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Eurodrones: too politically loaded a venture for Europe?

23 Juillet, 2014 - 07:32

The downing of the Malaysian Airlines flight in eastern Ukraine has highlighted how unmanned aircraft could help Europe when it comes to surveillance operations in warzones.

Germany, UK have most polluting coal plants

23 Juillet, 2014 - 07:22

Germany and the United Kingdom have 18 of the 30 most polluting energy plants in the European Union, according to a study by green NGOs, funded by the European Union.

All but one of the EU’s most polluting plants were coal-fired, according to the report, Dirty 30, by a coalition of environmental NGOs, including CAN Europe, the WWF and the European Environmental Bureau.

Germany is the country with the most electricity generated by coal, followed by Poland in second and the UK in third.

€21 billion of EU loan guarantees for banks to boost SME lending

23 Juillet, 2014 - 07:18

Banks will be offered €21 billion of EU funding guarantees to encourage lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which don’t have enough collateral to secure loans.

SMEs are seen by the EU’s executive as drivers of economic recovery and job creation. Since the financial crisis, many companies have struggled to borrow money, meaning they can’t grow.

The European Commission on Tuesday (22 July) unveiled two separate initiatives to increase funding for SMEs and a new €100 million a year scheme to bring new ideas to the market more quickly.  

New president, new 'Constitution'?

22 Juillet, 2014 - 15:57

Juncker's election might mark a new phase of European construction. But the Union's institutional, political and constitutional foundations need renovation, writes Yves Bertoncini.

EU member states not reaching 2020 energy efficiency goals, Commission says

22 Juillet, 2014 - 15:27

EXCLUSIVE / Further efforts are needed by member states to reach the EU's energy saving target of 20% by 2020, the European Commission said in a leaked draft communication obtained by EurActiv. The Commission also watered down the target for 2030 considerably in the latest draft.

Based on an analysis of member state actions and additional forecasts, the Commission now estimates that the EU will achieve energy savings of around 18-19% in 2020, according to the draft document.

European healthcare first victim of social spending cuts

22 Juillet, 2014 - 14:58

Social spending is decreasing across Europe, even though it could curb the negative impacts of the economic crisis, EurActiv France reports.

In the wake of the 2009 economic crisis, EU member states imposed spending cuts on social protection.

Eurozone's debt rises in first quarter, set to peak this year

22 Juillet, 2014 - 14:57

Eurozone public debt rose to 93.9% of economic output in the first quarter of this year, approaching the peak it is expected to reach later in 2014, official data showed on Tuesday (22 July).

Government debt of the 18 countries sharing the euro stood at €9.055 trillion euros in the first three months of this year, compared to €8.905 trillion in the last quarter of 2013, the EU's statistics office Eurostat said.

The EU's executive arm - the European Commission - expects the debt to peak at 96% of gross domestic product this year and then ease to 95.4% of GDP in 2015.

Italy gives Google 18 months to change data use practices

22 Juillet, 2014 - 14:56

Italy's data protection regulator has given Google 18 months to change the way it treats and stores user data, bringing to an end an investigation that is part of a European drive to reform the internet giant's privacy practices.

Regulators in several European nations, including Italy, began a joint inquiry last year after Google consolidated its 60 privacy policies into one, combining data collected on individual users across its services, including YouTube, Gmail and social network Google+. It gave users no means to opt out.

Low Irish taxes boost Airbnb profits

22 Juillet, 2014 - 14:54

The peer-to-peer property renting website, artAirbnb, makes it possible for people in crisis-stricken states to earn extra money, but the company itself has placed its headquarters in places like Ireland, Jersey and Delaware to avoid paying tax. EurActiv France reports.

More than 50% of EU jobs at risk of computerisation

22 Juillet, 2014 - 14:54

More than half of the jobs in the EU's 28 member states will be impacted significantly by advances in technology over the coming decades across sectors, according to calculations by the think tank Bruegel.

Bruegel bases its calculations on 2013 data from Frey & Osborne, which predicts that key technological advances, especially in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and mobile robotics, will impact primarily upon low-wage, low-skill sectors traditionally immune from automation.

The Single European Sky: “We have a problem”

22 Juillet, 2014 - 11:13

The project of a 'single European airspace' is currently in gridlock. Negotiators focus on fragmented solutions rather than building shared infrastructure through integrated technology, writes Matthias Finger.

Dozens in Turkey detained over alleged wiretapping

22 Juillet, 2014 - 11:08

Dozens of high-ranking police officers were detained in Turkey today (22 July) accused of involvement in spying and illegal wire-tapping during an investigation into corruption in Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's inner circle, CNN Turk said.

At least 76 officers were detained in 22 provinces around the country on suspicion of forming a criminal organisation and illegally bugging phones, the news channel said, weeks ahead of a presidential election in which Erdoğan is standing.

Russia imposes ‘temporary ban’ on Moldovan fruits

22 Juillet, 2014 - 10:31

Russia imposed a temporary ban on Moldovan fruit imports on Friday (18 July), adding to an already existing ban on wine imports, the measures being seen as a punishment for Moldova’s signature and ratification of an Association Agreement with the EU.

According to a copy of the order issued by the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Inspection Service quoted by The Moscow Times, the “temporary prohibitions”, which extends to apples, pears, quinces, apricots, cherries, wild cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums and sloe, took effect on 21 July.

Europe’s self-imposed blindness toward Russia

22 Juillet, 2014 - 09:07

It is shocking how, five days into the crisis following the crash of Malaysia Airlines' MH17 flight, European leaders can only threaten Moscow with more sanctions, writes Judy Dempsey.

Italy rescues 1,800 migrants over the weekend

22 Juillet, 2014 - 07:54

Italy's navy said it rescued nearly 1,800 migrants in overcrowded boats in the Mediterranean over the weekend, and a merchant ship recovered five bodies from a sinking rubber raft off the coast of Libya.

Calmer summer seas have led to a surge in people trying to reach Italy from North Africa. Italy has picked up more than 70,000 migrants so far this year in its search-and-rescue mission, called "Mare Nostrum" or "Our Sea" (the Roman name for the Mediterranean).

Poland to challenge EU ban on menthol cigarettes

22 Juillet, 2014 - 07:45

Poland will appeal to Europe's top court over a European Union ban on flavoured tobacco products, saying it will be unfairly affected as one of the region's biggest consumers and producers of menthol cigarettes.

The ban is a part of EU-wide anti-smoking legislation, due to be implemented in 2016, which also includes tougher rules on packaging and marketing.

Green MEP: 'Juncker could be (the) most successful Commission president since Jacques Delors'

22 Juillet, 2014 - 07:40

The majority won by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in the European Parliament was not an attempt to save face, says Green MEP Reinhard Bütikofer. The legislator voted for Juncker because the centre-right politician shares many positions of the European Greens, and could set a new EU course on issues like immigration policy, TTIP and socio-economic policy.

Hollande: Delivery of second Mistral warship depends on Russia’s ‘attitude’

22 Juillet, 2014 - 07:35

A decision on whether to deliver a second Mistral helicopter carrier to Russia will depend on Moscow's attitude over the Ukraine crisis, French President François Hollande said yesterday (21 July).

Speaking during a dinner with the presidential press corps, Hollande said that a first warship was nearly finished and would be delivered as planned in October, despite strong opposition from France's allies.

"For the time being, a level of sanctions has not been decided on that would prevent this delivery," Hollande said.

Europe's first 'Intern Day' highlights unfair work conditions

22 Juillet, 2014 - 07:28

Internships replacing jobs are an "increasing problem" in Europe, civil society organisations protested on the first-ever European Interns Day on Friday (18 July), explaining that up to 60% of interns in Europe are still unpaid.

Schäuble: Central banks should help prevent asset bubbles

22 Juillet, 2014 - 07:21

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble called on central banks to take into account price distortions that monetary policy could have on markets and help prevent asset bubbles, in an interview published on Monday.

Schäuble sees "signs of bubbles forming on parts of the real estate markets," he said in a joint interview with French counterpart Michel Sapin in Handelsblatt.