Latest news from EUobserver. Making sense of the EU.
Updated: 3 hours 22 min ago
The EU's newly-nominated foreign policy chief, Italy's Mogherini, Monday criticised Russian leader Putin, saying he has "never respected the commitments" he made on Ukraine and that he is "acting against the interests of [his] people". Eastern European state had earlier opposed her nomination on grounds she is too Russia-friendly.
Incoming EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker will Tuesday start interviewing commissioner-candidates sent by member states and then start distributing portfolios. A spokesperson said it is unclear how long the process will take as "we're still waiting for the Belgian candidate". The would-be commissioners must then go through European Parliament hearings.
Berlin is prepared to accept France's Pierre Moscovici becoming EU economics commissioner so long as a budget hardliner, such as Finland's Jyrki Katainen, is appointed vice-president of the commission, reports Der Spiegel. Berlin had previously voiced opposition to Moscovici getting the post on grounds that France is breaching euro rules.
A large majority (70.5%) of Norwegians are opposed to EU membership and only 17.8% are in favour, according to a new Sentio Research poll published Saturday by Klassekampen. Within the most EU-positive party, the conservative Hoyre, 60% are against. EU membership was narrowly rejected in a referendum 20 years ago.
Russian FM Lavrov has called for Ukrainian troops to stop fighting pro-Russia rebels as a precondition for new peace talks, due in Minsk on Monday. Russian leader Putin Sunday said talks should consider "statehood" for the self-declared separatist republics in east and south Ukraine - a red line for Kiev.
Romania is preparing a female candidate for the EU commission, while sticking to Dacian Ciolos as first option, prime minister Victor Ponta said. The European Parliament has threatened to veto the new EU commission if fewer than nine members are female. Only five other countries have nominated women so far.
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite was the only EU leader on Saturday to abstain when the Donald Tusk-Federica Mogherini duo was approved to fill two top jobs, several EU sources told EUobserver. Grybauskaite had publicly questioned Mogherini's credentials to become the next EU foreign affairs representative because of her pro-Russia stance.
Denmark has nominated economy minister Margrethe Vestager as EU commissioner, a 46-year old Liberal who finalised complex dossiers during the Danish EU presidency in response to the economic crisis. EU commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has promised better posts for female candidates in "compensation" for being outnumbered by male colleagues.
EU ambassadors Saturday strengthened summit conclusions on Russia. Earlier drafts spoke of "reported participation" of Russian soldiers in fighting inside Ukraine and said the EU will "consider" new sanctions. Saturday's text confirms there are "actions by Russian armed forces on Ukrainian soil" and calls for "urgent" preparation of new sanctions.
The next EU commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, "interviewed" Italian foreign minister Federica Mogherini before the EU summit, according to Juncker's spokeswoman. Mogherini travelled from Milan where she took part in a foreign ministers' meeting earlier on Saturday. She is expected to be appointed the next EU foreign policy chief.