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Germany to set up 'Bundescloud'

20 August, 2015 - 06:34

New German rules for government cloud computing means official data can only be processed in Germany. The restrictions are a strike against US-based cloud providers such as Amazon and Google.

German IT officials agreed on terms for public sector cloud use on Tuesday (18 August).

Survey shows heightened scepticism towards robots

20 August, 2015 - 06:17

As robots play a more important role in the EU, moving from manufacturing to healthcare, Europeans are becoming more suspicious of the technology, a Eurobarometer survey shows.

According to the poll, which was carried out in all EU member states in November and December 2014, two-thirds of those surveyed (64%) have a positive view of robots, down from 70% in 2012, except in Hungary (49%), Cyprus (46%) and Greece (45%). 

Western leaders to ask Poroshenko to deliver on the Minsk agreement

19 August, 2015 - 15:13

The leaders of France, Germany and Ukraine will meet in Berlin on Monday (24 August) in a bid to bring an end to a new wave of violence in Ukraine, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said.

Russia will not participate, and it has been reported that Western leaders will ask Poroshenko to implement the Minsk agreement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday (18 August) blamed the Ukrainian government for the latest upsurge in fighting between Kyiv's forces and Russian-backed separatists in the east of the country.

Commission frowns on ‘Christian only’ solidarity with migrants

19 August, 2015 - 14:08

Asked to comment today (19 August) on a statement by the premier of Slovakia that his country would only accept Christian migrants, the European Commission reiterated the principle of non-discrimination, which is at the core of EU legislation.

The question was prompted by press reports about Slovakia's sectarian preferences, in response to the EU plan to to relocate a total of 40,000 migrants from Greece and Italy.

Bundestag backs third Greek bailout

19 August, 2015 - 12:37

German lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in favour of a third Greek bailout on Wednesday (19 August), heeding a call from Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble to give Greece the chance for a new start, despite his own concerns it might not work.

EU slams Russian sentencing of Estonian officer

19 August, 2015 - 11:08

The European Union demanded Russia release an Estonian police officer sentenced on Wednesday to 15 years in jail for spying, nearly a year after the EU says Eston Kohver was abducted by Russian agents from Estonia territory.

Turkey’s ruling AK Party fails to form a government

19 August, 2015 - 07:46

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu formally ended attempts to form the next government om Tuesday (18 August) after weeks of coalition talks failed, raising the prospect of a fractious interim administration leading the country to a new election.

Davutoğlu had been trying to find a junior coalition partner since the AK Party lost its parliamentary majority in an election in June, leaving it unable to govern alone for the first time since it came to power in 2002.

Massive arrival of refugees in Greece dwarfs EU’s relocation initiative

19 August, 2015 - 07:39

Greece appealed to its European Union partners yesterday (18 August) to come up with a comprehensive strategy to deal with a growing migrant crisis as new data showed 21,000 refugees landed on Greek shores last week alone.

That number is almost half Greece's overall refugee intake in 2014 and brings total arrivals this year to 160,000, even as it struggles with a debt crisis that has forced it to accept a third international bailout.

1,000 square miles of England to be opened up for fracking

19 August, 2015 - 07:23

Large areas of Yorkshire, the north-west and the east Midlands are to be opened up to fracking after the government announced it will offer a fresh round of licences for oil and gas exploration.

Dutch vote seen as key for Greek bailout disbursement

19 August, 2015 - 07:06

The German and Dutch parliaments are the last to vote on the €86 billion Greek bailout today (19 August). The Dutch government is likely to face a possible no confidence vote, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition is expected to face a rebellion.

With a payment of about €3.2 billion due to the European Central Bank on 20 August, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is counting on the approval from the euro-area parliaments before he can receive the first tranche from his country’s third bailout package, agreed on 13 July (see background).

Greece approves first privatisation deal under Syriza

19 August, 2015 - 06:29

Greece's radical left Syriza government on Tuesday (18 August) approved its first privatisation granting a concession of more than a dozen key regional airports to Germany's Fraport-Slentel consortium in a deal worth 1.23 billion euros.

Paraguay hosts Mercosur preparatory meeting ahead of EU talks

18 August, 2015 - 15:24

Paraguay, which holds the rotating presidency of Mercosur, will host representatives of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, to formulate a common position on a trade agreement with the European Union, the Paraguayan Foreign Ministry announced.

On 18 and 19 August, Asuncion will hold the Mercosur Coordinators Meeting, which will also address other issues such as the free movement of goods in the territory of the group, said Paraguayan Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga, according to a statement.

Poroshenko and Juncker to meet as Ukraine crisis worsens

18 August, 2015 - 14:52

The European Commission announced that President Jean-Claude Juncker will receive Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko before the end of this month, as the situation in eastern Ukraine deterioriates.

Juncker spoke with Poroshenko on Tuesday (18 August) to discuss the current situation and Ukraine and the implementation of the Minsk agreement, Commission spokesperson Annika Breidthardt told the press today. She added that they had agreed to meet in Brussels before the end of the month.

EU says Serbian manoeuvres in Russia send ‘wrong signal'

18 August, 2015 - 13:56

Russian press reports indicate that Moscow will conduct military exercises together with Serbia, on Russian territory, later this year. The EU said that Serbia is sending a “wrong signal” to the Union it is officially trying to join.

“Slavonic Brotherhood," a joint exercise with Serbia and Belarus, will take place on Russian territory, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu was quoted as saying, following a meeting with his Serbian colleague Bratislav Gašić, on 15 August.

Does independent journalism have a future in the EU?

18 August, 2015 - 13:22

Bulgaria's harsh media landscape should serve as a warning about declining press freedoms in Europe, writes Kadrinka Kadrinova.

Kadrinka Kadrinova is a Bulgarian journalist specialising in international affairs. She worked for Tema magazine, until its recent closure.

Britain sees surge in diabetes

18 August, 2015 - 10:51

New figures show that the number of persons living with diabetes in the UK has risen by 1.2 million in just one decade.

According to Diabetes UK, 3.3 million people in Britain are now diagnosed with diabetes, up from an estimated two million in 2005.

Moreover, the figures, which were compiled by the National Health Service (NHS), don't take the number of undiagnosed people into account, which is estimated to be 600,000.

Total drops shale gas project in Denmark

18 August, 2015 - 10:11

French energy company Total said it had stopped exploring for shale gas in Denmark on Monday (17 August), as only a limited amount had been found.

Near the northern town of Frederikshavn, the project has so far cost Total an estimated €40 million since it first began in 2014. Though the French company has given up on the endeavor, the money might not be wasted, Total told Danish broadcaster DR.

Russia's 'August Syndrome' strikes again

18 August, 2015 - 07:56

This August, Moscow and Kyiv have escalated the conflict in eastern Ukraine and Russia seems to be anticipating larger US involvement in Ukraine, writes Stratfor, the Texas-based global intelligence company.

Steinmeier urges EU-Swiss talks on planned immigration quotas

18 August, 2015 - 07:25

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier yesterday (17 August) urged the European Union to negotiate with Switzerland on Bern's plans for new quotas on immigration from the bloc.

"Relations with Switzerland are important to me, and I hope a deal will be found," Steinmeier said while visiting Swiss counterpart Didier Burkhalter in Bern, the ATS news agency reported.

Norwegian fund divests from four Asian companies over palm oil

18 August, 2015 - 07:07

Norway's gigantic sovereign wealth fund announced yesterday (17 August) it was divesting from four large Asian companies over the environmental damage their palm oil activities have on tropical forests.

The world's largest public investment fund, managing 7.15 trillion kroner (€785 billion), said its decision to exclude four groups - including South Korean group Daewoo International - from its portfolio was based on "an assessment of the risk of severe environmental damage" from their conversion of tropical forests to cultivate palm oil.