Swiss voters will have another say on relations with the European Union, Switzerland's president said on Thursday, after valuable trade treaties with the bloc were put in jeopardy by a February referendum to curb immigration.
The Swiss government is struggling to salvage relations with the EU after the bloc last week dismissed any renegotiation of a 12-year-old pact guaranteeing the free movement of workers.
The European Union banned five Russian banks from raising capital on the European Union's capital markets as part of a wider package of sanctions on Moscow over its actions in the Ukraine conflict.
The list, published on Thursday (31 July), comprises Sberbank , VTB Bank, Gazprombank, Vnesheconombank (VEB) and Russian Agriculture Bank - Rosselkhozbank. Sberbank is Russia's biggest bank.
Due to enter into force on 1 August, the ban targets Russian banks with state ownership of more than 50%. It excludes EU subsidiaries of the Russian banks.
After a six month extension period, eurozone countries are now forging ahead with the switchover to the new Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA). EurActiv France reports.
From 1 August, “BIC” and “IBAN” will become everyday vocabulary for people making bank transfers or direct debits in the eurozone. The switchover to the SEPA system harmonises payment methods within the EU. It should reduce delays in cross border bank transfers from an average of five days to one day.
The European Ombudsman today (31 July) opened two investigations into the EU Council and Commission over a lack of transparency around the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
Emily O’Reilly investigates complaints about maladministration in the EU institutions. She called on both Council and Commission to publish EU negotiating directives related to the EU-US trade deal, and take measures to ensure timely public access to TTIP documents, and stakeholder meetings.
Netflix, the US-based Internet streaming TV network, is set to expand its services to an additional six European countries in the autumn. But France fears that its European affiliate, based in the Netherlands, will damage its home-grown audiovisual industry. EurActiv France reports.
The two commissioners in charge of the digital agenda, and youth and education, have written to to the EU's 28 education ministers, urging them to give every child the opportunity to develop basic coding skills at school.
Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes, and Youth and Education Commissioner Androulla Vasiliou, wrote a letter to the EU's 28 education ministers, urging them to give every child the opportunity to develop basic coding skills at school.
Sweden's Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Thursday (31 July) confirmed that Sweden's nominee as commissioner for the next term will be Cecilia Malmström, currently in charge of the EU executive's home affairs department.
"It's a pleasure to be able to nominate Cecilia," Reinfeldt said in a statement.
Malmström herself took to Twitter to say she had been nominated for a second five-year term.
Happy and honoured to have been nominated as Commissioner for a second term /CM
Jean-Claude Juncker, the incoming European Commission president, is considering creating an EU financial services directorate charged with regulating the London financial scene and ensuring stability in the region, the Financial Times reported today (31 July).
The plans would give a single commissioner a united financial services portfolio, the FT said. Some London-based banks fear this will tilt wider EU financial policy towards the eurozone, it added.
European regulators are preparing what could be a stern challenge to Google's mobile software business in the coming months after a nearly four-year investigation into the company's web search practices left rivals and European politicians dissatisfied.
Two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said that with a new antitrust chief taking over in November, European regulators are laying the groundwork for a case centered on whether Google abuses the 80% market share of its Android mobile operating system to promote services from maps to search.
The European Commission has published the names of eight Russians, including some of President Vladimir Putin's associates, and three companies which will have their assets frozen as part of sanctions against Russia's actions in eastern Ukraine.
The people on the list include Arkady Rotenberg who is Putin's long-time judo partner, and already on a US sanctions list since March.
The Kremlin’s use of disinformation has been laid bare after the shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane on 17 July. Europeans must confront the grotesque propaganda machine on which President Putin’s authoritarian rule depends, William Horsley writes.
The European Commission has pledged an additional €2 million to tackle the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, amid fears that the virus will spread to other parts of the world.
Electric vehicle sales in Europe doubled again in 2013 for the fourth consecutive year, with more than one in every 20 new auto-buyers in the Netherlands and Norway opting for battery-powered cars, according to analysis of official data by the Transport and Environment (T&E) environmental think tank.
The paper found that 50,000 plug-in vehicles were sold across the EU in 2013 – 0.4% of all car sales – with the market set to grow to 100,000 vehicles by 2015, 500,000 by 2021 and 1 million by 2025, if the trend continues.
Germany has a moratorium on the use of fracking technology to extract unconventional fossil fuels but the method is not banned, something the country's Federal Environment Agency (UBA) hopes to change with swift regulation. EurActiv Germany reports.
Tibor Navracsics, Hungary’s minister for foreign affairs and trade, on Wednesday (30 July) confirmed he is the country’s nominee to become commissioner in the next EU executive.
Russia announced a ban on most fruit and vegetable imports from Poland on Wednesday (30 July) and said it could extend it to the entire EU, a move Warsaw called Kremlin retaliation for new Western sanctions over Ukraine imposed on Russia a day earlier.
Moscow, which buys more than €2 billion worth of EU fruit and vegetables a year making it by far the biggest export market for the produce, said the ban was for sanitary reasons and denied a link to the sanctions.
Germany’s Justice Minister Heiko Maas has advised US whistleblower Edward Snowden to return to the United States, sparking outrage from opposition parties in the Bundestag. EurActiv Germany reports.
The European Commission has claimed the “right to be forgotten” on the internet does not supercede media freedoms, after strong criticism from the UK’s House of Lords that called for the notion to be wiped out of draft EU data privacy legislation.
Peers branded a May ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) - that has led to search engines like Google removing links to news stories from their search results - “unworkable, unreasonable and wrong in principle” in a report published today (30 May).
The outgoing Belgian prime minister, Elio Di Rupo, has asked political parties engaged in government coalition talks to choose an EU commission nominee before Friday (1 August).
UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage has slammed David Cameron’s plans to slash the benefits of EU migrants because, to comply with European law, they must also hit UK citizens.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph this morning (30 July), Farage said the changes to child and unemployment welfare must apply to all EU citizens, including UK nationals, or face “the fiercest opposition in the European courts”.