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Samaras calls confidence vote ahead of bailout exit talks

10 October, 2014 - 07:23

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras seeks a confidence vote today (10 October) to rally support for his plan to abandon a widely-reviled EU/IMF aid package and end mounting speculation that his government is on its last legs.

After dodging various crises and lawmaker defections during his nearly two and half years in office, Samaras faces the prospect of snap polls if he fails to push through his candidate in a presidential election in early 2015.

UKIP wins first Westminster seat in by-election

10 October, 2014 - 07:17

Britain's anti-EU UK Independence Party won its first elected seat in parliament Thursday (9 October) by a huge margin, and came a close second in another vote, proving it poses a threat to the country's two main parties in a national election next year.

UKIP, which wants to withdraw Britain from the EU, and enact strict curbs on immigration, was expected to do well in both votes. But the wide margin of its victory in the seaside town of Clacton, and its strong performance in an election in northern England, came as a surprise.

Slovenian MEP the favourite to replace Bratušek

9 October, 2014 - 17:17

The two largest parties in the European Parliament have today (10 October) backed Socialist MEP Tanja Fajon to replace Alenka Bratušek as Slovenia's Commissioner in the new Juncker Commission.

Bratušek was chosen by the Commission President-elect to be Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union. But she was forced to resign after MEPs overwhelmingly rejected her candidacy last night (8 October).

TTIP negotiating mandate finally declassified

9 October, 2014 - 15:59

The Council of the European Union Thursday (9 October) finally published the secret negotiating mandate for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the US.

Although the directives empowering the European Commission to talk to Washington on the EU’s behalf were classified, they have in fact been freely available online since June 2013.

Montenegro is not the EU poster child it claims to be

9 October, 2014 - 14:49

The European Commission’s latest progress report on enlargement shows growing frustration at Montenegro’s sclerotic progress and what can only be interpreted as window-dressing to receive a good scorecard, writes Dr Matthias Menke.

Roma integration through social housing

9 October, 2014 - 14:43

SPECIAL REPORT: Governments and civil society should continue providing Roma with social housing, in oder to help them integrate locally, and reduce their travel between countries, says Valeria Atzori, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Adviser on Roma.

“Roma are not travellers by choice. They are obliged to leave because they are thrown out of their settlements,” she said. “When they have houses, they stay.”

Business warns single patent too expensive

9 October, 2014 - 14:25

National patent offices are attempting to set the price of the unitary European patent at a level too high to attract European companies to use it, European business representatives have warned.

The new patent – which has been approved by all EU member states, except for Italy and Spain – must be ratified in national legislation before new patents can be issued. But rules affecting the new courts, and the cost of registering and renewing patents, are still under discussion. Costs associated with the new patent will play a key role in determining whether companies use it.

Spanish health trade union leader: We only had 15 minutes of training on Ebola

9 October, 2014 - 13:47

The Madrid regional government has not given health personnel enough training to deal with Ebola properly, including the Spanish nurse Teresa Romero, who is now the first person in the world to contract the virus outside Africa, says Juan Carlos Mejías. Romero was in contact with one of two ill Spanish priests who died of the disease in Madrid's Carlos III Hospital.

Juan Carlos Mejías is the leader of SATSE, the main trade union in Spain's health sector, representing 100,000 members. Mejías spoke with EurActiv Spain's Fernando Heller.

A call for a 2015-2019 communication plan: Reconnecting Europe with its citizens

9 October, 2014 - 13:27

The unprecedented crisis of confidence across the European Union requires the European institutions to shoulder their responsibility and come up with a new communication strategy to reconnect the people with the European project. Christophe Rouillon proposes a joint communication plan with measurable targets for all the institutions by the next European elections in 2019, placing cities and regions at the heart of his strategy.

Northern European web shoppers spent €1,780 each in 2013

9 October, 2014 - 13:02

Northern Europe’s 19.7 million shoppers last year spent €200 more online than other EU consumers, about €1,780 each in total, a report has found.  

The Ecommerce Europe research focused on business to consumer sales in Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Total e-commerce for online goods and services for the region was €33.2 billion in 2013. That figure is expected to grow 10.7% to €36.8 billion in 2014, the report claimed.

Italian jobs summit fails to impress

9 October, 2014 - 12:56

The EU summit on jobs and growth, organised by Italy's Matteo Renzi, took place in Milan yesterday (8 October), without any concrete measures being taken to deliver jobs and combat youth unemployment. EurActiv Italy reports.

'Dialogue of the deaf' threatens Europe

9 October, 2014 - 10:54

Arnaud Montebourg criticised the fragility of the French-German relationship at a forum on the future of Europe, describing it as a grave cause for concern, along with the rise of nationalist politics. EurActiv France reports.

European businesses split over urgency of EU carbon market fix

9 October, 2014 - 10:36

European business groups are sharply divided over how quickly and aggressively the European Union needs to reform its Emissions Trading System (ETS), a division unlikely to help spur swift changes.

Small parties fume at backroom deals over Juncker team

9 October, 2014 - 09:06

A left-right alliance of big parties in the European Parliament delivered a near-complete endorsement of the new European Commission on Wednesday (8 October), after a week of partisan haggling that threatened to wreck Jean-Claude Juncker's lineup.

The only casualty in the proposed team of 27 commissioners submitted to the Parliament’s approval was Alenka Bratušek, the Slovenian candidate appointed to a senior Energy Union Vice-President role.

Parliament clears two-headed ‘Mr Euro’ for Juncker team

9 October, 2014 - 07:58

The European Parliament endorsed former Latvian prime minister Valdis Dombrovskis on Wednesday (8 October) in the new role of Vice-President of the European Commission, in charge of the euro. He will be seconded by Pierre Moscovici in the economics portfolio, in a novel two-headed configuration for the single currency in the EU executive.

Lawmakers said Dombrovskis, seen as an austerity hawk who will keep an eye on French Socialist economics commissioner Pierre Moscovici, was endorsed in his role by 54-37. He was confirmed as a member of the Commission by 73-25.

Hill success for Cameron on eve of UKIP vote

9 October, 2014 - 07:58

Jonathan Hill was confirmed by MEPs as EU Commissioner on Wednesday, a boost for British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is today (9 October) facing defeat by the UK Independence Party in a high-profile by-election.

Hill was comfortably backed by the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee to take on the Financial Stability, Financial Services and Capital Markets Union portfolio.

Potočnik may get fourth term

9 October, 2014 - 07:50

Current Slovenian Commissioner Janez Potočnik could be the choice of Prime Minister Miro Cerar, replacing Alenka Bratušek, the only Juncker Commissioner-designate that MEPs rejected.

The Slovenian press reports that Cerar’s choice could well be Potočnik, for whom this would be a fourth term as Commissioner. A former negotiator of his country’s EU accession, Potočnik was briefly Enlargement Commissioner, from the date of his country’s EU accession, 1 May 2004 to November 2004, when the first Barroso team was constituted.

Italy's prime minister wins labour reform confidence vote

9 October, 2014 - 07:25

Matteo Renzi won the most important parliamentary confidence vote of his eight-month-old government early on Thursday (8 October), on a labour reform proposal he hopes will boost his EU credentials.

National Front renews hunt for European funding

9 October, 2014 - 07:15

After failing to form a group in the European Parliament, Marine Le Pen's National Front will seek EU funding by forming a new European political party. EurActiv France reports.

German aid criticised for funding Thai TV show on ‘safe pesticide use’

9 October, 2014 - 07:08

In a new reality show featuring farmers in Thailand, BASF, the world's largest chemicals corporation, is collecting German development funds to advertise for artificial pesticide use, causing NGOs to question government cooperation with big business in development aid campaigns. EurActiv Germany reports.