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French Socialists push for recognition of Palestinian state

6 November, 2014 - 15:32

The movement for the recognition of Palestine is gaining momentum in the wake of Sweden's decision to officially recognise the state. Socalist legislators are preparing a resolution that would see France join 135 other countries in recognising the state of Palestine. reports

Commission spokesperson dodges awkward questions on tax evasion, while Juncker dodges the press

6 November, 2014 - 15:26

To the frustration of Brussels correspondents, on Thursday (6 November), chief Commission spokesperson Margaritis Schinas declined to comment on the latest revelation of secret tax deals between more than 300 international companies and Luxembourg on behalf of the current Commission President and former Luxembourg prime minister, Jean-Claude Juncker.  

Remembering people, places and myths surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall

6 November, 2014 - 12:05

25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, former Austrian correspondent Ewald König returns to the place where Günter Schabowski mistakenly ordered the opening of the Wall, where myths live on and where König met the young Angela Merkel.

Ebola: Creating the foundations for a cure

6 November, 2014 - 11:27

The European Commission’s recent pledge to fast track €24.4 million of emergency funding for Ebola research is a sterling example of what the EU can aspire to when it works together for the common good, writes Nicholas Rutherford.

EU gears up for more road toll schemes

6 November, 2014 - 11:23

The European Commission announced it will propose a new law to make road toll schemes across Europe more user-friendly if it fails to achieve it through non-binding measures.

UK says Western Balkans would be even keener to join a reformed EU

6 November, 2014 - 10:28

Philip Hammond, Britain's foreign minister, told Western Balkan states aspiring to membership of the European Union yesterday (5 November) that he admired their enthusiasm, but believed it would be even greater if the EU carried out reforms that Britain wants.

"What I think is fantastic is that, having identified the need for reform and the deep flaws in the existing structure, we have a lot of candidate countries that are banging on the door, warts and all, even with all the current flaws," Hammond said on a panel in Berlin with foreign ministers from Western Balkan countries.

Hardening of positions transforms eastern Ukraine into ‘frozen conflict’

6 November, 2014 - 10:06

Kyiv said Thursday (5 November) it would halt payment of state funds in areas controlled by pro-Moscow rebels, as both sides hardened positions in what is rapidly becoming a "frozen conflict": a long-term stalemate that the West believes is Russia's goal.

A day after the rebels held inauguration ceremonies for their leaders, the separatists and the central government each accused each other of violating a September peace deal and signalled they would withdraw support for some of its terms.

Georgian coalition rocked by defections

6 November, 2014 - 07:57

Georgia's foreign minister quit yesterday (5 November) and one of six parties in the ruling coalition pulled out, depriving it of a parliamentary majority in a rift over the pace of integration with the West.

Foreign Minister Maja Panjikidze, who cited threats to Georgia's pro-Western course, and a junior minister resigned following the dismissal of the former Soviet republic's pro-Western defence minister by Prime Minister Irakly Garibashvili.


Eurozone ponders whether Greece needs more debt relief

6 November, 2014 - 07:54

Eurozone states are reconsidering whether Greece needs the additional debt relief it has been seeking, because the country's economic reforms, and improved prospects, have changed the arithmetic, officials say.

Describing a rethink by some of Greece's partners, officials told Reuters that no decision would be taken until a new analysis of whether Athens can service its debts has been completed.

"It has not been decided, but it has not been ruled out, either," one eurozone official said.

UK, Germany offer plan to break Bosnia's EU deadlock

6 November, 2014 - 07:45

Britain and Germany put forward a plan on Wednesday (5 November) to revive Bosnia's stalled bid to join the European Union, offering to unlock EU funds in exchange for commitments to institutional reform from the country's yet-to-be-formed new government.

Luxembourg tax deals weigh on Juncker

6 November, 2014 - 07:37

More than 300 companies, including PepsiCo Inc, AIG Inc and Deutsche Bank AG, secured secret deals from Luxembourg to slash their tax bills, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) reported, quoting leaked documents. Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, a former prime minister of Luxembourg, was asked yesterday (5 November) to comment.

Obesity researcher says the EU's new sugar quotas will increase diabetes rates

6 November, 2014 - 07:33

With the liberalisation of the European sugar market planned for 2017, the EU can expect to see a dramatic increase in obesity and diabetes, a researcher has warned. 

High fructose corn syrup is widely used in the US, as it is cheaper than beet and cane sugar, is sweeter, and also easier to work with. The use of high fructose corn syrup has so far been limited in the EU due to quotas

Financial institutions: Unintended beneficiaries of EU development aid

6 November, 2014 - 07:23

EU subsidies to infrastructure projects in developing countries can indirectly benefit the financial institutions that co-finance them, says the European Court of Auditors. reports

EU may offer Britain installment plan for disputed bill

6 November, 2014 - 07:17

EU finance ministers are likely to let Britain pay a hefty new bill to Brussels in interest-free installments, but rule out any reduction in the surcharge, triggered by historic revisions to national income data, officials said on Wednesday (5 November).

The row over the €2.1 billion demand for payment with little more than a month's notice has put British Prime Minister David Cameron under pressure from Eurosceptics at home, in the run-up to a national election in May.

DG Energy wants cash for renovation from €300 billion investment plan

6 November, 2014 - 07:12

SPECIAL REPORT: The European Union’s senior civil servant in charge of energy met with the EU Secretary-General last night, to push for a slice of Jean-Claude Juncker’s €300 billion investment package to go to renovation.

Director-General Dominique Ristori told delegates at a Brussels conference for Renovate Europe Day he could not pre-judge any decision by the college of Commissioners. 

Study: The French are the least satisfied with their working conditions

6 November, 2014 - 07:06

Cultural differences in working arrangements, and the use of office space, lead to different levels of satisfaction among Europe’s workforce. The Dutch are the happiest, while the French are the least satisfied. EurActiv France reports.

Juncker: I will always respond to unfair criticism from national EU leaders

5 November, 2014 - 16:47

Jean-Claude Juncker signaled that his Commission will be very different from that of his predecessor, José Manuel Barroso. Not only did he personally meet the press following the weekly College meeting. Juncker announced that he would not leave any unfair criticism coming from EU capitals without a reply.

In what looks like a revolution in the way the Commission communicates with the media, Juncker came to the press room following the weekly college meeting, the first one of his mandate.

Cholesterol: The overlooked chronic disease

5 November, 2014 - 15:34

Europeans suffer from the highest bad cholesterol in the world, with a prevalence of 54% for both sexes, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). However, the chronic disease continues to be neglected by policymakers, in favour of other long-term illnesses.

New Commission casts doubt over French budget

5 November, 2014 - 14:38

Pierre Moscovici and Jyrki Katainen painted a picture of a weakened European economy yesterday. Their economic forecast for France is significantly less optimistic than that provided by the French government: they expect France to be the EU's most indebted member state in 2016. reports

Germany to build liquefied gas station with EU funds

5 November, 2014 - 14:32

The European Commission is giving €4 million to two German companies for the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) ferry and a fuel station in the North Sea, it announced Tuesday (4 October). The project could increase the number of ships using LNG in future.