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De Gucht downplays corporate dominance in TTIP talks

25 June, 2014 - 07:48

Multinational companies will not be given too much power by a trade agreement between the European Union and the United States, the EU's trade chief said on Tuesday (24 June), seeking to reassure consumer and environmental groups opposed to the pact.

Washington and Brussels are negotiating the accord, the world's biggest, which would create a market of 800 million people. But popular opposition to a deal is growing.

Grand coalition accord draws near in EU Parliament

25 June, 2014 - 07:36

The leaders of the centre-right and socialist factions in the EU Parliament gathered on Tuesday (24 June) to discuss an accord on a number of issues that will dominate Europe’s political agenda in the next five years.

Putin revokes ‘right of intervention’ in Ukraine

25 June, 2014 - 07:33

President Vladimir Putin asked Russia's upper house yesterday (24 June) to revoke the right it had granted him to order a military intervention in Ukraine in defence of Russian-speakers there.

Minutes before he spoke, Kyiv said pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine had shot down a military helicopter, most likely killing all nine on board. It was the most serious breach of a temporary ceasefire agreed to in talks between government and rebels less than 24 hours earlier.

Austria seals South Stream deal with Gazprom

25 June, 2014 - 07:28

Austria gave its final approval to a controversial Russian gas pipeline project on Tuesday, defying EU officials and welcoming Russian President Vladimir Putin to the neutral country that has been a long-standing energy customer for Moscow.

The chief executives of Russia's Gazprom and Austria's OMV sealed the deal to build a branch of the South Stream gas pipeline to Austria, a staunch defender of the project in the face of opposition from the European Commission.

EU diplomats struggle to understand Cameron's strategy on Juncker

25 June, 2014 - 07:25

European Union officials have offered Britain several olive branches to try to prevent a summit on Friday (27 June) ending in isolation and defeat. But Prime Minister David Cameron has rejected them, preferring to make a stand on principle and refusing to approve Jean-Claude Juncker as the next President of the European Commission.

EU officials have asked what post in the European Commission Britain might want, what its top priorities for the coming years are and how it thinks the biggest EU jobs should be assigned, but Cameron has avoided the discussion.

Germany's top EU official in Brussels wins backing for second term

25 June, 2014 - 07:18

Günther Oettinger has secured a second term in office as Germany’s EU Commissioner in Brussels after winning support from the German coalition government on Monday (23 June). It is unclear yet whether he will remain Energy Commissioner. EurActiv Germany reports.

‘Acute’ gas crunch fears push efficiency into spotlight

25 June, 2014 - 07:11

SPECIAL REPORT / Energy security’s ascent to the top of the political agenda was cemented at the EU’s sustainable energy week yesterday (23 June), as a US ambassador to the EU, a Green MEP and the bloc’s energy commissioner, Günther Oettinger all used the Ukraine crisis to highlight the importance of energy saving measures.

Security of supply was now “an acute issue,” Oettinger told the conference. “The developments in Ukraine demand a policy response in the field of energy.”

Vote looms on next EU Commission chief as Cameron raises stakes

24 June, 2014 - 17:26

David Cameron has stepped up his campaign to block Jean-Claude Juncker from the European Commission Presidency, insisting that a vote takes place at this week's EU summit in Brussels (26-27 June). EurActiv France reports.

The British Prime Minister wants EU countries to hold a vote on the next Commission President, even though Britain currently does not have a blocking minority in the European Council to stop Juncker.

Brussels mulls levy on financial industry to fund watchdogs

24 June, 2014 - 17:02

In an attempt to save taxpayers' money, the European Commission is considering a levy on the financial industry to fund the EU markets, banking and insurance watchdogs.

The European Commission has been reviewing the three watchdogs it launched in 2011 to make the supervision of banks, markets and insurers more consistent across its 28 member countries after the 2007-09 financial crisis highlighted failings in the way regulations were enforced.

Socialist leaders in concerted push to relax EU budgetary constraints

24 June, 2014 - 17:00

France wants to exclude its reform agenda, the so-called 'Responsibility Pact', from public deficit calculations as part of a wider socialist push to reduce budgetary constraints at European level. EurActiv France reports.

Recession hit low-skilled workers hardest, data shows

24 June, 2014 - 16:45

Employment and recruitment activity in the European Union significantly decreased during the economic crisis (2008-2012), leaving low-skilled workers overtaken by medium-skilled ones, while flexible job contracts mushroomed, a fresh report from the European Commission showed.

Germany announces new approach to Africa development cooperation

24 June, 2014 - 16:33

Education Minister Johanna Wanka announced a change of course for German development cooperation in Africa last Friday (20 June). In the future, projects in science and research should be regionally targeted. EurActiv Germany reports.

EU to host donor conference for flood-stricken Balkans

24 June, 2014 - 16:28

The European Commission will host a donors' conference in Brussels on 16 July, in order to mobilise further support to Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina following the recent floods there, the EU executive announced.

The conference will be co-organised with France and Slovenia, Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen, spokesperson to Commission President José Manuel Barroso said Tuesday (24 June). Slovenia is a country which was part of the former Yugoslavia and France has had traditionally strong relations with Belgrade.

Brussels seeks to raise €2.6 billion for basic education in developing world

24 June, 2014 - 16:17

A two-day fundraising conference beginning in Brussels tomorrow (25 June) aims at raising a minimum of €2.6 billion over the next three years to boost primary education in developing countries, the European Commission announced today (24 June). 

The Second Global Partnership for Education Replenishment Pledging Conference, hosted by the European Commission, will gather more than 600 leading experts in education and development, including 40 ministers of education, Alexandre Polack, spokesperson to Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, announced.

Report: Crisis has decentralised wage negotiations in many member states

24 June, 2014 - 16:05

Many crisis-hit EU member states have witnessed a change in their wage-setting mechanisms, going from a more collective approach across sectors to agreements at company level, according to a new report by Eurofound.

In the report, the EU agency Eurofound says that since 2008, twelve countries have reported some change in the main bargaining levels at which wages are determined, including several where the change involved has been "considerable".

Slovenia and the return of history

24 June, 2014 - 15:10

Janez Janša, former Prime Minister of Slovenia, has been sentenced to two years in prison, on corruption charges. But this was not an ordinary process against an ordinary person, and it is highly doubtful he has had a fair trial, writes Žiga Turk.

Žiga Turk, professor and former secretary general of the Reflection Group, has held a ministerial post in Janez Janša’s government in the period 2004-2008. He first published this piece in his blog with BlogActiv.eu.

Citizens deserve an EU Parliament president that signifies change

24 June, 2014 - 14:28

European voters asked for greater transparency and accountability in the EU institutions; Parliament should respond by electing a president that signifies change, Sajjad Karim writes in an open letter.

EU election aftermath: ask for the programme

24 June, 2014 - 14:13

The policy priorities for Europe matter just as much as who takes the EU executive's lead. Now is the time to dig in and agree on a direction for the troika, 'Greater Europe' and clarity in policy making, write Jacques Delors and António Vitorino.

Homes, not spikes, are the answer to homelessness

24 June, 2014 - 13:08

Amidst the ‘spikes’ scandal meant to drive away homeless people from public spaces, Freek Spinnewijn calls for “more affordable housing that is accessible for homeless people, who have the right to a decent place to live as much as the next person.”

By Freek Spinnewijn, Director, European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA)

World Bank: Climate policies could lift global GDP by trillions every year

24 June, 2014 - 07:59

Global economic output could rise by as much as an additional $2.6 trillion (€1.9tn) a year, or 2.2%, by 2030 if government policies improve energy efficiency, waste management and public transport, according to a World Bank report released on Tuesday (24 June).

The report, produced with philanthropic group ClimateWorks Foundation, analysed the benefits of ambitious policies to cut emissions from transport, industrial and building sectors as well as from waste and cooking fuels in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, the United States and the European Union.