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Two years after Cameron’s EU speech: Is Britain closer to leaving?

23 Janvier, 2015 - 08:07

Two years after David Cameron laid out his vision for a reformed EU and promised the British public a vote on whether to stay or leave the Union, opinion is divided over whether the prospect of a ‘Brexit’ has rescinded, or moved closer.

On 23 January 2013, David Cameron delivered his landmark Bloomberg speech, calling for a deep reform of EU institutions, a renewed focus on delivering prosperity across the continent and promising a referendum on the UK’s EU membership.

Golden Dawn campaigns from prison, says will win

23 Janvier, 2015 - 08:00

Nearly three years since entering parliament after rousing rallies and food handouts, Greece's far-right Golden Dawn is running a much quieter campaign for Sunday's election (25 January) from a high-security prison.

With most of its top brass jailed pending trial on charges of being in a criminal gang, Greeks have seen little of one of Europe's most ardent anti-immigrant parties in recent weeks, except for the occasional broadcast and odd leaflet.

EU private and public banks unite against FTT

23 Janvier, 2015 - 07:46

EXCLUSIVE / Four European banking federations are launching a counter-offensive on the financial transaction tax, after France and Austria tried to table a compromise for rolling out the tax in 2016.

In a letter sent to all 28 EU finance ministers on Friday (23 January), the groups, including the European Association of Cooperative Banks (EACB), the European Association of Public Banks (EAPB), the European Banking Federation (EBF) and the European Savings and Retail Banking Group, slammed the FTT, which they say will harm the internal market, and disrupt EU recovery.

Juncker plan may bring unintended consequences for regional policy

23 Janvier, 2015 - 07:34

In order to encourage financial contributions from the EU member states to the Juncker investment plan, the European Commission has agreed to discount any contributions from their calculations of national deficits. But the regions fear that this leniency will lead to a diversion of EU structural funds. EurActiv France reports

Germany calls Azerbaijan ‘an increasingly important partner’

23 Janvier, 2015 - 07:28

A visit by the president of Azerbaijan to Berlin on Wednesday (21 January) marks a milestone, and an obvious warming of his country's relations with Germany, against the background of the Ukraine crisis.

Ilham Alyiev was received by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who called Azerbaijan “an increasingly important partner”, according to the website of the Federal Government.

Merkel said that she discussed the conflict between Ukraine and Russia with Aliyev.

Melinda Gates suggests Vatican should approve modern contraceptives

23 Janvier, 2015 - 07:18

Challenged to comment on Pope Francis' recent comment that Catholics shouldn’t “breed like rabbits”, Melinda Gates told a Brussels audience that women in developing countries should be educated, and use modern methods of contraception in family planning.

Visiting Brussels on Thursday (22 January), Bill and Melinda Gates spoke to a conference, organised by The Economist, elaborating on some of the ideas they presented the same day in their annual letter.

ECB rolls dice on quantitative easing

22 Janvier, 2015 - 17:16

The European Central Bank (ECB) took the ultimate policy leap today (22 January), launching a government bond-buying programme which will pump hundreds of billions of new money into a sagging eurozone economy.

The ECB said it would buy government bonds from this March until the end of September 2016 despite opposition from Germany's Bundesbank and concerns in Berlin that it could allow spendthrift countries to slacken economic reforms.

MEPs fail to agree on carbon market reform start date

22 Janvier, 2015 - 15:43

On Thursday (22 January) a European Parliament committee, rejected a previous vote to begin carbon market reforms in 2021, clearing the way for another Parliament body next month to back action to prop up the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS).

To try to bolster carbon prices and spur industry to switch to greener energy, the European Commission proposed a plan to remove hundreds of millions of surplus carbon allowances (EUAs) from the market starting in 2021.

EFSI: A key to renewed Eurosympathy?

22 Janvier, 2015 - 15:17

“Never let a good crisis go to waste”, Winston Churchill once said. It must be one of the most often reproduced quotes in recent years, the EU being in its worst economic and financial crisis since its inception, writes Tom Vandenkendelaere.

Tom Vandenkendelaere is a Christen-Democratisch & Vlaams MEP, from Belgium.

France hikes anti-terror budget despite austerity commitment

22 Janvier, 2015 - 14:27

Manuel Valls has announced a 735 million euro plan to bolster France's defences against terrorism over the next three years. The French government says this unplanned expenditure will not threaten their agreement with Brussels to reduce the national deficit. EurActiv France reports

Poll: Britain's EU exit hinges on low-income women

22 Janvier, 2015 - 13:58

The UK's future in the European Union may hinge on the votes of low-income women concerned about the family budget and their children's future, business leaders at the Davos World Economic Forum were told on Wednesday (21 January).

A survey by pollster TNS showed supporters and opponents of British membership neck-and-neck, with 37% in favour and 40% against, while 55% of voters want a referendum to decide whether the country stays in the 28 nation bloc.

MEPs call for country of origin labelling of meat in processed foods

22 Janvier, 2015 - 12:15

Meat used as an ingredient in processed foods, such as lasagne, should have a country of origin label which is already the case for bovine fresh meat, said the Parliament's Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee on Wednesday evening (22 January) in a non-binding resolution.

The MEPs said the Commission needs to propose new legislation in order to rebuild consumer confidence in the wake of the 2013 horsemeat scandal, and other food fraud cases.

No super-regulator foreseen in EU plans for capital markets union, official says

22 Janvier, 2015 - 11:41

The European Union's plan to build a capital market union (CMU) will not include a super-regulator for markets in the same way the European Central bank now supervises top eurozone lenders, a senior EU official said on Wednesday (21 January).

Serbian minister: For EU integration, we need the understanding of our citizens

22 Janvier, 2015 - 11:32

EU integration means deep reform. This is why Serbia needs the understanding of its citizens, as well as of its partners in the Union, Jadranka Joksimović told EurActiv Serbia in an exclusive interview.

She spoke to EurActiv Serbia’s Smiljana Vukojčić and Maja Poznatov.

Jadranka Joksimović is Serbia’s minister without portfolio responsible for European integration. She is a member of the center-right Serbian Progressive Party.

 

 

Campaigners slam Skopje for gay marriage ban

22 Janvier, 2015 - 08:49

Macedonia's decision to ban same-sex marriage is a further blow to its marginalized civil society and will entrench discrimination against LGBT people in the European Union accession state, campaigners said on Wednesday (21 January).

The Macedonian parliament approved a constitutional amendment which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman in a majority vote on Tuesday. The change has to be confirmed in a final vote later in the week.

Ukraine agreement opens way to Astana summit

22 Janvier, 2015 - 08:39

Diplomatic progress was made during four-way talks on the Ukraine crisis, and an agreement was reached on establishing security zones between pro-Russian fighters and Kyiv's forces, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.

"Finally there was an agreement reached today that the demarcation line, mentioned in the Minsk protocol, will be the line from which the withdrawal of heavy weaponry should start now," Steinmeier said late on Wednesday (21 January) after talks with his counterparts from France, Russia and Ukraine.

Markus Ferber: ECB bond-buying plan 'beyond mandate'

22 Janvier, 2015 - 08:32

EXCLUSIVE: A planned bond-buying programme expected from the European Central Bank (ECB) today (22 January) would be unconstitutional, a leading MEP has told EurActiv in the firmest statement of German opposition to the move.

France and Austria table compromise for launching FTT in 2016

22 Janvier, 2015 - 08:22

France and Austria sought on Thursday (22 January) to break deadlocked talks with nine other European countries for a financial transaction tax, by proposing that it be applied to cover a wide range of transactions, at low rates, starting next year.

In a joint letter to counterparts from the other countries, the French and Austrian finance ministers also suggested that one of the 11 ministers involved take charge of steering forward negotiations.

London transfers powers to Scotland as reward for staying in UK

22 Janvier, 2015 - 08:18

The British government will publish a draft law today (22 January) underpinning the biggest transfer of powers to Scotland in over a decade, keeping a promise it gave to Scots to encourage them to reject independence last year.

The law, to be enacted after a 7 May general election, will further dismantle Britain's highly centralised system of government, a move critics fear could trigger the beginning of the end of the United Kingdom.

EU anti-terrorism chief: Communications should be accessible to security services

22 Janvier, 2015 - 08:11

The European Union should consider forcing Internet firms to help security services tap into coded emails and calls as part of a new strategy to combat militant attacks, the EU counter-terrorism coordinator says.

The controversial proposal appears in a briefing paper from Gilles de Kerchove for EU interior ministers meeting next week which was reviewed by Reuters. The confidential document, drawn up after this month's Islamist violence in Paris, puts forward a range of areas in which EU states can improve their cooperation.