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Bettel: EU, Russia play a lose-lose game on Ukraine

31 Août, 2015 - 07:58

EXCLUSIVE / In the wake of repeated international calls for a ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine, Europe and Russia must abide by the Minsk accord, Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel told EurActiv in an exclusive interview.

On Saturday, the leaders of Germany, France and Russia held a phone conversation in which they backed a joint announcement made by Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists last week, that a ceasefire would be reinstated on 1 September.

Bulgaria offers Azerbaijan ‘a package’ of energy projects

31 Août, 2015 - 07:57

The Bulgarian government has proposed a package of energy cooperation projects to Azerbaijan. It remains unclear if the massive deal is part of a swap of property linked to a plan to divest 17% of Azerbaijan’s shares of Greek gas operator DEFSA to a third country.

Bulgaria is reported to have invited Azerbaijan to participate in the construction of filling stations, and to invest in the construction of oil and gas storage facilities, and refineries.

Fabius calls Eastern Europe's reluctance to receive migrants ‘scandalous’

31 Août, 2015 - 07:51

European Union leaders yesterday (30 August) called for action to defend the "dignity" of migrants ahead of fresh emergency talks, as tensions flared on the bloc's eastern borders over the escalating crisis.

Home affairs ministers will meet on 14 September in Brussels to try and "strengthen the European response" to the influx, said Luxembourg, which holds the rotating EU presidency.

"Europe needs to stop being moved and start moving," Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said, calling again for a fairer distribution of migrants among the European Union's 28 members.

Bettel: What is best for the UK is not always best for the EU

31 Août, 2015 - 07:43

In a candid interview with EurActiv, Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel says he is not prepared to give anything to the UK, even though he agrees with David Cameron that we need a more efficient EU.

Xavier Bettel succeeded Jean-Claude Juncker as premier of Luxembourg in December 2013. Previously, he served as mayor of Luxembourg City. Bettel is openly gay and recently married his partner of 5 years.

Eni announces discovery of huge gas field off Egypt’s coast

31 Août, 2015 - 07:01

Italian energy group Eni says it has found one of the world's largest natural gas fields off Egypt's coast.

The company said the area was 1,450m (4,757 feet) beneath the surface and covered 100 sq km (39 sq miles).

It could hold as much as 30 trillion cubic feet of gas, or 5.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent, Eni said. 30 trillion cubic feet is the equivalent of 850 billion cubic metres.

In comparison, the two countries with the larges proven gas reserves, Iran and Russia, are believed to have 34 and 32 trillion of cubic meters of gas respectively.

Drink coffee, change the world

31 Août, 2015 - 06:50

How many cents per cup of coffee consumed in developed nations help eradicate poverty in coffee growing regions? The answer is shocking, writes Fernando Morales-de la Cruz.

Fernando Morales-de la Cruz is an entrepreneur, journalist, political consultant. He campaigns at www.CAFEFORCHANGE.org and twitter @CAFEFORCHANGE.

France boosts efforts to tackle food waste

31 Août, 2015 - 06:40

France’s Minister for Ecology, Ségolène Royale, has obtained a series of commitments from French supermarket chains to limit food waste. She also hopes to change the EU’s expiry date system for certain foods. EurActiv France reports

France's economy minister calls for fiscal transfers in eurozone

31 Août, 2015 - 06:30

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron has called for a new start for Europe, telling a German newspaper the eurozone status quo would lead to the currency union's self-destruction and that fiscal transfers between member states are necessary.

Such a vision is anathema to the mainstream in German politics, with Chancellor Angela Merkel's government having firmly resisted any form of permanent fiscal transfers to poorer euro zone countries.

Heart disease rates continue to decrease

31 Août, 2015 - 06:24

Although cases of cardiovascular disease (CVD) are falling, there remains a large disparity between Western and Eastern Europe. EurActiv Spain reports.

COP 21 agreement set to miss CO2 reduction target by 10 gigatons

31 Août, 2015 - 06:12

Current national plans for CO2 emissions reduction will fall ten gigatons short of the cut required, if the UN is to meet its target of limiting the global temperature rise to +2°C. EurActiv France reports

Illiteracy will cost global economy $1.2tn in 2015

28 Août, 2015 - 13:48

Illiteracy is “a worldwide crisis” that will cost the global economy $1.2tn (£760bn) this year, the World Literacy Foundation (WLF) has warned.

Islamic State smuggling terrorists among the migrants? Unlikely, say experts

28 Août, 2015 - 13:09

The risk that groups like Islamic State could smuggle militants into Europe under cover of a huge wave of migrants is much smaller than some politicians suggest, according to security specialists with close ties to governments and intelligence agencies.

By the end of July, more than a third of a million migrants and refugees had entered the European Union, mainly via Italy, Greece and Hungary, according to EU border agency Frontex. The flow has continued unabated through August.

IOM describes Hungary’s border fence as a ‘subsidy to the smugglers’

28 Août, 2015 - 13:01

Hungary is exacerbating the problem of people-smuggling with its plan to build a barrier to restrict the flow of migrants and refugees into the country, the International Organization for Migration said on Friday.

Hungary, which is part of Europe's passport-free Schengen travel zone, is building a 3.5-metre high fence along its 175-km (110-mile) border with Serbia, taking a hard line on what right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orbán says is a threat to European security, prosperity and identity.

Belgrade and Pristina interpret new agreement differently

28 Août, 2015 - 12:57

Not all details of a recent EU-brokered Serbia-Kosovo agreement have been made public, allowing both sides to claim victory and interpret the deal in their own way. EurActiv Serbia reports.

On 25 August, Serbia and Kosovo reached agreement in four areas, described as “historic” by EU’s foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini.

>Read: After 7 years of independence, Kosovo will get telephone code

Facebook accepts German justice minister's invitation

28 Août, 2015 - 12:26

Facebook has reacted to criticism over its tolerance of hate speech on its site. The American social network giant has said it is interested in an "exchange" with Heiko Maas. EurActiv Germany reports.

Latvia, Greece win opt-out from Monsanto GM crop

28 Août, 2015 - 12:07

Monsanto said it would abide by Latvia's and Greece's requests under a new EU opt-out law to be excluded from its application to grow a genetically modified (GM) crop across the European Union, but accused them of ignoring science.

Hogan: EU-Vietnam deal won't hurt Italian rice

28 Août, 2015 - 11:57

The free trade agreement between the European Union and Vietnam is a fair deal, and will not damage the Italian market. But farmers are worried. EurActiv Italy reports.

Towards a European Commission with fewer competencies for more power?

28 Août, 2015 - 09:53

Fabian Willermain argues that turning the Commission into an elected and accountable European government would both legitimise the institution in the eyes of the citizens and take some powers out of the executive’s hands.

Gruesome migrant deaths force divided EU to look ahead

28 Août, 2015 - 07:57

A migrant crisis generating is slowly but surely transforming the European Union, which has until now been reluctant to share the burden, and take responsibility.

Hundreds of migrants may have died off the coast of Libya yesterday (27 August) when their boat capsized. The incident adds to the shock of the discovery of a truck with corpses in a parked lorry in Austria, and has prompted politicians to say that “we cannot go on this way”.

Tiny EU task force set up to counter Russian propaganda

28 Août, 2015 - 07:51

A small group of eight officials in the European External Action Service will engage in efforts to respond to massive Russian propaganda directed both at the home and international audiences.

European Commission spokesperson Catherine Ray confirmed yesterday (27 August) that the group will start work from 1 September. Eight people will initially make up the task force, officials said. No budget has been allocated and several of the task force members are detached national experts, paid by their countries.