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Brussels tells France, Italy to keep budget promises

3 June, 2014 - 07:11

The European Commission told France and Italy on Monday (2 June) to stick to their pledges to curb spending while reforming their economies, showing little sign of wavering on EU budget rules.

In its annual policy recommendations to governments around Europe, the Commission sought to strike a fine balance between pushing for budget cuts and stimulating a fragile economy at a time of record unemployment.

Potočnik: ‘Subsidies to energy and water use raise barriers to a circular economy’

3 June, 2014 - 07:05

EU environment commissioner Janez Potočnik contends that a circular economy model is not just a realistic goal for the EU, but is “inevitable”. Reducing Europe’s waste using “tried and tested” methods is going to be a key issue for the next Parliament's mandate.

Diplomats polemicise over Ukraine’s EU membership perspective

3 June, 2014 - 07:04

Speaking at a conference organised by the European Policy centre (EPC) yesterday (2 June), Kostyantin Yelisieiev, the Ambassador of Ukraine to the EU, made an appeal for his country to be given a clear membership perspective to the European Union.

In principle, the signature of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement (AA) could be accompanied by a preamble, in which the accession perspective could be included.

Merkel says Juncker can be approved with ‘qualified majority’

3 June, 2014 - 07:04

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday (2 June) she was pressing fellow EU leaders to back Jean-Claude Juncker for the post of European Commission president, but also noted it could be pushed through without the backing of all.

Speaking at a news conference with the visiting prime minister of Georgia, Merkel stressed that Juncker, former prime minister of Luxembourg, could be approved in the European Council, which groups all 28 EU leaders, with a "qualified majority".

Hollande’s taxes blamed for France’s failure on Commission debt targets

2 June, 2014 - 18:00

France will miss its European Commission debt targets this year and in 2015 because it failed to curb spending on healthcare and pensions and increased corporate taxes, which stalled growth and jobs, the EU’s executive said today (2 June).

Under EU law, governments must not run budget deficits higher than 3% of economic output or gross domestic product (GDP). If they do, they fall under the excessive deficit procedure, which could lead to fines.

Spanish monarch relinquishes throne

2 June, 2014 - 14:13

Spain's King Juan Carlos said on Monday he would abdicate in favor of his more popular son Prince Felipe, in an apparent bid to revive the scandal-hit monarchy at a time of economic hardship and growing discontent with the wider political elite.

"A new generation is quite rightly demanding to take the lead role," Juan Carlos, 76, said on television, hours after a surprise announcement from Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy that the monarch would step down after almost 40 years on the throne.

Experts debate: What direction should European energy policy take?

2 June, 2014 - 13:48

What should European energy policy be? A recent event in Berlin featured a debate over greater integration in European energy policy, Germany's Energiewende (energy transition) and what should occur regarding energy policy in the post-election period. EurActiv Germany reports.

Mr Obama goes to Warsaw, then Brussels

2 June, 2014 - 13:33

Before arriving in Brussels for the G7 meeting this Wednesday (4 June), US President Barack Obama will visit Warsaw on Tuesday. Poland and its neighbors are looking for concrete assurances that NATO will protect it against from Russia, writes Judy Dempsey.

How do we face extremists in the EU Parliament?

2 June, 2014 - 10:40

The recent elections witnessed the rise of Eurosceptic, anti-EU, anti-immigrant, populist, reactionary and even neo-Nazi parties in several EU member states. Their MEPs will have to respect the fundamental values of the EU, but how binding is this, really, asks Mose Apelblat.

Katainen prepares for Commission, eyes Barroso’s job

2 June, 2014 - 07:40

Olli Rehn, the Commission Vice President for Economic and Monetary Affairs, will take up his MEP seat and is likely to be replaced by Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen from 1 July. Katainen, whose party NCP is EPP-affiliated, makes no secret that he wants to be the next Commission President.

According to information obtained by EurActiv, Olli Rehn, who was elected as MEP by his liberal-affiliated Centre party, has decided to take his seat as MEP.

Oettinger: EU help in resolving South Stream’s legal problems is conditional

2 June, 2014 - 07:10

EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger said the Commission-mediated talks to solve legal issues over the Gazprom-favoured South Stream gas pipeline could continue only if Russia adheres to international law in the context of the Ukraine crisis.

In an interview with the Frankfurt Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, he said that the discussion had come to a standstill because Russia did not want to accept EU energy legislation and because the crisis in Ukraine had eclipsed everything.

Why Russia and China are united by more than pipeline politics

2 June, 2014 - 06:51

The recent multi-billion euro deal to pipe gas from Russia to China signals shifting geopolitical and climate hedge bets more than it does a new anti-Western alliance, argues Shaun Breslin

Shaun Breslin is a professor of politics and international affairs at the University of Warwick

First tar sands shipment to Europe sparks protests

2 June, 2014 - 06:43

EXCLUSIVE / Anti-tar sands demonstrations have begun outside a Spanish refinery that will receive the first major European shipment of Canada’s tar sands next week, and activists are refusing to rule out direct action to stop it.

The 600,000 barrels of Western Canada Select (WCS) heavy blend crude, is being shipped by the Spanish oil company Repsol to the port of Bilbao, from where it will be taken to a nearby refinery in a heavily-populated area.

Opposition builds to Juncker’s bid for Commission Presidency

2 June, 2014 - 06:26

A British official Sunday (1 June) dismissed a report that Prime Minister David Cameron had threatened at an EU summit last week to bring forward a referendum on British membership in the EU if Jean-Claude Juncker became European Commission president.

Der Spiegel reported that Cameron had said he would not be able to ensure that Britain stayed in the European Union if Juncker got the job.

Slovenian academia slams Commission for “neoliberal pressure” over education

30 May, 2014 - 15:34

Slovenian educators and students are ringing the alarm, after the Commission initiated a legal case against the country’s education legislation, which ‘could undermine education quality’ and ‘set a dangerous precedent in the light of EU-US trade deal negotiations.

Criticism is mounting in Slovenia, one of the Union’s smallest member states, after the European Commission opened an infringement procedure against the country’s higher education act.

EU diplomats agree to 7% biofuels cap

30 May, 2014 - 14:42

EU ambassadors have agreed to a 7% cap on biofuels made from food crops in transport fuel, in a move environmentalists say is a “timid step” in the right direction.

The diplomats meeting Wednesday (28 May) to prepare EU ministerial councils, passed the proposal, which included the reporting of emissions from indirect land use change (ILUC) and a target for ‘advanced’ biofuels.

Circular economy: going further with less

30 May, 2014 - 14:11

SPECIAL REPORT / Transforming waste into resources and reducing the environmental impact of economic growth are priorities for Europe. An EU package on circular economy has been long-awaited.

INFOGRAPHIC: War in Syria: Where do the refugees go?

30 May, 2014 - 13:25

The Syrian crisis has caused the exile of millions of citizens. But only 60,000 of them took refuge in the European Union.

INFOGRAPHIC: War in Syria: Where do the refugees go?

30 May, 2014 - 13:25

The Syrian crisis has caused the exile of millions of citizens. But only 60,000 of them took refuge in the European Union.

EU leaders should respect citizens' choice, says Tsipras

30 May, 2014 - 12:55

The nomination of a non-candidate for the leadership of the European Commission would turn the EU elections into a charade, said the European Left's candidate for the EU executive, Alexis Tsipras. EurActiv Greece reports.

In a communiqué published today (30 May), the candidate of the European Left for the presidency of the European Commission, Alexis Tsipras, opposed any candidate for the EU executive who didn’t compete in the EU elections.