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EU to back unprecedented naval force to fight migrant smugglers

18 Mai, 2015 - 07:06

The European Union is set to back plans on Monday for an ambitious naval force to fight people smugglers in the Mediterranean after a series of shipwrecks that killed hundreds of migrants.

The unprecedented mission, starting in June, will involve the deployment of warships and surveillance aircraft off the coast of Libya, the main launching point for people risking their lives to reach Europe.

European parties add fuel to fire in Macedonia

18 Mai, 2015 - 06:45

As the crisis in Macedonia deepens, the two largest European political families - the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) and the Party of European Socialists (PES) - have added fuel to fire by stirring up antagonism between their parties.

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Macedonia's capital Skopje on Sunday (17 May), waving Macedonian and Albanian flags in a dramatic display of ethnic unity against a government on the ropes after months of damaging wiretap revelations.

Opposition mounting to UK Human Rights Act suspension

18 Mai, 2015 - 06:29

The new Conservative government is planning to repeal the Human Rights Act during its first 100 days in office in an attempt to “break the formal link” between UK courts and the European Court of Human Rights.

The 1997 Human Rights Act requires British courts to “take into account” case law from the European Court of Human Rights.

The Tories want to repeal the act. A move, they claim, will make Britain's Supreme Court “the ultimate arbiter of human rights” in the UK.

A Digital Single Market does not mean a single solution for the future

18 Mai, 2015 - 06:08

Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) is the leading platform for TV distribution in Europe and a major provider of jobs. It is time to take into account these dimensions in the Digital Single Market strategy, writes Olivier Huart. 

Denmark partners with tech companies to take on piracy

15 Mai, 2015 - 16:00

The Danish Ministry of Culture announced last week (8 May) that it's organising a campaign to target pirated content on the internet, partnering on a voluntary basis with internet service providers and tech companies, including Google and Microsoft.

Helpful tips for the Tories

15 Mai, 2015 - 15:45

The UK already enjoys a special position within the EU. Andrew Duff explains why the Tories’ renegotiation demands may simply be impossible.

Commission jams with European rock acts

15 Mai, 2015 - 15:34

The European Commission is seeking to promote European indie rock groups through a network of clubs which are encouraged to stage emerging acts from member states.

The Creative Europe Programme of the EU executive is stumping up €1.5 million over the three-year period to 2017 through its Liveurope platform, coordinated from Brussels music venue Ancienne Belgique.

“We use this money mostly to give incentive bonuses to our members, rewarding their efforts in programming up and coming European acts,” said Fabien Miclet.

Is the CAP simplification exercise “better regulation”?

15 Mai, 2015 - 15:18

The Commission’s proposed reform of the Common Agricultural Policy looks more like a waste of public money than an exercise in “better regulation”, argues Angelo Caserta.

Bulgarian power producers cut output due to low demand

15 Mai, 2015 - 15:10

Bulgaria's power grid operator has ordered some electricity producers to cut output in an attempt to balance production and consumption, the state-owned company said today (15 May).

"The cuts were ordered due to low consumption and minimum export of electricity from Bulgaria," Electricity System Operator's [ESO] chief executive Ivan Yotov said.

"Current electricity consumption in Bulgaria varies between 3,000 and 4,000 megawatts, while exports are around 600 megawatts."

International pressure on Macedonian political elite brings no results

15 Mai, 2015 - 15:01

Macedonia's prime minister, under international pressure to resolve a political crisis in the troubled Balkan country, held talks yesterday (14 May) with opposition and ethnic Albanian party leaders.

The meeting took place following clashes at the weekend in a northern town between ethnic Albanian rebels and Macedonian police that left 22 dead, including eight police officers.

The violence in Kumanovo was the worst in Macedonia for 14 years, and raised fears of fresh unrest similar to the country's 2001 ethnic conflict.

Luxembourg PM is first openly gay EU leader to marry

15 Mai, 2015 - 13:55

Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel is to wed his partner today (15 May), becoming the first European Union leader to enter into a same sex marriage, a symbol of growing social change across the continent.

Bettel, 42, a centre-right politician who became premier in 2013, will marry Gauthier Destenay, a Belgian architect, just months after the conservative Roman Catholic duchy legalised gay weddings.

Romanian minister sentenced for 2012 attempt to impeach Băsescu

15 Mai, 2015 - 13:25

Romania's regional development minister was convicted today (15 May) of masterminding a campaign to use bribes and forged ballot papers to swing an impeachment vote against the former president Traian Băsescu in 2012.

A court found Liviu Dragnea guilty and gave him a one year suspended jail sentence, which means he will not serve time in prison although he will be banned from holding public office. The decision can be appealed.

Renewable energy storage will end capacity payments

15 Mai, 2015 - 10:43

Capacity payments and fossil energy can be made redundant by electric cars, writes Teodora Serafimova.

Teodora Serafima is an advisor to Bellona Europa, an environmental NGO dedicated to providing technological solutions to climate change. Bellona has championed electric cars and battery integration in the energy system from the head office in Oslo, Norway, for several decades, and is expanding this work to the European level from its EU policy office in Brussels.

Experts: There will be more LNG terminals in the Baltic Sea if it pays

15 Mai, 2015 - 10:13

Baltic states have to consider the business potential of new liquefied natural gas terminals before further investments take place, experts from Latvian ministries told EurActiv Czech Republic’s Adéla Denková. New technologies will also change the game in energy security, a central goal of the EU’s Energy Union plan, they said.

Schulz, native son of Aachen, gets Charlemagne Prize

15 Mai, 2015 - 07:57

European Parliament President Martin Schulz's father was a policeman regularly assigned to protect dignitaries at the award ceremony of the International Charlemagne Prize in Aachen. The officer's son was awarded one yesterday (14 May).

In his acceptance speech, Schulz, a native of Würselen, a town in the district of Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, recalled his roots and paid tribute to his parents.

Cameron to face Scottish nationalist leader over fate of UK

15 Mai, 2015 - 07:29

Prime Minister David Cameron travels to Scotland on Friday (15 May) to face Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon, whose triumph at last week's election put Britain's unity in jeopardy just nine months after a referendum saved it.

German government poised to tackle growing antibiotic resistance

15 Mai, 2015 - 07:18

Germany hopes to slow the development and spread of antibiotic resistance in medicine and agriculture with its new "DART 2020" strategy. But critics have their doubts, saying it does not do enough to curb large-scale use of antibiotics on livestock farms. EurActiv Germany reports.

Greece offers concession with sale of Piraeus port

15 Mai, 2015 - 07:09

Greece on Thursday (14 May) offered a concession to its international lenders by pushing ahead with the sale of its biggest port, Piraeus.

Greece has asked three firms to submit bids for a majority stake in the port, a senior privatisation official told Reuters, unblocking a major sale of a public asset as the EU and the IMF demand economic reforms from Athens.

Despite the conciliatory move, Germany's Bundesbank showed no sign of easing off on its hardline stance towards Greece.

Labour look for leader as UKIP's Farage faces ‘coup’

15 Mai, 2015 - 07:06

Four candidates have put their names forward to be the new leader of the Labour party, as parties defeated in last week’s general election lick their wounds and prepare for five years in opposition.

Both the Liberal Democrats and Labour are looking for new leaders. Meanwhile the UK Independence Party (UKIP) is in disarray after leader Nigel Farage’s resignation was rejected prompting public infighting.

NATO moves closer to EU, Sweden, Finland

15 Mai, 2015 - 06:46

NATO will look at increasing cooperation with the European Union and its non-EU members Finland and Sweden through information-sharing and more military exercises, the alliance said on Thursday (14 May), a move likely to cause concern in Moscow.

Sweden and Finland, neither of which belong to the US-led alliance, have been alarmed by increased Russian military activity in the Baltic Sea and by Moscow's actions in Ukraine.

That has pushed them towards closer defence cooperation with other northern nations and with NATO.