks unless Europeans show a firmer willingness to include investment-protection provisions in any deal.