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Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF

19 May, 2015 - 13:16

Fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3 trillion (€4.74 tn) a year, equivalent to $10m a minute every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF calls the revelation “shocking” and says the figure is an “extremely robust” estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels. The $5.3 tn subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments.

National Front joins anti-TTIP lobby

19 May, 2015 - 12:05

The National Front launched a campaign against the transatlantic trade pact this week, two years after negotiations began between the EU and the United States. EurActiv France reports

Italy, France, Germany sign European drone project

19 May, 2015 - 07:57

Italy, France and Germany agreed on Monday to develop a European drone programme for reconnaissance and surveillance, seeking to inject momentum into a proposal first considered in 2013 to reduce reliance on U.S. and Israeli technology.

First major airline fined for breaking aviation ETS law

19 May, 2015 - 07:54

Saudia Airlines has been fined some €1.4 million by a regional Belgian government for breaching EU carbon emissions rules, making it the first big non-EU carrier to be fined for breaking the EU aviation law.

Climate talks can't fail as there is no alternative planet, says French minister

19 May, 2015 - 07:40

France’s foreign minister warned Monday that the international community had no option but to combat climate change as there is “no alternative planet”.

“We don’t have the right to fail,” Laurent Fabius told the opening of a two-day gathering in Berlin of representatives from 35 countries to pave the way for a global push to cut emissions.

“We must commit ourselves very resolutely because there isn’t an alternative solution, for the simple reason that there isn’t an alternative planet,” he added.

EU ministers back Mediterranean naval mission, reject migrant quotas

19 May, 2015 - 07:27

European Union foreign and defence ministers agreed on a naval mission on Monday (18 May) to target gangs smuggling migrants from Libya. But parts of a broader plan to deal with the influx began to unravel in a row over national quotas for housing asylum seekers.

What can Brussels do to avoid Brexit?

19 May, 2015 - 07:06

Clear but invisible lines of communication between London and Brussels, and a pragmatic and opportunistic approach are required if Brexit is to be avoided, according to Fabian Zuleeg.

Zuleeg is the chief executive of Brussels-based think tank the European Policy Centre.

An in-out referendum on EU membership in the UK is now a virtual certainty. Promised to come before 2017, there are growing signs that it could already take place in 2016, in order to steer well clear of crucial German and French elections.

Conflict minerals: Will Europe be on the right side of history?

19 May, 2015 - 07:03

The European Parliament must strengthen the EU’s position on conflict minerals to protect the world’s most vulnerable citizens, write Lucy Graham and Michael Gibb. 

Balkan coal rush risks lasting damage, campaigners warn

19 May, 2015 - 07:00

Balkan countries and Ukraine are making "substantial investments" in polluting coal power stations to sell cheap electricity to the European Union, as the bloc searches for new suppliers to reduce its dependence on Russian gas.

EU officials appear reluctant to use energy negotiations next month, or trade law, to force higher air pollution and environmental standards, despite the risks the rush poses to EU climate change and enlargement policies, and to finances and public health in the Balkans.

Azerbaijan positions itself as promoter of multiculturalism

19 May, 2015 - 06:56

Baku is hosting a world forum on intercultural dialogue, conveying the message that if multiculturalism was failing in some European countries, it is alive and kicking in Azerbaijan and could be an example to the world. EurActiv reports from Baku.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev opened a two-day forum yesterday (18 May), held for the third time under the heading “World Forum on Intercultural Dialogue”. The event was previously held in Baku in 2011 and 2013.

Germany toughens up on data retention

19 May, 2015 - 06:25

German policymakers have moved to strengthen data retention laws, insisting that information will only be stored in Germany, and for much shorter periods, after the European Court of Justice struck down EU legislation that required data storage for longer periods.

In 2010, Germany's constitutional court struck down a previous data retention bill on grounds that it violated users' privacy by broadly collecting and storing data from all users.

Harlem Désir: 'Refugee status is a competency of the member states'

19 May, 2015 - 06:16

The French Minister of State for European Affairs told EurActiv that France is against the establishment of refugee quotas. He also suggested creating a European civil service. 

Germany and UK left behind, as EU beats transport emissions target

19 May, 2015 - 06:02

German and British vans are among the worst polluters in an increasingly fuel efficient and environmentally-friendly EU fleet, according to the European Environment Agency. 

Stamp out undeclared work to boost inclusive labour markets

18 May, 2015 - 17:01

Undeclared work undermines social systems and employee rights, but good labour market regulation can reintegrate workers and benefit the economy, writes Denis Pennel. 

Europe's digital start-ups need swift DSM strategy

18 May, 2015 - 16:48

The EU can take responsibility for changing the overall business environment for digital start-ups and infuse a more entrepreneurial mind-set throughout Europe, writes Kaya Taner.

NGO: Pregnant migrants in Europe lack basic healthcare

18 May, 2015 - 16:35

More than half of the pregnant immigrant women seen by a medical charity in European clinics lack access to basic healthcare and permission to reside, Doctors of the World said on Monday (18 May).

Because of their illegal status, two thirds of the women restricted their movements out of fear of being arrested, hindering their access to antenatal care. Many were living in substandard temporary accommodation, heightening health risks.

NGOs launch watchdog to keep an eye on the Commission's 'Better Regulation'

18 May, 2015 - 13:13

Ahead of the expected announcement of the European Commission’s ‘Better Regulation’ reforms, more than 50 civil society organisations have joined forces to create a watchdog to protect the rights of citizens, workers and consumers.

The network was launched on Monday (18 May) and is concerned that the Better Regulation agenda, under the direction of Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, will "weaken or undermine essential regulations and subordinate the public good to corporate interests".

Ombudsman fears EU's Cohesion policy breaches fundamental rights

18 May, 2015 - 11:23

The European Ombudsman has sent a letter to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker with eight proposals to ensure that the EU's €350 billion Structural and Investment Fund does not support member state cohesion programmes which violate fundamental rights.

The EU's Cohesion Fund for 2014-2020 aims to create jobs, reduce poverty and tackle social exclusion, mainly in the EU's rural and disadvantaged areas.

Balancing innovation and regulation: The RoHS exemption process

18 May, 2015 - 10:54

Ill-considered regulation could increase the use of harmful substances, decrease energy efficiency and stifle innovation, argues Jim Willis.

Analysts: 2019 EU elections will be transformative for European democracy

18 May, 2015 - 07:57

The Spitzenkandidaten process was never going to be the magic wand, creating a new sense of engagement. But it will in 2019, if we are able to learn the lesson of 2014, said Julian Priestley and Nereo Peñalver Garcia, in an interview with EurActiv.