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Truck makers face fines as EU steps up cartel investigation

20 Novembre, 2014 - 15:45

The European Commission has stepped up a wide-ranging cartel investigation that could lead to heavy fines for some of the world's biggest truck makers.

The EU's executive announced on Thursday (20 November) that it had sent formal charge sheets to several manufacturers it suspected of price fixing, marking the next phase of a complex investigation that began with raids on a number of companies' headquarters in January 2011.

Socialists, Liberals bicker over Juncker’s multi-billion investment plan

20 Novembre, 2014 - 15:28

As European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker prepares to unveil a €300 billion plan to boost investment in the Union, the liberal ALDE and the Socialists in Parliament tabled alternative proposals, stoking controversy amongst themselves.

The Commission President is expected to present his €300 billion plan to parliament next week and submit it to EU leaders for approval at a summit on 18-19 December.

Juncker announced his €300 billion plan to boost investment in the EU on 15 July, the day when MEPs voted to confirm him as Commission President.

Water target least on-track among all development goals, UN says

20 Novembre, 2014 - 14:27

Halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation is “the least on-track target” of the millennium development goals (MDGs), as 2.5 billion people still lack basic sanitation facilities.

Brussels targets super-sized TVs in drive for energy efficiency

20 Novembre, 2014 - 13:52

Mega-TV screens will be forced to reduce energy use under new proposals that set the scene for ‘ecodesign’ battles to come over kettles, toasters, and hairdryers.

The amount of energy that big screen TVs can use will be capped under an EU energy efficiency drive which the European commission expects will cut consumers’ energy bills by around €8bn a year.

Hungary's Orbán: We'll choose our own path with Russia

20 Novembre, 2014 - 12:54

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, seen by some in Brussels and Washington as cosying up to the Kremlin, said his country would not be forced to pick one side or another in a Cold War-style standoff in Europe.

Coalition petitions Parliament to ban night flights

20 Novembre, 2014 - 12:35

A coalition of 140 organisations met with European Parliament representatives on Tuesday (18 November) to ask for a ban on flights operating at night. It also called on legislators to strip the aviation sector of the tax exemptions it currently enjoys.

The coalition presented MEPs with a petition under the name of Taming Aviation, in which it formally asks the European Parliament to take action.

Commission launches transparency initiative for TTIP and lobbying

20 Novembre, 2014 - 12:31

Under Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission hopes to become more transparent, signifying a new effort to mollify concerns about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). EurActiv Germany reports.

Foreign supermarket chains threatened by Hungary

20 Novembre, 2014 - 07:49

Multinational supermarkets could be driven out of Hungary, a trade lobby said yesterday (29 November), after the government raised their inspection costs and threatened to shut them down if they fail to make a profit for two years.

The government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has a record of adopting idiosyncratic laws untroubled by how they are viewed outside Hungary. Those have included special taxes that have cost foreign banks, telecoms and a TV station billions of euros.

Germany’s climate targets unattainable with dirty coal power, analysts say

20 Novembre, 2014 - 07:43

Economists at the German Institute for Economic Research are calling for old coal-burning facilities to be shut down as soon as possible, indicating that it's the only way Germany will reach its climate target for 2020. EurActiv Germany reports.

Cameron risks losing UK seat to anti-EU UKIP

20 Novembre, 2014 - 07:37

Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives risk losing a second British parliamentary seat to the anti-EU UKIP party on Thursday, foreshadowing a possible political upheaval in next year's national election.

Commission officials: Fining France over deficit is still an option

20 Novembre, 2014 - 07:29

EU officials are considering fining France for failing to cut its budget deficit, although the eurozone's second biggest economy, a driving force in the creation of the shared currency, could yet be spared the unprecedented punishment.

Just three weeks ago, Paris appeared to be virtually off the hook when the European Commission passed up the opportunity to demand immediate changes in its 2015 budget after France, like Italy, made some tweaks to an initial draft.

Payment card ruling could open new era for EU transparency

20 Novembre, 2014 - 07:25

SPECIAL REPORT: The European Commission is considering lifting restrictions applying to confidential internal documentation in the wake of a payment card legal case it lost earlier this year.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU Competition Commissioner, is considering lifting access to documents restrictions at a sensitive time, as her department is also dealing with the ongoing Luxleaks scandal affecting European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker.

Timmermans overruled on plastic bags deal

20 Novembre, 2014 - 07:18

The Commission was overruled on how to implement the new targets for plastic bag reduction by the Parliament and Council, Frans Timmermans confirmed on Wednesday (19 October), even though the Commission's First Vice-President had previously labeled the proposal 'overregulation'.

US multinationals could sue EU governments through CETA

20 Novembre, 2014 - 07:13

American multinationals could use investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in the European Union-Canada trade deal to sue EU governments in costly legal battles that could stymie policymaking, campaigners have warned. 

Corporations with Canadian subsidiaries and holdings could use the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) to take countries to international arbitration tribunals, even if the ISDS clause is dropped from the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

70% of Germany’s ‘digital natives’ reject entrepreneurship

20 Novembre, 2014 - 07:07

A recent survey shows young Germans are more optimistic about their future than their European counterparts. But a third of Germany’s 18-30 year-olds rules out a career in the digital economy, with Italian and Spanish young adults more likely to start a tech business. EurActiv Germany reports.

EU court rules UK must clean up air pollution

19 Novembre, 2014 - 17:34

The UK government will be forced to urgently clean up illegal air pollution in British cities following a ruling on Wednesday in the European court of justice. It is likely to see many diesel cars and heavy goods vehicles restricted from city centres within a few years.

The landmark case, brought by a small environmental group through the UK courts, will allow people to sue the government for breaching EU pollution laws and will force ministers to prepare plans for many cities to improve air quality. 

NGOs: New Commissioner should break silence over open defecation

19 Novembre, 2014 - 17:13

World Toilet Day was marked today (19 November) in the European Parliament with a conference, during which pressure groups called on new Commissioner for Development Neven Mimica to not be shy about discussing open defecation.

Deputy Secretary General of the UN Jan Eliasson addressed the event, hosted by MEP Catherine Bearder (ALDE, UK) and organised by WaterAid and Unilever, via video message.

In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly designated 19 November as World Toilet Day.

French official calls on businesses to strengthen ties with Europe

19 Novembre, 2014 - 14:50

The French Minister for Higher Education and Research laments France's limited participation in European research programmes. She believes European research is too fragmented. EurActiv France reports

Open up to our beer, EU to tell Japan in trade talks

19 Novembre, 2014 - 14:39

Japan needs to open up its beer market to European exports if Tokyo and Brussels are to agree one of the world's biggest free trade deals next year, according to an EU document prepared for the next round of talks in December.

Italy: South Stream pipeline is no longer a priority

19 Novembre, 2014 - 14:07

Italian Industry Minister Federica Guidi said on Wednesday (19 November) that the South Stream gas pipeline project, which was put in doubt after Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula, is no longer a priority.