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ECJ ruling exposes MasterCard to national antitrust probes

11 September, 2014 - 13:50

MasterCard broke EU antitrust law when setting interchange charges for cross-border card payments, the highest court of the European Union today ruled (11 September).

The judgment will influence other national competition law proceedings in the EU, which were paused pending the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decision in Luxembourg. The court rules on points of EU law, giving clarification to other courts.

‘Golden political couple’ to be missed in Warsaw

11 September, 2014 - 13:47

Poles appear content to have their Prime Minister Donald Tusk elected Council President. However, as he is to be accompanied by his deputy Elżbieta Bieńkowska to take a Commissioner job in Brussels, Tusk's government seem to be entering the period of interregnum. EurActiv Poland reports.

On 3 September, Poland confirmed Deputy Prime Minister Elżbieta Bieńkowska as the country's new commissioner nominee, just days after Tusk was elected Council President at the 30-31 August summit.

MEP Willmott: Commission is dragging its feet on alcohol policy

11 September, 2014 - 13:00

The European Commission has not given a satisfactory reason for why the review of the Alcohol Strategy wasn't published last year, as promised, says MEP Glenis Willmott. She would like the next version to look into minimum pricing, include more research and health recommendations. 

Special Olympics torch stops in Brussels EU’s district

11 September, 2014 - 10:59

SPECIAL REPORT: The Olympic flame arrived for the first time in Belgium as part of the Special Olympics European summer games on Tuesday (9 September), turning attention to an event few people in the EU sphere had heard of until now.

Ozone layer shows signs of recovery after 1987 ban on damaging gases

11 September, 2014 - 10:45

The ozone layer that shields life from the sun's cancer-causing ultraviolet rays is showing its first sign of thickening after years of dangerous depletion, a UN study said on Wednesday.

Experts said it showed the success of a 1987 ban on manmade gases that damage the fragile high-altitude screen, an achievement that would help prevent millions of cases of skin cancer and other conditions.

The EU needs a completely new direction

11 September, 2014 - 10:28

The new Commission needs to start a drastic reform programme to save the EU. Only then can Europe survive in a world of tectonic shifts, warns Joop Hazenberg.

Joop Hazenberg is a young Dutch writer who has been based in Brussels since early 2013. He has just published a new book: Next Europe, How can the EU survive in a world of tectonic shifts

France aims for ‘energy positive’ public buildings

11 September, 2014 - 07:54

Ségolène Royale, the French Minister for Ecology and Energy, aspires to make every new publicly-subsidised building in the country 'energy positive'. The minister wants to include this initiative in the energy transition bill presented last June, EurActiv France reports.

Juncker’s new team seen as a ‘make it or break it’ Commission

11 September, 2014 - 07:45

As Europe wakes up to a new executive, expected to be much more ‘political’, a chorus of reactions greets the change of structure of the new Juncker Commission, but analysts are adopting a wait-and-see attitude towards the new strategic rationale.

With 18 former ministers and prime ministers, the new Commission will be ‘a very political Commission, as incoming European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said presenting his new executive.

German politicians condemn ‘wrong’ Commission appointments for France, UK

11 September, 2014 - 07:44

Giving the UK's oversight of financial stability, and a Frenchman the economic affairs portfolio, triggered harsh criticism in Berlin. EurActiv Germany reports.

EU delays new Russia sanctions

11 September, 2014 - 07:35

European Union envoys failed yesterday (10 September) to reach a decision on whether to implement new sanctions against Russia over military involvement in the war in Ukraine and will meet for talks today, EU diplomats said.

The diplomats said that while Germany was pushing to have the sanctions implemented, several other EU countries wanted to hold off because a ceasefire in Ukraine was holding.

Juncker gives key portfolios to German allies, austerity backers

10 September, 2014 - 16:29

Jean-Claude Juncker, the incoming head of the European Commission, unveiled an EU executive team today (10 September) that handed key economic responsibilities to French and British commissioners, but overseen by others, in a new-look hierarchy.

Appointing Britain's Jonathan Hill to a brief including banks and the integration of EU capital markets was widely seen as a gesture to Prime Minister David Cameron, a vocal critic of Juncker and his support for a powerful Brussels that Cameron says could push the UK to quit the European Union.

Mrs Thyssen, let’s start creating jobs right now!

10 September, 2014 - 14:56

New Employment Commissioner must eliminate labour market imperfections in order to boost job creation across Europe, Pennel writes.

Denis Pennel is managing director of Eurociett,  the European Confederation of Private Employment Services.

Marianne Thyssen, Europe’s newly-appointed Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, has no time to lose in maximising the potential to create jobs across Europe.

Georgieva: Juncker chose me because of my independence

10 September, 2014 - 14:49

Bulgaria’s Kristalina Georgieva, who will hold the post of Commission Vice-President, responsible for Budget and Human Resources, said that Commission President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker chose her because of her independence.

Juncker delivers on commitment to female commissioners

10 September, 2014 - 13:56

On Wednesday (10 September) Commission President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker finally revealed the portfolios intended for the new commissioners. The portfolios show that Juncker has kept his promises to the member states that sent female commissioners.

Dutch EU nominee to wield veto right over ‘excessive bureaucracy’

10 September, 2014 - 13:38

“He will be my right-arm,” said European Commission President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker, refering to Frans Timmermans, as he unveiled his new team today (10 September), promising a more effective European Union which can deliver results, and restore its lost credibility.

The Dutch Foreign Minister will watch over the subsidiarity principle, whereby the EU should only intervene where it can act more effectively than national or local governments.

'Sexist' Spanish commissioner under Parliamentary spotlight

10 September, 2014 - 07:58

Elected Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will announce the portfolios of the 27 commissioners on his team today (10 September). The next step will be their approval by the European Parliament. At least two of them have good reasons to fear the hearings.

Juncker will announce the portfolios at 12:00 Brussels time. Successive leaks have provided insight into the lobbying of member countries to obtain important portfolios, with the biggest success probably going to Romania’s Corina Creţu, who is expected to obtain the coveted Regional Funds portfolio.

Live: The new Juncker Commission

10 September, 2014 - 07:50

Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission President-elect, will announce the distribution of portfolios within his team in Brussels today (10 September). Follow the development live on EurActiv.

Today's announcement marks the culmination of months of negotiations between Juncker and EU member states over the distribution of roles within the new EU executive.

If confirmed in a Parliament vote in October, the European Commission will take office on 1 November 2014.

European 'Special Olympics' kick off in Belgium

10 September, 2014 - 07:49

SPECIAL REPORT: Athletes with intellectual disabilities will be able to compete in different sports for the next ten days, at the Special Olympics European summer games in Belgium.

Manuel Valls wants EU nitrates directive 'to evolve'

10 September, 2014 - 07:47

Nitrate pollution remains a major problem in France due to its intensive agriculture. The French Prime Minister has resolved to take action, after a new indictment of France by the Court of Justice of the European Union last week.

Poland hopes Tusk will create an EU Energy Union

10 September, 2014 - 07:43

SPECIAL REPORT: In his capacity of Prime Minister of Poland, Donald Tusk has spearheaded the idea of an EU energy Union, and leading Polish politicians expect him to continue to do so as Council President, when he will take up the job from Herman Van Rompuy on 1 December.