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Jobs and social security needed as income inequality widens, UNDP warns

24 July, 2014 - 10:34

More investment in jobs and social security, and the introduction of laws that offer vulnerable people greater protection, are required to halt the slowing of human development caused by income inequality, fluctuations in food prices, natural disasters and conflict.

The universal provision of basic social services and targeted support for disadvantaged groups, such as women, people with disabilities, older people and minority groups, is a key plank of the flagship report of the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

'Novel foods' regulation returns to the EU's agenda

24 July, 2014 - 10:32

The European Commission and Parliament are renewing their attempt to update the EU's regulation on novel foods, which was rejected three years ago over ethical and safety concerns related to animal cloning for food production.

The EU regulation on novel foods, which dates back to 1997, is up for a review again, after a last-chance conciliation in March 2011 failed to reach agreement on the use of cloned animals' offspring for food production.

Bulgarian government resigns without nominating a Commissioner

24 July, 2014 - 09:05

As expected, the minority Bulgarian government resigned yesterday (23 July), following months of political agony. The only surprise appears to be that the cabinet failed at its last session to nominate a Commissioner, leaving this task to the caretaker cabinet.

Czech coalition nominates Regional Funds minister for Commissioner

24 July, 2014 - 07:59

After tough negotiations, the Czech coalition agreed to nominate Regional Development Minister Věra Jourová for EU Commissioner, apparently taking into account the request by elected Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that more women should be included in the next EU executive. EurActiv Czech Republic reports.

German Gaza protests turn violent, raising anti-Semitism fears

24 July, 2014 - 07:59

Violence, hate speech, self-immolation: the Middle East conflict has reached Germany, with observers worrying that riots during recent Gaza demonstrations are an expression of deeply rooted anti-Semitism. EurActiv Germany reports.

European Court: Male civil servants discriminated against in France

24 July, 2014 - 07:43

The European Court of Justice has pointed the finger at unequal retirement plans between men and women in the French civil service. EurActiv France reports.

According to a judgment by the ECJ (17 July), the French retirement system for civil servants is discriminating against men.

Oettinger: EU may not help Russia develop Arctic oil, gas

24 July, 2014 - 07:42

The European Union should not give Russia technical help to develop Arctic oil and gas fields if Moscow fails to help to defuse the Ukraine crisis, EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger said yesterday (23 July).

EU officials have always said energy should not be used as a weapon in attempts to solve the crisis over Russia's actions in Ukraine.

While stopping far short of targeting physical energy supplies, EU ministers for the first time this week raised the idea of restricting Russian access to oil and gas technology.

Report: Italy 'overzealous' in reporting EU farm fraud cases

24 July, 2014 - 07:40

Member states show a mixed record when it comes to reporting irregularities in how EU funds for agriculture and regional policy are being spent. While Italy has been "overzealous" in its reporting, others hardly report any fraud at all, according to a new EU report. EurActiv France reports.

EU seeks to ‘balance the pain’ from Russia sanctions

24 July, 2014 - 07:20

European Union ambassadors will debate proposals today (24 July) on restricting Russian access to Europe's capital markets and defence and energy technology, but are not expected to make a quick decision. A package of measures is designed to ‘balance the pain’ from the effect of sanctions to the individual EU countries.

Ambassadors from the 28 EU nations are expected to agree today to add the names of some Russian companies that are helping to undermine Ukraine's sovereignty to the bloc's sanctions list, using new expanded criteria.

Brussels puts 30% energy savings target on the table for 2030

24 July, 2014 - 07:17

The European Commission on Wednesday (23 July) proposed reducing the bloc's energy use by 30% by 2030, leaving it up to EU heads of states to decide whether or not to endorse the target at a forthcoming summit in October.

Ukraine complains about reduced reverse flows from EU

24 July, 2014 - 07:11

Ukraine said yesterday (23 July) it was receiving less gas via reverse flows from the European Union, which Energy Minister Yuri Prodan blamed on reluctance by firms within the EU to antagonise Russian gas producer Gazprom, a heavy critic of the flows.

Ukraine uses around 50 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas per year and has increased efforts to secure more gas from the EU after Gazprom raised prices for its supplies in a spat which has added to the crisis in the ex-Soviet state.

Commission swamped by 150,000 replies to TTIP consultation

24 July, 2014 - 07:01

About 150,000 people have responded to the European Commission’s online consultation on the controversial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clause in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

In January, the EU executive stopped trade negotiations with the US on the ISDS mechanism. It launched the online consultation in March after widespread criticism of the clause, which will allow EU and US based corporations to directly sue governments at international tribunals.

France struggles to present EU Commission candidate

23 July, 2014 - 16:15

The French government still has not chosen its official candidate to become Commissioner. The UMP is questioning Pierre Moscovici’s credibility in the eyes of the European Parliament, while the left wants a female commissioner for political parity. EurActiv France reports.

Europe's wind capacity to grow more slowly than expected to 2020

23 July, 2014 - 16:14

Europe's installed wind capacity will increase at a slower rate to the end of the decade than previously estimated, due to regulatory uncertainty and weak economic growth, an industry association said on Wednesday (23 July).

European Union countries will have a combined 192.4 gigawatts (GW) of installed wind energy capacity by 2020, 64% higher than 2013 levels, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) said in a report.

Broadcaster: Spectrum debate threatens World Cup and Eurovision Song Contest

23 July, 2014 - 16:13

Mobile phone operators don’t use the spectrum they already have and forcing broadcasters to change the radio frequencies they currently use could hit major spectacles such as the World Cup and Eurovision Song Contest, said Simon Fell of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in an exclusive interview with EurActiv.

True 'growth' for Europe’s nature and people

23 July, 2014 - 12:32

The Italian presidency puts forward smart, sustainable and inclusive growth as one of its priorities, leading the EU in the coming months. But what does this mean, exactly, for the European citizen, Luigi Epomiceno wonders.

Controversial monument divides Hungarians, angers Jewish community

23 July, 2014 - 07:57

Protests in central Budapest remain ongoing since Sunday (20 July), after a controversial monument dedicated to “all the victims” of Hungary’s German occupation was erected during the night of 20 to 21 July, the Hungarian press reports.

The plan to set up the monument for the 70th anniversary of Hungary’s Nazi German occupation was announced at the end of last year and was heavily criticised by opposition parties and civil society ever since, cotnending that it was aimed at distorting the nation’s role in the Holocaust.

Should the 'right to be forgotten' be reviewed by an international court?

23 July, 2014 - 07:43

The questions surrounding the investor-state dispute settlement are not about "corporate profits" or "promoting foreign investment", but about the role of international courts in global governance, writes Simon Lester.

Can Europe 'copy paste' an energy union?

23 July, 2014 - 07:42

A European energy union is increasingly on the agenda, as tensions with Russia rise and the EU is confronted with its energy dependence on Russian gas. But replicating the model of the banking union is a naive approach, Ivana Jemelkova and Hans Hack write.

France throws weight behind 30% energy savings goal

23 July, 2014 - 07:41

France's energy minister has joined Germany in backing an energy efficiency goal of at least 30% for 2030 ahead of talks in Brussels today (23 July) to thrash out a target.

Energy efficiency policies have gained momentum in the context of the Ukraine crisis as EU member states seek to do all they can to reduce the need for imported Russian energy.

But it is divisive because of the upfront costs required to make buildings more efficient, such as spending on improved insulation.