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Bulgaria says it will start talks to join the euro

16 January, 2015 - 08:45

Bulgaria will begin talks on adopting the euro, its finance minister said on Thursday (15 January), adding that the Balkan country may join the preliminary exchange-rate mechanism for eurozone entry by the end of 2018, Nova television reported.

Vladislav Goranov said Sofia would seek answers from the eurozone's 19 member states on what it should do to be allowed in to the initial two-year ERM-2 exchange rate mechanism.

Foiled Belgium terror attacks fuel fears of radical Islam in Europe

16 January, 2015 - 08:33

Belgian police killed two men who opened fire on them during one of about a dozen raids on Thursday (15 January) against an Islamist group that federal prosecutors said was about to launch "terrorist attacks on a grand scale".

Ansip: 'Digital Single Market strategy will be ready in May'

16 January, 2015 - 07:55

SPECIAL REPORT: Andrus Ansip, the European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, says he will launch a new digital strategy this Spring, including milestones and methods for monitoring progress effectively in the member states.

Health NGO: 'Endocrine disruptors are one of the biggest public health threats of this century'

16 January, 2015 - 07:48

Although hormone-disrupting chemicals are recognised as a global public health threat by the World Health Organization (WHO), the European Commission's public consultation on the matter, which closes today (16 January), is only meant to delay action and regulation, argues Génon K. Jensen.

Génon K. Jensen is director of the not-for-profit organisation Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL). Jensen answered questions by EurActiv's Henriette Jacobsen

Open labour markets more resilient to crisis, EU report finds

16 January, 2015 - 07:40

A European Commission review of employment and social policies shows that countries which had reformed their labour markets and invested in human capital proved to be more resilient during the economic crisis.

The Commission's review, published on Thursday (15 January), looked into the lessons that could be learnt from the recession.

It found that the negative impact on employment and incomes was smaller for countries with more open labour markets and stronger investment in lifelong learning.

Agriculture Commissioner promises GMO labelling, despite TTIP

16 January, 2015 - 07:35

If a product contains genetically modified corn, it will still be labelled as such in the future, assured EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, seeking to dispel fears that consumer protection standards could suffer under planned trade agreements with the US and Canada. EurActiv Germany reports.

Turkish PM: If Europe persists in its ‘Holy Roman attitude’, it is over

16 January, 2015 - 07:28

As a consequence of the Eurozone crisis, racism is on the rise, in the same way that the 1929 crisis inspired anti-Semitism. But this time the scapegoats are Muslims, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told a Brussels audience on Thursday (15 January).

Davutoğlu, who came to Brussels to meet with Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, first addressed a conference organised by Friends of Europe, a Brussels think tank.

Oettinger playing ‘catch-up’ on EU digital infrastructure

16 January, 2015 - 07:09

During a visit to Berlin, Digital Commissioner Günther Oettinger called for increased investment in Europe’s digital infrastructure, explaining that the economy alone will not be able to close the significant investment gap. EurActiv Germany reports.

GM crops to be fast-tracked in UK following EU vote

15 January, 2015 - 17:12

GM crops could be speedily brought to the UK market after MEPs voted to allow countries to choose whether to grow the crops on Tuesday. The new EU law, which comes into force this spring, will allow states to cultivate GM crops that have already been approved by the European Food Safety Authority (Efsa).

European spies want more powers, but face uphill battle

15 January, 2015 - 16:40

From allowing spies greater access to communications and extending phone taps to collating databases of air passengers, European governments are looking to expand the powers of their security agencies after last week's Paris attacks.

Why competition is vital to Europe’s investors

15 January, 2015 - 15:22

Pension and insurance savers’ income depends on institutional investors having a full choice of fund managers. This is why the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (EVCA) supports the proposed introduction of a third-country passport allowing non-European managers to market their funds to European investors, writes Michael Collins.  

Michael Collins is public affairs director at the EVCA, which represents the private equity and venture capital industry in Europe.

The last emperor of GDP

15 January, 2015 - 15:20

Gross Domestic Product is a measure of the size of a country's economy. It represents the value of all goods and services produced over a specific period of time, with year-on-year growth generally considered a sign of good economic health, writes Éloi Laurent.

More biofuels with low environmental impact possible, scientists say

15 January, 2015 - 15:06

EU countries could increase their production of biofuels with a minimum impact on the environment, Utrecht University scientists concluded in a study published on Tuesday (13 January). 

Biofuels are the main green alternative to fossil fuels used in transport, but they compete with feed crops that share the same agricultural land.

EU to publish details of Amazon Luxleaks probe

15 January, 2015 - 14:55

European Union antitrust regulators will publish details on Friday of their investigation into Amazon's tax-minimising arrangements with Luxembourg.

The European Commission, which made the announcement on Thursday (15 January), opened its investigation in October, making the US company the latest global firm to have its tax practices assessed by the EU.

The investigation focuses on whether Luxembourg broke EU state aid rules by agreeing a deal which allows Amazon to operate almost tax-free in Europe.

Swiss franc unpegged from euro, value soars

15 January, 2015 - 14:35

The Swiss franc soared by almost 30% in value against the euro today (15 January) after the Swiss National Bank (SNB) abandoned its three-year old cap at 1.20 Swiss francs per euro.

In a chaotic few minutes on markets after the SNB's announcement, the franc broke past parity against the euro to trade at 0.8052 francs per euro before trimming those gains to stand at 1.0350 francs.

It also gained 25 percent against the dollar to trade at 0.8900 francs per dollar.

Commission push against red tape scores points in Parliament

15 January, 2015 - 10:54

EU lawmakers have failed to agree on a stance against the European Commission's plans to scrap some environment policies, marking a victory for the executive's push for less regulation.

Swiss seek to avert EU immigration clash with 'safeguard' clause

15 January, 2015 - 08:46

The Swiss government hopes to negotiate for a right to cap immigration from the European Union so as to keep its access to EU markets when it writes into law a popular vote requiring strict limits on migration.

Russia says it will shift gas transit from Ukraine to Turkey

15 January, 2015 - 08:39

European Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič was told in Moscow Wednesday (14 January) that Russia would shift all its gas transit from Ukraine to Turkey, and that EU customers should buy this gas at the border with Greece.

According to press reports, Šefčovič, who visits Russia for the first time since he was appointed Commission Vice-President for the Energy Union, said he was “very surprised” by the Russian move.

Russia recently abandoned plans to build the South Stream gas pipeline via the Black Sea to Bulgaria, and blamed Sofia for having obstructed the project.

The EU ideal must uphold solidarity above all

15 January, 2015 - 08:36

The European Union is seldom depicted as a successful economic story - a body of countries committed to the principles of the freedom of movement of goods and capital, as well as free trade, writes Victor Negrescu.

Development will be at the centre of 2015

15 January, 2015 - 08:31

This year's most ambitious development-policy project involves pushing ahead with a new universal agenda for sustainable development that commits all countries to working together for the good of current and future generations, writes Imme Scholz.