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[Ticker] Assange agrees to Swedish questioning in London

EU Observer - 17 April, 2015 - 08:28
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has agreed to be questioned at Ecuador’s London embassy over allegations of sexual assault, according to his Swedish lawyer. Assange has been in the embassy since June 2012 to avoid extradition over allegations he assaulted two women in 2010.

[Ticker] Pro-Russia journalist gunned down in Kiev

EU Observer - 17 April, 2015 - 08:28
A journalist known for his pro-Russian views was shot dead in Kiev Thursday. Oles Buzyna was killed near his home by two masked men according the interior ministry. The ministry believes the murder is connected to the killing of Ukrainian MP Oleg Kalashykov Wednesday. Buzyna had edited the newspaper Segodnya.

IMF refuses to soften Greek repayment programme

EU Observer - 17 April, 2015 - 08:26
Greece still has no agreement with its lenders, with new deadlines mooted even as billions due in debt repayments mount up.

Schaeuble and Varoufakis: worlds apart

EU Observer - 17 April, 2015 - 08:26
Washington got a snapshot of eurozone politics when the two protagonists in the Greek impasse voiced opposing world views at a think tank event on Thursday.

[Analysis] UK election: Don't expect candour on the Brexit debate

EU Observer - 17 April, 2015 - 08:24
If David Cameron loses the keys to No. 10, the prospect of a referendum any time soon will recede if not disappear.

MEPs to raise monthly allowances

EU Observer - 17 April, 2015 - 08:24
MEPs are increasing their monthly allowances, arguing that it is justified as they have remained unchanged since 2011.

[Ticker] Centre party tops poll ahead of Finnish elections

EU Observer - 17 April, 2015 - 08:07
The Centre party tops the polls ahead of Sunday's elections in Finland, according to an Yle poll out on Thursday. They are forecast to take 24 percent, ahead of the governing National Coalition on 17 percent. The eurosceptic True Finns and Social Democrats are on 17 and 15 percent, respectively.

[Ticker] 16 EU countries demand Israeli settlement labelling

EU Observer - 17 April, 2015 - 08:06
Sixteen EU countries want the bloc to label products from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, AFP reports. Foreign ministers from governments, including Britain, France, Spain and Italy, called on EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini to "complete this important work on labelling settlement produce/products," in a letter.

What will EU parliamentarians vote on TTIP?

EU Active - 17 April, 2015 - 08:06

If EPP members are mobilised, and a small number of S&D MEPs break the group line (or simply don’t vote), then a narrow majority may push through a softened ISDS, writes Doru Frantescu.

Doru Frantescu is director and co-founder of VoteWatch Europe. This article was first published on Votewatch on 16 April.

Almost 900 amendments have been drafted to the European Parliament’s position on the ongoing negotiations conducted by the Commission for a Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the United States (TTIP).

[Ticker] Court tells EU commission to widen access to documents

EU Observer - 17 April, 2015 - 08:06
The EU's General Court on Thursday told the European Commission to make documents involving its investigations into national legislation proposed by EU member states available to the public. The case brought by former Green MEP Carl Schlyter related to the commission's objection to a French draft law on nanomaterials.

Greek industry puts hope in EU to ease the grip of national monopolies

EU Active - 17 April, 2015 - 07:58

Greece’s state electricity supplier should negotiate its tariffs and not impose them unilaterally, according to a European Commission decision that paves the way for a “new deal” on energy pricing in heavy industry.

The liberalisation of the Greek electricity market started in 2001, but has had no results to date.

The Greek state controls 51% of the country’s electricity company Public Power Corporation S.A. (PPC), which enjoys the status of monopoly on the Greek electricity market.

Tsipras turns to Orthodox Church to boost state coffers

EU Active - 17 April, 2015 - 07:52

Top European officials and Greece's finance minister were forced to play down fears on Thursday (16 April) that the country was poised to exit the eurozone, after the IMF rejected suggestions that Athens would postpone loan repayments.

But the perilous state of Greece's government finances was laid bare when the prime minister confirmed he had been reduced to seeking funding support from the wealthy Greek Orthodox Church.

Finns expected to oust Stubb government

EU Active - 17 April, 2015 - 07:47

Finns are expected to oust Prime Minister Alexander Stubb's left-right coalition in Sunday's legislative elections, amid hopes that a new government will pull Finland out of its three-year economic slump.

The Centre Party, a liberal-agrarian party that has fostered 11 prime ministers and three presidents, but has been relegated to the opposition since 2011, is expected to be the big winner on Sunday (19 April).

The Armenian Genocide: German government in distress

EU Active - 17 April, 2015 - 07:37

Next week, German President Joachim Gauck could call the genocide in Armenia by name. This would be disgraceful for the German government, which instead wants to avoid the word "genocide". But criticism is constantly growing louder – even among its own ranks.

Media tycoon donates £1.5 million to UKIP

EU Active - 17 April, 2015 - 07:27

British media baron Richard Desmond gifted the anti-European Union UK Independence Party £1.5 million (€1.4 million) weeks from one of the tightest elections in decades, his newspaper announced Friday.

The donation was revealed on the front page of The Daily Express, a tabloid with a circulation of around half a million daily, owned by Desmond's publishing company, Northern and Shell Media Group.

EU fires warning shots at Gazprom

EU Active - 17 April, 2015 - 07:20

The European Union's competition chief challenged Russian gas giant Gazprom on Thursday, when she pledged to act decisively against energy companies that break competition law.

The European Commission has been investigating Gazprom for more than two years for allegedly over-charging customers in eastern Europe, thwarting rival suppliers and blocking the free flow of gas across the region.

[Opinion] The greater, broken Albania

EU Observer - 17 April, 2015 - 07:13
War drums will not silence the sound of 100,000 feet of people leaving Kosovo; if political leaders realise this, everyone will be better off.

Serbia will arrest Thaçi if he attends Belgrade conference

EU Active - 17 April, 2015 - 07:11

Serbia warned yesterday (16 April) it would arrest the foreign minister of its former province of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi for alleged terrorism if he turns up in Belgrade next week to attend a conference, which ironically is dedicated to the reconciliation following the Yugoslav wars.

Thaçi, who led a guerrilla insurgency against Serbia in the late 1990s, has been invited to the conference on reconciliation in the Serbian capital on April 24 and is "ready to go", an adviser said earlier.

EU, US trade talks seek to advance regulatory pillar

EU Active - 17 April, 2015 - 07:06

Set to meet in New York next week (20-24 April) for the ninth round of talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), negotiators are determined to make progress on all strands of the deal, but particularly on regulatory cooperation.

“We will discuss most of the issues we are negotiating within TTIP. But we will try to advance as much as possible on the regulatory component of TTIP—the most economically relevant complex and labour intensive,” said chief EU TTIP negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero, in an interview with EurActiv.

[Ticker] Former IMF chief arrested in Madrid

EU Observer - 17 April, 2015 - 07:01
Rodrigo Rato, former IMF chief (2004-07) and Spanish economy minister (1996-2004), was detained Thursday on suspicion of fraud, money laundering, and concealment of assets. Rato was also the head of Spain's fourth-largest bank, Bankia, from 2010 until its €19 billion bailout in 2012.

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