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'Dozens' of refugees, including women and children, killed by rocket fire in Ukraine

18 August, 2014 - 17:06

Dozens of people, including women and children, were killed as they fled fighting in eastern Ukraine yesterday (18 August) when their convoy of buses was hit by rocket fire, military spokesmen said.

Ukraine accused pro-Russian rebels of targeting the convoy, which it said was bearing white flags when it was hit near the eastern city of Luhansk. The separatists denied responsibility for the attack and one rebel leader suggested the incident might never have taken place.

EU farmers handed €125 million to offset Russia sanctions

18 August, 2014 - 15:27

EU farmers will get financial help of up to €125 million to help them cope with the impact of Russia's ban on most Western food imports, which has created a glut of fruit and vegetables in peak harvest time, the European Commission said on Monday (18 August).

Russia has declared a one-year embargo on meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia and Norway in retaliation for Western economic sanctions over Moscow's actions in Ukraine.

Ethnic German candidate brings suspense to Romania’s presidential race

18 August, 2014 - 15:14

According to latest opinion polls, Klaus Iohannis, an ethnic German and candidate for President of the centre-right Romanian coalition PNL-PDL, is expected to face the leftist Prime Minister Victor Ponta at the second round of the presidential election to be held in November.

Eurofound: Changes during crisis have benefitted women

18 August, 2014 - 13:52

The economic crisis has boosted growth in high-wage jobs. This has mainly benefited women, according to a study by Eurofound.  

While high-wage jobs have been in demand, middle-wage jobs have been destroyed in huge numbers. The sectors which were most severely shaken by the crisis, manufacturing and construction, have a concentration of jobs in the mid-paying range. 

Study: Countries with faster school-to-work transitions have lower unemployment

18 August, 2014 - 11:26

EU member states with quicker school-to-work transitions have lower youth unemployment, a new study by Eurofound shows.

The study Mapping youth transitions in Europe by the tripartite body of the EU states that countries with a higher integration of school and work, through apprenticeship programmes or through more young people effectively combining school and early labour market experiences, display a smoother and quicker transition from school to work.

The cost of caring for Europe's elderly nuclear plants

18 August, 2014 - 08:45

Europe's ageing nuclear fleet will undergo more prolonged outages over the next few years, reducing the reliability of power supply and costing plant operators many millions of dollars.

Nuclear power provides about a third of the European Union's electricity generation, but the 28-nation bloc's 131 reactors are well past their prime, with an average age of 30 years.

And the energy companies, already feeling the pinch from falling energy prices and weak demand, want to extend the life of their plants into the 2020s, to put off the drain of funding new builds.

EU concerned over Ebola outbreak

18 August, 2014 - 07:58

EU ministers expressed on Friday (15 August) their concern about the outbreak of Ebola virus disease affecting several countries in West Africa among which are Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.

This is the most severe outbreak yet recorded, having taken already more than a thousand lives, the foreign ministers stated. They expressed the sincere condolences of member countries and EU citizens to the African governments and peoples affected by the outbreak.

Financial Times: Britain's EU exit could lead to banking exodus

18 August, 2014 - 07:53

Some Wall Street banks are drawing up preliminary plans that include moving some of their London-based operations to Ireland to deal with the possible scenario of Britain leaving the European Union, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the situation.

Citigroup Inc (C.N), Morgan Stanley (MS.N) and Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) are considering Ireland as an alternative location for some of their European activities if they need to move them out of the UK, according to people familiar with the banks, the Financial Times reported.

German wages not rising sharply enough, says EU commissioner

18 August, 2014 - 07:45

European Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor said wages in Germany were not climbing sharply enough and the government should ensure that salaries increased in line with productivity.

Andor did not spell out his reasons, but some economists and officials have supported the case for higher German wages as a way of reducing Berlin's competitive advantage over other euro zone members and ironing out imbalances across the region.

Ukraine makes breakthrough against pro-Russia separatists

18 August, 2014 - 07:26

Ukrainian forces have raised their national flag over a police station in the city of Luhansk that was for months under rebel control, Kyiv said yesterday (17 August), in what could be a breakthrough in Ukraine's efforts to crush pro-Moscow separatists.

Ukrainian officials said, however, the rebels were fighting a desperate rearguard action to hold on to Luhansk - which is their supply route into neighbouring Russia - and that the flow of weapons and fighters from Russia had accelerated.

EU gives go-ahead to states sending arms to Iraqi Kurds

18 August, 2014 - 07:05

The European Union failed on Tuesday (12 August) to agree on a joint position on supplying weapons to Iraqi Kurds battling Islamic State militants, but said individual members could send arms in coordination with Baghdad.

Iraqi Kurdish President Masoud Barzani asked the international community on Sunday to provide the Kurds with weapons to help them fight the militants, whose dramatic push through the north has startled world powers.

EU-Canada trade deal leak ‘ridicules’ TTIP consultation, campaigners say

14 August, 2014 - 17:03

The leaked text of an EU-Canada free trade deal confirms fears that multinationals may sue EU states in special tribunals for enacting laws that upset their profit forecasts, and now campaigners question the public consultation on a free trade deal with the US.

Slovakia grumbles as EU begins crisis Russia food ban talks

14 August, 2014 - 14:33

The Slovakian prime minister, Robert Fico, criticised EU sanctions against Russia as a ‘meaningless’ gesture that would hit growth prospects, as officials from the bloc’s 28 states began emergency talks on Russia's ban on Western food imports today (14 August) .

"Why should we jeopardize the EU economy that begins to grow?" Fico told a news conference. "If there is a crisis situation, it should be solved by other means than meaningless sanctions.”

Trouble amid plenty in emerging Africa

14 August, 2014 - 11:49

The ‘Africa Rising’ narrative of economic success has to be tempered with appreciation of the costs imposed by a conflict belt stretching from Mali to Somalia, and the consequent need for sustained humanitarian aid, writes David Milliband.

David Milliband was the British foreign minister from 2007-2010, and currently heads the International Rescue Committee. His brother, Ed, is the leader of the UK’s Labour Party.  

Estonian PM: Biggest sanctions losers will be ordinary Russian consumers

13 August, 2014 - 13:58

EU sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis will hurt Russian consumers, but Moscow's retaliatory food import ban will have little effect on Estonian food producers, says Taavi Rõivas, the Estonian prime minister.

Taavi Rõivas, the leader of Estonia’s Reform Party, was nominated as prime minister last March, after serving as the conutry’s social affairs minister for two years. At 34, he is the youngest government leader in the EU. He was talking to Euractiv.Cz’s Jan Pavec, during a press meeting in Tallinn, Estonia.

Europe should dare to think big again

13 August, 2014 - 10:54

In this piece, Nikola Dimitrov, from the Hague Institute, argues that the crises in Europe's neighbourhood and periphery represent a crucial challenge for the European project itself and calls on the leadership of the Union to not lose faith in its own narrative.

Nikola Dimitrov is a distinguished fellow at the Hague Institute for Global Justice.

Russia Carefully Weighs its Options in Ukraine

13 August, 2014 - 09:19

Russia's decision to send its humanitarian convoy is a way to test the Ukrainian government's -- and the West's -- response to Russian moves, writes global intelligence company Stratfor.

EU gives go-ahead to states sending arms to Iraqi Kurds

13 August, 2014 - 07:42

The European Union failed on Tuesday (12 August) to agree on a joint position on supplying weapons to Iraqi Kurds battling Islamic State militants, but said individual members could send arms in coordination with Baghdad.

Iraqi Kurdish President Masoud Barzani asked the international community on Sunday to provide the Kurds with weapons to help them fight the militants, whose dramatic push through the north has startled world powers.

Germany open to sending military aid to Iraq government

13 August, 2014 - 07:13

Germany's foreign minister has raised the possibility of sending military assistance to the Iraqi government, saying he would discuss further steps with European partners following a dramatic push by Islamic State militants through northern Iraq.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier 's comments, along with similar statements from two other ministers, marked a shift in tone from the German government which on Monday (11 August) said it did not send arms to conflict zones. In the last few months Berlin has announced a more restrictive policy on arms exports and a more muscular foreign policy.

Mr Juncker, do not scrap science!

12 August, 2014 - 15:48

We should be worried that the European Commission’s chief scientific adviser position is under attack as an incoming EU president prepares to review legislation on GMOs, write Marcel Kuntz and John Davison  

Marcel Kuntz is the research director at CNRS, Laboratoire de Physiologie Cellulaire Végétale, Grenoble, France. John Davison is a retired research director at INRA Versailles, France.