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EU regulators seek to close car emissions testing loopholes

20 August, 2014 - 15:14

EU regulators are preparing draft legislation that will require vehicle fuel use to be tested on roads rather than in laboratories, looking to close loopholes that allow car makers to exaggerate fuel-saving and emissions credentials.

From 1 September, slightly tougher EU testing standards will be enforced, in line with a global push for accuracy. More-stringent standards are likely to be opposed by automakers.

Commission ‘analyses’ Poland's complaint over Russian food ban

20 August, 2014 - 13:29

The European Commission responded cautiously, today, to a Polish request to lodge a formal complaint to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over a Russian ban on EU food products that has hit Poland particularly hard.

Poland's economy ministry told Reuters it had sent the request to European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, who represents EU members in all WTO cases.

NGO warns Germany against cuts to Syria aid

20 August, 2014 - 13:07

The German aid organisation World Vision fears that newly-escalating conflicts threaten to overshadow growing need in Syria, following German government plans to spend less on humanitarian aid in the region. EurActiv Germany reports.

Poland wants EU to complain to WTO over Russian embargo

20 August, 2014 - 09:00

Poland has asked the European Commission to send a formal complaint to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) over the Russian ban on imported EU food products that has hit Poland particularly hard, the Polish Economy Ministry said on Tuesday (19 August).

So far the Commission been cautious about taking the embargo case to the WTO, with lawyers in Brussels advising it could escalate a trade conflict with Russia over Ukraine.

Driving growth through the mobile economy

20 August, 2014 - 07:52

The mobile economy has the potential to drive Europe's economic recovery but it needs industry and European institutions to work together, in order to streamline regulation, encourage market consolidation, deliver data protection reform and spectrum harmonisation, writes Tom Phillips.

After food ban, Russia markets shrimp “from Belarus”

20 August, 2014 - 07:50

Massive fraud is reported after Moscow introduced counter-sanctions, prohibiting the importation of food from Western countries that undertook measures to punish Russia for the annexation of Crimea, and for destabilising eastern Ukraine. For example, shellfish are labelled as hailing from Belarus, even though the country is landlocked.

The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reports that shoppers in Kursk have purchased shrimp labelled as originating from Belarus.

Putin and Poroshenko to meet in Minsk on 26 August

20 August, 2014 - 07:34

Russia and Ukraine said yesterday (19 August) that their presidents would meet together with top European Union officials in Belarus's capital of Minsk on 26 August to discuss their conflict over Ukraine, which has plunged relations to an all-time low.

The meeting will put Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko in the same room for the first time since a passing encounter in France in June, though Ukrainian officials were at pains to say no face-to-face meeting there between the two men was planned as yet.

German government pushes for 'Europeanisation' of arms industry

20 August, 2014 - 07:24

On Tuesday (19 August) Sigmar Gabriel, Germany's Minister of Economic Affairs, announced his intention to accelerate consolidation and Europeanisation of Germany's arms industry. EurActiv Germany reports.

Watchdog rules Peabody ‘clean coal’ ad misleading

20 August, 2014 - 07:11

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that an advertisement for “clean coal” by the world’s largest private sector coal firm, Peabody Energy, was misleading and should not be published again in its current form.

The advert, published in the Financial Times, under the banner headline ‘Lets brighten the many faces of energy poverty’ advocated use of what it called ‘clean coal’ as a way of curbing energy inequalities in the developing world, where the company has targeted its growth strategy.

South Stream ‘Plan B’ opts for route through Greece and Turkey

19 August, 2014 - 15:17

A Russian newspaper has published an article suggesting that the Kremlin-favoured South Stream gas pipeline could drop Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, and Slovenia for its route, and instead reach its final destinations, Italy and Austria, through Turkey and Greece.

On Monday (18 August), Russian business newspaper Vzglyad published an article by journalist Oleg Makarenko, claiming that Gazprom has a “plan B” in case Bulgaria continues to obstruct the construction of the South Stream pipeline.

Turkey calls German spying 'completely unacceptable'

19 August, 2014 - 14:59

The latest leaked spying records reveal that Germany’s BND intelligence agency considers Turkey a target, complicating relations between Ankara and Berlin at a time when the German government is considering arming Iraq’s Kurdish minority. EurActiv Germany reports.

UKIP race row erupts where Farage plans to stand in UK elections

19 August, 2014 - 12:58

A UK Independence Party member of European Parliament was yesterday (18 August) embroiled in a race row in Kent, days after Nigel Farage said he would stand for election in the county.

Farage confirmed on Tuesday (19 August) he had thrown his “hat in the ring” to contest the Kent seat of South Thanet, which is currently held by the Conservatives, in the UK’s 2015 general election. He will quit Brussels in favour of Westminster if elected.

Researchers say this year's ecological footprint has already been exceeded

19 August, 2014 - 10:28

Although there's four months left of 2014, humans have already exhausted the ecological space for this year. This means that there has been more consumption of resources than the planet can handle, and over-consumption is only getting worse, according to researchers.

Russia's sanctions threaten both EU farmers and policymakers

19 August, 2014 - 09:25

Russia's food import ban has become a big problem for Europe's farmers, and its central bank policymakers. From Polish apples to French pork and Greek peaches, exporters to Russia may either have to slash prices, or destroy their own produce.

As the European Union's second biggest apple producer, Poland has some 700,000 tonnes of the fruit it usually sells to Russia but can't, because Moscow has a food embargo on many EU and US goods as part of tit-for-tat sanctions related to the Ukraine crisis.

Some little things you should know about TTIP

19 August, 2014 - 07:44

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is not about higher or lower standards but about the EU and US setting the same standards together. Doing so could save money and time for thousands of small and medium sized mechanical engineering companies, writes Reinhold Festge.

Eurozone trade surplus rises in June

19 August, 2014 - 07:39

The eurozone's trade surplus grew more than expected in June from June a year ago, data showed on Monday (18 August). However, the improved surplus does not yet reflect the full effect of sanctions and counter-sanctions imposed by the European Union and Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.

The international trade balance of the 18 countries sharing the euro grew to €16.8 billion in June from €15.7 billion in June last year, as exports rose more than imports. It was up from the €15.4 billion surplus recorded in May.

Merkel pledges military support to Baltic states

19 August, 2014 - 07:25

Germany's Angela Merkel promised the Baltic states yesterday (18 August) that NATO would defend them, although it would not send permanent combat troops, but would increase manoeuvres in the region.

Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania - former Soviet republics with their own Russian-speaking minorities - are increasingly anxious that the conflict in Ukraine and Russia's annexation of Crimea could herald destabilisation in their own region by Moscow.

NGO backlash to Chief Scientific Advisor position grows

19 August, 2014 - 07:07

EXCLUSIVE / More European non-profit groups have thrown their weight behind a call by Greenpeace and HEAL for the European Commission to scrap the position of its Science Tsar, Anne Glover, in a letter sent to the incoming EU president, Jean-Claude Juncker, which EurActiv has seen.

'Dozens' of refugees, including women and children, killed by rocket fire in Ukraine

18 August, 2014 - 17:06

Dozens of people, including women and children, were killed as they fled fighting in eastern Ukraine yesterday (18 August) when their convoy of buses was hit by rocket fire, military spokesmen said.

Ukraine accused pro-Russian rebels of targeting the convoy, which it said was bearing white flags when it was hit near the eastern city of Luhansk. The separatists denied responsibility for the attack and one rebel leader suggested the incident might never have taken place.

EU farmers handed €125 million to offset Russia sanctions

18 August, 2014 - 15:27

EU farmers will get financial help of up to €125 million to help them cope with the impact of Russia's ban on most Western food imports, which has created a glut of fruit and vegetables in peak harvest time, the European Commission said on Monday (18 August).

Russia has declared a one-year embargo on meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables from the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia and Norway in retaliation for Western economic sanctions over Moscow's actions in Ukraine.