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Greece tells Merkel it can exit bailout early

23 Septembre, 2014 - 17:03

Greece should be able to exit its international bailout ahead of schedule and cover its own financing needs from next year, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said on Tuesday (23 September) after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The comments were the first time Athens has said publicly that it hopes to do without aid payments next year. That would pave the way for the IMF - deeply unpopular in Greece - to quit supervising the country's reform program.

‘Revolving doors’ rules need revamping, says EU Ombudsman

23 Septembre, 2014 - 16:50

Rules governing European Commission officials joining the private sector need to be revamped, the European Ombudsman said today, before warning she would summon any public servant or commissioner suspected of a conflict of interest.

Emily O’Reilly today (23 September) issued a series of draft recommendations to combat the “systemic maladministration” in the EU executive’s procedure to fight the “revolving doors” phenomenon.

EU auditors: Haiti earthquake support falls short

23 Septembre, 2014 - 16:24

Well-intentioned, but insufficient. In a report published Tuesday (23 September), the European Court of Auditors was highly critical of the European Commission's €1.23 billion contribution to relief efforts, following the March 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which left 230,000 dead, 300,00 injured, and 1.3 million homeless in Port-au-Prince alone.

Has development completely fallen off the EU’s radar?

23 Septembre, 2014 - 15:31

The nomination of Neven Mimica as European Commissioner for international cooperation and development and Christos Stylianides as European Commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management suggests that development cooperation is increasingly falling off the European Union’s radar, whereas in a recent past the Union was at the forefront of the global battle to eradicate poverty.

Joren Verschaeve is a PhD student at the Centre for EU Studies, Ghent University.

France’s latest calls for TTIP transparency fall on deaf ears

23 Septembre, 2014 - 14:39

Matthias Fekl, the new French Secretary of State for Foreign Trade, has joined his predecessors in calling for the publication of the trade negotiation mandate between the EU and the United States. The continued lack of transparency in the negotiations could lead to the failure of TTIP.

Germany’s economic mirage

23 Septembre, 2014 - 14:24

Germany’s economy needs an overhaul. Policymakers should focus on boosting productivity, not “competitiveness,” with workers being paid their due, writes Philippe Legrain.

Philippe Legrain, a visiting senior fellow at the London School of Economics’ European Institute and a former economic adviser to the president of the European Commission, is the author of European Spring: Why Our Economies and Politics are in a Mess – and How to Put Them Right. 

The NGO health perspective at the UN Climate Summit

23 Septembre, 2014 - 14:03

Positive messages are vital – but not enough says Genon K. Jensen. One of the consequences of climate change is the negative impact on the health of people. Jensen advocates to move away from coal and other fossil fuels towards cleaner energy in order to save lives.

Genon K. Jensen is the Executive Director at Health and Environment Alliance

EU's Almunia readying antitrust charges against Gazprom

23 Septembre, 2014 - 13:07

European Union regulators are poised to charge Russian gas producer Gazprom with anti-competitive behaviour after a two-year investigation, Europe's antitrust chief said on Tuesday (23 September).

Gazprom, which is Russian state-owned, has been under regulatory fire since September 2012, for allegedly over-charging customers in Eastern Europe, blocking rival suppliers and hindering the free flow of gas across some EU countries.

Hinkley nuclear reactor project gains EU approval, leak reveals

23 Septembre, 2014 - 11:43

Green groups condemn commissioner Almunia’s U-turn, as the EU competition czar deems Hinkley Point C subsidies to be within state aid rules.


MEPs load their guns for EU commissioner hearings

23 Septembre, 2014 - 11:26

European parliament committees expressed their concerns about the structure, portfolios and competences of candidates in written questions to the 27 commissioners-designate. The queries were sent to the candidates last week as part of the approval process of the new Juncker Commission.

MEPs are now discussing possible oral questions to ask in the hearings next week.

France demands greater transparency from extractive industries

23 Septembre, 2014 - 10:32

The French parliament has adopted the first European directive to increase transparency in the extractive industries. Producers of wood, oil, gas and minerals will now have to declare payments to the states where they operate.

Juncker's Commission vice-presidents are a well-intentioned, but bad idea

23 Septembre, 2014 - 07:46

The Juncker Commission will have vice-presidents with power over other commissioners but that may create more problems than it solves, writes Mark Rhinard.

Conflict-ridden states cannot reach MDGs without help, NGO says

23 Septembre, 2014 - 07:45

The international community is set to negotiate post-2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) during the coming week, but conflict-ridden countries are not expected to achieve any of the existing MDG targets due to be completed in one-year, says NGO World Vision. EurActiv Germany reports.  

EU risks wasting billions on gas infrastructure 'white elephants'

23 Septembre, 2014 - 07:42

EXCLUSIVE: The European Union risks wasting billions of euros on unnecessary gas infrastructure because of pressure to wean itself off Russian energy after the Ukraine crisis, new research has found.

Gas pipelines paid for by the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), a funding mechanism to drive cross-border infrastructure, will be left “stranded” because there will not be enough demand for the gas they transport, according to environmental think tank E3G.

MEPs insist banks should finance their own rescue fund

23 Septembre, 2014 - 07:36

The European Union must shift more of the cost of a new rescue fund for banks onto the region's biggest lenders, lawmakers told the outgoing commissioner for Internal Market and Services Michel Barnier yesterday (22 September).

EU leaders have decided to complete a banking union by setting up an agency to shut failing euro zone banks and establishing, over eight years, a €55 billion back-up fund.

Diabetes hitting EU workforce productivity

23 Septembre, 2014 - 07:30

SPECIAL REPORT: Investing now in diabetes prevention will reduce the cost of tackling the disease later and maintain a productive European workforce, experts claim.

As more people in Europe become overweight or obese due to unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles, more people will also get diabetes.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that between 36.9 and 56.7% of women aged 15-74 in the EU are obese, while the same figures for men are between 51% and 69.3%, depending on the country.

German conservatives cast doubt on French reform pledges

23 Septembre, 2014 - 07:22

On a visit to Berlin, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls pledged to get France’s budget back on track and called for "trust from the German people", a demand met with scepticism from Germany's centre-right. reports.

Kyiv pulls out heavy weapons from buffer zone

23 Septembre, 2014 - 07:15

Ukraine's military said on Monday (22 February) that it was pulling back artillery and heavy armour from the front line with separatists, backing President Petro Poroshenko's peace plan for a conflict that has cost more than 3,000 lives.

Taking a noticeably soft line on the Russian-backed separatists for the first time, military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said reduced fire from the rebels and Russian forces meant the Ukrainian army could begin withdrawing heavy weaponry from a proposed 30-km buffer zone.

Analyst: MEPs rejecting Hill is tantamount to ‘nuclear option’

23 Septembre, 2014 - 07:08

Among the “problematic” candidate-commissioners, the one which the European Parliament would most like to disqualify at the hearings starting next week is the UK's Jonathan Hill. But this would amount to launching a nuclear attack. That’s why it is more likely that MEPs will try to “take the scalp” of a candidate from a less strategic country, an expert told EurActiv.

France should give doctors bonuses to prescribe generic drugs

22 Septembre, 2014 - 16:26

France is spending too much money on medicine and needs to promote the use of generic drugs. The French Court of Auditors recommends offering doctors incentives to prescribe cheaper generics to achieve this and capping their prescription budgets.