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Cameron cuts EU migrants' unemployment and child benefits

29 Juillet, 2014 - 07:15

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday (29 July) set out new welfare rules to cut European migrants' access to social security payments, marking the latest in a string of British measures aimed at addressing voters' concerns over immigration.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph newspaper, Cameron said that from November migrants coming to Britain from the European Union to find work would be entitled to claim unemployment and child benefits for three months, rather than the previous six months.

Ombudsman pushes for more protection for EU whistleblowers

29 Juillet, 2014 - 07:02

The EU Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, on Monday (27 July) opened an investigation into nine EU institutions, which have failed to put in place protective measures for staff members that report corruption or malpractice.

Is British influence in Brussels about to fall off a cliff?

29 Juillet, 2014 - 06:52

The UK still holds a high number of senior civil servants in the EU, but their number is in decline. The foreign office should encourage young civil servants and graduates to work in Brussels, writes Gergely Polner.

Consumers are being fleeced by card currency conversion charges

29 Juillet, 2014 - 06:52

The Commission's proposed regulation on payment services will legitimize dynamic currency conversion (DCC), a practice where consumers are charged a hefty mark-up to pay bills on card in their own currency, writes Eric Grover.

Juncker's call for female commissioners falls on deaf ears

29 Juillet, 2014 - 06:51

EU member states have until 31 July to present their nominations for commissioner in the next European Commission. Just days before the deadline, it seems that Juncker’s call for more female candidates has fallen on deaf ears. EurActiv France gives an overview of the issue of gender balance and political parity between men and women in the executive.

Russia, Germany in diplomatic battle over Ukraine sanctions

28 Juillet, 2014 - 16:53

As fighting intensified in Ukraine on Monday (28 July), a diplomatic battle also raged, with Berlin warning that new European sanctions would send a "strong signal" to Moscow, and Russia saying the measures could only boost its economic independence.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow had no intention of imposing tit-for-tat sanctions, the day before the 28-nation European Union was set to finalise a package of measures that may close the bloc's capital markets to Russian state banks.

Freedom of movement under European conditions

28 Juillet, 2014 - 16:22

Freedom of movement is one of the main achievements of the EU. So why doesn't it apply to refugees living in Europe? A mutual recognition of countries' asylum decisions is urgently needed, Gilbert Granjon writes.

Athens wants ECB stress tests to factor in banks' restructuring plans

28 Juillet, 2014 - 16:02

Greece wants the European Central Bank's health checks on its four biggest banks later this year to take account of their new restructuring plans rather than being based on last year's balance sheet data alone, a Greek finance ministry official said on Monday (28 July).

Greek finance minister Gikas Hardouvelis raised the concerns at a 8 July meeting of EU finance ministers, the official told Reuters, as Athens wants to avoid the ECB calling for new capital to be raised following the tests when restructuring plans are already in hand but not yet implemented.

Even in wealthy nations, malnutrition is a serious public health problem

28 Juillet, 2014 - 13:49

Vitamin deficiencies and inadequacies not only harm health, they contribute to high healthcare costs, reduce productivity and stifle economic growth, writes Manfred Eggersdorfer.

Manfred Eggersdorfer is senior vice-president and Head for Nutritional Science Advocacy at DSM Nutritional Products, one of the world's leading suppliers of vitamins and other ingredients to the feed, food, pharmaceutical and personal care industries.

'Fat taxes' do work, EU report finds

28 Juillet, 2014 - 13:28

Specific taxes on sugar, salt or fat do cause reductions in consumption, the European Commission found in a new report. But higher taxes may also merely encourage consumers to go for cheaper products, it warned.

The precise impact of such "fat taxes" on the competitiveness of the European agriculture and food sector still needs to be fully assessed, the report added.

Greek defence minister nominated as commissioner

28 Juillet, 2014 - 10:24

The Greek coalition government has nominated defence minister Dimitris Avramopoulos as commissioner in the new EU executive. EurActiv Greece reports.

The government yesterday (27 July) sent an official letter to Jean-Claude Juncker, the new president of the European Commission, informing him of the choice.

Ntora Bakoyiannis, Greece’s former foreign affairs minister (2006-2009), was widely thought to be a lead candidate for the job, but Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told her she was not being considered for a Commission post.

Germany threatens to reject EU-Canada free trade deal

28 Juillet, 2014 - 07:56

Germany is to reject a multi-billion free trade deal between the European Union and Canada which is widely seen as a template for a bigger agreement with the United States, a leading German paper reported on Saturday (26 July).

Citing diplomats in Brussels, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung said Berlin objects to clauses outlining the legal protection offered to firms investing in the 28-member bloc.

Critics said they could allow investors to stop or reverse laws, particularly those relating to the protection of the environment.

Clegg backs calls to strip Russia of soccer World Cup

28 Juillet, 2014 - 07:23

Russia should be stripped of the right to host the 2018 soccer World Cup unless President Vladimir Putin stops destabilising Ukraine, Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said on Sunday (27 July), as he warned the world would look weak if it did not act.

Clegg, the most senior British politician to call for such action, said Putin's behaviour towards Ukraine was "beyond the pale" and had reached "a tipping point".

ECB backs Bundesbank call for higher German wages

28 Juillet, 2014 - 07:07

The European Central Bank supports the Bundesbank in its appeals for higher wage deals in Germany, Der Spiegel magazine quoted ECB Chief Economist Peter Praet as saying on Sunday (27 July).

Low wage agreements were needed in some crisis-hit countries in the eurozone to bolster competitiveness, Praet said.

Organic farming has grown rapidly, says EU

28 Juillet, 2014 - 06:58

The organic farming sector has grown rapidly over the past ten years, to about 500,000 new hectares every year, according to EU statistics.

Both the number of organic farm holdings and area grew by more than half between 2003 and 2010.

In 2011, the European Union had 9.6 million hectares of organic farming land. The year before, there were more than 186,000 of such farms registered across the then 27-country bloc.

Organic farming is defined as food production which has a minimal impact on the environment by operating as naturally as possible.

Commission needs to comply with promised launch of sustainable food communication

28 Juillet, 2014 - 06:51

The promised launch of the Communication on Sustainable Food by the European Commission, initially planned for 2013, has once again been postponed. This is a significant set back for the much-needed reevaluation of Europe’s food system, write a group of NGOs.

This opinion piece was co-authored by Slow Food International, Compassion in World Farming and Friends of the Earth Europe.

INFOGRAPHIC: 700 million underage girls married in 2013

25 Juillet, 2014 - 16:05

Although child marriage is prohibited by international law, over 700 million underage girls are married worldwide, particularly in Africa and Asia.

Beating AIDS worldwide, NGOs still alarmed

25 Juillet, 2014 - 15:04

According to the UN, AIDS-related deaths and further infections are on the decline worldwide. However, NGOs worry that foreign aid will be cut because of the global economic crisis. EurActiv France reports.

Estonia, Baltic states stand to suffer most from Russia sanctions

25 Juillet, 2014 - 11:20

In contrast to neighbouring Ukraine, strong governance makes Estonia less vulnerable to internal challenges to stability. Yet, potential economic sanctions on Russia could have a profound impact on the Baltic state too, writes Jan Hofmeyr.

Jan Hofmeyr heads the Policy and Analysis Unit of the Cape Town-based Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.

The Baltic state of Estonia is one of the more inconspicuous members of the international community.

German politicians mull moving 2018 World Cup from Russia

25 Juillet, 2014 - 10:04

Several senior German lawmakers have raised the possibility of stripping Russia of its right to host the 2018 World Cup. Germany's football association said it was very worried about events following the downing of a passenger plane over Ukraine.

Western states have blamed pro-Russian separatists battling Kyiv's forces in eastern Ukraine for the downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on July 17 in which 298 people were killed.