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Dobrindt: Commission should not interfere with German toll

16 June, 2015 - 06:52

The European Commission intends to launch infringement proceedings against Germany this week over the country’s passenger car tolls, causing Transportation Minister Alexander Dobrindt to attack the “sweeping criticism from Brussels”. EurActiv Germany reports.

UN says one million refugees should be no problem for EU

16 June, 2015 - 06:43

The UN rights chief yesterday (15 June) called for the European Union to take bolder steps to address its swelling migrant crisis, insisting the bloc could easily take in one million refugees. The announcement coincides with today's meeting of EU interior ministers who find it difficult to re-distribute 40.000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece to other countries of the Union.

"It is well within the EU's means to give refuge, over a number of years, to one million refugees displaced by the conflicts in Syria and elsewhere," said Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.

Gabriel: Germany has 'catching up to do' in e-car sector

16 June, 2015 - 06:30

Germany ranked near the middle in an international comparison of markets for electric vehicles, demonstrating there is room for improvement, the government said. EurActiv Germany reports.

Le Pen's new EU Parliament group to scoop €17.5 million of public money

16 June, 2015 - 06:23

Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s National Front, will today (16 June) announce the creation of Europe of Nations and Freedoms, a new far-right European Parliament group that will qualify for up to €17.5 million of EU money over the next four years.

Le Pen failed to form a group after the European elections last year, despite a surge in support for far-right parties. Her party topped the French vote, returning 24 MEPs.

While airlines pay for pollution, airports fly in a different class

16 June, 2015 - 06:16

SPECIAL REPORT / Today’s passenger aircraft are becoming ever more efficient, driven by regulations like the EU’s emissions trading scheme and airlines looking to squeeze profit out of every drop of fuel saved.

Yet on the ground, airports operate in a different class. New findings from a European Union-funded research project show that commercial airports use as much energy as a small city, and up to one-fifth of that may be wasted.

Council approves data protection reform

15 June, 2015 - 17:36

EU justice ministers agreed on data protection rules at a meeting in Luxembourg today (15 June).

After over three years of negotiations, the Council will start so-called trialogue negotiations with the European Parliament and the European Commission on 24 June to iron out details of the General Data Protection Regulation.

European leaders have vowed to come to a conclusion on the new data protection legislation—an update of a 20-year-old directive—before the end of this year.

More data protection is better than less

15 June, 2015 - 17:27

Following today's agreement in the Council on Data Protection, in an exclusive op-ed, MEP Viviane Reding reminds us that the EU countries' position seems to substantially water down the Commission's proposal.

Viviane Reding is a centre-right Member of the European Parliament for Luxembourg. She is a member of the Parliament's Committee on International Trade and rapporteur on the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). Until the end of last year, she was Vice-President of the European Commission, in charge of justice.

Environment ministers want flexible air pollution targets

15 June, 2015 - 15:58

Environment ministers on Monday (15 June) demanded flexibility in meeting EU air quality targets, after dropping a cap on methane emissions from draft pollution rules.

Governments were split on whether the proposed reduction goals for 2030 should be legally binding or non-binding. Poland demanded the targets be pushed back to 2040 and Hungary said the bill should be scrapped, while others called for review clauses to be inserted in the legislation.

Chisinau mayoral race pits pro-EU against pro-Russia candidates

15 June, 2015 - 15:13

The pro-European Union mayor of the capital of Moldova narrowly led the race against a pro-Russian opponent after local polls, electoral officials in the impoverished ex-Soviet country said today (15 June).

Pro-European and pro-Russian politicians are vying for power in Europe's poorest country, which aspires fto European Union membership, but has thousands of Russian troops in its breakaway Transnistria region bordering Ukraine.

Russia says it will respond to US military buildup in Baltics

15 June, 2015 - 14:28

A senior Russian Defence Ministry official warned today (15 June) that Moscow would boost its forces on its Western flank should the United States store heavy arms in the Baltic states and eastern Europe.

A US official said over the weekend that Washington planned to store heavy military equipment in the Baltics and eastern Europe, in order to reassure allies unnerved by Russia's role in Ukraine, and to deter aggression.

Nabucco 2.0 to transport Russian gas?

15 June, 2015 - 10:59

A new version of the defunct Nabucco gas pipeline project is being prepared, this time based on the transport of Russian gas, Austria's Die Presse has learned. Ironically, the original concept of Nabucco was precisely to carry gas from other sources than Russia.

According to the newspaper, Austria's OMV energy company is planning a new route for Russian gas to Europe bypassing Ukraine jointly with Russia’s Gazprom.

EU privacy reform: Who pays when the rules are broken?

15 June, 2015 - 10:41

New European Union data protection rules expected to be agreed on Monday will allow citizens to sue companies that own data as well as those that process it on their behalf, for example cloud computing providers.

As election nears, Danish parties vow tighter immigration rules

15 June, 2015 - 09:58

Little over a week before a parliamentary election, in which the right-wing Danish People's Party (DF) has a chance of entering a governing coalition, immigration has become a hot topic and the party's rhetoric on curbing foreigners coming to Denmark has been adopted by mainstream parties.

Juncker marks 30th anniversary of Schengen agreement

15 June, 2015 - 07:59

Marking the 30th anniversary of the border-free Schengen agreement on 13 June, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned against taking advantage of the surge of immigrants from the Mediterranean to dismantle what he said was one of the greatest achievements in EU integration.

Talks with Greece collapse as default looms

15 June, 2015 - 07:42

Default by debt-wracked Greece loomed dangerously closer after last-ditch talks between Athens and its EU-IMF creditors collapsed on Sunday (14 May), bringing the threat of a Greek exit from the euro closer than ever.

The crunch negotiations failed in their second day, heaping worry that the cash-starved Greek government was heading irreversibly into a financial abyss with a huge IMF debt payment due at the end of the month.

Stanishev re-elected PES President

15 June, 2015 - 07:31

Sergei Stanishev was re-elected on 12 June as President of the Party of European Socialists (PES), the second largest European political family, after the other candidate, Enrique Barόn Crespo, withdrew from the competition just before the vote.

Barόn Crespo, a Spanish Socialist and former President of the European Parliament, tweeted that he withdrew from the race after realising that a majority at the PES congress in Budapest wanted to continue with the current leadership.

Venice vote set to deliver blow to Renzi

15 June, 2015 - 07:18

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's centre-left party was set to lose the race for mayor of Venice on Sunday, rounding off a round of local elections across Italy which saw gains for anti-establishment and right-wing parties last month.

REACH: Aviation hopes to streamline approval for ‘mission critical’ chemicals

15 June, 2015 - 06:55

SPECIAL REPORT / When the European Commission began working on landmark legislation to regulate potentially dangerous chemicals, it barely appeared on the aviation industry’s radar screen.

Today, aircraft producers and airlines are struggling with the regulatory requirements of what would become know as the REACH regulation, which obliges companies to replace chemicals deemed a risk to human health and the environment or to seek regulatory authorisation for exemptions.

Higher international ambition needed on climate change

15 June, 2015 - 06:37

Ambitious national plans are needed to tackle climate change, but responsibility for change rests with all of us, not just with governments, writes Aileen McLeod.

Physical activity seeking wider policy recognition

15 June, 2015 - 06:35

SPECIAL REPORT / While the economic benefits of physical activity are widely documented, policymakers still struggle to translate scientific evidence into policy, health experts say.

Lack of physical activity – along with unhealthy diets – are key risk factors for major non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).