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Wanted: a strong EU foreign policy chief

14 July, 2014 - 07:51

The choice of the next high representative for foreign policy is crucial, given the threats to the EU's values and interests coming from armed conflict, dysfunctional democracy, and state failure, writes Michael Leigh.

Political novice wins Slovenia election

14 July, 2014 - 07:49

Center-left political novice Miro Cerar led his party to victory in Slovenia's election yesterday (13 July), indicating he would rewrite a reform package agreed upon with the European Union to fix the euro zone member's depleted finances.

The result will test investor nerves, given Cerar's hostility to some of the big-ticket privatization programmes that the EU says are key to a long-term fix for Slovenia, which narrowly avoided having to seek an international bailout for its banks last year.

Jet engine executive: industry racing to reduce fuel use

14 July, 2014 - 07:32

While global talks continue on a possible market-based approach to reduce aviation carbon emissions, jet engine manufacturers are “running as fast as we can in order to reduce the fuel burn", said Alan H. Epstein, stressing that engines are growing quieter and more efficient every year.

Carbon market pays off: €89m to fund French projects

14 July, 2014 - 07:27

For the first time ever, the sale of carbon credits will finance projects that help tackle climate change. The EU Commission will fund 19 projects, two of which are in France. EurActiv France reports.

Russia threatens Ukraine with ‘irreversible consequences’

14 July, 2014 - 07:24

Russia threatened Ukraine yesterday (13 July) with "irreversible consequences" after a Russian man was killed by a shell fired across the border, while Kyiv said Ukrainian warplanes struck again at separatist positions in the east of the country, inflicting big losses.

Although both sides have reported cross-border shootings in the past, it appears to be the first time Moscow has reported fatalities on its side of the border in the three-month conflict which has killed hundreds of people in Ukraine.

Digitise new Commissioners, Kroes tells Juncker

11 July, 2014 - 16:37

European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes called for Jean-Claude Juncker's new EU executive to be staffed with “digital commissioners”, as she launched a free website to encourage SMEs to adopt cloud computing yesterday (10 July).

The Cloud Scout site’s online questionnaire aims to allay SMEs fears over IT security, privacy and data protection. The Commission estimates widespread adoption of cloud computing could boost EU gross domestic product by 160 billion each year, creating 3.5 million new jobs by 2020.

Newborn babies

EEA urges for ‘systemic’ approach to environment, health concerns

11 July, 2014 - 16:37

Governments need to study the connections between health and environmental concerns, which could save them money and improve societal well-being over the longer term, according to the European Environment Agency.

Common ragweed is a flowering plant native to North America, whose seeds probably crossed the Atlantic in agricultural produce for the first time in the 19th century.

The plant, which outcompetes unadapted local vegetation, can reduce crop yields, impacting on food availability. It can also cause significant irritation amongst those allergic to its pollen.

EU internet governance: Franco-German alliance

11 July, 2014 - 16:29

A new report from the French Senate outlines a strategy for greater European internet governance spearheaded by the Franco-German alliance. Only then can the EU compete with US’s online hegemony. EurActiv France reports.

In a report published on 9 July, the French Senate proposed a new form of internet governance for Europe. The senators called on the EU to play a key role in ensuring that internet governance is independent and democratic.

UK cities will exceed EU pollution limits until 2030, figures show

11 July, 2014 - 13:57

Air pollution levels in London, Birmingham, and Leeds will exceed European limits until at least 2030, newly-published figures show.

In a case at the European court of justice on Thursday, lawyers for the commission described the UK's failure to act on the breach as "perhaps the longest running infringement of EU law in history."

Brussels, Berlin bury hatchet over green energy rebates

11 July, 2014 - 13:36

After months of tension, Germany and the European Commission have resolved their conflict over Berlin's support scheme for renewable energy, by agreeing on planned industry rebates. But this did not happen without concessions from the Merkel government. EurActiv.de reports.

French medicine agency clears new anticoagulants despite safety concerns

11 July, 2014 - 12:44

A new generation of anticoagulants have been blamed for the deaths of patients in France. Studies from two leading French health agencies conclude that they do not pose a serious risk, but doubts remain. EurActiv France reports.

EU-US trade deal: people have the right to know

11 July, 2014 - 11:11

Environmental campaigners have questioned the legality of the EU-US trade talks’ secrecy after a European Court of Justice ruling offered “a glimmer of hope” to see the negotiating mandate made public.

Natacha Cingotti is a transparency campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe

The key to tackling population dilemmas? Empowering women

11 July, 2014 - 10:41

Today is World Population Day, a chance to reflect on the challenges population can pose. Whether a country is struggling with a rising or declining population, the solution is the same; the promotion of reproductive rights and gender equality, writes Jenny Tonge.

Juncker’s make-or-break presidency

11 July, 2014 - 07:58

The EU elections highlighted the “big picture” of the EU’s accelerating unpopularity, but was quickly eclipsed by the much smaller question of who should head the European Commission. Let's get back to the big questions: Europe's influence, EU bureaucracy and how to rule over the EU citizen, writes Giles Merritt.

EU convenes emergency meeting to rescue Youth Employment Initiative

11 July, 2014 - 07:50

Brussels is hosting a special seminar Friday (11 July) to help EU member states receive funding as soon as possible under the the EU's Youth Employment Initiative (YEI), which has so far failed to deliver results.

Until now, only France's operational plan has been approved by the European Commission, illustrating a wider failure to implement national schemes under the YEI, which aims to tackle unemployment among young people aged 18-25.

Germany pushes early adoption of EU banking union rules

11 July, 2014 - 07:42

After years of resistance to plans for a European banking union, Germany has switched gear and has now decided to implement the EU rules one year in advance of schedule, sending alarm bells ringing among the country’s top banks and the Monopolies Commission. EurActiv Germany reports.

Berlin tells CIA station chief to leave in spy scandal

11 July, 2014 - 07:37

Germany told the CIA station chief in Berlin to leave the country on Thursday (10 July) in a dramatic display of anger from Chancellor Angela Merkel at the behaviour of a close ally after officials unearthed two suspected US spies.

The scandal has chilled relations with Washington to levels not seen since Merkel's predecessor opposed the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. It follows allegations that Merkel herself, who grew up in Stasi-ridden East Germany, was among thousands of Germans whose mobile phones have been bugged by American agents.

Brussels loses patience over Single Sky delays

11 July, 2014 - 07:09

The European Commission sent formal letters to 18 EU countries yesterday (10 July), urging them to improve their Functional Airspace Blocks (FABs), the cornerstones of a single European airspace, saying implementation delays were hurting consumers, airlines and the environment.

UN report: economic growth and decarbonisation ‘two sides of same coin'

11 July, 2014 - 07:03

The deep decarbonisation of developed economies, such as the EU, can go along with economic growth, according to a report published by the United Nations this week.

The world’s largest economies, which include Germany, France and the UK, can continue to post economic growth, or turn around the recession, by transitioning to a ‘green economy’, according to the UN.

Denmark sued for not outlawing snus powder tobacco

11 July, 2014 - 06:55

The European Commission took Denmark to court on Thursday (10 July) for allowing the sale of snus, despite a European Union sales ban on the moist oral snuff.

Sweden, a snus producer, is currently the only country in the 28-member bloc permitted to sell the powder tobacco, a privilege granted when it joined the club in the 1990s.

The Commission, the EU's executive body, said it took legal action after Denmark ignored a warning two years ago to bring its legislation in line with those in the 28-country bloc.