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Athens opposes EU energy strategy, blocks privatisations

20 Mars, 2015 - 12:26

The Syriza-led government will be against an Energy Union that undermines Greece's national interests, including in its relations with Russia, said Greek energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, who also ruled out any privatisation schemes for the country’s energy sector.

Lafazanis, who belongs to the leftist wing of the Syriza party, said that Athens is not willing to follow EU’s energy strategy as it currently stands.

‘Intelligent’ technologies open new avenues for European transport

20 Mars, 2015 - 09:01

Connected vehicles filled with communication technologies offer an unprecedented opportunity to achieve the European Union's dream of an integrated multi-modal transport system, according to EU policymakers and industry experts.

MEPs and interest groups took stock of the Union's transport policy at a European Parliament public hearing on Tuesday (17 March).

Following Shakespeare’s lead on climate change

20 Mars, 2015 - 08:51

Gas, while not zero carbon, is the best option to significantly reduce emissions at a reasonable cost, writes François-Régis Mouton.

François-Régis Mouton, chairman of GasNaturally

In Shakespeare’s King Lear, the Duke of Albany warns that “striving to better, oft we mar what’s well.” In 1772, this became in Voltaire’s words “Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien,” which translated into the well-known proverb “the best is the enemy of the good”.

Leaders broadly endorse 'Energy Union' plans, leave details to later

20 Mars, 2015 - 08:47

European leaders on Thursday (19 March) threw their weight behind proposals for a single market for power and gas, based on better connections between member states, but left prickly discussions to later.

EU launches operation to counter Russian propaganda

20 Mars, 2015 - 08:42

The European Union is set to launch its first operation in a new propaganda war with Russia, within days of EU leaders giving formal approval to the campaign at a summit yesterday (19 March).

Officials told Reuters that a dozen public relations and communications experts would start work by the end of March in Brussels with a brief to counter what the EU says is deliberate misinformation coordinated by the Kremlin over Moscow's role and aims in Ukraine, and elsewhere in Europe.

EU leaders struggle to keep unity vis-à-vis Russia

20 Mars, 2015 - 08:37

At their summit on Thursday night (19 March), EU heads of state and government couldn’t decide on an automatic roll-over of sanctions against Russia, which will expire in July. They also could not agree on having deals with Gazprom scrutinised by the European Commission, either.

A formal decision will be taken at the next EU summit in June, as to continuing the sanctions. Should one not be taken, they will be automatically renewed.

Brussels makes overture on ‘data flow’ agreement in TTIP

20 Mars, 2015 - 08:22

Negotiations on the free flow of data could be considered as part the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), but only after an agreement is reached on the EU’s data protection regulation, EU officials said yesterday (19 March).

Speaking at AmCham EU’s annual Transatlantic Conference, a senior official said that the EU is “on the same page as the US theoretically on the issue of data flows”.

But he added, “Until the EU’s data protection regulation has been agreed, we cannot introduce such concepts within the TTIP negotiations.”

House of Lords praises Capital Markets Union

20 Mars, 2015 - 08:05

The House of Lords welcomed plans for a Capital Markets Union on Thursday (19 March), calling it “a major engine for stimulating growth.”

Greece promises to deliver full reform list after three-hour 'mini summit'

20 Mars, 2015 - 07:49

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras once again stole the show at an EU Council summit in Brussels Thursday night (19 March).

At the request of Tsipras, the European Council President, Donald Tusk, managed to arrange a three-hour long informal meeting to discuss Greece, whose economy is crumbling under the weight of accumulated debt.

> Read: Tusk arranges Greek crisis meeting at summit

UKIP MEP suspended after expenses scandal

20 Mars, 2015 - 07:37

A UK Independence Party (UKIP) MEP was suspended yesterday (19 March), and barred from standing in May’s national elections, amid accusations of European Parliament expenses fraud.

Janice Atkinson was also stripped of the party whip by UKIP, which said it was “incredibly disappointed” with the South East England MEP. She was elected in last year's European elections, which saw UKIP returned as the most successful British party.

Fracking costs outweigh benefits for Germany and Europe, study says

20 Mars, 2015 - 07:32

For only a ten year supply of energy, fracking in Europe would contaminate drinking water, cause severe environmental damage and create vast industrial landscapes, says a study on fracking, as the German government pushes to legalise the controversial extraction method. EurActiv Germany reports.

Valls opts for growth over deficit reduction

20 Mars, 2015 - 07:11

The French premier has told the European Commission that Paris intends to honour its budget commitments, but has ruled out any measures that could threaten the country's anaemic economic growth. EurActiv France reports

Cameron announces fund to fight Russian ‘bullies’

19 Mars, 2015 - 22:59

UK Prime Minister David Cameron used possibly his last European Council summit to announce a £20 million (€27.66 million) fund to make Ukraine, other ex-Soviet states, and the Balkans more resistant to Russian “bullying” tactics.

Cameron, who faces national elections in May, told EU leaders tonight (19 March) the Good Governance Fund could finance technical assistance for countries such as Moldova, Georgia, Bosnia and Serbia over 2015-2016.

The powers of the Energy Union

19 Mars, 2015 - 19:33

An integrated energy market will offer European citizens freedom, security and growth. Solidarity among Europeans will be vital to the success of this project, write Joseph Daul and Jacek Saryusz-Wolski.

Joseph Daul is the President of the European People's Party (EPP), Jacek Saryusz-Wolski is EPP Vice President, MEP and Co-Chair of the EPP Energy Ministerial Meetings. This op-ed is based on the EPP leaders declaration signed during the EPP Summit.

Brussels considers replacing ISDS with a public court

19 Mars, 2015 - 18:21

Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Trade, said she supported the idea of creating a permanent investment court to replace the Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism, which has come under fire in the EU-US trade talks.

“I have already instructed my staff to start working towards it,” she said during a meeting with MEPs in the European Parliament on Wednesday (18 March). “However, I believe that we should aim for a court that goes beyond TTIP,” she continued.

Time for transparency for EU multinationals

19 Mars, 2015 - 17:07

In the wake of a recent wave of corporate tax avoidance scandals, an informed debate on the accountability of EU multinationals is much needed and long overdue, argues Nienke Palstra.

Political action is needed to stop Tuberculosis

19 Mars, 2015 - 16:59

Greater political commitment to fight tuberculosis is urgently needed, as Eastern Europe is struggling with some of the highest rates of drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) worldwide, writes Evan Lee.

Evan Lee, M.D., is Vice President of Global Health Programs at Eli Lilly and Co. He also serves as the private sector constituency representative on the Stop TB Partnership Coordinating Board.

Commission sheds light on trilateral gas talks with Ukraine, Russia

19 Mars, 2015 - 15:32

The European Commission aims at concluding an agreement to supply Ukraine with Russian gas until Fall 2016, when an international court will issue a ruling on Moscow's pricing regime, a Commission official said.

Speaking to the press ahead of the trilateral gas talks due tomorrow (20 March), a Commission official who asked not to be named said that Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak, his and Ukrainian colleague, Volodymyr Demchyshyn, had confirmed participation. Vice-President for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič will chair the talks.

Familial Hypercholesterolemia

19 Mars, 2015 - 15:07
What is FH?

FH is an inherited condition associated with high “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol or LDL-C) and may predispose a person to premature cardiovascular disease (CVD). People with FH are unable to process the body’s natural supply of cholesterol, leading to very high levels of “bad” cholesterol that can block arteries and lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Biomass’ ‘zero’ ETS rating burns us all

19 Mars, 2015 - 13:19

We have no idea if the biomass burned actually reduces CO2 emissions, which raises questions about the energy source's zero rating in the EU's Emissions Trading System, writes Carlos Calvo Ambel.

Carlos Calvo Ambel is energy policy analyst at Transport & Environment