Latest news from EUobserver. Making sense of the EU.
Updated: 4 hours 32 min ago
EU commission chief Barroso has in a letter to Russia's Putin said if he imposes economic sanctions on Ukraine it would "contravene" an accord to delay an EU-Ukraine trade pact in return for normal Russia-Ukraine trade. Barroso published the letter after Russia adopted a decree proposing trade barriers on Ukraine.
Incoming EU regional commissioner Corina Cretu Wednesday expressed caution about extending a deadline for the use of 2007-2014 regional aid funds (until two years after their expiry) in order to alleviate a €23m-strong backlog of payments. She said such extensions should be linked to a good absorption rate of funds.
The European Commission introduced a new aid package on Tuesday worth €165 million to help farmers hit by Russian sanctions over the Ukraine crisis, but tightened up on dubious compensation claims. The new scheme also includes oranges, mandarins and clementines, as sought by major producers in Spain, Italy and Greece.
A witness in a corruption case involving nine former Romanian ministers has accused Prime Minister Victor Ponta of having used his influence to favour several firms in a public tender. In return, Ponta received Fujitsu Siemens computers "as donation" for his party, the witness alleges. Ponta denies the accusations.
EU's next digital commissioner Guenther Oettinger has told MEPs it would not be his job to protect celebrities “stupid enough to take a nude photo of themselves and put it online.” Several stars were victims of a targeted hack on their Cloud storage, where smartphones upload pictures automatically.
Sweden tops the list in the EU for being the best place for people to grow old, according to Global AgeWatch Index. It ranked 96 nations by looking at life expectancy, pension plans, and other measures. Norway was best overall, followed by Sweden, Switzerland, Canada and Germany. Afghanistan ranked last.
EU countries Tuesday urged Russia to "immediately release" a Lithuanian fishing boat which was captured and forcefully towed from "high seas waters" in the Barents Sea on 18 September. Russia says the boat was in its waters. The incident comes after similar provocations in Estonia and Latvia in recent weeks.
The EU's likely next health commissioner vowed to oppose the import of chemically treated meat from the US and wider use of genetically modified food during his parliamentary hearing on Tuesday. "I cannot make any compromises...whether it is hormones in meat or chlorine-baths for poultry," Lithuania's Vytenis Andriukaitis told MEPs.
EU countries' ambassadors Tuesday opted not to roll back sanctions on Russia, with an EU spokeswoman saying that parts of the Minsk ceasefire deal still "need to be properly implemented". Germany's Merkel earlier Tuesday in Berlin said the EU is "very far away [from] considerations to take back sanctions".